Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Night

Lap swam a solid 1/2 mile tonight. A pro gave me some tips on how to improve my stroke and improve my breathing so I feel less out of breath. It worked, it was the closest it ever felt to walking in my experience.

Jeff Beck Strat

The newest apple of my eye, its the Jeff Beck Stratocaster in surf green.

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

'The Last Temptation Of Chris'

Anthony Weiner Kills At Congressional Correspondents' Dinner

Indiana Rep Says Women Will Fake Rape Or Incest To Get An Abortion

Evacuation Zone

A similar accident at Indian Point north of NYC would now potentially require NYC residents to evacuate.

BBC: Japan nuclear crisis: Pressure to widen evacuation zone
An exclusion zone with a radius of 20km (12 miles) is currently in place but the UN says safe radiation limits have been exceeded 40km away.

'The Thing' Part 9

I really like the gooey rubbery monster props they started making in the 80s. This film is loaded with it. Add in the slurpy sounds effects and man you got some god awful horror. The outfit that concocted this stuff must have had many contracts. Remember "Naked Lunch", same look to the props.

DOW Up At Noon

At noon the DOW is up 71 points to 12350.

Reuters: Wall St flat as quarter ends, jobs report eyed

IDT Versus ET

Curious study on intelligent design versus evolutionary theory and how these effect among other things, death anxiety.

Plos One: Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution

What's In A Name

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Fukushima Update

We forget that the Japanese people are struggling with the after effects of a huge earthquake that destroyed communities, and a tsunami that did even more destruction. We are concerned with the nuclear reactors because of the danger radiation presents to the world. We are forced to rethink nuclear energy.

I have always been opposed to nuclear energy. It simply doesn't jive in my mind, environmentally and economically. Really now what else is there to consider.

Fukushima is caught in a catch 22. Water is in the way of operating pumps that will pump water. No doubt that when all is said and done the damage and extent of the contamination will be found to be greater than is presently being reported. That is the normal pattern for how a state maintains control and pacifies the people. All you ever have to do is create a little doubt and offer an escape all done through a big megaphone, and then people are less fearful.

The parallels with last year's Gulf oil crisis are becoming all too constant. The reactors are falling away in terms of our attention and focus. The crisis is being relegated to an ongoing "normal" struggle as the media shifts our attention onto other world concerns or entertainments.

Reuters: Q+A: What is going on at Japan's damaged nuclear reactor?
Two of the six reactors at the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), are considered stable but the other four are volatile and once under control will be scrapped.


The challenge is to pump out radioactive seawater flooding the basements in reactors No.1, No.2 and No.3. The water is preventing work to restore electricity to the cooling pumps so that they can operate continuously.


The dilemma is that while it is necessary to pump the water into the reactors to cool them, this increases the amount of radioactive waste water at the plant and there is a danger that the operator will run out of places to store it safely.

The Market On Thursday

Good morning. It is 40 degrees and cloudy here in Upstate NY. We are expecting anything from rain to a monster Nor'easter. As they say, if you don't like the weather (in the Northeast), just wait a minute.

At 8:50 a.m. futures are flat, the dollar is mostly down or flat, and oil is up.

The weekly first time unemployment claims number was up a tad to 388,000. This was disappointing.

The big news will be tomorrow's government numbers on employment in March. Investors seem less concerned about the shape of the world and seem somewhat pleased with how the economy in America is shaping up. Let's face it, with the DOW over 12,000 and approaching 12,500 the numbers speak volumes.

We are due for an off day or two.

CNN: Stocks on edge with jobs in focus
"I think the anticipation is that the job market is improving..."


The government's weekly jobless claims report showed a decline of 6,000 claims to 388,000 in the week ended March 26, which was slightly more than expected.


Oil for May delivery gained $1.03 to $105.30 a barrel.

'L'après-Midi D'un Faune' Part 2

Continuing from yesterday...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good Night

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

Martin 000-15M

Sweet looking gee-tar, no electronics, all mahogany, nice price for a Martin. If it had the aura electronics I would jump on it.

Curdled Tea Party

Talk about buyer's remorse, man that was fast. 90 days of Tea Partying is all America can handle.

Raw Story: Poll: Tea party favorability falls to record low

'Plan B'

30 Rock

Superior Science

First Date

South Carolina Loosening Gun Laws

The new law will increase the places where one can carry a gun in South Carolina. Many oppose the law because it will continue to be illegal to carry guns into prisons, police stations, and court houses. You see these people "want" to be able to carry guns into prisons, police stations, and court houses.

And so it goes...

The State: S.C. bill would loosen gun rules even more
...increase the number of places that legal gun owners can carry their guns to include restaurants, day-care centers and churches.


“You take a district like mine. Everybody has a gun. Everybody hunts – black, white, everybody.”

'The Thing' Part 8

First Photos Of Mercury

Reminds me of a cantaloupe...

Mercury

DOW Up At Noon

At 11:38 a.m. the DOW is up 68 points to 12,347. Investors are liking the ADP report that March saw an increase of 201,000 private sector jobs, and that there is a new line of mergers and acquisitions.

Reuters: Wall St gains after ADP jobs rise, M&A activity

Gov. Chris Christie On Social Security Reform

Possible GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie talks about SSI and "stepping up to the plate." Christie is the governor of Jersey.

Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula

This morning, get the funk out with Bootsy.

Japan - Seawater Radiation Rises

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Specualtion On 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates

The crop looks very weak in my opinion. Not really a standout, resonates with the people type among the lot, at least not yet. On the contrary they seem very acidic and unpleasant to say the least with Newt Gingrich (yo, and yikes) needing serious lessons on how to present himself as a regular likeable good old boy.

C S Monitor seems to favor insider Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi. Presidential candidates are a lot like property. The key is location, location, location. Barbour is from the South. How many presidents or candidates in recent years are from the South - Clinton, Carter, Bush, even Gore.

Right now I think Obama wins. The GOP although in some mild, very mild ascendency is scattered. The Tea Party wing of the GOP makes for a nice volatility.

Meanwhile, I am looking into my Community Supported Agriculture or CSA share with diligence. Get off the grid as much as you can. Ultimately all presidents seem to go through a massive propaganda training program, they are viciously brainwashed. Eventually they all need to appease corporate power, start a war, transfer public wealth to the rich, and maintain a talking point of democracy while simultaneously usurping democratic rights and empowering the elite.

CS Monitor: How big GOP 2012 field could boil down to three
The latest to say “I’m in” is Congresswoman Bachmann of Minnesota, a tea party firebrand and born-again Christian who could shake up the race by doing well in her native Iowa.


...the race for the 2012 GOP nomination may boil down to just three serious contenders: former Governor Romney of Massachusetts, former Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.


Barbour is the ultimate insider in the race...


Pawlenty could wind up on top by default as the least objectionable.

The Market On Wednesday

Good morning. It is sunny and 31 degrees here in Upstate NY. We are not quite out of the woods yet as snow is predicted for Thursday. The temperatures are slowly rising and that snow is not destined to linger. I'm seeing 50s in the near forecast. The buds on the trees are getting riper creating an up high patina of color. This is the in between time around here, not quite blossoming spring more like preparation spring.

At 8:25 a.m. futures are moderately higher, the dollar is mixed as the yen especially is under pressure for obvious reasons, and oil is down a tad.

Just saw the bulletin that payroll processor ADP reports a jobs gain of 201,000 in March. That is an improvement, not nearly as many jobs as we need, but its something. Let's look on the mildly bright side.

Investors seem less worried about revolution in the Middle East, probably because oil is still flowing as needed, then its over to Japan. What a mess there as TEPCO continues to underscore the extremely serious global calamity.

CNN: Stocks set to advance at the open
Private-sector employment rises by 201,000 jobs in March, according to payroll processor ADP.


Oil for May delivery slid 44 cents to $104.35 a barrel.

'L'après-Midi D'un Faune' Part 1

Stokowski conducts the London Symphony through Debussy's salient work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Night

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

Chomsky On The Middle Ease, India, And The USA

As always the man is on his game. He ventures into a discussion on India and the potential for change in that country.

ZNET: Egypt, Tunisia, Mideast, India, and Class...
In the United States, its the highest inequality since the 1920’s. And if we look closely, its the highest ever, because the inequality largely results from the super enrichment of a tiny sector of the population. A fraction of one percent (comprising) managers, owners, hedge fund managers, and so on. And this concentration of economic power in the sector of corporate system, increasingly the financial sector, carries with it a political power. Concentrated economic power has overwhelming effect on the global process. And in fact, the state corporate policies for the past 30 years, running from fiscal policies like taxation to government rules on corporate governance and so on, have been designed in order to create this kind of system of sharply class divided oppression. And this is real and there is plenty of discontentment and anger. Its not like the Third World but the people in the rich countries have seen their incomes stagnate for 30 years while there is enormous wealth. Life is not miserable, but it is difficult. Unemployment for much of the population is still at the level of depression with no prospect of anything changing. This is kind of extreme in the United States. But its similar in England and to some extent, elsewhere. In places like China, let’s say you also have extreme disparity of wealth, some of the worst in the world. India is of course a class by itself...

'Fall From Grace'

House

Recall The Republicans

Advertisement to recall the GOP.

Good luck...

Reuters - France and U.S. To Help

'The Thing' Part 7

Capital District Violence

Fifteen years for stabbing a man to death seems a little light in my opinion.

Letting you know what kind of local culture is occurring in Upstate NY. Its pretty ugly.

Troy Record: Troy teen sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter
A city teen was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in state prison for stabbing a man to death during a gang beating last year.

DOW Up

At 12:30 the DOW is up 58 points and this in spite of lower consumer confidence.

Who has confidence at this point? If we acted in the way we understand our world which is falling apart at the seems, we'd be out there in a Bacchanalian frenzy.

Reuters: Wall Street advances on tech, retail gains

Joe Bageant Dies

Sorry to hear that Joe Bageant passed away. His writing is unmistakeable. He was one of a kind.

Joe's work showed up on Smirking Chimp at around the time when I decided to start writing in reaction to Bush 2 and company. Joe set the standard. I wish I had half his chops, he was an original mind. Anybody who referred to himself as some kind of half assed Buddhist, had my attention.

Joe Bageant author of Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir

Anti-Matter

Ah, I could use another lifetime just to study science...

Live Science: New Behavior of Exotic Antimatter Particle Seen at Giant Atom Smasher
The question of why the universe started out with more matter than antimatter has haunted physicists for years.

Modern Freedom

From a deep operative -

If you own a cell phone you're location is being continuously monitored and recorded.

We have willingly allowed phone companies to monitor our every location.

NY Times: It’s Tracking Your Every Move and You May Not Even Know
Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts.


The results were astounding. In a six-month period — from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Fukushima Update

Okay, reading that the workers are blocking radioactive pump water from going into the ocean by using concrete blocks and sandbags does not make me feel better.

That is the leak prevention equivalent of duct tape on a broken gas line.

Yes its better than nothing.

With radioactive material from Fukushima showing up all over the world and probably our own backyards, lets pull the plug on nukes. I have taken a more keen interest in seeing Indian Point close down. Can you imagine the tragedy involved with an equivalent leak at Indian Point. How do you evacuate the greater NY City area and adjacent suburbs?

Xinhuanet: Japan's nuke agency says radioactive water not overflowing into Pacific
...operator of the radiation- leaking plant, said they have taken preventative measures to ensure water doesn't flow from the plant into the sea.


According to the nuclear safety agency, the utility firm has protected the drainage system with concrete blocks and sandbags.


The troubled No. 2 reactor's core has been partially melted, leaving TEPCO and the agency to believe the water came into contact with the melted fuel rods, causing the level of radiation to surge over the past four days.


Plutonium emits alpha radiation and low-energy x-rays which are easily absorbed by human tissue.


Roughly 80 percent of the plutonium that enters the bloodstream goes either to the liver, bone or bone marrow, where it is retained for years, damaging tissue nearby and possibly resulting in cancer.

The Market On Tuesday

Good morning. It is 30 degrees and hazy here in Upstate NY. The first week of spring has looked and felt a lot like winter. The birds know otherwise as the sounds of spring are here just not the temperatures. Plants are 98% dormant. We have settled on buying a summer vegetable share in a very local farm, its in the same town where we live. We'll see how it goes plus we are growing some of our own in a small garden. Maybe we raise the beds this year.

At 8:30 a.m. futures are slightly up, the dollar is mixed, and oil is down.

The market seems to be stable-ish lately, trading within a narrow range. The news has not changed much. Let's face it, the Japanese nuke disaster is probably much worse than is being reported. Still investors are impressively maintaining their cool.

Today we get news on consumer confidence. Is this the kind of confidence that attracts soul mates? Can a person be consumer confident yet psychologically uncertain?

Figure Obama talking Libya will add a key feeling tone to today's sentiment.

CNN: Stocks set for early gains
(On Monday)...volumes remained lackluster as cautious investors continued to focus on global developments.


After the start of trade, the Conference Board will release March consumer confidence figures.


Oil for May delivery slipped 62 cents to $103.36 a barrel.

'I'm Down'

Beatles

Monday, March 28, 2011

Good Night

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

There is a plan to nationalize TEPCO. People are selling their stock in the company at the center of the Fukushima nuke.

Reuters: Nikkei drops 1.3 pct, TEPCO hit by sell orders

'Love Is A Many Strangled Thing'

The Simpsons

Close Indian Point Nuke

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is owned by Entergy (ETR).

Contrary to what we might know, Indian Point is built on a fault line that could produce a 7.0 quake, and the plant is built to withstand a 6.1 quake.

In my opinion, this is a no brainer. You have an aging Nuclear Plant 25 miles north of New York City, on a fault line, and on the Hudson River. Could the trifecta of utter catastrophe be any more obvious.

CNN: Closing NY nuclear power plant would hike bills 6%
...an extra $65 a year for the typical New York City resident, based on numbers provided by the utility.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo...has reiterated his position in recent days that it should be shut.


The plant is also built on an active fault line.


The facility generates some 2,000 megawatts of electricity, most of which is sold into the New York City area. About 30% of the region's power comes from Indian Point.

Democracy Now - 500,000 March In London Protesting Public Spending Cuts And Corporate Tax Dodgers

TEPCO

TEPCO is the Tokyo Electric Power Company.

From their website - TEPCO Nuclear Plants
Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station, in the Hamadori area on the Pacific Coast of Fukushima Prefecture, began operation in 1982 and has a total capacity of 4,400 MW. The site covers approximately 155 hectares and has its own private harbor used as the source of sea water to cool the power plant and the dock for shipping out spent fuel and taking in fuel oil.
TEPCO issues reports on the damaged nuclear reactor site. The latest release is from today, Thursday 3-28.

TEPCO Press
Press Release (Mar 28,2011)
Detection of radioactive material in the soil in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station


On March 28th 2011, as part of monitoring activity of the surrounding environment, we conducted analysis of plutonium contained in the soil collected on March 21st and 22nd at the 5 spots in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. As a result, plutonium 238, 239 and 240 were detected as shown in the attachment.


We will continue the radionuclide analysis contained in the soil.


‹Results of the analysis›
-Plutonium was detected in the soil of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear PowerStation.
-The density of detected plutonium is equivalent to the fallout observed in Japan when the atmospheric nuclear test was conducted in the past.
-The detected plutonium from two samples out of five may be the direct result of the recent incident, considering their activity ratio of the plutonium isotopes.
-The density of detected plutonium is equivalent to the density in the soil under normal environmental conditions and therefore poses no major impact on human health.


TEPCO strengthens environment monitoring inside the station and surrounding areas.


-We will conduct analysis of the three additional soil samples.

'The Thing' Part 6

DOW Up At Noon

At noon the DOW is up 20 points to 2,241.

The idea here is that the USA itself is pushing the market. Consumer spending, yes that would be consumer you and consumer me, was up in February.

Breaking out the wallet I see. What did you get? I was lighter in February so it wasn't me...

Reuters: Markets higher as Wall St favors telecom shares

Reuters - Highly Radioactive Water Leaks

Anti-Nuke March In Japan

Walk

The Onion - Millionaire Pays For Breast Implants For Rolls Royce Hood Ornament

Misdirection And Lies From The GOP On SSI

What is factually and fundamentally wrong with the article I have linked below "GOP appears poised to take on entitlements."

It is this. Social Security is not an entitlement. Social Security is a savings account that is funded by a separate and exclusive tax on you and me for the sole purpose of creating a fund of money so you can retire with something. Social Security is a mandated savings account held by our Federal Government.

Social Security is not an entitlement. An entitlement would come from the non-exclusive tax called Federal Taxes, controlled by the IRS and the US Treasury. That money is portioned out according to the Democratic will of the people of this country. For example if we wish to have a school lunch program that is funded by the Federal Government, the money to do that program comes from a portion of our Federal Taxes and that would be an entitlement.

Do not allow the GOP and its Tea Bag shadow to tell you otherwise. Social Security is not an entitlement.

Just because the GOP and its Tea Bag shadow are either too stupid to bother to learn or because they are deliberately interested in misleading you, you do not have to buy into their misdirection.

AP News: GOP appears poised to take on entitlements

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

High Home Vacancies

The fallout from the recession and the resultant foreclosure calamity is still growing.

Clearly this is a regional problem with certain parts of the country having active housing markets, its about location.

The numbers are surprising in that I presumed Nevada and California would head the list of states with the largest number of empty properties. The prize seems to go to Maine and Vermont.

There are other factors involved here which are not mentioned. For example, value is not mentioned. We can have Maine with large numbers of empty properties but how much are these properties valued at.

CNN: 13% of all U.S. homes are vacant
...foreclosed homes sit on the market and depress sale prices and property values.


That's up from 12.1% in 2007.


Maine had the highest proportion of empty housing stock, at 22.8%. Other states with gluts of empty houses included Vermont (20.5%), Florida (17.5%), Arizona (16.3%) and Alaska (15.9%).


Besides Connecticut, the other states with lowest vacancy rates are California, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia and Washington, all at 9.2% or lower.

The Market On Monday

Good morning. It is 26 degrees and sunny here in Upstate NY. I hope you had a good weekend. I am becoming a sauna addict. Joined the 'Y' a few months ago and I have gravitated to the cedar hot room. They keep the temperature around 175 degrees in there. Its been an adjustment but after a few minutes a lot of aches and pains go away. Its not a permanent going away, but the temporary relief is something for which I am grateful. The body seems a bit more limber afterwards too.

At 8:25 a.m. futures are slightly up, the dollar is up against all major world currencies, and oil is down slightly.

Recall that everything you read in an investment article that attempts to sample where all is at in any particular moment is about as transient as transient can be.

Having said that, right now some investors see the market gaining in spite of the crises trifectas affecting the world.

The big enchilada comes on Friday when the government releases its numbers on employment gains (or possibly but unlikely, losses). Although the number will be inadequate, it will still support the notion of a gaining recovery, which in turn supports investing in equities.

CNN: Stocks headed for early gains
"...the market's resilience suggests to me that we will continue to move higher."


Investors said the main event this week will be Friday's monthly hiring and unemployment report from the U.S. Labor Department.


Oil for May delivery slipped 20 cents to $105.40 a barrel.

'Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - Allegro'

The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra plays the music of J.S. Bach.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good Night

'Kurzschluss'

Jobs In March

There is speculation that the rise in oil and food prices coupled with the trifecta of disasters and problems in Japan, Libya, and Europe will dampen the already depressed jobs market.

This coming Friday is the big day when the government rolls out numbers on employment growth in March. Regardless of the numbers, unemployment as you know remains extremely high and even a 200,000 jobs increase in March would barely touch the need.

Reuters: Jobs, the lagging indicator once more?
Friday brings the March employment report, and economists polled by Reuters are looking for growth of about 188,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 8.9 percent.


Many economists have downgraded growth prospects for the first quarter, partly because of rising oil prices that threaten to curtail consumer spending.

'Van Gogh: Brush With Genius'

trailer

Art Dubai 2011

High But Not That High

Management at Fukushima needs to go.

Reuters: Japan says very high radiation reading at reactor was wrong
Radiation in the water was a still worrying 100,000 times higher than normal, rather than 10 million times higher as originally stated, Muto said.

'The Thing' Part 5

Khalifa Hifter

McClatchy has a short article on the Libyan rebels new leader, Khalifa Hifter. Hifter spent the last 20 years living in Virginia.

Now why would he choose to live in Virginia, hmmm.

McClatchyDC: New rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban Virginia
Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups

Chomsky On Responsibility And Integrity Parts 1 to 4

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4

Jesuits' Sex Abuse Pay-Out

This from Wikipedia -
The majority of Americans (76%) identify themselves as Christians, mostly within Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively. Non-Christian religions (including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism), collectively make up about 3.9% to 5.5% of the adult population
Roughly 25% of the American population is Catholic.

I do not know in what way the religion is changing as a result of the sex abuse scandals that continue to be revealed. The culture of sex abuse within the Catholic Church is large to say the least.

SIFY News: US Jesuits agree to 166 million dollar sex abuse pay-out
Most of the alleged victims were Native Americans and many of the alleged offences occurred on native reservations and remote villages, where the order was accused of dumping problem priests.

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Radiation Surges

We've been following the story at Fukushima for three weeks now.

The news is not getting any better, as the reactors' radiation levels are increasing. This is a severe disaster and its repercussions will be with us for a long time.

Bloomberg Business Week: Radiation Surges at Japan Reactor as Tests for Plutonium Ordered
That’s higher than the dose that would cause vomiting, hair loss and diarrhea, according to the World Nuclear Association. The radiation is 10 million times the plant’s normal level, broadcaster NHK said.


The number of dead and missing from the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent aftershocks reached 27,110...

'Rondo'

Roberto Carrias dazzles on the classical guitar.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good Night

Sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite...

 

Homeowner Is 70 With No Savings

'The Laundromat'

Short film by Timothy Melville

The Laundromat | Short Film from Timothy Melville on Vimeo.

Jail Visitors Arrested

Drugs, weapons, illegal contraband, no, not on the prisoners, but on the people going in to visit the prisoners.

Its a cross section view of what is going on in this community.

CBS6: Ten Albany County jail visitors arrested Thursday
Ten people were arrested Thursday as they tried to enter the Albany County Correctional Facility to visit inmates.


The arrests came in the latest round of stepped-up contraband checks. About 300 people were checked.

'The Thing' Part 4

Geraldine Ferraro Dies

Just saw the notice. She was definitely a ground breaker put in a tough spot with a weak candidate in Mondale, at least weak in my opinion.

'Bloodline'

Fringe - latest episode

Buffet Bearish On Social Network Sites IPOs

Facebook and Twitter are huge but Buffet has another take, not interested. Unfortunately, the article doesn't get into the specifics. Perhaps its because any pronouncements from the man at this point don't even require amplification.

Bloomberg: Buffett Says Social-Networking Sites Overpriced Ahead of Public Offerings
“Some will be huge winners, which will make up for the rest.”

Earth Hour 8:30 - 9:30 Saturday Night

Consider reposting this on your blog.

I am going to do this tonight. Lights off tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m..

Earth Hour
At 8:30 PM on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.


With Earth Hour almost upon us, our thoughts are with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.

Free Gluten

I've taken to eating sourdough millet bread and I really like it.

Yahoo: Is Gluten Making Us Fat?

Eagle Cam

The little ones are growing...

Eagle Cam

Shifting Population

There is a fascinating shift in America's population. Specifically Black Americans are leaving the North and moving to the South. This would be younger people, under 40. The shift and movement is noticeable with numbers growing in the South. Its all about interest, jobs, family, these kinds of connections.

CS Monitor: 2010 Census showcases America's great racial seesaw
The former Confederate states now hold 57 percent of the black population, up from 55 percent 10 years before and 53 percent in 1990 and the highest percentage since 1960.


...1910, when about 90 percent of blacks lived in the South.


"...you're seeing an outward flow of blacks and return migration into the South..."


"blacks are moving away from the urban North."

Spiking Radiation

At this point when the Japanese government says the words "acceptable levels of radiation" interpret that to mean we are seriously screwed.

This thing is out of control. Radiation levels are spiked in the seawater surrounding the plant, and since the Japanese government is one of those play the thing down to the level of a scratch on a baby's knee type of public relations liar, they are most certainly higher. And since when does ocean water remain in the same place!

This is the worst nuke disaster yet and when all is said and done these things are ticking time bombs all over the world. You and I know that this will not be the last nuke catastrophe with its resultant contamination of a huge area of land and people with deadly radiation.

Reuters: Radiation spikes in seawater by stricken Japan plant
...radioactive iodine had spiked 1,250 times higher than normal in the seawater just offshore the plant.
With all due respect, the statements coming out of the mouths of officials in Japan seem like complete and utter bull shit. For example...
Officials said iodine 131 levels in seawater 30 km (19 miles) from the coastal nuclear complex were within acceptable limits established by regulations and the contamination posed little risk to aquatic life.
And here are our models by which we can compare nuclear disasters...
At Three Mile Island, the worst nuclear power accident in the United States, workers took just four days to stabilize the reactor, which suffered a partial meltdown. No one was injured and there was no radiation release above the legal limit.


At Chernobyl in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident in the world, it took weeks to "stabilize" what remained of the plant and months to clean up radioactive materials and cover the site with a concrete and steel sarcophagus.

Taking Stock

Good morning. It is sunny and especially cold this morning around 20 degrees here in Upstate NY. Winter is hanging on for all its worth. Onto a different idea here, but I am coming to the conclusion that the majority of restaurants serve really so-so food. Its very rare to find a restaurant in these parts that uses simple fresh ingredients and serves delicious easy to digest food. All other places really tweak the food with garlic or salt or butter or all to try to coax more flavor out of the dish. People are being sold a flavor enhanced trick and I'm not sure why this is the standard. Besides that many restaurants use poor ingredients, crappy white flour, concentrates, bad oil, not fresh ingredients. I'm having buyers remorse for a bad dinner last night, I can still taste it now. I know you know what I mean.

The equities market is showing tremendous resilience. In spite of a trifecta of trifectas, stocks are right around peak numbers since the dastardly bottom of March 2009.

Recapping the present triple threat. There is Japan's earthquake, resultant tsunami, and ongoing nuclear crises. There is a spreading revolution in the Middle East which allegedly threatens oil supplies. Finally there is an alarming fiscal crisis in several European countries that lingers on with no clear resolution.

Initially these crises sank the market two weeks ago as volatility crept back into the system, fear that the world was crumbling quite literally.

The rebound is occurring because the prognosis for growth in the world economy is good. Long story short, corporations, and especially American corporations, are making money. That is all it takes. The world could split in half with each half going into its own orbit, and as long as the money is flowing, the markets will rebound.

Now its important to point out that there are many skeptics. So, choose your poison but choose wisely.

Reuters: New quarter, old issues for investors
The primary driver, when everything else is stripped away, is confidence that the global economy is in pretty good condition and with it the corporate outlook.


...global growth is set to rise well above the roughly 3.5 percent long-term average.


...the Japan disasters and North Africa/Middle East revolts should not derail the global economic expansion.

'Gnossienne 1'

Alexandre Tharaud plays the music of Satie.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Good Night

And pleasant dreams...

'Human Exoskeletons'

TED talks

Syria In Revolt

Revolution and state violence against its citizens continues to spread in the Middle East.

Recall that Syria was a hair width away from American invasion directly after the initiation of shock and awe on Iraq.

Gulf News: Syrian cities erupt in anger
Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters in the town of Sanameen, killing 20 people, as thousands of Syrians took to the streets in major cities, including Damascus...


Protesters in the capital and the troubled southern city of Daraa demanded reforms and an end to corruption.

'The Thing' Part 3

NATO In Libya

NATO is set to take over command of the US led forces to enforce a no fly zone in Libya. This will occur this weekend.

We hope that the US participation goes down to nothing...

CS Monitor: US gets its wish: NATO to assume control of Libya no-fly zone
Pentagon officials said, meanwhile, that transfer of command from a US-led coalition of countries would take place over the weekend.


...there had already been a reduction in the participation of US aircraft.

DOW Up

In the noon hour the DOW is up 71 points.

Reuters: Wall Street climbs as Oracle lifts tech, volume still low

The Onion - Company's Employees Spend Entire Day Touching Base

Greenland Melting Dynamic

With the capacity to raise sea levels by 21 feet were it to melt away, Greenland is a ground zero location as world temperatures increase.

Scientists are still puzzling over the rapid melting that is occurring there. The dynamics are not completely understand but the information and theories are growing.

Live Science: Oceans May Be Speeding Melt of Greenland's Glaciers
Greenland holds enough water to raise sea levels 21 feet. While such a catastrophic melt isn't expected anytime soon, short-term impacts could still be severe as ocean waters continue to warm with climate change.

GDP Revised Up To 3.1%

It is a surprising number as the figure was expected to be revised up to only 2.9% from 2.8%.

WSJ: GDP Growth Revised Up

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Fukushima Evacuations

As citizens one of our jobs is to attempt to decipher the meaning of information passed onto us from the government. Since all politicians base their policy activity on electability, political persuasion, religious persuasion, personal gain, and a host of other factors, all political information is partisan.

Cutting to the chase, if the Japanese government is telling its citizens to voluntarily evacuate the area within a 20 mile radius of Fukushima, interpret this to mean within a much larger radius and to do it last week and do it fast.

The list of environmental problems coming out of Fukushima is large. Drinking water, food, air, the ground, the fish and sea are all contaminated to some degree. Basically there is a new dead zone. There is no happy face to stamp on this thing.

CNN: Japan encourages voluntary evacuations near stricken nuclear plant
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said authorities are encouraging people living between 20 and 30 kilometers (12.5 and 19 miles) from the plant to leave the area voluntarily because of the challenges they "have faced in their daily lives."


Other nations, including the United States and England, have urged their citizens to stay 80 kilometers (50 miles) or more away...

The Market On Friday

Good morning. It is 26 degrees and sunny here in Upstate NY. Any day now the temperature will turn higher, this is what we say to ourselves. We are an endlessly fascinating species. I have a new human typology marker with only two classes. There are people that like to have discussions that include exchanges and appreciation for the other person's point of view, and then there are those that like to lecture at you presuming they have superior knowledge. I know you have experienced this.

At 8:20 a.m. futures are moderately higher, the dollar is up against all major world currencies, and oil is up.

Any moment now the final reading on the fourth quarter GDP will come through. It could be a deal breaker. Investors want to see it higher naturally.

Otherwise, the market is responding to the world's catastrophes and crises with emotional ease. Whereas last week these very same crises were cause for market volatility, this week the table has turned.

Welcome to the weekend.

CNN: 'Teflon market' poised to keep climbing
...final reading of fourth-quarter GDP...


...on tap for Friday morning is the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey for March.


Oil for May delivery gained 17 cents, or 0.2%, to $105.77 a barrel.

'Foxy Lady'

ZZ Top plays the salient Hendrix tune.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

'Libya Battles, Arab World Revolutions'

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

'Pipeline Fever'

Archer

Less Wealth

Data on how the Great Recession adversely affected the wealth of an average family .

CNN: Household wealth down 23% in 2 years - Fed
...the median net worth of households fell from $125,000 in 2007 to $96,000 in 2009.


Families that owned stock saw their portfolios drop by more than a third to $12,000 from $18,500...

Biometric Identification

Check out your future...

FBI: Next Generation Identification

'The Thing' Part 2

Congress Flops - Tea Bag Ripped And Losing Its Tea Leaves

Shocker, the new Tea Bag/GOP Congress is falling out of favor real fast with the American public.

How can this be, are you saying a collection of dimwits can't do the job?

McClatchy: Poll: Public already losing patience with new Congress
After the election, 35 percent said Republicans had a better approach to the deficit, expected to reach a record $1.65 trillion this year. This month, that number has plunged to 21 percent.

Douche Of The Month Award

Reuters - Lipper Awards For Best Investments

Interesting discussion on investing.

Reuters: Lipper Awards

The Onion - Deaths Of 20,000 Japanese Afford Planet Solid 15 Minutes In Which Everyone Acts Like A Human Being

Left Is Right

Democratic leaders are closing ranks behind Obama for his military initiative in Libya. Curious change of hats here where Republicans are critical of the military actions except neocons of course. The country is made for war, we do war.

US out of Libya now. Might as well whisper it to my sink...

CS Monitor: US role in Libya mission: Top Democrats say Obama got it right

382,000

Wall Street will see this as positive news. Recall that a number under 400,000 is regarded as common during a more robust economy. Hopefully the tide is turning.

CNN: First-time unemployment claims fall

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Around The Globe

Trace amounts of radiation from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant are turning up in several western American states.

Officials say that the amounts are quite minimal and not anything to worry about. I have an instinctive just wait a second reaction.

I would not be surprised to learn that the radioactive fallout will hit pretty much everywhere. Imagine how much nuclear fallout covered the world during the hay-day of the nuclear bomb testing. If that makes you angry, and it is understandable, consider putting that anger energy to good use working to get nukes scrapped for good.

CNN: More U.S. states find traces of radiation from Japan
Colorado and Oregon have joined several other Western states...


...miniscule amounts of iodine-131, a radioactive form of iodine...


...in Hawaii...


Washington and California...


There is no need for anyone as a precautionary measure to take potassium iodide...

The Market On Thursday

Good morning. It is sunny and 26 degrees here in Upstate NY. We had a light snow before sunrise. The patina of white is lingering but it will soon disappear. The sun is a little too hot. Lots of joggers out running this morning and I had the pleasure of bumping into my good friend the golden retriever that lives two blocks over. Nice dog, at a relatively young age the dog is becoming well behaved. The trick with a dog is you have to walk them a lot, otherwise the pent up energy makes them neurotic.

At 8:25 a.m. futures are moderately up, the dollar is mixed, and oil is up. Right now the market is set to open higher.

Investors appear to have factored in Japan's ongoing catastrophes, Libya's ongoing civil war, Spain and Portugal's insolvency, and is there anything else. Just wait a minute, something else will arise.

I would say that right now it is America's recovery and the top few countries', (Germany and China) economic recovery that is driving the market.

First time unemployment claims are due out any second.

CNN: Stocks set to continue advance
Meanwhile, ratings agency Moody's downgraded its debt ratings of 30 Spanish banks.


Oil for May delivery gained 74 cents, or 0.7%, to $106.49 a barrel.

'The Future'

Leonard Cohen - nice live performance from London.

Check out his banter at the end, he's funny.

Cohen is easily one of my top 5 American songwriters.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FireFox 4

It is fast...

4

Nikkei Is Flat On Thursday

CNN - Elizabeth Taylor

'The Thing' Part 1

Reuters - Tokyo Firefighters At Nuclear Plant

Man To Man

Gaddafi hits back and hits where it hurts. Does the American public have a stomach for a long drawn out third Middle East war?

Only if America's interests AKA corporate interests are able to drum it up as necessary.

CS Monitor: Libya's Qaddafi vows victory over Western 'fascists'

Going After Benefits

The unemployed are the new goats.

We are now witnessing the trivialization of unemployment. The burden is in the hands of the unemployed, even though the jobs are not there and the economy cannot support it.

On second consideration it actually goes beyond this. The unemployed need to be jettisoned because they are burdensome. This is like kicking someone to the ground and then complaining that they are not standing.

CNN: State unemployment benefits in the crosshairs
A growing number of states are looking to cut back on jobless benefits to minimize the increase in unemployment taxes businesses pay. State officials are concerned that these tax hikes could deter companies from hiring.

Lewis Black On Donald Trump

Reuters - US Bans Japan Food Imports

Elizabeth Taylor Dies

Just read the bulletin, she has passed away.

Complications From Weight Loss Scheme

Another invasive surgery scheme from America's medical field bites the dust.

Live Science: Gastric Band Patients Suffer Major Complications Years Later

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Gaddafi Flips, Libya Deteriorates, War, And Coots

I just simply don't want to end up an old cynical coot.

It should be simpler in the USA. We get our yearly list of priorities set up by the country's managers and we live by it. Why is it so unconscious and implied rather than explicit.

Priory one is America's interests in the world AKA corporate interests. Priority one is a big priority because its actually priorities one through one hundred.

Seriously now, the USA is shooting off million dollar bombs and now we are reading that unemployment benefits are getting cut. With the USA's official priorities list, we wouldn't have to find this preceding discrepancy to be absurd or even darkly humorous.

Libya, let's try to sum up Libya. Libya is run by an amazingly crazed egomaniac. If you or I had to be fired from the old job, would we casually sit around and watch Armageddon unfold in order to dislodge us from the job. Would we calmly sit there while the neighbors ate smart bombs on our behalf and our country fell into something short of full out chaos, anarchy in the bad sense. We would just leave.

Gadaffi is an intractable douche, actually a few notches above the intractable douches of America - Limbaugh comes to mind.

Reuters: Air strikes silence Gaddafi guns at besieged city
...Gaddafi earlier said Western powers...were "a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history."


"We are authorized, and the president made the nexus between the Security Council resolution and what he considers our legal mandate to attack those tanks. So that is the type of target that our strike aircraft will go at."


The siege of Misrata, now weeks old, had become increasingly desperate, with water cut off for days and food running out, doctors operating on patients in hospital corridors and many of the wounded left untreated or simply turned away.


When asked who was in command, one fighter, Mohamed Bhreka, shrugged and said: "Nobody is. We are volunteers. We just come here. There is no plan."

The Market On Wednesday

Good morning. It is cloudy and 30 degrees here in Upstate NY. Winter hangs around a bit longer in these parts. I was out walking earlier and I was cold. My face got that winter cold thing all over it.

At 8:30 a.m. futures are flat, the dollar is down, and oil is slightly up.

Investors are nervous about the state of the world. Can you picture it, a roomful of jumpy investors nervous and anxious about what will happen in the world. I should go in and give them a pep talk.

In short today looks like yesterday, except its one day later....

Reuters: Investors remain on edge
...investors remained nervous about the spreading unrest in the Middle East region and Japan's recovery efforts.


"...it's really a lot of the same geopolitical stories we've seen over the past few weeks..."


Investors will get February new home sales figures from the Census Bureau at 10 a.m.


Oil for May delivery, which became the front-month contract Wednesday, gained 43 cents to $105.40 a barrel.

'Come Away With Me'

Paolo Conte

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Exorcise

Forty minutes on the recumbent stationary bike tonight and all I burned according to the on board electronics, was 210 calories.

The old metabolism aint what she used to be.

Ignored the temptation to stop and get the snack at the corner all night joint. So hurray for that...

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

Spage Age Fashion From The 60s

Recovery News

Mixed in with Japan's ongoing earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crises, and a new war in Libya, the US economy lays exposed.

This is a very curious article on Reuters. Read it and you will find that the Fed officials discussing the state of the recovery make no mention of jobs. Its surprising. Perhaps the journalist let that one slide, who knows.

For what its worth they are predicting 3% area GDP into the future and they are not worried about inflation just yet. We on the other hand are worried about inflation with gas a little pricey. It also seems like food has become a luxury item.

Reuters: Fed officials see U.S. recovery taking hold
"The recovery seems to have established a firmer footing. I am seeing clearer signs of a virtuous cycle of growth..."


"To cause a lasting rise in inflation, the increases in food or energy prices have to be large enough and persist long enough that they spill over and cause sustained increases in a wide array of other consumer prices. At this point, there is no evidence of broad spillover..."


"Many homes remain in the foreclosure pipeline, and we are looking at well over a year before the number of bank-owned properties begins to decline significantly..."

'Out Of The Chute'

House

Radioactivty From Japan In Iceland

Out of words for this, its just head shaking...

Reuters: Radioactive particle traces from Japan reach Iceland

First Full Face Transplant

This is a very poignant story. The patient is a young man badly disfigured in a work related accident. If you click the link it will bring you to a shot of the young man along with the full story. So if it makes you uncomfortable, be forewarned.

Yahoo: Texas man gets first full face transplant in US

Radiation Levels Far Above Normal

Reuters - Radiation

Reuters - Radiation Affects Japan Farmers

Al Jazeera - World News Updates

Hey Wait A Minute

It has dawned on our political leaders that the President does not have the power to declare war.

That power resides with Congress.

Strange political bedfellows have arisen from the most recent war campaign. That would be the anti war left and the Tea Party right, the yin and yang of Congress.

We are in Libya for two reasons. The first is American interests AKA corporate interests AKA oil. The second reason could be summed up with, because that's what we do.

Somewhere in there is a cover story shot involving a rebel Libyan waving an American flag.

I still want to see Gadaffi gone.

Final note, has America ever started a war, changed its collective mind after a few days, packed up and said oops.

CS Monitor: Libya intervention: Tea party and liberal Democrats make unusual allies
“Imposing a no-fly zone over a country is an act of war,” said Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas...


On the left, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio said: “War from the air is still war..."


“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly states that the United States Congress has the power to declare war. The president does not. That was the founders’ intent.”

The Market On Tuesday

Good morning. It is 37 degrees and cloudy here in Upstate NY. Yesterday's snow is gone. Truth is it may very well snow again and then some. Still its nice to not be so bundled up all the time. I think the adjustment from winter to spring is a hard one. It takes a few weeks to settle into the change.

At 8:20 a.m. futures are ever so slightly up, the dollar is mostly down, and oil is down.

The stock market was raging yesterday. Any little signs of hope out of Japan will be viewed as a positive development on Wall Street. Mergers are always good for some festivity.

And then its on to Libya. Just out of curiosity, how does Obama get to initiate a military offensive of any kind? Isn't there a little hey Congress whad'ya think clause in there somewhere...

CNN: Stocks: Nervous investors step back
"Any good news in Japan is going to tempt investors back into the markets."


Oil for April delivery slipped 15 cents Tuesday morning, or 0.1%, to $102.18 a barrel.

'I Get Around'

Red Hot Chili Peppers cover the Beach Boys...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

Eagle Cam

I am gong to keep this link up and current because I think its cool.

Rare Live Look Inside A Bald Eagle Nest

'Trading Places'

The Family Guy

Voting Against Your Interests

Nicely written essay by a younger man describing his GOP dad, and this dad's uncanny ability to miss the political boat every single time.

Highly recommended...

Al Stefanelli: A Voice of Reason in an Unreasonable World About People Who Vote Against Their Own Interests

US Helping Chile Go Nuclear

Can we agree that the disaster at Fukushima allows us to criticize Obama's deal with Chile on behalf of America's nuclear energy lobby. Recall that Obama entered the presidential race both promoting and with the backing of the nuclear industry.

We've said this before but we have struck a deal. Build the nukes and periodically give up a section of the world that becomes contaminated with radioactivity.

Good news though, Coulter can go there and sun bathe given her admiration for higher doses of radiation. I knew there was something about her - she glows in the dark.

CS Monitor: US agrees to help Chile go nuclear, despite Japan disaster
Like Japan, Chile is seismic – its 9.5-magnitude quake in 1960 was the most powerful of the 20th century.

AT&T Merger Lifts Stocks

The DOW gained 178 points today, recrossed 12,000, and closed at 12,036.

They say its because of AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile making AT&T the largest such entity in the USA. Can you hear me now.

Regardless, the news out of Japan is bad, and now we are into Libya. This means that today's gains are hardly firm or a building block. Volatility is in the pipes.

Reuters: Wall Street ends up on merger optimism
...the biggest proposed merger of the year enticed buyers into the market...

Reuters - Libyan Rebels Welcome Air Strikes

ZNet - Falk On Libya

Reuters - Sporadic Gunfire In Libya

Democracy Now - Phyllis Bennis: Analysis On The No-Fly Zone And The Air Strikes Launched By Allied Forces On Libya

Dana Carvey's SNL Audition Tape

Building 3 'Smoke' Causes Evacuation

Are we all on bad news overload yet? We are bad news saturated and its hard to keep it all straight - the recession, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Japan, Wisconsin. Its all prominent news and its all happening at once.

I hate to say it but when crises occur simultaneously, another is usually lurking.

The news coming out of Fukushima is confusing as hell. Now we are reading that there is a seventh pool with spent fuel rods in the compound, and we thought six was it. How do the workers there keep it all straight. They are running from the edge of a disaster to the edge of a disaster times 7. And now they have evacuated the sight ostensibly because of a radioactive cloud out of reactor three.

When all is said and done, this thing is going to be right up there as one of the worst nuclear disasters yet. We say yet because we are not naive enough to think that Fukushima is the last nuclear disaster.

Will wiser, cooler, and calmer heads prevail and start dismantling nukes. Not in our lifetime and I think the reason is that Fukushima is just not that important from an economic point of view - this is not my opinion, it is world economic managers' opinion. Fukushima is situated in a poorer section of Japan, like Chernobyl in the USSR, like Michigan in the USA.

Maybe I am too cynical here, but opinion and policy is not shaped by deaths in the thousands. The number is not high enough.

CS Monitor: Workers evacuated from Japan nuclear plant, again
Before the evacuation this evening, workers had made progress to stabilize the overheated reactors and fuel storage pools at the plant over the weekend.


...the power company told the Monitor that cables have only been connected only to the reactors in buildings No. 1 and No. 2, though they said they were expected to reach units No. 3 and No. 4 soon.


Sixty percent of the used fuel at the Fukushima plant is stored in a seventh shared storage pool located in a separate building, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington-based policy organization for the nuclear industry.