A One Man Economic Daily Newspaper about the Second Depression in near real-time...
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Another Dollar BJ
Don't go there. We're talking Bank of Japan which overnight decided to play nicey-nice and leave their central bank rate about as close to zero/free as you can get. From their latest statement of monetary policy:
The news this morning sent the dollar up toward the 0.704 (Euro) level, but the dollar seems back in decline unless the recent 0.7087 level is beaten.
Oh, did I mention, I'm long the Dow & S&P since gold's going up.
Stirring the Middle East
Say, this looks like a dandy Middle East Strategy to try for a while: See if we can piss everyone off so they won't fight with each other...Yeah, dat's dah ticket!
Going into the weekend, I'd rate the Middle East somewhere between an Osterizer and a VitaMix. Frappé du Arms Dealer, mon frer?
This is either going to work out really great or....well, take a guess...
The PolyDoc Returns..
Yes, time for me to scrub up and slip into my Political Doctor garb for another (bend over? This won't hurt much...unless you laugh...) examination of the headlines...
Headline in the Daily Caller: "Palin on 2012: 'I do have the fire in my belly...'
All of which gets us my periodic query: Ure: Asking What?
Land of Just-Us
Dominique Strauss-Kahn walked on $6-million in bail posted by his wife.
Benefits of 'marrying well' it seems.
I see where the EU is moving to ban shopping bags.
Ostensibly on environmental grounds, the real reason is no one will have enough money to need them anyways...but their thinking is mostly Greek to us.
Real Sales Promotion
If you're young, single, have a high...er...testosterone level, might want to send a resume to Munich Re Insurance, since the headline off the BBC today is "German insurer Munich Re held orgy for salesmen."
No jokes about stiff competition or hard act to follow, please. This is a high class stand-up economics lecture.
From an email this morning this from motivation great Earl Nightingale:
Of course, you'll be $283,000 in student loan debt to do it, nowadays... Which is my gentle reminder to set aside an hour to see "College Conspiracy" on YouTube here this weekend if you have. Hour & five minutes long, 335,835 people are smarter than you on this in less than one week since release.
Rapture or Rupture?
A lot of faithful are expecting The Rapture this weekend. With our Tennessee trip scrubbed (next section) I will still be mowing the lawn Sunday either way.
I'm still pondering if there's money in heaven, or beer, hangovers? Or free steak & lobster for that matter.
If you want to have some fun sometime, ask any assembled group of followers to explain the House Rules on the other side, for you. Amazing answers and speculations follow.
Ask for supporting documents.
What are the wages? Any penalty for skipping choir? Do the angels do anything hip-hop, or do they have a beat machine? I mean, no problem working on going there, just wanna know what the rules are in advance. Do they have seasons? Where the write up on climate.? Is there sunscreen?
Occasionally, I'll stumble on something like "There are many rooms in Our Father's Mansion" and that's leave me wondering about whether it's a rental set-up, or what? Is there a deposit? If I set my 'room in Our Father's house on fire, am I liable?...is there renters insurance? How much is it?
Talk to my brokers about how this compounded to infinity stuff works, too. And does that mean my tax liability is infinite, as well? That one scares me - at least where it's hot, the receipts will all burn...
My list goes on...Are banks open on Sunday? What's the shopping like? Is there a fishing season? Hunting? What about clothing? Are Playboy interviews (at least) permitted reading? Do the women in Heaven all have large.....oh, you get the idea...
Keep's 'em tied up for hours. But, if they want me to sign up for their trip, I've just got to have a current brochure, a few pictures would be nice, too, and what's the exchange rate? Show me the source of that claim....
Maybe that's why I'll be mowing Sunday. After the big earthquake from the planetary alignment...
(more after this...)
Coping: With Tennessee's $2,000 Tourism Loss
"So, Universe cripples your leg, sends a forest fire, and now this video? You remember the "three lifeboats" story?" [*story here] said the Chief Time Monk with just a touch of sarcasm in his voice as I explained our trip to Tennessee next week was off for an indefinite time.
After being delayed a couple of days, I was finally pushed over the edge Thursday into cancelling our plans to vacation and see an eye doctor up in Tennessee because of news developments up there. They had nothing to do with recent flooding, either.
The third straw which broke this adventure came when several readers, including my commodity guy JB, sent me a video from Channel 5 Nashville, which has been running an investigative series on how police agencies in the middle Tennessee region have been targeting out of state licensed cars and trucks, pulling them over on whatever pretext is handy, and then searching them for cash. Impounding whatever they find.
The WTVF-TV Nashville story, by chief investigative reporter Phil Williams, "Middle Tennessee Police Profiting Off Drug Trade?" can (and should) be seen online here by everyone, along with a parallel story "Questionable Traffic Stops Caught on Camera" over here.
I looked at the video three times - it was so shocking.
It's one thing to read about TSA going overboard at the nation's airports, patting down six-year olds, and then to see the questionable bin Laden train plans and the expansion of the War on Terror to train riders, but now what comes into focus is that regular citizen-type people who prefer to pay for things with cash when they go on vacation may be targeted by police agencies which can - with no judicial oversight on the front end, such as a warrant or court order - simply impound your cash/car/or whatever and then it's up to you to spend a ton of money to get it back.
Yep, the Police State is here and while we've been writing of its arrival on economic grounds for several years, Tennessee seems to be leading the attack on untraceable money by squashing Constitutional Rights.
What to do? Quickly, I formulated an Action Plan:
So I did what any law-abiding citizen would do:
1. I called the Tennessee State Tourism Office.
Nice people, very polite & cordial, but no, they hadn't seen the NC5-Investigates report.
My first question to them was pretty simple: Could they please tell me how much cash money Elaine and I could carry on our trip to Tennessee without being targeted since we drive a "Lexus from Texas" and if I followed the gist of the Phil Williams report, that'd make us prime suspect material and increase our odds of being stopped and harassed for whatever pretext the police agencies happen to gin up; even if we drove flawlessly?
I explained to them that we were planning to see an eye doctor up in the Oak Ridge area and then planned to head over to Nashville for a couple of days since neither of us had been there.
I also explained that I'm 62, semi-retired, and not exactly vagrants. I simply prefer cash lately because I've had my credit card info hacked three times in the past four years and cash is a little harder to hack. I don't like plastic and besides, people in the services/leisure business actually get their tips if it's left as cash.
I assume you know that if you leave a tip on a credit card or debit card, often times the business owner pockets a piece of the tip action - or all of it - and pays little or nothing to the real (wage slave) help? (Look surprised. I'm just trying to make sure the people who deliver the service, food, room service, or whatever, actually get their just tips...)
No, the Tennessee tourism couldn't tell me on the spot. BUT they assured me they'd get back to me. So I'm waiting. May be next week.
2. My second question was "If Tennessee police ask permission to search my car, what kind of harassment can follow if I respectfully decline?"
Again, perfectly cordial and nice-like, they didn't know the answer to that one either. Again, an answer has been promised.
So, I gave them my name, phone number, and email because I want to know whether a citizen actually can decline a police search in the field in Tennessee - especially if there's no other probable cause than a traffic stop - which is I followed the report right, may be made on ginned up charges?
Once more, they didn't have the answer but promised a response.
I closed by politely explaining that we would probably have gladly contributed about $2,000 to the Tennessee economy on our trip. The plan was for a night in Memphis on the way up, which would have been about $150 for the hotel and another $150 for food and maybe some blues.
Then, two nights in Oak Ridge which was $135 per night plus taxes, and then another $150 per day for 2½ days there. Then off to Nashville, where I was going to surprise Elaine with two days at $300-$400 per day worth of food, nice hotel, music/shows, and tours of things like Graceland and the Opry...which would be interesting.
Souvenirs? You bet - $300 budget OK? High...yeah, probably, but what about an antique store or three...then we might be estimating low on that one.
Since we'd be driving a good bit in the state, I figure two tanks of gas, well over $100 no matter how I cut it. So it pushes out to:
Again - can't emphasize this enough: The Tennessee Tourism people were great. The problem's with the by-product or traveling int he state, not the promotion or the quality of the attractions offered by the tourism industry.
I'll post an update when (if?) I hear back from 'em. For now, we sit on our money and plans are on hold.
Like I said, we're not exactly vagrants. I am, after all, a card-carrying newspaper columnist, for heaven's sake.
So I pick up the phone and got my high-powered attorney on the line since we pay him $10/year as retainer for just such events.
"What's the deal on cash & traveling?" was my first question as I read through my notes. I'll paraphrase his answer:
"So how much can Elaine and I take on a trip?"
"What??? You're joking...how are we supposed to afford things on that?"
"What about the "legal tender for all debts, public and private" stuff printed on our money? The bankcards and the debit cards don't say that..."
He chuckled a bit, nervously.
"I'm not going anywhere in a Police State. You're saying if government wants to pull us over and take our two thousand bucks which we need on our trip, they could - theoretically - just do that and leave us penniless in the middle of nowhere?"
"If they did that, couldn't I sue for illegal search & seizure - and get damages?"
"Well, what about the search thing...what happens if I don't agree?"
"Tiny one...I've been thinking about paying it off...why?"
That's highway robbery. Has the Sheriff of Nottingham taken over America's roads?"
"No, not the world.... the country has changed...."
The Institute for Justice project: Poli¢ing for Profit is online here. Freedom's last hours are here.
This used to be America: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
Yeah, it's still the best place on Earth, blah, blah, blah...or is it?
Suggestions welcome, but I'm a slow learner of foreign languages. For now, we've scaled back vacation plans to Branson, Missouri.
Maybe they will adopt my marketing slogan I proposed for them: "Missouri Loves Company?" (Misery loves company, lol, get it?)
The "Three Lifeboat Story" is a pretty good one - regardless of your religious beliefs because it underscores how Humans don't take help from Universe very well. It goes something like this:
And so, as a Junior Time Monk I go around contemplating Right Action, we try at all times to follow the advice of Universe, which hjath spake verily unto us:
On the other side of Universe and floods, the UK Daily Mail photo feature on how homemade dams are saving property in the Mississippi River area is not to be missed - here.
More this weekend for Peoplenomics subscribers... Amen.
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The "Oil & Autos" Conspiracy
There's a body of circumstantial evidence developing that suggests the American public has been seriously hoodwinked by the auto and oil industries through a kind of collusion over how the future will continue to 'deal them in' which means how they will be able to 'feather the nest' going forward and how we - the consumer types - will stuck in the background by deftly manipulated circumstances designed to exact as much of our labors from us and put them in corporate bank accounts for the already rich and it gets ridiculous. Which we suspected but now we're getting data that confirms it...
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.
Pass It On
Please pass along word of this site to your friends by simply clicking here to send 'em a short email. - Thanks!
Thursday May 19, 2011
A Deep Thought From Armstrong
Long-jailed (wrongly) economist Martin Armstrong, out of the crap-hole prison setting now and with access to decent research tools again, has a most savory article posted Wednesday with far more synapse-building potential than something like, oh, the FOMC minutes.
The article simply explains: "What Destroyed Rome was its Unfunded Government Employee Pensions." He then goes in to an easy-to-follow discussion of how Roman government ran into some of the same problems we're in today and came up with (look surprised here, since we ain't talking 'Romanese') bad solutions.
Which, in case y'ain't noticed, is pretty much what we're doing today, e.g. leaning on government pension contributions to squiggle around the debt ceiling, at least for a few more minutes.
I happen to agree with Armstrong's contention that "History is a catalogue of solutions. However it is also a catalogue of things not to do." But, of course, who reads history?
To review my take on the Big Picture of Economic Life:
But you know most of this, I trust. Which brings us to this morning's bowl of Wheaties. The latest job figures for the week are out:
But it's hardly of enough consequence to move mountains of international financial paper products.
For that, you need big plays. Like the contes for global world control between the bankers at the largely US-influenced World Bank on the one hand and the Euro/multinationalist's I.M.F. on the other.
Speaking of that little war, now that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has indicated that he's planning to resign from the IMF, looks like he'll get bail set at $1-million this morning in return. Coincidence, yah?
Hard choice, isn't it? Read a history book, or sit glued in front of Cyclops with a bag of popcorn and watch the goings-on at the prime time zoo. Me? I think Armstrong's got it right.
Take the history book and skip the shock and awe. Unless there's a trade in it, of course. We'll just take the dollar to Euro chart and trade on that for a while longer. Timed out of shorts earlier this week, just fine.
Name That Crater, II
The headline "Japan falls into recession after economic shrinks 3.7%" is not much of a surprise, although worth mentioning. Having a country wrecked by a quake and still being poisoned, well....nothing shocking there.
Source on this is reliable: We're picking up rumblings that a number of Japanese auto executives who are in the US with their families - are wondering about whether to return to Japan with - or without - family in tow when there time is up in outposts like Ohio.
A lot of JA car companies have a management 'fast track' program which includes doing time in America to learn our markets.
Watch Out Wall Street...
The State of California is getting a little uppity. Yes!Magzaine has been tracking the progress of something called Assembly Bill 750 which would set up a state bank which would be in dependent (at least to some degree) of Wall Street. "What a Public Bank could mean for California" is worth a read because if one state could do it...
Been some discussion about the linkage between events on the Sun and the shakes here on Earth. So we keep an eye on anything like looks like an energetic release of energy from the Sun...like this for example:
# FAST WARNING 'PRESTO' MESSAGE from the SIDC (RWC-Belgium)
A partial halo CME was detected by SOHO/LASCO yesterday. It first appeared above the west solar limb in the LASCO C2 field of view at 18:24 UT and had angular width around 170 degrees and speed around 1000 km/s. The CME was accompanied by a C2.0 flare peaking at 18:30 UT in the Catania sunspot group 79 (NOAA AR 1208) at the west limb. Coronal dimmings and a post-eruption arcade associated with the event were detected by SDO/AIA. Due to the limb position of the CME source region, we do not expect it to arrive at the Earth. However, the CME-driven shock may arrive on May 21, possibly triggering disturbed geomagnetic conditions at most up to the minor storm level.
As to where the next BIG quake will happen is up in the air, but a couple of items have been picked up by the web bot spiders in their cruisings and by readers who are hip to what's out there:
This last is interesting because it means the whole western edge of the Pacific Plate is moving and if one side of the plate moves, could something be setting up for that Big West Coast quake?
There was something really, really bizarre captured on film in the Seattle area on Lake Washington in the early morning hours of last weekend. On a perfectly calm morning, suddenly there was wave action in the middle of the late and the video is on the KING-TV website. Go have a look.
Then come up with a source for the waves - which is really a hot topic on some of the local discussion boards in the PNW: Is it possible that something went on under Lake Washington - which is one of those north-south rips in the earth of the sort that ripped Vancouver Island away from the lower BC Mainland?
Our antennae are up... and the planetary alignment this weekend hits the Middle East.
Speaking of Quakes
The MIT Technology Review/Physics arXiv Blog has this really interesting article out Wednesday that says the "Atmosphere above Japan heated rapidly before M9 Earthquake."
So we have a simple choice to make here: Is this some new previously undocumented phenom, OR has someone wielding a certain gigawatt ERP atmospheric RF heater just be caught in data? Read the comments, too...
Weighty Flight Stories
One involves Southwest Airlines which according to a report here prevented a 268-pound passenger from flying on a single seat ticket since the passenger was too big to fit in one.
And if that's not enough to make you want to walk, how about the controller error in Chicago which may have had something to do with controller workload around the arrival of the Veep who was in the Windy City for the coronation of the Rahmster.
I keep watching everything that happens around the China Three Gorges damn project - because there has been so much buzz about the potential for the dam to break after a space shuttle mission is 'forced down early' - and with a mission up...well....we shall see....main activity of the current mission is putting a cosmic ray detector on the space station.
Back to point: Check out this BBC story about how "China acknowledges Three Gorges dam 'problems'."
Asia Economy - Cookin'
Our erstwhile Bureau Chief in Indonesia has been sizing up things in the region and (as usual) it makes for interesting input:
I've mad a note to send Grover a reprimand for sounding so doggone optimistic because things aren't that chipper up here in the Land of The Jobless Recovery.
Old News Department
After going through a really high divorce rate for years, America may be settling down a bit according to Census figures that show people gertting married after 1990 are tending to stay married longer.
Talking to my kids about it, seems a lot of younger people today - who have been through divorce of their parents - don't want to ever put their own offspring through such a shocking/damaging event. Hence, they're being much more serious about decisions like getting married.
Maybe there's hope for the country, after all...
Coping: Firefighting 103
T'other day, I was mentioning how fire fighting - and in particular in the wilds - is not something covered in your average, run of the mill, survival guide. All this, of course from my first-hand experience with a wildfire on Monday. From there we moved on to other aspects of wild fires and how to fight 'em ("stay in the black!" - e.i. stay on the spent fuel side of the fire line).
Well, here's more to ponder from a reader up in Oklahoma...let's call him Reader J...who had some additional info worth knowing:
I mentioned that I keep several 5 lb. dry chemical fire extinguishers at hand and a reader asked why not a couple of CO2 bottles, since my office has more electronics than what first flew to the moon by something like 1,000 times over.
The answer is pretty simple: CO2 (and related, Halon) fire suppression systems operate by displacing oxygen. While they can be fine inside of a confined space, like an engine compartment, or a rack of computer gear, the more open the space, and particularly if there's significant airflow, they loose effectiveness.
Dry chem, on the other hand, works without displacing air, and has is more of a spray-and-go-on suppressant. True, they may make a mess of the office, but after 40-years of frying ('letting the smoke out') of electronics, I'm pretty comfortable with serious - sometimes eye-popping - lol - arc's & sparks. On the other hand, when you have a risk of a real fire, the key action items become removing the source of ignition and then denying fuel.
A lot is easily understood by wrapping your head around the idea of "fire load" in building design and wildfire response. I won't subject you to fire school, but groups like the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the National Fire Protection Association put thousands of hours into thinking this stuff through. (Sample/background reader on fire load from NIST here.)
Of course, insurance companies have an interest in fire load, too. Obviously, it'd be great if all sources of ignition were confined to flame-proof buildings and if all flammable materials were kept in buildings with no source of ignition.
Which is why building codes put machine shops and electrical gear in concrete, brick, or mental buildings, and high fire load structures like libraries usually have sprinkler systems.
Long way of explaining why dry chem is what's on hand here, but if I need something outside, turning off the wind is not going to be an option and the suppressant action needs to stay where I put it. As long as one of the backup's is secure, the other equipment could be replaced.
May seem like a lot of firefighting focus this week, but we haven't overworked the subject to death like most others around here. A couple of 'checklist' things to ponder:
May seem like paranoia at one level, but I look at it as just shaving the odds in our favor whenever possible. People talk a lot about survival but when it comes down to actually putting $100 into tools which have a better than zero chance of being used, it's interesting to note how few people really do something about survival when they can.
Let's Get Pickled...
Or canned, or 'put up'... A reader says the site www.pickyourown.org has all kinds of pointers and is worth many visits for pointers on food preservation of all stripes...
Anyone in Memphis let us know if the roads/freeways to head from Texas to Tennessee are OK now or are there still flood issues?
Wednesday May 18, 2011
Gold Regaining Composure
I bailed out of my short positions yesterday near enough market lows that I'll sit and watch for a while to see if the first move up of the US Dollar has completed and will drop back a bit before continuing. My sense was that it would - which is why I clicked out and (briefly) went long the market.
Since gold was up a bit early this morning, could be the 12,928 intraday high of May 2 to yesterday's interim low of 12,342 and change may be done, so my downside bet is off the table, for now.
THIS IS NOT TRADING ADVICE. I'm just testing out my theory "If you give one monkey a good supply of money and an E*Trade account, how long before he has back to back winners and decides to open a hedge fund?" I'm playing the part of monkey.
The New York Sun has noticed that "Selling gold at Fort Knox emerges as Next Big question in debate on Federal Debt Limit," and I'm not sure I read the part right about Ron Paul endorsing the idea? What's he to be...our version of the Gordo Brown who sold off the crown's Britgold at about as near the bottom as you could get? Hmmm....
The Blame Game
T-Sec Geithner says the "GOP will bear responsibility for default" if they don't go along with the plans to raise the national debt ceiling.
You ever notice how with all the different bills that could be drafted and passed in Washington, the one thing that gets passed most often is blame? We get it before, during, and after almost everything.
The rabid right and the drooling lefties keep it up, not realizing that Haves are using them both to work over us Have-Nots. But it sells pairs of ears and eyeballs for those media magnates who we suspise are in cahoots with the Haves which they want to be part of themselves, o' course.
Transparency in Action
Free press? Where? I thought such decisions were for editors, not politicos, but I must have missed the memo on this...
Although start figures weren't too good in the Tuesday Housing report, the latest from the Mortgage Bankers Association this morning sounded a tad more upbeat (but read the highlight):
With gold up in the pre-open, and FOMC Minutes this afternoon, look for the market to bounce up nicely. Also, Target beating estimates helps, too.
About Them Lumber Prices
I hadn't thought about this, but you don't suppose the US War Effort/Full Employment for Military-Eligible Persons is the reason lumber prices are so high, do you?
I'll put it out there for readers in the New Colonies to fill us in...any really good, knot-free 2 by 4's in the sand box? Stuff over here ain't worth kindling.
OK, this is down on my list of "freaky how things work out" for the year. Remember, the predictive linguistics out of www.halfpasthuman.com have been predicting that we would have a huge rise in language related to "Alien Invasion" plans?
HOLY CRAP! Here you go: This Sunday night National Geographic is presenting what the real government and real planners will do "WHEN ALIENS ATTACK."
As we've pointed out uncountable times - it doesn't matter in predictive linguini whether an event shows up as real or is simply voiced...and in this case, I'd just as soon have the Alien Attack meta set from the "Space Goat Farts" meta set be vocalized/virtualized because as an overweight biped, I'd just as soon not be tossed into Vogon stew, thanks.
Georgia on My Freezer
May have been 'on my mind' at one point, but now it's 'on my record books' says our erstwhile Reader in that part of the Hinterlands...
Same kind of weather oddities in many places. Panama wandered through the office yesterday and said "Notice how there's almost no humidity this year? Cold, too...Damn that Global Warming..."
48º degrees in the greenhouse last night.
Up in Washington State, one of the indicators of how warm - or cold - the real climate is can be inferred (though certainly not blessed) by looking at the Opening dates of the "Little Alps of North America" road, State Route 20 - the North Cascades Highway.
Crews are trying to open the road in time for Memorial Day and sometime after May 27th is a safe bet...how much after is anyone's guess.
Last year, the highway was opened on April 16th, in 2009 it was April 24th. And an early opening? Try March 10th back in '05. and in 1977 the road wasn't closed at all. On the other hand, in 1972 the road didn't open until September.
Obviously no major conclusions can be drawn from the data on the highway's opening dates kept here, but something to think about as you glance nervously at Not by Fire but by Ice.
Lights in America Going Out
I didn't know this - I must have been living under a rock - but did you know that new federal regulations going into effect this January 1st will bar the sale of 100 watt incandescent bulb? GripMe!
And then, a year or so later, the rest of the lighting changes out.
Worth a read - ,and directly related - is the Op Ed in the Washington Examiner which carried the story back in 2009...
Another example of how radical control freaks are taking a lot of personal choice off the table and substituting their own values. Way I figure it is simple: If I have the money, and the price of electricity is the price, if I want to buy broad spectrum clean incandescent lights why not?
Instead of letting price dictate choice in the free market, government has fallen into the hands of corporate manipulistas who are finding ways to close down American jobs and send them to least-cost labor centers where profits are higher. Such a scam.
Elaine & I watched "Fat Head" last night. It's on NetFlix now - and it's a documentary that takes the other side of the documentary "Super-Size Me" and rips it a new one. As Fathead points out, the rise in a lot of disease rates has come as artificial oils - never a part of human diets of antiquity which our DNA grew up on - may have more to do with rising cancer and other diseases.
Moreover, it makes the point that there's little correlation between lipid levels and heart attacks. The issue there is inflammation.
But the REAL point of the documentary is about how the vegetarian crowd has seized control of food-thinking and how government has been involved because the 'food pyramid' just happens to correlate with what's easiest to farm, not necessarily what humans used to really eat - which was hardly any sugars, almost not grain/starches - and, oh, no canola oil and so forth.
Won't bore you with it - your head is either open to another take on the data, or it's not. But the main thing to be aware of is the design pattern of getting an interest group and then twisting up a bunch of followers and marching off in a scientifically unsupportable direction. Or, as in the case of light bulbs, mandating people change lights and making them halfway around the world only.
My gout attack happened when I put carbbies / grains back in my diet, not before. And as for the lights? Sense is that maybe a similar group-think is in play - for profit, of course.
Important stuff to ponder as the [incandescent] lights are about to go off in America.
Coping: Life as an Analogist
Being laid up for several days is always a good thing, despite the pain of gout in my case, or whatever happens to sideline you. It gives a person some opportunity to try on new modes of thinking.
Curiously, most people don't appreciate the fine distinction between the body which can be going through all kinds of pain on the one hand (gout sends regular messages delivered by bulldozer about this every few seconds) and the continued well-being of the inner 'self' which seems to have a whole different kind of wellness criteria. The gout, creeping crude, or whatever gives rise to the pains of the physical body are nothing compared to the impact of ill-words, deeds, or feelings on the inner self.
After going through the usual checklist of 'inner self' kinds of healthcare (detachment, forgive, etc.) there's plenty of time left over for dreaming - or as the point I'll eventually get to this morning - trying on new ways of thinking.
The thing I enjoy doing most - and it seems to help my getting a very good broad grasp of any subject - is to come up with lots of analogies to describe the topic.
For example, take two topics: golf and writing, for example, and work up as good an analogy as you can between the two topics. For example:
Sitting in bed with client calls going to voicemail and only being up for a few hours gives a person many hours to look at new ways of thinking about things and trying on various analogies is one of the best uses of time I've come up with because it empowers a person to see different 'design patterns' - a high tech way of expressing the 'analogies in life' concept.
It all makes up what I've been calling my "Substitution Method of Learning" what has been so useful over the years. If you haven't explored the archives of UrbanSurvival, I read of an application of the "Substitute Method of Learning" can be found in a mid-2001 report I did ["Electric Economics: A Paradigm for Capitalism"]. There, the analogy was to basic laws of electricity
Here's a bit of how that can be used to more readily understand economics since electricity lends itself well to analogies such as rules of hydraulics. Logically, if electricity has analogs in hydraulics, why not economics?
If you want to increase your capacity to comprehend the nuances of a wide range of topics, a good short-cut may be to spend lots of time on analogies.
Whenever I am learning a new topic (solar irradiance currently) the task is made ever-so-much easier with my life-long analogy tool kit which began with wave heights that resulted from throwing a rock into a calm pond. That answered radio wave field strength calculations, sure enough, and (with a different exponent) dispersal rates of complex organic gasses at play when someone farts in your vicinity.
Sailing is therefore simple after figuring out airfoils of aircraft, which is to say chord lines, angles of attack, stall speeds, and so forth, while problems of metal turning on a lathe are nearly analogous to wood lathe operations.
Soon, your analogy toolkit is large enough so that you can pretty much do anything because you can quickly comprehend anything. Life becomes a curiously nested series of recipes.
Once you've got enough recipes & analogies collected, learning additional information is a simple test-fitting against the problem at hand.
Readers occasionally write and ask open-ended questions like "How do you know so much?"
Truth is, I don't. But what little I do know forms a useful base for figuring out new problems so instead of staring endlessly into the face of a new body of knowledge, I try to walk around it, test-fitting this rule set, or that, from my collection.
Quickly, getting new knowledge is not the issue. Mental discipline to stay on task becomes the problem because there's so much interesting stuff to be gained from the test-fitting process.
A few words to launch an idea in your direction. About the equivalent of a decent #2 wood on what seems like a decent course. Whether it lands in the rough and you can't find it, or whether it was a hole in one, is totally up to you.
I'm just hitting a few buckets word-balls here. I'm not so much attention-deficit as time-deficient....
Forest Fire-Fighting 102
Had a most excellent email from a long-term reader who offered these observations after I recounted my adventures on tractorback getting my Texas Junior Forest Firefighter Badge described in yesterday's column:
Excuses and Justifications Dept: If we were fighting the fire on foot, I would totally agree. And thanks for sharing because I will make sure to pass on to all in the neighborhood including the fire chief, the words of advice.
I will forgive myself for being on the outside of the black while on the tractor: I was trying to make sure the tires didn't catch fire. Besides, when I thought about it, it wasn't going to be possible to get a line around the outside of the fire from on the inside, but on foot it could be done...and you're right about staying on the used up fuel side!
World Ending Saturday
Several readers have asked me to comment on the various groups that seem to be expecting "rapture out" sometime Saturday May 21.
People are welcome to their beliefs and all, but I expect the lawn will still be here - with me to mow it - come the 22nd.
On the Other Hand...
This reader has been watching some interesting data points:
On the alignments, that might fit in with major earthquake action, and on C/2010 X1 (Elenin) I'm not too freaked out because at the moment the PCA (point of closest approach) seems to be October 15th and it will be .232 AU's (astronomical units) from Earth.
Since an astronomical unit is one Earth-Sun distance (93-million miles is an easy number to remember), that means the closest it will get to Earth ought to be 21.576 million miles.
That's 90.43 times further away than the Moon is from Earth, and while there's always a chance that we'll get a closer shave, like the rapture outlook for Saturday, I expect to be around to mow the lawn next year, too.
Of course the caveat is "If lawns grow in the new Texas Himalayas..." or whether it'll grow underwater in "The New Marianas of Texas..."
I was looking for a nice upbeat way to round out this morning's column when once again, the I-Ching Inbox delivered salvation under the subject line:
Wrote the senders back that I already had worked out a similar system myself.
I call it called Bank Robbery.
Tuesday May 17, 2011
"Name That Crater" Day
Always the optimist, I like to begin Tuesdays looking for some good news. This morning's first stop in this question was the Census/HUD residential construction report. I've highlighted it, so if you read just my highlights the big picture will quickly come into focus...
So we've risen to the challenge of "Name that Crater Day". It's not Wormwood, although one third of the oceans going bitter between the GOM and Fukushima seems to be playing along to that part of the script. The real crater is housing - at least for now.
The Housing Crater was large enough to suck in the modest gold rally that was going on earlier. At byte-me-time (as opposed to press time back when) the crater consumed almost $10 of gold which means (maybe) a down opening for the market.
Big Mysteries Dept: So if housing is in the toilet and in mid-flush, how come lumber prices haven't come down a hell of a lot more? Treated wood for my carport/truckport about busted me. Well, not quite, but you know what I'm sayin...ain't no 'supply-demand' - it's all demand lately - as in demand for more money.... Did I ever expect to live long enough to see "Investment-Grade 2 by 4's"? Hell no...
Cooked Humans, I
I suppose you're aware that two more reactors at the Fukushima nuclear site have apparently suffered at least partial meltdowns?
Cooked Humans, II
Remember a while back, we raised the question of the safety of those full body scanners being used by TSA? Well, more to it now as a group of five scientists have sent a letter to TSA questioning why the machines have not been more publicly tested.
One of the questions? When there's an 'area of interest" detected, how does the scanner software work? In other words, if these machine have relatively low doses, do they go to higher dose rates if there's something of interest to look at? Hmmm...
Well, we're not going to hold our breath for any prompt reply, terrorism has been - at least since 9/11 - more about economic manipulations than...oh we don't want to go there.
But It IS All About Oil & Money
I'm not going on half-cocked on this. The McClatchy newspaper group's story "WikiLeaks cables show that it was all about the oil..." And how so? Well, this little morsel ought to prompt you to read their whole report:
A very highly recommended read...and the insight into the Big Oil Game is important.
I happened to catch al Jazeera television for a few minutes last night. Found it interesting that they are referring to the whole stew of troubles in Libya, Syria, and so forth as the "Arab Revolution" - most interesting contexting.
Meantime, the story that the "US alarmed by David Cameron's push for early Afghanistan withdrawal" has several important dimensions to it if you've got your conspiracy hat on. Either this means the Brits' PTB want more of the drug haul OR they're thinking that Libyan oil is in reach...
The 'cover' story is minimally that the 'special relationship' between the Brits & Uncle is in trouble - but we knew that plain-as-day from looking at the royals weddy-invite list, yah?
Hand me another cynical pill, while you're at it?
The IMF chief is chilling this morning at Rikers Island today after being turned down in his bid to make bail after being charged with a list of sex crimes.
Interesting take on this out of the UK's Mail Online: "IMF chief 'feared political opponent would pay a woman more than $1m to allege rape..." Wonder how much they would have had to pay to get his sperm to leave at the scene and how that would have worked? We'll have to see how all the piece fit, but it's a dandy.
If I were teaching a forensic economics class, one good class question might be: Who would benefit most from the IMF being brought to its knees (ahem...in a manner of speaking...). Send me the possibilities so we can compile them...
Jerry Lewis is planning this year's MDA Telethon to be his last after 45-years.
Coping: With Wild Fires
Of all the topics which are covered in survival books, I stumbled smack into one yesterday which I haven't seen hardly anything written about and yet when you think back on the plethora of Western movies which you have probably watched by now, it's one topic which comes up as both a strategic tool as well as an occurrence of nature.
I speak of wild fires. The scene-setter is that Monday morning about 10:30, I was in my office finishing up the last of this & thats before heading back to the rack to nurse the sore knee which kept me bedridden Saturday & Sunday with gout. Elaine wandered by my office and said with a rising bit of tension in her voice "George...come out here...I smell smoke..."
I did - and sure enough - her cat-like sense of smell had detected wood smoke and pain aside, a minute later I'd hoisted myself onto my tractor and was headed up the hill to find the source of the smoke which was to the northwest of our property.
Our neighbor to the southwest dropped by - he'd smelled the smoke and went up a road to the west looking for the source...
I went as far as the neighbor's place, but it became obvious from there that indeed there was a fire in the woods. Sizing up the tractor, I decided to return to our place and gear up - putting the jagged rip-teeth on the bucket of the front loader - which took about 4-minutes with air tools and help from Panama, my brother-in-law. Then I got on the phone with the local assistant fire chief & suggested he come by and help me look for the source of the smoke. Since he knew "Where there's smoke..." he brought a rig from the fire house with him.
By then, the folks across the road (Steve & his wife, one on of their kids) had come home and they'd headed over to the source of the smoke. He and she were down along with the other neighbor, and they were opening up a hole in a barbed wire fence so we could get equipment through.
Then the up-hill neighbor Steve and I got our tractors in and went to work. Here are a couple of snaps Panama took between fire-swattings with his shovel..
I started pushing over low stuff and Steve had his brush-hog on - and since he was on a much bigger tractor, by putting the brush-hog down on the ground, he could pretty much blow a fire break on an as-you-go basis that was 6-8 feet wide. I could get the small stuff and we went to work on the down wind and uphill sides of the fire.
It wasn't too much later that the assistant fire chief showed up with the 4-by-4 brush truck with a couple of hundred gallons of water and he & Panama got to work hitting the hot spots downwind and since we didn't know how the winds were going to develop, assistant chief Perkins had called in another local rig and back-up from the Texas Forest Service which showed up in less than a half-hour and TFS brought in a good-sized bulldozer with a 8-foot blade - and then we were set for pretty much anything:
A Few Notes on Tactics
When dealing with a forest fire, though, you've got two categories. Grounded fires and "crowning." Grounded fires (like the one we had) aren't too bad, that is, if you don't mind the tears from smoke and risks that come with working equipment on unfamiliar ground with restricted visibility. The "crowning" fires are really, really bad...that's where the ground fire managed to get up into the forest canopy and the only way to fight that kind of fire is to start falling trees to build a barrier large enough that the fire can't jump crown to crown.
In the picture above, what I was doing was pushing a dead tree over because it was leading the fire up into the crown area.
I'm no expert on fire-fighting - besides what rubbed off from family and reporting days - but the general "order of battle" for a grounded fire that made sense for us was:
All in all, we were lucky. There'd been a spit & promise of rain on Saturday and as best the professionals could figure it, there'd likely been a lightning strike in the woods Saturday night and it smoldered for a day or two before the right (or wrong) combination of heat, wind, and fuel turned in into a real fire.
Fire's a constant threat in the outback - and you can see what it looks like above after it's more or less out. It does a fine job of cleaning out low brush. Besides the danger of fire itself, it also reminds us how important good neighbors are, Steve, his wife, a daughter of theirs, neighbor Dan to the southwest, the assistant fire chief Perkins, and the Texas Forest Service are.
Kept it at 3-5 acres in size, but with our part of Texas 6" behind in average rainfall, it could easily have been worse.
Keeping about 300 feet of garden hose and having not one but two 5-pound dry chem extinguishers in my office doesn't sound nearly as paranoid today. Adding another couple in the house this week...
Of all the things I was expecting to happen on Monday, working on my Junior Forest Fire Badge was not on the list. But, Life's that way; serves up adventure whether you're ready or not. Gout doesn't seem too much worse for the wear.
When adventure shows up unexpectedly, sometimes all you can do is open up your spare can of whupp-ass and get it on.
Gout & Farmer's Rout
Thanks to all who sent in gout treatments and ideas - I will try to get them all compiled and put into an ebook. Got enough of them it could run 50-pages with commentary. Kidding, of course.
But amongst the notes was this one which goes to the other side of the drought problem:
And that's why - if it's not clear yet, why we've been telling folks to get a garden in.
And a good idea off the 2-meter ham net last night: Even if you didn't get a garden in, if you shop the grocery specials you can often do very well canning goods that are on sale.
Like Pappy used to say "Vegetables are one of the few things in life that are best when they're cheapest..."
Monday May 16, 2011
The Head of the I.M.F. Did What?
So the managing director of the International Monetary Fund is yanked off an airplane in New York as he's about to skip out for Europe, accused of sexual assault on a hotel maid. This is due to be in court later today in New York. For now, only accusations.
But, now that one's out, there may be a pile-on: A French writer claims the IMF chief acted like a 'rutting chimpanzee; in an attack alleged to have taken place nine years ago as revealed by the UK Guardian.
But despite the 'happy-talk' being pressed around by the financial press handlers, the British market was down 0.85% while Germany and France were down more than 1 percent. Cause and effect? No doubt they'll be cobbled up...or a good effort put on.
The dollar meanwhile continues to hold the strength found last week and that could put pressure on markets this morning under the notion that markets are now almost as much a reflection of currency swings as they are rational expectations of returns via dividends and such.
Not A Pretty Outlook
But this - from Robin Handler's Options Signal Service - is certainly sobering to contemplate:
If you've leaped to the logical next step "Oh-oh...double dip recession..." you wouldn't be alone. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner predicts it'll come if congress doesn't lift the debt ceiling.
Lemme see if I got this right: In financial trouble and we go to the money mafia for "help"?
Here's a reader supplied picture that sums it all up neatly:
Nice one...thanks reader Mark!
The Weak Ahead
Empire Manufacturing report was released a few minutes ago by the NY FRB and it looks like this:
"...conditions for New York manufacturers improved in May, but at a slower pace than in April...."
Tomorrow a few housing numbers and industrial production and utilization from the Fed. And then come the FOMC minutes on Wednesday. Why it takes so long to get these out is something of a mystery. Maybe I should offer them a copy of DragonSpeaking...
Sun Disease: Them Curious Power Issues
There's something a bit odd about the outbreak of power outages over the last couple of days. There have been a lot of them. I-15 was shut down by a transformer fire up in the Las Vegas area. There was a transformer fire at Georgia power station late last week. And how about this one in Alabama? Or, this one in New Zealand.
Although a Grand Rapids apartment fire wasn't directly caused by a transformer fire, news reports have it that "Power in the area was out at the time due to a transformer that was damaged earlier."
Then there was the rash of power outages from Thursday and over the weekend. We had a power outage here at the ranch, although only for about 5-mimnutes or so. Still, that's rare enough an occurrence that we noticed and it wasn't particularly bad weather which was odd.
Around the nation, more of the same: In Warren Township Lindenhurst up in Lake County Illinois. A state prison in Nebraska had a power outage. 5,300 customers of a power company up in Lawrence, Kansas were without power for a while this weekend.
And what's seeming like a flurry of power outages also hit in Venezuela where the nation's biggest refinery complex was hit with an outage.
Just out of curiosity I went over to the University of Alaska website to look at the induction magnetometer readings. What I found was a huge increase in magnetic activity from about midday Thursday (18:00 UTC) through Friday around 04:00 UTC.
But - what's even more interesting, is that when I tried to print up one of the spectral displays for including in this discussion, seems HAARP now is actively preventing any printing/copy/pasting of their magnetometer images, which is - pardon me for noting this - just a little too coincidental.
I'm working on a special report for Peoplenomics this coming weekend since the changes going on related to the sun may be much more significant that people give credence to.
Floods and Floods
In the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Times is keeping an eye on flood warning up for Washington and Idaho. Near Olympia nearly 2-inches in 24-hours was reported by the Chief Time Monk Hisself. May explain his fascination with boatbuilding...
The Morganza spill way was opened some this weekend, and a reader offered this local perspective:
And not very appetizing food at that...
Missing City Department
Slave Lake, Alberta: Mostly destroyed - hundreds of homes and businesses - by a massive wildfire over the weekend.
Summer of Hell: Israel - Syria Goes Hot
16 people are reported dead as a huge showdown is developing in the annexed Golan Heights area where demonstrators are trying to flee toward Lebanon.
Lebanon has been conducting a security crackdown and people wanting out don't have much of anywhere to go except Lebanon, hence the flare up today.
Gaddafi: War Crimes?
The International Criminal Court (ICC) will be discussing a 74-page document later today which outlines allegations of war crimes against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
You may have caught recently that former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei was suggesting the ICC that former president George Bush be put on trial for war crimes in how the US took over Iraq.
I'm no fan of Gaddafi, but can't we be frank here? Isn't his major crime not giving up his oil?
If you are over at a friends place on the third floor of an apartment building and suddenly have a compulsion to climb outside while your friend rolls video on your (stupidity) antics, that's what the latest vid craze seems to be.
Only question is how much like lemmings can humans be as social and environmental pressures are raised?
Coping: With a Weekend in Bed
Best laid plans, mice, and all that stuff. Our departure for Tennessee is being pushed back a few days thanks to a massive gout attack. What had happened was Elaine had gone shopping Thursday and while leaping into the back seat of the car to fetch bag-after-bag, I managed to push my kneecap back about an inch or so further than it was designed to be.
Friday, it hurt a bit but it was kinda like one of those high school football/soccer injuries - you just tough it out.
Well, alongs comes Saturday morning and I could barely get the weekend Peoplenomics out. World o'hurt.
So I slept about 24-hours straight from Saturday morning till Sunday morning, and then after about 4-hours of 'up time' I was back into the rack.
The usual assortment of medications applied: I-RICE (Ibuprofen, rest, ice, compression, elevation, colchicine, cherry juice, celery, and just in case, some MMS creme and I've lost track of what-all.
This morning, the only thing I needed help with was putting the sock on the 'bad' leg's foot.
While I'm on the mend today, I figure another two or three days of staying off the leg are in order, so I've got to push back Oak Ridge to next Wednesday...
One thing good about excruciating pain is you don't feel like eating. I have managed to get down to the 200 pound barrier and if the swelling ever goes down, I figure I'll be well under it. And as long as I'm dieting, no reason not to keep going.
A friend of mine found that having teeth pulled (to get ready for chompers) worked marvels in weight-loss, too. He dropped 35 pounds when his uppers were pulled. This getting older stuff ain't for sissies.
The healthy foods (no red meat, no alcohol, nothing fried, lots of fluids, plenty of veggies and V-8 juice and so forth) has elevated my thinking to a new level of clarity. I'm expecting enlightenment just any minute now.
Thanks to new technology, being confined to bed is much neater than it used to be. Once upon a time, spending that much time in bed would have resulted in a small library being brought it, along with a rack of electronics. Now, an Android tablet to keep tabs on this & thats online and a stuffed-to-the-gills Kindle Reader and presto! No mess.
Ill health is not something I talk about often but it's a fact of life but how you deal with it is a matter of choice. Other than the lesson "Ice knee immediately like Elaine suggested immediately when kneecap is shoved toward foot..." I have not idea what the Lesson of Life is that's hidden in all this; we all call events into our lives according to some script that we don't get to look at directly.
Maybe my lesson something real simple and obvious like: "You don't get to have fun all the time, Ure."
So as soon as this morning's column is posted, I'm going to hit the shower, lay down again, and convince myself that gout really is fun.
Word this morning that scientists in the UK are going to market with a new DNA test that will tell you how long you have to live ($565 roughly) would sure take a lot of the adventure out of life. Half the fun is not knowing when exit time comes up, or to put it another way: If you could know the exact moment of your death, would you really want to know?
Since we're getting close to the Geiger-counter-when-shopping period, this is of note: I got a note from Rhone at Everlasting Seeds which is of interest:
Something of note (having used Everlasting Seeds and others). Not a problem with Rhone's seeds, but wow, some of the store-bought seeds sure seem to have rotten germination rates this year. Coincidence? I dunno...
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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