Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Glennbeckistan

Utah is undergoing intensive political change. It may surprise you, we are not talking about progressive change.

One thing, note that they have shelved pensions for public employees. The golden parachute for state employees, that so many of us have understand to be true is no longer held sacrosanct. This is Utah.

TomDispatch: Welcome to Glennbeckistan
It’s a place where gun-ownership trumps all other rights, climate change is considered an insidious socialist conspiracy, and a miscarriage can be investigated as a potential crime. Welcome to Utah.


So-called message bills challenged the federal government’s right to govern federal lands, enforce gun controls, legalize abortion, and mandate health reform. In addition, Utah’s lawmakers cut the education budget, raised tuitions, and slashed services to the disabled.


In Utah, however, they also shelved pensions for public employees.


Perhaps the most outrageous legislative move the posse made this year was to turn miscarriage into a crime. State Representative Carl Wimmer’s bill was admittedly directed at a very specific case of miscarriage. In 2009, a woman who had been abused by her boyfriend and feared his reaction if he discovered she was pregnant paid some dirt bag $150 to beat her up so she’d abort.

TPMtv - Code Pink On FOX

Yes, this is a solar dissonance.

Love it, but she might as well have spoken into a pail.

Got to admire someone from code pink speaking on FOX, in an interview no less.

Dire Warning

James Lovelock came up with the Gaia theory of a self-regulating massive organism called the Earth forty years ago.

Now he has no confidence that people can stop global warming, stating that we are too stupid and have to much inertia. Perhaps you agree, or disagree. If you disagree, is it because you think we are intelligent and are motivated, or do you disagree because you believe there is no global warming.

I think the headline this morning read that Obama wants to open up coastal areas for oil drilling.

Guardian UK: James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change
"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change..."


Lovelock, 90, believes the world's best hope is to invest in adaptation measures, such as building sea defences around the cities that are most vulnerable to sea-level rises. He thinks only a catastrophic event would now persuade humanity to take the threat of climate change seriously enough, such as the collapse of a giant glacier in Antarctica, such as the Pine Island glacier, which would immediately push up sea level.

CNN - Militia

The militant tone in the country is reaching the feverish pitch area. Hopefully authorities can contain it at the strong intention level, before it is acted out. I must say, I am not in the least impressed with Palin's gun metaphors, bad choice. That rhetoric needs to be improved.

From Trungpa Rinpoche

"If you hate yourself, you hate everybody, and you hallucinate that everybody is aggravating your hatred. The same thing applies the other way around. As long as you centralize your attention inwardly, to a personal involvement with ego, that puts out similar kinds of radiation continuously. It is a question of seeing ...things as they are, rather than your version. If you have jaundice, you see every white as yellow."

The Market On Wednesday

At 7:15 futures were ever so slightly down, the dollar is in mixed territory against the euro and yen, and the price of oil is up per barrel.

With the DOW slightly over 10,900, even yours truly is beginning to think that 11,000 and beyond is coming.

Investors will be anxious to hear numbers on payrolls. The thought is that the US added jobs in March. Now that would be something. The news surrounding job creation has been dire, and if the bleeding is over, well that would be welcome news.

CNN: Stocks set to pull back
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect ADP to report that employers in the private sector added 40,000 jobs to their payrolls in March after cutting 20,000 in February.


U.S. light crude oil for May delivery rose 25 cents to $82.62 a barrel.
Reuters: Futures point to lower Wall St open
...some caution persisting ahead of a private sector jobs report.


The U.S. economic recovery is gathering speed as business activity picks up pace, despite lingering weakness in employment, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said on Tuesday.

'Window Seat'

Erykah Badu

In the video, she strips at the location of Kennedy's assassination. She took a lot of heat for this, as its in the news.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Immunity

Yahoo: Vatican offers 3 reasons it's not liable for abuse

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

Reuters: Nikkei hits 18-mth high, buoyed by brighter US mood

'Thank You For Smoking' Part 5 of 9

Bondage-gate Warms Up

Popcorn anyone?

Yahoo: RNC fires ‘bondage-gate’ staffer as critics circle Michael Steele
On Tuesday, the RNC announced that it had fired the staffer who’d put in the Voyeur expense — which was a reimbursement to a California donor named Erik Brown — and that Brown was returning the Voyeur-related money to the RNC so that, in financial terms at least, it would be as though the whole thing had never happened.

TPMtv - Obama On The Baggers

Amelioration on fine display...

CNN - Rove Heckled In Hollywood

Keep It Sharp

Watch the anger, it floods the brain with a chemical bath that is not helpful for you.

The whole yoga, meditate, relax notion is very important. I would suspect that as the brain sciences get even more nuanced and specific, the body of evidence proving that meditation is helpful and probably necessary in order live well will be clear as a bell.

Live Science: 10 Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp
8 - Chill out


Stress takes a toll on the brain by washing harmful chemicals over the hippocampus and other brain areas involved in memory. Some scientists suspect that living a balanced lifestyle and pursuing relaxing activities such as yoga, socializing and crafting may delay memory impairment by reducing stress.

The Homeless Elderly

Here's a rather alarming trend - homelessness among the elderly is rising.

Which part of this is not a tragedy.

AFP: Homelessness set to surge among US elderly: report
In 2010, over 44,000 elderly Americans were homeless, the study found.


It projected that figure would increase by 33 percent by 2020, and more than double between 2010 and 2050, to 95,000.

On Yearning

“The absolute yearning of one human body for another particular body and its indifference to substitutes is one of life's major mysteries.” - Iris Murdoch


“At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one's lost self.” - Brendan Francis


“Creeds, ritual, religion and different theologies are all derived from man’s yearning for the vast Reality beyond - and flow in the thousand different forms, fertilizing many fields, calming many communities, refreshing tired people and, at last, carrying people to the ocean of Bliss.” - Sri Sathya Sai Baba


“I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.” - Helen Keller

The Market On Tuesday

There's always been a sense of disconnectedness in American society. Right now we have huge numbers of people falling off the economic spectrum. The other day we learned that 1 in 4 people in Memphis can't afford to buy enough food. That's a lot of people and the problem is not contained to Memphis.

Then there's this extremism from the right that is fracturing off enough people to do very unusual things like this militia group in Michigan.

Yet, Wall Street is going great guns.

At 7:30 a.m. futures are slightly up, oil is maintaining its prices of over $82 per barrel, and the dollar remains weaker. The market is poised to open with gains for another day.

Apple is going off the charts, that is one hot company. Consumer spending is slowly rising. It would appear that the high unemployment rate and subsequent falling into poverty of so many is not enough to disturb a return to desirable shopping numbers.

CNN: Stocks ready for more gains
...a report from the Commerce Department showed that consumer spending rose 0.3% in February.


...the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index will be released.
Reuters: Stock futures signal rise; Apple, Verizon eyed
...Apple Inc appears to be working on a new iPhone model for No. 1 U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Wireless.


Oil was steady above $82 on Tuesday...

'Big In Japan'

Guano Apes

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

Reuters: Nikkei edges higher, boosted by commodities

'Thank You For Smoking' Part 4 of 9

Conservative Bondage

There are certain articles that we really don't need to read beyond the initial revelation.

Republican business conducted in a West Hollywood lesbian bondage club is all I need to read. Nope, don't really need a whole lot more. That takes care of it right there.

The Daily Caller: Tucker Carlson responds to RNC complaints about DC’s Michael Steele article
How and why was RNC business conducted in a bondage-themed nightclub, and how and why were the nearly $2,000 in charges that resulted approved by RNC staff

TPMtv - Palin Finds Her Voice

The gal has upped her vocal frequency modulation game.

Common sense solutions, is that anything like vinegar in water?

Welcome

There's a joke in here somewhere -

Instead of welcome the floor mat said goodbye.

The sign read - 'watch your step'

The sign read - 'please wait in line till you're dead'

Yahoo: Ancient doorway to afterlife discovered in Egypt

Tempting Brain

Some of the latest discoveries and speculations are highly intriguing. They seem to get at more nuanced areas of interest.

Fatty food is addictive, aint that the truth. Now the seat of temptation in the brain is identified and the area that resists temptation as well. Now if I could just get my left lateral prefrontal cortex to resist tempting fatty food, I could get down to my ideal weight.

Live Science: Seat of Temptation Found in the Brain
..thank a region of your brain just above the left ear.

...when this brain region, called the left lateral prefrontal cortex, is impaired, people are more likely to choose immediate yet smaller rewards over larger rewards that won't come until later.

On Stability

“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” - The Dalai Lama


“I think you can judge from somebody's actions a kind of a stability and sense of purpose perhaps created by strong religious roots. I mean, there's a certain patience, a certain discipline, I think, that religion helps you achieve.” - George W. Bush


“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.” - Tom Robbins


“Always remember that the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness, but stability.” - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Market On Monday

Very distressing news this morning with two female suicide bombers killing at least 37 people in Moscow. source This is just horrible. Suicide bombing is the worst atrocity. Humanity needs better. The people that are killed in these attacks are innocent, so nothing is gained. Nothing is addressed, no political situation is rectified.

At 7:30 futures are moderately up, oil is up over 70 cents per barrel, and the dollar is down against the euro and the yen. Once again the elements are in place for a boost to the market at the opening bell. After that its a crap shoot especially lately with the market rushing out of the gate only to be pulled back later in the day, ending with sideways movement.

We see that computer technology is in great demand. Apple can't make its tablet fast enough. The NASDAQ could respond in kind.

There is talk of the DOW hitting 11K this week. That will be a milestone, that's for sure and it is possible. Today's sentiment is positive.

CNN: Stocks set to gain at open
The February reading on personal income and spending is due before the start of trading.


The Commerce Department report is expected to show that income rose 0.1% in February...
Reuters: Stock futures point to higher start for Wall St
Hynix Semiconductor...the world's second-biggest memory chip maker, said on Monday that global memory chip supply remained very tight and stronger than expected market conditions would continue into the second quarter.

'Arc-en-ciel'

Pianist Giuseppe Andaloro plays Gy├Ârgy Ligeti's 5th etude for piano.

I am a huge fan of Ligeti's work. I realize the music is dense and not even remotely popular in sound. However, this is amazing music. I am presently reading through some of these etudes on piano. They are impossible to play, the skill level required to play them is extraordinary. For a long time I was convinced that the most important composer in the last 50 years was Phil Glass, or at least he is my favorite, but now I am wowed by Ligeti. His sound palette is completely unique and personal. That is a rare thing. Ligeti passed away in 2006 at age 83.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

US Debt And Moody's Ratings

The US holds a huge amount of debt as we know. Moody's consistently rates the debt as AAA. That is the excellent rating which means that the debt is good, very good. Moody's also graded the sub prime debt that was sold around the world resulting in the huge recession as very good debt as well. What's the deal. Moody's credibility is suspect here.

Moody's may not necessarily work independently of Wall Street. Wall Street would like to see the privatization of social security. A downgrade in the rating of US debt would be a major step towards forcing that privatization.

This is huge and needs to be well understood. The recession was not enough essentially. The bank bailouts were not enough. The low interbank lending interest rates are not enough. These guys want the huge cash that is social security and the picking time is ripe, the time is now. We do not want the privatization of social security.

Guardian: What explains a Moody's change?
Moody's and the other bond rating agencies have featured prominently in the build-up to the financial crisis. These agencies gave investment grade ratings to complex financial instruments filled with subprime mortgages and other bad assets. These ratings allowed Goldman Sachs and other investment banks to sell this trash around the country and the world, ensuring that the effects of the collapse of the housing bubble would reverberate throughout the financial system.


This record must be kept in mind when considering the possibility of a Moody's downgrade of US government debt. It is no secret that many on Wall Street would love to see social security and Medicare cut back or even privatised.


All banks, including giants like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, hold huge amounts of US government debt.


This means that if Moody's were to downgrade the government's debt, to be consistent it must also downgrade the debt of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the other big banks. If Moody's downgrades the government's debt, without downgrading the debt of the big banks – or even threatens to downgrade the government's debt without also threatening to downgrade the debt of the big banks – then it seems more likely that it could be acting in pursuit of Wall Street's political agenda than presenting its best assessment of the creditworthiness of the US government.

'Thank You For Smoking' Part 3 of 9

Hunger In America

This is the real sticker shock in America, the real price of the recession.

Memphis now has the distinction of being the area with the highest rate of hunger in America. One in four people is having a difficult time buying enough food.

McClatchy: Amid recession, Memphis becomes America's hunger capital
"I never thought we'd have to ask anyone for food..."


...26 percent of people in greater Memphis couldn't afford to buy the food their families needed at some point over the previous 12 months...


"We have seen need grow at certain times, but we have never seen a national economy like this..."

From Jimi Hendrix

I don't have nothing to regret at all in the past, except that I might've unintentionally hurt somebody else or something.


I have this one little saying, when things get too heavy just call me helium, the lightest known gas to man.


I was trying to do too many things at the same time, which is my nature. But I was enjoying it, and I still do enjoy it.


It all has to come from inside, though, I guess.


You have to forget about what other people say, when you're supposed to die, or when you're supposed to be loving. You have to forget about all these things.

Rage

Frank Rich delivers another timely and concise article on the rage that is sweeping through the right from baggers, birthers, spitters, brick throwers, and take our country backers.

The demographics of the USA are changing. In a few years whites will become another minority. Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks, as a combined group will be the majority. Nothing is going to change that.

NY TImes: The Rage Is Not About Health Care
If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse.

'Tributo'

Tito Puente

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stunned

AP: Court: Seattle police OK to stun pregnant woman

'Thank You For Smoking' Part 2 of 9

Dating Service

Every week I meet single women who ask me if I know single men, every week. I know many single women at this point. I suspect you do as well.

So how do you start a matchmaking service. Sure enough there's online advice on how to get one up and running.

ehow.com: How to Start a Dating Service Business
Step 2
Decide on the specific theme of your dating service business--interracial couples, millionaires with good looking men or women, divorced women with divorced men or busy business people. The more specific your dating service business is, the easier it is to target and draw in customers.

Step 3
Start off by fixing up a few of your single family members and friends with other people in your community on blind dates at no charge. This will establish your reputation as a matchmaker and help your name spread through word of mouth if the matches are successful. In the future you can charge a reasonable fee for making matches and grow from there.

'The Ball Of Sound'

Weekend Project

Its a how to make something, type of show. This project is incredibly unappealing to me, but that's just me. I will look for more.

Pulse

The DOW is flirting with 11K. Understandably that is a key number. In my mind its amazing that the market is this high. I would suspect many eyes are watching to see what will be the key element that propels the DOW over 11K. Will the market withdraw until first quarter reports...

The EU is still having insolvency issues. This is a reoccurring problem. Each week we read that Greece is out of the hot water and that a resolution is now complete, maybe this time it will stick. Other European countries are facing insolvency issues as well. Its a big deal.

Oil is fluctuating between $79 and $82 per barrel. Right now its in the $80 per barrel range. Its been stable.

The GDP was revised down for the fourth quarter, from 5.9% to 5.6%. Either way that is a huge number. Still the country is in a massive unemployment deficit. Banks are tightening some of the credit screws. Its an irritable time. Hang on to your dough.

Reuters: Oil falls to $80 as U.S. revises GDP down
The U.S. economy expanded at a 5.6 percent annual rate instead of the 5.9 percent originally estimated...


U.S. crude for May delivery settled at $80.00 per barrel, down 53 cents...


...euro zone leaders agreed on a safety net for Greece, but the plan did not alleviate longer-term worries about fiscally vulnerable economies in the region.


U.S. consumer sentiment ended unchanged in March from February, with high unemployment and tougher credit standards hanging over the consumer...
CNN: Thousands to lose jobless benefits April 5
Extended jobless benefits will run out for at least 212,000 Americans out of work after April 5...


Republicans - in particular, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. - are balking at extending benefits without finding a pot of money to offset the spending. Extending benefits costs about $10 billion a month.

Your Weekly Address

On Lying

Truth is the most valuable thing we have, so I try to conserve it. - Mark Twain


A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent. - William Blake


Honesty is the rarest wealth anyone can possess, and yet all the honesty in the world ain't lawful tender for a loaf of bread. - Josh Billings


Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it. - Emily Dickinson

'Perfect'

Smashing Pumpkins

Friday, March 26, 2010

'Thank You For Smoking' Part 1 of 9

Sarah's Greatest Hits

NATO's Junk

The anti-junk food lobby is at it again. (jk)

No more junk food at NATO bases. It too much like fun, the troops need to be war primed. This is the thinking. Rather curious reasoning would you agree?

Reuters: Nato axes Afghan junk food joints at key bases
Burger bars and pizza joints in Nato bases across Afghanistan are being closed down in an effort "to increase efficiency across the battlefield".

A Nato spokesman said that "amenities" at bases across the country are being phased out for logistical reasons.

"This is a warzone, not an amusement park..."

TPMtv - Orin Hatch On HCR Insurance Mandate

"The first time in history, the Federal government requires you to buy something you don't want."

Not defending the mandate at all here, I don't like it. But, just out of curiosity, how many people don't want health insurance? I would suspect the number is relatively tiny and out of that number there is unique reasoning. Also, I don't know if auto insurance if federally mandated but it certainly seems like it is required everywhere. It may be that it is a state requirement that is inclusive.

Tea Bag Remorse

He admits his excessive mistake, takes responsibility for his actions, and vows to not repeat the offensive behavior, sounds good to me.

Let him off the hook. How often in this day and age do people admit to their short sighted failings.

The Columbus Disatch: Health-reform rally heckler says he's sorry and scared
The man who berated and tossed dollar bills at a man with Parkinson's disease during a health care protest last week says he is remorseful and scared.


"People are hunting for me."


Reichert then stepped from the crowd, bent down, pointed a finger in Letcher's face and as he tossed a pair of dollar bills yelled, "I'll pay for this guy. Here you go. Let's start a pot, I'll pay for you. I'll decide when to give you money. Here. Here's another one."

Pre-existing Insurance Denial For Newborn Infant

This has a tabloid like quality to it. A newborn is denied healthcare for a pre-existing condition.

We live in the time of the business bottom line model where a human being is a product, an objectified profit generator. I have my doubts that the imposition of laws can change any of that. The health care issue surrounds a far greater and deeper paradigm change. Meanwhile, we approach change in a way that models going to war. Its a battle of overwhelming force that wins the day.

McClatchy: Texas newborn denied health insurance over pre-existing condition
...turned out to be d-transposition of the great arteries, a defect in which the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart are reversed. The condition causes babies to turn blue.


Surgery would correct it, but within days of Houston's birth March 15, Tracy learned that his application for health insurance to cover his son had been denied. The reason: a pre-existing condition.

On Overindulgence

"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful! " — Mae West

"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." — Mick Jagger

"Eat Not to dullness; drink not to elevation" - Ben Franklin

A man who overindulges lives in a dream. He becomes conceited. He thinks the whole world revolves around him; and it usually does.” - W. C. Fields

The Market On Friday

At 8:10 a.m. futures are modestly up, the dollar is down, and oil is up per barrel. Once again the trifecta for a boost at the market's open is in place.

There are three pieces of information affecting the investors' state of mind this morning. First the matter of a messy Greece insolvency issue is clearer, with the EU deciding how to deal with it. Second, the final numbers on the fourth quarter will be out shortly. Finally, data on consumer spending will be out this morning as well. Those three things are anticipated to be stabilizing on the overall sense of the economy from the investors' point of view.

The sense is that the market will make it through the work week with some modest gains.

CNN: Stocks set to gain at the open
...European leaders agreed on an aid package for Greece...


"The economic recovery, while well-entrenched, is still relatively fragile..."
Reuters: Futures rise after Greece deal
The final March reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers will be released at 9:55 a.m. EDT.


...fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth will be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT...

'It Won't Be Long'

Beatles

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

Reuters: Nikkei climbs to 2-month high as yen boosts exporters

'Accessories'

Living The Low Life

Learn how to accessorize your low rider.

Frum Fired

Remember how David Frum went off on the sorry state of Republican affairs right after the HCR bill passed. Well, it cost him his job at neocon central, the AEI.

Never bite the hand that feeds you. He must have thought they were liberals.

The neocons run a tight ship. Tow the line or hit the pavement.

WaPo: Republican commentator David Frum loses job after criticizing GOP health-care strategy

TPMtv - Obama On HCR Armageddon

Down

The numbers are way too high. Strong employment is critical and absent from the landscape. There's not much talk about where the jobs will come from either.

The public is being prepped to accept high unemployment. That is not acceptable.

CNN: Jobless claims slide
The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance fell last week to the lowest level in six weeks...

Got Weed

Where's Cheech when we really need him.

That endless smoke cloud rising up out of the future in California and heading East could get you stoned.

Nevada stands to immediately benefit, but what about Utah. Its a liberal plot to undermine the red states.

CNN: Pot legalization measure headed to California ballot, advocates say
California voters will be able to decide this fall whether their state will be the first in the nation to legalize the possession of marijuana for nonmedicinal uses, advocates claimed Wednesday, saying they have the needed signatures for a ballot initiative.

The Market On Thursday

At 8:10 a.m. futures are modestly up, the dollar is down against the yen and euro, and oil is up per barrel. The trifecta for a initial market bounce is in place.

The ameliorating factor could be pre-market data on the state of employment. Improving numbers will be viewed as a boost to recovery, while the opposite will "create fears of a weak recovery."

Bernanke testifies today on how the Fed will remove its free money when all is going great guns.

The journalists are also pointing towards the EU with the fear that more countries will join the insolvency parade.

CNN: Stocks poised for rebound
Bernanke is scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee Thursday to discuss how the central bank plans to wihdraw stimulus as the economy continues to show signs of a gradual recovery.

"...Real fear of further downgrades within the EU is alive in the marketplace."
Reuters: Futures higher ahead of jobs data
The report on initial jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, is expected to show the number of people filing for first-time jobless benefits dipped to 450,000 last week from 457,000 the week before, according to Reuters data.

Disaster Bill

From a deep operative -

Robert E. Prasch, Professor of Economics at Middlebury College, has penned a reality check article on the HCR bill.

I'm not sure the bill will destroy the Democratic Party, they will lose seats, always do in a midterm election. We shall see.

New Economic Perspectives: Think the Democrats Just Scored One For the Little Guy? Think Again
Stated simply, the Democrats have decided to go into the business of being the "enforcers" of the big insurance firms.


...this bill is a disaster, and it is worse than nothing, as it will destroy the incomes of those it purports to help along with the Democratic Party. It is especially bad since a public option was always an option, I do not believe the D.C. spin on this for even a minute. Just as Obama never wanted to renegotiate NAFTA or leave Iraq, it was clear from the outset that the White House never wanted a public option...

On Obsolescence

The four stages of man are infancy, childhood, adolescence, and obsolescence. - Art Linkletter


Obsolescence never meant the end of anything, it's just the beginning. - Marshall McLuhan


"Perhaps it is this specter that most haunts working men and women: the planned obsolescence of people that is of a piece with the planned obsolescence of the things they make. Or sell." - Studs Terke


"The worst thing that happens is skills obsolescence. That will get you out of your job quicker than anything else that you can imagine." - Richard Bayer

'Eight Miles High'

The Byrds

The Byrds were the closest thing to the Beatles that America produced in the 60s. They rank, the songs are about the American landscape, not nearly as potent or flavorful as Dylan but still pleasing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

Reuters: Nikkei edges higher, exporters gain on weaker yen

'Prisoner Of Paradise'

Lose Lose Lose Situation

No free rides, this is a Republican mantra. The new health care bill mandates that the individual must buy or is fined. The details are out there.

Republicans who put forth this idea, now want to sue because their own idea is not appealing to them. How does that work? I sue myself because I don't like my idea.

You got it now...

McClatchy: Health bill included big Republican idea: individual mandate
The lawsuit calls this an "unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of individuals." It states the Constitution doesn't authorize such a mandate, the proposed tax penalty is unlawful and is an "unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states."


"The truth is this is a Republican idea..."

TPMtv - Democrats Facing Violence

We saw this coming.

Republican Grasley Talks Up Health Care Bill

Lordy, lordy, lordy - can you believe this?

TPM: Grassley: Look How Great This Health Care Bill Is
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has long been a vocal critic of the Democrat's health reform efforts, but today he started taking credit for some provisions of the bill, and talking up his own role in crafting the legislation.

Penalties For No Insurance

The HCR bill establishes penalties for people without insurance. Exactly how crazy is that? People don't have health insurance because they can't afford it. So let's throw insult onto injury and penalize them for not having enough money for insurance, we'll impose a monetary fine. Who comes up with this stuff?

You would think that given the massive recession that we are still in the midst of, with millions of people losing homes and jobs, that some sense of understanding of what it means to be flat out busted broke would set in. Nope, its like rubbing a boulder with a feather. The Democrats fell asleep at the wheel many times on this lousy bill, here they went into a coma.

These penalties will push some people into the homeless and living on the street class.

CNN: Some may face penalty for shunning health insurance
An adult who does not have health insurance by 2014 would be penalized $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater, so long as the amount does not exceed the price tag of a basic health plan. But by 2016, the penalty increases to $695 for an uninsured adult, and up to $2,085 per household, or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater.


A person would also be penalized only if he or she went more than three months of the year without insurance.


Some people are exempt from the new law. If a person's income is below a certain level, or if the cheapest insurance would cost 8 percent of the person's income, no penalty would apply for lack of coverage.

On Forgetfulness

All things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams. - Elias Canetti


The wind blows out, the bubble dies; The spring entomb'd in autumn lies; The dew dries up; the star is shot; The flight is past--and man forgot. - Oliver Wendell Holmes


We bury love, Forgetfulness grows over it like grass; That is a thing to weep for, not the dead. - Alexander Smith


Forgetfulness - a gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience. - Ambrose Bierce


There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. - Jack London

The Market On Wednesday

At 8:00 a.m. EST futures are slightly down, the dollar is up against the major currencies, and the price of oil is down just over $80 per barrel.

Investors are balancing housing data in the US and insolvency issues in Europe particularly in Portugal. Its a real see saw. One day we read that all is good with Greece and such, the next day the concerns are back and bigger than ever as if Europe is going to tumble into an extreme economic bind, hang on, it did.

My poor little country Portugal, the one that we all have such great faith in due to its green approach to energy including ocean wave energy, is defaulting. So what does that say, green energy is not yet the firm foundation of a permanently stable economy. Doesn't Portugal produce some 35% of its energy in the green way?

The hope would be that the US housing market is rebounding so well that the impending drop will reverse.

CNN: Stocks brace for early selloff
"First it was Greece, now Portugal, and the big question is who's next...We've had a big run up in stocks on very light volume, and some of these debt concerns might force investors to take some chips off the table."

Due out shortly after the start of trade are February new home sales data from the Census Bureau.
Reuters: Futures fall after Portugal sovereign rating cut
Fitch warned that further underperformance (in Portugal) this year and next could bring another downgrade but added that the government's long-term austerity plan was broadly credible.

'Gnossienne No.4'

Satie

Usually I like to have a corresponding clip, one was not available for this piece. It is about as haunting as haunting gets.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

The DOW is roaring these last two days. Could it be the infusion of health care money?

Regardless, the DOW is at 10,880, 11K is close and its coming. The fuel is there.

Reuters: Nikkei hits highest in two months, gains 1 percent

'Black Hole'

House

TPMtv - Biden's F-Bomb

Yeah, when he goes up to man hug Obama he slips in some spicy dialogue. I could care less and I suspect you could care less as well.

Still I have chosen this clip above others including Obama's statements because in my opinion that single word seems far more descriptive of the entire HCR epoch.

Aunty? Anti!

This poor country, there's such great people here, you know. Still we are awash in a sea of mass confusion.

According to a new Harris poll, 24% of Republicans now believe Obama is the anti-Christ.

Correct me if I am wrong but that would mean that a percentage are simultaneously involved with several Republican sub groups. Someone out there believes that Obama is a Muslim, a socialist, a fascist, the anti-Christ, an immigrant, and a terrorist. Obama is one thing, he is a corporate centrist Democrat with emphasis on the word corporate. We are still trying to delineate Obama policy from corporate Republican policy.

We could dissect this notion and amplify the meaning and try to understand this newest of labels. One thing of which I am completely certain, this percentage is not interested in dialogue. Yes that is an understatement.

Unfortunately, the scent of extremist violence is getting stronger.

Yahoo: Scary New GOP Poll
57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president" 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did" Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."

On Chance

“I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries” - Theodore Isaac Rubin


“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” - Winston Churchill


"We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.” - William Somerset Maugham


“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” - anonymous

Here It Comes

Ready or not here it comes. Obama will sign the newly approved HCR bill into law today.

Notice that Republicans are planning on ratcheting up partisanship. I'm not sure how that can happen, but the mood in the country is brutal.

Have not read of any murders, surrounding the bill's passage, yet. But I am confident that could happen - the first HCR bill blood.

CNN: Obama to sign health care reform into law, then promote it on the road
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of this year," McCain said in an interview with KFYI radio in Arizona. "They have poisoned the well in what they have done and how they have done it."

The Market On Tuesday

Another gray and rainy day here. Ugh.

At 8:40 a.m. futures are flat, the dollar is up against the euro, pound, and the yen, and the price of oil is slightly up.

The market liked the new money infusion into health care, health shares rose yesterday.

The talk is about housing data expected out at 10 a.m. EST. Housing is key to the economy and good numbers will send the market up. Investors like good housing data.

CNN: Stocks set for a higher start
Stocks gained Monday, with health care shares ending sharply higher...


"I think the overarching feel is that we've taken a bite out of the apple on health care reform, and the market is OK with that."
Reuters: Stock futures little changed, housing sales eyed
...existing home sales for February will be released at 10:00 a.m. EDT.


"Existing home sales should bring some clarity to the economic picture. A positive number will add confidence the economy is on the right track and that the recession has been contained..."

'I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing'

Pomplamoose Music

My favorite band - absolutely love their work.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bon Appetit

Yes this is foul, about as foul as it gets.

The Epoch Times: hinese Consume 3 Million Tons of Toxic Recycled Waste Oil Each Year
A recent study estimates that one out of every 10 meals Chinese people eat in restaurants is cooked in recycled waste oil—that is, oil that has been dumped in the sewer, scooped out, processed, and resold at low prices. The recycled waste oil contains toxic chemicals that could cause adverse reactions or even cancer.

'Peter-Assment'

Family Guy

Chomsy On HCR

Chomsky holds his nose on the new HCR bill. It stinks.

Surprisingly he says its better than no bill. Okay that is a step, not sure I agree but...

One thing he points out is that some who have existing conditions that would exclude them from care might now find some insurance. I guess that is something. I mean the thing is there, its like the Shock and Awe, no escaping it right now.

Raw Story: Chomsky: Health bill sustains the system’s core ills
"The bill gives away a lot to insurance companies and big pharmaceutical corporations..."


"If I were in Congress," he said, "I’d probably hold my nose and vote for it, because the alternative of not passing it is worse, bad as this bill is. Unfortunately, that’s the reality."

Abyss Advice

David Edwards has penned an excellent article on dealing with the extreme emptiness that we can experience with fear, depression, anger, anxiety, and such.

Its a good read and it is helpful. We need helpful these days. There is way too much negation and activity that is simply not helpful.

ZNET: Into The Abyss
“You are like beggars living in a shack, ignoring your poverty. Meanwhile, just under the dirt floor, there is a treasure of immeasurable value. You just need to scrape off the dust and you will find it.”


The claim of mystics ancient and modern is that there +is+ a treasure. But where is it? It is hidden precisely within the “dirt” of sadness, boredom, fear, emptiness, the feeling that our heart is an abyss.


First, our awareness of the sadness is deepened. By obvious implication, our awareness of the sadness of others is also deepened - and this is the basis of compassion, one of the key components of human happiness. We may often think about sadness and compassion, but feeling them directly, intensely, has a very different impact on our minds and hearts. As discussed, we normally rush from the experience of sadness into pleasurable distraction and a torrent of thoughts, and so we are seldom fully present with the sadness at all.


When we watch sadness, anger, boredom and fear rather than being carried away on the usual river of sad, angry, bored and fearful thoughts, we cut the energy supply driving these emotions. Watching the emotion breaks the vicious circle whereby thoughts ignite emotions, which fuel more thoughts, which generate more emotions.

TPMtv - McCain On HCR

Had the GOP done something remotely sensible in HCR reform McCain's words would have meaning. Instead they went completely and utterly over the top. The GOP took the debate in the direction of wacky. Those of us who are not satisfied with or interested in the HCR bill from the progressive side find no camaraderie with their objections.

Noontime Pulse

The DOW is now up 30 points. It must have quickly dawned on investors that HCR is a funneling of tax payer money into big insurance.

So, this morning we were poised for disaster with the DOW futures down 100 points, which incidentally is absolutely huge and a big glaring red light, and now its up 30.

This alone should put a wrench in the mechanism, something is way out of whack.

Reuters: Wall Street little changed as healthcare shares rise

Obama On Reform


Watch CBS News Videos Online

One Million

Hey people may need several million dollars to retire but how many actually have that. We were reading just the other day that the average net assets of a single black woman in the prime working age is $5. I would say that's a little short. I would suspect that scenario is more common. A lot of people are broke. Certainly the recession has taken away a huge chunk of net worth.

Reading the article leads me to believe that they are talking about families, not an individual.

We are all millionaires.

Money, money, money...

Yahoo: $1 Million Doesn't Cut It for Retirement
For Boomers (ages 43 to 64), 35% recommended $2 million to $3 million. Thirty percent suggested $1.5 million to $2 million.


According to Scottrade's analysis, seniors are the only generation that may come close to needing only $1 million. Forty-four percent of advisers said $500,000 to $1.5 million is sufficient for average families in that age bracket.

HCR As Political Fuel

HCR as you know passed in the House last night.

The bill has more holes in it that a pasta strainer.

Recall that Americans like seeing a president win, and that it is now suggested or admitted that Obama gains from this reform bill. That is politics. Politics always seems to divorce itself from meaning or result. Bush goes into Iraq, and people love it. Now, seven years later, even the GOP admits it was a huge mistake. HCR in a horrible and ugly form is passed and Obama comes out on top. On some levels one can insert their own sense of cynicism into that little perk.

McClatchy: Obama's health care win ensures his legacy — and may help in November
"The narrative immediately changes. It's not dysfunctional government; it's rather that government is working..."


"Republicans aren't going to feel intimidated by this. And marginal Democrats are not going to want to take another tough vote. His members will say, "We gave you this vote, but no more.' They'll have given him their last ounce of breath."

On Loss

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” - Norman Cousins


“We never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it” - James Matthew Barrie


“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill


“Through zeal, knowledge is gotten; through lack of zeal, knowledge is lost; let a man who knows the double path of gain and loss thus place himself that knowledge may grow.” - Buddha

The Market On Monday

Welcome to Spring, and welcome to Monday.

Its a good day to go back to bed, very gray and dreary, but life goes on.

And then there's the stock market.

Don't even bother to look, DOW futures are way down over 100 points. This is in a word, nauseating.

The passed HCR along with Greece have instantly brought back more severe volatility. Investors are interested in selling. How far will it drop today? I would say its memories of January 2009.

CNN: Stocks poised for early selloff
"Investors are in the process of determining how the reforms will unfold and impact Wall Street."


But other factors could weigh on stocks besides health care, including the ongoing concern about Greek debt...
Reuters: Stock futures drop on Greece fears, healthcare approval
Stock index futures fell on Monday as the passage of sweeping U.S. healthcare reform and uncertainty over Greece's debt crisis revived investor risk aversion.

'King Of Pain'

Police

Sunday, March 21, 2010

HCR Passes House

CNN:Health care latest: House passes legislation

Obama Address Tonight

A sign that HCR will pass.

Yahoo: Obama plans health care statement Sunday night

'Skytanic'

Archer

Six Suicides At Cornell

This is tragic.

They appear to be trying all kinds of programs and such to prevent any more.

CNN: Two suspected suicides confirmed at Cornell; total now at six

How To Suture

From Yogi

Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.


Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.


He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious.


I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary.


I never said most of the things I said.

HCR

I'm reading that Democrats have enough votes for this reform bill to pass.

Certainly this will be historical legislation in the sense that it is encompassing.

Hey, this thing has got some huge issues. I'm hoping it fails.
The American Left may have (understandably) turned away in dismay once it became clear that President Obama and the overwhelming majority of the Democratic party would not risk time-sensitive political capital on advocating for health care reform that wasn't pre-approved by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries (though several Democrats, both in the House and Senate, have introduced bills for a single-payer system). As such, placing the blame for the stalling, ever-weakening health care legislation on the administration would be an oversimplification. source
McClatchy: House Democrats poised to enact sweeping health care overhaul
The legislation would require most employers and consumers to obtain coverage by 2014 or face penalties. Families earning up to $88,000 a year would be eligible for help paying premiums. Consumers would be able to use new exchanges, or marketplaces, to easily shop for coverage.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the plan would reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over 10 years. It includes a series of tax increases, including higher Medicare payroll taxes on the wealthy and a new tax on dividend, interest and other unearned income.

'Love On A Real Train'

Tangerine Dream

Saturday, March 20, 2010

'Honeypot'

Archer

Sprung

Could not possibly ask for a more gorgeous day here in upstate NY for the introduction into Spring.

Exceptional.

We spent the day first at a chocolate convention, then onto the long walk at the land preserve. Everything is percolating. Saw lots of painted turtles, deer, ducks, geese, red squirrels, and the buds are red. Its just great.

The body and mind have to adjust. The warmth makes things expand and I'm still slightly frozen. The sun is like water on a dry sponge.

The Endless Pool

If I only had one of these pools I would be content - just kidding.

Here's the dream, a nice house addition with an endless pool in it.

On Contentment

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” - Epicurus

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” - Frederick Keonig

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty” - Socrates

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.” - Lao Tzu

“Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.” - Bertolt Brecht

Coming Up On Wall Street

Wall Street will find relief after Sunday's vote on HCR. The decision will have been made and that piece of concern will be put to rest for the time being.

Housing data for February will come through, and as we know this is a key component for our economy. Also the ongoing issue of how Greece will work though its insolvency continues to weigh on the world economy.

Lastly, a few companies will be way out in front and reporting on their first quarter. So that will be of concern as well.

The sentiment seems to coalesce around the idea that the market has steadily rallied for a year, the indexes are possibly maxed out, and now its time to process all that is occurring. Personally sideways would be just fine, as long as we don't have to get back into a very turbulent and volatile period. It seems that there is not quite enough momentum to push the DOW up to 11K quite yet. One might suspect that that threshold is important for investors and that it needs to be reached on fundamentals more than on desires and emotion.

Reuters: Stocks eye health reform, housing, Greece
...housing will be another dominant theme with the release of February existing home sales on Tuesday and a report on February new home sales on Wednesday.

"That probably argues for a more sideways move in the market."

... the European Union scrambling to come up with more reassuring proposals on how to come to Athens' aid.

'Savor/Jingo'

Santana

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bombshell

This is the young woman who went with Sandra Bullock's husband.

I found the tiny story to be tragic. She comes from a conservative background and its as if she is trying to literally change her skin, move out of her skin, as in change her persona.

HCR Albatross

via GK -

The baggers, Beck, and such can go suck a root as we used to say.

Regardless, this HCR bill blows.

So many aspects are bad. Look at just one where WalMart employees will gain care on your dime. Well they have health care, great, but one could certainly argue that this is subsidizing WalMart. Let's face it, WalMart is making dough hand over fist. Do you think it would be part of Warren Buffett's Bershire Hathaway shares if it was a loser. This is an outrage. Do you really want to subsidize WalMart?

FDL: Fact Sheet: The Truth About the Health Care Bill
The bill will impose a financial hardship on middle class Americans who will be forced to buy a product that they can’t afford to use.

A family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income — out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The bill was written so that most WalMart employees will qualify for subsidies, and taxpayers will pick up a large portion of the cost of their coverage.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The bill ignored proven ways to cut health care costs and still leaves 24 million people uninsured, all while slightly raising total annual costs by $234 million in 2019.

“Bends the cost curve” is a misleading and trivial claim, as the US would still spend far more for care than other advanced countries.

In 2009, health care costs were 17.3% of GDP.

Annual cost of health care in 2019, status quo: $4,670.6 billion (20.8% of GDP)

Annual cost of health care in 2019, Senate bill: $4,693.5 billion (20.9% of GDP)

Gagaga

Gaga is getting sued for royalties. It certainly is plausible. A clip of her work from '06 was up on this blog and she was a very ordinary bar singer. Somebody added the ingredients that made it percolate. Somebody helped her find the code.

I still think she's terrific.

BBC: Lady Gaga sued by songwriter
Fusari claims he spent several months "radically reshaping her approach" and transforming her into Lady Gaga - the stage name she adopted at his suggestion, he alleges.

TPMtv - Obama On The Media

The Daily Show - Beck Parody

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