A One Man Economic Daily Newspaper about the Second Depression in near real-time...
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March 5, 2011 07:55 AM CST
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The "QOJ" Question
The stock market went off to bull heaven, yesterday: Up 191 Dow points and some fine gains by the other indices, as well.
In fact, there was so much joy and jubilation in the air that I couldn't resist sitting in cash any longer and got back onto the short side of things, buying within a nickel of session lows into one of the "triple bear" ETF's where I'm likely to hang out over the weekend.
"Why?" you might be asking. Fair enough.
For one, I think the jobs report this morning may be a tad-bit overdone. True, I told you how the Challenger (Gray & Christmas) jobs report this week was an upside surprise - and that certain paved the way for the improvement in the unemployment rate which came out this morning (keep your shirt on, we're almost there), but there's this ugly little problem which I call "QOJ" - Quality Of Jobs" and it's something people don't think too much about because it'll make your head hurt.
But just a couple of things to ruminate on:
I could go on - by reminding you that normally when productivity goes up and unit labor costs go down, it isn't because workers are getting a bigger piece of the pie. Nope, they're getting screwed more through being replaced by automation and jobjacks. Hello? Anyone home?
Now that my BP is up to a respectable 129/75, let me wheel out the 800-pound gorilla...the jobs report. (This assumes you don't know that the Consumer Debt report due out next Monday is really what matters to the banksters and the PTB... Drum roll, please? (scratchy sound effects insert goes here)
Lemme see: Civilian non-institutional population went up 147,000 while the number in the workforce only went up an (alleged) 60,000? Number of people not in the labor force went up 87,000? You bet! Maybe they all won lotteries?
Down in the fine print, we read that the Labor Dept. is phasing in reporting of unemployment longer than 2-years, but since the longer out of work are likely out of the system we get:
This ought to be great fun watching, huh? I mean as your friends who have been out of work much longer than 2-years may get added back in. Call this candor in slow-motion. But, for now, this oughta to prove what we've said before about people falling into the statistical black hole when they hit 2-years.
Now let's talk "QOJ" which is where we started going a few days back.
First, a little time with the CES Birth Death Model. These are the "statistically made up" jobs which are assumed to have been created but, like many migrant workers, aren't too well documented.
Between April and December of 2010, these "estimated created jobs" contributed 537,000 jobs. Which would have been fine, until the annual confessional came around in January, when the CES Birth Death Model shed 339,000 jobs. So net, since April, going into this morning's report, the CES/BD was responsible for only 198,000 jobs being created.
As I explained in my analysis of last month's report, one reason the Unemployment report was do good last month (9%) was that a lot of the would-be workforce was simply disappeared. A guess that their UI benefits had run out so they were assumed not to be actively looking would be a 'natchull' conclusion.
In this morning's report the CES-BD estimated that 112,000 jobs were created in February. Might be, too. Just wonder how many were inventory counters and all those other low-paying seasonal gigs...
And then we get to the Table U-6 report called Alternative Measures of Labor Under Utilization. Says the "Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force" went from 16.1% in January to 15.9% in February. More lotto winners, maybe?
Which leaves the market up - breathlessly waiting for more euphoria to be injected into the nation's statistical bloodstream, while I'm loading the boat for more downside action which I expect sooner than later. Maybe even starting before today's out...the headlines are pushing hard to rally more.
Mr. Bear bought in yesterday.
Pass the Kool-Aid
Bloomberg is reporting that former Fedster, Bubblemeister, and paper-peddler Alan Greenspan "...Says Government 'Activism' Hampering US Recovery..."
Why, I too and against those damnably high literacy rates. Seems to me that Greenspan's hinting that participation in democracy is downright dangerous.
Which of course, everyone knows is it...especially since it gets in the way of throwing money and votes around in Washington on pork & schemes...
Now, take your tranks and doggie downers like a good little puppy, Citizen, and don't question the drooling paradigm....and above all, trUSt US.
It's Oil Over, of Course
While the carriers Vinson and Enterprise along with the 'gator Kearsarge are making plans for what to do about Libya, Fearless Leader says all options are on the table.
But with oil nearing $103 earlier today, and the UK's Telegraph reporting on how "Libya's tribes will decide Gaddafi's fate", when the second lead on Google was how "American Idol's top 13 finalists have been selected" and JLo is showing off here abs, I know it's oil, but over for the Empire.
Triple A says the national average for gasoline is $3.471 for regular which is up from last year's $2.706, a 28.2% increase, you might want to write that down and see how much less than that will be reported in the Feb. CPI numbers due out at mid-month.
"Zeus! Take a note to Greenspan: Send that last note along with this: That's not activism, that's numeric literacy at work. CC the Bernank, too..."
Quick! Another Literacy Problem!
Kinda hard to print up another couple of million ounces of gold, isn't it? I mean if you don't have tungsten bars, lol.
I noticed in the WaPo this morning that "Obama office, attorneys general closer to possible deal with banks in foreclosure mess" which means, if I follow the gist of things, that the Obamanistas will get something less than the $20-billion in fines which the Comptroller of the Currency (which ostensibly regulates banks, in this case, pleading poor on their behalf) figured might bust some.
In case you're keeping score, the AG's which went to Washington talking about putting bankers in jail seem to have been neutered, which means the banksters will likely get their way, more or less, and contract law which used to be somewhat uniform will be rewritten (and possibly applied retroactively) and the little guy which get - applause, please - BOHICA'ed again.
Still, while the AG's are off singing Obamanista-orchestrated soprano roles in Washington, nice to see there's still a bit of testosterone left in North Carolina where a county is thinking about suing MERS for recording fees.
What the hell ever happened to "show me the wet signature" on the original documents? Another relic for the land fill of history, along with black & white TV's and buggy-whips, I suppose.
Along the way, guess we will soon be able to scrap a good part of those contract law classes we took in school...since they won't mean anything if you've got a big enough lobbying corps and "the ear" of the PTB, huh?
Angry Earth Chronicles
Rogue wave struck a passenger ferry in New Zealand a couple of days ago. Forgot to mention it, but more of that "rogue wave" stuff which I don't recall being much of a topic when I was living on my sailboat for a decade. Never heard of such things back then. Newish phenom?
No, not really - just a lot more humans on water in the last couple of centuries and such things even occur on the Great Lakes and that may have been what took down the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975...
Speaking of angry/earthy things, a couple ofx readers are asking "Could that recent earthquake activity in Arkansas be a new volcano trying to be born?"
Hmmm...don't know. Check back with me in 100,000 years.....
And about that unusual weather that so inconvenienced my friend Howard Hill who was beset with ice dams on the roof, etc...we see that FEMA has declared that the snowstorm(s) were indeed a disaster. Wonder if he might be damage assistance for roof-work removing snow and ice? Likely not...which shows to go you that if you want aid (or in this case a new roof) don't shovel off the snow or break those ice dams....
Madness on Bordering
A couple of readers wondered what happened to the CBS story about how an ATF agent was told to allow large gun sales to go into Mexico. Well, that CBS report is here, not the link readers were sending...
Speaking of Double Speak
Speaking of Double Speak...did'ja did'ja see see (sorry sorry...or nearly so) the fine AP story on how both the republicants and the democants are misleading everyone possible on their budgeteering? Quick! Fake shock and surprise!
Where's the American Whig Party when we need it most? Hand me a Wikipedia, please...
Oh...you mean like the corporate kind which has merged into government kind which is ruled by the uber rich of the globalist kind?
Thus we demonstrate conclusively that Washington has indeed, flipped its collective whig.
(more after this)
Coping: Texans Talk Succession
When the wife & I moved here in 2003, one of the interesting bits of history to learn about from our Houston Bureau chief, Bernard Grover, was the history of the Republic of Texas movement.
I'll let Wikipedia's entry pick it up from there...
As often happens in such things, the Republic of Texas movement split into three pieces and that was that...divide and conquer, Texas stays pacified.
That is until here recently when along comes the newly (reformulated?) Texas Nationalist Movement which is pressing ahead with plans for a vote on Texas independence.
The group is planning a march tomorrow (Saturday) at the south steps of the state capitol (Austin, if you are a forgetful northerner) at 1 PM.
This is - if you've forgotten most important dates in history - the 175th anniversary of William Barret Travis drawing history's most famous "line in the sand" at the Alamo, where he later paid freedom's highest price. (Which, if you're a forgetful northerner, you can read up on here.)
What will be interesting to watch in coming weeks (and months) is how the PowersThatBe will react to this incarnation of independence-minded Texas.
To be sure, there are some who will obviously think there's a little more method than madness in letting ATF run lots of guns into Mexico, but that might give those in power a lot more credit for forward thinking than is deserved. Or, is that why the Mexico border is still porous...so Mexico can win again, like at the Alamo?
True, a claim for $7-trillion to be paid to Texas landowners (the original settlement with the US, corrected for inflation, which no one can seem to remember ever getting handed over...) is not on the table directly, but demanding accountability or "we're outta here' is just as dangerous. Maybe even more so, since we have more oil down here than Libya.
While I won't be going to the rally, I will be watching for reports with interest, since Texas is the only state which can fly its flag on equal footing with Old Glory.
The "deal point" to watch is whether the system really be changed from within, anymore.
That's a question -- which goes beyond Texas' borders and as government reports continue not to "square" with what's before our own 'lying eyes'-- is one where the futures of the republics - both of them - may again hang in the balance.
And there seems a fair number of Texians who may be thinking along those lines, once again.
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Looking at the Future Using Charts
Several readers have asked me "How do you make your stock, commodity, and long-term financial decisions, anyway?" Damn fine question. Usually, I look at charts and because we seem to be at a major turning point for markets, metals, and darn near everything else out there, I though I'd grab a few obvious charts and show you my little "back of the envelope" method works - when I don't get into denial about using it. Although it's not foolproof (otherwise, what would I be doing with it, huh?) it is fun and it seems to help me make some "decisive decisions."
If your computer runs slowly, you may have a problem with cookies. These little code snippets are how some websites (and spyware) recognize you, track your movement on the web and so forth. Here lately, as new class of super cookies has been evolved by the admen (and worse) that are resistant to normal cookie deletions through your browser's interface. Flash cookies, persistent cookies, and super cookies...all easily managed with the Maxa Research Cookie Manager.
Take it for a test drive by clicking here - and it you like it, activation is easily done. If you're a heavy web user (who ain't?) you may find like I do that you've accumulating a hundred or more cookies per day. Only a handful need to be white-listed, like your brokerage account or your bank. The rest? Software designed to spy on you that robs you of computer performance. Been using it for several years and pleased as the Dickens with it.
The "Do Drop Inn"
Amazing gardens in about 2 square feet of floor space: www.mygroponics.com
Post your weird dreams to help our research along:
"Live on $10,000" A Year
Having a hard time making ends meet? (Like who isn't, right?) A good starting point to better match up income with outgo is our $10 e-book "How to Live on $10,000 a Year...or less!"
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 left. A bonus section called "How to Build Anything" should instill confidence if you've never taken on a home improvement/home creation project before, too..... Click here for the index and details.
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Thursday March 3, 2011
Rally On: Productivity & Jobs Show Up
I pulled out of my short position in markets when the decline crossed one of my trend lines that was explained in last week's Peoplenomics report. So, for now, I sit on the sideline in cash, waiting for another good entry point.
Talking to Robin Landry yesterday, his take on it was that yesterday's trade may have been an irregular flat, in which case these things have a way of ending in an explosive move; my guess might be a rally to the 12,160 area, but as Landry pointed out, if it gets much higher than 12,175, or thereabouts, then we could go to new highs. So I'll just sit out today's bounce, although 12,160 is where it will start getting interesting for the bears to again make an entry.
None of this is financial advice...just how I'm positioned which changes more frequently than most folks change underwear.
Yesterday's jobs report - and then the price of oil falling a tad overnight even if only briefly - is commonly believed by the unwashed masses to have something to do with the market direction, but as Landry points out, usually the market is set up to move in a particular direction anyway, particularly if you know how to use all the indicators in a system like (now eSignal's) Advanced GET, which Robin contributed some of the logic rules to years ago when it was developed on the MS-DOS platform. (It's about $4-thousand for a new Win user and about $500/year for connectivity/scanning, so not your "cheapie solution" by any stretch.
"The impulsive moves are easy to spot," explained Landry. "Where most people get into trouble is there are 13 common formations for corrective moves and that's where most people don't know how these rules get applied in which order and under which conditions..."
That's why the market is still interesting after 37-years for trading for Robin, or 40-years of off and on (mostly off) trading for me. Still, it's why I pick the easy ones and call it good, most times, since my interest is recreational: Like going to Vegas everyone morning on my monitors and no one smoking at the machine next to me. No floor shows or free drinks, but no gropes to get here, so everything's a balancing act....
It was enough to start one of those periodic beat-downs in gold, which was down more than $16 and silver is quickly losing its momentary grip on the $35 range. (charts above have the latest) Peace is rotten for metals.
War and inflation is good - something the metal holders are a bit shy of admitting since this puts them in the Big Government and Death Industries camp, but logical consistencies are not even in the running in current economic thought.
Another leg under the rally seems to be the contents of the Fed's "Beige Book" which if you have 51-pages worth of time to kill makes an interesting read.
We have to wait until next Monday afternoon for the real-deal on the economy: That's when the Fed will release the Consumer Debt report and if the economy is 'getting legs' back under it, we should see a decent-sized increase in consumer debt.
A couple of numbers to munch with the Wheaties (or oatmeal, in my case): First is the weekly unemployment filings report, which I had expected to be flat-to-down:
Then there's the new productivity numbers:
Most business types get worked up into a lather about productivity for the wrong reasons. When you think about it, most increases in labor productivity are really from the development of labor-saving tools. Computers, software, more automated processes.
True, this is something to celebrate since they don't take days off, get colds, hangovers, or whatevers, BUT they are also job eliminators which matters.
And what else points down this financial dark alley? Unit labor costs going down. Why? More machinery.
Not to sound like my great, great, great grandfather (Andrew Ure) has suddenly switched sides and is now over in Marx's camp, BUT the wet dream of a businessman is all profit, no expense and no workers. Which is why the internet got its bubble, right?
Problem is - and I will say this again - no doubt in my mind that some of the improvement in productivity and labor unit cost reductions can be traced back to off-shoring/jobjacking, and that's the silent invasion from Asia that has been underway for what? 15 years! And no one but me sees to be worried about it.
All of which seems to be present only to provide, an excuse to rally further, since the Middle East is going on and on...like a slowly simmering soup, with some oil (or is that grease?) floating around on top of it.
What's ahead for oil, though, is hugely important to the market. And one of our especially alert readers sent in a link to a Japanese web site that announced "Inauguration of Joint Project between Japan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Starting Storage of Crude Oil from Saudi Arabia in Okinawa."
A couple of things might be going on: First there have been recent reports that "China steel data portends slowdown?" and there have been rumbles transpacific shipping would be extended from the Lunar New year. So, the Japan Saudi deal might just be buying some buffering.
Naturally, we wonder about prices paid when we see a big tank farm put into use on Okinawa. Saudi's hedging their bets to cover contracts in the event of internal troubles this spring? Maybe.
The current wave of GlobalRev has the International Energy Administration looking at tapping reserves to make up for any losses out of Libya, and the US SecEnergy says no worries about needing to tap the US strategic reserve for now.
This is all the kind of stuff that turns into bull-food in the market.
Challenge to the Dollar
China is about to stop using other currencies to settle their interenational dealings by the end of the year, says a Reuters report, another version of which you can find in the People's Daily online here.
Big Earthquakes Still Trending Up
"Tony the Earthquake Dude" has checked in with the latest quake trend data going back to 1973:
And the smaller long-term look at 6.0 and above?
Worth mentioning for several reasons:
And! Speaking of which, in a paper being publics today in Nature today "explains" the recent variances from normal 11-year solar activity:
All of which is interesting indeed, if you read Clif's Expando Planet discussion about 2012 earlier this week.
Or, the major quake later this month will be blamed on the Super Moon coming on March 19th so sayeth AccuWeather's Astronomy blog.
Me? I think it has something to do with mass consciousness and "promotional consideration": since my friend SurvivorWoman has a piece on earthquake emergency planning this morning.
Universe must have approved the promotional tie-in, providing a 4.0 quake off Vancouver Island. SurvivorWoman & hubby are at Roche Harbor in the San Juans up that way.
China's Auto Lotto
Speaking of China, Elaine & I were watching Chinese FTA satellite coverage (in English) yesterday of the recently conducted Beijing auto lottery. The way this works is pretty simple: The country recognizes it is a traffic nightmare, so only 17,600 auto licenses were issued for new vehicles.
Perfectly, or is that inscrutably, logical, is it not? But, can you see how the auto lobby in the US would go nuts if a city decided to do a lottery to hold down the number of cars? Of course, zone parking rules have a similar sort of impact, I suppose,. but it's not as direct a threat to the auto industry, I suppose.
Message behind a recent stabbing/beheading is don't see from the Mexican drug cartels, say authorities out in the (still wild, wild) West.
The Barack and Mexico's prez will be meeting to talk about cross-border tensions this week. Wonder if they'll be able to talk the problem to death? Both seem to be relatively well-qualified in that regard...
Where's our fence?
No doubt, questions like "How come Gitmo is still running?" and "Where's the change?" are other reasons Fearless Leader is press-shy...
I've been busy drafting up positioning statements for the 2012 presidential candidates and my favorite (take-it-either-way) one so far is...
What Price News?
The NY Post has a story on the NY Times plan to put up a "pay wall" to make money of its content.
Not only does this prompt me to write a story about the Post writing about the Times writing about whatever...but it also brings up the question of "What's News Worth?"
Frankly, unless it has a punchline, not much, as I figure it. Still, a huge chunk of the public goes to the news sources for pretty much the same reason people go to stock car races - which is not as you undoubtedly know, to see who can turn left best.
News is either so we can reassure ourselves that there are people less honest than even what we've considered in our idle moments, that there are people dumber than us (Washington coverage does that brilliantly) and that there are still people richer than us who owe us a free lunch every so often.
Sadly, I've got to hold to the punchline approach, since except for the odd John Crudele column, or the good headlines in the Post, the Big Apple suffers as much "lack of humor" as any place on Earth. Made even worst by a runaway "correctness gene" which Gotham-dwellers take quite seriously.
I don't think I've answered "What Price News" very well, but I've got a fine start here on a career in political speech-writing...one of the few occupations I'd place lower even than being an economist.
Coping: Morris (the Cat) Will Save Us
No, it is not April Fool's Day, even applying "imperial days" to the calendar, since we are the land of empire and all.
But a reader (or three) pointed out that in this morning's UK Mail online editions there is a story about how Russian air traffic controllers had what is painted as a "close encounter" with a speech component.
Which would be fine if in Russian (or English) and it was a request for strawberry ice cream, or something. But no, this was communication in a "cat-like language" and that's given us all something to think about.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Zeus the Cat immediately became unbearable, sitting in his "editor's chair" doing what cats do most of the time - sleep.
Still, this got me to thinking more deeply about the psychology of cats, especially when compared with dogs and this note from reader GB back in early February now seems to prescient:
All of which would be ridiculously funny, except that now that we have a report of "cat-like language' out of Russian ATC, maybe this "hostage mentality" of cats is more real than we otherwise might have thought.
Maybe instead of stocking up on MRE's & sprouting gear, we ought to be stocking up on Whiskas....
Reach: Personal Behaviors Department
Although I will occasionally make a reference to booze or beer in a kind of "Dean Martin" way, the fact of the matter is I have two glasses of red wine before/with dinner.
The dangers of too much of anything should be apparent to most adults, including the odd one that wanders by here.
Still, we note that alcoholism is a worldwide problem and the World Health Organization (WHO?) and the International Business Times has a wrap up with some interesting stats about the number of litres of pure alcohol equivalent consumed on a per capita basis.
I won't ruin the story for you, except to say that the upper mid range is consumption of 15+ liters per year - which would be like putting away 15-bottles of Everclear per year for each and everyone. Fair chunk of hooch, that.
But what's more interesting is the correlation between poverty and booze abuse that's implied. Seems much of Eastern Europe is getting regularly wasted and governments while talking a good story haven't been too effective at solving the problems which lead to alcoholism. I mean in addition to genetic predispositions.
A good bit has been written about how government control works and I've often wondered if the Eastern European model is such a case.
What's ironic is that Karl Marx once opined that "religion is the opium of the people." But the more pertinent part is this:
The failed 74-year experiment in too much government and failed central planning seems to have successfully accomplished one thing: that a hundred million lab-rat/humans later: substitution of alcohol for "the opium" can be done at gunpoint.
Yet it's in play today in these once United States: The Mexican border dirt-weed, the mass marketing of SA drug gang culture, and in the citizen-militia response. Government is still moving in the directional of centralization and, as many people find out, spiritless government is still ascendant. Ask at any airport, if you doubt me.
The "design pattern" of human behavior seems to be that when a "spiritless situation" appears, people are going to reach for something.
And inspection of the headlines seems to make the case "reaching" is on a huge upswing now that we have "tipped." Which should be more obvious by late this month when release language jumps are more people will likely be inclined to "reach."
Wednesday March 2, 2011
Better than going 'bare', at least at this time of year, and not grossing as many people out in the process, I turned 'bear' yesterday once again, on the theory that my next triple short position will do well.
If you've been playing the home version of the popular bored game: "Market Stays Irrational Longer than George Stays Solvent" you'll recall that he managed to ride a position in FAZ down 35%+ before writing up last weekend's Peoplenomics report where he explained how he'd violated his own trading rules and that's why he lost.
Since exiting the FAZ position, he scalped a few bucks in BSX (on the theory it'll be a decent take-over candidate at some point, and there was a good chartist entry point at hand, but he blew out of that trade in less than 48-hours after making back a smidge from Market, which is increasingly the Bernank et all and the QE's.
About mid-morning yesterday I talked with Robin Landry and got the sense that yes, just one wild-cart in the Middle East going wrong, or oil hitting the $110-$120 region and the market could easily drop down and test the 11,000 area.
So I went back short again (not FAZ this time, however) and while I'd love to tell you what I bought, that'd get too close to "financial advice" for our paranoid legal department.
But if you see me gear-up with pompoms on any increase in oil prices, don't laugh. As soon as my Bear Cheer routine is done, I'll be laughing way to the bank.
So that gets us to the condition of world markets, which, in a word, is (pardon this) doggie-doo.
All of Asia was down and bleeding red ink, except India which was up 3.38% maybe because of jobjackings. But the Hang Seng was down 1½% and Japan was down 2⅓+%.
Over in Ure-Up, nothing was up when I looked, although most of the losses of the big players were holding to the 1% loss range, or less.
The metals had another fine day, but I remember the words of a friend who told me "When a real selling panic hits The Street, metals are going to fall, too, since people will need to sell everything to cover margined positions."
While is how big players make more money than little players, sincew if they crap-out, they'll just get bailed, but if you or I crap out, there goes the house. Ain't equality between humans and legal-mythical constructs fun?
So, I don't use much margin, except to fill in during rapid-fire trading while I await the (inexcusable) three-day settlements to catch up. House therefore gets three days a float on my trades, plus three-days of interest at whatever. See how they make money all around on greed-crazed people like me?
What's the point of regulators when there's just 'another one born every minute', huh?
All of which is monotonous foreplay (least-wise, that's how Type A's think of it) while we wait for Libya to fall, the West to go in and "save" things and the problems of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain yet to come.
This morning, the Libyan loyals to Moumar Godawful have retaken a key oil plant, but that's likely to flip as each sidfe takes another spin in the Great Oil Game.
OK, flip over to Pakistan for a sec and remember my obscure remark last week when we were talking about "time frames" down in the WuJo section? To be precise, it was last Tuesday where I wrote:
As if you couldn't figure this out without help, the "leading practitioner of jumping ahead frames is? Answer: Clif, you dolt!
And the Kevlar day was Tuesday/Wednesday of this week for the Pakistani Minorities Minister who was assassinated in Islamabad. That was your Kevlar moment, and no, we still don't use the rickety time machine for trading. Just wouldn't be right.
In truth: We don't need to. Anyone with a room-temperature IQ can see that the US is in a box and will need to print up more money, and that in turn will drop the global purchasing power, not to mention reputation of the once-convertible US Dollar before it became the birth-defective Federal Reserve Note.
Earlier this morning the dollar was down to .722 Euro and oil (feign shock, please) is over $100 a barrel.
Sorting all this out was somewhat clouds for a time Tuesday when Ben Bernanke told the congress (in part):
No kidding. While the rose-colored glasses are still being warn by government job-counters, we get to the first real solid news today: The job reports from ADP and Challenger/Gray &Christmas: Christmas first:
Now, if you're a Peoplenomics subscriber, remember back to my chart of last week where I said what was likely to happen with the mass Layoff numbers going forward based on that charting system I showed you? (Ans: It would trend back up...). And so there we go in the Christmas present for bears, evidence that layoffs could be going back up sooner than later.
What's ADP's take on employment? Improving!
Then there's the Mortgage Bankers' weekly - down:
You just know that's gonna spook the market a bit. Speaking of falling housing prices as such...
Brent Crude futures were showing $115.76 when I looked, but the hyper-bulls will seize on the ADP hiring number, I'm sure
The Deflationist's Notebook
From my pal Jas Jain:
Still, The Bernank et al are banking on American consumers to squeeze up to the trough of debt for another good swilling.
Dollar Woes Grows
My friend Gonzo Lira thinks the next week, or so, will tell the tale of our dollar's future...
I did, and they will...both of 'em.
Kind of a synch-wink of sorts, if you ask me, that Peoplenomics did charts/technical analysis last weekend and now we're seeing a wave of it, huh?
The Pentagon has sent two US ships toward Libya, reports the WSJ. Navy's got only five carriers out, though, so no war on the horizon this week.
Yemen continues to fall apart with calls for a new day of rage there, and one's possible around the 11th of March in Saudi land goes the 'net buzz. Yemen's president is blaming the US/Israel for his troubles.
Angry Earth Dept.
Since our get-together yesterday, there have been (let me count...) five more quakes in the Arkansas area.
Has it occurred to anyone besides me that movement around the middle of the New Madrid zone might increase the odds of a big move out toward one of the ends? Just thinking out loud here... Couple of little guys in SF, too, down around 2.6-2.5.
A Corporate President?
NJ gov Christie - who you may remember for using his office to pass a big corporate tax break to create a budget problem is making noises like he's a candidate on the GOP side.
Sorry for the horrible pun, but clever-writing-bean is kicking in finally. Oh, and there is a story about measle worries about a flight from the UK to Dulles.
Salon reports on Julian "Assange's alleged "Jewish" conspiracy" which, I take to mean that he'll soon be issuing the word to our the rest of the even more sensitive WikiLeaks materials. Since Clif's web bot work has a shift into 'release language' around March 23 (plus or minus a bit) that might be a fair guess. Just time for Assange to get railroaded and the high sign given to release the bigger bunch of nasty globalist secrets.
Popcorn at the ready...beer cold....and a one, and a two, and a....
Wanna Buy a Business?
Press release of the day:
The "Buy it now" price on eBay is $1-million. No, they don't give out what the reserve price is....look surprised. I'm guessing $999,999.99...
See how I assiduously avoided cheap writing poortunities on this? Strictly upper crust, here...
Coping: Probability of Error Problems
A reader wrote in overnight, apparently somewhat stressed that Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) is going to get a bit closer to the earth than previously reported.
To make the case, he points to this site which showed a close approach figure on October 14th of this year at .269 AU (astronomical distance, roughly earth-sun distance of 92-million miles and change) and our report earlier this week which we'll update this morning as .232 AU on October 16th.
The reader wondered if anything should be read into this and I think the answer is "No" because the change is both big....and small.
Yes, the absolute change in miles is big (3.439 million miles is further away than the restroom when you need it at a football game), but in terms of percentages it's a (roughly) 14.7% change to closer.
That's how these things work: A comet comes toward earth, small and hard to figure, and the closer it gets, the higher resolution the math becomes.
But where 14-15% changes closer to earth could be a problem is, as I suggested earlier, when Apophis shows up. That kind of error applies to that kind of object would be....er....life changing.
Then there's this reader email:
I really, really hope this reader is wrong, but....
Speaking of Cruise Ships...
About here, you're wondering how I managed to jump from space objects hitting earth to cruise ship discussions, but I remember one of the earth-changes-kill most of us movies where there was a teary-eyed call from a son to his father, who was a jazz player on a cruise ship. Getting this? So, I'm not entirely wanked, just traveling one of your neuron pathways that hasn't been bulldozed to super highway (consciousness) status yet, but that's OK since neuron theory is wrong and Los Alamos developed Soliton theory rules, but that's a whole other discussion, since you didn't know what a soliton was if I'd use that analogy. Besides, solitons may just describe biophotonics says a reputable doc/reader. But I digress...though the idea of Light and Life being linked at the inter-cellular level is well documented in....er...religious lit.
"Is this going somewhere eventually? Please God, make him says "yes."
Yes. Peach of a quote from SurvivalWoman on Cruise Ship Economics (Pt. 3) since I keep looking at the dream of retiring to a world of "constant cruising":
The rest of her article is over here... I just keep waiting for someone in the retirement home industry to figure this out. Way I figure it, the $4,620 figure is "loaded" to account for marketing costs, which would be what? 10% maybe? And then there'd be some allowance for vacancies...
So, while dream-ships like "The World" are out there, they're waaaay too upscale for us, but $4,620 isn't off the charts for a month or two...bites into the nest-egg a bit, but definitely something to think about, huh?
More likely: The planet changer will deposit me somewhere and I'll find a sailboat and be able to use it to go visit a Costnerian water-world island...but we can dream.
Munged & Over-Sprouted
Happened to mention to Clif my mung bean sprouts were kinda thin and wimpy. Turns out there should be grown with weight on them. Now I have enough seedlings for a hell of a pea patch.
Turns out, sprouting, like break-making is something best practiced before you need it. Afraid by the time I get this morning's column done, Elaine will have the weed-whacker in the kitchen...
Speaking of foodstuff's: Chicago Trib article on raised bed gardening might be of interest here, although I've been more partial to raised bed speeping instead.
T'other day a reader alleged that low white carbbies might cause dental issues, but another reader-doc to the rescue:
Even after my carbbie excursion, still 207, and likely under 205 by this weekend.... time to make up a pot of vegetable soup and eat on that for a day or two.
I'm thinking the teeth-thing could be coincidental and I didn't see anything in the literature about it, although a glass or two of Italian vitamins is something I include.
Operating on My Wallet?
Reader wants to know how I spent $192 on a dental exam and cleaning:
Kind of curious what other docs charge, now that you mention it: Had x-rays, cleaning and gas (nitrous) since it was too early to have a martin first. I won't begrudge them too much, they have to put up with my sense of humor and that's gotta count for something.
Tuesday March 1, 2011
Visions of Sugarplum Silver
So another month begins and once again we see the price of silver is pushing its way to $34.50 on its way to either $34.51 or $500, depending on who you listen to.
And I'm sure by now, you've watched the dandy cartoons on YouTube about the silver manipulations by the money center banksters (there are four out so far, so book some time to get it).
So if you're wondering "Why is George having "Visions of sugar-plum silver?" it's because global turdmoil (sic) is always good for metals ands that brings us to the global (ahem) place of the day: Libya.
Well, even if you don't believe Iran's press, Reuters is reporting the US is in talks with NATO about things and any old minute, I expect the US Navy website to pop back up to the seven aircraft carrier level. But for now, its only five carriers and four 'gators out, so I'll skip the duck & cover exercises this morning.
No surprise therefore whats going on in the oil market is it? Bloomberg is reporting the latest in the M.E. has pushed prices up again today which is one of those "predictable as the sun coming up" consequences.
Not getting as much play, but equally important is that half the production lines of an oil refinery in Iraq were bombed. Oh, and supply to a Libya plant cut, too.
Not that this is a biggie (in isolation, that is) but remember in the predictive linguistics work there's still all this long-term value stuff about US forces being caught out when the you know what blows/hits the fan and the drop of Iraqi oil has to be disconcerting for the US forces remaining in Iraq. Especially when just over a line in the sand from Iran...
Still, my expectation is that the markets will finish their rebound rally from our first little tich down lately, and when they do, 10-days from now there's an interesting date number to watch. A reader email proposes it:
Yeah - interesting how things seem to be swirling around that date. But the only swirling of consequence this morning is the coffee, so we press on...visions of silverplums dancing, etc.
[Since a sugarplum is a small candy, a few of us who bought silver under $7 are nearly diabetic with the sugarplum rush this has been, but we seem to be suffering happily through that high class problem. Now, if I only had more than one ounce...]
Wrong - But Right
Calling government a Ponzi scheme (which we've done around here on a regular basis) doesn't seem to get much coverage most days. But when someone like Madoff says it, seems to carry more weight. Takes on to know one, perhaps?
The market is expected to advance a bit at the open this morning - remember the metals and market seem to move in similar directions now and they as both can be viewed in some manner as inflation hedges; the metals as a direct one and the market as an "asset play."
Tomorrow's ADP and Challenger job numbers may stop that foolishness...
Protecting the Paradigm
The headline in the Washington Times that "Boehner rips bid to regulate Internet" is a classic case of "right-reframing."
Reason? The FCC's proposed move into internet regulation would only ensure all packets are created equal which, of course, flies in the face of corporate plans to bit tariff and provide traffic preference based on price.
Of course, the rabidly right don't want to have a Fairness Doctrine ever again, either, since discussing in anything in a balanced way might endanger the revenue streams of the defense/security state paradigm that pays so well and keeps 2 percent more people from being unemployed... besides everyone knows it's the divine right of America and the West to rule the world....at gunpoint, if necessary because it's for their own good... (ahem...).
Besides, how dare indigenous people deny us our pleasures?
My, I just love it when the American ideal of equality is so neatly appliled to "enough dirt to go around." Speaking of which...
Where Are They Now?
Joan Collins is still around, although "swoons from snug outfit" outs the NY Post.
Let glitz (and therefore coverage as we're in the wrap-up to sweeps): The last surviving veteran of WW I (the Great War) has died.
One of the consequences of demographic "birth bubbles" come at the other end with demographic declines...
Saving the Planet for What? Dept.
Then we have the report that the global demand for plastics is going through the roof. Who would have ever thought plastic caps and closures would be a $40-billion market?
I may have to walk down the road and hug an oil pump.
(more after this...)
Coping: New and Improved Gloom
Tuesday at the WuJo is I suppose where this reader report goes:
For more than a year now, I've been hearing reports like this; rational (other than reading this site, perhaps), hard-working, intelligent people and they run into oddities like this one. Not sure what causes it, but there's something going on, although our most scientifically committed readers insist that it's nothing other than a case of "reverse hypnosis".
That's a case where instead of "seeing something that ISN'T there" tables are reversed and people "DON'T see what IS there..."
Nevertheless, the brain spins up like a turbine of Jet A working overtime and sometimes resuming in the wee hours of the morning..."What's going on?"
I have a couple of candidates for this change of flow in the "normal" (lol, whatever that is) affairs among humans.
My 'all science' reader who suggested reverse hallucinations would account for most of it might be onto something; reason being that such events are linked with the early/onset stage of psychosis...and what better description of how humans are feeling right now? We have leaders who say one thing and then do another ("Close Gitmo" to "Must continue our fight..." on the other) and we're then told by the spinmeisters that this is a consistence position.
Whether it is, or is not, won't be my point here: Only that there seems to be an increase in the number of incidents where the publis sees one thing, is told it's another, and then edges (or is deliberately pushed?) toward psychosis trying as the unconscious will, to sort out non-sequitors - those pesky cases of "Hey! That can't work!"
Perhaps that's why the "burn rate" for White House Press Secretaries is so high. I note Robert Gibbs held the office for a little shy of 25-months and barring reelection of Fearless Leader, that means the "new guy" (Jay Carney) will do at most 24 months.
But there may be other causes, too. The constant bombardment of people who thought they were "normal" but who awakened one day to be told by a commercial that they may have "jock itch" or need a "feminine hygiene spray" or they should now "tell their doctors they want" [fill in the drug name] so long as it's not something that can be grown at home and is illegal since it competes with the booze lobby.
Which leave the buzz off smoking catnip lastly 10 legal minutes, so many folks hit the tranks and then we wonder where things went that we thought we bought.
But there could be something else at play beyond work/life compression and the pernicious effects of uncommitted relationship disease.
Like going through the "galactic ecliptic."
Had a friend of mine (a dr.) call yesterday to wonder what I thought about the latest with "Niburu - our suns dark companion star" supposedly getting closer to Earth and maybe that is having some 'effects-at-a-distance' wondered by friend?
Or, like this reader who thinks an inbound comet have something to do with why the world is wonky and about to get much more so...
Will this be a fairly close comet and perhaps highly visible? Not sure how that works, but if you play with the NASA Java animation you can see C/2010 X1 (Elenin) will be making a .232 AU approach to Earth on October 16th of this year.
Thing is that an AU is shorthand for an astronomical unit (92,955,807 miles plus a pub crawl) which means the "closest" it will get is 21.565,747 miles
which if you remember what a Lunar Distance (LD) is for the close-in yardsticks, this comet is only going to be about 90.28 times farther away than the moon - best case.
Like that wimpy junior X.2 flare a week or so back, this won't send me scurrying to hide under the bed, sorry.
Still, that mention of Nosty and timing may be of interest so I figured I'd flip the question over to G.A. (Age of Desolation) Stewart since his book on contemporary Nosty-stuff is pretty interesting, and he's got this WW III stuff which arguably could be in the wings when the West gets found out for stuffing worth less paper at people who thought they had been selling us goods for real items of value:
That said, we have a couple of things we could be looking for which might fill in the Nosty predictions of the enigmatic comet. I think the possibilities like up as:
My kids are fairly safe from Apophis, I'm afraid, since the latest off Wikipedia is that the odds of this thing hitting in 2029 are pretty low:
So what I find myself noodling here is whether the imagery of the possible "near-miss" effects might be seeping into the global consciousness now at some (nearly psychotic) level? Is is just possible that humans know at an instinctive level that a Chicxulub impact-sized event is lurking some num ber of AU's out there and just waiting to pop out to 'come get us'?
No telling what the actual driver is, but as people murmur when they are not on their cell phones "Can you feel it?" "Feels like something BIG is about to happen..."
I mean besides global war/systemic economic breakdown which will leave the planet incapable of coordinating the effort to launch a spacecraft to deflect an Apophis, which in turn could...well....you know...
I'll be 87 by then and near as I can tell, depending on which set of numbers I run, my "priority" spot for "saving" will be down in the 7-billion somethings.
But, of course, we won't make it that far intact as the society we enough (or nearly so) today.
You need to read Clif's latest post "2012 - Doom ain't What It Used to Be."
The underlying physics of that period are (although contentious) a lot more obvious than the odd bit of space-buckshot hitting earth.
Just as E-=MC2 works to make bigger and better (???) bombs, flipping the math around seems to predict creation of mass at a rate of Energy divided by C2
While that's not the most frightening possibility of the morning, it may be because you haven't figured out that IF the growing mass model (variously: plasma expansion model or Expando Planet model) actually is true and planets condense matter from the energy toss off by suns/stars, then as the planet grows there might be a disproportionate deposition of new matter.
And even that isn't too big a worry until you figure out that if the matter deposition is higher in the wrong places, the center of motion for the spinning globe changes such that even a few degrees of tilt-change blows over civilization as we knew it.
My diet results got a fair bit of email - but this one in particular stood out:
Hmmm...so that's why I am going to the Dr. and doing blood draws and all that...knew there was a reason.
BTW: Passed my dental exam yesterday. the $192 for the little take-home pack of a new toothbrush and an ounce of fluoride toothpaste seemed steep, but I got to be x-rayed without having to go to the airport, for a change... and they just checked my really dangerous body part - my mouth.
Online Tool of the Day
Cars only, no spouses, in-laws, or kids, please. Also, no politicians, either. I don't know as they'd have the bandwidth for that one....
Quotes of the Day
From a reader email:
Filed next to "Women need men like fish need bicycles" and "Remember: You can be replaced with a) a worker in Mumbai of b) a battery powered device..."
Quick - the bells at the Church of the Almighty Dollar are about to sound again. Look busy until tomorrow!
Monday February 28, 2011
Oh Man, Who's Next?
As we load up on bean for another attempt at clever writing, the first thing to observe is that the price of oil has been going yo-yo. One moment it's up on Muammar Gaddafi being a butt-munch for shooting at protesters, and the next moment that's good because oil is flowing again from the port of Tobruk.
But then oil drops because the Saudi's made the (predictable) claim they'll just turn up their oil to save the West's bacon - which is why the West installed, or at least arranged the cards to fall as they did so the the Saudis got control way back when:
And it's been a fine, mutually-beneficial relationship right up through today.
About here I get out my scorecard: Gaddafi is being a donkey, but shipping oil, the West doesn't seem too concerned about Egypt, the Saudis are containing oil prices at desired levels for the day, but in Yemen al Qaeda is trying to stir up a revolution, and in Bahrain, protesters have blocked today's session of parliament.
Not to sound too jaded (who, me?) but Bahrain isn't even in the top world oil producers (chart here, bring glasses) and while Yemen is an exporter, they are a lot smaller than, oh, Oman, for example.
And in Oman this morning there are protesters who are refusing to budge, apparently not buying reforms promised by the sultan there...
So with oil prices going up - up 24.55% for gas compared with a year ago now - not even close to the BLS/CPI report's claim that gasoline was up only 13.4% through January - we patiently watch. Yeah...sure it was! Of course....
Oscar de la Boring
If you really cared about the Oscars, you probably watched last night, but if you were teleported off planet, the list of winners might be summarized here.
Like monkeys on coke, the American public still seems fascinated with the 'f' word, dressing it up as the "F-bomb" like that'll somehow make people think it's some kind of event. I shit thee not.
As bread and circuses go, there was lots of bread spent on this and the hype-machine has it leading the news this morning, lest you see through the trank-fog and wonder WTF is the point? Still a good question to ask now and then.
ViseGrip me, you donkey! New figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis make the following claims:
Sound too good to be true? Well, it is...because...
Oh. Now, grab another set of ViseGrips for the other arm for this part on the personal savings rate:
I'm just guessing the way they figure this is because you're saving so much money living under an overpass...
Not that I'm hopeful this will work, but figuring on printing some off if I can find them, (have a possible stop in my Chinese OCR software) then run the Google translation engine to see what these coupons are worth, then print off the exchange rate data from Oanda.com and take the whole portfolio for each worthwhile product down to Wall World and see how the checkers handle it...
I think I'll call these results gray coupons.
Angry Earth, V
Meantime, my sources in the oil patch - as I explained either last week or for Peoplenomics readers this weekend - tell me that the quakes are likely coincidental to the shale frac'ing going on in the area.
OK, but the depth on this one is 3.8 KM - which is where the 4.7 quake was - is only down 12,464 feet...so how deep is that Arkansas frac'ing, again?
Pretty damn close, I'd wager, since the oil and gas on our property starts at 9,300 ft. and I expect that's typical of depths in the South... So if New Madrid goes off, do we cost-share on the bill?
Obviously not, since the Big One back in the early 1800's was long before frac'ing. Still this is the Land 'O Litigation, anymore...
Reach Out and Touch Dept.
OK, wondering why you bought a 3D TV and wear those glasses?
File under Gucci Gucci coup.
Tisk-Tisk, Knock-Knock, Tut-Tut.
Say: How's this gonna play out down at the Lodge meetings? King Tut's DNA turns out to be mostly (99.6%) Western European Y chrommies?
Don't mind my musings, I'm a meet at the airport, part on the left kind of guy and don't wear an apron except for an old leather one while welding.
Still, it's either a marvelous marketing opportunity or high-class memeering. Can't be sure which, though...which makes it all the more fun.
Coping: Planning to Live Forever, Or 90
Famine is a good thing. Oh, I suppose not if you live in some backward crap hole in the sandbox, Africa, South America, or under an overpass, but the evidence keeps mounting up that if you want to live a very, very, very long time, all you need to do is reduce the amount of food going into the pie hole.
What gets me to thinking along these lines is that I told you - back in January - that I was going on a serious diet and that I'd keep you posted on it periodically, so this morning is periodically and I'm afraid you'll have to suffer through the details.
First, though, a chart which I've been keeping to record my progress. Some high level data to go with it:
No, I don't look too much different, but there is a change, which includes pants falling off if I don't cinch up to belt to some unfamiliar notches. A good thing.
Elaine's been suggesting I buy new clothes, but since I'm planning to keep going at least down to 185 and maybe 175 (depending on how I feel once I get there), I figure I'll just wear baggy clothes for a while and then buy new ones when I've trimmed up at the new weight.
How I got there? I used a variant of what's in Tim Ferris book The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman ($14, Amazon).
The main game-changer for me has been cutting out all white carbbies. So no potatoes, no rice, no Chinese egg noodles with oyster sauce beef, no flour (and in chicken-fried steak, and reducing fat to 1 tablespoon of butter per day (used for the wok to keep only leanest meats and fish from sticking) and that's it.
All of which seems to indicate that white carbohydrates are bad, evil, nasty-bastards to be eliminated. Along with all processed foods, too. My sodium benzoate consumption along with MSG and red dye #2 and whatever has also been at zero and the sprouter is coming up with mung beans at the moment which should be ready for tomorrow...
"Yeah, so what...who cares?" you're thinking about here. "You're a fat donkey and they could've drilled for oil on your forearm...so what?"
Well, it's the side research which has led me to the Calorie Restriction Society. www.crsociety.org.
My high (170/100) blood pressure (BP) in my annual physical was not really as high as indicated. I put on about 20-points from "white coast syndrome" and since the EMT son took my resting BP after relaxing a bit (126/79) on his German-made high end BP cuff, he said not to be too concerned about it, but that I really should get rid of some fat.
So that's how I got into this serious weight-loss stuff.
Which now gets us to famine and the CR Society.
Seems there are numerous charts these folks have on their site (with pointers to a lot of good science) that argue that - to a point - the less you eat, the longer you're going to live.
Now I like doctors (and nurses even more) and they make fine sociable people to have over for dinner. But my last professional encounter with one was back when I have a burst appendix taken out in 2005. A couple of hours on the table is not my idea of a good time.
Since I'm now 62, I've decided after reading the science that at least getting down to "normal weight" is likely a good thing, and that as humans get older we don't need to eat so much.
I'm still looking for the definitive study of what would happen to people diagnosed with cancer and other life-threatening diseases if they immediately went on a seriously calorie restricted diet.
In my musings, I've also wondered along the same lines, if it's possible that the reason chemo works as well as it does, is that people on it can get deathly sick - and there goes the appetite. Not that I'd expect drug companies to double-blind cancer drugs against starvation-level diets (for fears in the legal department of running afoul "First, do no harm..." and other such ethics and burdens, but it's nevertheless a most interesting question I'd sure like to see studied, or a link to if you've seen such a work.
I could toss in a personal observation, all of the long-term cancer survivors I have met seem to have one thing (more or less) in common: They are relatively thin and eat lots of fiber.
So, while I've been avoiding all the white carbbies, I do eat oatmeal every other day now, and one day a week is an oatmeal only day.
Still, I splurge once in a while and today I'm going to do a calorie flood with bad foods, otherwise my body's use of carbs may start to compensate.
On the other hand, a vegetable soup (shot of red win in it for flavor along with 4 ounces of red meat or 10 ounces of white meat) is another day's worth of eating...spread out over 12-hours, or so.
Hardly the kind of calorie restrictions that the lab rat studies are pointing toward as life-extending, but as the CRSociety FAQ points out, the difference between dieting and CR'ing is that diets get fat people to normal (which is what I'm doing because I can't stand the idea of going on BP pills or statins, while the CR'ing is designed to restrict foods to extend life...a way different proposition that loosing the moniker "phatso."
I expect that most people showing up for an annual check-up at the doctor's office just blindly take pills as they get older; tranks, statins, whatever is recommended. But it's a much harder mindset required to actually giv e yourself permission to "reconfigure yourself" into a new image.
But it can be done. Especially if you cut out white carbbies of all stripe, except oatmeal. I just think the medical profession hands out as many drugs as they do because probably only 1 or 2 patients in 100 actually shed dangerous weight.
When it came down to get thin or take a pill, the answer to me got real obvious but no, THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE - just some notes from a committed weight loser, as it were.
I won't mention it again for another month or two, but a couple of people have asked and this'll teach 'em.
Costs of Cruising
I know, it's a dead giveaway that I can even think about taking Elaine and going on a cruise for a week to 10-days and leave Panama and Mssrs Mossberg et al to guard the home front. But, that least one of the things that gets me out of bed on Monday's (besides a dental checkup) is dreaming large dreams and this is one of them.
Seems, though, the kind of people who are grabbing their honies and heading to the docks is changing and SurvivalWoman (with SurvivalHubby, of course) are just back from another 12-dayer - and she's got a breakdown on how the profile of cruisers is changing thanks (or, no thanks, as it were) to the economy, the times, 'they are a changin'.
My son took the Seattle Fire Department entrance exam this weekend at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus.
What was interesting was the number of well-qualified competition to be in the SFD. George II estimated the crowd at 600, give or take, and each of them was willing to drug test and pay $50-bucks just to see if they could make it to the next round which is the oral boards.
600 well-qualified applicants for what? 30-jobs openings, if that. And a fair number of those will wash out of Drill School.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that being an EMT and acing his ACLS (PALS is pending) will help, but competition is fierce.
Ham Radio Notes
Have nothing bad to say about the new Kenwood H/T that I got programmed this weekend, except that the supplied antenna seems to be poor on receive.
One of my ham radio friends picked up this gem at the Vienna (Virginia) Wireless Society Hamfest on Sunday - a HAARP coffee mug...
Ham radio types often run around collecting electronic esoterica, including vacuum tube radios which I have a particular fondness for myself, in all but the blistering days of summer. That's when chips and transistors may sense...but going to a hamfest is like going to a Dead concert is for Deadheads....a ritual. Fine ones, both.
Around the Ranch
Feels Like Spring, Alright
Ah, the joys of near-spring. Spent most of Saturday mounted up on the Kubota, trying to get 80-horsepower worth of work out of the machine, clearing our 12-acres west of the house. All of which would be fine, except for the little asterisk that says "*This Kubota is rated 24-HP."
The results of all this thrashing about is pleasing to the eye, but tends to last no longer than a few weeks, until the bugs and the snakes come out. So if my morning missives are written in ADD/distracted sty6le (more than usually, that is) it'll likely be that I've got a weather window between when winter has beaten down the big brush and dropped most of the winters deadfall of the trees, and when Ma Nature outruns supplies of diesel and time to contain her.
Which gets around to an actual news item (!!!):
Spring seems to be about ready to "sprung" and with it may come the weather anomalies, and we'll get a chance to see first-hand how the floods and storms impact food supplies, and in turn food costs.
We'll keep our fingers crossed for a better outcome than what's fallen out of the rickety time machine, along with toes, knees, arms, and whatever other appendages aren't in use.
It's quite a spectacle.
I have to go study for my dental examination now...more tomorrow. I'll let you know if I passed... Remember, dental hygienists are picky...(rimshot) groans
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 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.
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:
"George, that's only a coincidence!" your monkey-mind will protest.
Why sure it is...you bet. A 9½ year long coincidence...yessir....just a coincidence, we're like SO sure... (Shhh...don't tell anyone that major Depressions are two-part coupled affairs like the linkage between 1920-21 and 1929, OK? Damn, dude...don't spoil it for the sheep...)
Oh...don't forget to "Write when you get rich!"
George Ure, The People's Economist
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