July 30, 2011 05:23 AM CDT
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The Two Default Choices
Time to talk about economic hemlock and how we'd like to go: With the
republicorps unable (unwilling?) to bring a budget resolution to a vote in
the House, congressman Ron Paul's got it figured, sadly, pretty much right.
The US is headed for default and it really comes down to how we go about it:
By outright default, or by pumping inflation. We all lose, either
Another vid worth
watching (statistically, you won't like it) is the White House press
secretary saying they will 'take action' if it comes to that. Oh, my,
ain't that comforting?
Even more interesting is how the Treasury is lining up to side with
bondholders which, as we've suggested before, should have all been
refi'ed at the kind of interest rates banks are paying American savers: Asn
Bank of America, this morning, for example, is paying 0.30% ANNUALLY on
"Risk Free CD" product with a 9 month term.
With $30 billion of interest coming due on August 15th, we sort of
wonder why the government doesn't just call the damn bonds and
reissue at zero percent interest? That way, the capital is returned,
so bondholders can't bitch too much, yet the compound madness on the
national debt would be stopped dead in its tracks.
I know, too simple. So, instead, we'll banko the country and save the
rich. And here you thought there was no aristocracy in America.
Ha! What fools we've been.
Out this morning from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (a
fiefdom of the Commerce Dept.) the shocking news that the expansion of
the economy sucks.
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced
by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual
rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter of 2011, (that is, from the first
quarter to the second quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released
by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased
The Bureau emphasized that the second-quarter advance estimate released
today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further
revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3). The "second" estimate
for the second quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on
August 26, 2011.
The estimates released today reflect the annual revision of the national
income and product accounts (NIPAs). In addition to the regular revision of
estimates for the most recent 3 years and the first quarter of 2011,
current-dollar GDP and some components are revised back to the first quarter
of 2003. In cases for which the estimates for the reference year (2005) are
revised, this results in revisions to the levels of the related index
numbers and chained-dollar estimates for the entire historical period;
revisions to percent changes before the first quarter of 2003 are small.
Annual revisions, which are usually released in July, incorporate source
data that are more complete, more detailed, and otherwise more reliable than
those previously available. This release includes the revised quarterly
estimates of GDP, corporate profits, and personal income and provides an
overview of the results of the revision.
The August 2011 Survey of Current Business will contain NIPA tables and
an article describing the revisions. The complete set of revised estimates
will be available on BEA’s Web site at www.bea.gov.
In my ever-expanding efforts to put a positive spin on things, I want you to
remember that when the economy sucks this badly, it just means that much more
room for improvement. Hand me my crack pipe, please?
The New Arms Race
I told you earlier this week about how the Chinese were off on an aircraft
carrier building project for "research & training" as I recall it.
Well, lookie here: This morning the Chinese are upping their ante a bit
with a story in Xinhua reporting an "Interview:
Military experts says Chinese deserves aircraft carrier for national security."
Naturally, this will be picked up in the US at some high levels and along with
come opposition to any spending cuts for the US military. Not enough to
have four wars going at once (and why we need an empire-sized 'embassy' in Iraq
is another fine question).
To anyone with a pea-sized brain, China doesn't need any aircraft carriers -
they can already modulate life in the West by simply turning exports up, or
down, along with US Treasury purchases.
Unless, of course, they (like we) really need an arms race to create a solid
Wonder where they would have come up with such a plan. I means besides
right here in the good ol' USA, of course.
Nothing to See Here, Department
Well, looks like the cover-up of the continuing nuclear disaster in Japan has
just taken another turn for the worse with a
report that the Japanese government is now laying in plans to 'go after' people
with negative coverage/tweets/blogs about just how bad things are.
Like that's going to fix anything. But, I suppose to the JA division of
the PTB it is easier to bury the internet than all the radioactivity.
Besides, it builds a nice thought-control police state and you just know
how useful that can be to have handy.
Groping Coping Skills
Talking to TSA
Looks like TSA is about to start talking to travelers more,
with agents being trained up in how to spot suspicious types in airports.
Lemme see...gropes, chatty conversation...yup, only thing missing is drinks and
soft music now...and we expect that one of these first days.
Government Snooping Avatars?
Oh, and if that sounds strange, try on this reader alert under the heading of
"Online Behavioral Biometrics":
Casting about subsequent to reading the BBC
article on id check development for anonymous virtual gamers can lead
one to papers of
university researcher Dr. Roman Yampolskiy.
Also, it might be informative to interpret the progress of emerging
Gosh, darn it, I don't have a sectional map of NY in my flight bag...besides,
that's high stress flying country. So we'll just have to miss the
Singularity Conference in October, I suppose...
Oklahoma City - Revisited
At a time when
ATF is in hot water for sending arms to drug dealers in Mexico and South America
(say, that's some plan, huh?) we find it interesting that The Intel Hub
is coming out with new
revelations about what was going on leading up to the tragic Oklahoma City
bombing opf 1995 including allegations that the FBI had a high profile
non-profit outfit working for it.
On the one hand, in both cases it seemed the government was trying to
do good. It's just that there's an old saying "The road to hell
is paved with good intentions." Or, in these cases, it's enough intention
paving for a 10-lane freeway.
(more after this...)
Coping: Friday at the WuJo
A number of comments have popped up in the wake of our report this week in
the Case of the Missing Shirt. Not just parallel cases, but also a few
"George, tell your reader whose shirt disappeared that it is wherever my
sleeveless turtleneck went last March. I laid it out on the bed, prior to
getting in the shower. I then went to get a pair of slacks to put on the bed
with it. Came back to the room and shirt had vanished. Retraced all my
steps, looked in every ‘impossible’ place, wasting an hour in total
bewilderment. It STILL has not turned up.
If you get another report of missing shirts, we will really have to
investigate a conspiracy! (do space aliens need shirts?)"
Elaine had a similar experience a few years back when we moved from our sailboat
out in San Diego to a house in Boca Raton, Florida. Would have been early
She had a pair of "retro" navy blue bell-bottom pants. When we got to
Boca, she looked high and low for the damn things; literally took the house
apartment because "I know I packed them.
Months went by and no bell-bottoms. Then suddenly, they just showed up,
about a year later, if I recall correctly.
Strange? Well, yes - and no. Observe the similarities as we wheel
out The Case of the Vanishing Pencil:
The story this morning about the guy who lost his shirt reminded me that
I wrote this up several days ago and forgot to send it to you. Just another
of those odd things that happen.
THE VANISHING PENCIL
About 20 years ago, when my two little boys were about 6 and 8 years of
age, we were all sitting at the kitchen table, writing something; probably
homework or writing letters, I don’t remember, but we all had paper and
pencil and were working at something. It was a plain rectangular kitchen
table. I was at the end and my two boys were on the left side of the table,
the younger one next to me, on my left, and his brother on his left. The
younger boy put his pencil down, at the upper right hand side of his paper,
and it started to roll off the table toward the corner. I saw it rolling out
of the corner of my eye, but I continued to write with my right hand, while
I put my left hand under the edge of the table to catch the pencil as it
rolled off. BUT IT DIDN’T. There was no pencil, nothing hit the floor and no
sound. We searched all over the floor and our clothing but never found that
pencil. It had simply vanished. Hummm…
I checked the table to figure out why the pencil rolled off. I didn’t
have a carpenter’s level but the table seemed as level and stable as always.
The table leg was fine. I placed other pencils on the table, they didn’t
roll off. The pencil was an ordinary yellow #2, about 2/3 of its full size.
Fast forward about 8 years; the boys are now teenagers, about 14 and 16
years old. Same house, same furniture arrangement in the kitchen. I was
standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes, with my back to the living
room. I heard a ‘clink’ sound and turned around to see a pencil rolling
across the floor a few inches and stop. I looked up at my sons who were both
sitting in the living room watching television. I said “OK. Who threw that
pencil?” Both boys looked up, dumbfounded and confused. They had no idea
what I was talking about. They were engrossed in the program they were
watching and didn’t even hear the pencil drop.
The pencil on the floor was an ordinary yellow #2, about 2/3 of its full
size, just like the one that had vanished 8 years earlier. The only thing I
couldn’t remember is what color the eraser was on the first pencil. This
‘new found’ pencil had a green eraser.
Because of the distance, if one of the boys had thrown, or tossed the
pencil into the kitchen from the living room it would have hit the floor and
bounced, rather than just a ‘drop and roll’ as this one did.
I just said quietly to whoever might be listening, “thank you”, and
tucked the whole experience away with a lot of other strange things that
happened while we lived in that house."
But wait! (As the late but Great Billy said...Mays
if the coffee hasn't kicked you up a notch yet.) There's more!
I've been reading with interest for some time the stories of appearing
and disappearing objects, and was wondering when and if it would happen to
A couple of months ago, my husband and I had a relative visiting who
wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. It was sunny out, being Arizona and all,
so my husband went to his drawer to fetch his favorite UT cap, a black cap
with orange longhorn logo...a discontinued collectors item. It was nowhere
to be found...all vehicles, drawers, nooks and crannies were searched and
re-searched. Finally he had to settle on wearing his orange and white UT
cap, which is not flattering on anyone. We have photos of him at the canyon
wearing the orange cap.
During the following weeks, more searching took place for the beloved
hat, with no luck. I decided to find him a suitable replacement, and was
able to locate a black with black logo model, elegant and understated. It
was a surprise for him, and the morning the package arrived I did not open
it right away. A few minutes later, my husband opened his drawer, and found
the original black cap nestled inside the orange cap that he had worn to the
canyon. He tried it on to see if possibly that day he was wearing BOTH hats
at one, but clearly that was not the case--it would have been easily seen in
the pictures and by us.
The timing of the incident of the return of the cap seemed
suspicious--did it not want to be usurped? Also, the returned black cap
seems quite dusty (space dust?)
I've been hearing more of these stories from people I know, so perhaps we
had better get used to these shifts. Fortunately, the items seem to be small
and unimportant. I won't be amused to go out to garage and have my car
What we seem to be sketching in here is a kind of topology of a
particular kind of strangeness. In times gone by, this would have been
laid at the feet of either "elves" or "little people" and if you've ever read
the works of Charles Fort, you'll catch a whiff of the same elusive scent.
What? You don't know who Charles Fort is? Hand me a Wikipedia,
wouldja? Ah, here we go:
researcher into anomalous phenomena:
"Examples of the odd phenomena in Fort's books include many of what
are variously referred to as
paranormal. Reported events include
teleportation (a term Fort is generally credited with coining);
falls of frogs, fishes, inorganic materials of an amazing range;
unaccountable noises and explosions;
ball lightning (a term explicitly used by Fort);
unidentified flying objects;
unexplained disappearances; giant wheels of light in the oceans;
and animals found outside their normal ranges (see
phantom cat). He offered many reports of
Out-of-place artifacts (OOPArts), strange items found in
unlikely locations. He also is perhaps the first person to explain
strange human appearances and disappearances by the hypothesis of
alien abduction and was an early proponent of the
extraterrestrial hypothesis, specifically suggesting that
strange lights or object sighted in the skies might be alien
spacecraft. Fort also wrote about the interconnectedness of nature
and synchronicity. His books seem to center around the idea that
everything is connected and that strange coincidences happen for a
Many of these phenomena are now collectively and conveniently
referred to as Fortean phenomena (or Forteana), whilst others have
developed into their own schools of thought: for example, reports of
ufology and unconfirmed animals (cryptids)
cryptozoology. These new disciplines per se are generally not
recognized by most scientists or academics however."
Got a thick green paperback on the bookshelf titled The Complete Books of Charles Fort: The Book of the Damned / Lo! / Wild Talents / New Lands
($23 - Amazon), 1,152 pages worth, so a couple of pages a day for a year and
a half's worth of reading...)
Granted, a lot of Fort's work is longish, but there's plenty of juicy
wujo to keep on have should the internet ever go down, that you'll soon
enough be putting shots of Bushmills out around old trees where you live
(post oaks are good) in order to 'make peace with the little people'.
Apparently, they're boozers.
Still, without ascribing the high strangeness to unprovable, hypothecated
sources, we are still in awe of the implications of the "disappear/reappear"
phenomena because there are just so damn man credible reports.
Like this one from a quite sane and very serious dentist:
"Just a quick note, I am a new subscriber but have been a 'survival watcher'
for some time. Thought this would fit your wujo zone list of odd stuff. My
wife had taken off her "house slippers" and placed them semi-under her chest
of drawers. When she awoke the next morning, only one slipper was where she
had left both. Thinking I had hidden the missing one, she put the single one
in her closet. The next morning, the missing one showed up, right where she
had left it. Makes you scratch your head and say, "hmmmm".
As long as we're scratching about here, there is a large body of
thought on topic which shows up in fiction, at least we hope
it stays in that realm. One slice of the data may have influenced a
Twilight Zone episode, first aired January 24th, 1986 titled "A Matter of
Minutes" the plot of which is:
married couple, the Wrights, wake up one day to the sounds of construction.
When they get a good look at the world around them, they find everything has
stopped. A crew of blue-clad construction workers are busy removing their
furniture and replacing it with new. The Wrights run outside to find things
being rebuilt that have already existed. The workers set up a crash, and
distribute litter in the streets. The Wrights start to go in the direction
of the voice barking out orders to the workers until the voice tells them to
chase the Wrights.
Confused and frightened, the couple run into a back alley and enter a
void of white space. They discover a man in yellow, who helps them out of
the void and explains to them he is the supervisor of the maintenance of
time. They have somehow slipped into a loophole of time. While they should
be in an earlier time, 9:33, for some reason they have hopped over into
11:37. Showing them exactly how time is maintained, he reveals to them a new
understanding of how the universe works: every minute in history is
essentially a separate world, which must be built, maintained, and torn down
once the world finishes with it. The supervisor informs them that they
cannot return for two reasons: one, they cannot reveal to anyone the true
nature of time and two, the supervisor isn't even certain they could return
if they wanted to. The Wrights flee from the foreman and his crew, and try
to find a way to slip back to their own time. They hide inside a theatre
ticket booth waiting until their time, 11:37, rolls around and catches up
with them. The foreman finds them but too late. A sudden loud noise and
whoosh of wind and the Wrights suddenly come into their world again. Back in
their own time, they find a "blue" wrench sitting on a public telephone, a
souvenir as proof of their experience."
Sound like an oldie but goodie?
That ain't nothin'. You absolutely, positively have to see this movie with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in the motion picture The
Adjustment Bureau (the
movie trailer is on YouTube here) which brings us around to acknowledging of
the the best minds ever when it comes down to exploring 'the modern madness':
Phillip K. Dick.
When I read the list of movies based on his works (Blade Runner, Total
Recall, Minority Report and Adjustment Bureau -
plus a lot more)
I'm reminded more and more that the fate of humanity may rest somewhere in
the valley between Charles Fort and Dick's work on the one side, and Lynne
McTaggart ( The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe)
and Dean Radin (
The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena)
You can read Chapter 1
online at Radin's site, here.
In a way, the really, really BIG question awaiting resolution comes down to
this: Are these phenomena something we ourselves create - a
kind of hide & go seek with ourselves, OR is there really an Adjustment
Bureau at work tweaking our matter of minutes here on this plane?
Toking Up With Aliens
Ok, so maybe while Igor is off scouting out an even more remote hang-out
(being so freaked out with what's coming to a planet near you between now
and early 2013) Clif let the spiders of the web bot project out, and
maybe, just maybe there will be more glimpses of the future to come.
But, in the meantime, Clif's been laughing at the
Giant Hint from Space
Aliens which seems implicit in the latest crop circle which has
if you're in a hurry)
A reader who already caught the post sent an email with the subject line: "Ceci
n'est pas une pipe"
Clif suggested to have an unprejudiced look at the at newest cropcircle.
Well, my first thought went to the famous painting of René Magritte, with
the following thought:
Denying what is real is clearly a specialty of our surreal society, and
obviously our alien friends have noticed this as well. The question is, what
of the things we deny in our society (our own history, the imminent collapse
of our financial system, massive earth changes, our alien contacts) are they
Answer that one and you've got the makings of a fine book, or the founding
of a new social movement/religion on your hands.
For now, we just wonder if the Creator(s?) put the seven teaching plants
on each planet they roll out and judge the progress of the breeding pairs in
the cosmic zoo based on how the genetically-engineered species make parts of
the environment illegal in order to hoard power and control in the uppermost
levels of the hierarchy.
Gee, they wouldn't do that, would they?
Drop on by again Monday as our Indonesian Bureau Chief has spied something
called UN Bucks in circulation down thataway. Meantime, more for
Send Ure comments to
UrbanSurvival Amazon store. Books, computers & S/w and outdoor gear.
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The Rally in the Big Picture
(Snowflake, AZ) These have got to be
some perplexing times to be investing, so some effort in this week's report
to make sense out of what the road ahead may look like - beyond the obvious:
bumpy as hell. We face problems in Europe, a debt ceiling showdown
here in the USA, and contrary indicators on inflation & deflation.
Still, there's at least a tradable outlook short term, but let's back up and
start at the beginning before we jump to Boolean Event Trading, and the idea
of offshored marriages....
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Amazing gardens in about 2 square feet of floor space:
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"Live on $10,000" A Year
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Last week's report is always here.
Thursday July 28, 2011
You know the political stupid season is in full swing when
Phillips, who's the nominal head of the Tea Party comes out and blasts House
Speaker John Boehner over his efforts to hold onto a debt ceiling bill
which, by most accounts is not workable.
Nevertheless ( and despite hopes of bulls that the vote will be sensible
later today ) there's no telling how far America's legislative terrorists
will go in their efforts to (depending on who you listen to) either slam
America into a Greece-like default, or hold to the principles of "fiscal
responsibility" while ignoring that the rate of spending increase king was
either George Bush, or Ronald Reagan before them.
stock futures are up a tad on the hope reasonableness will somehow show
up unannounced, which would be fine with me, since I'm on the long side of
this puppy and a 500-point rally over two days following the return of
reason is what I'm gambling on. Foolishly, so far, though, I'm sad to
But, my outlook is for the indices to rally like crazy - maybe 5 percent or
more - and for gold and silver to come off their flight to safety rally a
bit, perhaps next week, provided, that is, reasonableness shows up.
Americans, it seems are sick of having their country held hostage by them
legislative terrorists and Judson Phillips has called it right, I think.
My friend Howard Hill is asking a more appropriate question, and it goes to
our usual cui bono inquiry: Who stands to make money with a USA
default? Once upon a time we might have known, but the Grahams
did that it, so we're left with Howard asking "Who
plays AIG in the Sequel?"
a $4.8 billion dollar bet against America, a lack of transparency,
republicorp intransigence, and the Euro hitting the wall next week, the only
thing missing from the financial blender is a couple of shots of El Don, and
I figure those to be along shortly.
Then there's the little discussed
change in margin on Treasury debt to serve up a kind of guacamole.
Meantime, the corpgov republicorps seem to have forgotten the message
Americans sent in the last elections was "Fix things". We thought they
had enough to sense not to break them in the process. But there you
have it...the common sense ain't common proof all over again.
Some what if there are privacy concerns?
Florida is planning to sell private corporations proprietary driver's
license information. Oh, sure, it may raise $62 million, but
don'tcha know healthcare corps would love to get that weight info, huh?
Oh, yeah, clip this out and save it for next time one of your friends tells
you how republicorps (like FL guv Rick Scott) are 'friends of freedom".
Scott's also been a hold the federal debt ceiling crusader.
Now, where are those campaign contribution lists...wonder if Boehner and
Scott have any common donors?
Best government (corporate) money can buy, eh?
Here's the weekly blast from he Dept. of Labor:
In the week ending July 23,
figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 398,000, a decrease of
24,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 422,000. The 4-week
moving average was 413,750, a decrease of 8,500 from the previous week's
revised average of 422,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent
for the week ending July 16, a 0.1 percentage point decrease from the prior
week's revised rate of 3.0 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during
the week ending July 16 was 3,703,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the
preceding week's revised level of 3,720,000. The 4-week moving average was
3,721,000, a decrease of 5,250 from the preceding week's revised average of
Tomorrow's reports will include GDP...
Locals around East Texas sometimes call this time of year "monsoon season"
which is when the occasional hurricane blows up from the Gulf and brings
much-needed moisture to the drought parched area.
This weekend, tropical storm Don is due to lasso some moisture and bring it
up toward the Rio Grand Valley and, if there's enough, maybe the hay growers
who've been suffering will get a second cutting this year, after all.
The National Hurricane Center outlook for wind speeds out 5-days looks like
this (as of this morning):
But it isn't exactly a panacea:
Up north in the band from Iowa to Pennsylvania, the dry weather has farmers
Despite .65" in the rain gauge here last night, we're still many
inches under normal (remember back then?). Even the lows are hot:
"Record highest minimum temperature tied at Dallas/Fort Worth...
The low temperature at Dallas Fort Worth Airport on Wednesday... July 27
2011 was 83 degrees. This ties the previous record highest minimum for July
27 of 83 degrees set in 1998. "
And, maybe it'll be somehow a super-sized version of compression heating, but
this may be the best weekend of the year to get some baked "Okie from Muskogee".
Weather Service is looking for records in the region:
HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT WILL REMAIN OVER THE REGION...ALLOWING FOR THE DANGEROUS
HEAT TO CONTINUE THROUGH THE WEEKEND WITH HEAT INDICES IN THE 105 TO 115
DEGREE RANGE. IN ADDITION... OVERNIGHT LOWS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN VERY WARM
AT NIGHT AND WILL PROVIDE LITTLE TO NO RELIEF FROM THE HEAT. SCATTERED
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS COULD PROVIDE SOME TEMPORARY RELIEF IN A FEW SPOTS
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY.
Weather TS Don will bring moisture up that way is a thin bet, at best.
The Data Gap, Evolving
Flip over to Stan and Holly Deyo's site and scroll down to their note "Deal
Millennium-Ark Family. Read up on
their experience first-hand with an internet outage that smacks of the
kind of thing Clif and Igor have been catching evolving around the net.
All of which is why we have four internet onramps here and have separate
www.peoplenomics.com , and
www.urbansurvival.com. Bookmark 'em and if your company blocks the
UrbanSurvival daily reports, try our SSL (secure layer) connection at
You know all about the linguistic talk about how "sinkholes" would be coming
into the public mind...which it has pretty much on schedule. But
what's just plain weird is to catch
the report out of the St. Petersburg Times that sinkhole insurance is
about to his the roof (to so speak).
Who'da thought? More on
sinkholes as "A sign of the times?" here.
A lot of mainstream coverage of
a 'high sick rate' at Continental Airlines the past day, or so.
But some of our readers are wondering if this might also have something to
do with radiation leftovers from Japan still blowing this way...
No, we are not going to the 12:01 AM local premier of Cowboys and Aliens.
Maybe the afternoon show tomorrow.
Coping: With the Aftermath of Vacations
A kind of short rant this morning, about the Quality of Life this morning as
I've just spent about 10=hours of effort on getting back up to speed on the
kind of things that happen when one goes on vacation.
For one thing, this being East Texas, there are innumerable little critters
that wanted to take up residency in my office while I was gone. In
particular, the 3½ inch long scorpion
discovered under my phone was a treat. After he refused to share
respnsibility for the business line, I dispatched him to wherever mean
critters go in the Afterlife, so as to be able to reincarnate in Washington.
Next was the inevitable pile of bills.
Not that we've haven't reduced our monthly operating expenses as low as
possible already. We still manage to get a note from the local water
district telling us how much we used, how much they charged, and how much
they sucked out of the bank account automatically. Then there's the
electricity bill. Again, lots of conservation but another set of paper
to cope with.
My one gas card showed up, too.
Not a biggie, but time consuming. Same with the umpteen internet
providers so we can reliably inflict unwanted humor and cynicism on the
world; something more people should pursue.
Along with that a couple of books showed up.
Since writing a few checks and squish a bug or
three and putting out additional sticky-traps is only a half-hour problem,
this is where things began to bog down. Since I have a "reading list"
of nearly a hundred books, fitting them into the schedule took a half hour
Next came a couple of items off eBay and
Amazon. Since there were grown up toys (E6 flight computer, for
example) there went another hour, or two. It may be slightly
disingenuous2 of me to class this as work, but the empty boxes have to be
cleared up, so it's a half-right description.
Besides, the flight computer book verged on work:
"Suppose the distance between the checkpoints was 25-miles and the time
to fly this distance was k10-minutes. Thus, our problem is: If he flew
25-miles in 10 minutes, how many miles will he fly in one hour?"
Since I became semi-expert as using 10's and estimating, I mentally
figured that the plane was flying 2.5-miles per minutes and that therefore
the plane in question was flying 2½ times 60
which I did in my head and came up with 149.999 miles per hour, mostly
because I have a built in floating point error of .0001 in how I think about
Well, wouldn't you know it? The flight
computer booklet had a series of example problems and another 1/2-hour was
blown off comparing the speed and accuracy of 'doing it in my head' versus
using the flight computer.
About here, I almost got around to real
work, but a thunderstorm was brewing up outside so I tracked down Zeus the
Cat and explained the deteriorating sky conditions and how it would likely
mean thunder and lightning. His discussion of vertical air column
mixing was belabored and boring, but after 15-minutes of meowsillating on
things, he agreed to come in from the 1-03 degree heat and chill out in the
Editor in Chief's chair.
Once again, I tried to get down to the serious
matter of real work, but just as I reached for the phone to call a client in
Chicago, the phone ran in my hand (the one with smashed scorpion on it) and
Elaine announced she was almost home and could I come help with the
Which I did, but being around food got the
stomach juices churning and so while dinner was being prepared, I decided to
take a few minutes of downtime and update the backup server. With the
rash of service backs, backed up to the point of computational constipation
over the past 10-days, there went another half hour.
Long and short of it is that I got
semi-caught-up; Zeus got to play chicken-cat, Elaine had help in the kitchen
(which I must excel at, as least so says my beltline, and the few vendors we
have will get their due.
From an 18-inch staff of crap, I'm down to a
mere handful, but nevertheless, the problem with vacations is clear:
The momentary relaxation that should come with them gets immediately
squashed with the harsh reality that nothing at all got done in the way of
paperwork during all those hours on the road.
I so reached the inevitable conclusion that
vacations are just a cruel joke on hapless humanity: Even if you work
ahead so as to be able to enjoy them a bit, they nevertheless run ahead
of available time before you get back, and so -= on average - you get as
stressed as you were before you left.
Vacations, however sugar-coated and sold by
management con artists - are to be avoided in the future.
Worse: I'm having concerns now about this
stuff called "retirement" too, because I have yet to see anyone
retire and have half as much fun as they dreamt of during 45-years of
Do your own research, and let me know.
But without a major purpose (RV'ing, flying, fishing, hiking, photography -
or whatever turns your crank) time off, vacations, and retirement are
just insidious plots of actuaries to kill people and so keep us from
collecting Social Security or spending what's in the "retirement" account on
the pleasures of life.
Send Me Your Money!
In yesterday's column I explained for you how
the replacement of Cash with online digidollars actually contained a few
"feature" that most people haven't thought through, namely an audit trail
so government can come in and decide if you're buying too much hooch,
funding terrorist, reading dangerous books, or supporting outfits like the
A letter the other reader may be of interest:
Just an hour ago, I called my credit union to warn them that I would be
coming by their branch on Saturday to remove $5,000 in cash from my account.
They require prior notification of large withdrawals. (I confess to an
uneasy feeling about the proposals wandering through congress and back and
forth to the White House about debt and the debt ceiling. I am concerned
that a bank holiday could be a partial response to a US debt default. I am
sure that this is caused by excessive time watching Fox News, but I
Perhaps I should send a check to you for $5,000 to avoid having those
FRNs sitting under my mattress until this crisis passes? But, no, that
wouldn’t work because the check would be a paper trail leading to you. I’m
sure the government agent you described in today’s Independence Journal
would suspect that it was payment being rendered for your participation in
some nefarious plot! We would be forever linked and anything you did or that
I did could be construed as justification for charging the other party for
group crimes against the system.
Perhaps it will be best if I just keep the cash. Maybe buy another couple
of boxes of ammo for my SA-XD 45 to protect the mattress and help our ammo
industry keep its head above water, but let’s avoid any physical contact
from sullying our current arm’s length relationship.
Thank you for all your efforts to keep us apprised of the goings on
around this wonderful country of ours. I’m sure the agent assigned to
following your every comment, trip and dollar spent appreciates the job
security you provide. "
And I'm glad to do it - provide that job security -
although I suppose I should confess to something here: I have
single-handily arranged for the country to have a six-day period of default in
order to see how "the agent" handles the piling up of things while they
aren't at work.
As a quacktitioner of management science, we need
more data on whether government will every catch up through extra effort,
although I suspect this is where cumulative delays in being responsive to the
people has come from.
If you look here, for example, you'll see that in 2012,
the federal employees of the Big Governments court system will get 10 days
worth of holidays.
Since many private concerns only provide for eight holidays,
we see the 'slip' as two days per year.
The way I have it figured is this: Since the Revolutionary War,
America is now 235 years old. And, 'slipping' two days per year means
if the 'slip' has been constant (with by direct time off, or just low
productivity) that would account for about 470-days worth of effort since
And that my friend is why government is precisely 1.2876712 years
out of phase with The People.
That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
Thursday at the WuJo
There's action on the mat down at our fringe reality dojo where real science
runs smack into real reality, which as has become apparent, is not always
what it seems. To wit:
Good afternoon. I am letting you know that I lost my shirt on Sunday.
Not figuratively, but literally. I was running late for 11:00 Mass, and
because I'm re-transitioning back into my own house due to a medical issue
which is now mostly resolved, I didn't have my full supply of clothes at my
place, so I had on a short, and a T-shirt, which were the extent of my clean
and semi-presentable garments.
I wanted to look just a little bit less dressed-down, so I grabbed my
sky-blue long-sleeved shirt with the original "American Eagle" emblem quite
a bit faded/worn away. I had a couple of other items to retrieve before
leaving, so I then put the shirt back down. A couple of minutes later, I
went to retrieve the shirt, and it had vanished.
Now I am a bachelor with a not-entirely 100% tidy pad, so there was the
possibility that I misplaced it, and I guess there still is that
possibility, except my house is not that big, and I searched pretty much
every place I could have dropped the shirt.
It was not a sentimentally-important item of clothing, but the idea that
something could just entirely be erased from what I perceive to be my
"Reality Stream", in which things generally do not disappear without some
sort of manifest reason, is more unsettling than interesting or useful.
It certainly must be mere coincidence that this took place one week after
I purchased, and one day after I started reading Michael Baigent and Richard
Leigh's The Temple And The Lodge.
Nope. To assign causality to reading a book doesn't work here.
That would be like you drawing a similar causal line to an event like "This
took place the day after I picked up a discarded milk carton from the my
You see the point, of course? More likely explanation? The shirt got
so tied of waiting to be hung up, it just wandered off looking for
companionship. They do that, you know.
Check next door. They using don't wander more than a few houses away.
Sometimes, back in my single days, I could get 'em to come to a bowl of
Wednesday July 27, 2011
Drop in Durables
The odds of a second dip in the economy just moved up a north this morning
with a report on Durable Goods Orders from the Census Bureau:
New orders for manufactured durable goods in June decreased $4.0 billion or
2.1 percent to $192.0 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This
decrease, down two of the last three months, followed a 1.9 percent May
Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1 percent. Excluding
defense, new orders decreased 1.8 percent. Transportation equipment, also
down two of the last three months, had the largest decrease, $4.2 billion or
8.5 percent to $45.4 billion. This was due to nondefense aircraft and parts
which decreased $2.8 billion.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in June, up six of the last seven
months, increased $1.0 billion or 0.5 percent to $196.0 billion. This
followed a 0.5 percent May increase. Machinery, up four of the last five
months, had the largest increase, $0.7 billion or 2.6 percent to $29.1
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in June, up fourteen of the
last fifteen months, increased $2.1 billion or 0.2 percent to $862.7
billion. This followed a 0.9 percent May increase. Machinery, up seventeen
consecutive months, had the largest increase, $2.1 billion or 2.0 percent to
$111.2 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first
published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 3.4 percent May increase.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in June, up eighteen consecutive
months, increased $1.6 billion or 0.4 percent to $357.2 billion. This was at
the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis and
followed a 1.2 percent May increase. Transportation equipment, also up
eighteen consecutive months, had the largest increase, $1.2 billion or 1.1
percent to $109.1 billion. This was also at the highest level since the
series was first published on a NAICS basis and followed a 1.7 percent May
The interesting part of this morning is that it reveals - in stark detail
that without wars going on, the economy would likely be contracting as a
very must faster rate: Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1
percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.8 percent.
Thus, if you're trying to dial in how much economic impact The Wars are
having, take the increased number of people in uniform and related (maybe
0.75-1.2% of population) and then toss in the consumables that go with wars
- which as this morning's report shows military spending accounts for 1.7%
of durable goods and you have a case for The Wars artificially reducing
unemployment by somewhere around 3 percent.
Or, to keep things on a positive note, it's possible the wars are keeping
the unemployment rate at 9.2% instead of 12.2 percent, or somewhere in
Now, don't you feel good about that? Why, just one or two more
wars, and a false flag attack (or several) and we could be down to 8%
S&P London holds the key to whether the US debt quality is lowered.
No sign of progress as the circle-jerk also called by some the federal
continues bringing out the absolute worst in people back in Washington.
So, how can anyone be surprised by
gold popping over $1,625 with this kinda nonsense?
Phone Washington? Why Bother?
Once again, we see how out of touch people in high office can be from the
realities of electronic life as
president Obama's urging people to call Washington and "send that message"
managed to crash websites and phone systems.
If this had been something done by activists, I'm sure DHS or the FBI would
have opened cases since the effect was to start a denial of service
In this case, since it was the Twitter in Chief's idea, it'll be no harm, no
foul, anyway. Besides: Denial of service is something we're
kinda getting used to, what the way Washington "listened" on healthcare and
auto bailouts, TARP, and we don't have all morning, so I'll stop without
reading the whole list...
Still, long as we're on electronic life as a theme, there are some other
goodies in play today...
Hacks, Leaks, and Once Again
Thought we'd seen our last of Wikileaks, Hacktivists, and such? Nope.
We're sitting back looking at a fine collision of free speech (and outing
once confidential information) on the one hand and the efforts of the PTB to
silence (or override with senseless chatter [think budget]) on the other.
Take, for example, the new site up
which is called "Murdock Leaks" which, if I follow the fist of it, is
designed to insulate Murdock whistleblowers from ending up dead.
Interesting timing, too, since the News of the World's
demise is being turned into a book length treatment...
Related to recent hackstory:
British blogger claims evidence that Piers Morgan's phone was hacked.
And those kinds of stories have gotten Leisa Zigman of the KSDK (St. Louis)
i-Team to wondering
"How easy is it to hack someone's voicemail?"
Fortunately, I have invented a foolproof system to prevent voicemail
hacking: I simply never set it up on our mobile phone. I figure
if something is important, the person will call back.
Of course the truth isn't that I set off looking for a high powered security
solution: I'm just lazy, but every so often that strategy pays off...
Ummm...where were we? Oh yeah, hacking...want more?
About Bronzeville v. Blackwell
While lots of people are having a fine time criticizing president Obama for
this that and the other thing (with reason, mind you, in many cases)
the republicorp follows have been a little mute on
the recent stories about the additional details in a lawsuit which claims
George Bush and the republicorps stole the 2004 election returns in Ohio.
Doing Unto Others
New polls out this morning of interest:
One says that 83% of people are willing to help a neighbor who has financial
problems. I must be a crappy neighbor.
With Friends like This Dept.
If the congress here passes any resolutions questioning Russian human rights
the Kremlinites are threatening to stop cooperation on items like Iran.
Then we have China announcing they are rebuilding an aircraft carrier
- and get this:
It's ostensibly for "research and training". As in training
fighter pilots and we have to assume it's not to go up and play around doing
Himmelmans and Lazy Eights, right?
And we're getting called out on
spy plane flights in international airspace, too.
Coping: With the New Function of Money
I keep coming back to the idea of copyrighting my name. Know
why? Because then I could maybe turn around and sue all the electronic
database operators who know what year the wife's car is, which hotels we've
stayed in, and so on.
And what yanked my chain on point today, besides being back at home?
Well, the CNN/Money story
"The cyber Mafia has already hacked you..." is a good start.
Not that it's anyone's business how you (or I) spend our money, but in all
the books out there on the functions of money, one of the most
significant changes to consider is that there are two kinds of money
and this never used to be the case.
One kind of money is the "old school" stuff: What fell into this
category was cash, along with gold, silver, and such.
What people are not specifically told is that electronic "money" has
something attached to it that is very dangerous and subtle: An audit
That's why the headlong rush to engage everyone in electronic money
is so interesting: Not that I mind that anyone knows we drive a
six-year old Lexus; that's OK, since the air conditioner went wonky when we
drove to 108º temps up in the Texas panhandle
Nor, do I care that anyone knows what I buy
from Amazon. To save the national security state from having to single
me out, my recent purchases include such subversive library additions as:
Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer
Beech A23-19 & 19A Series Operating Handbook (part# 169-590002-7)
The Bluejacket's Manual (Centennial Edition )
Operations: The official U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-0 (27th February, 2008)
Microsoft Office 2010 Home & Business (Disc Version)
StoryWeaver Writing Software - Write Your Novel Step By Step
Dr. Andrew Ure's Dictionary of Chemistry on the Basis of Mr Nicholson's in
which the Principles of the Science are Investigated Anew and its
Applications to the ... Agriculture, and Manufactures, Detailed [Paperback]
Waste King L-2600 Legend Series 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Operation Waste
Universal Laptop Car Adapter Charger for Toshiba Notebook (90W)
8 Oz Leather Mallet for Woodworking, Jewelry, Gunsmithing
Who Rules America? Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance G. William
Future: Tense: The Coming World Order? Gwynne Dyer
And that classic of the 1973-1895 depression: Recent economic changes and
their effect on the production and distribution of wealth and the well-being
of society David Ames Wells
But now look how someone who is truly paranoid about the security state could
twist up my purchases into something scary and evil:
That "future of money" book (a collectable) might mean I an somehow a
'threat' to the system, because I'm reading about the paradigm.
That's dangerous stuff.
And what's with the airplane manual? Hmmm...this is not looking good.
Where could Mr. Ure fly it?
The US Navy and US Army manuals? Again, could be viewed as suspicious
stuff (forget I'm a writer and being broadly read is important).
Maybe that software (for the new laptop) could push me over the edge?
I must be writing a novel...might I try to act something out?
A chemistry book! OMFG. That it's from the 1700's and mostly
wrong might be missed.
Was parts could be had from a garbage disposal? We oughta watch this
Ure guy because that disposal might be turned into a centrifuge!
The both go around, right?
Hmmm...mobile adapter...could mean he's planning to use a computer somewhere
other than home...
That hammer? Oh sure it looks like a plain, everyday leather
mallet, but you see how Amazon has tipped us off it could be used for
That book about who rules America? Anti-establishment thinking again.
Famed military historian Gwynne Dyer's book? The words "World Order"
in the title must mean something, right?
And why is he reading about what happened in America two depressions back?
You see how this "traceable" factor of behavior works, right? We can toss
out my real reasons for these purchases because they are really pretty lame
compared with the National Security plotline which could be cobbled up by the
imagination of a good police state agent.
That "future of money" book is research for Peoplenomics readers.
The airplane manual? I have an airplane for fun and business travel in
closing at Aircraft Title right now. Have pilots license and current
medical, too....so maybe I like flying? Of course! And I
hate spending a whole day driving across the state when a plan makes
it a four hour deal.
The Navy manual is a quench for my recurring thirst for nautical/salt watery
things - having sold my 10-year living aboard sailboat, I'm still in
I though by bro-in-law who's retired Army SF/Ranger would like to see the
more current edition...(I may be wrong).
The software was purchased to keep all my systems running common programs.
The chemistry book is part of my "Ure" collection.
The old garbage disposal; leaked under the sink, thanks. Although I
will readily admit to developing a weapons grade carrot slurry.
(Worked for Spiro Agnew.)
Mobile computing was going to be done in the car...never got around to it,
Sometimes a hammer is just a hammer, sorry.
The Gwynne Dyer book is one fine source of perspective on the
corpgov/military industrial merger, which evolves as forecast.
And sometimes, going back a depression or two actually does relate to
contemporary affairs. Lingo chango, but the peeps are still peeps.
But you see how this could work? An aggressive federal prosecutor armed
with little more than my Amazon purchases could really twist up my pathetic life
into something threatening and dangerous. Oh, and let's not leave off
Which (I have to confess) it is.
For example, when no one is around, I sometimes sneak into the kitchen and use
my disguised under-the-sink centrifuge to puree potato waste.
Agents of Uncle and the corpgov minions must keep an eye on the dangerous Ure
fellow with the new function of money: An audit trail.
First, Ure is making weapons grade carrot paste, then pureed potato eyes.
Next thing you know, he'll move up to spoons and then we're all in danger since
it's an established fact that grinding up spoons in a hidden kitchen centrifuge
defines the destruction of mass weapons. Better watch this guy closely.
It's only a dangerously short hope from Oneida to Uranium.
But seriously? (Or, nearly so...) The transactions that can be tracked
are not the ones to worry about.
Cash, my fellow Americans, hiding all those dangerously anonymous
transactions (adult lubricants, toys, that bottle of hooch, that baggy of
herb, yessir, that's the real threat to our national security.
As a patriotic American, I'm stepping up: willing to serve as a
collection point for all that dangerous cash. That's right:
Right now, this morning I want you to confess your tawdry hidden uses of
cash and send it all to me.
I'm here to help America become a more safe and security
nation. Why, I've even come up with my own take-off on Big Sis'
If you'd spend it, send it!
...might want to look at some of the imagery here.
Elaine & I didn't stray far from I-40 (except for gas and recycling stops)
but a reader in New Mexico is still "smoldering" over the recent fires
Hello George, Noticed you traveled through our state recently. You probably
did not notice that the largest wildfire in NM history continues to unfold
in slow motion.
Yes, like all of them so far, it was human caused. Over the span of this
blaze, three communities were wiped out, and one severely damaged.
Our beautiful mountains are a charred, smoking ruin. Wildlife, including
precious and rare species, was completely decimated. One wonders why no
agency was able to respond to the disaster, despite the threat of fire all
over the state, and when they finally got around to responding, they ignored
firefighting equipment ready and able to deploy from the National Guard, a
mere 15 minutes away.
The latest chapter is that the residents of the annihilated communities are
being barred from accessing their places.
The oft repeated official line is that its just too dangerous.
Meanwhile, several locals have managed to scout the area. What they report
is that zero attempt is being made to extinguish hot spots, or manage hazard
trees, despite the claims by the private companies "fighting " the fire that
they are doing just that.
The area is crawling with federal and tribal vehicles, and the area tribe is
maintaining a roadblock to prevent entry.
What is interesting here is that while claiming that the fire is in "stage
3", and dangerous-yes, that word again-the number of personnel and vehicles
assigned to the fire has been consistently dropping, now to a total of 120
odd staff and field crews, from a high of over 1,900.
One wonders if the plan here is to simply refuse to tackle the remaining
fire, using it as a smoke screen to play Keep out with residents.
Why would they want to play keep out? Many possibilities, no hard answers.
What is likely is that local residents are perceived as a pain in the neck,
and better shoved aside than dealt with.
Another possibility is that local residents would expose the "patrolling for
hot spots" , and other claims as a nice story, but that's all. Anyhow, don't
really expect anyone to give a shit.
What has been apparent out here is that even those in surrounding
communities don't care as long as their house didn't burn. Guess they need
to keep up with the self absorption and the personality drugs to maintain
the facade of their lives, something they do quite well.
Anyhow, something to watch for-are the federales keeping local people
displaced all over where disaster hits, or is it just here?
Nope, been a trend ever since the KatRita 'canes. More displaced
people means more federal spending and empire building. Or,
just a buncha power-grabbers putting the hel in help.
Another bit of a fine write:
My local Rep. says the Repubs are not only after SS and MediCare, but also
food safety. Coincidentally heard Arne Gunnderson, nuke expect, say that the
FDA is NOT screening Pacific fish for radioactivity. He says that it will
take a container load of tuna tripping the radiation monitors at one of our
ports before their is a 'problem'. Of course this rad monitoring gear is
there looking for bombs. Scene from yet to be produced thriller: "There's no
bomb here, just more hot tuna." Yup.
Hot Tuna...wasn't that a
rock grouper (sic, think about it) back in the day? Cue up
Phosphorescent Rat on turntable three, please?
And a correction:
"I believe the well known appellation for Nixon became "tricky Dick", not
slippery, if I remember correctly..."
Right you are. I just keep getting confused over how the country
has been Dicked over lately.
Tuesday July 26, 2011
(Amarillo, TX) OK, so we have a National Idiot Festival going on with
the Federal Budget. So what if 5,827 bank branches have been
reorganized since IndyMac? So what if we have more wars going on now
than even under Bush?
Americans still (for reasons that are sometimes elusive) has faith
and is buying housing as shows in the latest from Case-Shiller/S&P just
released this morning. The press release, please?
"New York, July 26, 2011 – Data through May 2011, released today by S&P
Indices for its S&P/Case- Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure
of U.S. home prices, showed a second consecutive month of increase in prices
for the 10- and 20-City Composites.
The 10- and 20-City Composites were up 1.1% and 1.0%, respectively, in May
over April. Sixteen of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted positive
monthly increases; Detroit, Las Vegas and Tampa were down over the month and
Phoenix was unchanged. On an annual basis, Washington DC was the only MSA
with a positive rate of change, up 1.3%.
The remaining 19 MSAs and the 10- and 20- City Composites were down in May
2011 versus the same month last year. Minneapolis fared the worst posting a
double-digit decline of 11.7%. "
Crazy as this sounds, I may wade into the long side of the market in a few
minutes at the open.
Budget of the Day
While Obama administration officials are
saying there's "no time for doomsday planning" should the federal budget
disaster (in the wings) materialize, we see
has put forth their latest "Have it our way..." proposal.
Is it workable? Well, if you ask Robert Greenstien of the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, you might get this:
"House Speaker John Boehner's new budget proposal would require deep cuts in
the years immediately ahead in Social Security and Medicare benefits for
current retirees, the repeal of health reform's coverage expansions, or
wholesale evisceration of basic assistance programs for vulnerable
But, since meeting in the middle seems to be a lost art, anymore, we can
hardly wait to see how tomorrow's next "slip of the day" down the dangerous
slope toward economic collapse will play out.
New Harris Poll report:
YORK, July 26, 2011-- By this time next summer the Republican candidate
who will challenge President Obama will be known but at this point the list
of candidates and potential candidates for the nomination is still far from
finalized. With the "will-he-or-she-run-questions" still being asked and
answered, some of the names with the highest familiarity among the general
public are still not even declared candidates.
Obviously because of her run for Vice President with John McCain, almost
nine in ten Americans (86%) are familiar with Sarah Palin and 75% of U.S.
adults are familiar with Rudy Giuliani, both of whom are still undeclared,
but possible candidates for the nomination. Majorities of Americans are
familiar with declared candidates Newt Gingrich (72%), Mitt Romney (67%),
and Ron Paul (52%) while half are familiar with Michele Bachmann (50%). All
other potential candidates are at 30% or under in terms of familiarity.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed
online between July 11 and 18, 2011 by
I don't think they ask "How do you feel about None of the Above?"
but that'd be the landslide winner, I'm just sure.
An ABC poll suggests the Obama base is crumbling, but then again, Mr.
One Term has been not much change from Bush, far as most Americans can tell.
Things like the NoMoBO bumper stickers are already surfacing.
Sex & Politics
OK, so we're screwed, so let's get down to it. Things like
the latest DC sex case don't really help give We the People much
confidence. Or, is this another sexiciding of a political figure?
And, did I, or did I not, tell you to
watch the "modulation" of the DSK sex case, that high-level sexiciding
of DSK as an IMF leader who might balk at the tossed in commands from the
PTB? DSK must be close to filing for the French presidency, or
something on that order of key political crossroad...
Those of us old enough to remember president Nixon never imagined "slippery
dick" would become a widespread descriptor, honest!
Fashion - Out?
Say, long as we're thumbing through the press releases this morning, ponder
the implications of the "end of fashion for economic reasons" on future
Ind., July 26, 2011 -- Despite the economy's gradual improvement over
the past few months, some shoppers are still not ready to splurge on
fashion. According to a new CouponCabin survey, 53 percent of American
adults who plan to buy new fall clothes for themselves will spend $100 or
less, with 92% of those who purchased fall clothes last year not planning on
spending more this year. The survey was conducted nationwide by Harris
Interactive from July 11 – 13, 2011 among 2,233 adults age 18 and older."
All of which gets us to wondering how bad the economy has to get before
partial (even full!) nudity becomes a natural consequence? Shirt off the
back is already here, so when does the rest go? The Strip Poker
Out this morning were down a bit
because of the cost of going into foreign markets in an even bigger way.
So is the "better idea" to invest overseas?
Research in Motion making plans to axe two thousand jobs. So, does
this mean Blackberry season is over?
Driving Through Drought
Driving through New Mexico Monday, we had the pleasure of being caught
in several very much needed downpours as a line of thunderstorms moved
through the area. Also had the fine experience of having a windshield
wiper blade blow off at 75 MPH in moderate rain, which added forty minutes
to our trip looking for a replacement (10 minutes) found in Grants, NM and
then spending 30 minutes trying to put the damn thing on.
But it's not enough.
Even though most of the crop reports look pretty good, considering the
flooding and now drought this year, there are reports about the smallest hay
crop in recent memory and how
that's going to up beef prices, almost certainly.
The stories out of the Austin area, about
how cows and bats are suffering, made seem a bit odd, but in Texas, bats
are prized for their insect control work. And elsewhere, the drying of
the land is causing earth movement and that, in turn,
is hard on pipelines, many of which feed northern and eastern
Oh, sure, investing in gold and silver may be interesting, but you can't eat
paper abstractions. One of my next investments may be in a half a beef
as long as prices are fairly low at the moment compared to where they could
go this fall.
Closing Down The Net
...at least social media-wise, comes yet another step closer as the UK Mail
reports on how
social media were used to set up a "flashrob" of a lingerie store.
Toss in a lot of high-pitched rhetoric that may have helped spur the Norway
events, and the case keeps getting stronger.
Government control of radio come in the 1934 Communications Act...so no
reason why a marker of the Second Depression's midpoint wouldn't be
regulations on internet content. History does rhyme, after all.
And the groundwork keeps resolving into view.
Sure hope this is the "data gap" because the alternatives (catastrophic
collapse, or some kind of 2012 follow-on earth change scenario) is just not
Coping: With Smoke
(Amarillo, TX) After driving clear across New Mexico - about 373.5
miles on our particular route, the last thing I was expected at dinner last
night here was a conversation about 'truth seeking', the web bot project,
and such, but like Clif is so fond of saying, "Ain't no such thing as
coincidence..." and maybe that's so in this part of Texas.
Our server was a very bright young fellow, who has gotten into the 'truth
seeking' mode and knew about the 2012 'prophesies', the financial condition
of America and the world, and is fascinated by the 'awakening' in
general. Just for good measure, he's also looking at Hermetic
writings, and so on.
In short, a curious soul who's asking the 'right' but also hard questions.
And, as chance would have it, he also mentioned (in passing) the question "What's
the effect of the Norway shooter/bomber on the internet and the free
exchange of ideas among people seeking Truth?" Not in those
words, but that was the underlying question and it deserves more than
One question which I'd bet the Norwegian press has not bothered to ask yet
is whether the [alleged] perp in the Norway case owned a copy of novel
Catcher in the Rye, which, in case you aren't up on the details of it (John
Lennon's shooting death was back in December of 1980).
Curiously, in the wake of the shooting, John Lennon assassin Mark David
Chapman's fascination with Catcher in the Rye became something of a
serious subject of study among those interested in the mental processes of
somehow who would commit such a crime - the shooting of Lennon - but now,
also and by extension, the same kind of personality that would quote other
people's thoughts extensively as a justification for murderous action.
Specifically, we read from Wikipedia (of Chapman)
"At some point, Chapman became obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye
after rereading it for the first time since high school. He was particularly
influenced by protagonist Holden Caulfield's
against "phoniness" in society, and the need to protect people, especially
children. He was holding a copy of the book when he murdered Lennon, in
which he had written "This is my statement." After his arrest, he wrote a
letter to the media urging everyone to read the "extraordinary book" that
may "help many to understand what has happened."
When asked if he wanted to address the court at his sentencing, Chapman read
a passage from The Catcher in the Rye that describes Holden
Caulfield's fantasy of being on the edge of a cliff and having to catch all
children from falling. A psychiatrist at the sentencing, Daniel W. Schwartz,
said that Chapman wanted to kill Lennon because he viewed him as a "phony."
Chapman later said that he thought the murder would turn him into a Holden
Caulfield, a "quasi-savior" and "guardian
And, it wasn't like Chapman was the only assassin reading Salinger's book:
John Hinckley, Junior, convicted of the attempt on Ronald Reagan, was
found to have a copy of Catcher among the half-dozen books in his
hotel room after the fact.
And the Wikipedia entry about
the cultural impacts of Catcher includes this as well:
John Bardo, who murdered
Rebecca Schaeffer, was carrying the book
when he visited Schaeffer's apartment in Hollywood on July 18, 1989.
As numerous murders have been speculated to be connected
to the novel, the main character of the film
Conspiracy Theory is a paranoid skeptic
with an uncontrollable urge to purchase it."
So what's in J.D. Salinger's book? I mean besides the obvious "teenage
alienation, language, and
rebellion" that the Wiki summary lists? No telling what was in
the mind of the previous perps, but it's one of those burning questions I
have been halfway expecting to pop out of the news flow around Norway.
Regardless, the Norway case leaves us with difficult questions about the
roll of various writers and commenters on social and socioeconomic issues.
But off all of the 'issues' attendant to the case, the one which is most
troubling is the impact this may have on "truth seeking" in general, since -
as in the 9/11 case - it's really easy to come up with pat answers and blame
placement, and it's here that a great dangerous to free speech resides.
Since the Norway perp is said to have claimed more "cells" - like his -
exist, we have to wonder what the systemic (paradigm defending) majority
will propose as a reaction? One possibility might be a new waves of
"hate crime" legislation which would fit uncomfortably well with the
predictions in the web bot project's look ahead view of things that
additional clamping down on freedom of speech on the internet, could
well be an outcome,
since one website alone (Jihad Watch) was quoted by the Norway perp 64-odd
And all of this gets us on to a very interesting "Smoke in the Theater"
question about divisive writing which - in case you haven't noticed - has
become something of a business model and as you'll recall from many
past conversations, I've mentioned that everything is a business model
and it doesn't matter if the Model is owned by Rupe of News Corp, the Huff,
or operates as a mouthpiece for the political parties (such as they
As our server noted last night, the events of Norway have given him "pause
to think about things" as, indeed, it should give everyone with "skin in the
game" a reason to think about the level of rhetoric and ask "What
responsibility comes with calls for change?"
I've had a lot of email over the years criticizing what some perceive as a
"wishy-washy" attitude toward things like direct confrontation with the PTB,
directly confronting the Fed, or taxing authorities, or even daring to
question sacred cows of the right (Reagan, the war machine, etc.) or the
sacred cows of the left (gun control, universal health care) and such.
Each, unfortunately keeps coming back to seeing the bigger picture of
colliding business models, in most cases.
And for me, this is where Norway gets curious. I'm reading as much as
I can (being on the road so much the past week) looking for the
underlying business model and, once identified, the
cui bono (who
Certainly, the events will spur more aggressive rhetoric from radial Islam
along the lines of "See? They really ARE out to get us!" on
the one hand, and radical cells of the anti-Islamic, fundamentalist
Christian sort on the other. With news media bolstering their business
models thanks to higher ratings which result from tragedies of a large
But we come back to wondering "Who's gains when events like this and 9/11
And are those who benefit quietly seeking gullible stooges to carry out
their work, or is this merely a consequence of colliding systems of vested
interests of competing cultural/social groups with conflicted agendas?
I don't think it's the latter. Too much to be gained in terms of
power, control, and extension of the "soft" police state. To much
revenue to be generated by expanding the "Was on Terror" to including
Even today, we're
reading about how 9/11 evidence of specialized thermite was used to "pull"
WTC 7. But from Iranian state media? Not our own?
never simple, all this stuff...
Still, properly orchestrated by the MainStreamMedia, this Norway disaster
could just about double the size of Homeland Security and Law Enforcement
We already know the Fusion Center people are very worried about
"constitutionalists" and others who vary too far from the political
"mainstream". But wasn't the John Birch Society proven correct
in many of their issues? Why would the right/conservative side be
The Left accuses the Right of moving policy goalposts without compromise.
Yet, the Left has its Healthcare and they bear at least equal responsibility
for the nation's pending economic debacle. No one's got "clean
Now, we notice oh how interesting the timing is, since the cost of The
Resource Wars is so high, there is now a poster child for cracking down on
dissent and - when the inevitable radical Muslim response occurs, we'll have
"proof" that we need to spend even more on surveillance, "If you
see it, say it", and more war funding in the election year, despite the near
universal recognition that the world can no longer afford war.
The Hegelian Dialectic at its best: Make the problem with the
solutions in the back pocket. Soften up US border critics (which in turn
brings in more illegals, makes a fine case for all kinds of additional gun
control efforts, and the list goes on). Hearings will no doubt follow, sure
as day follows night, but the outcome? More money and control.
Extremism, whether on the net or in the pulpit, is still a business model.
That's the "smoke" and this is a crowded theater. And it seems to me
highly probable that the further smells of smoke here shortly will be the
continued charcoalization of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Thus, the deeper question remains: Who's running this business model
and how does cui bono smell? Like smoke, maybe?
Monday July 25, 2011
Gold's Next Jump
(Payson, AZ) Although I won't be able to comment on the action in Gold
this morning once this gets posted, please note that the Kitco quote this
morning topped $1,622 for a few minutes, and near as I can figure it, with
the dollar down a tad, the stock market might be trying to rally later one,
initial bets seemed against that with futures down on the lack of a debt
There aren't any big economic numbers until tomorrow morning when the next
Case-Shiller/S&P 20-city housing numbers come out. Tomorrow's report
will be a "double clicker": First for the regular update around 7:55
AM Central and then again about 8:15 AM when I should be able to get the
20-City data posted and a chart. This could be a biggie - depending on
what the data shows about the "recovery" we keep hearing about.
The balance of the week include such sleeping aids as the Fed Beige Book,
Durable Goods, and GDP. For this week, what's happening in Europe is
likely to drive things and that gets us to our next thrilling report....
Boom Drops on Greece
What does Greece have in common with the Caribbean dance called
If you've never gotten wild enough to try it, the Limbo is where you bend
backwards, trying (often futility) to hang onto your sense of balance while
sliding under a pole. Each time you get under it, it's lowered again,
and again, until sometimes the pole is only a couple of feet off the floor.
While this is going on, the crowd will often chant "How low can you go?
Which is a longish way about getting around to
Greek debt being lowers to "Ca" grade by Moody's this morning, but it
sure is a helluvah lot more fun.
Inflation or Deflation?
Top be sure, the flip up in gold this morning means people are thinking
about inflation - or, more correctly, about the dollar's purchasing
power being watered down. But, we also have to look at the potential
for deflation in areas like housing. Oh, and as this
Seattle Times article notes, there's also some downward pressure coming for
the Big Pharma corps as key patents are set to expire...
The Joseph Curl Op/Ed in the Washington Times this morning is pretty good.
Under the headline "Is
Obama a pathological liar?"
But the republican side is no better, and both parties seem committed to
dismembering the last vestiges of the Constitutional Republic the Founders
so wisely crafted.
Don't believe it? There are two major stories swirling around in background.
One of these
has to do with the idea of a "Super Congress" which would be charged
with raising the debt ceiling and such...a thoroughly rotten to the core
idea. Oh, and not to mention unconstitutional.
dueling debt plans by politicians wearing ear plugs to the public cry
for reasonable accommodation.
And if that isn't scary enough (politicians agreeing to basically
lie about America's financial condition until after they
run for the trough again in 2012, consider the sound of approaching
jackboots in HR 1505 which is coming up shortly: This is the
legislation which would formalize the Department of Homeland Security power
grab trying to set up what the ACLU calls the "Constitution-free Zone"
within 100-miles of the coast!
From the HR 1505 analysis by the Congressional Research Service, the
"...Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior and the
Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) from taking action on public lands which
impede the border security activities of the Secretary of Homeland Security
States that the Secretary shall have immediate access to
any public land managed by the federal government in order to conduct
activities that assist in securing the border (including access to maintain
and construct roads, construct a fence, use patrol vehicles, and set up
States that a specified waiver by
the Secretary of certain laws regarding sections of the international border
between the United States and Mexico and between the United States and
Canada shall apply to all sections of the international land and maritime
borders of the United States within 100 miles of such borders with respect
to the Secretary's activities under this Act." [emphasis added]
So while the budget go-round is entertaining, it's nothing more than trying
to either paper over the free lunch payment issue until after the election,
but in background, legislation like this is moving along little noticed
dismantling little items like the protection against unreasonable search &
co-sponsor list is here.
Solving the Right Problem
One of my favorite sayings: To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like
a nail..." and so it is with Congress on this budget mess. By wimping
out on a real solution to economic stimulus, we're now seeing headlines like
of Mass Layoffs a Grim Sign for US Workers."
In management, there's a concept called "Behind the Power Curve" which goes
to the idea that if you solve the right problems first, the rest of
the problems are manageable.
Guess who's gotten seriously behind the power curve? Hint:
It's not a state, it's a district....
The outrage in Norway will make headlines today
as the suspected perp will be arraigned in a closed court session.
Key thing to look for will be reports going to his motive. And, no, I
sure wouldn't want to be his life insurance company, if he has one.
There's just too many parts of this that feel like a
'lone gunman' kind of deal...the old news nose is twitching that things
may not be as they appear so far in this...
Another big emotional release as
pop star Amy Winehouse died, possibly by substance abuse, this weekend.
Humans Acting Badly
Domestic situation turned deadly in
Texas at a roller rink this weekend: six dead there.
12 people were wounded in Seattle's Highline area after a fight broke
out at a low-rider car show.
Interesting story out of
Santa Barbara, where the city is going for an injunction to keep 30 named
gang members from associating in a city "safety zone". We'll see
if it works...
Not all is bad, though: Check
the story of the onboard "flash mob hula" on a SF to Honolulu 767.
Who says I only report bummers and downers?
Heat is Off
Some drop in temps expected along the Eastern Seaboard this morning,
after a really warm weekend.
But, before you march in that Global Warming demonstration, might want to
note 9 feet of snow in four days well south of the equator;
Chilly in Chile I think is how we summarize it.
European predictions of a "Worst Winter on Record" have me thinking
about sinking our water lines down another foot in our garden area.
Gluing up PVC pipe, even with hot set glue, is no fun when it's 19-degrees
outside. Been there, done that.
Reader Note: Normally, I don't get
into specific plugs for ads of sponsors who help to offset the costs
involved in operating this site. But, a special announcement this
morning from the folks at Emergency Essentials - they have some of the
Mountain House freeze-dried foods back in stock and so if you're interested
in rounding out your stored food plans, might want to follow up on this.
(Payson, AZ) There is nothing to compare with travel for the
broadening of the mind - and this past week, kicking around the Southwest,
going to Elaine's reunion up in the hinterlands, and then meeting what
seemed like a zillion relatives on that side of the family has been a real
Main thing that has come to light out of it, is to wrap my head around the
close tie-in between religion on the one hand and
prepping/survivalist thinking on the other - all of which I'm planning
to write up for Peoplenomics subscribers next weekend.
But the main part of this morning's "coping" hints involves gambling.
Now, as we know, gambling is something that should only be done in a very
limited fashion. Still, I like to play at gambling a bit and
strangely, despite the bad rap slot machines get, there are times when -
with a little study - they can be an OK way to pass a little time.
Sunday afternoon, after driving down the hill from Snowflake, Arizona (5,700
feet, or so) to Payson (5,000 feet, more or less) we invited Elaine's son
who lives here and his wife to "come on down" for a little $50 family slot
Upon arrival, we sat them down and went through a short course in how slot
machines work and, perhaps more important, how to get the odds tilted just a
little bit more toward 'even'.
Without going into too much detail, here's a short rundown to keep in mind
next time you feel like taking on the (quite properly named) one arm
First point of my lecture to the kids was an appreciation of the Law of
Large Numbers. We start with a discussion of dice games,
because it makes theory so easy to grasp.
Wikipedia entry (here) begins with "In
probability theory, the law of large numbers (LLN) is a
that describes the result of performing the same experiment a large
number of times. According to the law, the
of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to
expected value, and will tend to become closer as more
trials are performed. "
This is the basis of most casino business models. What it says is
that if there are six sides to a die (dice), if you add them up, it
comes to precisely 21. And, because there are six sides
to the die, the average roll is 3.5.
But here's the problem: Each time the dice are rolled you will
get some something other than 3.5 because there's no side
of the dice with that number on it. So instead, you'll get a
Over enough rolls, the distribution will even out. However, what
gamblers are after are the periodic aberrations in the
As you can
see by this chart, a typical variance from the expected 3.5 average
value may occur in a short series of rolls, but once you get up
to the 400 -600 roll level, the statistical averages will run over just
about any "lucky streak" you put together.
Now, how does this Law of Large Numbers stuff apply to the Slots?
Pappy, who wasn't much of a gambler, told me the surest way to limit
your losses in a casino (and this was back in the old days, right?) was
to begin with whatever your stake is and run it through the machines
exactly once. You could either put your stake money in your
left pocket and put winnings in the right, or you could use coin
buckets, but the principal was the same: Play your money one
time. Hard to do with paper chit machines, so you have to
keep track of your pulls, although I didn't get too deeply into this
part. $50 stakes limits how long you're going to play.
Next item is to realize that because slots are dependable moneymakers
for the House, they will be placed where the sight lines are
best in the casino. So, for example, you look for the machines you
can see as you come away from the change cage/cashier, or you look at
what can be seen coming out of the bar, or what's in view when coming
out of the restaurant.
Sight lines are kinda tricky and an art all unto themselves, though.
You won't very often find a 'loose' machine (one with high
payouts) directly in line with an entrance. Why?
Because if that machine is winning, you won't see the action.
Instead, the sightline placement theory says those machines on a 30-60º
arc may be better, since you can see the player AND see the action.
Idea is to get you sucked into the games.
Another place where sight line theory is useful is finding a natural
stopping place. Where and aisle T's and people naturally pause
before deciding where to go. And where would you be most likely to
stroll, all other things being equal? Gee, lemme think:
Where you see and hear winners, maybe?
But here's another subtly of casino logic: Be very careful about
sound levels because a better paying machine might be quieter
(by 6 db, or so...the lowest sound differential people can notice in the
general public). The loud machines often don't pay off as
Another thing to avoid is the "middle of an aisle" for the simple reason
that these machine may not pay off as well. This is for civilians
who like the look of a machine.
Same theory for the 'wall" machines: Some people just naturally
like to play machines against a wall, so again, we can be somewhat
guided by sightlines from the entrances at either end (sometimes middle,
too) to the "back all" area.
Sop I went on with a discussion of why some of these tips work - but only
some of the time - and how in this particular casino, I walked the floor,
made a map of machines, but didn't go into pricing theory, or other advanced
Main thing to remember is (and this is paraphrasing from my forthcoming book
"Victims of Process: How unwritten recipes run your life...")
everything in life usually has a recipe behind it, and if you want to
succeed at whatever, all you need to do is some level of research into
finding out what the hidden recipe at work might be. Casinos
don't "just happen" top place slots. They develop recipes, formulas,
and study the psychology of players.
Depending on how serious you take your gambling, you can read as much on
machine placement theory as you care to. Or, you might even want to
work as a slot tech for a while, that's a sure-fire way to improve your
payouts, but few people are inclined to do so.
About here, you may be wondering "OK, how'd the kids do, wise-ass?"
Well, the boy turned his $50 into $180, while his wife turned $50 into $89.
Elaine finally cashed out with $36, while my "run" went badly and I figured
WTF...so I landed with zero/zip/nada. Those that can't, teach.
Still, that's $305 for the tournament players on a starting bankroll of
$200, so we did OK. The celebration dinner got the house money back,
but the kids left happy as could be, $269 richer, and can't say as I blame
'em. This "hidden recipe" stuff can be mighty useful at times. And we
This morning I'll push a $20 bill into a penny slot, knowing it's just a
speculation. But hope springs eternal in the hearts of gamblers,
and it's a way to blow off a little obsessive/compulsiveness while the real
money - the stock and commodity market dough - sits safely in cash waiting
for the current blow off rally to sort itself out.
Once that tide turns down, the returns ought to dwarf anything offered on
the casino floor. But then again....
High Seas - High Strangeness
Say, a reader up in Canada caught something out of the ordinary. Check
"Dear Mr. Ure,
After reading of the Italian tanker RBD
Anema e Core being hijacked by pirates following departure from Cotonou,
Benin, I had a look at Marinetraffic.com's live map today.
I was not expecting to see an unspecified vessel (251212229) at 41.4 knots
heading 95deg showing position -05.2934, -000.8829 in the Gulf of
Guinea perimeter with a recorded time 11:53.06. Things become a little bit
wujo following the straight line vessel course to -05.3385, -28.8266 still
at 41.4 knots heading 102deg with a time 14:28.27. I must be making a
mistake somewhere or
is the US Navy's new assault ship fleet much
faster than advertised?
More strange stuff is showing up on Marinetraffic.com. Unspecified
vessel "5?" German flag, speed 76.6 knots, course 125deg, position
(00.0624, 002.6187), time 06:19:48 July 25th."
Hand me the peniclator, will yah? Multioplying 76 knots times
1.15151 means this puppy is rolling 87.5 miles per hour out the stern.
If this is a sailboat, I want one.
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.