This economy is a what?
Replaying 1929: Business, Financial, and earth change news
Updated: Saturday May 10, 2008 07:55 -- CDT
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Around 7-9 PM tonight, West Coast time, would seem like a dandy time to 'hang on' just in case the predictive linguistics works out in a particular way. In case you missed our Friday report on how there's an interrupted wedding, from which official dash to go focus on earthquake recovery operations, click here and you'll see why our attention is on Crawford Texas where Jenna Bush is to be married tonight.
Of course, the linguistics may be off (this is not an exactly science, as we've disclaimed many times), and to be sure, there are other weddings ahead which might have lots of television/press mainstream coverage. Next week, for example, there's the Ashlee Simpson marriage in California with Jessica Simpson doing maid of honor duty.
So who knows which of the weddings the language sliced and diced in a particular way in modelspace is actually pointing toward? Ask me in late December.
With a lot of big names dropping assets to raise cash, I have to wonder if the current rally, which came to an end this week, will have the vitality to make it through early summer (e.g. till just after June 21st). Not that modelspace is pointing to that - it's how I read the markets and what I know about the model. But there's nothing to say that we can't begin the drop from here, but one more good bounce seems likely before the fall of the Fall.
Among those trying to drum up a little cash is Citigroup, which is shedding half a trillion in assets. Did I say "a little" cash? "Scuse me, but this is verging on real money, even for a high roller like me, LOL...
Then we saw AIG come in with a 'nasty surprise' for the markets; a double whammy. Not only did it depress the Dow but it removes, I think, some of the golden patina of Warren and Charlie - both geniuses, but even geniuses and system players are going to lose sometimes in a crooked casino.
FedEx is dropping it's Q4 outlook on fuel costs. Most of the 'happy talk' around the markets about a fall recovery seems to hinge on cheap fuel, and the realist in me wonders, "Gee, if oil is at $126 and change, why would anyone with half a wit bank on dropping energy prices?"
But the out is obvious: The key words being 'half a wit' in close proximity to Wall Street. Have some more coffee and it will make sense if it doesn't yet.
There's a great lesson in living in here -- and here it is. Hand me a calculator.
This weekend, if closed out at 12,745.88. That's down 312.32 points.
If you wake up on Saturday morning and you're not as excited as hell about the weekend ahead, you might to some mind-adjusting.
I have tried to teach my kinds (and anyone else who will listen) that evenings and weekends are people's golden time. That's when we get to work on our own dreams, plans, and agenda items.
George Secret # 723: If you ever have problems getting up and getting projects done for yourself just ask yourself this: "Why would I get up and go work for someone else during the weekend work harder than I would work for myself in my own spare time? I mean, who would be crazy enough to do that, right?
Work hard for others, but work even harder for yourself because you get 100% of that return, undiluted. Pretty simple, eh?
George Secret # 724: If you're going to watch a movie, make it one that will reinforce your best values (honesty, hard work, ethics, etc.).
It makes choosing between "Astronaut Farmer" or "Texas Chainsaw whatever" really easy when you're channel surfing.
People are programmable, just like a laptop (so to speak). Programming is going in all the time, so you might as well try to consciously pick the good stuff. Darned few do so. You could watch worse TV for a month than comedies, right values movies, and educations/documentaries. That misnamed Reality TV? Hand me a barf bag. Life's too short.
Acerbic George Department "What Deflation?"
I forgot to hand out the gold stars this week for consumers in America who are managing to keep the world's economic game of musical chairs going by sinking beyond their eyeballs in debt. Saving me a bottle of wine on a long-ago bet.
The G.19 Consumer Debt Report out from the Fed (which they call Consumer Credit to make sounding in debt like it's good thing) shows that debt is going up at a rate over 7% per year.
I haven't mentioned this to my deflationist pal Jas Jain because I don't want to ruin his weekend, but I have written down a note to myself to ask Jas "Where's that deflation?" when the Consumer Price Index figures come out next week. A "surprising" increase (to economic idiots) is my bet, and that ought to relaunch metals like gold and silver. We can't have gold and silver dropping and oil rising to this extent without a great chance at a straddle play....
Meantime, here's economics unbundled for you: Debt's going up and that means INFLATION. As Jas is so fond of saying "It's the Debt, stupid!" That part he's got right, even if I may get my crack-up boom before the incipient deflation to come this winter....
The Runs: Super Whatagates?
Just one more charade that when you look closely, and I suppose another example of how America has been hijacked. The concept of 'super delegates'. What ever happened to one man, one vote? Don't get me started.
Anyway, the NYT reports today that "For First time, More Superdelegates Favor Obama." I won't be so rude as to make an issue of this with the democorps - they're hopelessly bought and paid for by corpgov interests anyway. Pelosi and he First 100-days stuff? So7und bites for the somnambulistic. ROFLOL. Money talks, Jack. Hell, inside the Beltway is screams, hisses, howls, rants, and runs everything... You do understand that, right?
This is a bid/ask Republic any more.
Marching Militarism's May Madness
Russia did another parade on Friday (May Day wasn't enough?) to show off their missile and military might. Gesticulations to the West over their sphere of influence, is how I'd read this.
The "World Socialist Web Site" seems a good source for matters in that part of the world, and their headline "Russia and Georgia on the brink of armed conflict over Abkhazia" seems to cover it.
Bill & Steve's little start-up is trying to get the EU to show a little mercy on the $1.4 billion dollar fine over access to the guts of their OS. I wouldn't bet on it - maybe a 'show' reduction of a hundred million or so...but why would Europe show any mercy, merci? Like any other deal, the question is "What's in it for them?" Sell that and maybe they could get some mercy.
Meantime, Microsoft is planning to release Vista SP-1 in June via automatic updates. Cool! I won't have to order a CD like I did with XP SP's. But, maybe we should, just to have backup media on hand...
I know, how can an otherwise rational guy like George, who usually limits his video gaming to shooting IFR landings in a Cessna Caravan in Flight Simulator, possibly get excited about Grand Theft Auto IV? Well, let's just say, everyone has quirks...and the reviews are great... Don't know if it will support my dual monitor setup, but that would be hot ---have to do read the reviews I guess. Crowned biggest selling video game EVER. Already.
Around the Ranch: The Weekend
One reason I never have a problem getting out of bed, excited and just plain 'amped' about every day on earth is there's always something to do. Especially on weekends.
This morning at 8 AM we have an informal ham radio net at 3860 (LSB) +/- QRM - that may last till about 9, or so. Call sign is AC7X.
Then a big country breakfast at 9 of hash browns, sausage, eggs, toast, fruit compote, milk...which will keep me going till dinner time.
By then, the roof ought to be dry enough to put the finishing flashing on my porch project and smear around roofing goo to keep the water out along the seams.
Next up comes rearranging of the ham radio desk (2-hours worth there) and working on an old Drake R-4A receiver which has almost no audio output.
After that, an hour or three working on Peoplenomics.
This weekend Peoplenomics, the subscription service that funds this web site, this weekend focuses on a simplified way to look at home repair/remodeling/construction projects.
Next weekend's report, which I'm research now, is a compilation of every possible way to make money. I try to alternate between the 'hands on' doing of life in ways that have an economic payoff and the money/monetary/investment theory side.
Then, if my new software shows up, there will be an upgrade of ACT! to the 2008 version so it will integrate with Outlook 2007 correctly.
Somewhere along in here, my retired SF neighbor will be over for a beverage in the shade of the new porch. A few scattered logon problems for Peoplenomics subscribers will be fixed, and then there's another ,gourmet delight that Ealine manages to produce.
And that's just Saturday.
My point is simply this (and I will say it again so it really sinks in): People who can't get out of bed and actively engage their weekends, choosing to work harder for others than they do for themselves, amaze me. Why would I work much harder to make someone else rich, when I am surrounded by Acres of Diamonds of my own?
Something to think about. I'm going to go fire up a radio and play for a few minutes... see you Monday morning - unless there's a big quake tonight, in which case, except a special report tomorrow. It's admittedly a very low probability event, but time will tell, right?
Time to warm up the linear.
Friday May 9, 2008
With the volcano(es) blowing up 800 miles south of Santiago Chile today, causing ash and problems in next-door Argentina, plus the earthquake earlier this week centered about 100-miles east of Tokyo, our friends in predictive linguistics are concerned about short-term data values going to the idea that 'more quakes may be coming'. They offered this advice in a rare between-reports update sent to their subscribers yesterday:
Not that these are things that a careful person wouldn't already be doing, but they are looking at how the earthquake and volcano are related to each other on the globe.
The Tokyo quake was about 35 N/141 E while Chile was going off around 45S by 72W.
Curiously, a mainstream reference that caught our eye on the MarketWatch site on Wednesday which hits on another linguistic meme we've been tracking for some time; the idea of a 'global coastal event'. The MarketWatch headline reads: "Gathering Storm: The threat to coastal communities, including in the U.S., is growing."
In modelspace, I'm told that the GCE is not likely until late winter / early spring of 2009 and that the Myanmar event was not the global event because its effects, while horrific, were localized.
Nevertheless, there's enough coming in around earthquake language that if Elaine and I lived in either Nevada, California, or the Midwest around the New Madrid areas, we'd be making sure, just on the outside chance of something. And the Pacific Northwest in particular.
Now a short detour into the weird. Want a highly speculative piece of the puzzle? This is way 'out there' stuff, but it struck me as damned peculiar and maybe relating to pending events, so here goes: Some dots to connect:
What happened up north of Houston this week? A huge sink hole opened up in Daisetta Texas. Apparently, this has something to do with oil drilling in the area.
Not that sink holes are that rare. Smaller ones pop up all overs the place. Take Prescott, Arizona, or the sink hole that blocked traffic on I-70 in Frederick, Maryland a couple of weeks back.
But what makes the Texas sink hole an attention-grabber is that just two weeks before the sink hole developed, there was a UFO sighting reported over Baytown, Texas, barely 30-miles from where this week's Texas sinkhole developed.
I don't know about you, but this is a little close to be passed off as entirely 'coincidental'. Especially when we have (purely anecdotal) reports that UFO activity increased in Southeast Asia prior to the 2004 tsunami, and appear more often ahead of other major events.
A person could speculate all day about this stuff Are the UFO's trans-dimensional/outside of [our] time tourist doing before and after picture taking? What were they doing over Baytown two weeks and 30 miles away from this week's big sink hole
What about the UFO sightings in the Stephenville, Texas area -- Do they mean something, or are they portents? While the local press reports that "Unidentified Flying Objects not new to North Texas," I can't help but wonder if the risk of some large 'natural disaster pending" won't have a link of some kind to Texas as well as the obvious hot spots like the PNW, New Madrid quake region, Nevada, and California.
Crawford is just 65 miles from the Stephenville Lights sightings and the president's daughter Jenna Bush is getting married there tomorrow.
Another tidbit to ponder with the Jenna wedding at hand: We've had many references to "wedding interrupted" by an earthquake in modelspace. But, is this the wedding weekend and does that mean a BIG QUAKE tomorrow?
Hopefully, the model will be wrong. But there's little cost associated with battening things down. Hopefully, this read of the future will be wrong. But, the linguistics have been correct often enough in the past that a mention and some bottled water seems warranted the day before a possible hot date.
Worse than Tsunami?
The Burma (Myanmar) death toll estimates keep climbing. Highest figure so far is 500,000 being mentioned.
Over $125 a barrel now. Is the $200 spike an illusion, self-fulfilling prophesy, or supply and demand working themselves out?
Bucks for Buffett?
The headline "Stocks head for lower open after AIG reveals need for cash" could be important. I wonder how some of the insurance companies would deal with a massive earthquake, or some other calamitous loss given the current market conditions?
OK, so we're still going into debt by $58.2 billion in the latest reporting month but that is an improvement however slight.
Circular Paper Department
The president this week signed H.R. 5715. One analysis I've seen says that this will empower the US Department of Education to buy up bundled student loans that lenders can't find other buyers for. So, government is buying yet more paper...and that will support inflation in the higher ed sector where independent undergrads will be able to borrow and grant up to $57,500 per award year's worth.
Remember back when all those cables in the Middle East were being cut and there was speculation that it would be a precursor to an attack on Iran. I don't like to go back too far in news stories, but I think this is an important "after action note". According to a report, Egypt now says "No ships present when internet cable cut."
Somewhere, in the back of my mind, there's a half-formed thought that those cable breaks were not all 'coincidental' and they might be part of some kind of back-channel message to that part of the world that would go something like: "If you think you can screw with the West's PTB, remember that we can put you in the stone age electronically just as you might be able to put us there by cutting off oil..."
West Beirut Seized
Hezbollah claims it had made a major advance in Lebanon, as things continue to heat up.
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Coping: MainStreamMedia Control
Several readers have commented on the introduction of a new Net Neutrality bill in Washington as getting more/better coverage out of Europe than in stateside press. Gee, gosh, how unsurprising is that? This, boys and girls, is where Uncle George tells you the Three Conglomerates and their Goldilocks on the net...and how without corporate preference at a price, sites like this one will keep the candles of Freedom burning by encouraging people to assume nothing, question everything, and make counter-accusations.
Cost of Food
Keep an eye on this one:
Cost of Fencing
Going up - quickly says a reader:
How to Fix The Economy
In one easy lesson suggested by a reader:
I appreciate getting lots of 'news tips' (link elsewhere on this page), but I'd sure appreciate it if when you send in a link you look at the data on the story. Just as a for instance, someone send in a story about how "Wyoming sheriffs put feds in their place". The person thought it was something we should be aware of. Well, yes, we have been - and for more than a year! So please, when you send in tips, please try to remember to look at the dateline because we're riding the wave around hear - the one that's building, not the last one ashore. Thanks.
Send snip and save notes to email@example.com
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This week I'm going to place a number of major "dots" before you, suggest a possible meaning of the dots -- namely that an extinction level event is pending in a couple of year -- and then propose that we all just go on as though everything is dandy and everything will work out right in the end because lining dots up in just a certain way is no guarantee that it's how the future will really work out when it gets here. Instead, it's only one wildly speculative version of how the future could work out. As the time monks are prone to reminding me "George, if you can imagine it, that about assures us that your particular version of the future won't show up." After a preview discussion of this week's content, they suggested I send out sample sized bottles of Imodium AD in advance for readers of weak constitution, but I'll leave such frivolities to Big Budget Newsletters, although a shot of Jack at the end of this report might be comforting. Forewarned is forearmed - so to the dots!
Spread the Word
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Better Living on Less Dough
There are lots of ways to save money on food, shelter, transportation, and such. It just takes a little reading and one source of good ideas is our handy ebook "How to Live on $10,000 a year or less. Still just $10.
I promised Elaine that I would unload some of my equipment, so if you're looking for ham gear, especially the older tube-type (EMP resistant) type, send me a note and I will send out the list of what I'm selling off when I get it together. Click here to Put Me On Ham Gear List
Thursday May 8, 2008
Bummer Summary: It Really Is Worse
It's one thing for a lone nutjob in the woods of East Texas to tell you that the economy is worse than is reported by the MainStreamMedia. So how do you handle it when MSM starts to headline "Hard numbers: The economy is worse than you know"? How about "Don't make me think..." or "Pour me a shot, would yah?"
We're sad to see the City of Vallejo is declaring bankruptcy. Not that many others won't too, as the melt continues, although officially we're not in a recession.
Recession? I don't see a recession, do you?
Still, this doesn't add up to a recession according to Council of Economics Advisers Chairman Edward Lazear who insists there's no recession in sight. I wonder who does the grocery shopping in his family?
Nope, no recession....
Tomorrow we get the balance of trade numbers. but don't hold your breath. The world in the same position as before the past six months of financial crisis erupted. It will probably stay that way until the end of June, giving the aware investor a chance to get gold and other items on the cheap with depreciating paper assets.
With countries in the Middle East talking about dumping the Buck, where's the money to buy our lifeblood going to come from? "Oil price holds near record highs" say the headlines, but with talk of a $200 spike sooner than later, we ain't seen nothing yet.
Next week the inflation numbers will come out, but don't be misled by these. First, they are massaged using hedonics (e.g. chopped sirloin is about like a sirloin steak, right?) but worse, the numbers are a retrospective. The numbers you should be worried about are the prices to come, not the prices that we a month or two back.
With the price of oil maybe heading for a spike, consider that $100 oil means $4.00 gas, so putting on our thinking caps, we come up with a $200 spike meaning AT LEAST $8 gas, and maybe $10. And that's nothing: Elaine's son who drives a delivery truck in Seattle called us last night to report that his fill-up was $100 for 22 gallons.
Wait till the price of all goods reflects the doubling of the transportation costs!
US News & World Report is asking "Can the Economy Survive $200-a-barrel Oil?" The answer is "Of course..." But our 'fine print" reads: "Of course you may not be able to afford food, you may not be able to go anywhere with a $12 gas spike, the electricity will be in rolling brownouts/blackouts, and there will be a shortage of everything needed for living...but yes, there will be an economy of some kind. Taxes have to be collected..."
Once again, almost like they are holding up the sign that says "Bomb Here", the Iranian oil minister says "Oil could soon his $200 a barrel." Off in the background, Russia has signed on for sanctions on Iran. Maybe because Russia is worried about fallout?
But wait, the Bush administration is pushing to get a civilian nuclear deal done with Russia which would make someone beaucoup bunks. You're welcome Vlad...
Oh, and just to complete the morning's bummer-summary: Wal-Mart says more shoppers are living paycheck to paycheck.
George's Bet: Fed's Going to Pass
Speaking of beholden to the golden, I notice the Bank of England has held rates steady. That shades my bet to the Fed taking a pass at its next meeting. Of course, this is just too damn simple, so expect endlessly mind-numbing chatter from the money honeys and their guests speculating this way and that. Don't even go there with phrases like "As goes the Crown's, so goes the clowns..." That'd be disrespectful. And we're always respectful of the elitists in charge.
Elitists...hmmm...what does that bring to mind? Oh yes....
The Runs: My Clinton VP Bet Stands
Some headlines are catching up to where we were yesterday: Hillary Clinton is maneuvering for a VP slot. If voters are dumb enough to make it 32-years with a Bush or Clinton in the White House at #1 or #2, we have no business electing our own leadership.
Corporations and the build-a-burger types (if you know what I mean) could save the lobbyist money and the voting machine hacks, and just announce who the next Anointed One is. Of course, then the lack of content on the television would become obvious, so there is some bread and circuses angle to it all.
Last time I check, however, corp gov and the PTB are not royalty and this Great Nation wasn't supposed to be a Clinton/Bush oligarchy.
Or is it? With so many knighthoods handed out, maybe I ought to rethink that. Of course the sitting George hasn't been knighted - yet - but Poppy was, and so was Alan Greenspan -- while serving as Fed chair! Hmmm...OK, it is an oligarchy, then.... Which puts us on par with who?
OK, Robert Mugabe didn't like the election outcome. And the critics want new elections. But now the country has become too violent for a poll say some. This being the time of revolution and rebellion memes, let me guess...hmmm... what do you think comes next?
The UN says the Myanmar cyclone is a 'major, major disaster". No, no kidding, kidding.
Am I Missing Something?
The headline "Saliva HIV test gives results in minutes" has me wondering about what's the new there? OraSure Technologies has had an oral HIV test with 20-minute results on the market for four years now. My EMT son has been administering them for almost four years now, too.
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Coping: Customer Loyalty & Branding Notes
As the number of humans in the world keeps growing, thanks to the tendency of people once fed to procreate at mind-numbing/ uncontrolled rates once fed, the way food is marketed in the world is bound to change. We're going to run out at some point.
Wednesday, Elaine went into town and came back swearing to do virtually all of her grocery shopping at the Brookshire Brothers food store in Palestine. You might ask "Why?"
The answer is pretty simple: They seem to have a responsible (e.g. grown -up) way of handling food. While some stores are busy with specials, like get x-zillion pounds of this for that, Brookshire's seems more focused on the quality of the products than the run of the mill. They do specials, like everyone else, don't get me wrong. But it's how they relate to customers that matters.
To be sure, E is a bit spoiled: She was a QFC and PCC kind of shopper when we were in the Northwest, a Trader Joe's junkie in the Bay area and San Diego, and then a Whole Foods shopper in Boca Raton. So you can see the pattern. Quality and variety, organic and recycling really does make a difference to us.
But, what finally got E to nearly swear-off the other stores in town was the fact that Brookshire's is now selling recyclable shopping bags and actually encouraging people to use them. The store help is all well briefed on the subject, too. Elaine was informed that conventional plastic grocery bags would likely be history in just a few short years because of what they are doing to the environment.
Brookshire's is not the first. I think the most 'hip' of all the stores and perhaps one of the few to jump from serving Hippies 1.0 to serving Hippies 2.0 customers like us was the Puget Sound Consumer Coop which has been selling great canvas grocery bags forever.
Beyond the grocery bags, though, Elaine found a little time to spend a few minutes to watch part of a video in the Brookshire's produce department of some famous chef explaining about preparing high quality organic food. Quality ingredients, portion control, balanced nutrition - all served up where she could do something about it right on the spot.
"I came back feeling inspired to cook again," she explained as I munched into a chicken with gourmet stuffing dish that magically appeared 45-minutes after she got home.
"Of yeah, well, keep shopping there," I encouraged in mid slurp.
Elaine's description of her "branding" experience continued: "I looked around and they just have a lot more variety of most things - especially cereals and vegetables. The only thing they don't have more of is ice cream and frozen pizzas..."
She then held forth her new theory that there's a clue to the quality of a store to be figured by taking the number of junk/fast food items (add up the ice cream and frozen pizza items) on the shelves, decided by the total number of items in the store. Too much work for me, but I got the gist of it.
While she was out shopping, I was spending 2-hours on the phone with Act! software's tech support department. My emailing project to a handful of customers of a consulting client had hit the rocks - not that a small emailing to a group of customers for a survey hadn't worked, it just hadn't worked right.
Act!'s folks went through a connection with my computer, checking this and that, and then concluded that Act! 2007 would not work with my latest and greatest Outlook 2007 version and I would need to upgrade to Act! 2008 to make sure the software did what it was supposed to. (If you're an IT geek, the Act! 2007 program doesn't allow setting the email port number and that was part of the problem...)
Over the years, I've had a love/hate relationship with Act! but because the people were very efficient on Wednesday at finding the problem and not charging me even though it was out of the 30-day (small!) initial free help period, I decided to take the plunge and move ahead one version.
All of which gets me around to making the observation that knowing the HalfPastHuman linguistics "words" that describe each of the next couple of years, I can see how a generalized trend is beginning in the food and software industries.
No, I'm not going to tell you what the word is, but here's the generalization of the two Wednesday observations - then you figure it out:
As the world runs out of new "killer aps", "category killers" and breakthrough products, not to mention energy restraints and so forth that will keep some business ideas from ever coming to fruition, the next BIG THING in business of all kinds will be "Customer Acquisition Cost." I've been telling my handful of consulting clients this for a while.
By the time you figure up the cost of advertising (which is going through the roof) and the cost of sales and so forth, the single best investment many companies can make is to defend the top line by retaining customers because it's hard to grow the bottom line without building a customer base.
Too many companies haven't awakened to the idea that in an age of tightening margins, the "disposable/replaceable" customer doesn't exist anymore. The companies that offer a superior customer experience will be the ones in a position to survive the next stage of economic evolution - the one where breadth of choice and quality will be key.
Mass commoditization (making everything a commodity) when viewed from an historical perspective, will likely be an artifact to amaze future generations. They might ask questions like "How did they manage to live in the best times ever and then blow it?"
Send snip and save notes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Wednesday May 7, 2008
The Runs: Obama Clinches It?
The headlines this morning are mostly going to the idea that Barack Obama has taken a big step ahead of Hillary Clinton. But the Bush/Clinton cabal still has many other tricks up their sleeves, I'm sure, and it's a long time till the convention, so don't count her majesty out yet...we've got an important tradition of a Bush/Clinton corptocracy to uphold here...We have not had a Bush & Clinton-free White House since when? 1981!!! Check the list yourself. That's 27-years! Who needs corpgov conspiracy theories when the facts are so conveniently at hand?
Besides, I reckon that will go to 30-some years when Obama picks Hill for #2. Bet me? Royalty in America...who would have guessed. Sheesh....
With John McCain now talking about a comprehensive immigration plan, that has some of his faithful wondering "Is this amnesty?"
With the silly season in full swing, I can only draw your attention to a note in the Colfax (California) Record op-ed site with the headline "Global Elite Gather in D.C." for a whole other perspective on the political goings-on. And speaking of controlled political systems...
Putin's Power Plans
OK, so he's out as president, but look who has been 'put up' as Russia's next prime minister? Prince Putin, of course.
Gather round the calculator, here we go:
Say, not to whine here, but you know what's missing from this report? "Government" productivity. Hell, we pay oodles for that and it's not reported. Whatzzup with that? Can you say hide the sausage?
Whistle Blown on Whistle Blower?
You want something to really delve into today? I mean if things are going a little slow at the office and you don't have much else going on? Well, read up on how the "Special counsel's office raided (by FBI agents) amid obstruction probe."
What's interesting to me is the part in the report that the director of the whistle-blower office "...has been on the hot seat since he took office in 2004, in part for closing hundreds of whistle-blower cases allegedly without investigating them."
You know which building on Pennsylvania Avenue this will likely lead back to, don't you?
Depending on who you read, earth may be considered to have a 'spirit' or 'soul' and one way to deal with too many humans may be to supply a whole raft of natural disasters. To be sure, whacking 50,000 humans off the planet with the disastrous cyclone in Myanmar last weekend was a start, if you hold to 'vengeful planet' thinking. More likely, it's just cycles coming around, so we can pocket the animism for now... Death toll could hit 80,000 says one report.
Still, in Chile, there's some question locally about what the big volcanic eruption ongoing will do to the country, and beyond that, I'm wondering what this smoke and ash will do to the climate and what that means for global food production.
One reader had the presence of mind to ask on Tuesday "Was this your global coastal event?" Nope. Be thinking toward next spring'ish for that. Details, such as they are linguistically available when we get close to events, before the water rises, we promise.
Myanmar did have some massive waves, but that's not global although certainly the press attention is.
Olmert to Topple?
My sources in Israel tell me that word on the street there is that prime minister Ehud Olmert is as good as 'out' although it will be some time as events unfold. Not helping things: The NY Post story today that reveals the alleged identity of a Long Island connection to the latest scandal. Worth a read.
Web Control Prototyping?
The story "Malaysian blogger charged with sedition for implying deputy PM involved in murder" is interesting to watch.
The recent huge increase in closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance operations pimped in mainstream as a way to cut crime has been failing to deliver the goods: "CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police." Think the CCTV sales departments will face this? No doubt we will next be subjected to counterclaims and accusations - the usual muddy the waters stuff.
Isn't anyone besides me getting it? That the whole War on Terror is about saving the economy because without the Iraq War and the WOT the country would already be in a devastating economic depression without the social controls and excessive government spending that's underway now?
The report that "96-students, others arrested in Massive Drug Raid at San Diego State University" has me wondering if that will help or hinder fall enrollments.
I actually knew (years back) people who attended Washington State University because of the school's rep as a great party school. Have times changed in the Palouse country? Wazzu didn't even make the top 10 in the PubClub.com top 10 college football Party School rankings.
But wait! CampusGrotto.com shows Wazzu in the thick of things, so maybe there's hope in Washington state cow country, after all. This ranking by the way included San Diego State, LOL
Stating the Obvious
The headline "Gates says big changes in store for Internet in next decade" seems just ever so obvious to us. Perhaps I've had more coffee than most at this hour, but gee, you think?
Of course the article doesn't mention what happens to the internet when the banking system collapses, people can't get money from ATM's, the Middle East blow-up this summer/fall results in an oil embargo, and we're all shoved into George's vision of Hippies 2.0 regardless of planning or consent, but then again, that would be alarmist. Or, a realist's take on things...
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Although the MS Vista program was full of bugs/problems when I first got the latest laptop last year, it has lately turned into a very fast and seemingly stable program. One reason for the speed (as fast as XP it seems) is that I had a featured turned on that I didn't even know was turned on until a reader sent in this:
Well, sure enough, a quick gander 'round the net and I found a set of instructions and a discussion of the issue - here's an example link, but there are others. Now, I don't know what will happen when SP1/Longhorn or whatever comes along - but I'm in no hurry - all my hard work has paid off and for now, yes, Vista is working.
What has really c hanged computing, and for the better I think, as the automatic updating programs like the OS's and the antivirus and firewall programs - it has made computing a little more friendly.
Selling Off Heirlooms
As the economic pelt continues to tighten (or, is that a noose?) people are starting to wonder about selling off heirlooms and such:
Indeed, there have been some stories around on the topic. One example, an AP story in the Seattle Times "Driven by desperation, more people selling heirlooms online."
A couple of readers sent in notes worried about the place that sells a can of 73 varieties of heirloom seeds in a can for $159 at www.everlastingseeds.com were worried because their site only identified "AIG Services" which sounded a little too 'corporate'. I sent 'em an email and this morning, their order page shows the owner (Rhone's) telephone number, mailing address out in Cedar Ridge, CA and his email. So, no, nothing to hide.
But - a good catch by some darned alert readers. I don't know how much web page work you've done, but there really are a zillion and one things to remember when building a web site.
I don't want to launch into a long discussion of web design, but if you want to see what a web site looks like when it is "spidered" by either a Google type indexing spider (or see what the text the HalfPastHuman.com spiders see when they start reading a site) click over to the "Search Engine Spider Simulator" and put in a couple of URL's.
If you put in the UrbanSurvival site, you'll see tons of easy to digest words. So in my efforts to help the Everlasting Seeds people, my note to them which I don't mind sharing in public would say something like:
The last bit about my "One Minute SEO Class" is that it's best if there's some correspondence between a page title, the page description, keywords, and content - which ought to be 300+ words per page.
BTW, I told Cliff and Igor at HPH about the numerous search engine 'shortfalls' of their site and the response went to the idea of trying to manage the visibility of the time-viewing software project: "Whew! boy glad I structured these pages correctly or I might have been indexed! Damn! dodged that bullet! F***ing big whew! Pecanese for me." OK, so the project profile is managed down...it's understandable. Speaking of which...
Bots to be Cloned?
We've been scanning the future using linguistic shift since 1997 in a minor way and since early 2001 in a major way. Picking up big tipping points (like 9/11 a couple of months in advance and ditto the 2004 Tsunami, NE Power Outage and all the rest. So it's always amusing when someone comes along with a "new" plan to look into the future and headlines like this come across my desk: "Institute plans global paranormal warning system".
Gee, let me think about this: Is this a think tank finally getting to where we went more than a decade ago? Of course, using a portal instead of a spidering regimen is fraught with issues, not the least of which is they are susceptible to self selection error and misses the masses, so to speak, but this is their project, not ours...No, not a clone. On the other hand, as we've shown around here often enough, the 'future leaks into the present. Be interesting to see their 'hit' rate when it's up.
Let Them Eat...Swedes?
Not that we're talking cannibalistic Scandahoovians, here...nossir we're getting down to rutabagas...
Holy smokes! How could anyone get away with labeling a rapeseed product as "peanut butter"? Product managers have no shame, lobbyists (on the corpgov agenda) have no ethics, and regulators have no sense...silly me for asking, huh?
Ham Radio Net
A reader wants to know if it's time for another Saturday morning ham radio net:
Sure! Let's try it and see what happens. Frequency will be +/- 5-10 khz depending on QRM (other people getting on 3860 first...gotta share the spectrum...).
Send snip and save ideas, comments, manifestos, but nothing ticking to: email@example.com.
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Tuesday May 6, 2008
"Them Winds": Myanmar Death Toll Growing
The reports coming out of Myanmar (formerly Burma) are really grim. One report said it looks like the cyclone which came through last weekend may have killed upwards of 15,000 people with another 30,000 unaccounted for. Another report says the death toll could top 50,000 - making it the biggest dieoff of humans since the December 2004 tsunami.
We're standing by for the announcement of an aid concert, which now seems like a logical response. Side bets on this?
Here in the USA, things are looking fairly quiet except for a patch of thunderstorms northwest of Dallas and fire watch weather in New Mexico, Florida, and a good-sized part of Georgia.
Despite this, the tornado chart at the Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center show the 2008 activity in the past week has widened the gap between this year's worse than 'normal' tornado season. And, springs far from over, so continued concern focuses on "them winds" that the predictive linguistics folks at www.halfpasthuman.com alerted us to severe months back. Click here for the February 18th report - you'll have to scroll down for it - under the title "Linguistics: Those Unseasonable Winds".
DC Madam Case: Officially It Was a Suicide
Although chatter continues on the net - and for obvious reasons - the police in Florida have ruled that DC Madam Jennifer Palfrey committed suicide.
The part of the reports that I'm scratching my head about involved this: "...in suicide notes, saying she couldn't bear going to prison and saw killing herself as the only "exit strategy"
Obviously, I didn't know Palfrey, and it may be from being around linguistics expertise a bit much, but I wonder if a term like "exit strategy" fits. It would sure be an interesting area of investigation to ask family and friends if they had ever heard this phrase from her before. It just seems like an odd thing to me.
Foreclosure Mess: Bernanke's Appeal
Last night, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke urged m0ore action on the foreclosure front because traditional lending tactics are not going to solve the problem - something most of us figured out a long time ago. Bernanke admitted that...
There's much more that could be done said Bernanke:
Of course while this is the public side of things, the Fed last week increased its auction plans, and, as one reader put it while pointing to an article "Ben Bernanke is no Paul Volker" said this Fed is basically accepting "stinkier collateral".
Fed's gotta do what a Fed's gotta do, I suppose. Even though the ship of state has been sliced open by the Debtberg, we gotta keep the orchestra playing the musical deck chairs games going...
Different view: Sent in my some of our 'eyes on Wall St." is the op-ed piece in the Journal this morning that "The Housing Crisis is Over". Ask me in November, or so.
The Runs: This and That's
Hillary Clinton's talk about OPEC ("OPEC can not longer be a cartel") rings a bit hollow around here. Wasn't hubby Bill promoting that Dubai outfit in the ports deal a while back? I wish these folks would figure out which side their bread is buttered on. Oh, both?
John McCain is launching a web site to woo Hispanic voters. Me? I'm a nutjob looking for Hispania on my maps...
After being buried by the agenda-driven national media, I noticed that at least the Washington Post is reporting that the "Paul Campaign Never Ended, Spokesman Says". Nope, I suppose it never did, just got buried by the Establishment/MSM/PTB, that's all.
The "revolution/rebellion" meme is alive and well. Ron Paul's book "The Revolution, a Manifesto" is ranked #229 in Amazon sales. "Living History" by Hillary Clinton is ranked at 705. "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on reclaiming the American Dream" by Barack Obama is rated #498 in Amazon sales.
Leading them all at #26 in Amazon sales this morning: "Don't start the Revolution Without Me!" by Jesse Ventura - and why we don't have him on the ballot (or Lee "Where have all the Leaders Gone?" Iacocca at #181 or his autobiography at #40) just goes to show that politics is more influenced by money than clarity of vision, and it's more about the wheeling and dealing than the doing right.
My idea of a dream ticket? Ron Paul for President, Jesse Ventura for VP and to watch over CONgress, and Ross Perot to head up State. Yes, that would be a heck of a fine ticket. Wonder if it has occurred to Paul to ask Ventura to join him?
Oil is pressing up to $121. Quick, look shocked. Maybe if we nuke Iran that will fix everything, eh boyz? Crazy idea, but that seems to be where events are leading...
Especially with reports out that "Hezbollah training Iraqis in Iran: U.S. Military" says.
I have huge respect for the men and women in the US military - given a free hand and a clear mission they can 'kill people and break things' better than other force on earth.
But, we don't let them do that. Instead we have political considerations that overrule military logic.
I was just chatting with my retired SF neighbor last night and said a lot of the world's trouble spots could be solved with a very very well-paid covert team and $100 worth of ammo. My neighbor seemed to agree, but pointed out that Jimmy Carter took that option off the table by saying the U.S. would never target heads of state.
Political considerations kept Schwarzkopf from going all the way in Gulf War 1, now we read almost daily as the footwork to launch of Iran is being laid, while on the other side of this growing mess, the 'enemy' is laying in plans to kill as many of our sons and daughters as possible
I guess I'm just too practical to even suggest that the people who would make war, ought to be specifically and intentionally targeted as its first victims. But then that wouldn't employ millions in the 'defense' industries, worldwide, would it? And ,golly, if we didn't have those industries, financing for political campaigns would dry up. WASF. (We are so ------).
Size Matters Department
Speaking of wars and such, the headline that "Georgia says "very close" to war with Russia" is worrisome in two ways. First, that Russia seems to still hold to the idea that it in some ways 'owns' former Soviet era satellite nations, and second that people in Georgia haven't figured out who's going to win if they really do go to war - size matters in this regard.
Not Terror Threats
Two men from Europe were not spies sizing up the Vashon ferry from Seattle on some kind of terror planning mission. All that perfectly good worrying up in the Northwest seems to have been wasted. Wonder if there are critters on different planes that eat worry/fear/and near panic issued by humans? My, would they be well-fed, huh?
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Coping: Our Seedy Future
All kinds of neat comments on our seeds from the grocery store piece on Monday.
I have some coffee beans that I'm going to put in the fridge and see if I can get them to 'hatch out' although Texas is not exactly a coffee center for Arabica. Have to think Robusta (not to be confused with Robusta cigars) would do better... that and some tea bushes...
Canned Organic Gardening
I've been promising you that some folks I know are about to launch a 'complete garden in a can" and it's now up at http://everlastingseeds.com/ What you get for $159 is 73 different heirloom seed varieties in a sealed can with a minimum of 60 per variety - which the company says is the best dollar value for heirloom seeds anywhere.
Better: When you order, if you put "Peoplenomics" or "UrbanSurvival" and they will put in 200 organic wheat seeds as well.
Disclosure: They sent me a can and yet, I am going to plant it, and I may buy a can down the road to go in order to have a year or two of seeds at all times. And yes, I am such a believer in the use of organic/heritage seeds that they are going to appear in the left menu column...
Goating with Cattle Panels
A lot of people apparently have chosen stock panels over goat wire:
I still haven't gotten around to calling suppliers yet, but that's on my list. Then there's the bag full of emails about how bad an idea it is to use tie wraps to put up panels:
Responsible Pet Ownership
Daughter Denise says if you haven't see this video, and you have not taken care to have your pets spayed or neutered, ya'll ought to have a look... Not for the faint of heart, or just before meals, however.
Send snip and save items to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Monday May 5, 2008
Troubles in Tech Land
If you look at where Yahoo stood at the close Friday, you'll find 28.67. In the Monday preopen, it was running about $22, which would mean a decline of more than 20%. That's not the end of the world, but on the other, it's not going to pay for an early retirement for investors, either. Again, looking at preopen numbers, Microsoft is up about 4 1/2% which I take to mean that the market thinks Ballmer did the right thing.
The New March to War
The headline is a little scary: "Secret Bush "Finding" Widens War on Iran". But that's not as bothersome in this excellent Andrew ("One Point Safe") Cockburn report as word that democorps are going along with it. Isn't there anyone in Washington who remembers who sent them there, or have the whole lot just been auctioned off to the 'defense' industry when we weren't looking?
Or, as one reader wonders: "Isn't this doing just exactly/precisely what we're accusing Iran of doing in Iraq?" Shhh... you want to be branded 'unpatriotic'?
Meantime, "Iran vows not to halt its nuclear program despite pressure" which means it's not a question of if there is going to be a U.S./Israel strike on Iran so much as when the strike will come. Iran also says "No talks until U.S. stops Iraq attacks..."
Can Israeli prime minister Olmert survive the latest corruption investigation? Side bets on whether a harder line successor is being groomed in the wings somewhere?
As long as we're worried about that part of the world, am I the only one who notices that things have been almost too quiet around Pakistan for a while? Oh, sure, there are headlines like "Musharraf Seeks a Deal" with the opposition party, but it seems like we're in a 'calm before the storm' (late summer).
If you check out the US wind situation, the US Annual Tornado Trends chart continues to run well ahead of both the 10-year averages and most recent years...
South American Tensions
Missiles on Parade
The "Victory Day Parade" in Moscow saw lots of heavy-duty missile firepower marched through the streets. "Oh that? Not sabre rattling at all..." says Vladimir Putin, who steps down on Wednesday as his hand-picked puppet...I mean successor - takes over.
Things to Cinco 'Bout
"Five arrested in double shooting near Cinco de Mayo celebration" in Minnesota. But elsewhere, things are going smoothly. Big doings in Detroit, San Francisco, and even Oklahoma City.
The "official" tequila of UrbanSurvival.com is El Don (see the web site). And yes, I have been doing a little work with these folks - so if you know anyone in the liquor distribution business, please have them get hold of me (send email to email@example.com) - looking to expand distribution of the brand.
Since it is Cinco de Mayo morning, a short lesson in hangovers and tequila is in order. One of the reasons that I like El Don is that it is an ultra low methanol tequila. Some tequilas have a higher methanol level than others and methanol (the wood fiber kind of alcohol) contributes to the morning after not feeling so good.
El Don's factory tour page explains their process for extracting the juice from the Agave plant which is not the traditional way - and the result is almost no fiber which drops the methanol content waaaay down. Neat, huh?
"Rise of the Rest"
Newsweek has a fairly provocative article in the new editions: Talks about the "Post American World."
With gold and silver bouncing up this morning, I wonder how much is due to problems with South African production, and how much is emerging economic players aren't so interested in paper as things like gold and oil... Did I mention oil is up today?
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Coping: A Rose By Any Other Name....
A reader wonders:
We don't have to worry about Baron "Mission Accomplished" Munchausen and the Gang that Doesn't Think Straight too much until we hear the terms "Fatherland" or "Motherland". By then, UrbanSurvival will be written on recycled paper in some kind of re-education camp.
Cheap Seeds for All!
Hey - here's a great idea!
Fencing and Beyond
When you get more than one farmer together in a conversation, the topic of fencing comes up right after the weather most days. An example:
This is an especially timely article because next weekend, Elaine and I are having another 'fencing party' because our goat herd is about munched through the 5 acres that are already fenced. That leave only...er....25 acres of fencing to go.
Now, about the cost of cattle panels: Around here they are going for (last time I looked) about $14 a panel...and by now they're no doubt up to a dollar a foot. The cost of posts is a push, because either system ends up having a post every 8 -feet.
If I shop the specials around here, I can pick up a 330' roll of fencing for $175 (that was last year, no doubt more this year). So, what I will be doing this week is hitting the phone and making calls to the local supply outfits.
About the only major problem I can see with cattle panels is they might be attractive to thieves.
Later this week - after I do some phone calls, I will let you know what I come up with for pricing. We've used cattle panels for temporary fencing in the past and it really is great stuff. One concern we had with using it on a pasture for the dwarf goats a while back was that the young kids would get through it. Which they do. However, they always come back to Mama for milk, so they don't wander far.
Even with our fancy new fencing unwinder thingie and my fencing stretcher, cattle panels would be a breeze in comparison...
Send snip and save ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org - anything from fences to ham radio, to storing foods - you know, the 'rest of life stuff' that's important but n ot making headlines kind of stuff...
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Around The Ranch: George Gets a New Porch
I thought I was in heaven - Elaine agreeing to a new Porsche. Nope, not my luck. She was talking about a new porch and so this weekend, Mr. Speedy whipped up a new porch over the deck on the north end of the house. That's me, humming the old Drifters song "Up on the Roof" while applying roofing screws like a madman...this being a two day project.
The National Weather Service has come through with a promise of three days of showers (that are underway in earnest now) to test Mr. Ure's construction, but how hard can putting up a porch be? The cats aren't sure what to think about it, but Elaine and I are happy with it. Even if there's an 's' and and 'e' missing. OK, gutters missing too, then....
Before the chart, a little background:
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for 'truth' in economics, that the powers That Be, the talking heads on the teeve, and the other information sources that actively engage in the programming of humans not to think, had conveniently swept several trillions of dollars that disappeared in the Internet Bubble's bursting (since spring 2000) under the rug. Surely, it wasn't unnoticed by the thousands of people who called brokers and said "Where is my money?" "Gone, but hang in there as you're a long term investor!" was about all they heard back.
But, the truth of the matter is that this chart shows what your account would look like if you have taken a few thousand dollars and invested equal amounts in the Dow, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ Composite in the waning days of 1999. It's not a very pretty picture, and it sort of gives away the other side of the story. You know, the one that no one has an interest in telling, because it's a truth which shows the amazing coincidence of the timing of 9/11, the disappearance of naked shorting evidence and all, along with the impact of The Wars which have managed to keep the economy out of an earlier depression than the one expected by me by late 2008.
No, it's not a perfect replay of 1929, but history doesn't repeat exactly, it only rhymes. So think of this as the rhymes and the crimes chart:
Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
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