Saturday, June 30, 2012

News you can't use and could probably care less about

You know it's a slow news day when most of the top headers are filled with which celeb wore what revealing outfit to which exclusive event. Or then there's the gaffes in the sporting world for all the guys. What's truly irritating is when a story is washed, rinsed and repeated the next day when it wouldn't affect the price of tea in China. And no you don't need to keep us posted about any developments because there aren't going to be any. When a guy is dead and the suspect killed himself neither is coming back to give more details and most times no body else knew why because they were always nice quiet guys, right?

Breaking News.....

Okay okay I know what you're thinking. Where the hell is all this going? Glad you asked because I don't know either but we'll keep you posted with developing updates.

Nope the real news can be boiled down to a couple of events over the past few days:
The Euro money printing presses went into overdrive and the gamblers in the game wet themselves with excitement.

Health care passed and republican heads exploded. How gleeful they were when they thought it didn't pass hence taking away juniors' much needed operation. These guys are sick.

The Highway Bill passed although the "No" party did their best to water it down and even tried to slip in another anti abortion amendment. Sorry people the road crews will be out force and working furiously to get er done before bad weather sets in. Tied to the same bill was student loans much to the relief of dads who now won't have to take a third mortgage on the house to pay for college.

Speaking of weather the bulk of the nation is frying with triple digit temps. My sources back east tell me 250,000 were without power yesterday due to the baking. All the while Colorado continues to burn. Humm, what Pyro gods did they tick off?

I'm sure there are better things to do but these days who has the cash? Any anyway you might just get shot and/or robbed in the process.

All right then just so you won't be disappointed:

Sheesh what ya have to do for a little attention these days. There ya satisfied?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday beaver meltdown and bailout

And you thought this was about the fires in Colorado.

I have to laugh every time I hear the latest incarnation of the european bail out plan. The newest twist on this rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic is to appoint a single supervisor to oversee the euro banks' plan. Never any concrete details of the plan just more blathering about how they'll only break legs and not cut them off. Austerity is such a dirty word now. The biggest problem according to economists with knowledge far greater than me is that there is debt with both the banks involved (at present that would be Spain and Italy) and the governments who were suckered into the debt swaps in the first place. Ze Grande Plan now I gather is to only loan to the banks and leave the governments out of it or so it seems. Paul Krugman noted economist has pointed out in past posts that a bail out to a nation presents the problem of just shifting the debt around from the government to the banks and back again. I'd add that throwing austerity (there's that word again) on the citizens will do little to provide the necessary funds to pay back those loans.
At any rate the markets seem to think this is a swell idea because after all you can't keep the crap game going if the euros aren't flowing, Somebody has to be screwing somebody else over or it's just no fun at all. Got to keep that real time graph jumping you know.
And the last punch line of this joke is that just as before the can kickers are out in force and are shooting to the end of the year for any resolution. The big question remains will they be able to keep all amused in the mean time before the music stops and everything hits the deep freeze again? The natives are restless and not too thrilled with the last punch to the midsection. That's economically speaking.

Mwahahahaha How ya goina get out of this one Sparky?

Bank fails later but then I've never really checked foreign bank fails. Must start doing that. The list must be gargantuan.

Update: No bank fails this week and to my surprise there aren't that many foreign banks that failed because the ones that did were very large. So I can only assume that most foreign countries operate with only three or four large banks unlike the U.S that has thousands.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Health care... finally

It'll be nice to actually have health care. For those foreign readers here who don't understand how our American system works it's fairly simple. You work and many but not all employers here give you some type of medical coverage. Costs (premiums) can be totally covered by the employer or split with the worker paying part. The problem of late is that insurance companies and medical providers have been raising rates to nearly double in just the last few years. It was estimated that other countries were paying around $3600 per year per person for coverage while the U.S. was paying over double that amount. Many employers here were either making workers pay more of their share or dropping coverage altogether. Then there were the co pays and deductibles. You see a medical policy only covered 80% of the actual costs of care with the remaining left to the patient. With the deductible the first $100 to $150 of costs were left to the patient. Some policies have deductibles as high as $500 to $1000 meant only as catastrophic insurance it left the patient with a policy that he could afford to have but not use. Sounds like a neat form of extortion doesn't it? Now if you don't have a job in this country it's likely that you also don't have insurance either. The only way to attain coverage is to buy it yourself on the open market. Try doing that when the costs of a premium eats up well over half of an unemployment check.
So what do people in America do when they have no job and no coverage? They wait and hope to get over an illness because the first thing a doctors' office asks is if you have insurance. If you don't they want payment up front or doc's not in for you. With no other alternatives it's off to the emergency room at a local hospital because they can't turn you down. Unfortunately that sort of care is the most expensive and those costs are moved to the taxpayer. What about free clinics and charities you may ask? In a down economy many have closed or have a waiting list of months. So like it or not we all pay or paid for this dysfunctional system.

Kennedy Care
Yes I'll call it that because Ted should be given the most credit for this system change. He did after all spend most of his life trying to look out for the little guy and this Affordable Care Act (it's real name) was one of his last wishes.
What does this act really do for our system? I've heard so many out there with a knee jerk reaction when the topic comes up. Mostly negative from folks out here in cyberspace. But when I ask them if they've actually read the bill it's always a flat out no! Followed by "I don't need to read that because it came from Obama". Well actually it came from both sides of the aisle of congress and was examined by the CBO our budget office. And many of the ideas came from republicans including the individual mandate. Why was the bill so complicated and lengthy? Because we couldn't have a one size fits all system.

What does the bill do?
You've probably heard just some of the aspects but here's a general overview:

It spreads the costs to all Americans by requiring coverage for all (the mandate). That in itself should help lower costs with more money in the system. Even those on the lower end of the pay scale will contribute at least a little. That's fair.

*No more pre existing condition denials.
*Sons and daughters can stay on their parents plan until they're 26. (A good thing for parents with kids in college.)
*An insurance provider must pay out at least 80% of it's income in coverage.
*Plans are now portable. Going from one employer to another means no loss of coverage.
*The unemployed will now be able to afford coverage as they will now be subsidized.
*The doughnut hole in Medicare will now be filled.
*A focus on preventative care with all costs covered. (the expression an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure comes to mind)

It is a lengthy bill and many of the parts have little to do with your own particular situation but were necessary to make the system work. I'm sure there will be many tweaks to this legislation in the years to follow as we see just how things work out.
For those of you who actually want to know what this is really about I give you:

The Affordable Health Care Act

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Screw me screw you

It's become a fine art of coital mayhem in the market place. A somewhat devious plan of what may be termed content creep. The result of years of pain staking analysis to stretch the bottom line and hence enhance the coffers of corporate America and most other countries for that matter. Not just relegated to the goods but their production and services as well. Full service now means only what the fine print dictates. When was the last time someone pumped gas for you? Forget about checking the oil and washing the front window. And good luck finding a 16 oz. can of any fruit or vegetable in any market. An 8 oz. can of tuna went gradually down the scale to 6 1/2 then 6 and now a meager 5 oz. and not to forget to drain the 1/2 oz. of liquid. Airline seats shrink ever small even though our backsides get bigger and bigger and don't forget the baggage fees because shaving a pound or two here or there might just save millions in the long run. Won't the shareholders be delighted?

On the worker side it's no different. It was once about turnover. Never let the underlings rise to an expensive position. This was all accomplished by some crafty lateral moves on managements' part. Then the downsizing began. Tom, Frank and Bob all had the same workload at one time anyway. So it was a simple matter of firing Bob and splitting his job between Tom and Frank. When even that was not enough they fired Frank and heaped everything on Tom. No pay raise or benefits mine you but an important sounding title to make up for his loss. When even that was not enough they outsourced the whole department to a company in India. Eventually the entire company lands up overseas with only a small staff of administrators in an office. All well and good for the CEO and the shareholders, bad for everybody else. But how do they evade our so called "overbearing" corporate taxes one might ask? Simple. Just bribe the local officials in that far off land to report that your company has paid them the proper taxes to their country. And to add insult to injury our tax code allows for the write off and even rewards companies for doing this.

Lastly we have insourcing. When you can't ship a job overseas like many of the service jobs you hire someone from over there and bring him here only to pay him half the going rate or worse declare him an independent contractor even though he has set hours and all the other requirements of a company man. There's the Temp who gives the benefit of not having to pay benefits and doesn't mind when your telling him the job is over. Most agencies even offer medical and other goodies which of course are unaffordable to the poor slob working for them because he must pay out of pocket from some meager wages. Not to forget those two very dirty words over time. No such animal in this company. Must be worked just up to the cut off of a full time worker, so much cheaper that way.

So now you see just the tip of the iceberg. This shining apple to the world that's slowly rotting at it's core. This is the grand vision to return this nation to the days of yesteryear when the robber barons ran everything while the general populace died an early death because after all replacements are cheap. Screw me? No screw you. We're all screwed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Have we reached that point?

Talking to some folks up there in Toronto last night about the mall that collapsed, it hit home what kind of society we live in now. They informed me that 1 was dead and 30 were missing. Only checked once when the story first broke so wasn't sure what was happening. Later watch the report on Canadian news that they had called off the rescue. Too afraid to continue for fear of more lives lost. I was aghast. How could you leave someone trapped under rubble knowing that there may be a chance that they might be alive?
A couple of things come to mind here. One is that I've been trained in such matters, confined space rescue. And two I wouldn't have hesitated to lend a hand if it wasn't for the fact that I'm so far away and it'd take a long time to get the paperwork and travel time just do get there. And to his discredit it was the mayor of the town just north of Toronto who called off the mission. For him I'd have a backhand to the face. Sorry guy but I've been in a few nasty situations in my time and I sure didn't give up. If I had I wouldn't be writing this right now. From what I saw they sure weren't giving it the effort required. A couple of construction crews with cranes with some iron workers to reinforce would have all of that taken care of in short order. Especially knowing that lives were at stake. Even the ordinary people of the town were willing to risk their lives but not the mayor. Can't wait till his term is up if they don't throw him out first.
So what have we come to these days? Do we just wait and hope the insurance will cover the loss. Or maybe blame the victims say it was their own fault for being in the mall in the first place. You know like the disclaimer at the bottom of a ticket. Shall we just step over a dying man on the sidewalk too afraid to get involved? It sure looks that way anymore. This never used to be. We all used to look out for each other. It was only the lowest of the low who were so heartless. But I guess not anymore it's every man for himself. Sorry I just don't think like that.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The game will continue as planned

Brother can you spare $100K?

Insanity as Einstein defined it is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Nothing could be truer for our financial system. As the economies of so many countries these days are in a slow motion lock up the solution which should be quite obvious by now is ignored like the plague. Exactly why anyone would expect that by giving yet more advantages to banks and investment companies would make our current economic picture better is a puzzle. Logic would dictate that if one method did not work after so many tries then it's time to change course. But that's not the case for the central world banks. Rather than focus on the actual customer the consumer it's content with looking in the mirror and adding more make up.

There's a vain attempt to pull out the tire pump and inflate the same bubble that burst in 08. Rather than embark on a long term plan to right the financial course that's been stuck on the rocks these last few years the central banks are taking a reverse course and lowering the standards for loans by easing collateral requirements. Haven't we been here once before? A home loan in 06 could be had with no money down and a borrowing max of 125%. All with little to no income verification. It didn't take a genius to figure that was a recipe for disaster. But the biggest problem here is that market values have dropped like a stone these past few years. That's left a ton of underwater loans and many empty foreclosed homes on the banks books. That picture has not changed much even after meager attempts to remedy the situation. It seem the banks will just not cave and give up that loss of value. That's kind of sad when you think about it. They'll bury a defaulted loan in a dusty file in a feeble attempt to look good to their shareholders (nothing like a little hocus pocus with the books), but in the end the home is eventually sold at a loss at foreclosure or worse torn down from decay. Either way the bank loses.

Anyway you look at it the present plan has not changed. It's all about making those who had little to do with the problem pay the bill. Yes there may have been a few consumers too greedy to see the end result but on average this is hitting even the financially responsible homeowners as well. And to add insult to injury this will affect even those of us in a better economic situation as governments cut services and increase taxes and fees.

On the bright side there were no bank fails this week (or is that really a good thing?)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Beaver Friday and bank robbers in reverse

Maybe we should call this little guy lucky beaver since he doesn't have to deal with banks. The Mafia on their best day couldn't have figured out a way to rob the world population like they're doing right now. Where to begin? First all the rules that prevented another Great Depression were pulled away leaving the children on the playground to piss away everybody's house and retirement. And when that wasn't enough they got their allowance with bonus only to do it again. Step back from all the hand wringing and cheers of joy with this Kabuki theater this is a Ponzi scheme plane and simple. Only the suckers haven't realized they are being taken for a ride. And it's not over yet. You recall the rating agencies? Those wonderful folks who gave a passing grade to subprime mortgages. And when call out on it denied it by saying it was the banks' fault. (Nothing like passing the buck when there's no real buck to be passed or would that be termed plausible deniability?) At any rate to add gasoline to the already burning fire this rating agency has just lowered the ratings on 15 major banks worldwide. You may be thinking good a slap on the wrist for this band of thieves. But once again they are not stupid as most of the dumbest criminals. By deeming them less than worthy the banks will have no choice but to raise rates to their borrowers and depositors as the money they steal er borrow will be more expensive. For those who wish to read more

A word about capitalization as I understand it. For every dollar that you let them hold in your account nine dollars is lend out on that buck. It's called leverage. In essence it's owning more assets than you could otherwise own much like a mortgage. Problem is the banks are at present only holding less than 3% in working capital. When the government requested that they increase this amount to cover potential losses you'd have thought it was a request for a right arm. The banks refused and of course our congress being bought and paid for by the banks pressed the issue no farther.

So what does this mean on the grand scheme of things? For the countries facing default it's the nail in the coffin. Nothing like expecting to try and deal with one amount of debt then have the rate increased even before you could calculate the pay back. Whether or not this will be joyous news for the boys on Wall Street we will see. While they have tooted the horn about how bail outs are great (for them of course) the rest of the world has missed the real inside sick joke here. Thank you sir may I have another as the economic paddle is about to hit us square in the rear.

We haven't seen any major bank fail but the game is far from over. I'll fill you in on the smaller ones later as always.

Update: It appears the banks are taking this news with a bit of glee as their stock have risen today. Nothing like a bit of what should be bad news get turned around into a great Christmas bonus. So it's more fleecing of the Peonage with higher interest rates. They must be loving this. They get the elevator we get the shaft.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Warning warning warning!

How hot was/is it? (fill in your own blank)
Hope all you happy campers are enjoying the nice sunny weather up there in the northeast. Just don't forget to drink plenty of liquids and slather on tons of sun screen when hitting the outdoors. What's that you say about global warming being a hoax?
Tell that to the emperor penguins and polar bears losing their homes. Still don't believe it? It's already happening.

The Monterrey was transportating heavy construction equipment and supplies from Port Hueneme, California, to Bethel, Alaska in support of a U.S. Marine Corps. mission to move a native Alaskan village that is sinking due to climate warming of its permafrost foundation.

Sadly this was an example of double trouble as the ship the Monterrey hit a rock and dumped about 15,000 gallons of diesel on its' journey. But the good news is that diesel tends to stay on the surface where most of it will evaporate depending on the temperatures.

Burn baby Burn. Fire a ticket to burn
Some 1500 high temperature records were broken around the country in the last year alone. Toronto didn't see snow until late December. They were a bit irked because you can't practice hockey in a back yard wading pool. Their practice days becoming few and far between. Just wondering when we'll be able to catch swordfish here in the great northwest. Not big on fishing myself but it would be a sight to see someone landing one of those babies. Shutter to think what a salmon dinner will cost when the runs are nearly gone and forget the farm raised. It won't happen. Relegated only for the Über rich.

Cool here Ice Ice baby
So while you're frying your butts off back east we here in the northwest are getting a brief brake from the usual 50 to 60 degree overcast mist ladened norm. Time for oogling the pale skinned bikini clad maidens by the shore before the funk rolls back in and the layers of fleece and Gortex are once again the norm. The official start of the soda pretzel and beer season not starting until well after July 4. Only guarantee is a week maybe two in August. But the weather has become strangely nasty in the 30+ years I've lived here. Winters have been very short (a week or two at most) and filled with snow that turns to ice while summers have been very short and hot. And you say there's no climate change?

* editors' note: In google searching an image to compliment this little blathering the word "hot" resulted in 10 billion images of bikini clad maidens in various states of undress. Wonder who set up that algorithm? You dog you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

From the fast and the furious to the slow and placid

Not a whole lot going on but yet another revolution around the sun in our ever continuing saga of how the stomach turns. and for your amusement, or not, we have congress who , with nothing better to do trying to harass our judicial branch. Much like the bullies on the school yard with a lesser opinion of themselves and unable to lead they pick on the lesser. The new Rethuglicons work that way. Is this merely pandering to ignorance? A mild distraction when you know your plan is something that won't work. Sorry guys we've been down this road before it's filled with potholes and lined with abandoned foreclosed houses.

In other useless news we find Hosni Mubarak on deaths' bed. Must ask does that really matter in the grand scheme of things? Yet another distraction in a long line of distractions for those with too much time on their hands. What no more Elvis sightings?

On a tech level Micro Flaccid comes in yet again with it's latest incarnation of a tablet computer. Darn guys haven't you learned anything after that Zune thingy you tried to foist on the tech heads. Nothing like getting lapped by the competition when you showed up to the race 5 minutes late for the start. Don't try to tell me you can do so much more with it when you spend more time trying to fix the damn thing than using it. "Where do you want to crash today?"

Then there's the G (fill in your own number 8..10..20) summit where suited world leaders gather in some far off land to wring their hands about how screwed up things are even though it was them who caused the mess in the first place. All promising to make things better in the future. Better if you're one of the suited elite that is. For the rest of us common folk and lesser of the planet it's the promise of a blue ribbon panel to look into the matter. Maybe that's how they get all those "dressage" metals Mitt was talking about. Blue ribbons don't come cheap ya know.

And on the economy we have few buying much of anything because after all who has the cash? And if you do have the cash you're afraid you might be the one stuck when the music stops and the house of cards falls. Not quite as bad as a certain previous downturn but little bright are the horizons on this journey. More on that later in the week. In the mean time life goes on I guess. Just remember wherever you go there you are.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

News you can't use and could probably care less about

Did you say something? Oh no not the V word.

Say it ain't so! Hot dogs listed as Kosher not Kosher. That's not very Kosher of them.
(Considering what's in hot dogs you would have thought somebody would have added this to the Torah when writing Jewish dietary law. What do Goymes know anyway? Give me the hamburger and don't forget the pink slime). Hot Dog!

Man has 29 college degrees and going for 30th - Trying to beat the thermometer eh? What's truly amazing is if this guy was smart enough to do that then why does he still use a typewriter? One question? How'd he pay for them all?

You’re probably a Republican if you drink this…
(Wouldn't be Kool Aide would it?)

Misbehaving Particles Poke Holes in Reigning Physics Theory
(Darn old particles ya just can't teach them anything)

Bellingham may outlaw introducing invasive species
(Just can't keep them furiners out) Worried about Asian clams and zebra mussels getting into the water supply fines will be forthcoming. (Ya know what a Zebra is don't you? That's the largest size you can get.) rim shot.

Silenced Mich. lawmaker does 'Vagina Monologues'
Better not be caught saying the V word or the P word in Michigan state legislature.
(What do they think we're all a bunch of Ken and Barbie dolls with no anatomical parts?)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The ship is sinking more bail buckets Capt.

While all the eagle eyes of Wall Street are sharply focused on Greece a bigger elephant is hiding in plan sight yet the diversion has been well orchestrated. Termed the "Spailout" by Greeks and others is the debt problem in Spain. Greeces' financial problems pale by comparison. But let's step back to Greece once again and examine the problem. Financially Greece got the reputation as being a smaller and weaker country of the newly formed Euro zone. Exactly how they were even permitted entry in the first place is questionable as they had recently restructured their debt by none other than Goldman Sachs that bastion of honesty. If you know anything about credit default swaps then you'll know why this all happened. In an effort to lower interest rates on their national debt they took the bait. From what's been read and heard even those pushing these credit time bombs weren't exactly sure how they worked. Rocket science would have been child's play by comparison.

All of these instruments of financial mass destruction were based on the idea that the markets and housing would continue to hit the stratosphere and beyond. But when the bubble burst there was no way Greece could alter its' situation. Being tied to the Euro it couldn't change the value of its' currency. You will note that nearly every country in the world did just that after the meltdown of 2008 by cranking up the money presses. As has been stated before much of Greeces' wealth is off shore and untaxed which hasn't helped the situation. But the losses in real estate and contracts tied to it have been the final blow. Austerity and tax increases have done nothing but make the problem worse. With lowered incomes and higher taxes prices of necessities like food have gone up as well. And with a banking system close to gridlock this has been no picnic for business that relies on the capital to function. So with shrinking tax revenues it takes no genius to figure that a collapse is evident. It's only a matter of time. Some predicting three months while others six.

The Spailout - The easiest explanation would be from this gentleman as follows:

Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz pointed out the Ponzi scheme nature of the whole bailout discussion:

Europe’s plan to lend money to Spain to heal some of its banks may not work because the government and the country’s lenders will in effect be propping each other up, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

“The system … is the Spanish government bails out Spanish banks, and Spanish banks bail out the Spanish government,” Stiglitz said in an interview.

“It’s voodoo economics,” Stiglitz said in an interview on Friday, before the weekend deal to help Spain and its banks was sealed. “It is not going to work and it’s not working.”

Several other economists and financial gurus point out that there isn't enough money in the world to fix this problem, Spain's being some $2 trillion dollars worth. A little perspective from an article in 2005:
According to estimates by The Economist, the total value of residential property in developed economies rose by more than $30 trillion over the past five years, to over $70 trillion, an increase equivalent to 100% of those countries' combined GDPs. Not only does this dwarf any previous house-price boom, it is larger than the global stockmarket bubble in the late 1990s (an increase over five years of 80% of GDP) or America's stockmarket bubble in the late 1920s (55% of GDP). In other words, it looks like the biggest bubble in history.

As you can see while financial Rome burns Wall Street fiddles cheering on the next bail out and hoping the game won't end until they have cashed out their chips. But we all know how Ponzi schemes work and what happens in the end. Unfortunately we are the suckers in the scheme whether we like it or not.

So how are those in the know reporting that this will all go down? By this example:

Greece → Ireland → Portugal → Spain → Italy → UK

I would add the U.S. and Canada when the UK takes a dump.

Prosperity isn't just around the corner and happy days sure aren't here again either. If you remember those little ditties then you're old.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Religioulessness Religiosity Superstition

Aspersions aside a brief look into inner workings of the grey matter makes one wonder exactly how we continue to wrap ourselves in the most bizarre of customs and tradition that have no basis in logic. Let me not pee in your delusion. Far be it from me to rain on your gnostic parade. But it does make one wonder about the function of a belief system especially when there is no mathematical or scientific means of testing. It's all about faith and hope they say. No I'd say it's all about superstition garnered from years of repetition until the origins were lost. Somehow some way odd rituals were handed down over the eons. A face painting before the hunt worked well once why not try it again? And so it continued and became a necessity, then a law of the land or in this case a tribe. Maybe it was some odd tangent of the learning process because it makes no rational sense in the actual survival of mankind. How do we know that to be true? Because the fundamental laws of physics are never broken no matter how hard we wish and pray. Let's see you try and break the law of gravity without an aircraft. Then you're talking the laws of aerodynamics.
They say science is a religion. No it's just our meager attempt at trying to understand the world around us and how it works. Most of us want to know how things work except for a few who seem to cling to the ignorance of the past. If they had their way the earth would still be flat and the universe revolve around the earth. The issue I take with such people is their fanatical reverence for ignorance. So to them I say if God was so wise enough to give you a brain then why don't you use it? Beads and chants and the burning of incense and such may be a pleasing momentary distraction but it does little to change the human condition. We are by nature greedy self centered selfish SOBs and maybe that's why we've made it this far. But more people have died on this planet at the hands of some other guys belief system than all the car accidents and domestic issues combined. So I have to question the benefit of religions especially when they claim to be the one and only way and pity somebody with differing beliefs as torture and death are an option. What benefit comes from building crystal cathedrals that sit empty most of the week and ministers and high priests with flashy attire driving expensive cars? I'm sure Jesus himself would puke if he saw it. So it's pie in the sky but don't forget the collection plate when it comes your way because the new wing of the church won't build itself and it's almost time for a new Caddy because the ashtrays are almost full. All a form of expensive entertainment for the masses. Keep them poor keep them hungry but by all means keep them ignorant. They just might catch on.

Take your pick- beads amulets crosses. Have any of these items been instrumental in the advancement of mankind? I think not. And if you look carefully at the nations who are falling behind you will note that many are tied to this religion or that. What great scientific advancement has come out of Saudi Arabia lately? And if you say something about oil drilling I'd say they bought it from another country. Stem cells, evolution, climate change? Heretic! You could get burned at the stake for those remarks. Remember these are the folks who brought you honor killings, female circumcision and public beheadings. How advanced they must be.

So the exact function of religion is anyones' guess because when it's all said and done we all land up as fertilizer. It's a one way trip and nobody's been back to give us a travelogue.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Herr Bloomberg wishes to control your private life

All shocking from a party that professes smaller government intervention. They say one thing and legislate just the opposite. The ban on large soft drinks in NYC is sure to have manufacturers breathing down his neck and forget about campaign contributions the next time around if this legislation passes. Sorry mayor you can't legislate bad behavior. What's next? Outlawing sugar. Or maybe he'd like to add butter, ice cream, pizza and any number of fattening foods to the list. And who took the flack for wanting to get kids up and active? Wouldn't have been a certain black woman at the white house would it?
No Mikey the way to change things is to encourage physical activity by digging up the paved over playgrounds that we all once enjoyed as kids that are now just parking spots. Some sports equipment and the return of gym class is far cheaper than paying a cardiologist later in life. Kids are looking for an incentive to do more than pig out and balloon up from video games. There used to be a presidential award given to kids who demonstrated a degree of fitness. They need a challenge. They are at the age where competition is ingrained in them. Use that fact. But no we sit and watch the latest of reality shows and let others sweat while we pig out on soda and chips then tweet snarky comments to our friends. What do you mean you're bored? But there are far worse things of chat rooms where junior sits staring at a screen with others staring at a screen and nobody is saying a word. My god you couldn't invent a drug powerful enough to induce such a state of catatonia. Now where's that two liter bottle of coke and the family size bag of chips? Anybody seen my smokes?
And to its' discredit the big pharma has managed to have a solution to ills we never thought we had. Excited? We have a pill for that. Depressed? Ditto. Shy, Angry, Anxious? Over sexed, under sexed, confused? There is a pill for just about the entire gambit of human emotion. And it does seem odd that many of these problems have cropped up in just the last 30 years or so with removal of physical activity is schools. We have put the emphasis towards the non physical both in schools and in the work place. So is it any wonder our spawn are obese and diabetic? We have been eating like kings of old and are starting to look like them too. But a piece of legislation is not going to change that. And the solution is very cheap if anyone would stop to consider it. You could even ask the kids for some ideas. I'm sure they could come up with some very creative competitions.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday beaver and the news

Our beaver is busy today catching up on the latest news.

Something we've all been waiting years for George W. Bushs' head on a pike.
George you need a haircut. And I didn't know Dick Cheney took up the broad sword.

Them brown people all look alike right? Or so the republican party thinks as it placed some photos of asian folks on its' hispanic web page. Oh they're gonna love you come November. Y'all don't forgit ta cast yer ballots fer Mitt before ya git on the bus back to Mexico. Ya hear? An thanks fer following Mitts' self deportation plan.

And lastly - Just when you thought it was safe to eat anything:
WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration is urging food distributors, retailers and food service vendors to remove from the market oysters, clams, mussels and scallops imported from South Korea because of possible contamination with human waste and norovirus.
(So much for seafood platter for Dad this Fathers Day)

And the bank fails as usual later.
Momentary update: The bank fails don't come out until later but I thought I'd throw some financial news in for good measure.
Looks like you can steal from the poor but watch out if you think you can try that with the wealthy. A Goldman Sachs director is getting hard time for his shenanigans. Gupta convicted of fraud
And in other news the markets are jubilant over the thought that somebody went out for more cash when the crap game was low on funds i.e. Euro bailouts. Grab your chips while you can boys because eventually the printing presses will stop.

Neighborhood auto index stands at 10. (Anything below 10 is good news at 10 it's neutral)

And as promised the bank fails: Three hit the skids this week in GA FL and TN

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deadly diesel

The world health organization has determined that diesel fuel is a carcinogen. This should come as no surprise when you stop to consider that it's processed from hydrocarbons containing many of the nasties found along side of oil products. We however never consider the minor changes to our production methods that have a huge impact to global health. On the plus side we tend to ban products that cause us harm to our health but usually not until after some damage is done. Why we lag behind other countries is due not by scientific evidence but by profit motives. Corporate control of our politicians has not helped the situation. Several chemicals that were once considered toxic have been de-listed (by what scientific study is anyones' guess) and it's odd that no other nation on the planet followed suit. But should we feel any lesser the lab rat we are doing the very same to some third world countries by producing and selling DDT while Canada still mines and sells asbestos not just to us here in the U.S. but to third world countries as well. In our case it's a matter of having a product that has no substitute as is with the production of gasoline, paper and other caustic chemicals. All well and good if you know how to handle it and treat it as the dangerous stuff it is. No so with developing countries who consume it as if it were the 1940s. Sad to see photos of workers shoveling the stuff unprotected in a third world country and this is happening today.
The attitudes of our consumer society has fallen back to something of the 1950s only worse. It used to take 10 years or better for a drug to make it to market after extensive testing. But at that time our auto industry was cranking out cars as fast as humanly possible with a simple business model of build them fast and cheap then make the profits in spare parts when they break down. The same now holds true of the drug industry now only with a human cost. Develop the drug and worry about the side effects later. No body reads the mouse print and the announcer speaks so fast and so low when divulging info that just might be important later. And they've managed to develop fixes for problems that don't exist too but that's another story.

Getting back to the meat of this post we find some 107 know carcinogens listed. In any given year between 30 and 40 new chemical combinations are added to our inventive army of product producers. The long term health effects from this will yet to be determined. I am no purest by any stretch of the imagination. I realize that in order to produce many of the things we enjoy today requires many chemicals that are not kind to living things, but what I take issue with is not being able to have a full disclosure on possible health effects later on down the road. I can deal with any chemical thrown at me if I have an understanding of it's dangers and necessary personal protection but not if that information hides behind some trade secret law meant to protect a corporate profit.

Now let me throw some facts at you that you may or may not have known. These are about things around you in everyday life that you might have not know are toxic. All gleaned from years of classes on the subject.

That wonderful creamy cheap store brand ice cream may contain:
Diethyl glucol - component of anti freeze - gives it creamy texture and a bit of sweetness.
Piperanol - artificial vanilla - also kills head lice
Adehyde C17 - cherry flavor - used in making dyes, plastic and rubber
Ethyl Acetate - pineapple flavor - used to clean leather
Butyraldehyde - nut flavor - part of rubber cement
Amyl Acetate - banana flavor - oil paint solvent
Benzyl Acetate - strawberry flavor - nitrate solvent
Mmmm sounds like the makings of a delicious banana split doesn't it? Oh and don't forget the maraschino cherry on top that's bleached white first with formaldehyde then dyed bright red.

Ladies don't forget to use plenty of eyeliner, cheap lipstick and maybe a touch of rouge all chuck full with heavy metals such as lead, chromium, cadmium, and titanium.
Not to forget the men that Grecian formula just might protect you from nuclear fall out as it too is full of lead.
Then for all the others there's Bisphanol A that chemical in all the plastic water bottles. With age it leaches out of the bottle and into your system mimicking female hormones. And they wonder why we have a gender identity crisis these days. Go ahead keep refilling the same bottle over and over and watch your breasts get bigger. Sorry ladies doesn't have the same effect on you. For that you'll need the cheap milk with bovine growth hormone. Utterly disgusting I tell you. :-)

So in our vane attempt to make things better and cheaper we land up poisoning ourselves in the process. As for the diesel it may just explain why so many firefighters die from cancer of late as nearly all the rigs now are diesel powered as well as the pumps and generators.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gruesome is as gruesome does

Warning cover your eyes this may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion advised.

From the bowels of depravity cast upon us like so many car and insurance ads of late we skim the morning headlines expecting the generic mayhem of a slightly deranged society (This isn't the 50s anymore Mrs. Nelson ). Only to find the latest blood sport of the macabre nature enough to make a medical examiner sick (what does gross those guys out anyway?). First we have the face eating psycho from Florida. Surely they have better recreational drugs unless the old ones have come passe and new thrills are sought. (and don't call me surely!)
And then there's the Canadian gay porn star with a proclivity for tasty asians. Not satisfied with a mere sexual tryst he set about to brag about the crime by mailing body parts to various places as an "in your face" taunt to the authorities. All this after having produced a few kitty mutilations for your Youtube viewing pleasure. Maybe a fitting punishment would be a trip to the lions' den at the local zoo as in pick on somebody your own size pal. The lions might find you tasty.
But just today and back to the scene of the crime (what is in the water down there?) Florida where an estranged couple (or should that be strange?) circame to an argument. Rather than resort to the usual methods of combat hubby decided that incineration was good enough for an ex-wife. He proceeded to douse her in gasoline (at these prices?) and light her ablaze.

Okay that's not gruesome enough for you? Well how about Lungs found on sidewalk in LA. While strolling through the exurbs of Los Angeles a woman happens upon a set of lungs laying on the sidewalk. (Is it zombie season already?) This bit of odd news can be added to a report in January where a severed head and hands were found near the Hollywood sign. However in the case of the lungs they turned out not to be human. Darn junior your mother told you to finish you lungs or no desert.

Not much more to report the last few days. News goes like that you know. But stay tuned you never know what could crop up and I'm working on some environmental piece that may be of interest.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Time for the Spanish inquisition?

For the life of me I do not understand such jubilation over the bailout of Spain. What after all could be more insane than saddling a country that's already swimming in debt with more debt? And yet you'd think the market gurus had just bet on a triple crown winner with the latest news. Have we forgotten Greece already? And Iceland is but a far off memory although to their credit they defaulted on much of their debt and nobody noticed. Sorry folks but you can only borrow from the Master Card to pay off the Visa Card for so long then something's got to give. And if you had a financial advisor like the ones in the recent past (in this case governments) you'd fire the lot of them in a New York second.

So as the markets fall and sea levels rise the west burns and all in congress sit on their thumbs merrily waiting as the train wreck of history rounds the corner, we with all but lost hope twitter the day away wondering when the crunch of metal on metal will commence. Life is what ya do while waiting to die but there's nothing good on and all the good websites have been viewed. An investigation is in order. Must have a blue ribbon sub committee report on desk by noon or heads will roll. But the dog ate the paperwork so a two week stay is in order but then someone forgot about the vacations so we'll all just scamper off to a favorite fishing spot until Sept. or Oct. Wait a minute! That's the start of hunting season so maybe after then. Ah but alas that'll be right at the beginning of Christmas shopping season, can't have that. Would post new year be a more opportune time then? I think not. Recovering from the holiday debauchery is such a lengthy process. February then? Better think again. Tis such a short month and what would sweetie say on that special day. Nothing going in March so March it is. Pencil it in for say mid month and we'll talk about forming an exploratory group to consider setting up a panel to talk about a real sub sub committee that is unless the sub is out on maneuvers or it sank. Well then just have to outsource the task as that's about the time for spring break anyway. The Spaniards! The Spaniards! Call in the Spaniards! They'll still be out of work and could use some coin. The Spaniards it is. Ha ha! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

May be a second act to follow of this three act farce that is if the creative juices flow in which case get a mop and clean it up.

Found: Mint Raw Money's perfect running mate

The VP choice goes perfectly with an empty suit and an ample supply of etch a sketches.

Too lazy to blog. Find your own amusement today.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Edumication fail

I see our state is trying to "fix" the educational system once again with a new law enacted last Thursday. Where to begin? We saw what happened when they tried to "fix" it before. Everything is now about taking and passing tests. And god help the teacher who's class doesn't make the grade or at least increase test scores.
The crux of the bill:
Under the new teacher-evaluation bill, improvement in student test scores will be included on a list of factors principals use to assess teachers. The measure details how a poor evaluation could lead to a teacher's being put on probation or fired.
I think you can figure where all of this is headed. The last educational bill put the main emphasis on testing students but that my friends is not what education is about. Not once has an employer asked me to take a test and that is the main reason for education, to be gainfully employed. Yes it is a requirement to have certifications in my profession but the initial requirements could be completed by a monkey. Just about anyone with a warm breath and the ability to sign their own name could have a start. It's not until upper levels are reached that anything close to college is required.
But what happened just a few years ago when we went from Head Start to No Child Left Behind? Everything became about teaching to a test. The problem? Twofold. Students started to become good test takers and the teachers started to fudge the scores as in grade inflation. I've heard from some past graduates that it was just a matter of showing up on a regular basis that guaranteed a passing grade. What a disservice that is to our kids. High marks might look good on a resume but as we've seen from some of our politicians it's no guarantee of competence. And our system is still geared to an agrarian and industrial economy of the 19th century. Unfortunately modern times require more than just parroting back facts in a business setting.

Texting and chatting and all that has been no help in the advancement of thought for our young people. It's reduced our students to the attention span of a gnat. Good luck trying to teach the classics to this lot. The current abbreviated thoughts has spilled over to other areas as well. It could be the reason that we're showered with an avalanche of promo reminders and upcoming news teases on TV. Sorry but there is no human on the face of the planet who can talk on a phone, text their friends and view a Youtube video at the same time. Please pull over and put the car in park when you do that okay?

All of this should come as no surprise though. The educational system has been on the decline for decades. There's been a multi prong attack from both inside and out. Believe or not Latin was once a requirement for graduating from high school. And the same for a foreign language and higher math. Even the remaining subjects were shortened to fit shrinking budgets and larger class sizes. So much easier to take a test when there's less material to cover or better yet no subject to test. I'd bet none of our current academicians could make it through Macbeth unless there was a Cliff Notes text version.

They say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. That is definitely true of many today. Buy into the talking points superstitions and myths because it's so much easier to digest. Actual research is such a bother. So time consuming when there's a good game on later or the buds want to play Warcraft right now. This could be one of the factors in why we're becoming a more violent society. Abbreviated messages, a lack of complete understanding and a tendency for knee jerk reactions have lead to where we are right now. And as it continues the students who went through the process will now become the teachers and the teachers of teachers all in a decaying educational system. Here's the other part of the equation that no body's looking at right now. Farming has gone from multiple small farms to gargantuan factory farms with less need of lesser educated workers. So too are the factories shipped overseas for their cheap labor. And employers are no longer willing to train. We can see where this is all headed by the demographics. An aging population and a lesser educated next generation isn't going to make for pleasant times ahead.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Banksters or is it Gangsters?

As promised the news on banks at least this week includes four more failures. Maybe that could be the newest scam. Open a bank with borrowed money. Give yourself an obscene salary and plenty of bonuses as CEO then when accounting time comes declare bankruptcy and be taken over by the taxpayer.
But this wasn't to be about hypothetical things it's about what's really going on and that is just about as ludicrous. Banks, those grand purveyors of debt, would like nothing more than see the current mortgage crisis disappear. and what better way to do that than ignore the problem. Exactly how they do that without getting caught by the eagle eyes of a state auditor is the 64 million dollar question. As we all know there still remains on the books of just about every bank in this nation hundreds of non paying mortgages compliments of the policies of the last administration. So lax and foolish were the regulations that even someone making minimum wage was more than apt to secure a loan. Down payment? No need for a down payment that'll just be added to the loan because, after all, values will go up forever and the loan committee is out to a cocktail lunch they'll be back at 3:00 with enough time to approve anything. They're in a good mood after getting their bonus checks.

And now the rubes are stuck having been well fleeced by the boys in the flannel suits. Not only did the poor slobs lose even a scrap of equity they may have gained on the family castle but are now faced with foreclosure costs. If that wasn't harsh enough there's a tricky little clause in their agreement that says the bank can go after the remaining balance even after the home is either sold or torn down. My god I think dictators treat you better than that. Tis true though it's called a "lien on default".

Now looking around any city or small town in this nation I'm sure you've seen a boarded up home or empty shop. Some coming in total disrepair as time goes by. Eventually the rot begins to show. There's broken windows, uncut lawns and stolen metal where scavengers left their mark. And what of the banks' responsibility as they are now the not so proud new owners? Ha! you think they care? To them it's all just figures on some spread sheet. How to make it disappear? And don't think you can cause anything to happen by calling the local health department their hands are tied. They issue a citation that's ignored by the bank because after all what recourse is there at this point? A city can't foreclose on the bank on a property that has little to no value.

So it looks like the banksters have gotten off scott free. They've managed to create the perfect theft ring. Al Capone on his best day could not have conceived of a better scheme. Rob the victim and leave the bystanders to clean up the mess and get the cops to help you carry the loot to the getaway car.

Four more banks hit the skids this week one each in NC, SC, IL and OK.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday a girl and her beaver

Cute photo eh?

Can't trust anybody these days.
From the following headlines from two different newspapers:
Fukushima radiation higher than first estimated
Chicago Tribune May 24,2012
UN says most Fukushima radiation doses below norms
Kansas City Star - May 23, 2012
Was something missed here? Ah but the powers that be have been playing with the facts for once if you click to the first article somehow the radiation levels magically dropped and all was safe with the world once again. The story scrubbed clean artfully sanitized so that there's nothing to see here move along.

I realize that things can change in a nanosecond in todays 24 hour news cycle but contamination of that nature doesn't magically drop without a gargantuan clean up effort and even then it would take decades and not 24 hours. But fear not the UN says it's safe and that's good enough for me. They wouldn't lie to us now would they?

But oops the truth leaked out when: "The eventual cost of the disaster has been estimated at more than $100 billion. Last week, Tepco said the radiation release from Fukushima's meltdowns was more than twice initial estimates".
And in connection with this coverup we have:Members of the panel appointed by parliament will likely grill Masataka Shimizu the head of Tepco (responsible for the nuclear plants). So I suspect Mr. Shimizu to be served on a wassabi roll with plenty of soy sauce and maybe a side of rice. Careful boys don't overcook him.

And then we have the bank shenanigans but I save that for another post.
And as usual bank fails later if I think about it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's all smoke and mirrors

An economic rundown or is that meltdown?
As I predicted the markets are back up today (this was written yesterday haven't checked today) after a usual and predictable dump they took at the end of the week. Hum just long enough for those in the know to cash out their insurance policies before the climb back up. That's how derivatives work you know. And nobody on the planet without the knowledge of how this system works could eek out the most meager of gains. For you see non of this is based on any realistic value but perceived worth. And as was mentioned before in prior posts only those with the fastest of super computers have the hope of a gain. In this case it's like playing both sides of the fence. A stock is purchased or not and a hedge (insurance) against its' downfall is bought about the same time. This generally goes in six month cycles because that is the minimum amount of time to hold a stock to avoid long term capital gains taxes. All of this information is neatly programed into the aforementioned computer and trades are made without so much as a keystroke. True, adjustments are made from time to time depending global circumstances and opportunities unforeseen by the program. But none of this is sustainable in the long run. Like a casino the bank almost always wins but in this case the players are running out of money and the bank isn't floating any more marks.
Another note on hedges, that is in case you didn't know or forgot how they work. Hedges are like an insurance policy in the event a stock bond or contract takes a nose dive. They were originally started as an insurance against market price drops for farmers. This dates back as far as the 1590s so this is nothing new. What is new is how they (derivatives a type of hedge) are used at the present time in our financial markets. What is disheartening is that an investor need not own the asset to buy a hedge or even a percentage of that asset. This is akin to the "Bucket shops" of the 1920s that were outlawed and for good reason. When a broker or investment house has a hard time explaining them to an average investor and it takes a complex computer program to figure them out then it's time to avoid.

National economic picture
On a national level there are those that scream about the deficit. But realistically we could be at twice the GDP and still be in fine shape. The problem is with revenues. By cutting taxes for so long we have little way to payback the mortgage on this country. Small tax cuts are fine when the economy is humming along, it puts a bit of a punch and helps to keep things moving. And with obscenely low interest rates which was meant to spur business activity didn't help because of low demand. Why would a business want to expand without increased demand? As you can see we're stuck in a Catch 22. No demand equals no need to hire and more incentive for layoffs to increase shrinking profit margins. Must look good to the shareholders at all costs even if you have to fudge the books as we've seen. But again that leads to lack of demand and more importantly lack of trust.
And as all of this is playing out those in the financial markets continue to play at the casino with puts and calls, derivatives and hedges, A shares and B shares while the rest of us suffer. This is almost a lost generation. What student graduating from college with a mountain of debt could ever imagine or even hope to marry buy a house and start a family in these economic times?

The parking lot index
Presented as an anecdotal indicator of our local economy. The scale is quite easy to understand. Approximately 20 cars are visible from this place. When there are 13 or more cars present during the day in the average work week then the economy is doing poorly. Anything 10 or below indicates the economy is improving. Factor -1 for someone on vacation.

Today's index stands at 12.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No news can be good news sometimes

Greece Warns of Going Broke as Taxes Dry Up
As I predicted Greece will default and probably pull out of the Euro. Proving that you can't pay a debt with no money. When are these idiot banksters ever going to learn? So wacha gonna repossess a bunch of ancient ruins? Good luck with that. The people over there are starving as it is. Or as they say you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.

Scott Walker wins...but...
In national news Scott Wanker might have kept his hide intact in Wisconsin but one thing that isn't being reported is that the senate just flipped to democratic. Let's see you get something done now ya little weasel. Had to spend quite a bit of time digging through Lame Stream Media to find out who got the boot in the Wisconsin state senate. Not looking forward to the flood of mud slinging as the general election gets closer. Thank god or Cthulhu for movie channels. Darn ya can't even swipe it from the innertubes anymore.

A body was found on the waterfront. Now was that a new body or the one from last week? Or perhaps the one from the week before. Medical examiner must be busy these days with all the shootings stabbing and water fun aftermaths. I guess this is what to expect when too many people want to move to one area. Hey guys I hear there's plenty of jobs in Texas and they just love their guns and knives and other phallic symbols yee haa!

Ray Bradbury died. Now there's a guy who at least added something to the gene pool. Many of his sci fi ideas are now a reality. Unfortunately not much is real anymore so slip those virtual glasses back on and get back to the game.

Music of late seems to be hitting the ends of the spectrum. Not that I follow any of it anymore but when you start hearing rap in just about every foreign tongue you know it's just a fad at its' end. I had hoped it would go the way of Disco and rapidly but that was not to be. Any idiot with a thesaurus and a rhythm generator can do it. Okay JC McCool let's see you rhyme the words silver and orange.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just when it was getting quiet...

More murder mayhem and merriment, okay forget the merriment.

What no metal band called Psycho Killer? How disappointing. Billy get your pom poms out they're at it again.

Black bear euthanized after eating Canada murderer
Hum, maybe we could have used the bear for the department of corrections. Just a thought.

Man dies after being detained at Calif. Walmart
Who wouldn't die after being forced to stay in a Walmart?

Teen gunman on bike shoots LA father, 1-year-old
Jeez got to save gas somehow.

4th teen dies after pre-graduation crash in Ohio
Drinking and texting will do it every time. No kids you aren't immortal.

Officials: Al-Qaida's No. 2 target of CIA drones
Didn't we already kill that guy about three or four times now?

Born in the U.S.A.: Springsteen favored to write new national…
How did this get in the mix?

Trayvon Martin's killer to ask for new release from jail
Sorry Sparky ya don't lie to the judge and get away with it.

'Psycho' killer suspect to appear in German court
I smell a new blockbuster movie in the making.

What a difference only one day makes in the news cycle. Just knew they could come up with something exciting.

Monday, June 4, 2012

News you can't use and could probably care less about

Just can't think of much to blog about.

The Queens' Diamond Jubilee - Who cares. I should have gotten into the business of making bobble head dolls before this thing hit, could have made a killing. My version would have had been complete with a spring loaded waving arm and gaudy hat.

The Canadian porno dismemberment murderer has been caught. - Please save us the gory details and just lock him up in a psyche ward.

Markets only lost a little bit today so they're back to about where they were six months ago. But fear not once they hit a certain level of low greed will once again be back in play. It's all a matter of cashing out the hedges before the market goes back up. Hope you got your timing right guys.

Venus makes it's once in a life time journey in front of the sun. Don't forget to look directly at the sun tomorrow and you might catch a tiny glimpse of the black speck just moments before going blind. No qualms here as our usual overcast rainy weather is forecast for this state.

Guess I'll have to wait till tomorrow for the latest murder mayhem or natural disaster.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Poop meet fan part 2

Digging through the ruins of financial news yesterday and today we're starting to see the cracks in the dam. Some little under reported facts that never saw the light of the financial newspapers:

Greek gas company was demanding the national electric company pay moneys owed them or have their gas supply shut off. Sounds familiar if you're a pensioner on fixed income and they just raised the rates and the government cut your monthly pension check.

Spain just had it's credit rating dropped thereby making it yet harder to pay it's debt. Nothing like changing the terms of an agreement in the middle of the game.

Morgan Stanley: Investors have been worried about the bank's exposure to Europe for months, despite the bank's disclosures indicating that its potential losses are limited. Its Morgan Stanley Smith Barney retail brokerage joint venture is not generating the returns that investors had expected. Remember hedge funds and all that are opaque and very difficult to analyze. Plus they were the ones handling the Facebook debacle.

As we all saw yesterday the stock market took a slight dive on the employment news (actually it was worries over Europe). Merkel has about two weeks to poop or get off the pot in terms of doing something to stabilize the situation. One idea floated was to establish a Euro bank and sell bonds. Maybe they should have considered this before they started the game. But heaping more debt on a person who is drowning in it isn't going to help especially when governments were adding more water, shakles and concrete blocks.

It's safe to assume that since the game hasn't changed since the last meltdown that the same things will happen. Only this time there is no leeway. The bulk of the bail outs went to the banks and not the consumer, the driving force of the economy. The Mitt Raw Money/Paul Ryan plan would have us look like Greece in short order because we have firmly established the fact that those upper class "job creators" aren't creating jobs even after multiple tax breaks. The hedges are still hedging and the swaps are still being swapped but little is being produced. Look no farther than commercial construction as an example. With no future demand on the horizon there's no need for new office towers and the roads didn't get much funding. And now we have states with massive debt cutting their budgets and refusing to raise revenue. Nothing like saddling the people who can least afford it with cuts.

The only good news was in residential housing but even there it's questionable as we haven't seen the end point of the foreclosures yet. Banks just like the government seem to be kicking the can down the road but we're running out of road coming up to the dead end here shortly. Oh yes and no bank fails this week. And if you look at the stock market it's back to where it was six months ago just in time to avoid long term capital gains.

From Bondad, someone who makes his living studying this stuff:
A commenter recently noted that there is clearly a negative impact coming from the rest of the world, hitting the US. I completely agree with this sentiment. As I've noted for about the last month in the market analysis section, equity markets around the globe are dropping; safe assets are rallying (US, German and UK bonds, US dollar and Japanese yen), commodities are dropping. This is the exact scenario you would expect in a pre-recession trading environment. While I don't think we're in a recession yet, we are getting dangerously close.

Let me add: Not in a recession yet? That is unless you're the one who's been out of work for 6 months or longer with slim to no job prospects.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday beaver and some sick news

Just when you thought things could not get sicker they do. The world sure could use some type of tonic or medication. After a spate of killings here and elsewhere I flip on Canadian news (they actually cover what's going on in the rest of the world unlike here). I find before me one of the most heinous of crimes committed that I can remember. One Luka Rocco Magnotta murdered then dismembered the body of his victim sending some body parts to offices of two Canadian parties Conservative and Liberals. This act in itself would be disgusting enough but in talking to an individual last night who lived nearby the murder scene (the net is an amazing tool) I find that this young man documented on his video posted on his website having had sex with the torso after the murder. Something not reported in any of the main stream news.

I surely hope they can apprehend this guy and do so quickly before he acts again. It was reported that the police believe he has left Canada and may be in France.

I'll let you Google the rest of the story should you be that interested. Just pick any Canadian news. I'm sure he's front page.

Bank fails don't seem that bad now. Later...