A One Man Economic Daily Newspaper about the Second Depression in near real-time...
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Holiday Reader Notes:
Before we jump into the headlines this morning, a couple of notes about the long holiday weekend: Saturday, www.peoplenomics.com will be on schedule, and ditto Sunday. Our in-depth report Sunday, by the way is about "The Last Days of Cash" where we ask embarrassing questions like "What's digital counterfeiting?" and other mind-stretchers. Monday will be just another day around here since the metals markets will be open in some places and I suppose "no rest for the wicked..." which explains why I'm so tired all the time. We hope you have a great weekend and share some of the things you've learned here like "Friends don't let friends trade options."
If you're going to get tanked today, the average for regular is $3.809 per Triple A's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That's up 38 percent from last year's $2.795 at this same time. But no, there's no inflation; nothing to see here...move along...
A Matter of Judgment
The price of gold is up this morning, or at least it was at press-time. What's more, the US dollar was down a bit in early trading, all of which should result in a short pop to the upside when the market opens this morning.
I've explained the theory, often enough: Dollar goes down, which presses Gold up, which presses Treasuries down, which means their Yield goes up, which throttles down the business prospects, which then depresses consumer confidence which drops spending which....well, it becomes circular at some point.
Although down a tad (as I usually am in trades at first) I still expect the market to give one more good upside pop before we start the Big Slide again.
Our first stop on the Yellow Brick Road today is personal income and expenditure numbers from the government:
Your results may vary, lol.
The British measure of consumer confidence was reported to have made its biggest jump in 18-years which, as you might expect, which was like crack to the monkeys of the City of London as the British market climbed off Wednesday's lows.
There's a Michigan sentiment indicator due out this morning, but I might nap through that one.
Japan's 25-month string of deflation ended in their latest reporting month. Funny what a mega quake, serial meltdowns and a printing press can do when people put their minds to price hiking....
I expect my 3:1 levered bullish position in the US market will do fine in the coming week, or so...especially when the monthly 401 cash inflows start to show up in money manager paws early next week...
Those thunderstorms which wrecked the middle of the country moved on east and ABC reports three dead from storms in Georgia, as a result.
The flooding in Quebec isn't getting as much play as the Mississippi River valley, but real enough up there.
The Hispanic population of the US is now over 50-million, notes the Financial Times.
I'm scheming to move to the Caribbean Riviera of Mexico's east coast, which I figure in another couple of years will be completely empty.
10 Chernobyl's Worth
OpEd News asks a very important question: "Is Fukushima now ten Chernobyls into the sea?"
It's like Clif wrote a good while back: We're all dead, we just don't know it yet.
I just know there's a marketing lesson in here somewhere about "setting customer expectations to high..." Always better to under-promise and over-deliver....
Mysteries of the Deep
That Air France flight that went down in the mid Atlantic killing 228 people may come down to a faulty speed sensor and not recovering from a stall while trying to climb to avoid turbulence. Even at flight level 380, 3½ minutes of free-fall in a stall may be unrecoverable...
Tea Party: The Rebranded G.O.P.?
At some point we have to come to our senses about the Tea Party. Yes, it had a chance, but according to the Think Progress site, guess what happened when the fresh crop of newbies went to Washington? All lot of those promises to "end earmarks" just sort of went away as the story at "After promising to End Earmarks, Tea Party Freshmen Hog Defense Pork" points out.
No, things don't necessarily go better with Koch...they actually seem to go the same way.... Ah, branding the magic of branding...and NewThink, too.
Elaine observed the other day "Notice how Jesus is referred to as the good shepherd of 'his flock'? Kinda says something about people being sheep, doesn't it?" Good point. Guess change is slower than I thought.
A reader signed an email t'other day: "Fighting Public Ignorance since 1984. It's taking longer than I expected..." A LOT longer....
Politics - As Usual
Lemme see: A reader says he's worried that Texguv Rick Perry might run for Prez is a bit frightening: "The idea of President GoodHair is a bit much..."
Tisk, tisk, no ad hominem attacks, please, this is a high-class operation. Or, nearly so...
But as long as we're on hair, Sarah Palin is due to make her bid official next week.
We Hate to Be Picky Dept.
...BUT now that the (mis-named) Patriot Act has been passed by congress, we noticed that Politico.com made the point the bill will be signed into law by an autopen.
I hate to be a nuisance about such details, but don't the nation's framing documents demand and specific that laws be signed by the President?
The way I'm thinking about this, and autopen however useful for signing dinner invitations and what-have-you, when applied to actual legal documents could be problematic.
My broker J.B. took time off between trades yesterday to send me a Boston Channel 7 story by their investigative team under the headline "Hank Investigations: Mortgage Documents." The issue in that story is that some several dozen different handwriting styles are all signed on mortgage documents "Linda Green" and it may be enough to toss into question how valid those mortgage docs are.
Seems to be that automated name-signing is one of the most dangerous things out there as it can give rise to all kinds of legal questions. Back in the day when I was a college president/ and vp, I resisted the temptation to use a "name stamp" for signing off on things like student loan documents and what have you. Lots of colleagues leaped into getting 'name stamps" but I always worried that such stamps could be misused & abused.
Like in the mortgage industry. And, by extension, if a machine signed a law, isn't it invalid?
Seems to me that if we're a nation under law that the laws ought to be solidly and uniformly applied. Even when "dis-convenient" to the Executive/Ruling class. Otherwise, we're not really under law. Just a charade - so half-baked impressionistic knock-off.
But then you knew that much, I suppose.
Word out of the Detroit News Thursday that the Transportation Department was planning to make "black boxes" mandatory on cars has spurred me to come up with a whole new industry which should be of interest to the Security State combine which runs Washington nowadays.
The DOT idea is simplicity itself: Few a few dollars, an onboard computer could record about 30 seconds of data leading up to an accident. Vehicle speed, direction, orientation (presumably) and so forth. So investigators could learn more about auto crashes.
Now, you have to understand we live in a data-crazed world. There are really only three outcomes from any accident: No injury, injury, or death. Don't need a computer to figure that one out.
More importantly, if one car is southbound in the southbound lanes, and collides with a car northbound which is also in the southbound lanes then in GeorgeLand, the cause of the accident is apparent, even without adding the computational horsepower proposed.
Still, the Event Data Recorders (EDR's) would be a fine tool to be disputed by the ambulance-chasing lawyers, and it could give rise to a whole new crop of "expert witnesses."
But frankly, they're missing the boat by not taking the concept far enough! What about requiring a much more sophisticated EDR which would record GPS location and vehicle speed? That way, you could require people to mail in one EDR while a second EDR is installed. The mailed-in unit would be analyzed by a super-computer and any speeding tickets, failure to slow to 25 in a school zone (location, timestamp, speed, eh?) could all be neatly calculated.
Of course, that wouldn't have any impact on police employment either, since traffic units that once sat by the roadside could be repurposed to pull over vehicles which didn't have an EDR installed, plus don't forget we could ramp up Seatbelt SWAT Teams if people weren't infringing enough on posted speeds.
As I've explained many times: Peace is simply unaffordable in a constant-growth socioeconomic model, so something has to grow which is the ugly Truth of Matters that Orwell stumbled onto.
Once upon a time there was a notion that a spouse couldn't be compelled to testify against you. But nothing was ever said about your car, your cellphone, your telephone company, your ISP, your Library, your grocery store, or now: Your car.
(more after this...)
Coping: Helping in Joplin, Part 3
With more killer tornados touching down, overnight in Georgia, we continue to be impressed with efforts of The American Red Cross. If you'd like to make a donation, it's right up at the top of our gifting list now, along with the local food bank. Their online donations page is here.
My son, who's been on the ground in Joplin since Monday
with his team out of the Pacific Northwest, spent yesterday doing more distribution of (medical) supplies to the urban search and rescue teams (USART's) and getting food, water, blankets and basics out to the communities around the strike zone.
The number of missing was down to 232 in Thursday's report and with teams out continuing to go through debris fields, that number should be down substantially again in today's report.
Today, he's in one of the shelters where there are several hundred people with the usual assortment of injuries (mostly minor, thankfully) from things like scraping wreckage and such.
A short text came in about midnight last night: "I am in the back at the intense patient care area. Dealing with real medicine. Already I have sent someone to the ER with an MI and I have not been here very long." I assume you know an "MI" is a myocardial infarction/heart attack.
The amazing thing about the response is that the people in shelter are back under an umbrella of medical care perhaps nearing the level of coverage they might have had prior to the tornados. With all the ARC emergency worker training in at least CPR and Basic First Aid, except for the Seattle home of the legendary Medic One program, I can't think of a much better place for someone to have chest pains.
Around The Ranch: Oilman 2 Moves Up
Pleased to report one of our sources who keeps us apprised of what's really going on in the 'oil patch' is close to closing on some property just a few hoops and a holler down the road from us. We talked yesterday a bit and he related that the people in the Palestine/Crocket area were just about the friendliest bunch he'd seen in years. Not at all like the 'big city' (Houston & environs) which has succumbed to "You're just a number-itis."
"I was walking around Crocket & people actually waved..." Well, yes, folks in the Outback do that sort of thing. And, if you run into someone you know at the store, it usually more than the big-city nod; there's a lot more emphasis on people-time.
One place you see it is going to town. One the roads in the Outback, traffic is thin enough that after a year, or so, you begin to recognize folks by their vehicle and everyone waves within 10-miles, or so, of home, except inside the city limits where you only wave to about every 7th or 8th car if it's someone you recognize.
'There's a small - but non zero chance - that we'll get together one of these days for a cold one, now that the weather has warmed into the 90's and such things as 'cold ones' can finally be justified.
My main question for him is "What's the real deal on Peak Oil...and what's the water cut trend?"
Lots of people on the net talk about abiotic oil and other fanciful ideas that seem to do away with fears of Peak Oil. But the reality is abiotic processes can't operate anywhere near to replacement need and if global cooling comes along, as it seems to be, that'll just speed up going into the decline of oil as more energy is needed for light, power, and fertilizer.
My suspicion is that Peak Oil is still out there and that as water cut goes up, net energy will go down. Sure, oil sands and such will help, but the total number of humans isn't going down and as long as the number of humans is rising, the demand for calories isn't going to drop, regardless of all the talk on the internet.
Peak Oil isn't getting much press lately; wild tornado seasons, quakes in places like Japan and the turning of the Pacific Ocean into a gigantic cooling pond have pressed it out of the headlines. But it's pretty clear, as in this 2009 article from Economic Outlook that depletion is still ticking, and is very much a factor in - or at least behind - current-day headlines.
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The "Real" End of the World
I'm sure there are bound to be a few people disappointed that the 'world ending' apparently (since we're reading this) didn't happen yesterday. And to those true believer types who were planning to be "raptured out" - avoiding this year's tax bill, all I can say is "Sorry, but we're here, too..." But there is a consolation prize: The possible end of the world in the spring of 2013. March, or so, for the first part of the 'great blink out' and then May/June'ish to finish off the event. But let's back up a little and start with some additional details about that "Data Gap" in predictive linguistics from www.halfpasthuman.com, since they get an above chance number of 'hits' on what's out there in our future. To make The End even more fun to prep for: Cash is being outlawed right in front of our faces...
Cookies Can Be Trouble
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 26, 2011
A Fugly Problem: GDP
Yeah, you read it right - fugly - a slangerific hot word meaning 'effing ugly' among its users who are most likely younger than you and me. And what makes this morning's GDP Report qualify?
"Not great, Ure, but not the end of the world..."
Well, yes, in a sense it is: comparing the GDP to the nation's money supply gives (at a gross level) an indication of inflation. If money supply is going up much faster than GDP, then you've got the seeds of inflation. If money sup0ply dries up then the opposite holds.
Which gets us to now: Prices are going up - but on average less than the implied monetary inflation rate.
You could think of it this way: If GDP is up only 1.8 percent as in this morning's report from BEA, but at the same time we know that M1 is up a whopping 11.8 percent in the past year, and the general prevailing price level is up maybe 3.41 percent, where's the other 6.59% going?
Answer: systemic inflation characteristic of Great Depressions. You know, like this one.
Which explains the lack of jobs. And speaking of which...
The good news is what? Well on matters economic, hard to come up with any. The situation is just fugly.
Terrorism: In China?
Three government buildings were the target of explosives in eastern China overnight. Several things are remarkable about the event: One is that it was covered by state media. Two, that it underscores the domestic pressures building in 'China, and three: None of the reports I read called it 'terrorism.'
Not saying I read everything on the story that's out there. It's just China hasn't monetized Terrorism and turned it into an economic policy tool like the West has. So in that part of the world, the cause is likely to be criminals, thugs, dissidents or other local label.
In the West you know what the label would be..."Terrorism! Everyone run from street!...and no doubt that labeling would be accompanied with yet more intrusive search & seizure rules...more no bid contracts and...well, you got the picture... which gets us to our next item...
Texas Caves to TSA
Been an interesting show of 'federal force' going on in Austin. Story is that the Texas state House passed a bill which would have banned TSA from doing aggressive pat-downs (like genital gropes) absent probable cause.
As you'd expect, that didn't sit too well with with TSA which sent a communiqué via a number of US Attorneys General that said, in so many words "If Texas does this, we'll yank all air traffic control and canel flights to Texas..."
Now it comes to light that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (or was it the doings of one-time bill sponsor state senator Dan Partick(?).
This whole case is being touted by the Texas Nationalist Movement as being an example of Neville Chamberlain-style appeasement as their site headline "The Feds Came For It and Texas Gave It."
Honestly, I was a bit surprised at thje lack of gumption by the state lawmakers.
The obvious response to an airline cancellation threat would be a simple turn-about it fair play: Texas could pull oil and gas exports to the US, cancel beef sales, and no more photos of the Dallas Cheerleaders. That'd fix 'em....
Of course the feds would have escalated by threatening highway or education funding, maybe both. But then would have come the obvious push-back on that: "Ya'll still want income tax revenue?"
For now, crisis averted...sort of.
Actions Speak Louder, Dept.
Texas guv'ner Rick Perry is "rethinking his pledge not to run for president..."
Why imagine that! A politician thinking about breaking a pledge! Look shocked, please.
Tacit Endorsement: Noted the Washington Examiner headline: "Poll: Palin near top of re-shaped GOP field." Pretty clear tacit endorsement when the poll leader Mitt Romney is not the lead.
They at least could have put in "George Ure absolute dead last in presidential wannabe's!" At least that'd let them cover the story without prompting Palin, know what I'm sayin'?
Gun Control in the Wings?
A lot of us who have small, metal burglar repellers are wondering what the headline means "Obama: We're Work on Gun Control 'Under the Radar."
Prediction: The federal government,. all bound and hamstrung by the Constitution will likely try a regulatory approach to gun control. And since congress doesn't do much anyway, probably no one would notice...
SEAL Trademark Pulled?
The PR blowback has apparently been too much: Reports are that Disney has reportedly pulled it's application for trademark to cover "SEAL Team 6."
No so fat...until the Trademark database shows it (which it hadn't as of 6:04 AM today) call me skeptical...
Food Price Watch
Interesting read from China's Xinhua news agency: "China faces challenges in grain production despite bumper summer harvest..."
High Cost of Commuting
Say, here's one" The Health Cost of traffic - like the stuff you get stuck in from time to time - costs America 2,200 premature deaths and $17.8 billion in 2010 alone per the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis....
Once again, a reason not to live in a big urban-sprawly area. Now, if we could just find jobs that pay as well in undeveloped areas...
Coping: Helping in Joplin, Part 2
Time is running out in Missouri, where the it's the fourth day of search and rescue efforts from the weekend tornado outbreak. Death toll is at 125, but could go higher. The UK Daily Mail has side-by-side satellite imagery of the area before and after...
George II, up in Joplin was a tired cowboy last night. His team, which is staying at Pittsburg State University, just over the line in Kansas, was up at 6 AM and out into the field after briefings and a quick snack.
First up was a visit to one of the shelter locations (right) where there are about 400 people coping with the tornado aftermath.
The most awesome picture was taken by his teammate David - as George described what it was like in the vicinity of the hospital which had been hard hit.
"Dad, it was unreal, man. You look one way and you can see where there was a civilization - but you look the other - well, there was nothing there. It was like a big vacuum cleaner had been through tearing everything up and spitting it out again..."
He advised that most of the 'heavy-lifting' - finding the people and checking survivors for incident-related injuries - had been pretty much accomplished by last night. Not to say that more won't be found, but the majority of the initial search is done, or near to it.
What's going on now is the transition from Tier One teams to Tier Two. The Tier One group was (in firefighting terminology) "first in". Those are the real heroes...the people who do the building-by-building search and so on. But Tier Two (which is what George is on) is just as important - just different.
Tier Two support gets the food service set up, the Sani-Cans, and in G II's case being on the medical side, getting pharmaceuticals rounded up and distributed to the aid stations, shelters, and so forth.
Tier Two makes sure that survivors have their personal effects looked after, that there are toiletries, food, water, and all the rest of the details that are easily taken for granted the day before something like Joplin's disaster.
On the medical side, it's not the dramatic Tier One, pulling people from wreckage, kind of work. It's more the 'blocking and tackling': Twisted ankle, what to do with someone who is diabetic, or someone who lost their blood pressure meds in the tornado, that kind of thing.
Tier Two (and Three) are the part of disaster response and recovery that doesn't make as many headlines. Interesting to watch my son work through this; part of him wants to be more "in the tick of it" with Tier One, but he also knows that that Tiers Two and Three are just as critical to the longer term outcome and recovbery effort.
I wouldn't be surprised to see him go back when his time in Joplin is up and dig into training for USART's (urban search and rescue teams), since he's a competitive guy who wants to be 'absolute best' after whatever he takes on. (No idea where he got that gene, lol.)
But the fact is that for every dramatic recovery shot on TV coverage, there are probably a couple of hundred unsung workers on Tier Two and Tier Three that are doing the necessary - but less dramatic - recovery work. Someone's got to clean restrooms, set up the field kitchens, round up the blue baskets for personal effects, or in George's case, check out the meds and gear up the aid stations.
As he describes it, Joplin's coming together as a great team effort, and he's seeing first-hand the old saying: there is no "i" in "team." With the majority of initial S&R done, the teams are focusing now on the equally hard but less heralded task of service delivery as the foundation of recovery.
Are We Seeing A "Weather War"?
Some wiseacre sent me a note that the first iteration of posting yesterday had some of G II's pictures sideways. I told them to turn their computer over...
Commuting to Divorce
Reader feedback on yesterday's note about how a Scandinavian study showed long commutes are a contributing factor to divorce...
Ah, but he has learned now.
I keep wondering what life would have been like if I'd just taken more people's word for certain critical cause & effect outcomes instead of repeating darn near all of them myself all over again, just to check their work?
Wednesday May 25, 2011
Still More Deadly Tornados
The death toll has climbed to 124 in Joplin, Missouri where a deadly tornado strike Sunday ripped the top off a hospital and destroyed a wide section of the city, make it the worst single incident in half a century.
Rescue, disaster relief, and emergency medical personnel are now pouring into the area - including my son [more in the "Coping" section following] but it's going to be a terrible next few months cleaning up from the storm damage - and there are still 1,500 missing.
It's not just the clean-up - it's the trying to get economic legs back under the area. Everything from grocery supply chains to large local employers - like Eagle Picher Technologies - everyone's feeling the impact.
Southwest of Joplin, down Interstate 44, five people were killed in two counties in the Oklahoma City area Monday when a series of twisters went through. Eight more if surrounding states are counted.
Tornado warnings are out again this morning, primarily in the Springfield, Missouri area, but with severe thunderstorm watches lined up back down as far as Austin/San Antonio, the next few days are looking unfortunately bad.
International Outlook: Food Prices To Rise?
A reader who's been following our advice this spring to keep an eye on weather conditions, flooding, tornados and what-have-you as precursors to food price hikes to come by late summer, sends this:
Looking over the domestic farming outlook from the Monday "Crop Progress" report out of USDA, corn emerged by now is usually around 59%, this year its at 45% in the 18-state survey. Soybeans in the ground is down 10 percent and emerged is running 7 percent behind normal values.
Sugarbeets are down about 10% from normal values. Peanuts are 4 percent ahead of averages, but sunflowers are down 17 percent and rice (emerged) is 16 percent behind norms.
The big one to watch is spring wheat planted. Our of the six-state survey, spring wheat is only 54 percent planted compared with a typical 89 percent and of what's in the ground, only 24 percent is emerged. So what's in the ground is down 35 percent and of that what's emerged is down 40%.
That'll be you key indicator to watch later this year, I'd wager: sugarbeets aren't so much a worry because manufacturers of food products can do some switching to high fructose corn syrup (no, I'm not a fan, either) but for things like baked goods? The big picture normally for planted time emerged ought to be around 79.2 percent (89% planted times 89% emerged).
The disaster forming: Instead of 79.2% this year so far we're at 12.96 percent.
The discussion in past predictive linguistics around concepts like hunger/famine and diaspora is not just hot air.
The headlines this morning are that businesses are cutting durable goods orders in the April report out this morning. But the story isn't all bad...
FHFA Housing index is also due out today.
You know, at some point, if we get enough of these damn tornados, it will create a solution to the housing crisis by taking a lot of inventory off the market... and in fact, at some point, tornados of wide enough scale become an economic engine...production comes off line, and replacement housing, office space and so forth comes up...
Who'' Run the IMF?
The Finance Minister of France, Christine Lagarde, if she has her way
Just Keeps Getting Worse
This gets much more radioactive, we'll be able to read by it...
What Year Is It?
No one is quite sure what to make of president Obama signing the guestbook at Westminster Abbey with the wrong year - 2008 instead of the slightly more current 2011 - no doubt this'll be be analyzed six ways to Sunday on conspiracy boards which I'm sure will divine the occult message behind it, LOL.
bin Laden Movie Footwork
Interesting sales and marketing story may be unfolding. I told you a week, or so back, how Disney had filed a trademark application for "SEAL Team 6" What's interesting is that their filing (85310970) covers (G&S: Entertainment and education services"
This could be interesting to watch, particularly if Sony Pictures uses the term Seal Team Six in its promotion if they do the deal...
We Already Knew This, Dept.
A Swedish media out, The Local, as a common-sense story that nevertheless makes the case that living close to your work is better for your family. "Long commutes "bad for marriage": Swedish study."
Since a good part of my professional practice consists of "unthinkable economic questions" here's a good one to ponder, since most people will read that story and blow it off as not applying to them.
Main point of the study is that if you've got a 45-minute, or longer, commute, the risk of divorce seems to go up 40 percent, at least in Sweden. From this, using our extensible logic approach, we should be able to figure that every country with long commutes will have a "40 percent commute/divorce threshold rate."
In California, or other area where people are preconditioned to accept incredibly long commutes of an hour and often two, the 40% divorce risk threshold would logically be higher.
Here's the thing to keep in mind, whatever the local threshold is: What's the cost of moving versus the cost of a divorce associated with not enough facetime with a spouse?
If a couple has been together some time, has $100K in assets, has hour plus commutes, is renting and isn't moving, I figure they're nuts.
Sure, moving is a pain, but most places suitable accommodations can be found within 15-minutes of work and the time saved over an hour (each way) commute ads us to an hour and a half per day and on a 250-day work-year, that comes to 375-additional hours of facetime - 9.3 weeks if you worked at it 40-hours weekly.
Next time you're thinking about a job change k- if you're one of the lucky ones with that option - try to figure out ways to drop down your average commute time.
In GeorgeLand, if employers want to hire people to travel 2-3 hours per day, they ought to pay them for that additional time because all the motivational tapes, audio books, college courses on tape and so forth, isn't going to make up for that hour and a half a day of your most precious resource being squandered.
At best, you'll only lessen the cost slightly.
Coping: Helping in Joplin, Part 1
I thought it would be interesting to sort of 'look over my son's shoulder' (George, II) as he deployed out Tuesday to Joplin, Missouri, as he and a couple of colleagues from the Emergency Medical Reserve Corp up in the Seattle area were dispatched to Joplin to help dig out and provide medical care. So with his permission, some father's notes on the process, snips of conversation and some snaps from his phone-cam so you can follow along....
First thing was to arrive at SeaTac airport at the Seattle end about 4:30 AM. A colleague had told some local TV people... "Oh, you wanna talk to George...". So that's how his face wound up on TV [link].
After that, it was wheels up out of Seattle...and about half way to Dallas (for a plane change to fly the 350-odd miles from Dallas to Joplin) the plane got into some decent turbulence which, sorry to say, has been a common feature on flights that transit Tornado Alley this week.
"Dad it was so rough, I was ready to meet my Maker...no kidding, I've been through rough flying, but there was a half-hour or so where they really slowed the plane down and we telling us not to move around...it was not fun..."
Eventually, George II and other emergency workers coming in to help got into Joplin, where a call to the Red Cross dispatcher set them up with a transport van and within a few minutes they were off to drop gear, get issued a place to sleep, and get ready for action at daylight this morning.
One of the things that made an impression on G II was the huge logistical operation that goes on behind something like Joplin. "Dad, people don't ,think about this - it's just flat amazing what is going on here. The scale of the logistics is just huge."
From the Joplin airport, the volunteers were vanned out to Pittsburg State University, which is just over the line on the Kansas side.
First actual work-task was helping to get the arriving volunteers a bunk; the Red Cross has agreements with local facilities like Pittsburg State which supplies dorm space, and this is a fine example of the kind of preparation and pre-planning that goes in to the emergency response.
George assigned himself a bunk - along with the others being assigned - and got a quick look around the facility.
I won't have to worry about his well-being while sleeping: turns out the dorm he's in was designed during the Cold War and it's a designated shelter.
Typical group dorm bathrooms and such.
"The really impressive thing was the responders briefing.." he explained.
"People responding here are told straight up - you do 12-hours on, but then you get down time. We want you rested and not making mistakes. They told us we'd be working five days and then have to take a mandatory down day, again, they want people at peak performance and they don't need anyone getting burn-out." Made good sense...
Once the dorm was assigned out/filled, George's next task while he was getting ready to grab some shut-eye was to program a few additional frequencies into his handheld ham radio rig. He took one of those little Wauxun's I mentioned a while back. Good radio, works on both two-meters and the 440 band, plus his radio has receive capability on the 460-480 MHz public services frequencies, plus NOAA Weather channels and so forth. Curiously, G II was the only one in his group with comm's - which everyone wanted to listen to...
Tactical call signs were assigned this morning, since while one group of people is sleeping, other volunteers worked through the night getting the details of the huge logistical problems squared away: Where to put residents, where to assign the medical teams, where's a community kitchen going to be...the million and one details that hardly anyone thinks through...except they have been.
Besides the Red Cross, an incredible role is played by religious groups which have large emergency response groups. Some people have forgotten that parts of Alabama are still leveled from earlier bouts with killer tornados. Up in Pleasant Grove, Alabama yesterday, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief had shows up and running for survivors of the April 27/28 event. Similar efforts from Mormon and other groups.
Besides powerlines down, roads blocked, and all the rest, there are other less publicized aspects - like the ASPCA which is putting up temporary shelters for lost pets...
In terms of coincidences, maybe all that FEMA planning for a New Madrid is a happy coincidence, suggests a reader. Perhaps...
By the time this gets posted, G II will already be out in the field, and we'll keep you posted with reports as recovery unfolds as he's able to send feeds from the field....
Tuesday May 24, 2011
Some Kind of Beat-Down
Remember in yesterday's report, I advised you that I expected the market to have something of a beat-down in the early going? Well, 130 points but threatened 200-points down by the Dow for a while seems like that's out of the way.
This morning with the dollar down on the currency markets, and gold seeming to rise, we're perhaps out of the woods for a while. Markets in Europe are up a bit in the early running so it looks like the European debt worries are being shelved for a while.
The Mess in Joplin
More thunderstorms are in store for Joplin, Missouri where the top floor of a hospital was ripped off by a killer tornado. Emergency crews from around the country are converging on Joplin today - including my EMT son who's due to arrive on scene around 4 PM today as part of the national response.
70 percent chance of thunderstorms up there tonight although weather should slowly improve through Saturday.
Kansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee under T-storm watches at this hour.
Meantime, moves are afoot in congress to curtail the president's war-making powers without Congress' approval. One of the leaders of the drive is Congressman Peter Welch who says the US nation-building efforts in Afghanistan are a failure.
But of course, as readers here know: Iraq wasn't about oil and Afghanistan isn't about poppy products and Libya's not about oil & water...the check's in the mail, and I won't....
The "Terrorism Defense"
This is a new twist: Reportedly the state of Delaware is not going to release records of a state senator who's got questions swirling about about as to how he can do a fulltime job in the state senate and also hold down another fulltime state job as a labor commissioner...
Seems this case of possible double-dipping is going to revolve around use the novel "terrorism threat" defense.
Gotta love it. Novel!
A ham radio buddy sent me the text of the presidential entrance speech attributed to former Michigan governor Tim Pawlenty who's now stepped into the 2012 three-ring circus. A part of his announcement:
Sounds good (but then, don't they all?).
Interestingly, the T-Paw website isn't too clear on which part he belongs to (republicorp)...which may not be all bad. Perhaps voters are looking past traditional party labels and holding out for accountability at a personal level. We shall see....
Be Careful What You Wish For Dept.
The headline in a British paper that actor "Peter Fonda encourages his grandchildren to take up arms against President Barack Obama" we can only hope is an imprecise quote. It'd be one thing to call Obama a 'traitor' in an earlier report. But taking up arms?
This gets, methinks, mighty close to laws against such things as insurrection...so we'll watch to see what comes of it. We're still a nation of laws and that's important to remember...
39" Between Friends
A story traced back to the Agence France-Presse says sea levels will be rising by up to a meter this century. Yes, that would be a global coastal event. Maybe more, too, if land masses start to sink as that would push more water over land...
Speaking of temporal markers, wasn't there a big prison riot that was supposed to happen about the time of a food shortage or something like that in predictive linguistics? Well, here's a prison riot candidate for you... Will the next sound you hear be the social fabric tearing?
Value-Engineering Education Dept.
We were talking the other day about how the high cost of textbooks sure didn't seem to be justified by the actual costs...so it was with some interest that we read a report that an "Eastern Missouri school district may swap textbooks for Kindles..." Did I tell you, or not? Look for Amazon to become the 800 pound gorilla in the vertical ed publishing biz...
Survival Real Estate Site
Yeah...this is kind of interesting - a site I wasn't previously aware of which lists survival retreats both in the US and elsewhere that are for sale...
And thanks to www.backdoorsurvival.com for the tip, too! Worth a look and some of them are pretty affordable...way cool homes.
Coping: Why We Play "Beat the Reaper"
The "I-Ching Inbox" is doing its thing again: Just as I'm sitting here contemplating the deep-down-at-the-soul level meaning of developments in my personal life, my Inbox beeps and a message arrives with either precisely an extension of the thought-path I was on, or a reversal of the thought path.
I call it the "I-Ching Inbox" because it's become something of a local wonder to behold. Traditional I-Ching is a kind of geomancy, right up there with skrying and reading tea leaves, but ever so much more elegant.
One throws a collection of sticks - straw stalks in the earliest versions - which are held as a sheaf. Like a group of spaghetti noodles uncooked (which I've also used, favoring Rose Brand Chinese Egg Noodles) the sticks, straws or egg noodles landing positions are there carefully observed and the pile deconstructed for meaning. Sort of like Pick-Up-Stix but with context.
Once you develop proficiency, tossing and retrieving 50-sticks and looking up their meaning can be done in less than 15-minutes. The look-up is done in the book of the I-Ching which (like Tarot) evolved over some historical people where people were actively looking for correspondences in life.
Materialism has largely ended the noting of correspondences. Nevertheless, if you can put full-immersion materialism on hold for a few minutes, a whole different level of discernment arrives that makes sense as explains many of the different religious and divination practices in the world.
How tight one clings to the arrival of meaningful coincidence may be a good indicator of little more than how tightly one clings to the reductionist/materialist worldview/paradigm.
While Williams book on demystifying coincidence makes interesting arguments, once someone has had even the barest touch of precognition (prior knowledge of the future) it begins to crumble. And, while Freud's view of coincidence seemed satisfied by repressed sexual issues, that does not account for the widely reported results of Eastern practitioners who spin prayer wheels daily - often for decades - and note coincidences between current events and certain prayer wheel formations such as "doublings" and "triplings."
I'm not firmly on one side, or the other, but having touched events prior to their arrival several times, although it's hard to repeat, the feeling is difficult to dismiss on Freudian grounds.
A bit far afield from the I-Ching Inbox, but sometimes a person needs to explain their framing of reality and mine is presently evolving due to study of a huge body of psychology and parapsychology work as I'm 'reading the field' on electronic voice phenomena.
Interestingly, despite warnings from readers about 'dark energy' from such attempts at communication with the "other side" the literature doesn't offer much in the way of Nightmare on Elm Street or demonic possession. Which is interesting. Rather, what comes through seems to be advice and commentary on human affairs from another world - one different from ours in that time is 'all at once' and colors are more closely aligned with feelings.
Whether this is due to some human disposition to brand color with feelings, as accentuated during some LSD/psychotropic experiences, or whether it's indicative of a complete other kind of world, is an open question. My next book up will be an early work in the area "The Road to Immortality" (Cummins, 1932) which seems - by asides I've found - to be almost like an updated directory of the afterlife along the lines of the Tibetan Books of the Dead.
We shall see...
My main rumination this morning was about my EMT son's trip today. By the time you read this, he will be wheels up out of Seattle for Joplin, Missouri where he will be contributing what he knows about emergency medicine to people who could use it. Victims and rescue workers, the latter being riskier than most people give it credit for: Nails sticking out, snakes, the wide range of threats. more lightning in the area...and so it goes...
It was while thinking through the scenes he's likely to encounter up there that this email about our collective future popped in...at almost the moment I was wondering if the imagery of Joplin could become kwidespread in America due to natural or manmade disaster.
Yes, I can feel much of that, too. And just to clarify, what Clif has been seeing in predictive linguistics as a data gap is really a wall that we run into in March-May of 2013 where there is no more data in his modelspace. Whether that's because of massive earth-changes or simply a change in operation of the internet to secure it to a level which prevents spidering and analysis of the sort now possible....open question.
My son has promised to send in reports on Joplin - with the usual constraints on personally identifiable information and so forth. The situation is similar in part of northern Alabama, too.
At the risk of sounding a bit bleak the arrival of the "We Have No Future" email is not a particularly happy email, but it helped answer a questionb I'd been asking myself: "Why is it that people take up the '[danger professions' anyway?"
And then it came to me: Regardless of whether we have a 'future' as some people define it, there's a very deep - ingrained - waging against death that's hard-coded into humans.
At its most glorious level, it's firemen who save someone from a burning house, the police officer who captures someone who's taken law into their own hands, or in the case of military, the winning of a just conflict which attacked worthy values of a society.
It's not that we don't have a future. Maybe it's just that the battle to "Beat the Reaper" is about to get much more personal.
Which it seems to be and, if the 'wall' in the data's right, maybe that's what lays ahead over the coming couple of years: A whole bunch of hand-to-hand with the Reaper. And then I ask myself: "If there any better fight than Cheat the Reaper?"
Probably NOT: Isn't that the glue that binds death professions with racecar drivers, skydivers, the EMT's and disaster response people descending on Joplin, and more? The rush of beating the Reaper?
If you're lucky, you'll get to experience an up-close 100% personal (no one assisting, just you) 'save' in the game of Beat the Reaper. There's no finer moment in life and I highly recommend it.
Which is why George II is into Joplin; I'm proud to say he seems to have developed a taste for the game of Beat the Reaper himself.
Last Day of the Seed Sale
...over at Everlasting Seeds. I'm a huge fan of having a survival can of seeds to restart after disaster....And the idea is you buy one each season - and use this year's pack next year and rsotsdate through them, at least that's what we do.
Monday May 23, 2011
Earth's Revenge Week?
Let's start with the 'ill winds', shall we? Missouri media are reporting 89 dead (and still climbing) as a tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri Fears are the death toll could go much higher.
2011 had already been a record-breaking tornado season with more than 200 lives lost and the death toll from Joplin could drive that horrible tally up 50% in one day.
My EMT son who is standing by to fly out this week to a Red Cross shelter in Alabama but I expect he may be re-tasked. I'll keep you posted as things clarify during the coming week...
So what's driving all the changes? Some are speculating that recent changes on the Sun could be involved - that was one of the focal points of Peoplenomics this weekend. A reader who read the article offered this:
Not after that...but speaking of earth changes, in addition to the continued high general level of earthquakes above historical norms and possibly headed much higher as we've discussed previously, did you happen to notice the eastern Caribbean earthquake swarm this weekend?
20 quakes in the Saturday swarm. Then 24 quakes on Sunday. Only one so far today but that still means 45 quakes in a short period off to the northwest (mostly) of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. That may mean BIG slippage is underway for the plate that crunches into the middle Caribbean Islands there, just east of Haiti..
This is the same fault line that runs from the Dominican Republic on past Haiti, over to the Cayman Islands area and then on to south end of the Cancun peninsula. Seems these areas should be on 'hot watch' if they're not. But, of course, there's no official mechanism for such...cui bono - who'd make money on it?
I assume you've seen that volcanic ash is spewing from Iceland again - heading for greater Europe and starting to impact airline operations in that part of the world? While British papers are reporting the ash remnants will be showing up over the Isles tomorrow, the ash involved this time is somewhat different than previous eruptions, bigger - chunky style - so the impacts on travel (and food production, more importantly) will be lessened, or so goes the tale today from the MSM sources.
Next Big Headline Grabber
Is Yemen be the next country to attack as GlobalRev rulls around? This is a good guess - they do have oil...but as figures show, their production has been falling of late....so maybe a New War, maybe not.
Depends which petro giants have what undisclosed maps of resource, near as we can figure it.
The Weak Ahead
I'm guessing that the Dow will have a short beat-down this morning at the open, spurred in part by the decline in gold which was down more than $8 at Kitco's charts earlier.
That said, there tends to be a little pop in the market to the upside before major holidays, so this may set up a run to the upside later in the week.
No 'heavy hitters' in statistics are due out today, although durable orders show up around Wednesday and GDP guesstimates come Thursday. Personal income figures Friday will give us some good fiction reading for the long weekend.
The meaningful data - like the Case Shiller/S&P Housing Index - comes out the Monday on Tuesday after Memorial Day. Unemployment will be out a week from Friday.
About the most important thing I can think of early this week? Buy gas today and tomorrow, since traditionally it's gonna pop several cents by the time Friday afternoon rolls around, just on the odd chance you want to go waterskiing or whatever over MDW.
Little Trouble with Big China?
A number of books have been written sounding the alarm about the rapid rise and continuing development of China's military. One of the best of the lot is Edwards Timberlake's Red Dragon Rising: Communist China's Military Threat to America ($17) which is someone on one of our shelves here.
So what's interesting to watch as one reads the literature is how a visiting Chinese general says his country is no match for ours militarily.
Artificial humble. Read a book or two on the Korean conflict which is still going on.
A number of stories are floating about that former Russian president Vlad Putin is planning to go for the presidency again. Which leaves open the question whether his comic book sidekick Dmitry Medvedev will run, or not.
What Fourth Amendment?
Say, there's a move afoot in congress, which if I follow its gist right, is about to slam the door of open & free speech on the internet with something called Senate Bill 968.
On the one hand, this could be argued as nothing more than a bill which would tighten up theft of intellectual property. But, another and much more sinister way to reading it would be that it would prohibit the open discussion (and links to) news content from sites without specific permissions. The problem? No exemptions for fair use, such as the citing of reference materials, as we try to include on just about everything so people can go do their own research. n Bye-bye RSS, too, potentially.
Not that a further ratcheting in of traditional American freedoms (like writing and citing) should come as a surprise, since freedom of the press only comes to those who own one. Oh, and only to those who back presses up with 'cash on the Hill.'
Given a choice between owning a printing press, or owning congress I bet you could never guess which one I'd take, can you? The one with ink is ever so much messier...
Triumph of the eBooks
Speaking of pressing ahead, agendas, and such: Amazon.com issued a rather remarkable news release last week. Their Kindle 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology ($189) have so changed the world of print that now:
All of which brings up an interesting point, of particular interest to people with kids in school who are in many cases paying upwards of $200 and beyond for textbooks. Why should they?
One of the big scams in education is coming out with fresh curriculum every 20-minutes, or so, and a new textbook in hardbound form to go with it - most of which have no resale value to speak of.
So what's to keep Amazon from moving into that vertical market and owning the whole education publishing business? Or, some Android outfit? Bust the textbook racket, says I, Arghhh!
Might be something to keep an eye on, especially since the recent National Inflation Association video was very adamant about the textbook rip...but that's just part of it.
Student loan debt, assets the vid, is bigger than credit card debt nowadays. And you wonder where the money went?
Coping: With a Non-Rapture
"I must not be hanging around with the right sort of people..." I told one of the kids who called Sunday. "None of my frineds were called for the Rapture this weekend..."
"You heard what people did up here [in Seattle]? They went around town leaving a pair of old shoes, underwear and a pile of clothes...to make it loook like someone had just gone 'poof!"
A number of readers were taken aback by my cynicism, a few even mistaking it for out & out skepticism of religion. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
The problem is that such events are clearly described in just about all faiths are "no man shall know the hour..." and its due to "...come like a thief in the night..."
It might be easy to miss, however, and perhaps the Almighty is confused. You see when all the predictions were written, there was no UTC/Zulu time. Let alone 29 (or so) time zones if we count the 'half-zones' used by Newfies, Caracians, Darwinians, and Tehranians. Obviously, if you're going to be sending in the heavenly hosts out for a round of soul-harvesting, it'd be nice to know when that is to all of them could show up about on schedule.
That Windows clock software lists Tehran, by the way as one of those half-hour time zones may have been the thing that has prevented an all-out attack on Tehran, since knowing 'time over target' could be slippery. Wonder what AWACS standard time is? Gotta be UTC for sure, but would Himself be bound to and archaic English time/navigation system?
In the same vein, this coming "...like a thief in the night..." is problematic. Any such arrivals would (in many homes) be greeted with small arms and shotgun fire. And, come to think of it, revenue agencies, such as tax boards and possibly IRS have already been working the "....thief in the night angle..." for a good while along with the custodians of the nation's money integrity which is 96% gone in just shy of 100 years. They must be staying up every night.
Why there's so much thieving in the night going on that sliding a Rapture into it - unless accompanied by peels of global lightning and a huge special effects budget - would be a non-starter. That niche is completely filled, or nearly so. And what little space is left is probably sneaking in across the Mexico border right now.
A few readers asked "Since it didn't happen, can we call it The Rupture?"
No, but because it's over maybe The Pasture would fit.
Like most honest writers, the thing about the End of Days that concerns me most is trite sayings rising from the grave and being held to account for all the poor puns and wordplay accumulated (like bad karma) over a lifetime.
I'm almost certain of one thing: Hell's fired by punctuation. And I hope St. Peter is a kinesthetic or tactile learner, because if his learning style is visual, he'll spot all my literary transgressions and that'll hold up the lines. It'll take that long in review.
Monday at the WuJo
About that Double Moon Phenomena
Peoplenomics this week concerns itself with the problematic "Data Gap" - which is more like a wall we run into in spring/summer 2013. A reader who's been pondering it offers this:
If there is, I'm afraid to think what it's going to cost.
Ooops! That's the plan, I guess, isn't it?
#1: Long, long ago I was asking what ever happened to that device which was featured in a 1960's Popular Science or Popular Mechanics artical about now a 'boot-strap' gravity defying machine could be built by anyone at home with just basic machine skills and an electric drill.
#2: Still 'reading the field' of Electronic Voice Phenomena, but there's some pretty interesting evidence floating around on YouTube.
While you're plugging away with research, you might also figure a way to record the mysterious radio signal of Saturn (About 1:35 into th this video) which was captured a couple of years back by the Cassini spacecraft. Hits on either one would be of interesting so send along your research results...
NASA has figured these radio emissions to be linked to electrons spinning in Jupiter's strong magnetic field. It's we're around another 100 billion years, plus or minus weekends, it will be interesting to see if at some point, Jupiter's mass gets big enough to light it off as a new Sun. Maybe the radio signasls are a distant precursor to that...
No word from NASA on EVP's, however....lol...
Good assortment of thoughts here....
Most folks around here are already aboard, but yes, truth is a zone, not an exclusive point made by focusing the materialism/dollar filter just so.., other filters yield other truths....
Next? This one under the heading ":Yellow Journalism:"
But we assure this is purely coincidental. Just keep that one filter one and zoomed in on the markets and everything will work out fine. Sana'a excepted, of course, but sacrifices have to be made....
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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