Research: Marijuana smoke prevents cancer

It's official: herb is the healing of the nations.

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Federal health and drug enforcement officials have widely used Tashkin's previous work on marijuana to make the case that the drug is dangerous. Tashkin said that while he still believes marijuana is potentially harmful, its cancer-causing effects appear to be of less concern than previously thought.

Earlier work established that marijuana does contain cancer-causing chemicals as potentially harmful as those in tobacco, he said. However, marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which he said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous.


John McCain: your friendly neighborhood fascist pig

Investors Business Daily tells it like it is:

Late last month, McCain responded to the issue of whether the legislation that bears his name abridged our freedom of speech by saying, in essence, that he didn't mind if it did. McCain said he'd "rather have a clean government than one where, quote, First Amendment rights are being respected that has become corrupt."

Imagine that: putting quotation marks around "First Amendment rights." That First Amendment is such a nuisance. Exactly which part of "Congress shall make no law. . . abridging freedom of speech" does the senator not understand?

To silence political opposition is not reform; it is incumbent protection. In any other context, it would be called censorship. In any other country, it would be called repression.

Screw McCain. I hope the new and improved Supreme Court shoves his un-Constitional, un-American, fascist legislation right where it belongs.

Thanks to Tex for the link.

Calif. Supreme Court: Judge Freedman is an idiot

Today, the California Supreme Court decided that Judge Robert Freedman is as stupid as a 12th grader who can't pass an 8th grade exam. The judge had earlier ruled that California high school diplomas should be handed out like Cracker Jack prizes, irrespective of whether the recipient had actually learned anything.

Pence on the fence

Finally, a reasonable immigration reform plan from Congressman Mike Pence:

I see the solution as a four-step process. Securing our border is the first step. The second step is to make the decision, once and for all, to deny amnesty to people whose first act in the United States was a violation of the law. The third step is to put in place a guest worker program, without amnesty, that will efficiently provide American employers with willing guest workers who come to America legally. The final step is tough employer sanctions that ensure a full partnership between American business and the American government in the enforcement of our laws on immigration and guest workers.

Let's hope it catches on.


Teachers' union boss, a real nice guy

Three National Education Association employees collected $750,000 after being treated with the same contempt that teachers' unions show for children's education:
The women, all employees of the National Education Association in Alaska, complained in a sexual discrimination lawsuit in 2001 that they had been abused, berated and spit upon by their boss, the interim assistant executive director of the office, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

By the way, how do you like that headline, "$750,000 for women boss screamed at," that fails to mention the leftist lobbying group involved? Do you think if this happened at the NRA or the Heritage Foundation the name of the organization would fail to make a prominently placed headline?

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming

I didn't mean to make this a single-issue blog. It's just that this amnesty thing is the dumbest thing Bush has done in a long time... and so many Senators want to go along with it.

This is way dumber than Harriet Miers for Supreme Court. The sensible wing of the Republican Party saved Bush from himself on that one. Let's hope they can do it again.

Anyway, there are plenty of other things that still suck enough to merit attention. Terrorists suck. The deficit sucks. The FCC sucks. Howard Dean sucks. France sucks. The New York Times sucks. Ruth Baader-Meinhof sucks. Bonds (as investments) suck. Bonds (the walking steroid) sucks. The U.N. sucks.

So enough (for a while, I hope) about how badly Bush's amnesty plan sucks.

Dianne Feinstein: mass amnesty not massive enough

Feinstein: not just amnesty for people who have broken the law for two or five years, amnesty for everyone who's been breaking the law for at least four months!

But check out this nugget, deep within the story, that explains why this amnesty is a fraud doomed to fail like the last amnesty:

"I'm not at all confident that our Senate bill is really workable," [Senator Sam] Brownback said even as he defended legalization. "This five year-two year distinction -- you're going to create (millions) of people trying to determine (whether they) were ... here two years or five years. And that's a lot of adjudications."

Many immigration analysts agree, pointing to arbitrary cutoff dates as a major failure in the last major immigration overhaul approved by Congress, in 1986.

Requirements to prove the duration of one's stay in the United States -- through pay stubs, rent receipts and the like -- "is almost an invitation to fraud," said Deborah Meyers, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.

"People who have been here under two years have every incentive to prove they've been here longer," Meyers said. "People who have been here four years have every incentive to prove they've been here five years. Politically it might make sense, but you need to consider the workability of these proposals."

Well, duh! If an illegal alien is sophisticated enough to get past Bush's "high-tech" border, patrolled by sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads, do you really think he won't be able to get a few of his buddies to vouch for him, saying he's been working here for years? Illegal aliens posessing fake documents?!? Sacre bleu!!!

How on earth do you think we're going to be able to prove who's been here 5 years and who hasn't? And how will Dianne Feinstein prove who's been here four months?

Any amnesty is an open invitation for millions more illegal aliens to come pouring across the still-unsecured border and claim they have been here for whatever arbitrary amount of time the jackasses in Washington require.

James P. Pinkerton: the Bush / Senate amnesty bill sucks!

One of the best columns I've seen on the amnesty plan:
"Comprehensive" is code for a bill that makes pro-immigration constituencies happy — that is, big business, the Democrats, Hispanic reconquistadors and the Mexican government. The key to making the pro-imms happy, of course, is legislation that negates itself. Build a big wall? Fine, so long as you then shoot it full of holes. Bush will agree to tighten up the border, but only if it's linked to a guest-worker program that loosens things up everywhere else. That's what "comprehensive" means — and the alternative spelling, by the way, is S-H-E-L-L G-A-M-E.

Further demonstrating his hope that the American people are a bunch of dopes who will fall for the cheapest of rhetorical tricks, Bush then set up a straw man: "You know, there are some in our country who say, 'Let's just deport everybody.'" There might be some who say that, but the spearhead of the secure-the-homeland movement, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., is long on record as favoring an "attrition" strategy against those who are here illegally, mostly by toughening up on employers.

Yet, the Bush administration has virtually eliminated work-site policing: The Government Accountability Office counted 2,849 immigration arrests in 1999, but just 159 in 2004, a decline of 94 percent. And on Sunday, The Washington Post reported that the number of "absconders" — those who were arrested for immigration violations and released on bail, and then simply disappeared — has risen by nearly half under Bush, to 536,000 in 2005.


Robert Novak: the Bush / Senate amnesty bill sucks!

The White House strategy is to concentrate on closing the Mexican border, in the expectation that the guest worker provisions would then be more palatable to conservatives.

The problem with that approach, however, is that President Bush's efforts to take control of the border have been unconvincing. Sources in the Department of Homeland Security say that his summoning of 6,000 National Guard troops, who cannot arrest anybody or discharge firearms, will release only 500 Border Patrol guards for actual duty on the border.

Bush adviser Karl Rove's mission last Thursday was to convince a closed session of the hard-line House Republican Conference that progress really was being made on the border. Individual House members did not think he got the job done. These congressmen have been inundated in their home districts by anger from the conservative base that surpasses their past reactions over gun control, abortion and taxes.

The consensus on Capitol Hill is that Bush and Rove were blindsided by the immigration tide and are still foundering. The fear of America being undone by immigrants resembles nativist alarms in the country's past history. The flawed bill that the president supports only spawns more of this sentiment.

Mickey Kaus: Bush Lies, Base Dies


Bush Lies, Base Dies! WaPo's Weisman and VandeHei recount the successful attempt of Senator Hagel and others to get the Bush White House to scuttle conservatives' attempt to amend the immigration bill

to stipulate that the 200,000 low-skilled immigrants allowed to enter the country under a new temporary-worker visa would have to leave when the visa expired.

According to WaPo, the conservative senators argued, ineffectively, that

that Bush has always said he backs a "temporary worker program," not a permanent funnel of immigrants to the United States.

Actually, it's worse than that. In Bush's big May 15 speech, he said flatly:

And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.

Now it's been made clear that--according to the White House--temporary workers need not return to their home countries after all. Was Bush's speech statement just a lie? Was it a Clintonian weasel (technically accurate in the zen-tautological sense that their "stay" doesn't conclude until it concludes). ... P.S.: I happen to favor a path to citizenship for legal temporary workers from outside the country. (It's the illegal workers already inside the country I have problems with rewarding.) But if Bush didn't mean what he said, maybe he shouldn't have said it. Or does he have so much contempt for his own base--what Sen. Hagel, in a revealingly snotty outburst, called "the political lowest common denominator"--that he thinks he can con them with impunity?

More amnesty than you can shake a stick at

Not just amnesty for illegal aliens... amnesty for employers, too! The same employers that Bush's Justice Department is kindly ignoring in a kind of pre-amnesty de facto amnesty.

Who am I to argue?

A new British poll. You read the conclusion.


A modicum of justice

It's nice to see that steroid-juiced cheater Barry Bonds' Babe Ruth-tying home run ball was caught by someone who appreciates it.

Call me crazy

... but I just bought a little AMZN. It's the Wal-Mart of the web. True, you could have bought it for $6 in late 2001, but that was when its survival was in question. Now it's a strong, healthy, profitable company. And it has scale that will be a sustainable competitive advantage.

I might be wrong, but I think this Internet thing that Al Gore invented might have a future.

El Presidente destroying Republicans' Congressional chances

Before Bush's amnesty speech, Democrats led by 10 points. After Bush's amnesty speech, Democrats lead by 15 points.

I never thought I'd say this, but...

maybe we should take a cue from Europe.

The Socialist government of Spain plans to send illegal aliens back home.

And even the cheese-eating surrender monkeys are getting tough.

Meanwhile, President Bush still favors mass amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S.


Your Bush Administration Justice Department in action

Lack of prosecutions demoralizing Border Patrol:

The vast majority of people caught smuggling immigrants across the border near San Diego are never prosecuted for the offense, demoralizing the Border Patrol agents making the arrests, according to an internal document obtained by The Associated Press.

“It is very difficult to keep agents' morale up when the laws they were told to uphold are being watered-down or not prosecuted,” the report says.

Hedge funds at play

The stock market has taken a pounding this week. Financial Times says it may be hedge funds or their banks panicking to unwind leveraged bets:

The recent sharp falls in stock markets appear to have been exacerbated by an unusual wave of derivatives activity on the part of hedge funds and big banks, traders yesterday indicated.

In particular, some banks and big investors appear to have been forced into selling large amounts of equity futures because they have been acting as counter-parties to large, leveraged bets on the direction of stock market volatility in recent months - and these bets are now unravelling because volatility has increased sharply.


Survey says...

The DaVinci Code sucks!

The book sucked. It was a cheap suspense novel, wrapped in a bunch of B.S. purporting to be historical fact. If all of the allegedly true stuff really were true, it would have been a really cool book. But it's all a bunch of concocted nonsense.

And the albinos are pissed off! Kind of like when lesbians went ape shit about Basic Instinct.

And the beat goes on

More details in the widespread corruption at the University of California.

Students, that's where your tuition money is going.

Taxpayers, that's where your tax money is going.

To line the pockets of departing executives and professors.


What inflation?

When even the government's manipulated CPI is showing inflation, you know it's getting serious.

Mexican official: Bush's amnesty will cause more illegal immigration

A Mexican government official says it all:

In Ciudad Juarez, Julieta Nunez Gonzalez, local representative of the Mexican government's National Immigration Institute, said Tuesday she will ask the government to send its migrant protection force, known as Grupo Beta, to more remote sections of the border.

Sending the National Guard "will not stop the flow of migrants, to the contrary, it will probably go up," as people try to get into the U.S. in the hope that they could benefit from a possible amnesty program, Nunez said.


The subtle racism of a dim-witted President

In his speech to win amnesty for illegal aliens, President Bush used Mexican-born U.S. Marine Guadalupe Denogean as a poster boy:

On a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Laura and I met a wounded Marine named Guadalupe Denogean. Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean came to the United States from Mexico when he was a boy. He spent his summers picking crops with his family, and then he volunteered for the United States Marine Corps as soon as he was able. During the liberation of Iraq, Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean was seriously injured. When asked if he had any requests, he made two a promotion for the corporal who helped rescue him and the chance to become an American citizen. And when this brave Marine raised his right hand, and swore an oath to become a citizen of the country he had defended for more than 26 years, I was honored to stand at his side.

We will always be proud to welcome people like Guadalupe Denogean as fellow Americans. Our new immigrants are just what they have always been people willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom.

The problem? There's nothing about Denogean being an illegal alien! If he's not an illegal alien, what's the point? Using someone who worked hard and played by the rules as an example to demand amnesty for lawbreakers is asinine!

Bush's thinking goes something like this:

1) Guadalupe Denogean is brown
2) Illegal aliens are brown
3) Guadalupe Denogean is good...

Therefore, illegal aliens are good!


Bush: I love illegal aliens! Let them all stay!

As I predicted, Bush's speech used the national guard at the border to take the headlines and draw attention away from his amnesty plan. But he denied that his amnesty plan was really amnesty. Apparently, if illegal aliens pay a fine and then wait a while before becoming U.S. citizens, it's not really amnesty. No, they can stay here, avoid prosecution, keep working, keep getting free health care, keep getting free education for their kids, but that's not amnesty!

Tonight's immigration speech

So Bush will propose sending troops to the border in order to look tough on illegal immigration, while maintaining his proposal of amnesty for all illegal aliens currently in America.

He'll also try to look tough by talking about cracking down on the employers of illegal aliens, but what's the point of that if he legalizes all illegal aliens? If everyone is suddenly made legal, employers won't be able to violate the law even if they want to.

A sensible guest worker program would require illegal aliens to leave the country, then apply for admission. That way, the scofflaws don't have an advantage over the people who have been diligently going through the nightmare of immigration paperwork and waiting for years. Bush won't propose this. His plan will be that lawbreakers get first priority: anyone here illegally can stay, while those who have been following the rules and applying to get in can keep waiting for a phone call.


House to Senate: Drop Dead!

Finally, House Republicans are sensing their impending doom and trying to do something about it:

House Majority Leader John Boehner dismisses recent legislative proposals on energy, immigration and spending as "stupid," "insulting" and "dead on arrival."

House Republicans may pay the price for the horrible spending and amnesty policies of the President and the Senate. It may be too late to do something about it. But they're trying.


Honoring stupidity

California judge: illiterate morons deserve high school diplomas.

After all, diplomas aren't supposed to be recognition of knowledge or anything, right?

Hey, I've got a better idea. Why don't we skip this whole "high school" thing and just let the DMV give out a free diploma with every driver's license?

The long run

The Daily Reckoning on deficit spending:

In 1932, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in a landslide on promises to take swift and decisive action [for economic recovery]. The foundation of this recovery involved devaluing the U.S. dollar against its gold backing, and basically amounted to currency debasement and deficit-financed make-work programs. The cost of the New Deal - the brainchild of British economist John Maynard Keynes - was foisted upon future generations.

When confronted with these long-term costs and the necessity of running budget surpluses to pay off debt incurred by his "demand management program," Keynes casually dismissed this critique with the statement that "in the long run, we are all dead."

Well, it's safe to say that we have reached what would be considered "the long run" and, no, we are not all dead yet.


The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning is a good daily read, full of investment ideas and philosophy. You can sign up for free daily e-mails. A sample:

Americans, consciously or unconsciously, are betting on inflation. They are hoping their favorite swindlers at the central bank will continue to engineer a gradual devaluation of the dollar so as to ruin their creditors rather than themselves. The dollar lost half its value during the Greenspan years alone. And now, the Bush administration is adding more debt than all the other administrations in U.S. history combined. Inflation looks like a sure bet...a "done deal."

Commodities are rising. Health care, education, housing, energy -everything measured in dollars that the Asians can't produce and Wal-Mart can't put on its shelves, is soaring. Gold is rocketing. Gold is outperforming stocks, commodities, bonds, the euro, housing - everything.

How nice it would be if the empire's creditors would go gently into that good night! They must read the papers. They must see the dollar going down and gold going up. Imagine yourself in the same situation; wouldn't you be tempted to shuck some of that green paper in favor of the yellow metal? Wouldn't you want to protect yourself?

But, according to lumpen-American economic theory, the creditors just stand there, stock-still, while the big inflation bus runs over them. Not only do they not sell their U.S. bonds and dump their U.S. dollars, they continue adding to their inventory, like collectors of Cabbage Patch dolls long after the fad has moved on.

God bless 'em. But we doubt the lenders are quite as dumb as the borrowers believe.

Some of these themes have been echoed on this blog. In particular, I'd like to emphasize my agreement with the pithy inflation comment: "Health care, education, housing, energy - everything measured in dollars that the Asians can't produce and Wal-Mart can't put on its shelves, is soaring." That's exactly what's happening. Cheap Asian electronics and imports on Wal-Mart shelves keep getting cheaper, but everything else in American life is going through the roof. The CPI understates the true cost of living.

If Bush won't secure the border, maybe toddlers will

3-year-old kills illegal alien.


Gold hits $700!

Silver's rocking too!


Your UN at work

Not only are they slack-jawed onlookers to genocide, they also trade food for sex with starving children.

What's not only corrupt and incompetent, but also a humanitarian disaster?

Answer: the UN!

Here's the lesson of the past three years: The UN kills.

In 2003, you'll recall, the US was reviled as a unilateralist cowboy because it and its coalition of the poodles waged an illegal war unauthorised by the UN against a sovereign state run by a thug regime that was no threat to anyone apart from selected ethnocultural groups within its borders, which it killed in large numbers (Kurds and Shia).

Well, Washington learned its lesson. Faced with another thug regime (Sudan) that's no threat to anyone apart from selected ethnocultural groups within its borders which it kills in large numbers (African Muslims and southern Christians), the unilateralist cowboy decided to go by the book. No unlawful actions here. Instead, meetings at the UN. Consultations with allies. Possible referral to the Security Council.

And as I wrote on this page in July 2004: "The problem is, by the time you've gone through the UN, everyone's dead." And as I wrote in Britain's Daily Telegraph in September 2004: "The US agreed to go the UN route and it looks like they'll have a really strongish compromise resolution ready to go about a week after the last villager's been murdered and his wife gang-raped."


Rodeo Beach

A few pics from Rodeo Beach today:


Reading list

The Poker Face of Wall Street by Aaron Brown

OK, so it's a short list. I never said I was much of a book reader.

It's a good book, though. If you're interested in either poker or investments, read it. I happen to be obsessed with both, so I'm enjoying it.

Get yourself a powder charge and seal that silver mine

Renowned investor Marc Faber sees gold going to $6,000 over the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, back in SF, I went to an analyst lunch on precious metals. What I heard confirmed my views. I am hanging onto my gold, and just added some silver. I bought the new ETF, SLV, plus a silver mining stock. The stock is pretty speculative, so I don't want to name it here, but if you're curious, e-mail me.


Thank goodness

If not for the Bill Maher show on HBO, how would we know what TV and movie actors think of serious domestic and foreign policy issues?

The dumbest guys in the room

CNBC just reported that the dopes at Merrill Lynch just changed their asset allocation, raising the equity weight and reducing bonds.

A bit late for that, isn't it! People pay for this advice? Sell bonds AFTER they've tanked, and buy stocks AFTER they've rallied? We've been telling people to sell bonds and buy stocks and gold for months:

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Chinese Taking Over

Jeremy Siegel on Stocks and Bonds

Gold on a Rampage

UPDATE: Holy smokes! It's worse than I thought! Merrill has been recommending that their clients heavily overweight bonds and heavily underweight stocks! In a near-zero real interest rate environment! Merrill clients would have gotten crushed if they took this advice.


Corrupt UC administrators fleecing taxpayers and students

If you're an alumnus, don't give. If you're a California voter, tell your representatives not to give one more dime of public money to the corrupt, self-dealing University of California.

If you're a student, ask your dean why the UC is raising your fees to line the pockets of six-figure-salary administrators.

Helicopter Ben slips a rotor

Steve Colbert wasn't the only joker that bombed at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.


Man, I wish I had more gold.

Don't believe the talking heads that tell you it's all about uncertainty around Iran. Gold is going up because investors, both Asian central banks and private investors, are finally deciding that it's good to diversify away from the US dollar that Bush and the Fed are diligently destroying.


Illegal Alien Boycott Day

I don't want to perpetuate any stereotypes, but as of 8:00 AM, there were no illegal aliens at the Duboce Park protest that was supposed to start at 7:30.

I made it to the 5PM protest at the federal building. Here are some pics:

Silly union guys! What do you think cheap illegal labor does to wages for blue-collar jobs in the U.S.? And what do you think would happen to wages if we suddenly legalized 10 million willing workers to compete for those jobs?

Silly illegal aliens carrying "World can't wait - drive out Bush" signs! Bush supports amnesty!

Sure, we'll bring the U.S. flag... as long as we can fly it upside down to show our patriotism!

And the communists weigh in.

Punk rock girl, flaunting what she don't got.

Fidel Jr.

Securing the border is totally like putting people in gas chambers.

Happy Illegal Alien Boycott Day!

I'll try to check out the protests this afternoon.

Happy Super Tuesday!