Sunday, March 30, 2008
A photograph of the square people from the Playskool® Play Friend National Park set. I first wrote about it here I'm still taking photographs of the other pieces in the set. The "car" the square people sit in rivals the smart fortwo.
Hope Springs Eternal
The Washington Nationals are hosting my beloved Atlanta Braves tonight at 8:00 ET (approximately 1 hour from now). It is the first domestic game of the MLB season and the inaugural game at Nationals Park. President Bush is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Nats.
The Limestone Roof Director of Print gave me this article [My Fair Leather Friend] from the Wall Street Journal. It's worth reading and afterwards you'll want to scramble around your basement, attic or garage to find your old mitt.
One other baseball topic before the season starts. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays changed their name to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Navy blue and light blue have replaced green and black as the primary colors. The club's new logo, as well as the home and road uniforms for next season, feature the word "Rays" in navy blue lettering with a light blue shadow...
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Captain Ed at Hot Air provides the best summary. I thought my machine caught a virus last night when I was searching for images for my post on the most attractive cartoon characters.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This is completely unrelated (or maybe not) but isn't the list of celebrities and pseudo-celebrities who've lived in a car at some point in their life rather staggering? I count Dr. Phil, Jim Cramer, Jewel, and JK Rowlings among those on the list.
Bus Tours Show Properties in Foreclosure
Welcome to the Foreclosure Bus Tour, a six-hour expedition to show Orlando-area homes and educate potential buyers on the vagaries of snatching foreclosures in a state where the housing market has struggled over the past two years. Real estate agents have also organized tours in California, where the idea seems to have originated, and cities such as Phoenix, Detroit, Kansas City and Jacksonville.
I suppose this explains why Microsoft is bidding $42B for Yahoo.
Microsoft consists of five major divisions: Windows operating systems; Office applications; server software; entertainment systems, such as Xbox; and online services. The last category includes Web advertising and search services, in which the company ranks a distant third behind Google and Yahoo. Microsoft loses money on both its online and entertainment divisions.Related
Should Microsoft Throw Away Vista?
Windows 7 slated for 2010
Windows Vista -- Now I'm Angry, Too
Originally Posted: 3/5
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
(1) Pac-Man: An Accurate Simulation of Your Meaningless Life
(2) Top 10 Most Depressing Quotes from Orwell's 1984
(3) John Hughes' imprint remains
(4) The 9 Most Annoying People I Always See at the Bookstore
(5) Apple's Safari browser likened to malware
(6) The Nerd Handbook
(7) World's Smallest Cars/Tumbleweed Houses/TinyHouses
(1) Muslims 'to outnumber traditional churchgoers' - Maybe Tony Blair will stun the world again by applying for U.S. Citizenship.
(2) 196,000 out, 574,000 in: Record numbers leaving Britain for new life abroad - as immigration to UK soars - America Alone by Mark Steyn remains an important and prolific book.
(3) 'Special relationship' dies under Gordon Brown - British diplomats in Washington have quietly dropped the use of the phrase "special relationship" in what some see as a symbol of the drift in relations with the US under Gordon Brown...
Monday, March 24, 2008
I was going to apologize for mailing it in today and pulling an Instapundit.com (no offense to Glenn Reynolds - I would love 0000000001% of his daily traffic) but this is one swanky collection of links.
(1) Anti-war protesters attack Catholic parishioners in Chicago (via Hot Air)
(2) Troooooth And Doody: Mary Mapes Speaks - Jay Tea at Wizbang found a copy of her book for a $1 and is making the ultimate sacrifice by reading and blogging about it. Here is an excerpt:
Third, she draws very sharp distinctions between herself and her allies, and her detractors. They are the seekers of Truth, the sole possessors of a Constitutional right -- nay, sacred duty -- to report the Truth.(3) A very bizarre video on YouTube set to Building a Religion by Cake.
Those who oppose her (or question her -- it's much the same) are evil, they are malicious, they are conspirators, they are hateful, they are devious, they are sneaky, they are dangerous, they are vicious, and all sorts of other things.
Oh, and they're usually Republican. That manages to work its way in there. A lot.
(4) Let's Save the Planet — Without Starving People
Before we do something as drastic as decreasing the world’s food supply in order to feel better about our summer vacations, perhaps we can effect real and lasting changes in the environment, even “saving the planet” if such a thing is humanly possible to begin with. Perhaps we should consider some short-term measures of self-denial that might just meet the challenge.(5) The Democrats' Super Disaster
Sound undemocratic? It is. That the 2008 Democratic nominee for president will be chosen by individuals no one voted for in the primaries flew for too long under the commentariat's radar. This from the party that litigated to "make every vote count" in the 2000 Florida recount, reviled the institution of the Electoral College for letting the loser of the national popular election win the presidency, and has called the Bush administration illegitimate ever since.(6) Children's Place to exit Disney stores; Mouse may buy
(7) What the Fed Can (and Can't) Do - I found this article in Kiplinger's about the FED. It's a very good and brief article.
(8) Fed's rescue halted a derivatives Chernobyl
Just for fun...
Report: 32% Of Prayers Deflected Off Passing Satellites
Sunday, March 23, 2008
When all the men of war are shot
And flags have fallen into dust,
Your cross and mine shall tell men still
Christ died on each, for both of us.
- Thomas Merton
Friday, March 21, 2008
- William Shakespeare
Many people are searching for a scapegoat/bogeyman for these tumultuous economic times. In a nation of victims someone (anyone) must be held accountable for our suffering. I drafted a list of the usual bogeyman but will spare you the trauma of reading it. Instead, Mark Hillman warns that instant gratification may be at the root of our national malaise/funk. More troubling, he believes we have transferred this same instant gratification ethos to our government.
He writes: "When we the people fail to practice self-discipline at home, we cannot possibly be serious about fiscal restraint in government...In roughly three generations, American society has been transformed from a nation of penny-pinchers, scrimpers and savers to a nation of consumption-addicted spendthrifts oblivious to tomorrow."
Once on a trip to Saratoga (in the interest of full disclosure I was there wagering on the ponies) we wandered into the downtown area for some coffee. I remember peering into the window of a bank (it was a very old and venerable building) and being struck by a quote chiseled in marble and set over the tellers that read, "FRUGALITY IS THE MOTHER OF ALL THE VIRTUES." I wondered whether or not the quote would make cents (sense) to the throngs of Skidmore students darting in and out of the cafes.
More importantly, and leaving economics aside, whenever a writer says we're "oblivious to tomorrow" my ears become a little more attuned (Born to see; meant to look). I've connected the words - oblivious to tomorrow - to this dour passage from a Peggy Noonan Op-Ed:
When I was young we didn't wear earrings, but if we had, everyone would have had a pair or two. I know a 12-year-old with dozens of pairs. They're thrown all over her desk and bureau. She's not rich, and they're inexpensive, but her parents buy her more when she wants them. Someone said, "It's affluence," and someone else nodded, but I said, "Yeah, but it's also the fear parents have that we're at the end of something, and they want their kids to have good memories. They're buying them good memories, in this case the joy a kid feels right down to her stomach when the earrings are taken out of the case."This is where the left and right diverge economically and philosophically and why Obama's soaring rhetoric is so popular this campaign season.
Unfortunately, Obama is simply resurrecting the same old bogeyman to usher in "the same old Great Society programs". In the speech he says, "...a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many."
Does Hillary believe in the same BIG government programs? Absolutely. But the Obama camp has two secret weapons- a vacuous suit with exceptional oratory skills and its closeness to the unofficial queen of the New Age movement. His camp was able to sense, very early on, what Peggy Noonan was writing about. Here is Michelle Obama on the campaign trail:
That is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this who understands that. That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.Did Oprah write that?
There was a moment in this campaign when I considered (albeit briefly) heaving reason aside and supporting Obama because I've lost all faith in our elites. This was momentary (BIG momentary) lapse of reason, for having read Kirk and Kreeft for almost as many years as Obama listened to Reverend Wright, I know where this inevitably ends:
Ideology, in short, is a political formula that promises mankind and earthly paradise; but in cruel fact what ideology has created is a series of terrestrial hells.†
But this is the opportunity of a lifetime for Obama and the liberal wing of the Democratic party and they're going for broke. There are 300+ million empty vessels waiting to be saved by Obama the Messiah and rehabilitated by legions of central planners.
I'M ASKING YOU TO BELIEVE. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washinton...I'm asking you to believe in yours."The Anchoress believes this painless coup was in the works for a long time and offers the best (and most beautiful) interpretation of where this "obliviousness" may take us:
- Obama '08
The ending, of course, is the coup d’état. Believing that the rest of us, now disillusioned, are no longer clinging to romantic ideals of honor, or truth or nobility, these always-restless First Children, devoted to deconstruction, believe they are about to take down the presidency, the churches, the "old" government and even the "old" media. They expect to put into place something "brand new." But believe me when I tell you what they are building is older than dirt. And up from it. Which is why they will need their fortresses. Castro lives in one, too.We have created and are responsible for this national malaise. We have opened the door for this government recklessness and malfeasance and are grossly indifferent (and some would argue expectant) to the encroachment.
They've been practicing all of this, by the way, perfecting the Art of the Painless Coup so thoroughly that most ordinary folks do not even realize what has occurred.
Over the past 40 years these hyperactive First Children have been pulling off small scale coups with varying levels of success. They managed to deconstruct the academies, so that education is less a broadening of knowledge than a narrowing of perspective. They have deconstructed the liturgy to insist that a pantomime in clownface is a vast improvement over 2000 year-old sacrament and liturgy. They have deconstructed government by constructing something so huge and unweildly that nothing coming out of it is reliable or dependable, and almost no one is accountable, either. They have deconstructed the press to the point where the truth of a story is less important than how it may be framed and spun. They have deconstructed the idea of fascism to mean "those democracies in Israel and America" rather than the freedom-suppressing regimes which surround them.
As John Hawkins writes:
We have gotten to a point in our society where people can pursue courses of action that we know, they know, that everyone knows are highly likely to end in disaster. But then, when the aforementioned tragedy inevitably occurs, there is a demand that the federal government "fix the problem."The federal government has responded by inflating our currency to postpone this reckoning despite having a tremendous moral and ethical responsibility to protect our currency from debasement. Henry Hazlitt, a man as venerable as the old bank and its motto in marble, knew the curse of inflation. He writes:
Yet the ardor for inflation never dies. It would almost seem as if no country is capable of profiting from the experience of another and no generation of learning from the suffering of its forbears. Each generation and country follows the same mirage. Each grasps for the same Dead Sea fruit that turns to dust and ashes in its mouth. For it is the nature of inflation to give birth to a thousand illusions.Ron Paul may be a little lopsided, but you know there are problems when the nation's accountant, David Walker, resigns/retires and goes on a nationwide tour to warn the country about the looming financial crisis.
Inflation itself is a form of taxation. It is perhaps the worst possible form, which usually bears hardest on those least able to pay.
Whether we like it or not, history has was a way of forcing us to confront our excesses.
†Russell Kirk, The Politics of Prudence.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Here is an excerpt from the instructions:
When subjected to a temperature of approximately 125°F the Fuse Pin in the Hinged Link will melt, the Link will part and the alarm will automatically operate. Should it become to necessary to fit a new Fuse engage the two halves of the link by sliding together (see sketch) and insert new fuse.
What other BLOG provides you with such utterly useless information?
That's motivation everybody! We have to work even harder. I'll refer to a rather corny and elementary saying/poem that a former adolescent client of mine told be. She said that her teacher told them this EVERY morning. Here goes: "Good, better, best...Never let it rest until your good becomes your better and your better becomes your best!!!"Here's one from Daily Kos via Little Green Footballs. This one is a little creepy.
YES, YES, YES, WE CAN!!!!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
As part of my plea bargain I'm required to post 1 PSA a month. Please watch this short video from Liberty Medical with Wilford Brimley. The diabeetis is serious.
- Russell Kirk
The title of this post isn't about Obama. I am finishing a rather lengthy post about these tumultuous times that started with an article about our penchant for instant gratification. The post is a work in progress (and very far from complete).
I did want to stop and call attention to Mikhail Gorbachev's surprise visit to the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi because it dovetails with what I'm writing. Apparently Gorbachev was a closet Christian.
Everyone on the staff thought the president was simply naive when Ronald Reagan told us he thought Gorbachev was a secret believer. When I had the opportunity to speak to Gorbachev a couple of years ago, I concluded that Reagan had been onto something after all. Why, I asked, had Gorbachev refrained from putting down the revolution of 1989 just as Khrushchev had put down the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and Brezhnev had put down the Prague Spring of 1968. "Because of something I shared with Ronald Reagan," Gorbachev replied. "Christian morality."
I parsed through hundreds of reactions to the speech and like this one by Stanley Kurtz the best. I continue to vacillate on the effect Obama's twenty-year relationship with Reverend Wright will have on his presidential ambitions. His numbers at Intrade remain favorable and the MSM is fawning over his speech. I also think both camps have run the numbers and know it is going to be a brokered convention decided by the super delegates. As a result, Obama was speaking to the super delegates today more than he was to the voters. The demographic Hillary won in Ohio is going to give her the same edge in Pennsylvania. In short, voters have made up their minds and this speech was more about momentum and re-assuring the super delegates that he can win in the general election.
I think Kurtz assumes Obama is able to navigate the anger and hatred of Reverand Wright. He goes further and examines how the radical elements of the party are able to find their voice under the cover of a slick charlatan. This is important to me because Obama is a radical, a hard-core lefty who believes government is the solution to all the ills of the world (I purposely used the word world). He's also an appeaser and rabidly anti-American.
Obama is persuasive because he's sincere. You wonder how he could have sat for twenty years in Wright's congregation listening to his minister's shocking radicalism without leaving. Obama explains it here. He sees some exaggeration and excessive pessimism in Wright's stance, yet he also sees the authentic voice of African-American pain. And this led Obama to tolerate, excuse, and dismiss for decades what ought not to have been tolerated, excused, or dismissed. This, unfortunately, is exactly how elite liberals come to countenance the sort of anti-American radicalism they ought to stand up and fight instead.If Hillary found her voice in New Hampshire he has given a voice to the most dangerous radicals in this country.
Remember when we were hearing about the need to purge Michael Moore and the MoveOn crowd from the Democratic Party? Obama is the polar opposite of all that–and in a devilishly clever way. Rather than move the Democrats away from the Michael Moores or Jeremiah Wrights, Obama buys absolution for them from the rest of the country. No, Obama does not fully agree with Jeremiah Wright, but the Democratic Party under Obama will be complacent about its Michael Moore wing. That's why the MoveOn types are so excited about Obama. There will be plenty of the most left-leaning appointees staffing the federal bureaucracy and set into judgeships under Obama, and all of it will be smoothed over by speeches about national healing and understanding pain. Under Obama, the Michael Moore-MoveOn wing, far from being purged, will be in the catbird seat, and all because they've found the perfect spokesman.
In this positive attraction to anti-American anger (even if that anger is not quite entirely shared) Obama embodies the sensibilities of the elite academic radicals that are his real heritage and milieu.
Far from pulling a Hubert Humphrey or a Tony Blair and casting the radical left out of the party, Obama seems to see his job as getting the rest of the country to adopt a stance of relative complacency toward the most egregious sorts of anti-Americanism–all under the guise of achieving national unity.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Right underrepresented in press's diversityThe same anti-American elite academic radicals who support Obama.
Only 6 percent of the national press corps describe themselves as "conservative" in a population that includes reporters, editors and producers from major television and radio networks, daily newspapers, news wires and online sources.
Those who consider themselves "very conservative" amount to just 2 percent, according to a wide-ranging survey of 585 journalists and news executives released yesterday by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Monday, March 17, 2008
***You may need to hurry and watch these videos because YouTube is stuffing them down the memory hole like Obama did with pictures of Reverend Wright on his web site.***
I hope you had a great weekend and pumped your mind with positive energy and thoughts.
As we begin anew, let's take a deep breath and exhale!
Let's see if we can move forward knowing that Barack's staff will handle situations for the good of all involved.
Let's think positive thoughts and write positive messages.
Sometimes, each of us become frustrated... it's human nature. We can not change the past but we can effectuate change in the days to come.
So, take another deep breath.
Blow it out ever so s-l-o-w-l-y.
Have a great, positive week!
(NYT) The more you learn about him, the more Obama seems to be a conventionally opportunistic politician, impressively smart and disciplined, who has put together a good political career and a terrific presidential campaign. But there’s not much audacity of hope there. There’s the calculation of ambition, and the construction of artifice, mixed in with a dash of deceit — all covered over with the great conceit that this campaign, and this candidate, are different.**UPDATE**
This was just published on NRO:
Derb and Robbins are right: Obama is toast. There is no coming back from this either...Of course Hillary is the obvious beneficiary of his fall, and she may yet pull out the nomination. No matter. The numbers of voters who have sworn to pollsters that they would not vote for her no matter what, has hovered slightly above 50 percent forever. And, there will be a lot of angry Obama voters who won't show up for her.This was posted by Lisa Schiffren. I still think HRC's staff will find a way to heal those divisions enough to win in November. She will also benefit from a non-hostile MSM who will be working overtime to heal those divisions (most likely by manufacturing "news" of a racially tinged nature that portray conservatives as indefensible cretins). Her greatest asset will be Obama who, given the choice between the Senate and VP, will make the only choice a shrewd, business and usual politico can make.
As an aside...Lisa writes that the election is McCain's to lose. I think that's going a little far, although, she mentions that McCain should introduce Phil Gramm front and center ASAP to calm reservations about his [McCain's] economic prowess in these very uncertain times. Once upon a time, Gramm was going to run for the GOP nomination. Gramm's economic credentials are indisputable.
Objecting to the tone of attacks against Mrs. Clinton and her supporters on the blog, the diarist called for a “writers strike.”
"This is a strike - a walkout over unfair writing conditions at DailyKos. It does not mean that if conditions get better I won’t 'work'' at DailyKos again," Alegre wrote, promising to come back only "if we ever get to the point where we're engaging each other in discussion rather than facing off in shouting matches."
Eric at Viking Pundit opines:
Pass the popcorn, again - Wow, the Left side of this presidential election has everything: identity politics run amok, another Florida voting disaster, Hillary trying to override the "will of the people" and now Daily Kos diarists going on strike. Can I get a Dean Scream Amen, my brothers?The infighting on the DEM side is delicious. I'm really torn about the outcome. The Intrade Prediction Markets still show Obama winning the DEM nomination (71.8 versus 28.3); however, according to Rasmussen, his national lead against Hillary is fading.
If not for the seriousness of the challenges ahead, both campaigns (and candidates) would be laughable. In one instance you have Elton John signing for HRC for one night only and on the other you have Scarlett Johansson shilling for Obama and whose supporters seem obnoxiously gullible. Here's a typical post on the Obama BLOG (unedited...I resisted the impulse):
Hey everyone , it is really simple if you think about it. When a tree falls in the forest, that it make a sound? Try THis:It's too bad this isn't 1990 when such naiveté, absurdity, and obtuseness would be passable. I think the above comment is more of an approximation of Obama's foreign policy...If I talk to Ahmadinejad I can help him visualize world peace and he will at once give up his nuclear enrichment program and innate hatred of Israel.
1/ TURN OFF THE TV, AVOID ALL OTHER WHITE NOISE.
2/ FOCUS ON THIS IMAGE: BARACK OBAMA AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT!
(Stick to it, and i promise you will feel good all week long)
TRY IT, now!
Yes. We. Can.
"It appears today that some elements among the remnants of the Marxist left, radical Green, miscellaneous postmodern radicals of various hue, and radicalized Muslims are searching for a way to unite around the only issues that connect them: hatred of liberal capitalist modernity, Israel and the United States of America."
- Walter Russell Mead
The photo essay from Ringo’s Pictures...
Saturday, March 15th 2008, I skipped my usual shower, put on a smelly old t-shirt, grabbed my camera and some cash and headed over to Hollywood to join in the peace parade. As usual, the event was sponsored by the communist front group International ANSWER and co-hosted by numerous other Marxist and Leftist organizations.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
You know who's a Roman? Lucius here, he's a Roman. You know who else? Me. I'm a Roman.
It's over for Obama. Here's the Reverand Wright video on YouTube. I've heard very white educated liberals speak this way. Hillary and Obama both hate America and are equally unpalatable. Obama may speak about "hope" and "change" but there's a reason he's the candidate of choice for Cindy Sheehan. In case you haven't connected the dots, here's an excerpt from God and Gold that links Wright & Obama to the most virulent strain of Anti-Americanism:
"It appears today that some elements among the remnants of the Marxist left, radical Green, miscellaneous postmodern radicals of various hue, and radicalized Muslims are searching for a way to unite around the only issues that connect them: hatred of liberal capitalist modernity, Israel and the United States of America."
Now you know why Michelle Obama is finally proud of America. Here's more from God and Gold. It's almost like Mead is quoting one of Wright's sermons:
"The constitutional separation of church and state violates the authority of God...Commercialized, commodified sex permeates the American economy and culture. American scientists invented and spread AIDS. American pollution is destroying the world—and even so, the United States has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. American politics only pretends to be democratic; it is actually a plutocratic system, with Jews behind the scenes pulling the strings. America is the most violent society in the history of the world, dropping nuclear weapons on Japan among many other crimes. American hypocrisy is without compare; American democracy is reserved for the privileged white race. America has no right for the international law, though it wants to impose such laws on others. The Patriot Act ans other harsh measures after 9/11 fully expose the hypocrisy of America's claims to stand for human rights."
This tripe comes from the majority of American Colleges and Universities. Professors like Ward Churchill feed this babble to impressionable minds. I've seen the fruits of their labor; I've read graffiti at one of those places of privilege supporting the Iraqi insurgents. Disgusting.
Peering into the demented mind of the America-hating left
John Derbyshire is gloating. He writes: "Why Didn't You LISTEN? Obama's toast, and Hillary will poll poorly against McCain. Get your bumper stickers now!"
Ouch. I found this on Wizbang.
I'm sure there is a way to spin Obama's 20-year relationship with a race-baiting man who calls for God to damn America, is convinced that it's run by the Ku Klux Klan, that the government engineered the AIDS virus to get rid of gays and blacks, and embraces Louis Farrakhan, but I can't find it.
Can someone help me out here?
Stock futures are down -267.
(AP/MSNBC) The Federal Reserve, in an extraordinarly rare weekend move, took bold action Sunday evening to provide cash to financially squeezed Wall Street investment houses, a fresh effort to prevent a spreading credit crisis from sinking the U.S. economy.It didn't take Senator Schumer (D, NY) very long to identify a scapegoat:
The central bank approved a cut in its lending rate to financial institutions to 3.25 percent from 3.50 percent, effective immediately, and created another lending facility for big investment banks to secure short-term loans.
Senator Schumer is calling Bush "Herbert Hoover." But Hoover signed protectionist Smoot-Hawley, just as Hillary and Obama are today trying to break up NAFTA. Hoover signed a huge tax increase, just as Hill-Bama are preaching. The Dems are emulating Hoover. Bush is trying to stop it.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
(1) 10 Of My Biggest Pet Peeves
(2) "I took the plunge, and have decided I will be voting for Hillary Clinton. Here’s why."
(3) Hillary Supporters Attempt to Get Jiggy With It; Six Dead, Forty Wounded, Hundreds Without Power or Shelter (Don't WATCH this video).
(4) A bastardized cover of Rolling Stone Magazine more disturbing than the one which exposed Al Gore's codpiece.
(5) The Bank Job is a great movie which once again begs the question- What happened to the British?
(6) Anderson Cooper: Romney’s church clearly relevant, Obama’s church not so much
(7) Former Clinton Loyalist: Don't Believe Hillary's Claims - Must have been pillow talk (wink wink) because Hillary didn't even have security clearance for National Security Council meetings.
(8) AFP: 'Eliot Spitzer (R)' - We have enough of our own...The DEMS can keep this one.
(8a) AFP Admits Mistake with Spitzer (R) Caption
(9) It looks like the big winner in the Eliot Spitzer scandal isn’t David Paterson—it’s “Kristen,” aka Ashley Alexandra Dupre, whose song has been downloaded more than a million times...
I heard the song on Z100 (100.3) in the car with my brother. I was going to do a separate post about that surreal event but adding the "end times" label to this one should suffice. After we heard her song on Z100 we flipped to 99.1 (WPLR) and heard "Brain Damage" by Pink Floyd. How painfully apropos (and a nice palate cleanser).
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.
(10) Pews, Press, Prostitutes...whatever - My favorite blogger quotes Fr. Martin who spoke on NPR about all this "new sins from the Vatican" nonsense. Gabriel Malor over at Ace read the original article and started flinging profanity at the church before the reportage had been verified and/or clarified. You think a blogger would know better?
(11) The Top 10 Reasons Bloggers Don't Succeed - I miss the mark on all these but I don't really care. I'm blogging because I still enjoy this and can post pictures like this.
Special agent GAY BOWERS reads case file material while GUYDAN demonstrates water boarding alternatives.
Friday, March 14, 2008
While contraction isn't very pleasant, a correction is necessary to remove market excesses which build up over time. These are cyclical events.
Unfortunately, during a downturn many people expect the government to mitigate the effects. This might be an easy conclusion to reach, especially after you've read a headline on Drudge, listened to NPR or watched a segment on the nightly news. But media hype shouldn't translate into a knee-jerk reaction and/or rallying cries to interfere with free markets. Furthermore, the law of unintended consequences means that any government engineered solution will greatly exacerbate the correction, as well as potentially restrict the markets potential for innovation post-contraction.
As the extent of these events continue to unfold some government action may be necessary. The FED and Treasury Department are closely monitoring the situation. What I've been doing is parsing statements from our elected politicos to make sure these recent gyrations don't become opportunities for shunting free trade, nationalizing industry (banking) or using tax dollars to bail out speculators.
If you didn't hear President Bush speak at the Economic Club of New York you can read his speech here (excerpts below). He didn't speak enough about the weak dollar in my opinion and I don't see gold/oil easing until the dollar stabilizes.
First of all, in a free market, there's going to be good times and bad times. That's how markets work. There will be ups and downs. And after 52 consecutive months of job growth, which is a record, our economy obviously is going through a tough time. It's going through a tough time in the housing market, and it's going through a tough time in the financial markets.I've also been reading Redstate for some of the play-by-play. The reportage/analysis is apolitical.
This morning the Federal Reserve, with support of the Treasury Department, took additional actions to mitigate disruptions to our financial markets. Today's events are fast-moving, but the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of the Treasury are on top of them, and will take the appropriate steps to promote stability in our markets.
The temptation is for people, in their attempt to limit the number of foreclosures, is to put bad law in place. And so I want to talk about some of that. First of all, the temptation of Washington is to say that anything short of a massive government intervention in the housing market amounts to inaction. I strongly disagree with that sentiment. I believe there ought to be action, but I'm deeply concerned about law and regulation that will make it harder for the markets to recover -- and when they recover, make it harder for this economy to be robust. And so we got to be careful and mindful that any time the government intervenes in the market, it must do so with clear purpose and great care. Government actions are -- have far-reaching and unintended consequences.
Once this contraction runs its course our politicos will need to reign in spending (pork, pork, pork) and reform entitlement programs. I was embarrassed by Senator Harry Reid's (D, NM) comments about pork. How important is pork to our elected officials? Here's the lead from CBS/AP:
In a late night vote, senators from both political parties insisted on their right to send pet projects back to their states, even though presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton joined with GOP nominee-in-waiting John McCain in a bid to ban them for one year.Senators couldn't give up the smack for one year!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Is there an appropriate policy response to this? I wish you hadn't asked.Kudlow tallies up FED involvement.
The free-market approach is to let the chips fall where they may. We will probably end up with a massive de-leveraging of the financial system, and a long slow period of balance-sheet rebuilding. Ultimately, we'll get a stronger system out of it. But the Great Depression wasn't any fun, and Great Depression II won't be any fun either.
The aggressive-policy response is even worse. The taxpayers could end up owning several trillion dollars' worth of home mortgages. How are you going to fund that? And more importantly, what would the price be?
Monday, March 10, 2008
Oil closed at $108. Investors are expecting another rate cut of 50/75 basis points which means oil at $120 (reported by Bloomberg) w/in 6 months is probable.
Economists define a recession as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP but there's enough empirical evidence to indicate we're in one and it's going to be much closer to the dreaded "d" word. I walk at the mall and I'm astounded by the number of store closings and the absolute lack of traffic. This article expects retail bankruptcies to reach levels not seen since the 1991 recession.
CNN has a special Recession Watch 2008 section. Priceless!
Whoever wins the White House in November is going to have to force the legislative branch to deal with entitlements. According to this article every child born in this country enters the world owing $175,000 in retirement bills. The DEMS won't be able to tax these problems away either.
Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) has agreed to cosponsor the DeMint-McCain earmark moratorium amendment (Hat Tip: Instapundit).
Sunday, March 09, 2008
A list of my favorite second-hand treasures. I'm still working on the photographs.
(1) Hand-blown glass acorn (first referenced here). I found it at a tag sale for $5. I have no information on the artist or the purpose of its manufacture.
(2) The Holy Grail of Playmobil® Robots (first referenced here). The set was manufactured by LYRA® in 1976. The robot looks like R2-D2 and will be featured in my robot trading card series™. I found the set on eBay® for less than $15.
(3) The Official 35mm Camera of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. It was a version of the Snappy 20 or 50 manufactured by Canon. The camera was red, white and blue and emblazoned with graphics from the 1984 Olympic Games. The strap has an image of the mascot Sam the Eagle. According to Wikipedia, Sam the Eagle was designed by Disney animator C. Robert Moore. The back of the camera has very simple icons to depict events of the 1984 Summer Olympics. I found the camera on eBay® in its original box (with the warranty) for less than $10.
(4) The Wilkinson Household Fire Alarm was manufactured in England. I have very little information about this device. I paid a $1 for it at a tag sale. The alarm is the size of a donut and does not use circuits or batteries. It is hand wound (like a clock or watch). The alarm is triggered when a fuse (flint?) snaps a band and unwinds the mechanism inside. It's a tiny device but produces a surprisingly loud and annoying ring. I've done some patent research on the device and found this and this. The latter includes a drawing. The patent was filed in 1958. I found this treasure in its original box with the operating instructions.
(5) Playskool® Play Friend National Park. I found this 33-piece set at the Minks to Sinks sale in Wilton, Connecticut for $2 in its original box. I had this set as a child (the only remaining piece was the eagle). The people in the set were square! The set had 9 animals (rabbit, owl, deer, bear, eagle, squirrel, raccoon, skunk and beaver) with movable parts, 5 Play Friends, campfire, canoe, tent, park information booth, and 1 flocked, tear-resistant play mat (29 1/2" x 20 1/2"). Playskool® also made a Holiday Inn Familiar Places set which I've never seen but would like to find.
I don't really keep a list "stuff" I'm searching for. The acorn and fire alarm were true finds. While I won't ever have a house of chotskies I won't deny my love affair with toys and objects of antiquity (books and maps included).
Saturday, March 08, 2008
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
Right now the greenback is in virtual freefall. It’s a disorderly drop. As a result, U.S. inflation rates are rising across the board as the global commodity boom leaks into higher domestic inflation.
Inflation is the cruelest tax of all. It robs consumer and wage-earner purchasing power. It erodes business profits. It reduces the real worth of investor portfolios.
It’s also the single biggest cause of recession, and it may well be tipping the economy into negative territory.
For the first time in a decade I’ve become genuinely worried about inflation. Over the last year and a half, inflation has climbed from 1.5 percent to nearly 4.5 percent, and in the past three to four months it has trended sharply higher.
But there’s another side of the dollar story that’s equally important. The falling U.S. greenback has become a symbol of American decline.
Folks are making fun of the dollar. Our enemies around the world are pointing to the unreliable dollar as evidence of American weakness. It’s as though the administration’s neglect of the dollar is “peso-izing” or “Latin-Americanizing” the greenback.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
-noun, plural -ties.
1. austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
2. Usually, austerities. ascetic practices: austerities of monastery life.
3. strict economy.
"...inflation acts to determine the individual and business policies we are all forced to follow. It discourages all prudence and thrift. It encourages squandering, gambling, reckless waste of all kinds. It often makes it more profitable to speculate than to produce. It tears apart the whole fabric of stable economic relationships. Its inexcusable injustices drive men toward desperate remedies. It plants the seeds of fascism and communism. It leads men to demand totalitarian controls. It ends invariably in bitter disillusion and collapse."Related
- Henry Hazlitt
Soaring prices force US to cut food aid
Nuns mug orphan!