Monday, November 30, 2009

Something I Just Discovered

I like writing about roly polies and cool things to do with Photoshop and pictures of our Maximum leader than I do writing about politics and money.

Can You Use Roly Polies as a Thermometer?

My daughter was working on her Science Fair project this weekend - What Is Home Sweet Home to a Bug? In short, she needs to find which habitat roly polies like best. Having built the suite of habitats, we were off on our bug hunt on Sunday.

It had rained on Saturday and a cold front was moving through San Diego. We couldn't find the little dudes anywhere. We finally discovered groups of them rolled up into balls underneath some plants and bark. It dawned on us that this was their response to cold weather. So the question arises - can you use roly polies as a thermometer? At what temperature do they curl up and hibernate?

A roly poly caught in the act of telling you the temperature.

But I Don't Even Like Bagels

... why would I want to participate in a schmear campaign?
A controversy over leaked e-mails exchanged among global warming scientists is part of a "smear campaign" to derail next month's United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, one of the scientists, meteorologist Michael Mann, said Tuesday. Unknown hackers illegally broke into a server last week at the climate institute at Britain's University of East Anglia. The hackers then published hundreds of candid private messages in which top climate change specialists debate how to address recent data showing temperatures leveling off, the university says.
The Anchoress said something to the effect of "The MSM will report on the story as soon as they have a counter narrative they can use to soften the blow." Looks like ABC found one. It's pretty thin stuff, if you ask me.

Meanwhile, in England, they're not so nice to the lads from East Anglia.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

60 Minutes - Congo Gold

60 Minutes is doing a segment tonight on gold from the Congo and how horrible the situation is over there. Right now, they're grilling some poor devil from an American jewelry trade organization, intimating that they should stop selling Congo gold.

Right.

Let me know when CBS stops selling ads to Zales and Jared and ...

Blood money is blood money and the last person to handle it was 60 Minutes own Scott Pelley.

Who killed the poor Congolese woman? Scott Pelley in the living room with the pipe wrench.

Feline Fun With Photoshop

I'm working on creating some artistic renderings of our Maximum Leader so I can make myself some schwag for the next Blogworld. Dig this one.

Global Warming is a Cult

An addendum to my last post.

The messianic priests of the apocalypse kept their sacred writings in the inner sanctum, consulted them from time to time and then came out to make pronouncements of doom to their followers. And then, when they could no longer protect the inner sanctum, presto!, the sacred writings disappeared.

That sounds like a cult to me.

Global Warming is a Fraud

OK, I'm done. I had some reservations about the extent of the problems with climate modelling and whether or not there were kernels of truth in what the warmists were saying, but I'm totally done now. Dig this.
SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.
This is complete nonsense. The data could have been transcribed into computer files by grad students at $12 an hour and saved. In fact, they had to do that anyway to get the data into their models to adjust it in the first place! This is all lies! You never throw away your original data.

One hard drive and a few grad students and you could have saved all of the original data upon which the global economy is being "adjusted". Nope, can't afford that!

I can't think of an analogy here. That's because we've never tried to "adjust" all of human civilization across the entire planet based on models whose foundational raw data was thrown out. These people are psychotics. This is madness.

Global Warming isn't science, it's a cult.
The cult's leaders are self-appointed, messianic persons who claim to have a special mission in life. For example, the flying saucer cult leaders claim that people from outer space have commissioned them to lead people to special places to await a space ship.
Or global warming.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Poetic Skill and Beauty

... can be found here.

Aside: This has been a pretty linky day today. No, I'm not getting lazy and I'm not trying to copy the Puppy Blender, it just worked out that way.

Is Your Coffeepot This Green?

I doubt it.

Link of the Day

The List.

His Master's Voice

Buried amidst the avalanche of slime coming out of ClimaQuiddick is this gem from NYT ecoblogger Andrew Revkin, writing to Michael "Fake Hockeystick Chart" Mann about skeptical inquiries from Stephen McIntyre.
I'm going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre et al attacks.
peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?
Andy doesn't know enough to critique McIntyre's assertions on his own, so he goes to Mann for advice.

Put another way, the reporter was too ignorant to take sides based on his own thoughts and instead let one of the two sides speak through him. That's what we all read in the newspapers and what was reported on TV and radio. Meanwhile, Michael Mann and his cronies had completely purged the peer review circles of any dissent like the KGB used to round up threats to the regime and shoot them. Andy the Wonder Journalist was too lazy, too naive and too compromised to do the real reporting necessary to discover it.

Modern journalism at its finest.

And now, on to Copehnhagen! There's no time to lose!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Well, At Least We Know Now

... that CO2 causes cancer.
But slashing carbon dioxide emissions also could save millions of lives, mostly by reducing preventable deaths from heart and lung diseases, according to studies published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet.
Since breathing is a major source of CO2, I recommend we all kill as many living things as we possibly can. Really. It's the only way we can save ourselves.

The Rust Belt and the Scam

Another thought on the global warming scandal. Just what will happen in the Rust Belt cities where unemployment is very high as the news of Climategate spreads? Do you think they're going to be very sympathetic to the politicians who help pass more and more stringent emission standards that end up putting them out of work to prevent a scenario cooked up by charlatans?

Detroit is positively thriving on green technologies. Like weeds.

Building Pressure

How long can the MSM keep a lid on the Climategate story? Probably not a long time. What will happen when the foreign press and foreign governments start bringing it up?
Millions of measurements, global coverage, consistently rising temperatures, case closed: The Earth is warming. Except for one problem. CRU’s average temperature data doesn’t jive with that of Vincent Courtillot, a French geo-magneticist, director of the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, and a former scientific advisor to the French Cabinet. Last year he and three colleagues plotted an average temperature chart for Europe that shows a surprisingly different trend. Aside from a very cold spell in 1940, temperatures were flat for most of the 20th century, showing no warming while fossil fuel use grew. Then in 1987 they shot up by about 1 C and have not shown any warming since. This pattern cannot be explained by rising carbon dioxide concentrations, unless some critical threshold was reached in 1987; nor can it be explained by climate models.
And that's in France. What do you think the press and government in India are going to do with this stuff? And when an Indian minister gives speeches ripping the whole CO2 modelling establishment and says India isn't going to stay poor to prevent fantasies based on fraudulent science, will the MSM cover that?

Fallout from the Climate Scandal

I've got some random thoughts after having read more on the global warming scandal whose secondary explosions are still ripping through the Internet and unsettling the "settled science."

First off, the stories are starting to find their way into the Mainstream Media. Love him or hate him, Glenn Beck's got a pretty big following and he's covering the story. So is the Wall Street Journal.
...more than 3,000 emails and documents from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have found their way to the Internet have blown the lid off the "science" of manmade global warming. CRU is a nerve center for many of those researchers who have authored the United Nations' global warming reports and fueled the political movement to regulate carbon.

Their correspondence show a claque of scientists massaging data to make it fit their theories, squelching scientists who disagreed, punishing academic journals that didn't toe the apocalyptic line, and hiding their work from public view. "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," glumly wrote George Monbiot, a U.K. writer who has been among the fiercest warming alarmists. The documents "could scarcely be more damaging." And that's from a believer.
That bit from the WSJ could be the biggest thing of all. First, notice the scare quotes around "science" in the first sentence. That made it past the WSJ editors which means that the paper is now at least partially backing the skeptics. This is huge.

Subsequent stories on anything climate change-related may now contain paragraphs referring to this scandal. That means every time Obama makes a pronouncement on global warming, they'll cover that speech, but throw in references to the lies and fraud from these "scientists." Sort of like the way CNN would mention the casualty counts from Iraq during any discussion of the war by the Bush Administration. It will cut the legs out from under any message the warmers want to get out.

Second, what does this do to science in general? I started out as a scientist and did a bit of research in a previous life. I worked hard to make sure my data was accurate and it never occurred to me to massage it to get the results I was looking for. There was one time in particular where my research proved that a project I had proposed and been funded to complete was going to be a total waste of time. Ouch! I didn't "hide the decline" on that one, but these guys did. It wasn't on some minor research effort, either, they've been trying to remake the world in their image of perfection and have been doing it through bullying, lying and fraud. It is going to destroy public confidence in science.

Third, what happens to public figures who deny the magnitude of this scandal? President Obama is going to Copenhagen with a pledge to reduce American CO2 emissions by 17%, a figure unobtainable without huge costs in lifestyle and cash.
Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen for climate-change talks, where he’ll offer to cut U.S. emissions about 17 percent by 2020 in an effort to help break a deadlock between rich and poor nations.
He looks like a credulous dunce when he doesn't question the "settled science" behind these reductions. His authority is undermined by the scandal. He won't be able to hold news conferences without this being brought up, unless he tightly controls who he invites and look how well that worked with his war with Fox News.

Fourth, the whole trading scam is being revealed as a massive con game. From the Bloomberg article linked above comes this gem:
U.S. legislation backed by Obama to cut greenhouse gases and establish a market for the trading of pollution allowances passed the House in June and then stalled in the Senate. Administration officials said they aren’t going to Denmark empty-handed and Obama’s attendance will send a strong signal.
Emphasis mine. Al Gore has picked up a cool hundred mil from this racket. As the bombs from this scandal continue to go off, someone is going to start following the money and it's going to lead to all kinds of major public figures. Thanks to the ignorant policies being pursued by this economically illiterate administration, we're going to see double-digit unemployment and financial problems for some time to come. Imagine how the public is going to react to story after story of hucksters like Al Gore making tens of millions scamming us all. There's tar, feather and pitchforks. You do the math.

My final thought is that as the story ripples through the public, all the electric car drivers and solar cell subsidies are going to look idiotic.

Symbolism.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm just popping in here to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. I'm home alone today, nursing a cold, eating raw oysters, drinking beer and watching football. A perfectly normal Thanksgiving.

Err, well, that might require an explanation. My wife and her sons are in Chicago taking care of her mother who fell ill (but is recovering nicely!), my kids are with their mom, and I'm still too contagious to visit my parents and expose them to my cold virus. So I'm here dining on the oysters we had planned to turn into oyster stuffing for some cornish game hens.

And loving it.

I don't think I'm going to post the rest of the day. Instead I'm taking some time to play with things I've been wanting to work with for some time. We'll see if any results of those efforts find their way to this blog.

Before I sign off, I want to say that I am deeply thankful to all of you, those who visit and those who comment - folks like Dean, B-Daddy, Kelly, Tim Eisele, Jeff Burton, Foxfier, Rose, Wollf, Justin, Mostly Nothing, the Secular Apostate, Mog, Sissy Willis and all the rest of you. This blog has been the focal point of my intellectual life and without you, it would be a lonely, empty enterprise.

I hope you all have a fun and blessed day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

Concentrate on the Important Things

Oh sure, it looks like the entire global warming thing has been a massive hoax perpetrated to keep the flow of tens of millions of research dollars going endlessly to the academics and to enrich frauds and hucksters like Al Gore to the point where his bloated carcass is worth more than a hundred mil, but let's get serious for a moment. What really matters is Michelle Obama's gown.
Looking glamorous in an elegant strapless gown by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan, Michelle Obama welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Mrs. Gursharan Kaur to the White House Tuesday night and ushered in the Obama administration's first official state dinner.
Sparkly things distract people.

Oops! Maybe the people aren't so distracted. Here are a few comments from the ABC News story I linked to yesterday about global warming hurting women the most.
Apparently the author hasn't kept up with the crumbling foundation of Global Warming THEORY. And doesn't seem to be aware of a huge scandal at the heart of Global Warming central, where it is revealed that the "science" is a lie, and peer review a joke.
...
Yes, I too am surprised that apparently Ria doesn't know or is ignoring the recent headline about the computer hack that revealed documents and emails PROVING scientists conspired to alter "warming evidence" to make it seem as if there actually were "climate change." They were very frustrated that the evidence didn't substantiate their "theories", and schemed FOR YEARS to keep this evidence from ever surfacing.
...
Stella, you're my hero. I love your comments.

Didja know Al Gore was worth 2 million dollars when he left the white house? Now he is worth about 100 million, earned from his Climate Change crap. He's in it for the money and knows very well there is no climate change other than the natural cycles this planet goes through
...
The science of global warming is nothing more than consensus of Liberal Professors who skew the data to fit the paradigm the want to espouse. Follow the money and look at the political outcome to enhance their own power, wealth, and aggrandizement
...
There is No man made climate change. Read the recently hacked emails from uk. Its all a fraud
And then there is the all-time, best ever, Hall of Fame comment in this thread:
Women will suffer alright! With all that heat, there will not be a need to cuddle after sex
Booyah! Here is the runner-up:
Big surprise here. As the farce known as global climate change steadily unwinds it's time to pull out all the stops. Here's the gender card, race card soon to follow.

how pathetic
Dang. That's my line!

Meanwhile, P J Gladnick has the same idea. He does his bit with a 2001 theme.

It Is teh Awesome!!!1!!!

Thanks to Allahpundit for turning us on to this gem.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Obama Prepares His Strategy; Islamists Have Theirs Already

Headline: White House: Obama Afghan decision 'within days'

Meanwhile, the Islamofascists have got their strategy already and are employing it as fast as possible.
“The enemy should prepare coffins because we will respond quickly and decisively in the depths of the Zionist entity.*”

I recommend negotiating with them, perhaps preceeded by apologies.

* - This may not, in fact, be the precise reading of the strategy, but given the number of times this sort of thing is repeated, you have to figure it's way up on the list of campaign slogans.

Submitted without Comment

From ABC News.
As global climate change intensifies, the negative effects will fall more and more disproportionately onto women, according to State of World Population 2009, a report released by the United Nations' Population Fund last week.

Women will need to work longer and harder as food and energy become increasingly difficult to procure in the developing nations most likely to be affected first by climate change, the report states. Girls are also more likely to drop out of school because of shortages, and the authors note that women are more likely than men to die in weather disasters that accompany climate disruptions, especially in places where women are significantly poorer than men.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A First Take on the Climate Email Bombshells

I've had some thoughts on this, but here's a video that takes all of this to a much, much higher level. I had no idea the control of the literature was from such a tight clique. That shouldn't have been much of a surprise, given what I know about the groups that do the techncial reviews on the journals I'm familiar with. It's a ten minute video, but worth every second of your time.


The shoe that has yet to drop is the way in which Al Gore made his billion dollars based on this "science."

H/T: Mish.

Update: Dig this analysis of a monstrous comment file from the documents that reveals a programmer trying to make sense of what seems to be spaghetti code in the global warming models. Wow.

I Watched Football All Day Yesterday

... and I don't even feel guilty about it. I laid around the house, suffering from a wretched head cold and watched the Indy-Baltimore game (please, can someone let Joe Flacco know what color his team is wearing?), the San Diego - Denver game (first place for the Bolts! Whoohoo!) and then the Philly-Chicago game (Michael Vick should be starting). And of course, I listened to the New Orleans Saints Radio Network and heard the Saints demolish the Bucs, 38-7.

Not bad for a sick day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yes, but What if I Buy Beer for a Tattooed Prostitute?

It sounds like it would be a triple win for the economy! Explanation here.

Imaginary Congressional Districts

By now, you've probably read that money from the Stimuloid Porkgasm™ is completely out of control - that it's been going to congressional districts that don't exist, that it's creating jobs when it hasn't even been disbursed yet, that there is case after case where the job creation claims are quickly and easily debunked. It's a good bet that the government agencies whose budgets have been goosed by tens of billions of dollars have simply blown it. They'd have to, as they are obligated to spend their budgets after a certain period of time. Why was it blown? The simple explanation is that those government agencies don't have the staff to manage an additional, say, $10B of contracts, particularly when they're trying to let those contracts to lots and lots of small companies.

In short, the money may be going up in smoke because there's just enough staff to spend it, but not enough staff to monitor its use. Now if the contracting professionals within these organizations are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the budgets, imagine how the Inspector Generals and auditors are overwhelmed. It's a good bet that these errors in accounting will never be tracked down for the simple reason that there's no one available to do it.

Allow me to suggest a darker possibility. The nation is simply being looted right before our eyes. So we've discovered that money is going to New Hampshire's non-existent 00th district. Now what? After a few barbed questions to Robert Gibbs in a press conference, we will ... do what? How will you, the private citizen, ever reliably find out where the money really went? Do you have any confidence that there is any tracking of this money?

Don't you think the people running those budgets know this?

Photo of the Day

... our Official Artist has it.

Oink Oink

Dig this.
Germany’s new finance minister has echoed Chinese warnings about the growing threat of fresh global asset price bubbles, fuelled by low US interest rates and a weak dollar ...

He added: “That low interest rate currencies such as the US dollar are increasingly being used as a basis for currency carry trades should give pause for thought. If there was a sudden reversal in this business, markets would be threatened with enormous turbulence, including in foreign exchange markets.”
Oink.

Oink

Dig this bit about how the monster liquidity game being played by the Fed and the Obama Administration is screwing over the rest of the world.
Some officials in Asia are ... suggesting the Fed’s record-low federal funds rate -- the central bank’s interest-rate target for overnight loans between banks -- is pushing asset prices in their region too high...

Continuing the zero-rate policy may lead emerging economies “to overheat and experience financial turmoil,” Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said in Tokyo Nov. 16...

Asian policy makers, including officials from India, South Korea and Indonesia, are studying capital controls to limit “hot money” inflows that may stoke asset bubbles and force their currencies to appreciate. Indonesia’s central bank is “seriously” studying a limit on inflows to short-term bills, Senior Deputy Governor Darmin Nasution said Nov. 19. Taiwan last week banned international investors from placing funds in time deposits.

The U.S. shouldn’t adjust monetary policy to account for rising Asian assets, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said Nov. 18. “If there are problems in real- estate markets in Asia, it is not very practical to say you should raise interest rates in the U.S.,” he said.
Emphasis mine.

Now that's Smart Diplomacy™!

Oink.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dave Ramsey, B-Daddy and more Leisure Time

Over at The Liberator Today, B-Daddy points out yet another income redistribution effort.
...the health care legislation is designed to transfer wealth, the House version includes an income surtax on the "wealthy." Harry Reid's version calls for an increase in the Medicare payroll tax for those making over $250,000 per year.
Marginal tax rates for the wealthy, that is, the taxes paid on your last dollar of income, are going up, up, up. If you lived the Dave Ramsey lifestyle and had a modest home and modest cars while making as much money as you could, the Democrats' effort to raise taxes on the well-to-do could result in lots and lots more leisure time for you!

If you're living below your means, then increases in marginal tax rates could be met by working less and less. You wouldn't have crushing bills to pay, so you'd be able to cut back your hours. And why not, if the government is just going to take those earnings anyway?

Who is John Galt?

The Shape of Things to Come

Mish posted this video of California college kids protesting a monster increase in fees.


California is facing another huge budget shortfall this year, something like $21B, since they have spent and taxed their way into financial ruin. Now all of the recipients of the goodies are starting to get squeezed and they're beginning to go wild.

This is just the beginning.


It's been so long since we've understood that you need to earn what you get that being confronted with it causes a violent reaction.

A Tiny Bit More on Sarah Palin

... from James Taranto.

An Associated Press dispatch, written by Erica Werner and Richard Alonso-Zaldivar, compares the House and Senate ObamaCare bills. We'd like to compare this dispatch to the AP's dispatch earlier this week "fact checking" Sarah Palin's new book. Here goes:

Number of AP reporters assigned to story:
• ObamaCare bills: 2
• Palin book: 11

Number of pages in document being covered:
• ObamaCare bills: 4,064
• Palin book: 432

Number of pages per AP reporter:
• ObamaCare bill: 2,032
• Palin book: 39.3

On a per-page basis, that is, the AP devoted 52 times as much manpower to the memoir of a former Republican officeholder as to a piece of legislation that will cost trillions of dollars and an untold number of lives.
No one wants to slam the cool kid. If you did that, you'd be kicked out of the High School clique. It's much better to pile on the cheerleader you all hate.

A Little Bit on Sarah Palin

I'll admit I don't watch the news. At all. Not Fox, not CNN, none of them. My awareness of the media's obsession with Sarah Palin was only second hand, read from the Internet.

The other night, when I got home, my wife was watching NBC Nightly News just about the time Sarah's new book had come out. Over at NBC, they were going completely crazy. They were fact checking and sneering and discussing it with each other, not from any disinterested, third-party point of view, but as if we were in their living rooms during a cocktail party. It was all personal and conversational and incredibly viscious.

While I don't watch the news, I do know that the MSM most certainly did not fact check Barack Obama, Joe Biden or even, for that matter, John McCain, certainly not to the excrutiating level of detail they were going after Sarah. As an outsider coming in cold to the event, I had not been desensitized to the level of venom through months and months of watching them go after her and so it was particularly stunning to see.

The level of hate is obsessive, as if she is their ex-wife or a girlfriend who dumped them or the cute chick in high school who turned them down for a date or the one who stole their boyfriend. The hate is primal, sexual and sick. There are times when I wonder if the schadenfreude over the media's descent into financial ruin is misplaced and then I tune in to something like this and decide they can't die fast enough for me.

I've disinterestedly read analyses of just why the media hates Sarah so much and I'm going to add my own little bit here. The level of hate stems from the lack of balance in the newsrooms. It's a high school in there where everyone is piling on the cute cheerleader and ripping her apart behind her back. Everyone is showing how cool they are by adding one more drop of poison. The participants are proving their loyalty to the clique by joining in the feeding frenzy.

If you don't think so, consider this scenario. Imagine you're back in high school and the Julius Caesar-style mass stabbing is going on in conversation. Some girl who you all think is a snob is being torn apart by your friends. Are you going to be the one to say, "You know, guys, she's actually not that bad. She does a lot of volunteer work at the animal shelter."

That's never going to happen in the high school quad of the media. They'd all be terrified that the knives would turn on them next.

I know that on this blog, I routinely defend Sarah Palin. Just to be clear, I don't think she's particularly bright nor especially prepared for the Presidency. I do think she was the best candidate of the four that ran in the election. Whatever she lacks in intellect or foreign policy experience is utterly trumped by her success as an executive, success totally unmatched by McCain, Biden and the now clearly floundering Barack Obama. We'd be far better off today if we were saying President Palin than we are now.

You asked her out and she turned you down. Don't you just hate her?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

This one hits a sensitive spot here at the 'Post, but we still like it.

Baby Jesus Obama?

Krauthammer is en fuego in this one.


The points he makes are telling. President Obama's grasp on history is very, very light, whether that's his dreadful Cairo speech or his hysterical claims in Germany during the election or this one where he's completely at sea, so to speak, with respect to US history in the Pacific.

H1N1 and You

I just took my on-line H1N1 training at work. It tells me that I can be contagious 1 day before symptoms develop. That means I should go home today because I might develop the symptoms tomorrow. Sounds good to me.

It also had a video teaching me how to wash my hands. How to wash my hands?!? If I ran the thing, the video would be short and sweet.
"If you don't know how to wash your hands by now, then you deserve to die. Thank you and goodbye."
Second, it told me to wash my hands for as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice. Or the "Barack Hussein Obama Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm" song once, all the way through.

On the plus side, I learned how to sneeze properly.

Good Lord, I hope our ancestors aren't watching us right now.

Gold and a Collapsing Economy

My wonderful wife loves me very much. I can tell because she got me a subscription to Dave Ramsey's premium content site where I can download podcasts of his radio show, put it on my Blackberry and listen to it in the car, any time, day or night. It's money geek Nirvana as I drive.

With the warm glow of that fact making me smile as I type, Dave made a great point about gold to a caller the other day. The question was about the value of gold in a collapsing economy. That is, if fiscal doomsday comes and the dollar becomes nothing but worthless paper, wouldn't it be great to own gold? Dave's reply was, "No."

The deal is this. If a nation's economy falls apart, people are going to want to be able to feed themselves. The folks with the staples of life are going to be rich, not the ones with bags of gold nuggets. For example, in New Orleans after Katrina, the people with drinkable water were king. In Zimbabwe, it's the ones who have gasoline.

The currency of choice in a country where the money has devalued down to nothing is whatever people need - food, water, clothing, shelter, medical care, etc. Gold doesn't do anything at all for you. Dave claimed that in no nation since the fall of the Roman Empire has gold replaced a paper currency during financial collapse. I doubt the citizens of Weimar Germany were regularly walking into stores and buying bread with gold dust.

Having said that, gold would allow you to carry your wealth from one financial regime to the next. Real estate might be a close second, but as Zimbabwe has shown us, your home ownership is at the mercy of the local thugs should things really break down. If you have to flee, you can't take the land with you. Gold, on the other hand, is portable in small enough amounts. Once the nation stabilizes and a new government and new currency is in place, the gold can be cashed in and your wealth at least partially restored.

Between regimes, however, that gold isn't going to do too much for you.

However, as Woody Allen has shown us, sometimes real estate is portable.

A Question About Noah's Ark

So on Noah's Ark, when the cats got hungry in the early morning, did they go up and scratch on the door to Noah's stateroom? If the door was open, did they come in and pluck at the carpet until he fed them? Or maybe did they jump on the bed and stick their noses in his face?

How about the aardvarks and armadillos? Did they do that, too?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

Chairman Mao Had Death Panels

Lots and lots and lots* of death panels. Maybe that's the connection.

* - and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of death panels.

Pop Quiz Answer

Yesterday, I asked, who said this and when?
A premature withdrawal of monetary and fiscal stimulus could pull the rug out from under the nascent recovery. Yes, the mammoth federal budget deficit is both appalling and unsustainable. But this is not the time to shrink it by raising taxes or cutting spending.
The precise answer is Alan Blinder, formal Clinton economics guru and member of the Federal Reserve Board, writing the WSJ yesterday, but the practical answer was this:

Almost any economist working in any capacity for the past 40 years.

This is no time to be cutting spending!

Bonus tidbit: Here's the best comment from the thread underneath Blinder's idiotic post. The second socialist referred to is probably Paul Krugman.
Blinder is the perfect example of the new paradigm where one socialist gives another socialist a Ph.D. and then they peer review each other's papers. Eventually they gang up, steal a Nobel Prize and present it to themselves for their groundbreaking work.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

The Law of Diminishing Returns Proves Why More Money Doesn't Make You More Happy

The Law of Diminishing Returns says that beyond some point, each additional unit of some input (money) yields smaller and smaller increases in outputs (happiness). Here's why.

What's the difference between a sub-$1000 car and a car that costs about $20,000? Quite a bit.

A 1990 Nissan Sentra, $900.

That's a pretty lousy car. It might get you around town, but it's a good bet that it's falling apart and will need lots of work. You won't be picking up any hotties in that car, either. Now the $20,000 car.

A 2002 Corvette for $20,995.

Now that's the car to pick up chicks with. Man, you're a player if you're riding around in that rig. The happiness difference between a 1990 Sentra and a 2002 Corvette is pretty substantial.

Now, let's move up the scale. First, a $60,000 car.

A totally restored 1973 Corvette for $60,000.

In our first example, we had a $20,000 difference between cars, so let's keep it at that and find an $80,000 car to compare with that '73 Detroit iron.

A 2009 Nissan GT R with 100 miles for $84,000.

So how much happier would you be driving around in the GT R vs. the '73 Corvette? Not much. Certainly not nearly the difference you'd feel between the '90 Sentra and the '02 Corvette.

And that, dear readers, is why money, beyond the point where you can live without substantial worries, does not make you happier.

On the Plus Side, This Will Be a Boon to Public Defenders

So we've decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York civilian court. How marvellous! And then what? Will we try every non-uniformed (i.e., all) combatant we capture in the US? This gives American rights to trial to every enemy everywhere. Why stop there? Why are the terrorists special? What about the thugs and pickpockets of Sicily? How about the kidnappers of Mexico? Why don't they all deserve this kind of treatment.

I think I'm beginning to figure this one out. This is actually the Obama Administration's second stimulus and the key to his green jobs plan. We'll become the world's court system. It will employ millions in tiny offices using computers powered by windmills after commuting by light rail. It's a win-win-win!

A Pop Quiz

Who said this and when?
A premature withdrawal of monetary and fiscal stimulus could pull the rug out from under the nascent recovery. Yes, the mammoth federal budget deficit is both appalling and unsustainable. But this is not the time to shrink it by raising taxes or cutting spending.
Anyone caught searching for this quote on the Internet will get an automatic "F".

Leave your answers in the comments. The real answer will be posted tomorrow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Spamtastic!

At first, I was going to blog about the hilarious contradiction of the enviros howling in rage over another massively hideous windmill project as detailed in this article from East County Magazine, but when I started reading the comments at the bottom, I noticed they were almost all advertising spam. The comment thread is totally out of control with colon detoxification links and ways to earn money at home. Wheee!

It's multilevel mirth!

Cat

And the Beat Goes On

The blob continues to grow and envelop everything in its path! Nothing can stop it!
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration will propose legislation to give the federal government power to enforce safety regulations on subway and light-rail systems, a Department of Transportation official said.

This Is not a Bow

... and only a racist would say otherwise.


Honestly, can someone get this man a history book and a book on protocol? American presidents don't bow to anyone. It has something to do with our warmongering past, back when the imperialist running dog lackeys of George Washington defeated the People's Republic of England and their righteous King George or something like that.

What a freaking embarrassment this clown is.

H/T: Powerline.

Update: Unsurprisingly, Dean proves himself a racist once again. Sickening. Just sickening.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Blame George Bush

Wouldn't you?

What We've Learned So Far

... absolutely nothing.
Exactly who made Bernadine Shimon think that she could buy a new house shortly after declaring bankruptcy and losing another home to foreclosure? The American taxpayer, that’s who.

Without a Federal Housing Administration willing to guarantee a $125,000-plus mortgage, this Denver-area schoolteacher’s recurring “dream of homeownership” could not come to pass. Shimon’s down payment was a tiny 3.5 percent.

This single mother is so strapped that she had to cash in her retirement savings to come up with the 3.5 percent ...

(C)ommittee Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts insists that these mortgages are needed to “keep prices from falling too fast.”
Hope and change.

Fall Colors

... in Changdeok Palace, South Korea, courtesy of a friend at work.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cheezburger of the Day

Niagra Addendum

As I sat and thought about the previous post - Brazil and South Korea have thrown in the towel trying to stop the devaluation of the Dollar relative to their currencies - I began to think about the choice posed to those countries. If they defend their currencies, they'll export more goods to the US, but suffer a monstrous financial crash later. If they give up and let the Dollar fall, they'll export fewer goods now, but won't go through Armageddon later.

I would think that as their market bubbles inflate right before their eyes, that becomes an easier and easier choice to make.

Trying to Stop a Niagra Falls of Dollars

First, a few facts. Brazil's GDP is about $2T, South Korea's is about $1.3T and the United States' is about $14.3T. That is, economically, we are more than 4 times the size of Brazil and South Korea combined. Both South Korea and Brazil rely to a great extent on exports to make money, many of them exports to the US. If the Dollar falls, their stuff becomes more expensive and we buy less of it. They'd really like to maintain some minimum exchange rate so they can keep exporting stuff to the US.

Unfortunately, because we're printing and lending and borrowing and otherwise shovelling Dollars into wood chippers as fast as we possible, they cannot hold back a financial Niagra of Dollars.

A 6-month chart of the US Dollar measured against a variety of currencies. The Dollar has fallen 10% in 6 months.

Bloomberg is reporting today that Brazil and South Korea have given up trying to stop the flood.
South Korea Deputy Finance Minister Shin Je Yoon said yesterday the country will leave the level of its currency to market forces after adding about $63 billion to its foreign exchange reserves this year to slow the appreciation of the won ...

Brazil’s real is up 1.6 percent this month, even after imposing a tax in October on foreign stock and bond investments and increasing foreign reserves by $9.5 billion in October in an effort to curb the currency’s appreciation. The real has risen 33 percent this year.
So why is this happening? Well, Bloomberg is claiming that the cause is precisely what Dr. Doom said would cause another big crash. The Fed is holding US interest rates at an unnaturally low level.
Much of the greenback’s decline stems from investors borrowing funds in the U.S., where the target benchmark interest rate is between zero and 0.25 percent. They then invest the proceeds in countries with higher rates and faster growing economies.
Cheap Dollars means low risks for borrowers so they borrow as many Dollars as they can and invest them in foreign countries. As both the exchange rates and the investments rise, they get a compounding effect and make a ton of cash. Note that no goods are actually trading hands, it's all a matter of more cash chasing the same number of investment assets. There is no corresponding economic expansion, it's all based on inflationary policies in the US. This is a bubble.

A 6-month chart of EWZ, a Brazilian index fund that grows both when the Brazilian stock market grows and when the Real appreciates. It's gone up more than 60% in the last 6 months.

That chart shows what's going on in the rest of the world as we borrow and spend like maniacs. Because we're so much larger than Brazil, when we decide to invest there, or when we loan American-sized chunks of money at ridiculously low rates to others who invest there, there's an outsized effect on their markets. Brazil's economy is growing at about 2% while their market has gone bonkers. They're frightened because they can see this is just a Dollar-induced bubble, but there's nothing they can do about it.

Like we care.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Yen Will Be the First to Fall

I've been wondering about this for a long time and a recent spate of blog postings and articles have rekindled my interest. What's the future hold for Japan and the Yen? I wail and gnash my teeth all the time about how we borrow and spend, but nobody does it like the Japanese. They've blown their debt up to the point where it's about three times the size of ours, per person.

Japan is aging. They haven't had replacement birth rates for a long time and their workforce is retiring faster than new workers are coming in. They don't like immigration and the fact that they live on an island makes crossing their borders illegally in large numbers impossible.

This is all unsustainable. They are borrowing more money all the time and their ability to service their debts is going away. What's going to happen? Here are a few links and excerpts.

Albert Edwards, a top analyst with French bank Societe Generale:
Japan would run into difficulty funding itself next year as demand for Japanese government bonds waned and bond yields rose further, he said.

The significance of higher Japanese government bond yields was that it would cause some Japanese investors, who have been investing overseas in search of higher returns, to bring that money back home, he said.
Here's the WSJ on Japanese debt:
But Moody's said "a prominent rating concern is whether the DPJ (the party that just won the Japanese elections) can reconcile its policy priorities with the challenges facing the economy, maintain market confidence, and thereby squarely place the economy back on a path of fiscal consolidation."
...
The DPJ campaigned on a platform of people-first social services, promising to boost domestic demand by easing the financial burden on households with a child-care allowance, health-care changes and the elimination of highway tolls.

The proposals are expected to cost some seven trillion yen, or around $75 billion, in the fiscal year starting April 2010, rising to 16.8 trillion yen in the fiscal year ending March 2014.

To pay for this, the party vows to trim fat from the existing budget, reallocate money for better uses, sell state assets and tap the "buried treasure" of 4.3 trillion yen in special government accounts.
Emphasis mine. Who does that sound like? Anyone want to take a sucker bet that they'll actually reduce their spending? Second verse, same as the first!

Who are the DPJ who just won? It's the Hope and Change crowd!
In a historic result, unofficial results showed that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), a leftist grouping of ruling-party renegades, social democrats and socialists, was heading for a landslide. It is led by Yukio Hatoyama, a mild-mannered career politician likely to be the next prime minister. He promises a government less beholden to the powerful civil service, wants to temper the free market and is keen to dole out cash to the disadvantaged in the economically stagnant and ageing country.
Emphasis mine. They're screwed.

Even the NYT is getting into the act, briefly drawing the clear parallels between the doomed Japanese economy and Obama's economic illiteracy that they passionately support. First, some hilarity:
(T)he finance minister, Hirohisa Fujii, suggested Tuesday that the government would sell 50 trillion yen, about $550 billion, in new bonds — or more.

“There’s no mistaking the budget deficit stems from the past year’s global recession. Now is the time to be bold and issue more deficit bonds,” Mr. Fujii told reporters at the National Press Club in Tokyo. “Those who may call this pork-barrel spending — that’s a total lie.”
Hahahahaha! Here's more.
Tokyo’s new government, which won a landslide victory on an ambitious (and expensive) social agenda, is set to issue a record amount of debt, borrowing more in government bonds than it will receive in tax receipts for the first time since the years after World War II.

“Public sector finances are spinning out of control — fast,” said Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics in a recent note to clients. “We believe a fiscal crisis is imminent.”

One of the lessons of Japan’s experience is that a government saddled with debt can quickly run out of room to maneuver.

“Japan will keep on selling more bonds this year and next, but that won’t work in three to five years,” said Akito Fukunaga, a Tokyo-based fixed-income strategist at Credit Suisse. “If you ask me what Japan can resort to after that, my answer would be ‘not very much.’ ”
Where does this all lead?
In the long run, even Japan’s sizable assets could fall and eventually turn negative. Japan’s rapidly aging population means retirees are starting to dip into their nest eggs — just as government spending increases to cover their rising medical bills and pension payments.
Sort of like when Social Security stops running a surplus and has to start cashing in those Treasuries it bought. Like it did last year. Here's the payoff section.
“The yen is set to enter a long decline” in both stature and value as investors lose confidence in Japan, said Hideo Kumano, chief economist at the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.

Considering the state of Japan’s finances and economy, Mr. Kumano said, the yen’s recent strength against the dollar “isn’t an affirmation of Japan — it’s the yen’s last hurrah.”
The shape of things to come here?

Sticking it to the Goldbugs

... is just what Willem Buiter does in his most recent blog post where he takes issue with the whole concept that gold has real value.
Gold is very close therefore to the stone money of the Isle of Yap. This stone money, known as Rai, consists of large doughnut-shaped, carved disks, consisting usually of calcite, that can be up to 4 m (12 ft) in diameter, although most are much smaller. Apparently, the total stock of Rai cannot be augmented any further. It also depreciates very slowly. This intrinsically useless form of money in the Isle of Yap is in all essential respects equivalent to gold today in the wider world. Another example would be pet rocks, as long as the rock in question is rare and costly to get into its final shape.

Gold has become a fiat commodity or a fiat commodity currency, just as the US $, the euro, the pound sterling and the yen (and a couple of hundred other currencies) are fiat paper currencies. The main differences between them are that gold is very costly to produce, while the production of additional paper money has an extremely low marginal cost. If we count the deposits of commercial banks with the central banks, which together with currency in circulation make up the monetary base, as fiat money, then the incremental cost of fiat base money creation is zero.
H/T: Thanks to B-Daddy for leaving a link in a comment that led me to Willem's outstanding blog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Do You Drive Like a Millionare? Part II

So yesterday, I asked, Do you drive like a millionare? I said I'd come back later and reveal what millionares drive today and here's the list, according to Stop Acting Rich.

The top 5 makes by market share over the last 10 years in the millionare demographic are:

1. Ford (9.5%)
2. Mercedes (8.0%)
3. Toyota (7.6%)
4. Lexus (6.6%)
5. Chevy (6.4%)

The lesson here is that there is a big difference between real millionares and people who want to look like millionares. Most real millionares do not buy flashy cars, but live frugally and save and invest.

I think that shows exactly why we should all tax the living daylights out of them.

Rental Car Review - The Ford Focus

Slogan: Save the Earth and your pocketbook! Don't buy a Prius, buy a Focus!

On our recent trip to Santa Fe, we rented a Ford Focus from Alamo. In a nutshell, it was a very nice little economy car. It was plenty roomy, had good trunk space for our luggage, a decent sound system for listening to Jeff Lynne-produced CDs (Tom Petty, ELO and Traveling Wilburys) and, above all, was incredibly economical. We went from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to Taos and back and all around on 8.9 gallons.

According to Edmunds, our little Focus cost about $15,000 new. A Prius runs about $25,000. For $10,000 you can buy about 3,300 gallons of gas. With the Focus getting 30+ miles to the gallon, that means you can buy the Focus and drive it with free fuel for 100,000 miles before you can even buy the Prius.

The only downsides to the Focus are that it's a bit noisy and underpowered. The road noise was washed out by the adequate sound system, but with the radio turned off, you could clearly hear the road. It struggled to pass other cars, particularly going uphill, but once moving, it did just fine keeping up at highway speeds. The lack of power was a bit endearing as we kept saying, "Go, little Focus, go!" every time we tried to pass someone.

You gotta take your smiles where you can, you know. :-)

All in all, I'd recommend the Focus as a starter car for a high schooler or college student or just as a nice around-town runabout.

Our little Ford Focus

On Inflation

One of Mish Shedlock's standard rants is that we are not experiencing inflation, despite the massive printing of money. He points to wages dropping and how industrial production is stable at best. Meanwhile, Nouriel Roubini frets about the way easy money is goosing our investments. Here's some examples of that.

A 6-month chart of the S&P 500

A 6-month chart of a gold index fund.

Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods. It never happens uniformly. That is, when real estate was going up by 50%, the price of nuts and bolts at Home Depot was not also going up by 50%. In the cases above, we have lots of easy money in the form of unnaturally low interest rates from the Fed and cataracts of newly minted greenbacks floating around, needing to go somewhere. Meanwhile, there is no rational reason for the growth in these two indexes - there hasn't been a huge jump in corporate profits and the supply of gold is pretty much the same as always.

Sounds like inflation to me.

Submitted without Comment

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do You Drive Like a Millionare?

At Dave Ramsey's recommendation, I bought a copy of Stop Acting Rich, a book by a fellow who has done extensive research into the habits of American millionares. I don't know that I would recommend the book myself, the thing doesn't flow well, but the concepts are terrific and have changed the way I look at things. Here's one topic covered in the book.

What kind of car do you drive? Is it the kind millionares drive? I'll leave the question in this post and will come back and give the millionares' results tomorrow.

Me, I drive a Nissan Altima with over 100,000 miles on it.

Where to Eat in Trampas, NM

... is probably in your car, dining on sandwiches you brought with you.

Why Obama Didn't Go to Berlin

... why celebrate the defeat of your own ideology by a hated enemy?

Is there any question which Cold War leader Barack Obama is most like? His Special Compensation Master is setting prices for employees of private companies, he now owns and runs two of the Big Three auto companies, his allies in Congress have bloated the government beyond recognition and they're now trying to take over another huge part of the economy.

Go to Berlin? Hardly. Not when the celebration is all about this man and what he and his contemporaries did to free much of the world from the shackles of the government tyranny so beloved by Obama and his cronies.


Our Monks of Miscellaneous Musings have more.

Over at the Telegraph, Toby Harden sees it differently.
Perhaps Obama felt that celebrating the role of the United States in bringing down the wall would be a bit triumphalist and not quite in keeping with his wish to present America as a declining world power anxious to apologise for sundry historic misdeeds.
Indeed.

Georgia O'Keeffe

On Sunday, our last full day in Santa Fe, we visited the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. It had been recommended to us by all sorts of people. We spent a bit of time walking through it, looking at her paintings and photos. I discovered that I don't really like her work.

It could have been that we had spent a lot of time touring galleries already and we were arted-out or it could have been her quotes and pictures of her. Pictures like this.

But I am smiling!

I found her work to be technically brilliant, but the mood was endlessly grim. Her quotes on the wall told us how much she hated art critics and maybe us, too. There wasn't a single warm smile in any of her photos.

Look, I get it. She was a woman artist in an age where such things were frowned upon and her art was heavily criticized at the time. Even with that, you wanted to shake her and say, "Get over it already!"

I must be a Philistine.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Blogging Will Be Light Today

I'm flying back from Santa Fe and will be unpacking and worshipping our Maximum Leader when I get home.

It's a Perfect 8-0 Start for the Saints!

As As Marques Colston's unofficial publicist, I am here to tell you that even on vacation in Santa Fe, I'm on the job. We watched the fourth quarter of yesterday's outstanding 30-20 come from behind win over the Panthers and saw my man Marques' teammates applying the things he's shown them in practice. Dig the highlight reel.

My client knows that winning is the most important thing. Seeing his teammates do well means almost as much as scoring those touchdowns himself.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Stupak is a Surrealist

Writing this post from artist-intesive Santa Fe, New Mexico, I couldn't help using that for a title. Here's what it means.

William Jacobsen, writing at Legal Insurrection, lists the ways that Democrats who voted for the Stupak Amendment for the newly-passed health care bill, will pay for their apostasy. The Stupak Amendment eliminates any funding for abortion from the new set of entitlements being enacted. Here's a taste.
There will be hell to pay for Democrats who voted in favor of the Stupak amendment banning any federal funding of abortions or any use of the new health care provisions for abortion. Very, very sweeping. Hell to pay from liberal Democrats who are fuming foaming at the internet mouth as I type.
His blog post links to a variety of sites which are indeed lathered up over a bill that won't get all of us to pay for abortions.

This is all very surreal.

Let us recap where we are. We just finished a year where we ran a $1.4T deficit. Next year's deficit will be about as large. The macroeconomic models used by the government have been blown away by reality, indicating that the government has no real grasp on what is going on. Gold is near $1100 as the Dollar falls. India just handed over a mountain of US Dollars to buy 200 metric tons of gold. Oil is back up to $80. The only way were able to close our budget gap last year was to print more than $1,000,000,000,000 of greenbacks backed by absolutely nothing. Unemployment is at 10.2% and shows no sign of slowing down.

We're in the depths of a balance sheet recession. That is, as a nation, as companies and as individuals, we cannot pay for what we've borrowed without reducing consumption.

Into this comes a health care bill that at 1,990 pages, contains who-knows-what. Even if you grant its supporters their argument that it will magically contain costs and is somehow desperately needed when the Republic has thrived for 230+ years without it, the abortion provision is totally surreal.

Simply put, abortion allows us all to have as much sex as we want with anyone we want with no lasting consequences. Abortion is the altar at which we worship the orgasm. In the middle of a continuing debt-induced financial decline, there is actually strenuous debate about having all of us pay for each others' orgasms.

To say that the debate is unserious is an incredible understatement. It is a perfect emblem of our culture, the endless quest to obtain more and more pleasures without price.

"Surreal" seems the proper word.

Orgasms for all!

Cheezburger of the Day

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Favorite Santa Fe Art - Barrett DeBusk

We saw this one at The William & Joseph Gallery.

Barrett DeBusk's Website can be found here.

Apparently, Barrett's slogan is "art doesn't have to be serious to be enjoyed." I love it!

Favorite Santa Fe Art - Reid Richardson

We saw this one at The William & Joseph Gallery.


I found two sites for Reid's work - one on Phoenix Art Space and the other his page from the Gallery's website.

What the Unemployment Chart Tells Us

The blog Innocent Bystanders has been doing an outstanding job of tracking the real unemployment figures against the Obama Administration's projections. Here's the latest one.


What this chart does not tell us: this chart does not tell us that Obama is wrong or a fool or dramatically worse than the Republicans, although that might be the case*.

What the chart does tell us: the chart tells us that the macroeconomic model being used by the government is hopelessly wrong. That comes as no surprise as both parties are recommending more deficit spending (those tax cuts would come from China, you know) in response to a colossal national debt crisis.

You cannot borrow and spend your way to prosperity.

* - Except, of course, for eternally befuddled Sarah Palin whose family chose to run a private fishing business instead of nobly entering public service for life like the amazingly brilliant Joe Biden.

Favorite Santa Fe Art - Steve Bogdanoff

We saw this one at The William & Joseph Gallery.

Steve Bogdanoff's website can be found here.

This Could Give Us More Time To Party!

The United States and its allies are unlikely to accept anything substantially less than the original plan, which aimed to delay Iran’s potential ability of making nuclear weapons by at least a year...

Postponing Armageddon by a whole year? Now that's Smart Diplomacy™! So if they succeed in delaying Iran, what are you going to do with your year? Me, I'm going to party like it's 2012!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Where to Eat in Albuquerque

... is the Asian Noodle Bar, of course! It was crowded, delicious, fun and a terrific representative of traditional Southwestern cuisine*!


* - possibly Southwest Asian Japan.

Dr. Doom Warns Again

Nouriel Roubini, aka Dr. Doom, who called the crash correctly, is warning of another, larger one. Here's the short version.

The Fed is keeping interest rates low, is printing money to buy US debt and the dollar is getting killed. The end result is that global investors borrow dollars and then buy foreign securities, US stocks and other risky assets with those dollars. They make money just on the fact that the US interest rates are low and if they go foreign with it, the falling dollar makes more money for them. The result is a megabubble. As soon as interest rates rise and the Fed stops printing money, the flow reverses and everyone will rush to sell their investments. CRASH!

At least that's the way Nouriel sees it. The long version is here. I had to read through it twice to get the idea.

The New Slogan for North Korea

... is being test-marketed for Obamacare. "Everybody in, nobody out!" works best with guard towers, machine guns, minefields and dogs. In fact, it kind of requires them.


More here.

Was that a Man-Made Disaster?

... and isn't it time for our officials to run to the neareast mosque and apologize?
FORT HOOD — An Army psychiatrist about to be deployed to a combat zone overseas shouted a religious slogan in Arabic before fatally shooting 13 people — including 12 soldiers — and injuring 28 others at this sprawling Central Texas military post on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the base commander at Fort Hood, said on NBC's Today Show that witnesses heard Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shout "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire. The phrase means "God is great!" in Arabic.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Staying Home

Someone is staying home to keep an eye on the blog.

Our Maximum Leader has wisely chosen not to go to Santa Fe with us.

Link of the Day

... is this post from our Missionary to the Frozen, Northern Wastelands. It's a cool photo essay about a landmark in Colorado. I thought the car was particularly interesting.

Cheezburger of the Day

Heading off to Santa Fe

We're taking off for a long weekend in New Mexico this morning. I'm bringing my schleptop and my Nikon D60 Artillery Piece, so I'm planning to do some photoblogging from the trip. If you've got suggestions for what to see and do in Santa Fe or Taos, leave them in the comments. Right now, the plan is to not do much of anything other than scope out the artist colonies.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Blog Post Title of the Day

Is the one found here. It's teh awesome!

My Takeaway from Yesterday's Elections

The Republican Party lost, but the Democrats lost more. Oh sure, the Republicans cruised to victory in New Jersey and Virginia, crushing big-spending Democrats by healthy margins. But the real play was in New York where the Republican candidate got 6% of the vote:

Owens (D): 49%
Hoffman (C): 45%
Scozzafava (R): 6%

All of the fatcat incumbent Republicans and the stooges that populate their party committees should be looking at this and waking up. Principle beat party last night, 45-6. I'm still registered as a Republican, if only so I can vote in the primaries. If it came to it in my district, I'd have no problem voting for a Hoffman here over a creep like Scozzafava even if it meant the Democrat won. At 45-6, it looks like I'm not alone.

A Simple Question

Do vampires like to encrypt things?

What Is the Best Investment for Bad Economic Times?

What's the best? Well, actually, there are three really good ones. They're listed here.


Inspiration: Tim Eisele, author of the fabulous Backyard Arthropod Project blog, left this in a comment on another post of mine:
Well, on balance, I suppose making money by feeding the frenzy of a bunch of gold-bugs is better than supporting oneself with the other traditional pillars of the US economy - tobacco and whiskey.
The version done by the Muppets and Peter Sellers above leaves out one verse ("the show is running a bit long, Peter!") which can be found here.

Mission Trails Park

My wife and I took a walk in Mission Trails Park this weekend while my daughter rode her bike along the trail. My daughter went farther than we did and made it all the way to the dam where she took this photo with her phone. I was so taken by the quality of the shot that I thought I'd share it with you.

It's a wonderful photo and it makes me look forward that much more to getting a Droid with its 5 megapixel camera.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Indian Goldbugs

... seem to be infesting their central bank. Dig this.
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Gold jumped to a record after India’s central bank bought 200 metric tons of the metal from the International Monetary Fund, heightening speculation that there may be more official purchases.
So how much is 200 metric tons? Well, they held 350 metric tons before, so this is a 57% increase in their gold holdings in one day. Why did they do this?
Central banks, the biggest holders of gold, may diversify out of the dollar and buy bullion as ballooning U.S. debt and low interest rates weaken the currency.

“It is but a matter of time until China and the IMF announce much of the same,” said Dennis Gartman, an economist and the editor of the Gartman Letter in Suffolk, Virginia.
If that's still a bit obscure to follow, allow me to show the reason gold is shooting up and the dollar is tanking with a simple chart.

Hope and change!

Bear 2, Terrorists 0

Har har har!
(A) bear has mauled two Hizbul Mujahideen militants to death as they hid in its cave in Shopian, South Kashmir.

According to defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar, the two commanders dared to colonise a bear's cave at Darwal Nar in Pir Panjal in Shopian and paid for it with their lives. For, late on Sunday night, as the two slept, the bear came calling.

"It attacked the armed militants and killed them on the spot," Brar said.