A One Man Economic Daily Newspaper about the Second Depression in near real-time...
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CPI: Nothing to See Here...
...juss move along, sit-zen...everything is fine... This as the new CPI myth has been rolled out for public adoration and respect:
Which means what? Inflation annualized is a shade over six percent? Maybe in Washington, so let's all move there because beside hot & cold running bimbos, lobbyist jobs galore, there's apparently a very cheap cost of living!
While you're searching for your crack pipe, might also look at your last year's worth of piped gas for the house. According to this report, that was down 5½ percent in the past year and gasoline for the car was up only 27½ percent, while Triple A's data was up 33.4%, but a mere trifle among friends.
The so-called "core" rate is stuck on stoopid: Prices are up only 1.2 percent if you don't count food & energy. While that makes for an amusing statistical wet dream among blithering academics, those of us who have spent a night in the cold and hungry find it erudite elitism at its best - or insulting at its worst - that the American public can be thought to be so stupid.
Except, of course, we are. Look what we send to Washington. I rest my case.
That core prices came in lower than expected is simple Econ 101 stuff: Ain't nobody got no money, therefore, ain't no pricing power for anything other than the BFN's. (Bear frigging necessities).
OMG, I must be an economics genius for figuring this stuff out. Why, I haven't even bankrupted my first consulting firm...yet. Golly, I'll never become a fed boss as this rate....and with that, my chances of deification go to zero.
I'll just have to deal with that, I 'spose. Got an opener on you?
"Go - But Leave Your Oil" Dept.
In the continuing Adventures of Regional Resource War #4 - led by the Three Corporate (can't bring my self to say it, so here's a link) decrying the 'massacre' of Libyan rebels and pledging to keep up pressure until Gaddafi is gone.
Grad School Student Project: Calculate the eventual size of the new US Embassy in Libya once they are 'liberated'. Use number of acres to percent of world oil reserves as a starting point, but increased inversely to the negative oil production exponent now that's we're in Peak Oil, which is why all these wars for resource are going on, in the first place. Papers due Monday, now take the weekend off and get out of class now.
Working In the Police State
A reader anecdote worth passing along if you are filling out job aps for a serious-minded temp firm:
WTF? Word like "legal" and "constitutional" have been redistributed in the New America thanks to where we've gone since Reagan. Obviously, you don't understand that rights are now only commensurate with how much money you have in your checking account. Duh.
Two people dead of severe T-storms in Arkansas. We tried to hold them here in Texas as long as we could, since we could've used the rain, but no soap.
OK, Tokyo Disneyland is reopened. Not to be confused with their stock market or trading houses. Otherwise, things are still Fuk'd.
Taking Care of Business Dept.
Remember that small business nightmare which was included (for God only knows what reason) in the Healthcare Reform Act? Well, now, the president has signed the repeal of that portion of the Act which would have had everyone sending out 1099's to everyone who did more than $600 worth of business with their company.
Think about it: I buy a fair amount of office supplies and such from TigerDirect and Amazon. This would have required that I send them each a 1099. On the one hand, I'm glad it's repealed (though honestly I was confident it would be, since America 'takes care of business'). But what seems to escape the geniuses on Capital Hill (sic, yeah I really meant capital, not capitol) is that the law-abiding people are not the problem! It's the crooks! And how many have done jail time over the mortgage meltdown or the hosing by Wall St? FMTT Get a grip.
Neener Neener Neener Dept.
You missed!!! The "you" in this case being a small earth-passing asteroid which is described in this NASA-JPL press release:
"Video imaging of newly discovered asteroid 2011 GP59 shows the object appearing to blink on and off about once every four minutes.
Amateur astronomers, including Nick James of Chelmsford, Essex, England, have captured video of the interesting object. James generated this video of GP59 on the night of Monday, April 11. The video, captured with an 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, is a compilation of 137 individual frames, each requiring 30 seconds of exposure. At the time, the asteroid was approximately 3,356,000 kilometers (2,081,000 mile) distant. Since then, the space rock has become something of a darling of the amateur astronomy community, with many videos available. (Here is one recent posting:
"Usually, when we see an asteroid strobe on and off like that, it means that the body is elongated and we are viewing it broadside along its long axis first, and then on its narrow end as it rotates ," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "GP59 is approximately 50 meters [240 feet] long, and we think its period of rotation is about seven-and-a-half minutes. This makes the object's brightness change every four minutes or so."
2011 GP59 was discovered the night of April 8/9 by astronomers with the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca in Andalusia, Spain. It will make its closest approach to Earth on April 15 at 19:09 UTC (12:09 p.m. PDT) at a distance just beyond the moon's orbit - about 533,000 kilometers (331,000 miles). "
So, how much of a mess would a 50-meter (240) rock like this make, you're wondering? Don't have time to do the math, but this handy-dandy impact calculator from Imperial College ought to be just the thing to figure it. Use porous rock, work out the impact speed and then see how far from the boss's house it would have to hit to remove that obstacle from your professional advancement..... cool, huh?
Speaking of Getting Stoned
Odd little story over at the Liberty Cap Press site about "The London Stone and ther Sword of Excalibur" which is interesting.
All about the corporations [general], the City of London Corporation, and so forth, which gives rise to the question "Were all those Arthurian legends just corporate PR claptrap?" Look surprised and then find out who paid the Grimm Bros for their tales, too, while you're at it.
History isn't taught to help you think, it's carefully constructed by the winner of various conflicts to confine your mental field of action. Social blinders by conditioning. Don't you feel better now?
There Goes Our Tax Money
Not that more (and better) training tools aren't needed, but here are four alternatives that could save taxpayers money:
Just sayin'...if we're gonna spend a million bucks (before cost overruns, LOL) can't we give Sierra (Online) or RockStar a chance to roll out the civilian version under a co-development plan? Maybe a slick new interface from DARPA's closet of goodies? Be good for the economy....
Or, just throw that million at Activision and tell 'em "Do us a layer in C.O.D." and we'll leave you the civilian marketing rights for "Call to Border...."
WTF are they thinking? I paid $43-large in income tax and it buys this Where's my goddam ViseGrips....
Must be something about the gamer mentality. Just yesterday, my office supplies guy was telling me "I've cut back on playing GTA since I started to think about running over people in real life while driving..." NSS [def. 1].
Wonder if GTA is on the GSA Schedule or if Red October is OK'd for Navy training...ARRRGGHGHH!!! Is the whole world crazy? Wait, of course!
(More after this)
Coping: Voting on the Airplane
Since Elaine and I are just about split on the question of an airplane, I thought we'd see what "democracy in action" could come up with by throwing it up for a vote. Should we get a simple, single-engine plane (like a Cherokee 140 with the 160 HP engine, or a fixed gear Cessna 177) for travels, adventures, and so on, given that it's also a (partial_) business expense and so on?
Seems like everyone has a hobby, but I don't want a hobby if it's got a negative image with the public. Ham radio, for example, is relatively inexpensive (compared to a new, well-equipped bass boat, which can cost upwards of what a used plane goes for, or a motorhome (even more by some stretch and mileage is worse).
No doubt, some readers who hate the column will encourage me to get the plane, thinking I'll stack it up somewhere, and thus put them out of their literary pain. The more insightful will figure we'll spend more time off the ranch, which could make columns [more?] interesting.
Flying is about like any other hobby; it comes down to developing a couple of skill sets and once you've got sailing and long-distance nautical navigation, finding your way around the sky is no biggie, at least compared with a foggy day on Puget Sound in the days before GPS and radar and only a compass and depth sounder to figure position; close to instrument flying but lots harder.
Trimming the sails on a boat is the slow speed version of trimming an aircraft, whereas the radio procedures picked up on even a 2-meter local ham net is a good analog to the conversations with the tower, approach, or departure control folks.
Anyone who's done more than day sailing learns about getting the weather right, so as not to be blown off the water or discover that no one in the crew remembered Dramamine, leaving you to single-hand the boat while everyone else is barfing.
Another sport where weather is important is water skiing, where participants know the best water is under bimbo cumulus clouds.
Archery teaches something about lining up for landings except it doesn't explain why the runways moves this way and that.
I figure it can't be any worse than sail boat racing; one serious racer upon being asked "What's it like?" replied that standing in the shower tearing up $100 bills is a good approximation of that pursuit, although serial marriages can have the same effect which is often reported by two-legged deer-stalkers who don't understand rules about the season and take to catch & release even after the bag limit of one.
Which gets us to firearms, another fine hobby. Here, a very keen eye is what's needed, especially when you are seriously working on your peep-sights at 100-150 meters. That 'good eye' is useful for spotting other aircraft, so that when the tower or ATC screams "Cessna 55 Yankee, traffic 2 o'clock climbing is a Mooney Rocket, report in sight..."
Even without perfect vision, Zaon has a couple of really nifty portable collision avoidance systems out that seem like one of the the smartest things to spend money one. I tend to put autopilots, encoding transponders, and collision avoidance systems in the same category a boater would put overboard poles and throwing gear, overboard recovery systems, SOSpenders, and the ubiquitous handheld GPS. Every hobby can be made safer.
By the way, if you do sail, you really ought to watch a video on how LifeSling's operate. and practice when the weather is good, and then practice at twilight, then night. And a small Davis radar reflector on the overboard pole is a must if you've got a radar on the boat and do real sailing...some of the stuff that got me through 10-years of serious sailing with nothing more serious that touching the keel to sand once.
Anyway, that's what's up for a vote - and if you have an opinion please pass it along.
You Got Questions? So do we...
A reader - an exceptionally bright denizen of the SF Bay area, sent in the following email...
Oh my. Long list of answers to fish up, but here goes:
Time to Leaf
Several people wrote in with ideas on how to get good, better, best paint that would really look like gold. Not surprisingly, a reader suggested DickBlick art supplies for gold foil sign lettering equipment. Not too expensive, either...which was surprising.
More interesting was they're now using aluminum leaf to do imitation silver lettering. Way cheaper, too.
Send Ure comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Forensic Macroeconomics 635
Morgan Freeman's fine performance in the movie "Deep Impact" was not the reason for proposing this course, although the possibility of an E.L.E. (extinction level event) being timed in a 1998 movie to be temporally coincident to the election and term in office of a black president, we hope is merely coincidental. However, other than space-based threats, there are a wide number of catastrophic possibilities in humankind's future. If any of these was specifically known, giving foreknowledge of such events to leaders at any level of government, then even if relatively closely held, definable economic evidence well in advance of events is likely which could in turn define for investigators the most likely vectors of threat arrival and provide for autonomous (nongovernment) threat analysis and individuated action. This course is intended to take first steps toward identification and modeling of foreknown events.
If your computer runs slowly, you may have a problem with cookies. These little code snippets are how some websites (and spyware) recognize you, track your movement on the web and so forth. Here lately, as new class of super cookies has been evolved by the admen (and worse) that are resistant to normal cookie deletions through your browser's interface. Flash cookies, persistent cookies, and super cookies...all easily managed with the Maxa Research Cookie Manager.
Take it for a test drive by clicking here - and it you like it, activation is easily done. If you're a heavy web user (who ain't?) you may find like I do that you've accumulating a hundred or more cookies per day. Only a handful need to be white-listed, like your brokerage account or your bank. The rest? Software designed to spy on you that robs you of computer performance. Been using it for several years and pleased as the Dickens with it.
The "Do Drop Inn"
Amazing gardens in about 2 square feet of floor space: www.mygroponics.com
Post your weird dreams to help our research along:
"Live on $10,000" A Year
Having a hard time making ends meet? (Like who isn't, right?) A good starting point to better match up income with outgo is our $10 e-book "How to Live on $10,000 a Year...or less!"
It's an automatic download. It's written in an information dense style: The whole thing runs about 65 pages, but it gives you a vision of how to not only live on the cheap, but also how to migrate up the economic foodchain if you have a little hustle left. A bonus section called "How to Build Anything" should instill confidence if you've never taken on a home improvement/home creation project before, too..... Click here for the index and details.
Pass It On
Please pass along word of this site to your friends by simply clicking here to send 'em a short email. - Thanks!
Thursday April 14, 2011
Big Story of the Day
Sorry, I forgot to put this one in earlier today - the government has announced a big move on mortgage servicing companies and here's the press release from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency - my highlights added:
No telling if anyone will get a home back on this, but the possibility is out there since there is a solid argument being made in regional court actions that without wet signature documents and proper registration, the banks might not really hold claims they thought... so watch this one carefully...
Pre-Guessing The (Somewhat Mythical) CPI Report
Even before the U.S. CPI figures come out tomorrow, the world markets were reeling on speculation that commodities were going to threaten profits; i.e.. the commodities go up, profits would go down, and the Greater Fool theory of pricing which - as I was reminded in a conversation with a colleague yesterday - really is ( more than likely ) a lot less sensitive to dividends and and such, since companies that reinvest more in themselves, being less concerned with fat dividend checks tend to become profitable over time, leading some researchers to [tentatively] conclude that dividends are less a factor in pricing of stocks than many seem to think.....but let's clear all that aside another another discussion when we have more time, since the CPI report is what seems to be "hot" at the moment. And we have a jobs number and PPI as foreplay this morning...
A couple of set-up remarks here, just to keep things in context:
Since we know from MIT's BPP online prices report that general goods were up 3.522%, and we know from the Case Shiller/S&P 20-City Housing report that home prices were down about 3.1% from January to January (the most recent data till two weeks from now) and with gasoline up north of 33% in the real world, a good government number-peddler could argue for anything from a minus 2% to a plus 4% figure, since the 'secret sauce' of their calculations is the weighting between categories. Wonder if that's just a phone call away?
Still, we might be able to infer something about tomorrow's report from reading this morning's Producer Price Index just out:
Government has a structural bias toward reporting less than reality numbers, since the more inflation they report, the higher the spending on Social Security, military pay, and umpteen other expense categories.
All of which makes is obvious to anyone with 3 functioning brain cells: Congress has got to move statistics-keeping out of the departmental/run by a cabinet-level appointee level, and into a non-partisan group with no axe to grind (on our necks) like the Congressional Budget Office or an external, non-government, unbiased tell-it-like it is group. We might even discover that running four wages at once is expensive, but that'd be met with professional diplomats pointing out we need wars to maintain our economy....and press on with the Globalistas agenda. Sheesh!
Even Better? Do all that and then instruct the new out-of-government-influence statistics group with calculating the difference compounded over the last 10-years and do whatever adjustments that might require. Of course, dumping a good-sized Social Security bonus/correction checks and a lot of military back pay into the economy would jump-start the hell out of things, but that's just too damn logical.
The latest world financial crisis update from the International Monetary Fund is not something you want to pick up at bedtime. Says that banks (globally) are facing about $3.6 trillion in debt maturing over the next two years or so and as the report suggests, this means...
Frankly, my advice to policymakers would be to either a) roll again or b) go whatever is behind curtain number two....
If coughing up $3.6 T sounds like something that's hard to swallow, it's nothing compared to president Obama's toughie in trying to get the WSJ to lighten up on the present smoke & mirrors budget nonsense floating around Washington.
The budget as discussed really does make sense, though, at least IF you're in the opening day or two of a drug treatment program, and have no comprehension of anything having to do with accounting. Of course, it also helps if you dropped out in third grade...believe in free lunches, the Easter Bunny, and the notion that the government is here to help...
Then There's MENA
The Middle East / North Africa (MENA, oh is our State Dept. sharp for coming up with this acronym, huh?) has continued slipping towards the edge despite NATO and the US pouring lots of military might into the area.
The region is acting to grasping a slightly inflated balloon and squeezing it in your hand. Just as soon as you're thinking "Got it under control!) the squeezed balloon will pop out somewhere else and the frustration ratchets up a notch.
This morning's frustration point will no doubt be Syria, where there are rumors reported flying about that president Assad and high ranking militarios either have, or are considering, moving their families out of the country as a 'just in case' GlobalRev gets there.
Which it should, or it wouldn't be a GlobalRev...know what I mean? Of course, behind it all is that little matter of oil. Not only is the Syrian Petroleum Company setting up a round of offshore oil bidding, but in addition, their website last week posted a noted headlining that "Barclays sees downside risks for Eur/USD. Peachy.
Sticks & BRICs
Then you saw where the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are calling for an end of the US dollar's dominance? Be careful what you wish for, comes to mind...
Remember the vids going around the net in the past week about patting down kids including a 6-year old?
I'll be the guy walking, thanks. I haven't trusted gloves since.....oh, the Thriller album, or so.
A call to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska yesterday paid off! I was informed that while the the Institute doesn't run the HAARP website, they run their own, they have been having "computer problems and they expect it to be back online later this week..."
OK, we watch and wait.
Coping: Rethinking the Business
Being a realist, I've once again decided to put off buying an airplane until at least this fall. One of the reasons is that I am continuing to lose weight, but I've put that one hold to reestablish 'normal' for a while at about 200 pounds, before moving down from here. The one thing I want to avoid is a 'snap-back' weight gain.
A plane would be nice, don't get me wrong, but the reality is that anything airworthy would be about $30K and although the plane gets nearly the mileage of the car, the cost of insurance ($600, or so, hull insurance) plus liability ($300, or so) plus the annual maintenance checks ($900-$1500 usually, but not bets) plus hangar costs ($2400 per year) all comes up to about $4,800 is overhead.
On the flip side, a plane can reduce the number of room nights in hotels, and at about $200 for a nice hotel - but not extravagant, just a separate work desk area and solid high speed internet (and no bed bugs is a bonus) that would mean 24 room nights.
Let's say, just for example, that I was going to fly up to Chicago to have a client meeting - spend a day kind of thing. That's about an 800-mile trip from here.
In a decent airplane (and cooperating winds/weather) that would be a one-day deal. The plane will average about 120 miles per hour, so about 6.6 hours of flying, toss in a fuel, pee and sandwich stop stop along the way (one hour, call it) and you've got about 8-hours of actual travel. Half hour to the airport, a few minutes to preflight, and call it 9-hours total including the last minute weather check. One travel day each way and no hotel except at destination which you'd have with a car, too.
Now, driving, on the other hand, the average speed is going to be a LOT slower. I figure about 50 MPH and with almost equal stop times, and since doing more than 400-500 miles a day gets old, the hypothetical trip to Chicago would involve at least two nights in hotel; one each way.
$400 in hotels is the variable.
Trouble is, I'd have to make a dozen such trips per year in order for the plane to cost-justify and, sadly, I can't figure out who I'd go see that often. Yes, a trip up to meet with Clif for a couple of days would be fine, and I can even see meeting with a client up in the Denver area. And maybe a few elsewhere, too.
The further problem with a plane is that you have to fly a certain number of hours per month, or insurance companies don't like it. They like people who fly 20+ hours per month since that keeps your skills sharp.
Sadly, I keep coming back to the responsible, steely-eyed conclusion: I should finish up my doctorate in business, not waste my time on flying, and just relax a bit and let Elaine drive. Might make sense, too, since I don't think the STEC Forty/Fifty series autopilots come in blonde.
Still mulling this since flying is a helluva lot fun, but like boating, hunting, fishing etc it's a money sink. (Like ham radio isn't?)
Around the Ranch: Quest for Metal Paint
As happens (with some regularity) I get these overwhelming urges in the spring to go out into the shop and create something. Often times an idea will fester over the winter and wait till this time to year to come to a head.
My built-in bookcase project, for example, is nearing completion and by this time tomorrow it should be gone & over with. Came out nice, if I do say so myself.
My next "hidden door" project is likely to be a false store-front for a bait and tackle shop for our "northwest room" which has rustic tongue & groove wood, a mural of the the SF Gate bridge (from the Marin side, 7'x12' - big) and other 'woodsy' touches.
Here's the problem that I have run into on past projects, and may [likely] run into on this one: How the hell do sign painters get their reverse lettered signs to look like real metal? I haven't tried on a scrap of glass yet, but in the past, any time I use a metal (metallic) paint, I never get anywhere near the shiny look that the paint companies manage to get on their paint cans.
Is there something in particular I'm doing wrong?
I can't be the only one mystified by this - a full half hour of looking around on various searches gave me only what I already know - the stuff that I've been able to get out of a can looks nothing like the shiny gold or silver that I was trying to achieve, so WTF? Why isn't the FTC kicking some ass in the paint dep't at the local hardware/hard luck store, huh?
(Of course, I'll get off my soap box is someone would just send in the secret to this, but I'm not holding my breath...)
A reader in the UK (the Unemployed Kingdom) wrote in chastising our coverage of the word Fuk'ed (pronounced fookt) in yesterday's report because the Brits got there first....
Oh? Isn't this the smoking gun that the Brits knew about fukushima in advance...(sigh) no, I suppose not, then...
All of which is a long way of getting around to the Urban Dictionary Word for the Day: fomo. Which means fear of missing out. One of the best things you can do to beef up your ability to communicate is to sign up for their daily email of what's happening to the language.
Hell, I spent 5-minutes figuring out what a reader meant with "HTH" at the end of an email (Hope this helps...)
WTFTM. It all becomes a nonsensical stew of initial confusion which began as a kid LSMFT and has progressed though FDIC.
Sure would be fun to rewrite some American classis like Huckleberry Finn's adventures, arming Huck & Tom with txting tls.
Speaking of writing, got an email this morning inviting me to sign up for a masters level program in creative writing.
Responsibly, not wishing to pile on the national debt, and not wanting to go into hock a $20 large (or more) I decided to issue my contribution to the open-source curriculum movement.
Course Outline: Creative Writing
...except we can't find your transcript anywhere.
Wednesday April 13, 2011
Dead Cat Bounce or Champion Bull?
Pappy used to say "You can't do a good job of something, unless you have the right hat..." So, for working on the car he had a mechanics hat, work-work was a red fire helmet, fishing was a baseball cap with an assortment of flies on it (tied 'em himself), then there was a [brick] mason's hat, carpentry hat (that seemed more about pencils, but I digress...
While my 'working hat' is usually a much simpler choice (1923 Danish Army helmet contributed by a reader, tinfoil, or a dunce hat) it isn't for lack of an appreciation that "the hat makes the man". Problem is finding a "humorists hat" or a "cynic's hat" - the latter usually wearing a noose. You see the trouble?
I mention this because on mornings like this, the difficulty in seeing what's ahead is pretty much overwhelming. The market always has two directions, of course. What varies is the ratio between the following two camps:
Both sides always being careful to leave themselves an "out" in the form of "I'm just sure the markets are going this way, except there's a small chance, they could go that way, too.
One of the nation's leading wave forecasters is in that camp right now, saying in a recent report that this is just a normal fourth wave correction and things will go up from here, unless of course, it's a failed fifth wave, in which case the road to thundering tarnation is what we're on, instead.
A couple of theories come to mind, which I'd actually pay attention to if I had more than 38¢ in checking, or a 401-K. The first is that the day after tomorrow is options expiration. Alert to this, we look back at the S&P for March 18th - the last options death at 1279.21 and see that yesterday's close at 1314,16 would mean forking out some dough (but not too much) to the out-of-the-money call option holders, but taking bushel baskets of money from the permabears.
Since options seem to expire in a way which causes the maximum amount of pain to the most players (giving the House the best return for a given flock size) a very modest advance in averages can be delightfully profitable. It's when the out of the money/cheap option guys clean up that the House really gets cranky.
The other big deal is that tomorrow morning, we get both the weekly job number plus the mythical Consumer Price data. Could be that this will be a perfect case of buy the rumor, sell the news, since everyone knows there have been no new jobs created in America since 2004, unless you're married to a major Wall Streeters and got set up as TALF recipients to the tune of more than $220-million...
That reminds me to recommend the Matt Taibbi story in this week's Rolling Stone which hits the street Friday under the headline "Real Housewives of Wall Street: The Federal Reserve forking over $220- million in bailout to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs"
I'm pleased to report that in addition to the fine Taibbi piece, that Rolling Stone has discovered the world really is ending and has gotten onboard with catastrophism in general by listing the "Ten Best Apocalyptic Music Videos" out recently. Around here, I've been writing about how we run out of chewing gum and baling wire for more than a decade and somehow Britney Spears hasn't dropped by to talk about it. While that's fine with Elaine, it does have me wondering if setting up a New York office for UrbanSurvival wouldn't lend it self to a little more (and better) shameless self-promotion. Within walking distance of Sardi's would be nice. I'd go just to see if my picture had made it up yet.
I'm a little money ahead in my current short position, but the tough question is whether to sell at a dime's worth of profit or wait for the disaster to unfold a little more clearly is a hard one, since the Fed and QE3 me to death at will. Stoning deviants like me (in colonial times) was so much more efficient. Though it did lack the tax loss carry forward against next year's gains.
Collapse Ratio Improves - Slightly
The Treasury's monthly statement (as much as we can trust it, if you read far enough in Taibbi's piece to understand the difference between on, off, and hidden budgets) improved, but only by a tiny bit in the latest reporting month. I have what I call the "Collapse Ratio"' which is the total (reported, on budget) Federal Spending compared with the total income tax receipts.
While in February, the 'feral government spent almost 9-times U.S., personal income taxes, last month the ratio was down to 6.43 times personal income tax receipts.
Better still, in February when corporations took back more than actually paid (which means taxpayers were supporting them, doesn't it?) this month they actually paid a bit ($16.9 billion) compared with working people paying $52.757 billion [net receipts after refunds].
Great Leapin' Retailers!
Arrff. Those should be lizards, foo.
Oh, this ought to compound our confusion over what's going on with the economic recovery a good bit:
If this is too highbrow to take in, here's a picture:
That hole, where the auto industry used to live, brings us to today's...
Creative Financial Writing Class
Got a wonderful submission this morning from a reader:
This is the kind of creative writing submission that causes us great time in grading, since we have to visit the US Trademark Office and make sure that the contributor's use of the word Scooby is not infringing. In this case, there are 112 possibilities to be considered.
President Obama is preparing to lay out his budget "deal" today in a speech at George Washington University. The big surprise is - that there is no surprise.
This president's budget makes no more sense that the ones offered by his predecessor. For example, he will promise to reduce domestic spending but the reality here is that with an actual reduction, there's be layoffs in government and congress would have less chance to issue pork. So you know, those cuts will be minimal.
Another typical promise is to cut defense sending. Two important features come to mind here: First it's not "defense" so much as the "wars of conquest" budget and with yet another war having been added this year, how we can effective keep reconquering the same countries at lower cost becomes an absurdity. No doubt, we'll have to add another war in the next two years as well, since with no domestic job creation, we have to keep hiring people into the armed forces to keep them off the streets where they might actually otherwise go and start demanding "Change!" That5's a great slogan, for you.
Another budget checkmark will be to promise to reduce excess spending in Medicare and Medicaid. Just what this "excess spending is" when people who are eligible are already being screwed by the lack of honest CPI reporting.
"Harsh and irreverent claim, you backwoods nutjob!"
Then by all means, don't click over and zoom in on the USA data at M.I.T.'s Billion Prices project which shows if you look here, that USA price inflation is up about 3½ very real percent since year ago levels. In the same period, the Labor Department figures inflation was only about 1.18 percent. Oh, and did I mention the gap between the Billion Prices Project and the BLS figures is growing?
What's even more interesting? There seems to be a correlation declining availability and rising prices if you look at the second chart down on this page. If you really was to twist up something in the 'blender between the ears' consider online prices of goods are up about one percent, just in the past two weeks, too.
Anyway, that just leaves on possible area of budget cut - that'd be cut loopholes for the rich being closed. The way this works, peering behind the curtain is simple:
All of which makes the Budget "deal" a fine piece of showmanship which, in the end, and guess whose end? - will do nothing other than hurt some more.
The US dollar would only buy .6893 of a single Euro this morning, and the fact that isn't not down at half a stinking Euros reason enough to consider attending church this weekend to give thanks we can still buy previous metals cheap.
The Obama speech today may rely on last year's Obama Debt Panel recommendations. Sure, why not? If it doesn't work he's got plausible deniability. That's what we like....bravery and leadership (cough, cough...ahem...)
Got to wonder what police will find in the death of a British banker in Singapore...
The Rest of the News
Lemme see: Egypt is playing "Hold the Hosni" which has become a new national pastime. That's good...
Libyan rebels must think NATO's aim will improve - as they're asking for even more "help". Pardon my use of the word "help" - I'm just not used to thinking of death by cruise missiles and bombs as help...must be the peacenik in me.
And in Japan, the nuclear meltdowns are the subject of happy talk reports that suggest progress is being made.
One-third of the country flattened, three or four nukes in meltdown, collapsing auto and other high tech part supply chains...yep, sure sounds like progress to me.
No worries, though, in the end, we're all Fuk'ed. (Pronounced fookt so as to say it right and not sound like a swear word. Figure it will catch on)
Coping: Wednesday at the WuJo
About midweek, seems like my "things I've been meaning to mention" file begins to look a bit overstuffed and should be cleared out. Much of it deals with the WuJo - the dojo where material reality meets with sober observation of things that just don't seem to fit in like they should.
Here, as an example, is a reader note from last Friday in reference to one of our trips onto the harsh mat of reality last week:
Hmmm...this is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy - and with the [seeming] increase in such reports from otherwise normal (except for their choice of websites, I'll grant you that) seem to be reporting these kinds of things more and more often.
As we've discussed before, almost like the world has multiple timelines running and that could (not likely, just saying could explain some of the oddities that pop up and why Clif's hit rate on the web bot project is not closer to 100% - maybe someone else can see into the future as well as we can with advanced software and maybe - just maybe they are making last minute tweaks in order to sail us into a brighter future.
Either that, or they're optimizing on some other basis - like making the most money. But even that might not be so bad. After all, if the world is going to the brink of nuclear war (stick around a couple of years) then it would make sense to adjust the future a bit since dead humans can't pump up the egos of the illuminati the way live humans can. Just saying....there's a reason to keep the world going besides money. Ego, comes to mind as a big driver for this kind class of repties. Speaking of which...
The Reality of UFO's
I don't know how many readers have sent me a note saying that the FBI has released a previously classified memo about three UFO's being picked out of New Mexico in 1950.
No, they didn't exactly stand up and offer to go through all the secrets around this stuff - freedom of information act release here. the guts of it reads:
Ever since reading Col. Philip Corso's book The Day After Roswell The Truth Exposed After Fifty Years (Amazon, used sellers, about $10 bucks) the whole plot line has been pretty clear.
Eyes, something seems to have been recovered and the reason for it all taking place in the New Mexico region likely had something to do with the world's first atomic test shot going off at Alamogordo, which is less than 90 miles from the scene of the first downed saucer incident circa June of 1947.
Whether the UFO's recovered were the basis of further claims such as reverse-engineering of fiber optics, or whether Area 51 was really where the back-engineering propulsion systems were figured out is not the point.
What really matters around here is the economic impact. Quite clearly, with 7-billion people in the world, the existence of what DARPA would call a "disruptive technology" would not be a good thing.
BUT here's the thing which strikes me as a bit odd, and which, when you think about it, certainly goes along with the notion that high power radio waves did (and still may) disrupt the operation of off-world whatever they areas.
To me, the biggest synch-wink out of all this is that the world's strongest radio transmitter (the University of Alaska's HAARP program) brought down its web site within close temporal proximity to the release of this FBI FOIA memo.
I think what you're thinking: "Since HAARP uses a complex modulation system, is that something which has been optimized to keep "unwanted eyes" from seeing what's going on here on Earth???"
Gee, you mean because the HAARP signal is hugely powerful, and can cause artificial plasma - such that even an idiot-level ham radio hobbyists might figure that "If a high power radar could mess with UFO's, just think what a couple of megawatts of artificial plasma could do..."
Nope, still no call back from the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute which has HAARP under its aegis. Gee, look surprised. Wonder why they're taking the HAARP website dark?
Hiding HAARP is what it looks like, doesn't it?
Say, remember the lady up the road I told you about a while back who had a compass in her bathroom (we all do, right???) and she had noticed an odd swing to it? Well, comes now this next report which is odder than heck, too:
One more reason I'd like to see HAARP back online - they have a great recording magnetometer setup and it would be interesting to see what the correlations is. No? Bad Idea? Yeah, that'd be science, conducted by those not properly papered & anointed? Gee, can't have that, can we?
Hard Working Mexicans
Think you have it tough putting in on average about 290 minutes per day of work? Read else what's in the OECD study just out:
No, I didn't take the time to get into their methodology - I over-study everything, anyway, but the chart was worth passing on...
Tuesday April 12, 2011
Painting the Tape Day
I was busy enough Monday that I didn't have to bite my tongue to hold back until this morning's column to say this, but the miscreants down on Wall Street (which we know to be located several miles past the intersection of Need & Greed) put on one of the finest art exhibitions I've seen in a good, long while Monday: Painting the tape.
If you're not familiar with the term, it's based on the notion multiple flawed notions; first that Wall Street means anything outside of Long Island and a bit of Connecticut, and secondly that Wall Street has anything much to do with the "real world" except, insofar as a even a runaway train will keep going the general direction track is laid, until at last jumping off the rails.
Essentially what happens is the "face" of the Street - the Dow Average - looks a lot better than underlying economics would otherwise prove upon close inspection. So let me take up a TSA globe here and show you some of the paint, shall we?
All of which is endlessly amusing to watch since today we have Gary Lammert's fractal equivalent to a (soft) line in the sand. From a weekend email, which I don't think he'd mind my sharing...
So as the day (and the next few weeks) roll out, we should witness the greatest inflation versus deflation fight ever staged, at least for this particular Depression (1873-1895 and 1929-2941 had their own, of course).
In this one the question to be answered is whether falling asset prices (homes, commercial real estate, etc) can be counter-balanced by the soaring cost of government, which has be in excessive growth mode, since the government is using such a large fraction of income to pay debt holders.
So it's on this warm & fuzzy note that we roll out the Balance ofx Trade figures for February. Sure, this is a backward-looking number and it will be two more months before we get a look at Japan quake impact. Nevertheless, we should be able to see something in this description of the trade picture:
What's the "real deal"? Simple: Near as I can figure it, the reason imports were down was likely because the 'recovery" didn't come along as well as had been expected over Christmas and January, so overseas orders dialed back to prevent excess inventory build by Wal-tailers and the like. Duh, like that kind of insight was worth grad school, huh? Ain't like America isn't still 110% Dependsdant on Asia/India for everything of consequence we consume.
Say, you haven't seen a new factory being built in the last, oh, 10-years have you?
As we wait around for the 800 pound gorilla to show up (Thursdays CPI prices report), I'll be watching the metals and the dollar-forex picture for hints of which way things will go once the blender is turned on.
One thing I expect to the point of predictability is that the Triple A Gas Gauge report inflation number ( which pencils to 32.55 percent a year now) will be soft-pedaled or watered down to the 17-20 percent range. Can't have too many people keeping up with inflation, can we?
Japan Gets Worse
There it is - just as expected - in the International Atomic Energy Agency's assessment of the Japanese post-quake nuclear meltdowns/partial metls:
All of which builds the case that despite the butt-covering and double-talk, the situation really is 1) worse than Chernobyl, 2) going to require a last scale evacuation of even more area in Japan (groundwater is a huge issue not getting the spotlight yet), 3) Impact of U.S. companies that do things like, oh, build cars or airplanes is going to continue to ripple and 4) the government hasn't been exactly widely candid about the U.S. impacts of this yet.
Deep Sleep of the Sheep
One example of how government has not been moving in a forthright manner to inform and get ahead of public [health] concerns is to look at the Federal Emergency Management Agency home page [here] where I saw nothing about the Japan radiation levels. Recent FEMA news releases don't seem to mention anything about monitoring radiation levels, either. Seems this may lend a little more credence to those people asking "Is this gonna be a 'nuclear Katrina'? Sure is getting the hallmarks of that...
Say, maybe I should put a note in my news 'tickler' file: Since feral chickens are now making headlines in New Orleans, maybe six years after the nuclear Katrina, Japan (or even the US) will have a feral chicken outbreak, you think? Free-range yard eggs...what a tax benefit, huh?
Meantime, the Centers for Disease Control home page make reference to a traveler's information page, which doesn't have anything new on it since March 17th, and on the media page, northing since March 22.
EPA has at least got some data and barely detectable levels, but that takes a secret decoder ring to find the document (here) and we expect it will be updated this week, but no bets, thank you.
I don't mean to sound overly critic of the federal response here, but where's the web site with the data like that shown on the (private effort) www.radiationnetwork.com page? And, besides gamma, why aren't the alpha and beta numbers available from the government?
With that little kvetch off my chest, a reader asks...
The only way you could know for certain would be to bring your handy-dandy radiation monitoring equipment (calibrated Geiger counter) along on your next flight.
However, I don't know what TSA's view toward such an action would be. Obviously, they don't have any laws that I'm aware of, and certainly there'd be no harm to using one in an aircraft. However, if you try, I have a nickel side bet that says you'd be arrested on the spot and hauled off for daring to question the uber government's ruling paradigm, you uppity sheep, you.
Love to be wrong o this, but I seldom am; expect the worst out of free-running regulators (we still can't get answers to who is on the 'banned fliers" list and why, can we?) and you'll almost never be disappointed. Change and transparency my toe. (I would have used another body part, but it's early, lol)
Anyway, bottom, bottom, net-net of all this is that headlines are popping that "Japan quake's economic impact worse than first feared..." except among our Peoplenomics.com readers who had this path outlined pretty well in the March 27th issue "Death by JIT Collapse and Wars". Such a predictable world, eh?
Happy Talk Ending: The Japanese prime minister says the situation is "stabilizing". Like Chernobyl 'stabilized'?
I like to end on a positive note; like we're positively screwed.
HAARP In Hiding
Still no word back from anyone in the University of Alaska to explain why HAARP's website is offline. Not to HAARP on this, but....
Seriously I expect it will come back online after the mega quake later this month, to mid May.
New & Improved Wars Department
A doggone dangerous bit of international politicking today as the WSJ reports that officials of Pakistan are privately tell the U.S. to bugger off on drone use over their country.
I scratched my head for a moment trying to figure out how this got into the WSJ Online...and then it all became clear: Why, if the US is told by one sovereign country it can't willy-nilly drone-snipe to its heart's content, why other countries might make an issue of it. Like...er..Libya, for example. yeah, dats it....
My heads got a constantly growing bald patch now from all the head-scratchers lately, but it's a nice counterpoint to the ViseGrip tracks up and down my arms from all the "pinch me" moments.
TSA - Are they Kidding?
More kid-groping vids showing up on YouTube. posted no doubt by those domestic terrorist types who insist on freedom and voting.
Huff & Puff Dept.
Wonder why UrbanSurvival has it's own business model? This oughta sort at least some of that out for you...
Coping: With the Personal Motivation Industry
Somewhere along in our morning chats, I'm sure that I've mentioned my "wacked out" theory that a brain is like any other piece of machinery: It needs to have a certain amount of input of this type and that to work well. And it needs to be taken apart sometimes, and then put back together.
What's clear is that your brain is much more powerful than you probably give it credit for, and if you take up a personal 'brain training" regimen, you'll likely change all kinds of aspects of your personal life.
My list of top brain-trainers is pretty simple:
While it would be a fine question, about here, to ask why neither the Nobel Prize Committee, nor Vatican has improperly missed an award (or sainthood)for whoever got 3,5,4'-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene and C2H5OH to live happily is grape juice is not where we're going.
Instead, I thought I would suggest a couple of very good motivational series.
The top of the class, as I see it, is Earl Nightingale. His various records, cassettes, and CD's like The Essence of Success: The Earl Nightingale Library which although it's $128, is without a doubt, the one 20 CD package I'd give to one of our kids (and may this week) since all the "positive mental attitude" (PMA) in the world is pointless without a lot of plain hard work.
Another one that's pretty good is Tony Robbins' Unlimited Power : The New Science Of Personal Achievement. About $40 new, but you can sometimes find these (and occasionally Nightingale, too) on eBay.
After doing a little bit of research, though, probably the best general butt-kicker and "get something done'er" is the MP3 download of Nightingale's Direct Line for $5.90 off Amazon downloads.
What continues to amaze me is that people will load ujp their headspace with all kinds of junque off the tube and yet when someone suggests putting seriously good (and motivational) stuff into the brain as grist, the result is usually shock and ridicule.
Still, since your brain runs your life (since everyone's mind wanders and isn't on task all the time), what you put in is what you get out. Put a good education and a highly motivated sense of purpose in and guess what comes out?
Interesting email here:
No point - systems broken and here are just two examples:
I've made it a personal crusade to deal with companies that have staff and customer assistance in the USA. I haven't b ought an Adobe product, for example, since a nightmare overseas support call with Acrobat 6.0.
We all get to vote with our wallets, but (like our first problem this morning, feeding of brains) even when confronted with the facts, everyone still wants to be 'special' and as long as they are happily niched, screw everyone else.
The me, me, me generation inevitably seems destined to break the bank.
I write about it only when the pinch-me's from he ViceGrips on my arm have started to heal.
Monday April 11, 2011
Watch the Metals Week
First thing out of the bag this morning, gold had dropped about $10 bucks, but silver was trying to hang onto its recent push over $41 - and just a shade under $42 briefly, which gets us to our first observation of the week. The inflation battle is full-on with oil also popping up to over $112 on a combination of trading pressures, not the least of which is Libya.
Bunch of damn "Nervous Nellies", if you want the truth of it. What most people haven't figured out is that in a real sense, hyperinflation is already here, it's just that raising the national debt ceiling has the effect of perpetuating inflationary pressures. Oh, sure, the talk is that some budget cuts will be coming - but have you noticed how those are always for some future years? Fact of the matter is that the recovery is not real - since when when I talk to real people, they still can't find jobs for which they were trained. One of Elaine's boys is a journeyman electrician up in Colorado. Think he can find suitable work? Not since the housing bubble imploded - things have been on a big slide in his area ever since.
The reason the unemployment picture is not improving now - when it should be - is that normally, government employment acts in 'flywheel effect' during a major recess. Which is to say, government spending carries on (regardless of local conditions) and so that keeps things from going from bad to worse.
Except now: What has happened is that back in the Bush 2 time, the country was slipping into recession/Depression with the Housing collapse and there's been no new job generator brought online to produce prosperity. Instead, we notice the main artifact of the recovery has been changes to the statistical basis on which public policy rests.
Like walking into a casino, losing, and then moving over to the nickel slots with your last dollar: You're going to lose that, too, and so it goes for the nation's [alleged] political leadership. They keep making dumb bets when they should be hanging onto what is left of their dough and consider the possibility that we're as addicted to inflation as any compulsive gambler.
What everyone and his uncle seems to have missed is that not one job has been created in America since...2004!. Don't believe it? Get thee over to the Labor Department's data dispenser, quick!
A sane person (as in one who doesn't read this column) might be able to figure out "Say, if there's no new jobs (just replacements) since 2004, how can we have anything approaching prosperity?"
Right question! So, when we see companies start to post earnings for Q1 '11, I'd expect more surprises to the downside than up, and that oughta make it hard for big companies to sell 'blue sky' stories in coming weeks.
Constipated Supply Lines
Although it won't have a major impact on this month's foreign trade numbers, as ports get ready their monthly confessionals for next week, we nevertheless are wondering how long the earthquake damage in Japan starts to seriously impede production lines in the US. With everything from computer chips to carbon composites to aircraft assemblies, the outlook for a 'quick fix' to the Japanese earthquake trouble is turning into this year's first good mirage.
Worse: The situation at the melting-down nuke plants isn't anywhere near 'solved' - and as a result, the evacuation zone is being increased - all the while the problems of what to do with contaminated water continue to accrue.
What was first billed as a 7.1 shaker, but then downgraded to a 6.6 (details here if you're interested) didn't cause a tsunami, but everyone's still jittery - and perhaps with good reason.
If It Works for Libya...Department
Noticed that the Arab League is planning to push for a no-fly zone over Gaza, which has been populated with a lot of Israeli aircraft (killing 18 since last Thursday) in response to a big surge in rockets fired into Israel last week.
Of course whether no-fly zones are really working depends on where you're sitting: NATO and US commanders would have one view, what's-his-name Gaddafi would have another, while the survivors of the rebel tank column bombed last by NATO forces would have yet another. NATO has fessed up to the mistake... but if the anti-Gaddafi side expects an apology, seems it'll be a cold day in hell before they get it.
Near as I can tell, the smell of C4 (or maybe Cordite) causes brains to malfunction, and run purely on stored testosterone. Jet-A may have similar effects and I am constantly amazed the FDA hasn't regulated all three as threats to the public health.
Talks at the moment seem to suggest that Gaddafi will stay until elections, whenever those happen.
The Weak Ahead
Financially, we might as well skip Monday. The real news flow doesn't kick off until the Balance of Trade figures tomorrow and for fiction readers, the ever-popular Treasury budget update.
I think I pointed out to you that last month's on-budget outlays were around $333-billion, while personal income taxes came to $91.63 billion. Which got me to penciling out "Ure's Collapse Ratio" which is the ratio that results from dividing total personal income taxes paid into the total budget outlays in the Treasury confessionals and it looks like this...
I figure somewhere up around 10-15 times as much spending as [net] personal income taxes, the whole thing blows up because even an idiot would figure that a country spending five times as much as is coming in front doot is headed straight to the poorhouse. What they don't have figured is how much oil and gas we will lock up for future years on the way, but then again, we haven't exactly won any of the warring for that stuff yet. Does work marvels for unemployment figures though...
All the talk about "poor, abused, over-taxed corporations" is one of those often-repeated lies back in Beltway Bandits country. Want to see something that will make your blood boil?
See the personal taxes net line? Now, see the corpgov tax line (both lower right...).
Tax Fog Week.
Say, meant to mention this one, too, since we're at the time of the year when the radical right's media shills go around repeating on of their favorite mantras...
"Double Taxation, " they will claim "Is what happens when corporate dividends are taxed and then the dividends are taxed again by the individual taxpayer..."
This came up because a reader last week asked me my thoughts on this [purported/alleged] "double taxation" issue....
Simply a lie. Each entity pays taxes exactly once. If a corporation makes money, they have an income tax liability. Simple as that.
The individual taxpayer is a separate tax entity which also pays tax on income, right?
So here's the point: each entity pays tax once no matter how hard the corpgov shills would scream otherwise.
But, if you are having a problem with this, think of this making as much sense as complaining about triple mark-ups in the pricing of goods and services.
Just look at farmers: They get paid a mark-up on what they grow, there's a mark-up on the cost of transporting goods, the store marks it up, too. So isn't that triple mark-ups? See how stupid the question gets?
Next next time some tries to foist "double taxation" as a logical argument, call 'em out on it: "Think YOU deserve a tax-free income, stoogie?"
T'other side of it is the question "Think CORPORATIONS deserved a tax-free income, stoogie?" Hardly worth asking this, since as shown in last month's Federal budget numbers, they're already not paying taxes (net, net) last month.
The IRS filing date is the 18th of April this year. Not out of compassion but because the (so-called/alleged) leadership in the District of Confusion screwed around for so long figuring out what to do.
Just as soon as PIMCO's rumored short position vis U.S. Treasuries hit the wires, the dollar started to climb this morning.
With the end of QE2, a LOT of currency gurus are saying the dollar will resume its decline. One reader asked if the budget deal was effectively QE3....I guess one could look at it that way.
I don't mind the government going bust, just as long as we get our tax refunds and have enough time to turn them into physical assets.
Futures point to an upward opening this morning. I've still got my money on left-field for unexpected developments....but don't think of me as a leftist...
Coping: Input Versus Output Taxes
I had my nose in a good book long enough this weekend to get some particularly interesting economic insights out of the Panic of 1873, as reported in the 1895 copy of David Ames Wells' "Recent Economic Changes" and there were two particularly good insights worth sharing, even though Monday's around here are usually "thought-free days."
The first has to do with the history of the EU. I didn't realize, till I really got into the book that "Zollverein" (German, meaning approximately "commerce union") was an idea that popped out of Tubingen University (too lazy to find the umlaut to put over u, sorry, I swore off umlauts (and other diacritics) after I haBe vier jahren Deutche zum hochschule gesprecht (again those missing umlauts!) and not at all well, I'd add.
The point is that the Zollverein was proposed by the Germans due in part to the sugar beet trade problems Europe was having at the time. But here's the thing: As described, this was almost exactly like the EU! Which gets me to cooking up a new axiom:
But now to the main thought: The Zollverein was floated because the Germans had used an input tax rather than an output tax on the refining of sugar beets into table sugar.
Turns out that in 1869, it took about 12 pounds of beets to make a pound of sugar. Seemed a simple-enough deal for the Germans: In come 12 pounds of sugar beets, so its taxed as one pound of finished sugar ready for market.
But here's the catch: By the time 1889 rolled around, there had been so much improvement in sugar refining skills, that it only took 8.65 pounds of sugar beets to get a pound of sugar.
A fine illustration of how input taxes can give an incentive to technology and how they are the kind most easily abused by corporations which, since at least the 1870's in the literature, have wheedled and whangled their way to fatter profits while opposing honest/linear/output taxation polices.
Which when we do our bit on forensic economics this morning, we note for the first two months of Calendar Year 2011, mean individuals have paid 74-times more tax than corporations. $166.822 B vs. $2.248 B. Do the math if you don't trust me...Hell, I wouldn't trust me, either, at least this early on a Monday.
Care to guess where the big tax breaks have gone?
Fortunately, I'm trying to keep by blood pressure down, so I will update these when available and I won't become a taxrouser. Much too early for that and besides: pointless.
Around the Ranch
My 24-track digital sound mixer started to act up this weekend, dropping its FireWire connection. Trouble seems to have been resolved with a poorly seated connector, but not before going hip-deep into surface-mount country armed only with a screwdriver, soldering iron, and jackhammer.
All's well that ends well....except my ears are ringing from the test firing 400 watts of Van Halen...
Zeus the cat wouldn't even come near the office building this morning - had to be carried out of the rain. He has his humans well-trained.
Puscilla Catsley, on the other hand, was fast enough to sneak into the house until the lighting fired off from our current round of T-storms heading off to the northeast from here.
Up the road a piece in Dallas, a fair bit of damage was reported from high winds. A couple of plastic panels blew out of the greenhouse, so as they blow out, they're being put back in with silicon adhesive.
Today's big project will be making another hidden door in the house. besides a "Trader Vic's" looking dining room, I've really gotten into hidden bookcases and such. I'll try to remember to snap a pic of the "door" when done.
Father Knows Best
My son (KF7OCD) called to admit the old man was right (again): An Icom 735 is just as hot a receiver as the new Icom 718. Apparently, he didn't trust my judgment - which was that while the 718 is a good entry level HF radio, if you're going to get a radio, save up for something with either a bigger feature set OR smaller footprint. Suggested the Icom 7000 would be more to his liking...a "DC to Daylight" radio, small and with DSP.
Not sure why, even when a parent actually has some knowledge in a subject area, that kids seem compelled to go out and test the grown up's suggestions.
Of course, you and I didn't do that, did we?
Still No Wedding Invite
I keep going out to the mailbox, hoping to get an invite to the royal wedding later this month. Alas, no sign of one yet.
May have something to do with pointing out that the royal wedding is on the anniversary of Hitler's marriage to Eva Braun... or perhaps it was because I was planning to wear alligator shoes, you think?
George On Speed
Don't know if you saw this, but here in Texas there's a chance we could bump up the speed on some of the freeways to 85 MPH. That would reduce the time it takes to drive across Texas from 2-weeks down to about 10-days, or so it seems.
Related: I found a promising plane, so we're looking at that, since with a cruise speed of 130 knots, it would still be a damn sight faster at 153 MPH - and no radar guns lurking...and mileage would be nearly comparable. Have to look into insurance and a lot of other details, though.
Before the chart, a little background:
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for 'truth' in economics, that the PowersThatBe, the talking heads on the teeve, and the other information sources that actively engage in the programming of humans not to think, had conveniently swept several trillions of dollars that disappeared in the Internet Bubble's bursting (since spring 2000) under the rug. Surely, it wasn't unnoticed by the thousands of people who called brokers and said "Where is my money?" "Gone, but hang in there as you're a long term investor!" was about all they heard back.
So one of our charts for Peoplenomics subscribers oughta be widely circulated - it shows that if you line up the peak of the Dow in January 2000 with the peak in early September of 1929, we're on a very very close replay track. Much closer than even the chart shows if you were to back out inflation, and put in the effects of 1929 deflation, but that'd be real work, and I'm sort of lazy if the truth be told.
No, it's not a perfect replay of 1929, but history doesn't repeat exactly, it only rhymes. So think of this as the rhymes and the crimes chart:
"George, that's only a coincidence!" your monkey-mind will protest.
Why sure it is...you bet. A 9½ year long coincidence...yessir....just a coincidence, we're like SO sure... (Shhh...don't tell anyone that major Depressions are two-part coupled affairs like the linkage between 1920-21 and 1929, OK? Damn, dude...don't spoil it for the sheep...)
Oh...don't forget to "Write when you get rich!"
George Ure, The People's Economist
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