Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

Concern is taking hold...

Reuters: Nikkei edges down as exporters dip but Mizuho gains

Stuffed


We had an amazing dinner tonight.

Yes, I made the assist with home made raviolis. They were to die for. Stunning.

I am rolling through the house, stuffed.

Not really paying attention but I believe the Grammy's are tonight.

Me, I'm still in ravioli heaven. Music is unneeded.

Hopefully the world is still whole.

The People Speak: Howard Zinn on Moyers Journal (1/3)

SNL

On Failure


“Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim. It is, one is told, the unforgivable sin, but it is a sin the corrupt or evil man never practices. He always has hope. He never reaches the freezing-point of knowing absolute failure” - Graham Greene

“When a man arrives at great prosperity God did it: when he falls into disaster he did it himself” - Mark Twain

“To fail is a natural consequence of trying, To succeed takes time and prolonged effort in the face of unfriendly odds. To think it will be any other way, no matter what you do, is to invite yourself to be hurt and to limit your enthusiasm for trying” - David Viscott

Happily Adding Misery To Misery

Many of us were taught to actually stop and assist a person who is in need - the accident victim, someone choking in a restaurant.

Unfortunately not everyone got that lesson. This type of behavior is all too common.

FOX 23: Police: Thief Strikes Accident Scene
In Albany, a passerby didn't stop to help the people who were injured after an accident that left a taxi upside down, but he did steal money from the overturned car...The cab ran a red light, a car hit the rear end of the taxi, which caused it to flip. Police say as that car was flipped, a man reached into the vehicle and took money from inside.

Good Program In Texas Prison System


We applaud this aspect of the Texas prison system. As long as we have prison systems and no shortage of criminals, this particular type of program seems like a win win.

The Texas prison system is large and includes land. Prisoners work on the land raising cattle and chickens. They produce their own food and do meaningful work.

McClatchy: A prison work program that just sounds like Texas
The prison system has agricultural operations at 50 units and works to produce as much of its own food as possible, using the labor of more than 6,000 offenders. Consider this:

The prison system manages more than 142,000 acres in 47 counties.

It owns 15,000 to 17,000 cattle.

It has more than 300,000 egg-laying hens.

'Who By Fire'

Leonard Cohen

Saturday, January 30, 2010

As January Goes

January has seen a drop in markets, equities are taking a hit.

Historically, the market's performance in January indicates how the rest of the year will go. Its not always the case, yet concerns have some thinking we are in for it.

The upcoming week will once again shed light on the state of the recovery and its continuity if any. Employment for January will be of great interest. Those numbers come out on Friday.

Reuters: Are U.S. stocks set for a down year?
A heavy week for economic data will culminate in Friday's non-farm payrolls report. Analysts believe the economy added 5,000 jobs in January, according to a Reuters poll. Another negative surprise after the previous month's unexpected surge in job losses could roil markets.

Around 500 U.S. companies have reported quarterly earnings so far and of those, 73 percent have beaten earnings estimates...

"Essentially the fuel was used in sustaining the rally as far as it did, and we are now beginning a down cycle that I expect to be prolonged and severe."

'A Love Bizarre'

Prince

Your Weekly Address

Pee Wee Herman On Letterman - 1984

Roubini Predicts

Roubini is saying that when the 5.7% fourth quarter GDP numbers are inspected, that they indicate trouble.

He predicts more unemployment yet believes we won't head back into a technical recession.

Bloomberg: Roubini Calls U.S. Growth ‘Dismal and Poor,’ Predicts Slowing
...growth will slow to just 1.5 percent in the second half of 2010...

Young And Jobless

The picture of the jobless recovery is clearing.

The youth and 20 somethings are out of work but good. Yikes. Its tough times for those who are entering the job market.

Let's see if someone is not in school, is not working, and is poor to begin with living in a impoverished state so to speak, what are the odds that something good will come out of that. I'm surprised crime is not more rampant.

Reuters: REFILE-Record number of young Americans jobless-researcher
The U.S. economic recession has taken a particularly heavy toll on young Americans, with a record one out of five black men aged 20 to 24 neither working nor in school, according to research released on Tuesday.

Tax

One of the many dividends of the Bush years was his well known tax cut. The result of the tax cut is our massive debt. You can't cut income, increase spending, and expect it all to work out, but Bush and the GOP did that.

So Obama is over a rock and a hard place. The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to end in December. The economy is fragile as we know, and so what to do. Increasing taxes in the midst of a recession is not a good idea, yet maintaining the cuts will drive up the deficit and force the US to borrow from China and such.

The political implications are obvious and worn out. The Democrats become the big tax and spenders, and this of course relies on the American public's overall stupidity and absolute memory failure.

I applaud Obama's move to bring it to the GOP yesterday. It was great, present the facts and tell it like it is. This has to happen and Obama needs to demonstrate in clear terms right in front of these GOPers what is coming and why.

McClatchy: Extending tax cuts or letting them expire could cost Obama
With his budget proposal Monday, Obama will urge Congress to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts for those who make less than $250,000 a year and to end those cuts for everyone who makes more than that, as he promised in his campaign.

Extending those cuts — along with another fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax to make sure those people don't get socked with a tax increase — would add as much as $3 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years...

Keeping all of the Bush tax cuts without offsetting spending cuts would add $4.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years...

'I Remember Clifford'

Art Blakey

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jesus Found In A Coconut


Somebody out there might consider doing an detailed list of all the items that Jesus has been found in or on. You know things like - the piece of toast in 2003, the pealing paint back in 84, that kind of thing. I think it would make an interesting book, straightforward pictures with a brief description.

The image above was Jesus found in a cheeto.

News 10: Paradise man finds Jesus in coconut
..."Jesus sent out his own Christmas card greeting by way of a simple coconut."

'The Bishop Revival'

Fringe

Plunk

Financial journalists claim that the potential insolvency of Greece, Spain, and Portugal caused the market to tank today instead of maintaining its advancing morning.

The estimates for the fourth quarter GDP come in with the economy growing at a rate of 5.7%. Shite. One has to think that these numbers will be revised downward, still its rather amazing.

CNN: Best economic growth in six years
...rose at a 5.7% annual rate in the fourth quarter. That was much stronger than expected and provides another sign that a recovery in the economy is taking hold.
Reuters: Stocks fall on euro-zone worry, tech slide
"The pattern has been to sell into the weekend, wait for sovereign risk and sovereign default news in Europe, and if it doesn't happen, the relief rally begins.

MSNBC - Obama Taking GOP Questions

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

TPMtv - Obama Spars With Rep. Jeb Hensarling

On Art


It takes a long time for a man to look like his portrait. - James McNeill Whistler

I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious. - Andrew Wyeth

When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time. - Cy Twombly

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it. - John Lennon

Haiti Demo

After the earthquake, the work of rebuilding Haiti is beginning. There have been some amazing stories of survival. The teen pulled out of rubble yesterday was truly miraculous. Who knows, maybe and hopefully a few more can be pulled out alive. Alas, time is not on their side.

The first step in reconstruction is demolishing and carting away the old and crumbled. That process is under way but it does not appear that there is a clear and coherent overall plan to this aspect of the work. That does not bode well.

Our hope is that somehow they can rebuild knowing that a future earthquake is coming and designing structures that have a better chance of surviving such calamity.

Miami Herald: Before rising again, Haiti needs to tear down
The government estimates that 25,000 government offices and businesses either toppled or need to be demolished. In addition, there are 225,000 residences that are no longer habitable.

In all, some 2.1 billion cubic feet of concrete and rubble need to be hauled out of the city.

While demolition on a massive scale may not be taking place, rubble removal is. The United Nations Development Program has 12,000 people cleaning up debris from buildings that have toppled into the street and other public places. By next week, they hope to have 50,000 people clearing roads under the jobs-for-work program.

The Market On Friday

At 7:50 a.m. futures are slightly up. I would call this the "Bernanke Bounce." The man is back for another four years.

We are pre- weekend poised. The weekend goes by so quickly. Then the week goes by so quickly. Then....

Nothing like a brisk and quick walk on a freezing cold January morning. As we get older the hamstrings just keep on tightening and tightening.

Regardless, at 8:30 a.m. this very morning the Gov. will release guess-estimate numbers on the fourth quarter GDP. How about that. Now I'm thinking, this may make or break the day even with the Bernanke Bounce.

CNN: Stocks set for early gains
A report on gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic activity, is due out at 8:30 a.m...

President Obama is due to unveil a $33 billion package of tax credits on Friday. The plan is part of his vow to spur job creation.
Reuters: Stock futures higher after Microsoft, Amazon results
... one day after Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc reported quarterly results that beat expectations. Microsoft, a Dow component, expects business technology spending to recover in 2010, while Amazon forecast strong 2010 revenue.

'La Leyenda Del Beso'

Orchestra mandolinistica di Lugano performs.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

The markets are turning sour the last several days. Investors fret about the economy with bad jobs and housing data, Greece is in the tank, oil demand is down, tech companies had a bad day, and its freezing cold up here in upstate NY.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 1 pct on exporters, Toyota slides

'Earthbag Building'

'Bent'

1997 Feature film - Nazi persecution of homosexuality starring among others, Clive Owen, Mick Jagger, and Jude Law. Music is by my favorite composer, Phil Glass.

TPMtv - Biden On SCOTUS Decision

Flog

There's a lot of whipping in the news these days.

The Muslims are whipping, and now we learn the former Pope would self flagellate. Strange word pairing isn't it - "self flagellate."

They say he did it to get closer to God.

CNN: Book: Pope John Paul II self-flagellated to get closer to Jesus
The late pope had a particular belt for self-flagellation and brought it with him to his summer residence...

On Patience


“One minute of patience, ten years of peace” - Greek proverb

“Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” - Kierkegaard

Hang In There

I am not ready to bail on Obama.

I cannot accept criticism of him based on the state of employment. Having very carefully followed the progression of corporate America through Wall Street this past year, its clear as a bell that employment was not going to improve in '09. None of that is Obama's fault, not a drop of it, sorry. The market doesn't hit its lowest levels in eons in March of '09, and then all of a sudden miraculously there's a major turnaround and everything is rosy. That's a ridiculous idea. Republicans that use this as a criticism are banking on America's collective stupidity and inability to marry one with one.

Don't get me started.

This is a make or break year for Obama. Look are things better or worse than they were one year ago.

SacBee: Experts caution against rush to judge presidency
Experts on politics and the presidency have seen it before. They caution an American public plagued with a short memory and shorter attention span not to judge the Obama administration based solely on its opening year.

The Market On Thursday

At 8:00 a.m. futures are moderately up.

Investors apparently like what they heard from Obama last night otherwise futures would be way down. Recall what occurred when Obama announced possible regulations in banking. Fizzle time.

Ford is now profitable and so cash for clunkers did have an impact. Amazing is it not, Ford is the company that drove through the big three US automakers traffic jam while the remaining two are in a totaled head on.

Bernanke allegedly will be back, the Fed kept interest rates flat, and Apple is all about the tablet or pad as it were. The horses will either fly at 9:00 a.m. or stumble and seem tired.

At 8:30 a.m. investors will get some data on employment and economic activity which they may interpret as the pulse of the economy. So even though futures are up, things could go south real fast and in a real hurry. I would say 8:30 a.m. makes or breaks today's market activity.

CNN: Stocks poised to drive forward
The Labor Department will release its weekly report on initial jobless claims before the open. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time is expected to have totaled 450,000 in the week ended Jan. 23...
Reuters: Stock futures up after Obama speech, Procter, Ford earns
...December durable good orders are expected to rise. The National Activity index for December is also on tap, with all the data scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. EST.

'The Lady Is A Tramp'

Frank Sinatra

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SOTU Health Care Excerpt

I took on health care because of the stories I've heard, from Americans with pre-existing conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage, patients who've been denied coverage, families, even those with insurance, who are just one illness away from financial ruin.

After nearly a century of trying -- Democratic administrations, Republican administrations -- we are closer than ever to bringing more security to the lives of so many Americans.

The approach we've taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry. It would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market.

It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care. And by the way, I want to acknowledge our first lady, Michelle Obama, who this year is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make kids healthier.

Thank you, honey.

(APPLAUSE)

She gets embarrassed.

(LAUGHTER)

Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses.

And according to the Congressional Budget Office, the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress, our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades.

(APPLAUSE)

Still, this is a complex issue. And the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became. I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people. And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, this process left most Americans wondering, "What's in it for me?"

But I also know this problem is not going away. By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small-business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether.

I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber.

(APPLAUSE)

As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed. There's a reason why many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo.

But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me know. Let me know.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm eager to see it.

Here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform, not now, not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. Let's get it done.

(APPLAUSE)

Let's get it done.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, even as health care reform would reduce our deficit, it's not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves. It's a challenge that makes all others that much harder to solve and one that's been subject to a lot of political posturing.

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

Howard Zinn Dies

R.I.P. Howard. He will be greatly missed.

Boston.com: Howard Zinn, historian who challenged status quo, dies at 87

Warmest Decade


This McClatchy article is not surprising to those following global warming.

We have just experienced the warmest decade on record.

Yes, but now what. In my opinion, the trend seems likely to continue especially in light of the fact that key contributors to this warming have increased.

McClatchy: NASA reports 2000-2009 was warmest decade on record
The NASA space studies institute has reported that since 1880, when good record keeping began, the average global temperature has increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The increase over each of the past three decades has been about one-third of a degree Fahrenheit.

Hansen noted that there's substantial year-to-year variability in global temperatures caused by El Nino and La Nina, periodic climate patterns in the tropical Pacific Ocean. "When we average temperature over five or 10 years to minimize that variability, we find global warming is continuing unabated."

TPMtv - Geithner Under Fire

Poor Tim, he has to take a ration of it from a man with possibly the worst toupee ever, ever. Rep. Mica its hard to not crack up babe.

Rep. Mica has single handed placed new meaning on the term - "piece be with you."

On Hope


“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.” - anon.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” - Oscar Wilde

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” - Einstein

S.O.T.U. And You

Ah the good old days, that would be late January of 2009. Bush Junior got sent home packing thrilling the country, and a new president was bringing hope and reconciliation. The Democrats would fix this broken country and Republicans would STFU and lick their bruised loins.

Oh dear.

McClatchy: Obama to emphasize jobs, economy in State of the Union
Now he labors under 10 percent national unemployment and a 48 percent job approval rating in the latest Gallup tracking poll. The stimulus' true cost is now projected at $862 billion, and no health overhaul has passed yet. The Democrats lost their slam-dunk Senate supermajority when Republicans won the special election last week in Massachusetts. A testy electorate also seems eager to boot many Democrats out of Congress in this year's midterm elections.

The Market On Wednesday

At 8:20 a.m. futures are ever so slightly higher.

Its a big day from Wall Street's point of view. Its almost to the point where fourth quarter results have no importance.

Obama is giving his S.O.T.U. address tonight. People are expecting miracles, lots of luck with that. The mood is bleak. Investors on the other hand are poised to do hand stands.

The Fed will probably report that interest rates will remain flat. Bernanke will probably get reinstalled.

And me, well I am having a Wall Street crisis of the heart. What does it all mean anyhow?

Oh by the way, oil is up.

CNN: Stocks set to advance at open
The biggest event of the day...is probably the State of the Union address by President Obama, who will probably couch his speech to be "more friendly to the market."

Investors are on edge ahead of the Fed's policy statement, which is due out at 2:15 p.m. ET.
Reuters: Stock futures higher ahead of Fed, but earnings weigh
'Today is probably the busiest day we could have for catalysts that I can imagine, between the Fed, Obama, the data and all the earnings..."

'How Many More Years'

Howlin' Wolf

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nikkei Is Flat On Wednesday

The markets slipped a tad today. I was thinking it would be a bloodbath, so fortunately that did not occur.

People are angry out there. Yikes. Humor folks.

The Fed is meeting and this is a big deal because investors still want interest rates to remain flat. I think they will stay flat because let's be honest, the recovery is still in its infancy, practically embryonic.

Reuters: Nikkei flat with focus on Fed, Obama; Toyota falls

TPMtv - Obama One Termer...

Vicious Justice

Am I reading this incorrectly? Has my basic comprehension gone completely awry?

The scene is Bangladesh. A female teen is raped by a 20 year old male. The girl becomes pregnant as a result of the rape. Up to this point I'm following the story, its tragic and the crime is reprehensible.

So what happens next. Well, the perpetrator is forgiven, and the girl is whipped for having the audacity to get pregnant. Meanwhile the girl's father is fined.

Help me out here. Is this a plant by someone trying to paint Muslim society in a harsh light. Or is it really and truly impossible to accept said society as civil.

Telegraph.co.uk: Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant
16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.

The girl's father was also fined and warned the family would be branded outcasts from their village if he did not pay.

According to human rights activists, the girl, who was quickly married after the attack, was divorced weeks later after medical tests revealed she was pregnant.

The girl was raped by a 20-year-old villager in Brahmanbaria district in April last year.

Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper reported that she was so ashamed following the attack that she did not lodge a complaint.

Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.


Women In Film

Haiti

Haiti is in shambles but the world's attention is moving on. This is normal modern media progression. The numbers are gaudy and hard to fathom.

CNN: Numbers tell stories of horror, heroism in Haiti
9 million: Population of Haiti
3 million: Estimated number of people affected by the quake
1 million: Estimated number of displaced people
800,000 to 1 million: People who need temporary shelter
235,000: People who have left Port-au-Prince using free transportation provided by the government. The number who left by private means is undetermined.
At least 50: Aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or higher that have hit Haiti since the January 12 quake

On Health


“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” - Buddha

“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.” - Jefferson (Interesting quote, would you agree. Jefferson possibly lived in a time when work-a-holism was not pervasive. How many ordinary people can spend each afternoon recreating and exercising. Even so, we can at the very least squeeze in some time.)

Commercial Real Estate Meltdown

Checking back in with real estate McClatchy is reporting on the condition of the commercial end of things. The condition is poor. The effects of the recession are still in place and commercial real estate defaults and such are increasing.

Now just as a caution, we have to remember that there is a lot of doom and gloom in the news, and that this alone peaks interest and curiosity. As we know the recovery from the major recession will be long and it will have more peaks and valleys.

McClatchy: It only gets worse this year for commercial real estate
Delinquencies on bonds backed by pools of commercial real estate loans continue climbing to record levels.

At the end of 2009, 4.9 percent of all pools of these loans — called commercial mortgage-backed securities — were delinquent. That's a five-fold increase over the year before...

...occupancy rates plunging...

Apartments and other multifamily dwellings are expected to be the last segment to return to health...

The Market On Tuesday

At 8:00 a.m. futures are slightly down, oil is down, and the dollar is up.

The financial journalists are playing more on the side of pessimism among investors and renewed volatility in the markets.

Among the list of investor concerns are Bernanke's reappointment, China's insistence that their banks increase their reserves, corporate earnings versus expectations, and several of the usual suspects such as home prices, sales, and unemployment.

The Fed is meeting again this week and all expect to see the near zero inter bank lending rates remain at zero percent.

Wall Street has the flu.

CNN: Stocks poised to pull back
Uncertainty over whether Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's term will be renewed continues to hang over markets.
Reuters: Stock futures fall on China lending clampdown
The Case/Shiller home price index for November is expected to show a rise of 0.1 percent versus October, but a 5 percent decline from a year ago.

'BWV01052 3rd Movement Allegro

Pianist Glenn Gould plays Bach

Monday, January 25, 2010

Men In Film

Prechter Predicts

We've had a decent rally going on since March 2009.

Analyst Robert Prechter predicts that the second shoe is about to drop, in fact it is already dropping.

What do we make of this. We need to keep our eyes on the road so to speak, because Prechter is good.

Reuters: Next bear market phase starting: Prechter
...this latest stock rally "is the third I think final peak..."

Prechter adhered to his earlier forecasts U.S. stocks will fall below 12-year lows hit in March 2009, with the S&P 500 index .SPX falling below 666 points as the economy worsens, and as investors' recent optimism about risky assets fades.

Prechter reiterated his longstanding advice to investors to shelter in Treasury bills until between about 2014 and 2016 when he expects the unwinding of the biggest debt bubble in history will start to abate.

TPMtv - 'Birthers, Baggers And Blowhards'

Hell Freezes

Botox Terrorism


From a deep operative -

Didn't know that a small drop of "botulinum toxin, the key ingredient in the beauty drug (botox)" call kill an adult.

Is this the bio-terror tool of the future...

WaPo: Officials fear toxic ingredient in Botox could become terrorist tool
Al-Qaeda is known to have sought botulinum toxin. The Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which the United States has designated a terrorist organization, and other groups have bought and sold counterfeit drugs to raise cash. Now, with the emergence of a global black market for fake Botox, terrorism experts see an opportunity for a deadly convergence.

Fast Food Burger Lovers - Do Not Read This


Lordy, lordy, lordy

I have sworn off TV and fast food joints. Plus after seeing a film on how cows are processed for meat, I am off beef as well. Maybe there will be a time when I have no choice, but till that time, no thanks.

Do not read this if you have just eaten...

The Natural News: What's really in that burger? E.coli and chicken feces both allowed by USDA
People assume that beef found to be contaminated with E. coli must be thrown out or destroyed (or even recalled), but in reality, it's often just pressed into hamburger patties, cooked, and sold to consumers. This practice is openly endorsed by the USDA.

But E. coli may not be the worst thing in your burger: USDA regulations also allow chicken feces to be used as feed for cows, meaning your hamburger beef may be made of second-hand chicken poop, recycled through the stomachs of cows.

According to the FDA, farmers feed their cattle anywhere from 1 million to 2 million tons of chicken feces each year. This cross-species crap-as-food practice worries critics who are concerned it may lead to increased risk of mad cow disease contaminating beef products. So they want to ban the practice and disallow the feeding of chicken litter to cow.

On Poverty


“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” - Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stray

Its not helpful to call people dependent on social welfare, stray animals.

We know better. The circumstances that land people in financial predicaments are numerous and extensive. These generalizations only cause more harm.

This is not the right person for this job.

The State: Bauer: Furor over comments won't change stance
Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Saturday he could have chosen his words more carefully when he compared people who take public assistance to stray animals Friday.

But Bauer, in an interview with The State Saturday, said a furor over his comments doesn't change this fact: South Carolina needs to have an honest conversation about the cycle of government dependency among its poorest residents.

The Market On Monday

At 8:15 a.m. futures are moderately up and the market seems poised to start with a bounce.

After throwing a crap fit over the last three market days, the storm may have subsided at least for the morning.

Bernanke probably will be back, and there is more confusion on the economy comng out of the Obama administration.

Somebody needs to get a hold of the reins.

Investors will be parsing all kinds of data today therefor one hopes that the recent volatility has subsided and a calmer approach prevails.

CNN: Wall Street set for a bounce
"This might be a feeling that the sell-off in banks might have gone too far. There may be a feeling that the pessimism may have been overdone on Friday."
Reuters: Stock futures move higher after 3-day selling spree
Earnings season continues with tech stocks in focus because of reports from Apple Inc and Texas Instruments Inc.

"Wall Street is breathing a sigh of relief as it appears Bernanke will be reconfirmed, removing the uncertainty about who will be the gate-keeper at the Fed..."

'Heartbreak Hotel'

Elvis

Sunday, January 24, 2010

American Daddy Husband Heritage

Fascinating short clip from a 50s movie...

The man is not only in charge, he decides if she should work as in have a job. Plus his decision regarding her work is made without her consent or knowledge. On the other hand, she is pleased and delighted with his decisions. She can't refuse his authority.

Ah, the good old days, when a job was practically ephemera.

CNN - Phone App Saves Man In Earthquake

'RoboCop 3'

Does it get any better than this?

No it does not...

Destroy


As I get older, and given what I personally have experienced and seen in this world, violent activity is repulsive.

Throwing in my own two cents, I believe violence is connected to arrogance. The more arrogant, the person is probably more violent. Its simple. Arrogant people don't care about how their activities affect others. Violence has the same basis. If people had the slightest modicum of empathy, I suspect violent behavior decreases. From my perspective, empathy is the measure of an individual's capacity to be fully human.

Live Science: Understanding the 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors
Crave Violence

A study in 2008 concluded that humans seem to crave violence just like they do sex, food, or drugs. The study, reported in the journal Psychopharmacology, found that in mice, clusters of brain cells involved in other rewards are also behind their craving for violence. The researchers think the finding applies to human brains.

Unemployment Disaster

More unemployment news and tis time its coming from a surprise place , Wal-Mart...

Reuters: Sam's Club cuts 11,200 jobs, 10 percent of workforce
...the warehouse club division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc...

Sam's Club said it will use Shopper Events, a third-party company, instead of its own employees to run in-store product demonstrations and hand out food samples -- a popular tactic used by warehouse clubs to entice shoppers to buy new items.

On Safety

“I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can't be any worse.” - Mark Twain

“Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand: Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!” - Edna St. Vincent Millay

“He that's secure is not safe.” - Benjamin Franklin

Obama Is Wrong Again

Obama got out of Illinois because he made a deal with the energy devil.

What great advancements have come along to make this energy safe. Why is nuclear energy now all of a sudden green.

After wiping out much of Eastern Europe and scaring the living bejeesus out of the entire state of Pennsylvania and surrounding states, do we really need more of these things.

Its the old adage, if you repeat the lie long enough and with conviction, people start accepting it as the truth.

We say B.S., nuclear power is not green and is not safe for the environment. In addition weren't there studies done that show that it is not cheap either, that its in fact a give away Federally supported AKA tax dollar boondoggle...

Can we move on to the real deal yet. That would be solar, wind, geothermal, ocean wave, and severe conservation.

Obama falls flat again.

McClatchy: Lobbying, global warming portend U.S. nuclear renaissance
The Obama administration soon may guarantee as much as $18.5 billion in loans to build new nuclear reactors to generate electricity...

"We don't believe that nuclear energy is the answer, but as you look at needs for clean energy and the need to protect the environment (SIC), there isn't a solution without nuclear..."

bin There

The USA has a military budget that is in a word - gigantic-est.

We can do more things with information, spying, technology, things we can't even imagine.

Yet we can't "get" bin. This is getting way too old.

CNN: New bin Laden tape emerges
A new audio tape allegedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden claims responsibility for an attempt to blow up a plane en route to Michigan on Christmas Day and warns the United States of more attacks.

'Désordre, Touches Bloquées, And Automne à Varsovie'

Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays 3 Ligeti etudes -

Saturday, January 23, 2010

'loudQUIETloud'

The Pixies movie

Cruel And Unusual

The Saudis remain in the hunt for the title of world's most brutal country.

CNN: Saudi schoolgirl sentenced to 90 lashes after assaulting headmistress

Afghanistan Violence 1-23-10

Let's tell Obama we want the USA out of Afghanistan.

Yahoo: 2 US troops killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

'Frozen Frolics'

1930

On Lying


One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. - Carl Sagan

Lies are often much more plausible, more appealing to reason, than reality, since the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience wishes or expects to hear. - Hannah Arendt

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic - John Kennedy

Obama Opposition Extremism

From a deep operative -

In my opinion the salient point of this article is the articulation of the level of absurdity in the the opposition to Obama.

Its been unreal, have we ever seen such despicable lying and fear mongering. Its jaw dropping.

Take away Grayson, Franken, and Gibbs, and the counter to this is gone. Where is the passionate fight from the left for cripes sakes.

The Atlantic: Now Fight!
...these forces have also been so passionate, so extreme, and so energized that in a country reeling from a recession, the narrative - a false, paranoid, nutty narrative - has taken root in the minds of some independents. Obama, under-estimating the extremism of his opponents, has focused on actually addressing the problems we face. And the rest of us, crucially, have sat back and watched and complained and carped when we didn't get everything we want.

Do your duty. And grow some. Fight back. Explain why you're right. Tell the liberals they can always come back later to reform the bill. Just get this passed.

Your Weekly Address

Then Came 66, Then 67....

There are these little local stories that are telling.

This man has a career of being in and out of jail since age 16. He is a career criminal, yet he is homeless, so one can presume he has next to nothing.

I was reading that he was arrested after a couple found him in their basement laundry room.

The Record: 65th arrest for homeless man
According to police, since 1975, Davis has been arrested 64 times in towns from Saranac Lake to Albany. The most recent was on Oct. 16, 2009, in the Town of Easton, Washington County, for petty larceny.

'True Colors'

Cyndi Lauper

Friday, January 22, 2010

'What Lies Below'

Fringe

TPMtv - Obama Tries To Explain It

Third Stinker

The DOW tanked for the third day in a row dropping a massive 216 points.

Added to similar numbers over the last few days and that stings.

Fortunately the weekend is here, and now the talking heads get a chance to clear the airs over the weekend.

Volatility is back big time.

Reuters: Wall Street slides on bank plan, Google
...on fears the White House's plan to curb bank risk-taking would cut profits....

On Selfishness


“There are two kinds of egotists: Those who admit it, and the rest of us.” - Dr. Laurence J. Peter

“Those who do not hate their own selfishness and regard themselves as more important than the rest of the world are blind because the truth lies elsewhere” - Pascal

Regulation And Deregulation


The last few days have seen flourish of activity on the Federal level.

After Brown's election in Massachusetts, Obama instantly put forward a proposal to impose regulations on banking. Obama is doing this for political reasons, he needs to stop Democratic Party election hemorrhaging. This is a tourniquet application.

We are in the process of learning the details and hearing the complaints. Wall Street complained bitterly on Thursday by tanking the DOW over 200 points. That's a lot of points.

We also need to be aware of the new Supreme Court ruling that will open up campaign contributions to corporations and such.

The banking regulation move is tricky but needed. The deregulation of corporate campaign funding is horrible. This is one of the very worst decisions to come down the pike and will have grave consequences on our future elections. If you thought that a candidate had to have wealth and influence before, the future via the Supreme Court will bring wave upon wave of in the corporate pocket candidates.

This is a terrible decision, we are a mortally wounded country.

White House: President Obama Calls for New Restrictions on Size and Scope of Financial Institutions to Rein in Excesses and Protect Taxpayers
“While the financial system is far stronger today than it was a year one year ago, it is still operating under the exact same rules that led to its near collapse,” said President Barack Obama. “My resolve to reform the system is only strengthened when I see a return to old practices at some of the very firms fighting reform; and when I see record profits at some of the very firms claiming that they cannot lend more to small business, cannot keep credit card rates low, and cannot refund taxpayers for the bailout. It is exactly this kind of irresponsibility that makes clear reform is necessary.”

The proposal would:

1. Limit the Scope - The President and his economic team will work with Congress to ensure that no bank or financial institution that contains a bank will own, invest in or sponsor a hedge fund or a private equity fund, or proprietary trading operations unrelated to serving customers for its own profit.

2. Limit the Size - The President also announced a new proposal to limit the consolidation of our financial sector. The President’s proposal will place broader limits on the excessive growth of the market share of liabilities at the largest financial firms, to supplement existing caps on the market share of deposits.
McClatchy: Obama moves to restrict banks, takes on Wall Street
"When you put a system of regulation in place, they (Wall Street) figure out ways to get around it. It's an invitation to change corporate structures that may move stuff more off the radar screen," Vincent Reinhart, a former top economist at the Federal Reserve, said of the proposed prohibition on hedge-fund activity by banks.

The Market On Friday

At 7:25 a.m. futures are down.

Summing up the forces on the market, the dollar is down, oil is down, while Google, Goldman, and GE have all displayed better than expected fourth quarter results, and unemployment is worse in the recent week. But the main force is Obama's new get tough with banks regulation plan. This plan has set off a virtual tantrum among investors. The DOW had its worst day in months on Thursday and nothing that occurred in the regular day to day activity can explain it, except for the Obama regulation plan, which jcsande.blogspot likes.

CNN: Stocks headed lower again
...investors remain jittery about President Obama's new bank plan and issues involving China.

...the Obama administration announced a proposal to increase regulation on the nation's biggest financial firms.

'All I Want'

Sarah Blasko

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Detroit 2010 Cars

True Colors Come Flying Through


Finally some honesty!

The Supreme Court just made it perfectly clear for the complete and utter nincompoop that America is run by corporations.

Now when government and corporations are firmly linked hand in hand, that is called fascism. I don't make up the definitions. I leave that for smart people.

The point is that democracy and fascism don't really coexist - nope not a shred, not even a molecule.

They say Portugal is an interesting country.

NPR: Supreme Court Ruling: No More Ban On Corporate Campaign Money
Today's decision overturns a 20-year ruling -- Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce -- that prohibited corporations or labor unions from paying for campaign ads. The decision removes spending limits for independent expenditure groups. It threatens to remove spending limits already established in 24 states. And it struck down part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that bars issue ads paid for by corporations or unions in the closing days of a campaign.

Tantrum On Wall Street

Well now, you don't f with Wall Street profits and walk away unbloodied.

The DOW dropped like - fill in the juicy metaphor - today. Investors have caught wind that Obama might be turning the screws.

Its going to get inner-resting.

Reuters: Wall St drops as Obama takes aim at banks
...their worst session since late October on Thursday as U.S. President Barack Obama proposed tough restrictions on banks that would squeeze profits.

TPMtv - Gibbs Yaks Up Obama On Health Care

Conan

Down

Around noon-ish the DOW is down a massive 182 points. Has the second shoe dropped.

Allegedly investors are throwing a turd fit surrounding the threats of Obama clamping down on some "financial products."

Reuters: Stocks drop as investors shun risk
...Obama...will propose stricter limits on financial risk-taking in a move that may recall curbs on banks resulting from the 1930s Great Depression.

Patience


Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind. - Leonardo da Vinci

How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees. - William Shakespeare

Think

There is a new study on why anti-depressants only work for some people. Its seems clear that not everyone has the same brain chemistry or for that matter, the same anything.

Live Science: Why Antidepressants Don't Work for Half of Patients
A study in mice found receptors on certain brain cells essentially block the effects of these medicines.
Its one thing to read an article on bad thinking, or thoughts that serve only to inhibit you, quite another to figure out how to break the habit of thinking these things.

Still I like seeing that someone is at least putting the information out there.

Live Science: 7 Thoughts That Are Bad For You
Cynicism

Cynics who tend to be suspicious and mistrustful of others, a character trait that scientists refer to as hostility, may have an increased likelihood of developing heart disease. "These aren't necessarily hot-headed people, but people who are more likely to read into people's behavior as some hostile motive," Stephen Boyle said during a telephone interview.

In a study of more than 300 Vietnam veterans who were healthy at the study start, Boyle found that those who scored high on measures of hostility were about 25 percent more likely to develop heart disease.

The Market On Thursday

At 8:10 a.m. futures are ever so slightly up.

Goldman Sachs is expected to post its fourth quarter results any second now. If the market is influenced by that particular report expect to see a day of gains. But its not usually that simple.

Regardless, China is weighing on investors minds. The Chinese government is changing its bank lending practices. The concern is that this change will affect the alleged recovery, seen by many as still in its infancy. The days of the next to zero interbank lending rate is coming to an end in China.

CNN: Flat open seen for stocks
...investors continued to worry about China and awaited results from Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs.

A weekly report on jobless claims comes out at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Initial jobless claims are expected to have totaled 440,000 in the week ended Jan. 16...
Reuters: Stock futures higher ahead of Goldman earnings, data
China easily beat its 2009 growth target after a blistering performance in the fourth quarter that forms a powerful springboard for it to jump over Japan this year to become the world's second-largest economy.

'This Love'

Maroon 5

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

White Only Basketball League

Brown With His Two Daughters

A new age in American politics is dawning...

I will use an old Buddhist phrase to respond to it - god help us.

Markets Really Drop

The ghost of early 2009 hit the market today when the DOW dropped a whopping 122 points.

Economic journalists are blaming China's move to tighten bank lending. Essentially China ordered its banks to stop lending for the rest of January. China is concerned its economy is too hot and ripe for various defects.

Regardless, this period of quarterly reports has so far not been smooth sailing.

Reuters: Wall Street drops on China, IBM; EBay jumps late
Chinese authorities have ordered some major banks to curb their lending over the rest of this month after an early burst of credit, banking industry sources said.

TPMtv - Brown Speaks

He is being called the male Palin. The comment boards are off the hook as they say.

Regardless, the only point that matters is that Brown is the new senator from Massachusetts. Politics is an exercise in ordinary reality. Hyperbole is extra.

On Kindness


Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind. - Henry James

The little unremembered acts of kindness and love are the best parts of a person's life. - William Wordsworth

The Market On Wednesday

At 8:00 a.m. futures are moderately down. The dollar is up and the price of oil is down. Also Bank Of America showed fourth quarter results that were far worse than expected. Are you sad yet? Add to this mix a reshuffling in the Washington D.C. power matrix with Brown inconceivably winning Ted Kennedy's old senate seat and we have a problematic morning to contend with on Wall Street.

Hey I thought the thing would tank yesterday and it rose over 100 points on Tuesday so dare I make the apparent conclusion that the DOW and S&P will sink today. Nope, will not do it, because in the season of quarterly results something, some data could come along that changes the game fast.

So I will say this, its a dynamic picture with a tendency to drop at the start after that, yes a moderate drop seems possible but you never know.

CNN: Stocks set to fall back
"If this economy is truly picking up, we're going to have see some inflation picking up..."

Bank of America reported a fourth-quarter loss of $5.2 billion...

The dollar rose against most major international currencies except for the yen. The price of oil fell $1.04 per barrel to $78.28.
Reuters: Stock futures slide on unease over bank earnings
Data on tap for Wednesday includes producer prices , housing starts and building permits for December, all due at 8:30 a.m.

CNN - Haiti Aftershock

Haiti experienced a 6.1 magnitude earthquake aftershock this morning.

This is very serious.

We know that the population is already in a state of trauma. Now they are experiencing further chaos and trauma. One would suspect that buildings that suffered damage from the first quake yet somehow did not collapse, could collapse with a 6.1 magnitude quake and people would be in those buildings.

CNN: Strong aftershock hits Haiti
The 6.1-magnitude aftershock was about 6.2 miles deep, with an epicenter about 35 miles (60 kilometers) west-southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

'Smooth Operator'

Sade

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown Wins

Boston.com: Town-by-town results

'The Down Low'

House

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

With Brown as the presumptive Mass. Senator, Wall street responded by sending stocks over the top.

The DOW gained a mind boggling 116 points today. Investors are pleased, the pitiful attempt to reform health care is DOA, or would that be plain old dead.

Hey it was a nice idea. Quaint...

Reuters: Nikkei gains as exporters, resource shares rise

Search

The Tablet

Small is beautiful.

We will see.

Why would I want one of these?

BBC: Tablets take off in 2010 but solar power may struggle
It said that says previous attempts to launch tablet PCs - notably by Microsoft - had been largely unsuccessful for many reasons.

"The graphics, software, and user interface were underwhelming, not well connected to cellular or WiFi networks, and, most important, they have largely served as work-oriented data-entry devices."

"By contrast, an easy-to-use, consumer-focused device used primarily for media and web browsing is much more likely to be widely accepted by the market."

TPMtv - Grayson On Brown And Health Care

Brave New World

Ted Kennedy is rolling in his grave. How the winds have shifted and truly the Republicans have done so much to distinguish themselves - from blood thirsty jackals...

Politico: New poll: Brown up 9
...Republican Scott Brown holding a 9-point advantage over Martha Coakley a day before Massachusetts voters trek to the ballot box to choose a new senator.

MLK Quotes


A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.