Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is Real Anymore, What is True

Got this from a friend who remarked that "it's amazing what can be done with computers now!!"



I agree, it is amazing what they can do with computers. Makes me wonder what the government does with computers. Later this week is the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the first manned mission to the moon. Some think the moon landing was a government hoax.

Now imagine what God can do. OMG do we really exists, or is this all just . . .

REST RESET LOADING . . . . . . . . .

Sorry, disregard the last, my simulated reality program crashed.

BTW, if what we think of as reality was just a fraud, would you want to know?

I think I'll watch a movie.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rogue Diva Does It Again

UPDATE XII: What candidate, of which party awash in grievance, self-pity, resentment, and anger, impervious to facts or logic, might win 2012 presidential election? Read The New York Times, She Broke the G.O.P. and Now She Owns It, for the answer.


UPDATE XI: Who does Peggy Noonan, political conservative and former speech writer and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, call "the most careless sower of discord since George W. Bush, who fractured the party and the movement that made him?"

Noonan says this person is "out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence . . . She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated."

Read the Wall Street Journal, A Farewell to Harms, for the answer.


UPDATE X: For a remarkable exchange between John McCain and Sarah Palin, the erstwhile mavericky twins, in bites of 140 characters or less, read The New York Times, Sweet, Tweet Revenge.


UPDATE IX: Several lengthy but good articles on The Rogue Diva. Read Time, The Outsider: Where Is Sarah Palin Going Next? and The New York Times, What’s Sarah Palin’s Political Future?

I predict that she will earn a lot of money in the next 18 months, build her network by campaigning and fund raising for other Republican (notice I didn't say Republi-con because I'm trying to be serious here) candidates, run for the presidency, and lose, possibly the primary, but probably the general election in 2012, unless the unemployment rate remains above 8-9%, and if it does, she might just win the elections. That's my prediction, and you heard it here first. In any case, it is going to be an interesting campaign.

Gentlemen, and Lady, let the campaign begin.


UPDATE VIII: As I suspected, Palin realizes that it is time to cash in. Read the Washington Post, Gold Rush In Alaska.

BTW, there is nothing wrong with the decision. Obama did the same thing by cashing in on his fame and popularity after his speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. And look where he ended up.

Tune in Friday when I discuss why I might support Palin in 2012.


UPDATE VII: Now we know, she quit because she is not a quitter. Really, I'm not making this up. Read CNN, Palin: 'I am not a quitter; I am a fighter.'

Reminds me of her support for the bridge to nowhere, before she didn't support it.

How do you know when a politician is lying?

As another veritasphobic politician, she should make a good president.


UPDATE VI: More seriously though, is it time to cut Palin some slack? Read the Washington Post, The Establishment's Palin Panic.

I agree with Kristol, Palin has a fascinating story not unlike Obama's. And I also agree with Kristol that the source of Plain's problem(s) aren't the Naive-crats, but her own party's establishment that "fears and even loathes Palin."


UPDATE V: As I noted below, one reason she quit was to cash in on a book deal. She better hurry though, before CollegeHumor finishes the film version of what might have been had McCain won:




UPDATE IV: More analysis of why Palin quit. Read Time, Why Sarah Palin Quit: The Five Best Explanations, which lists the most important factors that Alaska insiders say went into Palin's sudden decision.

Probably the best explanation yet.


UPDATE III: Was Palin popular because she was an "ordinary citizen who [took] on the elites" and represented "the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard." Read The New York Times, Palin and Her Enemies.


UPDATE II: The FBI says it is not investigating Palin on public corruption charges.

In the meantime, the analysis of her speech continues. Read the Washington Post, With Palin, Keep Your Eye on That Audible.

The speech reminds me of the criticism of her tired cliches, random jargon, and catchphrases she had been coached to repeat, often resulting in nonsensical answers and gibberish during the election.

If you can't get enough of her mangled syntax, then revisit the Sarah Palin Quotes Generator 24/7, and hear insightful comment and analysis almost as inspirational as the real thing.


UPDATE: Still don't understand why Palin will quit. Read The Daily Beast, Palin Resignation: 11 Theories Why.


Why will the Rogue Diva quit her office early? The media was unfair. People were filing ethics complaints against her. Bloggers (and late night comedians) were saying mean things about her. She didn't want to be a lame duck. The state would be better off without her. Those are some of the reasons she gave.

She will build her network for 2012 by campaigning and fund raising for other candidates.

But I think the primary reason she quit is to cash in with a book and some speeches, maybe a little paid commentary on not-the-FoxNews, before she loses the 2012 Republi-con primary.

For more on this interesting development, read The New York Times, Now, Sarah’s Folly and Sarah’s Straight Talk.

Brilliant move, or dumb, dumb, dumb; only time will tell.

Why do you think Palin quit?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Class Today at NoBullU on WEBY

Listen to the voice of wisdom and reason in a wilderness of partisan rhetoric -- No political insanity, no conservative hypocrisy, no liberal foolishness -- Just straight talk, straight at you, and that’s no bull!!

NoBullU will broadcast today from 4:05 to 6 p.m. at 1330 AM WEBY and on line, courtesy of Cyber Smart Computers.

Topics:

Local and regional: another local corruption scandal and are Chamber of Commerce salaries, paid for by tax dollars, including nearly $200k for the Chamber CEO, worth it? Then why did the chamber ignored the USS Lexington Association's request for info, so that it will hold a reunion in Mobile; and

Nation and international: The Rogue Diva: a savvy, skilled, and adept politician or out of control, bizarre, and even egotistical (is accusing politicians of being egotistical like accusing ballerinas of dancing on their toes) and why I might support The Rogue Diva in 2012.

But I'll discuss anything. (Disclaimer: the host reserves the right to end any discussion and hang up on you.)

So tune-in, call-in, but only if you can handle the truth!

WARNING: You may not want to call in if you have veritasphobia, especially if you are a certain veritasphobic politician.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What is the Opposite of Starve the Beast?

UPDATE: Had enough of Republi-con and Naive-Crat borrow and spend, then join Club Wagner.

What is Obama's plan to balance the budget? Read the Washington Post, Fattening the Beast.

I predict that this fiscal-political strategy will be no more successful than starve the beast.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Has the Economy Turned a Corner?

"Industrial production suggests that the economy is poised to turn around, but that the climb out of the current downturn will be a long one." For a graph of various business cycles over the last forty years, go to The New York Times, Turning a Corner?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Was Michael Jackson the Perfect Star for the Era of Fantasy Gone Wild

Has society descended into a Michael Jackson-esque fantasyland, trying to leave the limits and obligations of the real world behind. Read The New York Times, Behind the Facade.

Which reminds me of the warning of Ayn Rand: "We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day to the Republi-CON Party

Watch The GOP's Failure to Launch.

Class Today at NoBullU on WEBY

Listen to the voice of wisdom and reason in a wilderness of partisan rhetoric -- No political insanity, no conservative hypocrisy, no liberal foolishness -- Just straight talk, straight at you, and that’s no bull!!

NoBullU will broadcast today from 4:05 to 6 p.m. at 1330 AM WEBY and on line, courtesy of Cyber Smart Computers.

Topics:

Local and regional: is it the end for The Zoo of Northwest Florida and now the teachers sue; and

Nation and international: Republi-CON family values and feuds.

But I'll discuss anything. (Disclaimer: the host reserves the right to end any discussion and hang up on you.)

So tune-in, call-in, but only if you can handle the truth!

WARNING: You may not want to call in if you have veritasphobia, especially if you are a certain veritasphobic politician.

The Banks (and Other Financial Institutions) are Robbing Our Future

UPDATE VII: Another I told ya so. Read the Rolling Stone, The Great American Bubble Machine, about how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression.


UPDATE VI: Ever wonder who the inside man was for the financial industry coup d'├ętat that seized control of the U.S. Treasury. Read The New York Times, Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club.


UPDATE V: How much has been looted from the treasury? Read the Washington Post, IMF Estimates Cost of Financial Crisis at $4 Trillion.

And besides paying bonuses, buying toxic assets with government money, guaranteeing loans, and posting huge profits, what else is being done with our money? Read the Washington Post, Bailout Recipients Spent Millions on Lobbying, Records Show.


Once a foob, always a foob?


UPDATE IV: You might not have realized it, but our government was overthrown in a coup recently. Read The Atlantic, The Quiet Coup, and find out how the Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club has effectively captured our government.


New York financial institutions are using our treasury to more pay bonuses, buy toxic assets with government money, guarantee loans, and post huge profits.


Read the Washington Post, Fannie, Freddie Budget $210 Million On Bonuses, Draw Lawmakers' Fire and Reuters, US banks with taxpayer money could buy toxic assets, The New York Times, U.S. Program Lends a Hand to Banks, Quietly, and The New York Times, Big Profits, Big Questions.


At the center of it all, Goldman Sachs, the former firm of former Treasury Secretary Paulson. The AIG bailout never made sense, except if you understood that the money was meant to save Goldman Sachs. Since early on it has been clear that payments to AIG were just a cover to get money to Goldman Sachs. And when the original terms of the bailout proved too onerous, the terms were waived for another sweetheart deal.


UPDATE III: In an editorial, Joseph Stiglitz, an economist and professor at Columbia University, and winner of the 2001 the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, calls the Obama plan ersatz capitalism, "a win-win-lose proposal: the banks win, investors win — and taxpayers lose." He says:


"Some Americans are afraid that the government might temporarily “nationalize” the banks, but that option would be preferable to the Geithner plan. After all, the F.D.I.C. has taken control of failing banks before, and done it well. It has even nationalized large institutions like Continental Illinois (taken over in 1984, back in private hands a few years later), and Washington Mutual (seized last September, and immediately resold).


What the Obama administration is doing is far worse than nationalization: it is ersatz capitalism, the privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses. It is a “partnership” in which one partner robs the other. And such partnerships — with the private sector in control — have perverse incentives, worse even than the ones that got us into the mess."


Read The New York Times, Obama’s Ersatz Capitalism.


UPDATE II: An update from on my post in February. Joseph Stiglitz, an economist and professor at Columbia University, and winner of the 2001 the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, agrees that the Obama public-private partnership to buy up to $1 trillion of 'toxic' bank assets "amounts to robbery of the American people." Read The Daily Telegraph, Geithner rescue package 'robbery of the American people.'


The winner of the 2008 the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Paul Krugman, an economist and professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, also doesn't like the plan. Read The New York Times, Financial Policy Despair.

UPDATE: Next week Uncle Sam is expected to triple down on AIG. Read the appropriately named article in The New York Times, Propping Up a House of Cards, in which the writer predicts that the government will spend "quarter of a trillion dollars" to prop up AIG. All for the purpose of saving Goldman Sacks, the former firm of former Treasury Secretary Paulson, the focus of an initial bailout proposal that never made sense, beneficiary of over a hundred billion bailout dollars, and then a hundred billion more.

It is robbery of the future!



The government is aiding and abetting the robbery of our future by investment banks and other financial institutions. Read The Big Picture, Citigroup: World’s Worst Investment to Get Even Worse, in which Barry Ritholtz wrote:

"Losers double down.


That’s the classic trading rule which the USA is about to violate in an enormous way. According to trading maven Dennis Gartman, one should “never, ever, ever, under any circumstance, add to a losing position.”


And yet that is what we are about to do.


To review: Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson made a terrible investment on behalf of the taxpayers by purchasing a 7.8% stake in Citigroup (C) for an initial $25 billion dollars. He further put the US on the hook by guaranteeing against 90% of future losses on $301 billion in assets. Subsequently, we (the taxpayers) injected another $20 billion dollars.


At the time, Citigroup had a market cap of about ~$50 billion dollars. Today, its worth ~$13 billion.


So for about 100% of the market value of Citi, plus insurance guarantees worth of as much as 500% of its value (~$275 billion), we got less than 1/10 of a company that in total was worth 1/5 of our investment.


Pretty good deal, eh?


That $45 billion dollar stake now has a market value of just over a billion.


And, its about to get even worse.


Rather than do what is the FDIC-mandated-by-law thing, we will instead convert the nearly worthless common into preferred shares. The taxpayers stake will rise to near 40% of Citigroup.


NYT:


“Under the terms of the deal, the Treasury Department has agreed to convert up to $25 billion of its preferred stock investment in Citigroup into common stock. It will convert its stake to the extent that Citigroup can persuade private investors, including several big foreign government investment funds, to do so alongside the government, two people close to the deal said.”


What does this do for us? Well, the higher investment stake creates an enormous incentive for John Q. Public to continue to pour money into Citi, regardless of valuation. The inept banking giant then has access to infinite amount of capital, courtesy of you, the 1040 filers.


Its just another example of why these insolvent banks should be nationalized, or for you squeemish free marketers, FDIC mandated, pre-packaged Chapter 11, government funded reorganization.


If Obama continues to listen to the god-awful advice of Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, he will doom his presidency, and finsh marginally ahead of George W. Bush on the list of worst presidents.


This is not change we an believe in . . ."


Let me say again, the taxpayers paid $45 billion dollar for stock in an investment bank that now has a market value of only about $1 billion.

It is bank robbery of taxpayers. The government is robbing our future to save the Ponzi scheme that was Wall Street. The banks know it. Read The Baseline Scenario, Robbery Note - From The Banking Oligarchs This Morning, in which Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, wrote:

"The modern bank robber calmly hands a note to the teller, asking for money and making a moderately specific scary threat. The robber, of course, expects the teller to hand over unmarked bills without a fuss.


This morning’s “research” note from a major international bank is entitled, “Falling Short: The government needs to buy toxic assets,” and the heart of their one page argument is, with the emphasis as in the original,


One main stumbling block to the purchasing of troubled assets has been pricing, specifically how does the government price a diverse set of assets in a way that does not put the taxpayer on the hook. However, this should not be the standard by which we judge the efficacy of the plan, because a more prolonged deterioration in the economy will result in a higher terminal unemployment rate and a greater deterioration of the tax base. As such, the decline in tax revenues will crimp many of the essential services provided by the government. Ultimately, the taxpayer will pay one way or another, either through greatly diminished job prospects and/or significantly higher taxes down the line to pay for the massive debt issuance required to fund current and prospective fiscal spending initiatives. We think the government should do the following: estimate the highest price it can pay for the various toxic assets residing on financial institution balance sheets which would still return the principal to taxpayers.


Tell me if you think I am overreacting - it has been a difficult week - but I interpret this as saying: “give us as much money as you can, or else.” And the “or else” appears to be unemployment up around 20% and debt/GDP in the red-for-danger zone.


Can bankers really trump the American government in this fashion? It’s painful to read, but probably helpful that the oligarchs put their cards (and notes) on the table so brazenly. This is, after all, a critical fight to save American democracy, and it’s good to know what we are up against."


All the while the investment banks and other financial institutions pay dividends and bonuses, and have lavish retreats and their CEOs get 'golden parachutes.


This is why it is time to refresh the tree of liberty.



Thursday, July 2, 2009

Republican Family Feuding

UPDATE III: Got this link from Mike, who said it made him "wanna take up running." Read Runner's World, I'm a Runner: Sarah Palin. For the reading challenged, try the the picture version.

Not sure whether this helps her image as a possible president, but it will sell a lot of magazines. It also helps explain her appeal to the Republi-con party, the angry old white guys are smitten by Sarah.


UPDATE II: And yet another. Read the Washington Post, The Sarah Palin Chronicles Mask Deeper GOP Troubles.


UPDATE: Are the arguments about Palin within the Republi-con party just a personification of the dispute over the future of the party? Read the Washington Post, Latest Palin Controvery Just a Subset of War Over Direction of GOP.

Another lengthy article about the Rogue Diva. Read Vanity Fair, It Came from Wasilla.

Then read of the ensuing feud, Politico, Sarah Palin story sparks Republican family feud.

I can't wait for 2012. How about you?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Could You Soon Live Forever?

Read The New York Times, Does Evolution Go Fast-Forward?

And for a counter-argument, read The New York Times, Why Not Perpetual Progress?

And for more about the possible future, read KurzweilAI.net.

More Republi-CON Family Values

UPDATE V: Sanford should blame his monkey ancestors. Read The New York Times, Politicians Are Primates Too.


UPDATE IV: From the internet:

"New GOP Amendment to the Constitution: marriage should be between a man and 2 women."

"This is all Clinton's fault. If he hadn't been unfaithful, then these repubs would not have felt it was OK to do it too. -- signed RNC"


UPDATE III:



UPDATE II: Is Pensacola Joe the party's next Clinton? I ask because he was in town last week promoting his latest book, "The Last Best Hope," and one newspaper article claims Joe is a "political genius." The article, in a paper that claims there are no sacred cows, states:

“Joe walked away from politics to spend more time with his sons, who were 10 and 13 at the time.

Joe has since been approached to be run for both the U.S. Senate and Florida Governor, but has chosen to stay away from politics.”

Is that true, or is Pensacola Joe a sacred cow?

I ask because lord knows that the Republi-con party needs some help after the last week in which the party’s family values propaganda joined the fiscal conservative farce in the trash can of political fraud.

All hail the Republi-con family man.


UPDATE: The South Carolina governor has a future writing Harlequin romance novels. In an email he sent to his Argentina love he wrote:

"You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details."


More bad news for the party wandering in the wilderness. I once asked who the Republi-con Clinton might be who would save all those phony-baloney, cult-like Republi-cons. In a sense, there are now two contenders.

Last week it was Nevada Senator who had a affair with the wife of a good friend and senior staffer.

Now the head of the Republican Governors Association, a Bible-quoting social conservative who called on Clinton to resign over his affair with Lewinsky (saying of Clinton, "He lied under a different oath, and that’s the oath to his wife. So it’s got to be taken very, very seriously.”) admits, in a tearful stream of consciousness, to loving the magnificent gentle kisses, curved hips, tan lines, and erotic beauty of a woman not his wife. Read the Washington Post, S.C. Gov. Sanford Admits to an Affair.

The article says that as a South Carolina Congressman, in 2000 he cast the lone "nay" vote more times than any other member of the House except Ron Paul. He harbored presidential ambitions and was on the Republi-con short list for 2012.

Some think Republi-cons are suffering an identity crisis with the collapse of the Republi-con ideology, but I know that Republi-con family values, like claims of fiscal conservatism, are just all cheap political talk.

Can you say hypocrisy again?

P.S.

Is it time for Republi-cons to to apologize for putting us through the Clinton impeachment?

Top 12 Indicators of a Bad Economy

From the internet, the top 12 indicators of a bad economy:

12. CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
11. I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
10. I went to buy a toaster oven and they gave me a bank.
9. Hot wheels and Matchbox car companies are now trading higher than GM in the stock market.
8. Obama met with small businesses - GE, Pfizer, Chrysler, Citigroup and GM, to discuss the Stimulus Package.
7. McDonalds is selling the 1/4 ouncer.
6. People in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and are learning their children's names.
5. The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.
4. People in Africa are donating money to Americans.
3. Motel Six won't leave the lights on.
2. The Mafia is laying off judges.
And the number one indicator:
1. If the bank returns your check marked as "insufficient funds", you have to call them and ask if they meant you or them.


Frown and you frown alone, but smile and the whole world smiles with you.