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September 5, 2009 07:55 AM CDT
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The Not-So-Grim Bankers
Yeah, sure, the FDIC closed down (reorganized in shotgun
marriage form) five more banks this week, but it could
have been worse since the largest one was only 15-branches.
Because of the holiday weekend, the openings will be on Tuesday
instead of the usual 'back to normal on Monday' which
accompanies such actions. The latest batch includes:
If you're keeping track of how many branches have been
involved since IndyMac went down last year, the count is 3,654.
Here in my office in whatever spare time I can muster, I keep
looking for the definitive work that clarifies whether the 3,000
banks closed down in the opening 2½
years of the previous Depression were counted on an
institutional basis or on a branch basis; so far no
success finding that little detail.
Economists, however, continue to
fall into two camps: The realists (with folks like yours
truly), who have already figured that the cost of bank bailing
on a constant-dollar, per capita basis has exceeded the impacts
of the previous Depression.
However, the Apologist School of
Economics argues (somewhat validly I'll admit) that my
$200-billion cost is being slowly paid back, so the comparison
is unfair, and what's more, they point out that the banks which
are failing aren't really failing, they're just,
oh, you know, remarrying - that kind of thinking.
This latter school of economists
also argue that we should all relax while government
"spends us rich.". Count me as skeptical, but I missed the
whole house-flipping bonanza, too, and here I am - stuck without
a mortgage. Aw, gee, shucks.
the teen age and recent graduate employment levels suck with the
teen rate being over 25% now. Got a pet theory on
this: How many homeowners like me are deathly afraid to
hire kids to do chores like mow the lawn because of the fear
that the kid will get hurt and sue the living daylights out of
the homeowner? Ambulance chasers abound, especially when
times are tight.
The Weak in Markets
That another 236,000 Americans lost
their jobs in the latest reporting month didn't seem to bother
stock market, which if measured by
the Dow lost
only 102.93 this week.
What so many of my friends spent
Friday trying to figure out is where does it go from here?
Robin Landry thinks there's
still a chance we could rally to a 50% retracement level
measured from the 14,000+ high of 2007 down to the March of
this year lows, but after that it's (in a nice breakfasty
word here) - toast.
A couple of other traders I
know agree, but they have more aggressive wave counts that
suggest that the Dow action on Friday was little more than
normal pre-holiday euphoria and next week will meandering
downward and accelerate.
If you look at
a one month chart of the Dow Transports, which
Theory means something, you can see the rally case being
traced out. The transports are back, but for how long is
Me? I bought a couple of options that I call 'lottery
tickets' - far out of the money put options on the S&P for the
November expiration. And my out of the money I mean under
700 on the S&P before these would make a dime.
Although they have only a slim chance of paying off, if the
market begins its third Elliott wave down in earnest, we could
blow through 9,100 and 8,099 support on the Dow so fast it'd
make your head spin. So I bought some financial equivalent
of lotto tickets just in case. Only play money, not
grocery money on this.
Investing is not like poker where there's some modicum of skill
involved. When a person's fool enough to be long this kind
of market, they need to recognize that they're not up against
other (irrational) humans so much as they're up against the
trading/ high frequency trading microprocessors. "Are
you [still] feeling lucky, Punk?" Told Peoplenomics
readers last week that this'd be the week to exit. My call
YTD is up over 20% - not too many 'advisors' are doing that
good, which is why I avoid making specific investment advice.
Call Indiana Jones!
A massive ancient wall has been uncovered in Jerusalem says a
CNN report. Which means wall building has been going
on in that part of the world for a very, very long time, eh?
The US is eyeing charging visitors from EU land a $10 visitor
tax. EU seems likely to respond.
Around the Ranch
A very short report this morning - but there will be a report
Monday - also short, however. Off to work on Peoplenomics
where this weekend I explain how to set up your own Free to Air
satellite TV and of course, the more in depth economic coverage.
See you Sunday if you're a subscriber, Monday if you're not, or
sometime next week if you've got a serious substance abuse
problem. Way the market's been since '07, I understand
all three possibilities....
Send comments to
The UrbanSurvival Mall:
Short Term Values,
First up is a short look at 'immediacy values" from
the predictive linguistic work which could impact personal and
business expectations between now and when the next "Shape of Things
To Come report is issued around September 15th. The good news
is that while some things look better, other prospects have grow
more ominous. Then we'll consider some of the recent
developments in the market and whether it's time to get back to
bearish since I became bullish in late March
#395: "Me Bullish? Where to Play the 401(k) Game).
More For Subscribers
My commodity broker JB Slear and I
have written a simple book to get you started on high density
hydroponics. It's an example of how someone with a little
creativity, access to a few 'dollar stores' and willing to try
out some new farming techniques can grow an amazing amount of
produce sin a very small space - like even an apartment balcony
(if it gets some sunlight). Sound interesting? It's
just $10 bucks here...
No, when you tell your browser to 'empty your cookies' of web
sites you've visited, it probably won't get them all. Why?
Because there is a whole class of 'browser-independent' cookies
that will gobble up space on your hard drive, but more important
is they will sneak out information about you without you
being aware of it. Ever week I get emails like
"Thanks again for the Maxa Tools recommendation, I never
knew how much additional garbage gets attached every time I
Test drive it free by downloading it. To upgrade to full
functionality will be $35 bucks. Is your privacy worth it?
Once you try it out, click the
upgrade button (!) on the upper right hand side for the $35
unlock to get it to remove even those nasty and highly intrusive
'non-browser specific' cookies. Bonus: You computer
may run faster. I've taken
37,970 cookies off my machine now.
It's just amazing.
Attn: Mac Drivers: MCM
does support the Safari Browser, but that does not mean it is
compatible with Mac OS. Maxa-Tools only support the Windows
world....so far. Given Jens and the other engineers
to be a thorn in the side of the Old World Order? Simply
and send a link to this site to everyone on your distro list...Nothing
more dangerous than sharp, clear-thinking upstarts who ask a lot
of questions, eh? Unless you believe WTC-7 fell over on
its own, of course....
"Live on $10,000" Updated
I've told you in the past
to order my ebook "How to Live on $10,000 a year or less..."
with the rationale that "We're all going to live it shortly, anyway."
Don't know as you have looked lately, but the unemployment rate
is up more than 3% since I wrote the first edition of that book
and underpasses have never been more homely. Worth
www.liveontenthousand.com or, click
this little whizzie...
It's an automatic
download. It's written in an information dense style: The whole
thing runs about 65 pages, but it gives you a vision of how to
not only live on the cheap, but also how
to migrate up the economic foodchain if you have a little hustle
Click here for the
index and details.
week's report is here. For
back issues of this site, click here. (Goes back to
Friday September 4, 2009
Unemployment Hits 9.7%
We start with the 'official' announcement of the unemployment
rate before I do the monthly rip-up of these Pollyanna numbers:
payroll employment continued to decline in August
(-216,000), and the unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent,
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Although job losses continued in many of the major industry
sectors in August, the declines have moderated in recent
Household Survey Data
In August, the number of
unemployed persons increased by 466,000 to 14.9 million, and
the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to
The rate had been little changed in June and July, after in-
creasing 0.4 or 0.5 percentage point in each month from
December 2008 through May. Since the recession began in
December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by
7.4 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 4.8
percentage points. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups,
the unemployment rates for adult men (10.1 percent), whites
(8.9 percent), and Hispanics (13.0 percent) rose in August.
The jobless rates for adult women (7.6 percent), teenagers
(25.5 percent), and blacks (15.1 percent) were little
changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was
7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2,
The civilian labor force
participation rate remained at 65.5 percent in August. The
employment-population ratio, at 59.2 percent, edged down
over the month and has declined by 3.5 percentage points
since the re- cession began in December 2007. (See table
In August, the number of persons
working part time for economic reasons was little changed at
9.1 million. These individuals indicated that they were
working part time because their hours had been cut back or
because they were unable to find a full-time job. The number
of such workers rose sharply in the fall and winter but has
been little changed since March. (See table A-5.)
About 2.3 million persons were
marginally attached to the labor force in August, reflecting
an increase of 630,000 from a year earlier. (The data are
not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the
labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had
looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were
not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for
work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Now here's the grim of this Grimm statistical fairytale.
1. See Table A. The civilian labor force reportedly
shrank 422,000 in the most recent month.
2. See Table A. Number of people not
in the workforce increased by 637-thousand.
you're confused when payrolls fell by only 216,000 for the
month, don't feel like the Lone Ranger.
Table U-6. The number of people who are unemployed,
plus all marginally attached workers, PhD's flipping burgers and
so forth was 16.8% this month, up from 16.3% last month.
4. See CES
Birth/Death Model Adjustments: This is the
'statistically made up because we think so" department.
Hmmm, lemme see here: 15,000 new jobs in
construction...sure, whatever... 26,000 in professional
services, and 24,000 leisure and hospitality. Uh huh.
In all, 673,000 new jobs have been 'estimated into existence'
since January and if you
back out January, it's more than a million jobs that have been
'estimated into existence' so far this year.
No fair reaching for a swig of Jack Daniels - too early for
that. It's only a 26-year high for unemployment.
to pledge stimulus until economic recovery certain" sure
doesn't sound very comforting, does it? Let's all go
borrow ourselves into prosperity, shall we? Robert Mugabe
in Zimbabwe is the leading early adopter...
All the bummers aside, the
market seems poised to drift up a bit at the open, but I
wouldn't bank on an up close today. Too much risk exposure
over a three day weekend and besides, who knows how many 'dead
banks walking' will be unveiled by the FDIC this
afternoon? Speaking of which...
The NY Post's headline this morning "NO
PITY FOR CITI: US watchdog blasts bank's lack of bailout Exit
Plan" is certainly worth a read. Especially if you've
been hearing the rumors going about the street lately.
Don't forget to click here
the complete failed bank list and come on by tomorrow morning
when I roll out the latest totals and maybe a chart (depends how
much coffee I have in the morning).
The headlines are popping up all over the place: "School
speech backlash builds" and "Obama
speech to students draws conservative ire" is more and more
looking like a right-wing scam to keep America from asking
harder questions like "Why not audit the Fed" and "What the hell
are we doing in Afghanistan...doesn't anyone understand mission
What I'm much more focused on, however, is the odd harmonic off
9/11/2001 that is shaping up for early next week. A couple
of astrologer types tell me that an eight year Venus cycle
will complete and that seems to mean something to occultists.
When I add up the completion of an 8-year cycle, predictive
linguistics that hint at small explosions and terrorism possible
September 7-9, and a presidential education photo
op, I can't help but remember the pictures of how GW was reading
to kids at an education photo op at the time of 9/11.
Something just doesn't feel right about this.
I have absolutely no idea why that would be meaningful to anyone
occultists or otherwise, but the harmonic is there and next week
brings 9/9/09 - which is close enough to 666 upside down to get
me to wondering.
"China's national flag to go up in White House on September 20th"
reports China Daily.
Looser Cuba Relations
Out from the Treasury Department on Thursday: "The
U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets
Control (OFAC) today issued a final rule amending the Cuban
Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515 (CACR), to
implement the President's initiative of April 13, 2009, to reach
out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely
determine their country's future, promote greater contact
between separated family members in the United States and Cuba,
and increase the flow of remittances and information to the
Cuban people. "
The link has the details of what's allowed/changed. I know
some people in Miami who have relatives in Cuba that they would
like to visit that will be quite happy with this...
North Korea's announcement that it's in what's headlined as the
stages of uranium enrichment' has me convinced we don't have
to worry about peace breaking out globally any time soon.
However a genuinely skeptical person would probably ask an
important question here: "Why the hell would they say
anything about it?"
I mean check this out: If I were going to build an atomic
bomb for possible future use, would I go blabbing out it?
That's almost like getting spray paint out and pointing a big
targeting circle and a sign "Bomb Here".
Something about this doesn't make sense. Take Israel:
They've built about 300 nuclear weapons at their Dimona facility.
Do they ever talk about how many they have? No. Best
So I ask myself "Why all the hype around North Korea? What
is the purpose of their fear-mongering? Or, is
North Korea really run by the PowersThatBe as a 'fear tool' on
demand? The headlines sure seem to support such a notion.
I see the Washington Post is calling for
Charles (Ooops forgot to report that) Rangel to step
aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Anyone want to sign my petition for an amendment which would
make it illegal for anyone to come back from Washington with
more net worth than they had when they went to Washington
(except for an inflation adjustment per BLS figures, of course)?
To the Flu Camps!
A number of people have suggested that I've been a little too
dismal about the prospects for people who won't roll up their
sleeves for the under tested 'swine/novel' flu vaccine
(refuseniks) who seem destined to be shoved into government run
flu camps. But, in case you have missed it, here's
the sample of Iowa's plans to round up people per guidance from
CDC. A snip from Iowa's plan:
About the best you can hope for is that your 'home setting' will
be good enough to allow for self quarantine, but let me ask you
a serious question: If government didn't have some 'camp
plans' why would there be orders like this on official
government web sites?
Deserves a little thought and a whole lot of planning, as I see
Oh...you can of course appeal such an order, but only
Attachment B, I noticed, was blank.
Up east of Seattle in Fall City, Washington,
the first internet addiction center has opened its
doors. A residential treatment program, this is aimed
at curing people who become so addicted to computing that the
rest of their life goes to hell in a hand basket.
In covering the story, the Associated Press lists
11-signs of internet addiction which you can read by clicking
reSTART has a
very nice website and one of the items on there is a report
of an NPR story headlined "Doctor:
Internet Addiction should be termed a Disease."
The internet has been a danger ever since the old BBS systems
started up and people began to dribble their lives down 300-baud
landline hookups. While the net has its place (news,
comment, and commerce) the arrival of reSTART gets me to
wondering how long before government will start requiring
mandatory warning labels on web sites, like they do now for
cigarettes and booze?
Speaking of the 'net, a friend of mine asked me the other day
"What was the ____pump joke your son had on his MySpace page the
other day all about? I hadn't seen it - since I don't read
my kid's writings on the web, but I did ask my son about it.
"What was that all about?" "Just a joke between me and a
couple of my friends..."
I then proceeded to lecture G II on the dangers of social
networking sites. The key point I made went something like
"George, you have got to realize that there is a huge danger
to these social networking sites because every H.R. manager
in the world can get an up-close and personal look at you
and your thinking any time they want by just opening your
MySpace or FaceBook page. If you had half a brain
(which is about right, I figure), you'd realize that you
should PUT NOTHING ON THE NET that you wouldn't say in a
COURT OR JOB INTERVIEW. That goes for FaceBook,
MySpace, Twits and Tweets - all of it!"
Judging by his subdued reaction, he hadn't thought about it -
and I doubt most people have. But think back on all the
things you've put on those kind of pages - even if in jet like
this (male body part pump joke, for example) and ask yourself
"If I were an HR manager in a hiring position, would this kind
of post be a tipoff as to the real personality of this
Going further, You even need to be somewhat circumspect in how
you deal with requests from people who want to connect via
LinkedIn and other such professional networking tools.
As I explained to my son, "If you are a health care
professional, wouldn't you want your connections/contacts to me
mostly docs, PA's, nurses, and fellow EMT's and the focus to be
on delivery of medical services?"
I don't accept every LinkedIn request I get simply because most
of my connections are either C-level types (e.g. CEO, COO, CFO,
CTO, CMO, yada yada) because thats what I do when I'm not
commenting on life and high crimes in finance. Not that I
don't want to chat with other people, it's just I have to manage
my time judiciously and expect you'd do the same.
The boy hadn't really thought about that...but when I explained
how the internet can be used as a job candidate screener, he
really 'got it' - but for everyone who does, there are hundreds
This all boils down to a simple rule of Life: You become
like the people you hang around with. If you hang around
with C-level people, you'll probably act a lot like a C-level
type. If you hang around with docs, your path in life will
tend that way. But, if - hypothetically - you had pictures
from that wild drunken party on your FaceBook or MySpace pages
they might be good for a laugh among friends.
But C-level types, HR-types, and people like me look at such
pages as pretty good indicators of whether yours a serious
minded human or something else. If you don't land that
$100K gig, have you looked at your web presence like an outsider
Friday's Texas Humor
This one was passed on by a Lone Star State reader:
The Thoughtful Texan Farmer
A bus load of politicians were
driving down a Texas country road # R 44 when all of a
sudden, the bus ran off the road and crashed into a tree in
an old farmer’s field. The old farmer, after seeing what had
happened, went over to investigate. He then proceeded to dig
a hole to bury the politicians.
A few days later the local
sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus, and asked the old
farmer where all the politicians had gone.
The old farmer said he had
The sheriff asked the old
farmer, ‘Were they all dead?’
The old farmer replied, ‘Well,
some of them said they weren’t, but you know how they lie.’
Around the Ranch:
Busy Fall Arrives
Things are getting just plain busy around the ranch here
lately. The remodel of the house continues on its
elephantine pace with the wall mural about 7/8th's done, the new
ceiling treatments in, and even the new carpet ready for install
next week in a couple of rooms. That will leave some minor
finishing carpentry for me to handle. But, in the midst of
all this, Elaine has decided to hang up her flying aspirations
until we get a little less on the plate. There's still a
bathroom remodel to go, a new garage/carport to get built, at
least 3,500 feet of goat fencing, not to mention the on-going
maintenance issues of keeping the goat from going walk-about.
Panama is only visiting till about of the end of the month, but
we've got company for Thanksgiving, company for Christmas, and
tons of work to do between now and then to get ready
The old saying "If you know a man with no problems, buy him a
goat" is still true. Our prize buck Dick Chinney (after
his longish beard and occasionally war-like posturing and being
full of it) has been bellering at the neighbor's prize buck
across the road (Red Cedar) who's been chasing after a female in
heat...and Dick Chinney's been getting just enough of the
occasional whim of whatever passes in goatland for feminine
mystique that he's gotten out a few times and has to be lured
back into captivity.
Speaking of which, the trailer for
who Stare at Goats" - new George Clooney film is out
on YouTube and looks like fun. November 6th.
Although I've got a fair bit of work to do, I'm not exactly
overworked, so I'll at least get current again in flying
(finish my biennial flight review and do a couple of
cross-countries) and such. Maybe go up to Oklahoma and
have lunch with Robin Landry - you know, that kind of thing.
Fall through spring is when most of the work gets done around
these parts. Summer with many 100+ degree days is not
conducive to pounding fence posts and such, but in the fall with
just the right attitude adjustment, such chores can be imagined
to be part of an exercise program, such as the kind city-folk
paid $100 a month to get at a gym.
I've never understood the fascination with gym memberships and
exercise like that. There are so many things to do around
here (or any household) that a person could sweat for weeks on
end and still not have everything done. Yet in
spite of that, just yesterday I noticed both Elaine and her
visiting brother Panama were working out with the free weights.
I bit my tongue, not wanting to suggest that we have plenty of
exercise machines available besides the free weights.
Maybe I'm just too practical.
Figure what I'd do is try printing up a couple of fancy
membership cards for "George's Rural Gym" and give them each a
copy. Charge 'em $50 a month each and list all the free
weigh exercise machines we have around here. You know:
Fence pounder, hammers for expanding the goat shed, shovels for
digging the hole for the ham radio tower base, and the lifting
that goes with picking up deadfall from the trees and
burning it. Then there's the ShovelMaster machine that
needs to be used on the fall garden patch....
Doubt they'd see the humor in it, though. Maybe if I
charged $150 a month and offered free towels and put body wash
dispensers in the showers. Better yet: Set up a portable
mirror along the fence line so they could check form while
putting in posts. Maybe a mirror at the garden,
too...Yeah, that oughta do it.
Then all I'd need to do is spot fence posts....yeah, I like this
a lot! "George's Gym Farm"
Thursday September 3, 2009
Gold in a China Shop
The bullish performance of gold seems like it's signaling
something: Probably a conscious move of the Chinese to
offload some of their gathering pile of US dollars in an attempt
to turn it into something a little more fungible than ink on
paper. Perhaps they've learnt a bit from watching those
hundred trillion dollar notes in Zimbabwe, you think?
It's important to keep an eye on the global currency wars
because as I've explained many times, in the First Depression,
the battles between countries were fought with tariffs as goods
came off the boat. This time around, the wars are being
fought upstream at the currency/exchange rate level. so
the headlines that matter including "Yen
rallies, hits 7-week high vs. dollar, euro" which results in
headlines like "
Gold Increases 2.3% As Greenback Drops."
Elsewhere, we see that
oil is coming back up after visiting under $69 and China's
markets are busy with a dead cat bounce.
With China giving itself an 'out' on derivatives positions
(saying in effect that state owned companies can Welch on them)
seems pretty clear to me that China's made a tactical decision
to turn paper into goods as fast as they can, so dollar down and
gold up, at least to the $1,030-1,040 level seems a safe bet
although it's not investment advice. This is a crooked
casino, after all.
You see where
China is buying $50-billion in IMF notes? Exiting the
Cycle Studies - long a kind of bastard child of academic
economics, but where fortunates are made now and then by
independent thinkers have some interesting tidbits for the
period ahead. In particular,
suggests a study of the 9/.2 update on the Cycle LT site
as being interesting. Especially since it rhymes up
with the linguistic outlook for the period.
Weekly unemployment data just out this morning:
In the week ending Aug. 29, the
advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was
570,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's
revised figure of 574,000. The 4-week moving average was
571,250, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's
revised average of 567,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted
insured unemployment rate was 4.7 percent for the week
ending Aug. 22, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the
prior week's unrevised rate of 4.6 percent.
The advance number for
seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week
ending Aug. 22 was 6,234,000, an increase of 92,000 from the
preceding week's revised level of 6,142,000. The 4-week
moving average was 6,216,750, a decrease of 27,250 from the
preceding week's revised average of 6,244,000.
The fiscal year-to-date average
for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment for all
programs is 5.602 million.
The advance number of actual
initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled
452,271 in the week ending Aug. 29, a decrease of 5,002 from
the previous week. There were 358,730 initial claims in the
comparable week in 2008.
The advance unadjusted insured
unemployment rate was 4.2 percent during the week ending
Aug. 22, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior
week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI
benefits in state programs totaled 5,610,719, a decrease of
71,086 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was
2.3 percent and the volume was 3,097,585.
Extended benefits were available
in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida,
Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio,
Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington,
West Virginia, and Wisconsin during the week ending Aug. 15.
Initial claims for UI benefits
by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,504 in the
week ending Aug. 22, an increase of 127 from the prior week.
There were 2,176 initial claims by newly discharged
veterans, an increase of 122 from the preceding week.
There were 20,150 former Federal
civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending
Aug. 15, an increase of 367 from the previous week. Newly
discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 30,115, a
decrease of 426 from the prior week.
States reported 3,029,668
persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation)
benefits for the week ending Aug. 15, an increase of 85,570
from the prior week. There were 1,550,093 claimants in the
comparable week in 2008. EUC weekly claims include both
first and second tier activity.
The highest insured unemployment
rates in the week ending Aug. 15 were in Puerto Rico (7.3
percent), Oregon (6.0), Pennsylvania (6.0), Nevada (5.7),
Michigan (5.5), Wisconsin (5.4), Connecticut (5.3),
California (5.2), New Jersey (5.2), and North Carolina
The largest increases in initial
claims for the week ending Aug. 22 were in California
(+8,632), Ohio (+2,018), New Hampshire (+1,237), Wisconsin
(+906), and Minnesota (+664), while the largest decreases
were in Michigan (-2,968), Florida (-1,653), Pennsylvania
(-1,288), New Jersey (-1,271), and Alabama (-1,266).
All of which is more than you really care about, but I have a
keen interest in this since the National Bank of Dad (care to
guess who that is?) is till getting calls from the kids.
Denis is interviewing for jobs like mad because she's out of
benefits. G II is in his EMT recert program and Allison is
working in the grocery industry (a fine move since people gotta
eat). So the current Family Unemployment Rates is about
50%, you figures may vary.
National unemployment picture due out tomorrow. Bet you
can hardly wait...hope you're not in the count.
Market looks to tick up a bit at the open. May not
August retail sucked.
NS Sherlock Department
"Study: unemployed feel traumatized by recessions."
Geniuses! By-God frigging Geniuses.
Powerful Memes Department
Memes are thought viruses and we're seeing some really
odd things in the background that are percolating down at the
archetype level. One of particular attention this morning
- because it comes amidst the US debate on whether to accept
swine flu vaccinations is the story out of China that
"Needle stabbings lead to protests."
Just strikes me as some very strange memeering around needles
and injections - seems way out of the range of 'coincidence",
know what I mean? Wonder who's fanning anti-needle
sentiments (globally) and why?
That quake down in Indonesia is bout 70-percent filling the
expected linguistic values, per Cliff.
Now that the death toll is up to 46, about the only thing
missing is the archetype-level imagery of houses falling into
their foundations, but with media coverage using words like
'houses pancaked' in the hardest hit areas, seems like that's
just a matter of time until the pictures make it to the western
Due next the short-term high immediacy values from the lexical
compote is a serving of terrorism (or bespoke fears of terrorism
fears) in the Monday-Wednesday range of next week with
references to explosions; we shall see. No damn fun
knowing the future in advance, even if it's the sketchiest of
outlines. But, such is our station in life.
Obamavision Goes to
Remember how we used to look forward to having slide shows,
films, and more recently videos in school because it was so much
more entertaining than the teacher and the chalkboard?
Wonder if that applies here:
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the
Press Secretary President Obama to Speak Directly to
Students in National Address on Educational Success
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As children across America go back to
school, President Obama will deliver a national address
directly to students on the importance of taking
responsibility for their success in school on Tuesday,
September 8th at 12:00 PM EDT at Wakefield High School in
Arlington. In advance of this address, the Department of
Education is providing resources developed by and for
teachers to help engage students and stimulate discussion
about persisting and succeeding in school. The speech will
be broadcast live on
www.WhiteHouse.gov and C-SPAN. The speech is open
to pre-credentialed media. The deadline to request
credentials is 6:00PM EDT tomorrow, Thursday, September 3rd.
Wait! Who said that? Who just said "Sure makes the
case for home schooling doesn't it?"
Obamavision comes to the dinner table September 9th.
National Health System may be judging and ending lives of
terminally ill patients early according to a health scandal
breaking in the royal's back yard. Say you've been dying
to visit England? (Blame the coffee for my surly
Iran's Woman Minister
Let me see if I've got this right: BBC reports that the
new Iranian cabinet includes a woman who is wanted by Argentina
for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in that country.
Iran makes here what? Health minister?
headlines that Hezbollah is deploying bio and chemical weapons
near the Israeli border. Remember the linguistics
about 'ill winds' when all this ends badly this fall?
The Bongo Beat
Not that the
Omar Bongo as president of Gabon is really that important to
the Amurkin Sheeple, but on morning's like this, anything for a
fun headline. Oh, if only this has been in The Congo or
his running mate was named Conga, I could have had ever so much
more fun with it. But I'm beat this morning.
Way To Go - Molex!
Molex is shutting down a production facility in France and
moving production back to the USA. Cool! Well, cool,
unless you're the French. Molex makes a fine line of auto
electric connectors, so I figure let the French go back to
Like My Inbox
I see Caribbean storm Erika is "disorganized." Time
machine points to the September 13-16 range for a Katrina-like
biggy on the East Coast I gotta ask my sources in West Palm if
there are still blue tarps about from previous year's damage.
Figure we'll see a FEMA go 'round in this.
--- snip and save section ---
With Religious/Philosophical Ponderings
Every so often, I use the term 'Universe' to refer to the great
organizing whatever-It-Is that keeps the world operating as it
does, hangs the planets in place, and defines that Whatever that
Taoism refers to as That which cannot be touched that is
bigger than everything because It is Everything. That prompted a
reader to write:
"The first time I heard about the Universe religion was when
watching a UFO conspiracy show on TV hosted by one of the
people who did the TV show M.A.S.H. calling for a government
admission about aliens. They had a deep throat type character
in shadow talking about the government and alien activity
and when asked about the aliens belief in god the characters
said that the aliens believe in a god but that they believe
that the universe itself is god in that it's a living
thinking entity. I considered this show something cute and
funny to laugh about but in the last two years I have
been seeing this nature worship on steroids concept pop up
all over the place. It's on your website, in car
commercials, in the thoughts of people at work so I have to
ask myself what's going on and what are we being potentially
setup for good, bad or ugly. Is there something to this or
we unwittingly being conditioned to a certain philosophy.
you may want to take a step back and make sure that there is
actual proof to your belief and that your not being strung
along by someone else because whether you believe in a god,
in evolution, in universe or anything else one must try to
seek proof that their belief is real instead of just
assuming that it is because just assuming is the great
mistake that we all tend to make. both creationist and
evolutionist need to put their labcoats on."
I suppose. But, better brains than mine have spent a lot
of time on this subject and as Zen or Taoism studies seem to
indicate, small minds trying to 'know the Unknowable" can be a
huge time sink. So for now, I'm quite content referring to
the Great Nondenominational IT as a sort of master
karma-weigher, rather than a zealous/jealous white bearded dude
who damns those who don't believe this way or that mostly
because of their birthright and circumstance. I mean, who
arranged that, you know what I'm saying?
Best take on the mechanics of how Universe seems to work I've
found so far was in Alan Watt's The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.
In it (and I'll do a terrible job paraphrasing here, so please
forgive me) Watts proposes an idea that goes something
In the beginning there was nothing but God - who is by
definition everything. Now, after some millennia,
that gets to be really boring so God came up with this dandy way
of keeping Himself (Itself?) entertained. He simply
created a Universe, and then divided Himself up into billions
of little pieces and now has what Watts calls the 'great game of
hide & seek' at the center of which is the game of black &
white; good & bad and the whole paradox of yin and yang.
That's the stuff which encompasses all religions and
(thankfully) doesn't require this group be damned, or that group
annihilated. By hiding little part of Himself/Itself
in each of us, the game goes on forever until at last, we all
discover that we're all part of the same Being and we sort of
pull it all together again and we get to marvel in the wholeness
of The Great Game.
While not perfect, Watt's explanation of the mechanics and
difficulties of Being the Supreme does a nice job of assembling
the available pieces as a single design pattern that fits
all the observable data. It provides a framework (for me
anyway) that explains how evil is necessary because
without it there would be no good since such concepts
(like black and white) are based on a scheme of opposition or
The framework allows me (and I'm not pressing my belief
territory on you here) to honor and respect all organized
religions as well as the unorganized sorts; they're all part of
the Great Hide & Seek which is busily passing Eternity by
playing hide & seek.
So whenever something really bad happens in my life, I take it
with as grain of salt and a "Aha! I am getting more
opposite of good & happy right now so that I can appreciate the
good and happy stuff when it comes around again..."
If one accepts that there's a Universal Something that really is
within everything then creations such as satan (the
Great Liar, sa-tan) are really only elements of this game of
hide & seek providing genuine evil which serves a purpose
of putting genuine good into stark relief/ high contrast and to
keep the cosmic level video game incredibly interesting for a
long period of time.
I think it's been said that more wars have been fought (and more
people killed) over religion than any other cause throughout
human history. I can't begin to imagine how boring
watching Ant Colony Earth would be if all the ants did was sit
down over a piece of pie and 'let down the walls' that separate
our hearts from one another.
Fortunately, we are in precisely no danger of peace and
good will breaking out. However the mere fact that
we can pull a few bits and pieces of the future out of
linguistic shifts on the internet must surely doom the whole of
the net to limitations and licensure at some point. Can't
have too much sharing too quickly; a millennium is a lot of time
Polarity is what keeps the game going although in the longest of
views, entropy takes us all back to the central organizing
Principal. But not just yet. Polarized humans are vastly
Now if you'll please open your hymnals to Crash Test Dummies'
"God Shuffled His Feet" on page 2:
The people sat waiting
Out on their blankets in the garden
But God said nothing
someone asked him: "I beg your pardon:
I'm not quite clear about what you just spoke
What that a parable, or a very subtle joke?"
God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at
Speaking of Religious Matters
saw where the UK's Daily Mail headlines:
Give us this day our daily... Catholic church issues prayer for
faithful to say before sex.
Thinking back as a more-or-less normal 60 YO male, I can't
remember all my sex-related prayers but there have been many. In
a kind of chronological order they have included "Hope it's not
going to be a baby...." to "Hope it's a girl" to "Hope it's a
boy" to "Hope I can stay awake" to "I don't see that in
Outlook today..." Middle Age is when the arrival of
a Harbor Freight catalog is more important than Playboy - except
the After Dark section which is a good writing tutorial.
before sex prayers have also included "Do I have ice?" and "I
hope this is the right mood music..."
Apparently they have something else in mind, though.
Wonders if the pre-sex prayer should be said before doing
tax filings - I mean it's just a different kind of...oh, never
Wednesday September 2, 2009
Fundamental Problems At
Before we get into the earthquake in Indonesia - which has
filled some of the expectation set I told you Monday to expect
this week - there's a a tremendous amount going on that could
have a massive impact on your future plans if the markets go as
badly this fall as they could.
Let's start with the fundamental problem: Back in the days
when most of us Boomers were growing up, there wasn't too much
in the way of factory/shop floor automation. So a headline
factory orders seen on the rise" would naturally be met with
celebrations down on Wall Street.
If you think of the rise in the US standard of living, it likely
has described a huge "S" curve overs the past 40-years. We
started from a baseline where only
Amana had the
Radar Range was being built and the original was a 6-foot tallk,
750 pound behemoth.
1975, however, microwave ovens had topped gas ranges. And
here recently, you can buy Asian-made microwaves for under $100,
depending on which 'feature sets' you hold out for.
problem of microwave oven manufacturing is that the processes by
which the 'waves' are kicked out are requiring fewer and fewer
humans to accomplish.
Federal Reserve (which ain't really federal - it's just a
bankers club basically that looks after money in the interest of
its member banks and owners) makes a big deal about American
'productivity' numbers. At some level, however, the
People's Economist will quiet remind you that at its
extremes anymore, you can have 100% productivity and no change
in human employment provided you have a product which can
be manufactured with 100% via an automated production line.
that it's been consumer electronics, either. This has been
going on in the auto industry, in warehousing and distribution
where pick & place has been the rage in semi-automated
distribution centers, such that the amount of labor provided by
humans has been going down while the machines which are
the real backbone of much of modern production, have been
the macro level, once humans could be swept out of much of the
manufacturing process, they tended to congregate in
overhead kinds of positions in companies: C-level guys who
direct the machines, engineers who come up with the 'new product
implementations' and the bevies of bean-counters who think they
know more about how to run a company than the sales and
It's become so extreme that I tell clients (now and then) that a
good management team should really be 'product
independent'. Oh yeah some special 'lingo' for a vertical
market can't be avoided, but the basics - five unique selling
features, the companywide implementation of strong positioning,
commitment to customer service (highly automated) are pretty
transportable from one industry to another. If you have an
ISO-9000+ team making X, you can build an ISO-9000 making Y
Lots of good money being made by Microsoft Gold partners and
Oracle types who tweak companywide ERP systems, optimized for
this vertical or that, but the basics are pretty much universal.
to waste you first half cup of coffee on management philosophy
this morning, but it eventually gets around to the point that as
automation goes up then amount of human labor keeps going
down and as it does, things like an increase in productivity
and factory orders will not - in my estimate - have much impact
on the nation's real unemployment rate which even some
Fed officials admit is nearer 16% when you count discouraged
workers than the Happy talk headline number of 9.4%.
factory order number reflects little more than current
sell-through not some marvelous expansion of product sales.
For the most part, the economy has/is flatlined and though it's
not popular to point this out, at some juncture we will get the
'straw that breaks the camels back". Counting processor
clock ticks has little to do with genuine productivity in the
workplace except insofar as it may speed up a few
engineering calcs, so the growing hordes of machines (more often
than not being sited in Mexico and other tax dodge havens)
aren't taxed and depreciated here where the unemployment is.
Why? Least cost labor, of course! Which is what's
behind the moves offshore and I don't see that reversing anytime
soon until the oil prices make long-haul (think of it as remote
production) less attractive.
That is not likely to happen any time soon because the Obama
administration and the Bushies before them, have been in the go
along to get along mode, neither shaping the country into a new
business model, nor articulating clear direction. Instead,
the business lobbies scream for favors (which they get at the
border with Texas and the southern tier states endorsing new
highways for Mexican based trucking to imperially run on US
roads, while the other loud lobby is the entitlement groups who
want more and more dough yet don't actually make things that can
see the larger view problem, I trust?
it's against this kind of uneven playing field that the US
market has a terrible crossroads at the opening this morning
according to my friend Robin Landry who's got a decent track
record of getting things right for his clients who have
talked after the close on Tuesday and as he sees it:
"If the market opens down on Wednesday morning we have a
problem because this could be the start of a huge
decline. I mean the kind of decline where the market
would first test the 9,100 level of support on the Dow and
if that fails, the next stopping point would be around 8,099
- so you can see a thousand point drop is possible over the
next few days."
"On the other hand, if the market can open up Wednesday,
they we could be doing a Wave 4 rally to 50% or even the
Fibonacci 61.8% retracement off the 6,627 low before we head
Which leaves me
expecting something like a little bounce in the market on the
numbers due out today. Since the formula is something
like "no bounce = financial collapse" today, I figure the flash
traders have been given the word. Just you and I don't get
to see it, that's all. What? You think this is an
even playing field? ROFLMAO.
seriously: I'm still rather glum about the longer-term
outlook, however, since the predictive linguistics report due
around the 15th doesn't paint a pretty picture for people who
still have their 401(k)'s in stocks as the fall comes along in
under three weeks now. May be a horrific fall and those
who don't get really conservative in their accounts now
may find they have worked for a lifetime only to be 'had' by
the boys on Wall Street and their friends in the money business.
was talking with a friend last night and we were kicking around
what would really fix the economy. My answer?
A cap on interest rates. If the Fed rate is under 1%, a
mortgage should not be more than 4-5% above the cost of money.
Nor should consumer debt be marked higher than 8-10% above the
cost of money.
reasoning? Try this one for size: When consumer debt
is ridiculously high ( over 33% on some credit cards - still
and despite pabulum flavored 'reforms') there is so much
profit that the financial products people can sell
products two or three times and there's enough interest
to pay for a couple of layers of salesmen, accountants
and lawyers to make the deals. If we had thinner margins
via interest spread caps, we would shrink the financial products
business since there's be enough money for one layer of profit -
maybe two, but not the kind of pyramiding that got us down this
But, you probably already figured that out for yourself, right?
Leftover problem: What would we do with all those
unemployed financial products salesmen and their ilk? Who
would make the big campaign contributions, commission the mega
mansions and what have you? It's a terrible public policy
question, isn't it. I mean if you're one of American
self-proclaimed ruling class who puts themselves up for auction.
Ooops, I mean election. Really...election.
Repeat after me...election not auction.
And the checks in the mail, yada, yada
Hope That Quake Was "It"
We had an overnight earthquake down in Indonesia that has killed
at least six people so far and done a fair amount of damage.
Not only that, but it set off a tsunami warning for the
Indian Ocean and it's making a bit of a headline splash.
Whether the headlines are enough to fill the language descriptor
firsthand report from Bernard - ex-Houston Bureau Chief is as
"At around 2pm local time, we had a pretty good shaker here.
Local news says 7.3, CNN says 7.4, I say seven point
This was my first big quake. But
my lack of experience didn't prevent me from knowing very
quickly what was happening. It began with a rather unique
vibration in the seat of my pants as I sat on the couch.
Within seconds, there was a noticeable undulation that
intensified for about 30 seconds. Then the building began to
sway rather alarmingly side to side. Objects on the wall
were flapping in and out, and the living room table began to
dance around. I jumped up and made my way with some
difficulty to the doorway of the bedroom and grabbed the
posts to keep from being thrown around myself. Keep in mind
that I live on the 23rd floor, so the motion was exacerbated
by my elevation.
About half way through the
minute and a half of shaking, alarms began to sound and
there was a call over the PA. By this time, I was shaking
more than the ground, never having experienced anything like
this. I was in no mood to move for the time being. As
suddenly as the motion started, it subsided, with a couple
of last good lurches for old time sake. At that point, I
strode to the door, grabbed the keys, locked up and marched
down 23 floors to the parking lot.
The epicenter was about 30 km
west of Jakarta and was felt as much as 130 east of here.
There are reports of a couple of deaths and a few injuries,
mostly from panicked crowds. There is some minor damage to
buildings and houses scattered around the region, but
nothing major. There are scattered power outages and broken
water mains in some places. A tsunami alert was issued, but
no reports of any materializing. There is a danger of
aftershocks with a quake this big, so I will be alert for
the rest of the night, should I need to make a quick escape.
All in all, it was a rather
hair-raising experience, especially given the brevity. It is
akin to an amusement park ride, lasting a very short amount
of time, but making the heart race.
Sampai jumpa, B
don't remember whether I put out the PowerPoint on how the
predictive linguistics project works, but I did a talk about it
a while back up in Tyler for a group that came from as far away
as New Mexico and you can read my notes (as
a .PDF file) here. Several weeks old, but you can get
the idea of how it works.
Yeah - it's difficult to wrap your head about the use of the
internet to peer into the future based on changes in language,
but as this week's earthquake seems to have come in on schedule,
and if the next immediacy values to be filled are a series of
terrorist explosions (Sept. 7-11 timeframe - deliberately no
more detail provided) then the odds of a sudden/unexpected
Katrina type storm around the 13-15th of the month may be
higher. Or, we could be completely wrong. This is
all bleeding edge computing.
Yeah,. I saw that there was a reported 4.5 in Nevada last
night, but I got this odd email from USGS with the subject line:
"2009-09-02 08:13:11 DELETED: (M 4.5) NEVADA 40.7 -116.4"
So officially, seems like no EQ took place. (OK, so what
was it? Not explained...)
Yeah - I still wouldn't be surprised by a super quake this week
in China yet to come - after all, there was that mass UFO
sighting in Shandong province and often UFO's show up before
quakes, or maybe they are some kind of natural phenomena
surrounding quakes (quake lights?)...just no real research into
that area that I've seen.
am I the only one eyeing China. A hip 'gets it' reader has
been doing research and shares this:
Notwithstanding the 7.0 we just
had near Java, I think things are building up for a huge
quake in China
Below is the list of JUST the 5+
quakes there since last Friday only (Note the latitudes):
2009/08/31 22:27:52 37.674 95.899 10.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/31 21:51:38 37.639 95.905 10.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/31 10:15:31 37.697 95.899 10.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/30 17:15:54 37.700 95.676 29.2 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/29 18:43:52 37.633 95.684 10.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/28 16:28:42 37.624 95.707 10.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/28 02:16:07 37.691 95.757 9.2 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/28 02:14:57 37.632 95.683 10.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
2009/08/28 01:52:07 37.713 95.687 13.0 NORTHERN QINGHAI,
In addition, there have been 7
more mag 4+ quakes there since last Friday, also
Looks like they are winding up
for a big one, maybe
Shandong Province is about 900 miles east - and that's where the
UFO sightings were that I mentioned earlier this week.
Next best bet on the Chinese UFO's then? Going to look at
Three Gorges Dam before...before....we'll get back to this in
Loan Sharking Cities?
your calculator warmed up and idling? Here's the morning's
second econ lesson having done an econ and a computer science
Crisis: City takes out $275M Loan" which refers to the
deal Philadelphia has cut with JP Morgan.
While the initial rate the city is paying is 3% interest,
it pops up to 8% December 1st if the city doesn't repay the
What Inquiring Minds want to know is this: What did
the city put up as security and what's JP Morgan's
plan if the city doesn't pay? A bank-owned
city? Just gotta ask these things.
Fall of America
that the predictive linguistics are the only source of
pessimism when it comes to America's future as a Constitutional
republic. A Russian professor says "Collapse
of America could begin within two months." Worse:
The Obama administration is not getting ahead of the problem
says the Russian dude.
After going through a period when it seemed like the president
was on television daily (getting more TV time than Oprah and
Jerry Springer combined, LOL), I thought we were past watching
'president TV' but seems not. Looks like
next week sometime we'll be treated to a major speech on Obama's
healthcare reform plans.
What Planet's She From
SecState Hillary is upset with private contractor guards at the
US embassy in Afghanistan for their purported parties with booze
and hookers seems a little out of touch with reality to me.
No mention of it being while on duty and when off duty, what
does she expect? Boys'll be boyz in the sand box - what's
Transactional Analysis possibility:
Displaced emotions. Just sayin'...
--- snip and save section ---
Whence Comes Super Flu?
Despite all the warnings and the public fear-mongering on the
'pandemic flu' the msot significant flu story I've found so far
suggests that the flu may have morphed more into a government
scare tactic and profit bonanza for Big Pharma than a real
The story that isn't getting play? "H1N1
Pandemic Virus Does Not Mutate Into 'Superbug' in UMd. Lab Study"
OK, so we take that story, two aspirin, and read tomorrow's
The headline about the government using flu-mongering as a power
grab continues with the headline "Cops
jump on swine-flu power: Shots heard 'round the world." over
Sounds plenty scary but then I got an email from a reader in
Massachusetts who has done his homework:
was reading Today's (Monday, August 31st) post and came
across the section "Sick City". As I am a resident of the
state of insanity that is Massachusetts, I did a little
digging into this bill.
The bill is ST2028 and has
passed the state senate, but has not gotten any further.
Although somewhat disturbing, it is not quite as sweeping as
the headline would make out.
The text of the bill can be
Under this act, the Health
Commissioner would have these expanded powers for up to 90
days before having to redeclare the emergency to get another
90 days. The courts can terminate it whenever they want.
Upon termination of the
emergency, all these special powers cease to exist.
It does grant immunity from
prosecution to just about everyone who might be involved in
dealing with a health care emergency.
Some of the powers that would be
granted to the Health Commissioner under an emergency
Require the owner or occupier of
premises to permit entry into and investigation of the
Exercise authority under
sections 95 and 96 of chapter 111
Now, chapter 111 is where the
interesting stuff should be, right?
This bill replaces section 95
with a new one.
It does allow the Health
"to vaccinate or provide
precautionary prophylaxis to individuals as protection
against communicable disease and to prevent the spread of
communicable or possibly communicable disease"
but it goes on to say:
"An individual who is unable or
unwilling to submit to vaccination or treatment shall not be
required to submit to such procedures but may be isolated or
So, you can refuse, and there is
no fine associated with it, but you may be quarantined. You
also can not be forced to have any test or treatment without
them getting a court order first, but again, you may be
isolated or quarantined. How long can they do this?
"quarantine means restricting
the freedom of movement of well individuals or domestic
animals that have been exposed to a communicable disease for
a period of time relating to the usual incubation period of
In the case of the flu, about
"Isolation and quarantine orders
must utilize the least restrictive means necessary to
prevent a serious danger to public health, and may include,
but are not limited to, restricting a person from being
present in certain places including but not limited to
school or work; confinement to private homes; confinement to
other private or public premises; or isolation or quarantine
of an area."
So, confining you to your house
would be in, but rounding you up and putting you in a camp
would be out. If you violate the order, then the $1000 per
day fine can kick in.
So, while I am not particularly
pleased with the powers that would be granted were this to
become law, it also isn't as bad as the headlines would make
Depends how much you trust government, I suppose. My
decision is made - so is Elaine's - and we're not going to be
shot - at least this way.
Software Update - Opera
Got a nice email from Jens over at Maxa-Tools worth passing on:
today Opera released version 10
of their browser. Because of an unexpected change in profile
directory they made, Cookie Manager 3.5 does not
automatically recognize the correct directory, so by default
does not list Opera cookies. Because of this, we updated to
MAXA Cookie Manager 3.5.16.
Users of MCM 3.5 can upgrade by
clicking on "About" and then "Check for update online".
You can update your downloadable
file (Done! - See below- G) It would be great if
you could announce this.
We get nice feedback and ideas
especially from your users.... some quotes:
"After using the product for
a while, I am convinced EVERYONE SHOULD BE USING THIS
PRODUCT! I had no idea the extent to which \"non browser
specific\" cookies were being used. I do like the ability to
deactivate on one computer and reactivate on another. I wish
MS would do that. George Ure - Urbansurvival.com
"It works fine with firefox
,runs on very low resources ,and everything is informative
and just works.I wanted something to replace firefox
cookiesafe addon ,and although this is payware it is much
"Poof, they are gone. George
made me do it! Negative: All the others are so slow, now I
have to find something to do with the extra minutes I have.
General: Wish all life was this easy."
"Your products fill a need.
Govt. and marketing is way too intrusive on individual
privacy. What ever is left of privacy."
"What made me purchase this
product is the extra safety. What I like about it is that my
computer runs faster now."
"Overall it is a very useful
tool. My computer speeded up when I removed the many red
cookies... I highly recommend the program to friends and
"It deletes cookies that my
other cookie crunchers can\'t find."
"george ure of urban serviver
like it so I tryed the free one first and likit it a lot got
reid of over 4000 cookies and the machine is running
faster... think it is a good product, I am 73 and not to
sharp at this machine"
Maxa Cookie Manager has scrubbed 37,642 cookies off my main
machine so far. Hazards of being a power user, huh?
Tuesday September 1, 2009
Although it may seem an unusual place to begin a daily economic
column, there are a couple of things that have come into focus
for me as it relates to pending military events this fall.
The first deals with how the timing may work out on the expected
Israeli attack on Iran, which I had earlier pegged around
October 25th based on my read of the predictive linguistic work
www.halfpasthuman.com. As we have gotten close to the
event, it looks now like there will be some kind of a
prequel event around October 25th, but then we should go
through a week or two of massively building tensions before the
actual attack, maybe even as late as late November to early
December. The next "Shape of Things To Come" is set for
release September 15th and you can do your own read of things.
First week of November oughta to feature busy headlines, though,
with economic messes and then the lead-in tension --- perhaps
we'll see things like big name political figures flying around
trying to personally intercede -that kind of thing.
With this in mind, we can now see the headlines shaping up to
support these projected events. For example, the well-connected
Israeli news operation DebkaFile is reporting that the "US
Trebles MOP "bunker buster" bombs order, wants more and
We can also see that Iran is not sounding quite so belligerent
as the BBC headlines that "Iran
'has new nuclear proposal." Trying to stop the clock,.
This comes after the past few days where the officialdom in Iran
has been debating the makeup of the new Iranian cabinet which
has been on ME news channels. Are they worried that the
West isn't kidding? Could be.
Same kind of 'lightening up' going on with North Korea, too as
the NY Times announces that "N.
Korea Reopens Border with South."
Bomb orders increased and in the background Iran and N.K. act a
little more conciliatory. Makes sense, I suppose.
As long as the market stays over Dow 9,100, there's still a
chance that we could get one more pop upward before the fall of
fall, but it isn't looking too bright this morning as
the US futures are down before the open. Housing and
manufacturing data is due out about 10 AM if you want to chase
numbers. Rotsa ruck.
European markets down already today since the
EU is at the highest unemployment levels in a decade.
Station fire in L.A. county is over 100,000 acres now with
no sign of containment yet.
Cold Winter Ahead
Oh-oh. Sun's still extremely quiet and that seems
to tie in to a "Chilly
start to autumn 2009" stories that are popping up.
SpaceWeather.com is reporting
just a single sunspot today (#1025) after 51-spotless days.
Gets me to wondering if there's any predictive value to the kind
of winter clothes people are buying? You know...a
bipedal woolly worm kind of thing.
Million dollar promotion: Weather Channel follows its own
forecasters shopping! No? Not a million dollar idea,
OK, Shoot 'em In the
Suppose for a minute that someone breaks into your house in the
middle of the night and you reach into your night stand and whip
out your handy Ruger P-85. As you take the safety off, you
yell "Who goes?" and there's a sound from the living room.
Going out into the other room, and taking your trigger finger
out of indexed and your racing heart reminds you this is scary
and you're in a 'him or me' situation. Although the
attacker's back is to you, he begins to turn and you catch the
glint of steel in his hand. Knife or gun? You're not
sure....but he looks like he is turning....
Do you shot?
The answer to this question may have changed a bit in Florida
where a "court
OKs force against retreating attackers."
Comical M&A Department
Nothing funny about
$4-billion: Disney is buying Marvel Entertainment. I
won't say anything snipe or they might send Spidey over to rough
me up, LOL. Where'd I put my Kryptonite?
Skype is going private after being part of eBay.
Guesses run in the $2-billion range.
Sony is selling off a TV manufacturing plant in Mexico to a
Say, this reminds me - forget which of the foreign channels was
reporting it, but word is that the last television picture tube
has been produced! Boy, talk about change: Nothing but LCD
displays being made any more. Really amazing when I think
about it. That old Trinitron might have collector value
Headline of the Day
I like the N Y Post's headline style. Writing about the
ex-Société Générale trader who supposedly went rogue, the Post
TOAST: Kerviel Trail is Set".
in Poland mark start of WWII" today while in Russia it's the
fifth anniversary of the Beslan school massacre that killed 331
This week is also the
40th anniversary of the Carpenter's recording debut.
Gee, how time flies when you're working for a living, huh?
--- snip and save section ---
With George's Chart
Reader asked an eminently reasonable question which I should
answer - since she's probably not the only one to wonder
am looking at your chart of the week "2nd Depression
Tracker", and I can't make any sense of it. The 2000-2009
red line looks fine, but the 1929-1939 blue line appears to
start at over 11000 and end at 4300. These are far from
historic values. If you extrapolated the data, then why not
mention it? Also I am very fuzzy on the conclusion that I am
supposed to draw. If you have time please explain.
The chart she refers to is the one at the
bottom of this page, here. (scroll down a tad)
Point #1: Yes, both lines start at the 1/20/2000 Dow level
from January of 2000. The reason that the 1929 Dow looks
the same is that the 1929 Dow has been multiplied by
31.15419986 to 'normalize' the data. So each of the
historical values for the 1929-1940 period is multiplied by this
figure so that we can see how the two traces compare.
This is a really dandy way to 'norm'; data so you can do an
apples-to-apples comparison of performance. Not only that,
but since the purchasing power of the dollar has been watered
down so much since 1929, it actually makes sense to diddle with
the numbers to so extent.
My personal preference is to divide the 1929 Dow (376.29 on
9/3/29) into the 2000 Dow (11,722.98 in 2000) to get the
'correction' which is then uniformly applied.
I keep thinking everyone can hear what I'm thinking, so I don't
very often remind people of this.
The important thing is that the general shape of the
curves is similar. If you want to really see how
close they are, you could align the data for both
inflation adjustments and then 'norm' it. Problem is, if
you do this, the curves get way closer together since there was
rapid deflation in the 1930's event, which increased the
purchasing power of those dollars that were available.
On the other hand, in the present replay of 1929, the dollar
values have (more or less) constantly eroded.
I've haven't done the inflation correction/constant dollar
'norming' version of this chart, simply because no one has
asked, but I've put it on my 'to-do' list for this weekend's
Peoplenomics report. Yeah, it'll be interesting, but
more'n likely quite damning since the track will be even
I resisted the urge to put a 'tail' on the data, but in some of
my charts I will repeat the last value several times so that the
vertical height my be more easily ascertained relative to the Y
The "Art of the Chart" is an area of data presentation is one
worthy of a little bit of study. For example, one can
either make or break apparent performance by choosing the
scaling of charts. Logarithmic scale charts can turn
curves into what see like straight lines, for example, and while
that may be to some people's tastes, it certainly isn't to mine
- which is why I tend toward linear charting.
Same thing with trend lines: I like to put lots of them in
place since they can be useful in trying to get a sense of what
underlying dynamic the numbers may be obeying. A linear
trend my look most pleasing, or an X period moving
average, or an exponential curve, or a polynomial.
I apologize for not making this a little more clear in the past
and promise to add a little note (1929 data normed to 1/10/2000
Not sure you'll want to see how close they come when they're all
adjusted to constant dollars. Then it gets really ugly and
you might not like the picture. Remember the Jack
Nicholson line from "A Few Good Men", non?
The more things change, the more they stay the same, LOL.
The Well-Regulated Life
Thinking about holding a garage sale? Well, just make sure
you're not reselling recalled toys, or Uncle could take up after
you. Or, as the Kansas City Star headlines it: "Seller,
beware: Feds cracking down on secondhand sales of some products."
That the US has a huge demographic bubble of Boomers (including
me) just amazes me; With all the lead paint and dangerous
toys around from when us oldsters were kids, it's amazing that
any of us survived at all! Although maybe the lead paint
levels back then have something to do with our political choices
nowadays... Yeah, that's it: Maybe we really are
Around the Ranch:
With the return of Panama Bates from another round of Central
American adventures (including the being swept out to sea only
to be 'spit up' on the shore by a rogue wave while returning
froim a hike in the mountains north of Panama City some
80-miles, or so) we had a nice dinner out up in Tyler last
night. There, Panama was able to have his first steak in a
Turns out, after some discussion, that when you eat out in some
of the not-so civilized places in Central America that there are
certain health risks that we very much take for granted here in
the US. "If you eat out very much, it's only a matter of
time until you get intestinal parasites," he explained.
"People have different ideas about health. For example,
it's common not to wash lettuce or other vegetables. "
Oh-oh. Forgot about that part of travel.
Last time I was traipsing around way off the beat path, it was
1984 in Peru...time blurs the details while the highlights of
such adventures remain fairly crisp.
Nevertheless, on the way back to the ranch from Tyler, we were
pulled over by a local police car in Coffee City for doing 70 in
a 55. Honest mistake on my part, since I was pretty sure
that the speed limit was 65 there...hmmm.
But even though there was no ticket ("I'm going to let you off
with a warning. Ya'll keep it down..."), since the officer was
going the other direction and turned around to come after me
instead of the gray Silverado that had been between us and the
cop car on the Lake Palestine bridge on Highway 155, I was
reminded that as much fun as my red car is to drive, it's a cop
Why would a police officer go after a nondescript pick-up
when there was a much shinier guards red, whale tail, driving
lights on target which looked like it was going fast?
After thinking a bit on the topic I've tentatively concluded
that I may put an ad on eBay offering the red car as partial
trade on an airplane. It might be fun to have both
the red car and a small plane (both get around the same mileage)
but not much sense having a 150+ MPH capable car when it's never
going to be legally driven at more than half that.
On the other hand, even a used Geo Metro would get
us to the airport and from there, t'ain't no speed limits
upstairs except 200 knots in certain kinds of airspace.
Only thing that worries me is that this kind of thinking may be
an indication of getting old. Can't have that. Maybe
I'm just trying to decide whether I'd like to be listening for
outer marker or a radar detector...just no telling.
Speaking of automobiling - Russian TV has a special 26-minute
piece about the "Motor Rally to the North Pole. Seems in
April for the first time "two
Russian-made YEMELYA experimental vehicles traveled over 1,100
kilometers across the drift ice of the Arctic and reached the
North Pole." That'd be off-roading even by E. Texas
Can't get the Russia Today channel? Ooops. Limited
inputs, limited outputs. What can I say?
OK, this is absolute proof that you can find
anything on the internet. Happened to touch base with
a ham radio friend this morning and he mentioned that one of his
next projects was to build a 'shepherd's sling". "A
what Jeff?" I asked.
Turns out there is a whole web
site about the ancient art of 'slinging' that dates to long
before the David and Goliath showdown.
OK...another goodie to add to my repertoire of skills I suppose.
But, as crazy as lawmakers are (and they are experts at slinging
you-know-what) I think I'll hold off on this one. I figure
it'll only be a matter of time, though, till we're all gonna be
required to register rocks.
Monday August 31, 2009
Dow Theory Train Wreck
Go look at this chart: here - which compares the
Transports to the Dow and then read the article which
suggests China's going to tell counterparties in derivatives to
take a hike if the trade doesn't suit 'em.
But the best line of the day is from a Dr. Marc (Dr. Doom) Faber
interview I missed last week:
"moderator: “last time you were on you said to buy a farm
and a gun”
you need a machine gun.”
there anything that could possibly derail your incredibly
faber: “Ahhh, no.”
many ways can you spell t-o-a-s-t?
Only What's Actionable
If I had a crystal ball, I'd be tempted to cover the damn thing
up because the next several weeks are looking downright crappy.
So much is drifting around in the predictive linguistics
that Cliff at
www.halfpasthuman.com is planning to put out a "Shape of
Things To Come" report around the 15th. But, beyond that,
after swearing off 'short term immediacy values' there are three
that I outlined for Peoplenomics subscribers on Sunday that you
may as well put them on your refrigerator door so you can play
along at home.
The three high immediacy values indicate the increased chance of
a major earthquake this week (Sep 2-5, more likely 3-4) which
will be large enough (>6.8 to 8.0+) that a couple of weeks
after the quake we'll still be watching imagery of buildings
falling into their foundations. Might want to bookmark the
USGS global seismograph page here. Oh,
and the global quake list here. Along about Thursday
or Friday is when the data seems to peak.
Quake could be Turkey/Pakistan/Asia/China because of the time
delay in the pictures, or around latitude 34 north but
that data's very broad, so anything south of the SF area
latitude-wise seems possible. And may not be North lat.
See the problem?
Then about a week later (shading toward September 7-11 there's
an increased risk of 'terrorism' events (explosions, no further
detail or clarity yet) and then around September 13-15 a
'sudden/surprising' hurricane coming ashore in the Southeast
Actionable? Maybe not. Let me explain: The
problem with all of this is that these are statistical
probabilities based on shifts in language and may or may not
actually happen. Secondly, they are not specifically
actionable except insofar as people in SoCal and around New
Madrid may wish to have earthquake kits topped off with fresh
water. That comes up on my list this week, even though
we're nowhere near a quake-zone. At least yet.
Same thing with terrorism risks elevating around September
7-11th: Not enough clarity to be actionable and may not
even be in the US, since only the terra entity has been
processed so far, so it could be a few days before we find out
if that shows in the PopUSA data when that portion of the model
Then there's the 'sudden/surprising' hurricane around Sept 13-15
in the SE USA. Again, about all you can do is buy a couple
of blue tarps and have the generator ready; this one threatens
to cause some degree of Diaspora and we should be treated to
visuals of FEMA's response in KatRita kind of fashion by say the
20th or so.
Beyond these three immediacy value pops it looks like the "Shape
of Things to Come" report will be out around September 15th, and
by then many of these short term values/aberrations in the data
will be passed and they're not really the point of the work,
My advise to anyone is to focus on those things which are
personally actionable and blow off most of the rest of the news.
Toward that end, next week's Peoplenomics report is a kind
of step-by-step report (workbook? Don't know how wordy I
will get...) which explains how to set up your own cross between
a radio or TV assignment editor-level information platform at
home and personal recording studio. Hope it won't go ebook
length, but that sometimes happens when it's a subject that I
really enjoy. Not that the budget for such a
creation (About $1,000) could be better spent on other things,
but it's at least a primer on how to get access to non-corporate
media and get some sense of how the rest of the world is
You are what you think - and getting control of your own
electronic sheep leash is at least a first step on the road to
Having laid all that out, the markets really fade into
insignificance, since fall market declines are nothing new and
we're almost at fall now. In the linguistic work, fall in
America may be described any number of ways: The classic
version would be through September 20/21 which it 'officially'
arrives, but in contemporary language it's from Memorial Day to
Labor Day which means next weekend we'll be edging out of it.
Where things have come more clearly into focus is what happens
to the longer term values from September 15th out through next
year and there are been some degradation in the outlook there,
especially as it relates to basics like food and governmental
organization and response to (nominally) free humans; just be
patient and the report will be along. Meantime...
Fires Over Glendale
The "Summer of Hell" has been a bit lighter (so far) than some
of my personal expectations, although we've had plenty of
'revolutionary' imagery & revolutionspeak to contend with;
everything from demonstrators practicing open-carry of fire arms
at political demonstrations, to the hot language around the town
hall meetings attempted by congresspersons and now
the major fires out in California which are threatening the big
communication towers up on Mount Wilson.
Don't know if you have ever had the chance to take the 'windy
roads' up northeast from Glendale, but it's a pretty area, or at
least it used to be. A
Google map of the area is here. The reason the Mount
Wilson fire is important is that there are something like
22 television stations and 25 radio outlets with facilities up
on that hill, although there aren't that many towers.
A lot of them are shared facilities with big backup generators
and cooperative tower leasing.
Two firefighters dead so far.
New Broom Sweeps Japan
The first time in what, 30-odd years, Japan has a new party in
power. Gone are the (not really) Liberal Democratic Party
and in come the Democrats. All of which would be a total
yawner except for the fact that the
Dems want to impose a ban on temporary workers on the factory
floors of the country which has the business lobbyists are
twisted up in their knickers.
Monday's action on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was muted with
the N225 down
4/10th's of one percent. Japan's economy has about
been flatlined since 1996.
Like the US problems catching up to us now, Japan has
problems that no one has simple answers for because all possible
solutions will cause socioeconomic pain. The problem can
be summarized as"
Government has made too many social commitments
Government hasn't really 'saved' money to meet these
When a recession (second depression) kicks in, guess what?
Not enough dough!
which leads to all kinds of teeth-gnashing and snarling among
the politicos who rather than getting candid in in-your-face
about the tough choices spend most of their time maneuvering for
maximum personal gain/profit/wallet padding.
China was down almost 7 percent last night - way I figure it
is that some of China's hot money will be called home to cover,
so I'd expect the US market to be down today. Just a
Shanghai chart and numbers here. A couple of
in Chinese steels and transports when you drill down into
it. Bummer for China's economy.
The headline that H1N1 has infected about 10% of New York in its
rounds this spring leaves me wondering "If
this stuff is so damn dangerous, where are all the dead NY'ers?"
Such reasonable questions aside (and yes, I understand it can
mutate) I'm still aghast and appalled that flu hysteria is on
the verge of turning
the Republik of Massachusetts into a "Constitution-free Zone" by
contemplating roundups and $1,000 a day fines for those who
won't roll up their sleeves.
I won't go for the obvious jackboot and needles since the net's
full of that.
President of Columbia has the swine flu.
Like It Wasn't Obvious
Faced with North Sea declines, mounting debt load on the Pound,
newspapers in the UK are getting around to my view that the "Lockerbie
bomber was set free for oil." Not being judgmental on
this, mind you; depends how attached you are to driving and
reliable power in the UK, does it not?
That said, Al Jazeera is reporting this morning that the
Lockerbie bomb is in the hospital.
The British government is considering new rules which would
allow UK ISP's to cut off internet file-sharing users. As
you'd expect, there are
folks who are really ticked at the proposal because it will
likely add to internet costs. But, the government's
business secretary Peter Mandelson insists it's a workable
News watching tip: If a media outlet refers to the UK
biz-sec as 'Lord Mandelson' you can get an important insight
into the old (top down/royalty model) paradigm being supported
down at the unquestioned/subliminal level.
"Lord" is royal labeling scheme and we don't do that around here
as my personal clarity on the subtleties of paradigm reinforcing
mechanisms improves. Sorry for being so dense.
I noticed that Russian television today is marking their pull
out from Afghanistan 15-years ago. Meantime, "U.S.
fears clock ticking on Afghanistan." Can someone
explain to me why we're there besides the economic stimulus for
the war machinery outfits, the poppy fields and pipeline routes?
Russian TV is also reporting about the growing number of
political prisoners in Georgia - evidence they say that
democracy is dying there. Still looks like a Moscow vs.
the West flashpoint to me.
New Kind of Eye Surgery
One more from our scan of Russian headlines? Sure, how's
this one: "Cutting-edge
laser surgery - with no cuts" is coming along.
I've been wondering if former veep Dick Cheney might have gotten
a 'get out of jail" card from his former boss George Bush before
leaving office. At least that's one question which crosses
my mind upon reading how "Cheney
may snub detainee probe."
Linguistic note: If you or I did that it would be contempt.
That Cheney might do it being called just a 'snub' is curious,
--- snip and save section ---
High Tech Monday
All kinds of things to ponder in the high tech headlines today.
One of them is all the buzz about the new version of Apple's
operating system (Snow Leopard) that started shipping on Friday.
Accompanied by stories like "Snow
Leopard reveals new spots", and beset with
a few bugs when it comes to HP printers, Snow Leopard seems
to be heading Apple in the
direction of a multicore future.
None too soon, it would seem: AMD has come out with a
new six-core chip called an Opteron which features
ultra-low power consumption.
All of which has gotten me to postpone buying anything new for
my main computer for a while. When I start to pencil out
the cost of any upgrade versus the actual performance,
I can get more done by throwing another 1 TB external drive onto
the USB port than going through the grief and agony of a
complete software platform roll. Besides, my typing speed
is relatively fixed, anyway. don't see anything in Windows
7 or Snow Leopard that says it can improve my typing accuracy.
Twits or Tweets
Ah...here's another one of those data points which supports my
1,000 channels of digital wastelands theory. "Fox
lives up re-runs with Twitter commentaries."
With all the places to see in the world, all the things to
learn, all the cool and really personal stuff people can think
of in their highest creative moments, is this what humans come
to? OMG we are sooooo screwed as a species.
You saw where
India has lost contact with a satellite which it had orbiting
the moon? My theory is the aliens with their bases on
the backside of the moon shot it down or somehow zapped it.
It couldn't possibly has been a power supply level
component failure, now, could it? Naw...let's blame the
aliens for this one, too.
Chinese UFO Siting
Still, there have been enough crop circles this year - and now a
huge UFO sighting in China to at least keep the possibilities of
something other than humans being about open. For example,
I trust you're aware of the
sighting case where literally thousands of people in a 300
kilometer range reported a mass sighting in Shandong province?
Of course, to my simple mind,
having UFO's sighted in this wide an area being written off as
'paper lanterns' being released in a park just seems a
little...oh, you know...improbable.
Here's the real deal: Far as I know, China hasn't been as
aggressive about shooting down UFO's as the West has been, so
why wouldn't any other-worlders go there? Besides, they
own the US, right? No wonder the Western press will
marginalize such reports, LOL
Outlandish stuff? Of course! But, what the heck,
it's Monday and this is a 4½ day
work week anyway. (Nobody's gonna do squat on Friday
afternoon ahead of a three-dayer, right?) So go ahead,
pour another cup and go read the "Global UFO Event to
Occur in 2010?" story and ask yourself this: "Why is that
story there, why is there this UFO stuff in the linguistics out
in 2011, and why does the
US Navy have a Space Command and what are they doing?"
As long as youi know the grays are
essentially hydraulic and all you need to do is severe one of
their internal hoses to disable them (which is why a good
tinfoiler will never go anywhere without a knife) it doesn't
really matter does it?
Why, drop by tomorrow and we'll get
into the latest Michael Jackson sightings. My theory is he
and Elvis have been working on comebacks.
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for
'truth' in economics, that the PowersThatBe, 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.
So one of our
charts for Peoplenomics subscribers oughta be widely circulated - it
shows that if you line up the peak of the Dow in January 2000 with
the peak in early September of 1929, we're on a very very close
replay track. Much closer than even the chart shows if you
were to back out inflation, and put in the effects of 1929
deflation, but that'd be real work, and I'm sort of lazy if the
truth be told.