Seeing as so many people will be taking tomorrow off, it struck me we should try and be (best we can) a warm-up act for tomorrow night’s celebrations. So we’ll report today’s events in ‘fluff first’ fashion and then work up to the most serious stuff. this way, you can click out as soon as you’re adequately depressed, which is a fine way of doing things; it’ll allow you to scale your own wailing.
Friday will not be a day off for Wall Street. The NYSE’s website explains that:
“New Years’ Day (January 1) in 2011 falls on a Saturday. The rules of the applicable exchanges state that when a holiday falls on a Saturday, we observe the preceding Friday unless the Friday is the end of a monthly or yearly accounting period. In this case, Friday, December 31, 2010 is the end of both a monthly and yearly accounting period; therefore the exchanges will be open that day and the following Monday.
On the other hand, we notice that the Federal government will be taking the day off tomorrow, so if you were going to send something by mail and expect it to be postmarked this year, time to toddle off to the mailbox this morning.
Why this means tomorrow Wall Street will be even less supervised than usual, LOL.
Various States and Municipalities will be up to their usual ‘parking meter roulette’ – where you live matters. Unless you go right to the mall, which millions will, in order to pick off year-end deals.
Leave It To Richardson
Word that Billy the Kid may get a gubernatorial pardon some 130-years after his exploits hits me wrong, not so much because of the ‘facts’ so much as it’s another example of the Nanny State promoting the notion down at the archetype level that everybody gets “do-overs”, regardless of the crime.
I ask myself, why would a fellow consider a pardon for Billy? The reason is in the story, but I get to thinking: Is it Richardson’s fascination with the Wild West, a desire to make governor’s promises mean something, or is it just a ploy to keep his name out in the public eye?
Maybe, since he’s leaving office, this is resume-building.
Or, maybe – just maybe – it’s a coded message to the sheeple that we really can trust government, although said help may arrive 130-years after it matters.
Word that some engineers have cooked up a way to stream lambda-speed data from light fixtures certainly puts a whole new spin on the internet’s direction.
I guess this means that in the future, those without the Internet really will be in the dark? (rimshot)
OK, so much for the light-hearted stuff. Grab the tranks and read slow as they take effect so your blood level concentration of ‘em can come up a bit. Ready?
IP Phone Troubles
Snap! Presto!! Solution!!!
Make VoIP illegal…how’s that? Who would do that? Not doable, you say?
Think again: The People’s Daily reports that Skype is now illegal in China and that unless the voice services come from China Telecom of China Unicom, they are illegal. No word of enforcement timing, so call us from Beijing and let us know if it’s still working.
Disposable People & Gold
Weekly Job Number
The last weekly jobs report of 2010 is out…
In the week ending Dec. 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 422,000. The 4-week moving average was 414,000, a decrease of 12,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 426,500.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.3 percent for the week ending Dec. 18, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.2 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Dec.18 was 4,128,000, an increase of 57,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4,071,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,120,000, a decrease of 37,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 4,157,250.
Still, the Unemployment rate in December of 2009 was 10.0 and we will get the December rate for this year next Friday. But to go through all the work we collectively – as a country – did this year and to face the prospect of an unemployment rate that’s essentially unchanged, sure seems like the jobjackers and ‘free traders’ are having their way with us.
Like we’re not supposed to notice the declining standard of living? Moving to a better homeless shelter is not what I’d call progress.
Quakes Over New Years…
Our consulting earthquake sensitive sends this:
“yes George its me again Sensors are Picking up a 7 hitting someplace Around new years or After a few days. Im praying as of Now No God no please Let me be wrong . george i was Outside 3 days ago sweeping my carpet and a 7.9 Quake flashed in my mind for 2 seconds. WHAT.? I wasnt going to email you this cause You think i Need the Nuthouse. I think i am nuts to tell you this.No More said. I see the sun is going to do some Crazy stuff in 2011 if so this earth is going to pop off some Big mommy Quakes like 8s. “
If we get a 7.7 or larger between now and Tuesday, then I’ll have to issue another gold star.
Some people are just sensitive to such things. I’ve noticed that a day ahead of the only big quakes I’ve been through that the day or two ahead of time I feel horribly lethargic – almost like time gets that syrupy quality to it. Day of the quakes I feel fine – and quite rested.
That said, I keep looking at the USGS website and found the quake on what I guess to be the northern rise leading south to the Himalayas in western Xizang China to be pretty interesting. Bonin Islands, Aleutians, and Vanuatu being somewhat passé after some much recent activity.
We’ll watch over New Years, but if you get the shakes while waiting, think back to the previous night’s liquid intakes first.
A 2011 Look Ahead:
I wasn’t going to strain the brain, at least too much, this morning because so many people are in a holiday-building mood. But as I look at all the talk about what’s ahead for 2011, there’s a topic which keeps floating around the email inbox which deserves some serious discussion, so make sure the coffee is warm for this because this is almost news-magazine length here.
We start with an informational note from a well-placed, but retired military source, who sends along some interesting background about the direction and possible outcomes for nuclear weapons use in southwest Asia.
Since ‘at least’ 1990 the DoD has been worried about a nuke showdown between India and Pakistan. I participated in a major war game, and was in the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (aka ‘nukes, bugs and gas) ‘white cell.’ An exercise ‘white cell’ provides factual guidance (in our case, things like weapon effects in densely populated areas, local/global dispersal patterns, etc.) to the ‘players’ of the exercise in their respective areas of expertise.
First, it quickly became apparent (with ‘real’ former U.S. state department officials and then current U.S. DoD seniors playing) that US meddling in such a conflict could easily worsen the situation. The underlying religious animosity between the two nations almost necessitated that each not back down in order to ‘save face.’
Making matters worse, if America tried to intervene, Russia and China would resent our exercising an unwelcomed influence in ‘their hemisphere.’ So superpower intervention could rapidly escalate a regional conflict into a global one. This prevented the US from preemptively ‘taking out’ either side’s nukes with non-nuke strikes for all the obvious reasons. If the conflict ever reached a serious stage, it was likely that tactical nukes would first enter into the fray.
Keeping superpowers out of this mess was the tricky part.
Some of the key take-aways from a ‘limited’ India-Pakistan tactical WMD exchange (less than a dozen or so total low yield weapons):
- A nuke exchange would likely start in or around the Kashmir region. Without external pressure, the conflict would likely smolder out after each side exchanged sufficient blows in a relatively unoccupied area to ‘save face.’ Kashmir was viewed as the most obvious such place for military units to face off.
- The Himalayas would largely contain any resultant fallout, but trade winds (depending upon the time of year) could push airborne radioactivity south toward the equatorial jet stream or even back to the west and the Middle East. If the fallout in fact reached the equator, it could easily be ‘pumped’ across the globe via the equatorial wind patterns — not good for surface water, livestock and crops, not to mention people.
- N. Korea was seen as regionally destabilizing and continuously ‘posturing’ (like a rooster approaching a hen house), but not insanely dangerous to the point of invading the South (they did not have nukes back then, but the games were set in 1997-8, when nukes were seen as ‘possible’ for the Communist state).
This ‘game’ ultimately resulted in my picking up an English translation of the the ancient Indian Mahabharata. Many have postulated that this ancient scriptural accounting in fact describes a nuclear war using manned flying machines. But here’s the rub — did one or more mightier minds of that long ago time write down something that ‘had’ actually occurred, or (much like our very own Time Monks) were they able to somehow divine events ‘yet to come,’ writing down what today’s scientific minds view as culturally steeped mythology but which they back then intended as a prophetic warning to those of us willing to listen)?
All of which would make a mighty fine “ponder with adequate scotch” until we come along to the headline on the Debka site this morning. This is where the news edges over toward scary:
Gather round the poker table, we need to talk about this latest hand that’s been dealt.
One line of thinking might be that one of the root causes for the war in the ‘eastern’ sandbox’ (now playing in a ‘Stan’ near them) has been to set up a war within Pakistan (remember, Benazir Bhutto was killed by assassins in 2007 perhaps partly for outing the murder of Osama bin Laden as reported, and perhaps as destabilizing effort). Properly choreographed, this would set up the West seizing the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. “For your own good” in Nanny State-ese.
Fast forward to today’s headline from Debka: Their article reports that the actual weapons promised the Saudis “…are most probably held in Pakistan’s nuclear air base at Kamra in the northern district of Attock. Pakistan has already sent the desert kingdom its latest version of the Ghauri-II missile after extending its range to 2,300 kilometers. ”
My point being that although the weapons are promised they are held in Pakistan.
I think what may be in play here is that the Pakistanis, by promising the Saudis a couple of nukes – have in a sense taken out an ‘insurance policy’ which would make it very difficult for the US/West to go in and seize the Pakistani nuclear arsenal as things on the ground deteriorate in the region.
Where up until this latest move was revealed, the US might have been able to mount force and take nukes away from the Pakistanis, but to do so now – with this latest deal – would be viewed by the Saudis (read: big oil source) as a move to disarm them and since they have oil, they have leverage.
Let me jump around for a moment now:
SpaceWeather.com is reporting only two sunspots this morning. If we’re worried about 2012 – kill shots from the sun as one fellow postulated – and all that, we’re going to need to see Solar Cycle 24 ‘grow some balls really quick’ or we’re not going to be in the position where the peak probability of solar ejecta would be likely until 2013-2014. So maybe we can set that aside.
Another possibility is that looking at the earthquake data, maybe the large amount of activity we’re seeing around the Pacific Plate won’t break it unleashing a horrible sequence of oceanic disaster.
But, what IF much of the 2012 speculation now building has been misread and may actually be warnings from our drug-using ancestors who had a much higher proficiency in use of psychedelics than current major societies allow because they enable large numbers of people to slip out of the “control” mode and go slipping around ‘the Stream” , do out of body experiences and the like. (Ref: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, Graham Hancock)
That’s mighty dangerous stuff to let loose and so the “controller” groups under the banner of religion, politics, and “idealism of government” may be selling their own prepackaged version laying things out as they’d like to see.
Which gets us to a rather startling thought: That those Mayan calendars and ancient writings from India may not be about some random thing coming in from space like the Niburu warnings and what have you.
Maybe there’s a whole past part of human culture that has done drugs, surfed the Stream and written down the future for us in Jules Verne-like fashion.
So its with some seriousness that I’ve put The Mahabharata (Penguin Classics) on my reading list. But I’ll be reading it for hints toward present times.
Because what IF the story wasn’t about a mythical conflict “back when” and is instead a Leary-like tale about an future that’s “almost now?”
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