12.30.2012

Oh, the Places You Won't Go!

Cal State San Marcos President Karen C. Haynes finds an unusual selling point for a university:
Eighty-five percent of our alumni stay in the region, contributing their talents to the economic recovery of our cities [...]
Haynes did not give the percentage of CSUSM graduates living with their parents and thus contributing to household laundry efforts.

HT: Logan Jenkins

12.29.2012

The Collaboration of the Fourth Estate

Democracy depends on an independent, investigative, even "adversarial" press.  Without the disinfectant of sunshine, corruption runs rampant in the halls of power.

We've discussed ad nauseum on this blog the corrupt elite in Washington and New York who are enriching themselves while crushing the middle class and destroying the American ideals of liberty and free enterprise.  For a refresher, see this excellent post by Charles Hugh Smith.
Politically, a Tyranny of the Majority comprised of those who draw direct transfers/benefits from the Federal government, is ruled by the top ½ of 1% financial aristocracy who own the majority of income-generating assets. The minority, who pay most of the taxes (the 24.5% between the majority and aristocracy), will see their taxes rise as the aristocracy buys loopholes and exclusions [WCV note: not just loopholes and exclusions, but immensely profitable  government contracts and bailouts!] while the bottom 50% pay no income tax.

Financially, the Federal government’s spending has outrun the tax revenues being collected. Structurally, Federal expenditures for entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans Administration, etc.) will rise as Baby Boomers retire en masse over the next 15 years, while tax revenues will stagnate along with earned income.

There is no way to square these circles.

The political foundation of America is starkly unjust. An entrenched financial Aristocracy buys the complicity of the bottom 50% and retirees with Federal transfers – a Tyranny of the Majority. The 24.5% below the Aristocracy who pay most of the Federal taxes are dominated by this alliance. This may be legal, but is it just? Even more critically, is it sustainable?
It is obviously not sustainable and will end very badly, but that is a discussion for another day.

While the trend toward corrupt, self-dealing statists buying a permanent voting majority with other people's money has been in place a long time, the collaboration of America's once proud press is stunning and new.

The print and broadcast media still dominate the national dialogue, and have succeeded in downplaying to outright non-coverage of everything damning to the Obama regime.  It's as if Woodward and Bernstein helped Nixon cover up Watergate, and outed and smeared Deep Throat as a subversive crank.

Consider the economy.  Remember the relentless drumbeat of "recession," "hardship," and "struggling families" stories during the George Bush I re-election campaign?  We got none of that during the Obama re-election, despite the economy being much worse now than in 1992.

How about Benghazi?  The incompetence, utter disregard for American lives, and cover-up should have been the final nail in Obama's re-election campaign, a Jimmy Carter foreign policy disaster after four years of a Jimmy Carter economy.  But the media were more interested in criticizing Romney's statement on Benghazi than covering what actually happened.

Fast and furious, Black Panthers, warrantless wiretapping, drone strikes... the list goes on and on.  How much did you hear about those in the mainstream media and how much would you have heard if a Republican were in office?

Journalists have always been left-leaning as a group and overwhelmingly always vote Democrat.  But even when Journolist-ing, though they were using unethical tactics to manipulate an election, they could at least rationalize it by the notion that they were opposing those currently in power, i.e. a truly "adversarial" press.  Now that their guy is entrenched in power, they no longer have that fig leaf.

Journalism didn't just die.  It went to work for the enemy.

12.26.2012

Student loans are the new herpes

New York Times: nobody wants to date a deadbeat:
Lauren Dollard, a 26-year-old assistant at a nonprofit in Houston, said her low credit score had helped to stall her romantic plans. Her boyfriend is wary of marrying her until she can significantly pay down the more than $150,000 she owes in student loans and bolster her credit score, she said.

Ms. Dollard’s credit score is so low, around 600, that she hasn’t been able to qualify for a car loan. She sympathizes with her boyfriend’s position because he “doesn’t ever want to be accountable for the irresponsible financial decision I made,” she said.
While the article focuses on credit scores, singles would be wise to pay attention instead to the type of debt. Credit card debt is like gonorrhea or chlamydia: it can be easily eliminated with the wonder antibiotic of bankruptcy (and who hasn't run up $20K at Macy's or screwed a stranger unprotected in a bathroom stall?). Student loans, however, are immune to bankruptcy just as herpes and AIDS are incurable. Avoid student debtors like you'd avoid a needle-using Haitian prostitute.

12.25.2012

How Phil Spector and a talentless limey hack screwed Darlene Love out of fame and forture

Mish has the story of how perennial Letterman singer Darlene Love got screwed out of fame and fortune by Phil Spector (better known for being a psycho killer) and the "British Invasion."
Phil Spector (the producer for the Crystals, Ronettes, etc.) promised Love that He's a Rebel as well as follow-up singles would be released under her name, but Spector reneged on that promise and instead released all of Love's hits under the Crystals name.

In 1964 the "British Invasion" began (Beatles, Herman's Hermits, Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, etc.). The "British Invasion" coupled with the "Surf Sound" (Beach Boys), and the "Motown Sound" (Supremes, Temptations, etc.), marked the end of the line for the traditional girl groups from the early 60's. Darlene Love never got the recognition she deserved.
Watch Darlene Love on Letterman here:



You know who was part of the "British Invasion?" This guy:



With all the good will this time of year, you know how hard it is to write a bad Christmas song? I can think of one bad Christmas song, McCartney: yours.

Simply having a wonderful Christmastime
Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

Really, McCartney? That pathetic line that could have been written by a third-grader is your contribution to the holiday? I hope you get dumped by a one-legged gimp.

12.23.2012

Happy Festivus!



If there ever was a time for Airing of the Grievances, it's now. More from our friend Leslie Eastman at Legal Insurrection.

12.21.2012

Life in a constitutional democracy

Can the cops or anybody else open your packages without warrant or notice these days? Sure, why not. This is the third time in a week a box has arrived like this, without explanation.


My best guess is that the po-po are cutting boxes open at will and letting their dogs have a sniff at the UPS sorting facility.  In case Amazon had a different opinion, I tried their chat help:

Chat

Close Window
You are now connected to Anthony from Amazon.com.
Me:Hi, is there any good reason that my deliveries have been cut open when they arrive at my door? This has happened to three of my last four boxes.
Anthony:Hello, my name is Anthony. I'll be happy to help you.
Me:Hi Anthony, thanks.
Anthony:I'm sorry about the late deliveries with your order.
Me:That is not the issue.
Nothing was late.
Anthony:I'm really sorry that your order was delivered with open condition.
Me:Do you know why this is happening?
Anthony:I'm sorry; I'm unable to determine this for you.
Is UPS the shipper of the item?
Me:Yes.
Anthony:Thanks.
I'll forward your feedback about UPS to our shipping department. I know they'll want to hear about this.
I'm really sorry about the problem you had with this shipment.
Me:Just so you know, they appear to cut open the Amazon tape but not open the box entirely.
Anthony:Sure, Charles.
Me:Thanks for your help. I love you guys.
Anthony:You're welcome.
Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Me:What, no "I love you" back?
Anthony:We look forward to seeing you again soon. To close this window, please click the "end chat" link.
Me: That's cold, dude.
Anthony from Amazon.com has left the conversation.

Boner FAIL!

The markets are freaking out this morning over Boner's failed "Plan B."  In an incredibly ill-conceived plan, Boner built up expectations for a bill for which he didn't have the votes, then bullied and threatened Republicans in vain.

The best outcome now would be to go over the fiscal cliff.  That would bring baby steps toward fiscal responsibility.  The Republicans could then use the debt ceiling as leverage to get entitlement reform.  Icing on the cake would be the Republicans throwing Boner out as speaker, which looks a lot more likely now that they've stood up to him once.

The more likely outcome, unfortunately, is that the MSM wing of the Democratic Party blames Republicans and hounds them mercilessly.  In early January, cowardly Republicans then surrender, just as they have at every opportunity in the past.  They undo most of the modest tax increases and spending cuts, and let Obama keep running trillion-dollar deficits.  They probably surrender on the debt ceiling too.

12.20.2012

No relation

Sean Varone charged in burger rage attack:
According to cops, Varone became irate on November 30 after he “found his sandwich had cheese on it which was not what he ordered.” After he was provided a second hamburger--which also had cheese--Varone parked his vehicle and entered the McDonald’s.

Inside the restaurant, Varone allegedly began yelling at workers (one of whom he called a “fucking bitch”) and demanded a refund. After getting his money back, Varone knocked over a trash can and “picked up a children’s high chair, hoisted it above his head and threw it towards another dining table” in the crowded restaurant.

As Varone departed the eatery, McDonald’s manager Kathy Vazquez followed him out to the parking lot in an attempt to copy down his license plate number. When Varone realized he was being tailed, he allegedly grabbed Vazquez, placed her in a headlock, and grabbed a cordless phone from her hand and smashed it on the ground.

When a second McDonald’s worker confronted him, Varone reportedly warned that he would fight the employee if he tried to stop him from leaving the parking lot.

Vazquez suffered a sprained knee and a fractured tibia during the scuffle with Varone, according to a medical diagnosis provided to a Springettsbury Township Police Department officer.

In addition to the two misdemeanor charges, Varone was also cited for criminal mischief for damaging the $50 cordless phone belonging to McDonald’s. A preliminary hearing date has yet to be scheduled for Varone.
There's a reason the West Coast Varones gave up meat.

12.18.2012

Happy Christmas

It's been a tradition of this blog to play the Pogues' Fairy Tale of New York at Christmas time.

The song is not only a fine, traditional, inspirational, Christmassy tune, but also a story of optimism and hope, good intentions and failure, and human frailty. And a necessary reminder of working-class struggles to a consumer class that would rather not consider them.



Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, however flawed they (or you) may be.

12.17.2012

Labor Unions, God, Girls Soccer

Remember kids, when democracy expresses itself, in Michigan, and you don't agree with its result the best thing to do is hire a man of god and imply the threat of bodily harm to the daughter of one of those who practices democracy. I'm pretty sure that's how Jesus would do it....

The honorable Rev. Charles Williams II:
"Just know one thing, Rick Snyder: You sign that bill, you won’t get no rest. We’ll meet you on Geddes Road. We’ll be at your daughter’s soccer game. We’ll visit you at your church. We’ll be at your office. Because Michigan workers will not take it laying down — by any means necessary!"

12.16.2012

Libertarian charities

As you're doing your year-end giving, please remember these organizations which are performing a heroic effort in pulling us back from a centrally planned economy and police state.

- Reason Foundation
- Institute for Justice
- Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
- Cato Institute
- Ludwig von Mises Institute

Am I missing any? Let me know & I'll contribute.

If you've been following the WCV blog for long, you've no doubt got some highly appreciated GLD ETF.  Now that we know better and only want physical gold, why not use some of that GLD to set up a donor-advised fund?  You save the capital gains tax and get a deduction for the full market value.

12.15.2012

"Dear baby Jesus, if I die, please let it not be part of some mass tragedy where the politicians all line up to pretend they have souls. Amen." -Charlie McDanger's page-a-day calendar

12.13.2012

Greenspan's Body Count: 69667 Northhampton Avenue, Cathedral City. Joanne Hasapes, Honorata Jastrzebski, Stanislaw Mlodowski?

Cathedral City is near Palm Springs, an oasis in the desert east of California's Inland Empire, the #2 most depressing place in America.

And it was the last place three people saw yesterday. AP:
Three people were found shot to death in a Riverside County home and investigators suspect a double murder-suicide.

Cathedral City Police Lt. Charles Robinson says officers were called to the house in Cathedral City late Wednesday morning.

They discovered a woman and her adult daughter shot to death in a bed. In another bedroom, the body of the older woman's common-law husband was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The home was purchased in March 2003 for $170,000, was Zillowed up to $399,000 in the bubble, and is now back to $175,000.

But lookie here.  The tax assessment jumped by $106,000 in 2007.  Because of California's Prop 13, you only get a jump like that if you make major improvements to the house.  It looks like these guys did a major remodel, likely funded with a home equity suckout.  That would have left them deeply underwater after the crash.


The only thing that outwardly distinguishes the home is the upgraded garage door, while the neighbors all retain the plain tract home garage doors.


From the satellite view, it's clear they didn't add any square footage or a pool.

It looks like this double-murder-suicide came down to a broke man angry over not getting enough of his dying wife's assets.
Investigators say the woman had been recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, and her common-law husband was upset over her plans to divide her assets after her death.

The daughter was visiting from Florida to help put her mother's affairs in order.
Killing over the assets of the dying, murdering for the last scraps in a desperate America.  That's what the Greenspan-Bernanke Fed have brought us to.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 233.

UPDATE: That tax assessment increase may have been just this partial ownership transfer, where Honorata Jastrzebski stayed on the title but Stanislaw Mlodowski came off and Joanne Hasapes went on.  A new mortgage at inflated 2006 prices would be likely in that type of transaction.



Joanne Hasapes' LinkedIn profile puts her in Longwood, Florida, so she is likely the daughter victim.

12.11.2012

Disappointment

... is seeing this on Drudge


... and then realizing it's not about Boner being voted out as Speaker, but just another stupid "fiscal cliff" story.

On the other hand, it's kind of funny to see Obama showboating about how Boner is his little bitch:

As the clock ticks toward a tax hike on all Americans in 20 days, President Obama predicted Republicans would join Democrats to extend current rates for 98 percent of earners before the end of the year.

"I'm pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals," Obama said today in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters. 

Translation: no entitlement reform for you!

12.08.2012

Zimbabwe Ben, meet Zimbabwe Timmy

It turns out that Ben Bernanke isn't the only one with the unlimited power to print infinite amounts of money.

Timmy the Tax Cheat has a little legal clause that allows him to make platinum coins in whatever insane denominations he imagines.  Trillion?  Heck, why not go for googolplex?

WaPo:
Thanks to an odd loophole in current law, the U.S. Treasury is technically allowed to mint as many coins made of platinum as it wants and can assign them whatever value it pleases.

Under this scenario, the U.S. Mint would produce (say) a pair of trillion-dollar platinum coins. The president orders the coins to be deposited at the Federal Reserve. The Fed then moves this money into Treasury’s accounts. And just like that, Treasury suddenly has an extra $2 trillion to pay off its obligations for the next two years — without needing to issue new debt. The ceiling is no longer an issue.
Yeah, the ceiling is no longer an issue. The fact that the U.S. is still running trillion-dollar deficits and printing money out of thin air to fund them? Kinda still an issue.

Congress created this monster in 1996 with the following:
 (k) The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.
Ostensibly, this was an oversight and they thought they were just giving Treasury the power to make commemorative coins for sale for a few hundred or thousand bucks, and they never intended to let Timmy go Full Zimbabwe.  Cynics might say the bill's author knew exactly what he was doing.

Back to WaPo:
“I like it,” says Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “There’s nothing that’s obviously economically problematic about it.”
In theory, this is much like having the central bank print money. But, says Gagnon, the U.S. government would simply be using the money to keep spending at existing levels, so it wouldn’t create any extra inflation. 
Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics has shit for brains. Running 7% GDP deficits and printing the money out of thin air "wouldn't create any extra inflation?"  How does that work, Joe?

If it's not clear to you yet that the dollar is a complete farce and is grounded in absolutely nothing, you're not paying attention.  Have you seen your gold dealer recently?

Is minting trillion-dollar platinum coins insane?  Of course it is.  But so is our current debt crisis.  And with every passing trillion spent, any remaining sane exit strategies are increasingly closed off.  And the Washington Post, a favored mouthpiece of the regime, has been flogging this idea for more than a year, so it's obviously a trial balloon the regime wants to keep floating.

The least painful way out of our current debt crisis would be a combination of austerity and devaluation (as we did post-WWII): Boner and Barry agreeing to serious entitlement reforms and spending cuts and tax increases, and monetization of existing debt via platinum seigniorage or the Dirty Fed just forgiving debt or maintaining a permanently huge balance sheet. But neither Boner nor Barry want austerity, so we'll get more devaluation instead.

The dollar has already been massively devalued by Obama's reckless spending and the Dirty Fed's enabling monetization.  You just haven't seen most of it yet in consumer prices because people are still afraid to spend.

12.05.2012

Monday massacre: Boehner purges fiscal conservatives from key committees as he prepares unconditional surrender to Obama

Because that's clearly the message of the last election, right? That Americans don't want fiscal responsibility.

Roll Call:
Speaker John A. Boehner initiated today a small purge of rebellious Republicans — mostly conservatives — from prominent committees; it’s the latest instance of the Ohio Republican’s clamping down on his fractious conference.

The decisions were made by the GOP Steering Committee at a Monday meeting, which reviewed a spreadsheet listing each GOP lawmaker and how often he or she had voted with leadership, three sources said.

Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina were booted from the Financial Services Committee. Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas were removed from the Budget Committee.

According to a source, Schweikert was told that he was ousted in part because his “votes were not in lockstep with leadership.”

[...]

All of the lawmakers other than Jones were rebellious right-wingers. Huelskamp and Amash, for instance, both voted against the budget proposed by Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin in committee and on the floor, because it did not cut spending fast enough. They also voted against the current continuing resolution that is funding the government through the end of March.
As a new Washington Post poll confirms, the MSM wing of the Democratic Party has the masses primed to blame Republicans for any breakdown in talks. Obama knows this, so he is negotiating in bad faith and offering nothing. Boehner knows this too, so he is preparing to unconditionally surrender just as he has at every other opportunity.

We will get tax increases that raise a trivial amount of money relative to the deficit, no real spending cuts or entitlement reform, and no path to fiscal sustainability. Thanks, Boehner.

12.04.2012

Empire of Lies

"If we're going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we've already made and the further reforms in entitlements that I’m prepared to make, then we’re going to have to see the rates on the top two percent go up."

- President Barack Obama, December 4, 2012




Source

Who are you going to believe, the Obamessiah or your lyin' eyes?

12.01.2012

Obama "compromise": $1.6 trillion in tax increases in exchange for spending... increases?

Wow.  Obama is being a real dick about this. 

Republicans may have to just walk away and let us go over the fiscal cliff, and then use the debt ceiling to force entitlement reform and a path to long-term sustainability.

As if Boehner the surrender monkey would have the backbone for that.


11.29.2012

California, the Pineapple Express, Axl Rose, and the High-Speed Fail to Nowhere

As we enjoy a little November rain thanks to the Pineapple Express, I think of Guns n' Roses' November Rain:



California is a lot like Axl Rose: it used to have amazing mojo and unlimited potential, but now it is just bloated and pathetic and waiting to die.

Our friend Leslie Eastman writes at Legal Insurrection on California's massive debt and the high-speed rail epic boondoggle:
In 2008, after millions of dollars in advertising, Californians were persuaded to pass Proposition 1A and provide $9.95 billion in bond seed money for the high speed bullet train, despite the fact was no hard evidence supporting any the claims made about ridership, pollution reduction, or job creation — and apparently forgetting the interest ($9.5 billion) costs of the bonds. Furthermore, the realities of construction have tripled the initial cost estimates and the first train won’t be running until 2033.
It's not just the high-speed train to nowhere. Municipalities and school districts are piling up billions in debt, all so they can keep spending recklessly today and leave the bill to the next generation.

11.23.2012

Remedial investing



Seriously, what is wrong with you people?

Buy Nothing Day

Happy Buy Nothing Day, everybody!

Buy Nothing Day is the brainchild of Adbusters, who recently found infamy as the inventors of the filth-drug-and-rapefest known as the Occupy movement.

Since the WCV signed on to BND in 2008, the message has become not just anti-consumerism, but anti-capitalism.  The Adbusters, perhaps emboldened by the re-election of Barack Obama, are now open about their intent to smash capitalism.  I obviously don't agree with that, but I'll hold on to the anti-consumerism angle. What capitalism needs is savings and investment, not debt-fueled consumption.

Buy nothing today.  Really.  You don't need that sh!t.

UPDATE:  You're not going to listen? You're going to run with the cows? JDA covers the sick phenomenon of Black Friday in gory detail.

11.22.2012

The lesson of the first Thanksgiving: socialism kills

Reposted from 2010.  More relevant now, obviously.

From Karl Denninger:
The first winter was disasterous - nearly half of the Pilgrims died of starvation, pneumonia and tuberculosis. Many claim that Bradford's first wife perished that first winter, but that is not quite true - she actually fell off the Mayflower quite close to land and drowned, never making it to Plymouth (he later remarried.)

During the first two years the colony lived under what could only be called Communism, enshrined in the Mayflower Compact. Each person was accorded a "share" of the totality of what was produced at the colony, and each person was expected to do their part in working toward the common good. The land, and that upon it, was owned by the colony as a collective.

It not only did not work out, it nearly killed them all.

William Bradford wrote in his diary "For in this instance, community of property (so far as it went) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort. For the young men who were most able and fit for service objected to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men’s wives and children, without any recompense. The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc., than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could. This was thought injustice.”

After the second winter, realizing that the colony had survived only through the friendship and largesse of the native Americans, and would soon perish if changes were not made, Bradford tore up the Mayflower Compact. He instead assigned each family a plot of land to be their property, to be worked as the family saw fit, and with the fruits of that land to be their own. It was the beginning of private property rights in the New World.

The result? Again, from his diary: "It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better satisfaction.”

From the very day that Bradford tore up the Mayflower Compact, Plymouth began to prosper. Within a year the colonists found themselves with more food than they could eat. Flush with a bountiful harvest far in excess of their need for food and having bartered for all the goods they needed to get through the winter, they had a feast of thanks with their Indian trading partners.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the leftist teachers unions to teach this lesson to your children. Better show them this video from Reason:

11.20.2012

Greenspan's Body Count: Thomas Fernandez and Debra Fernandez

Phoenix:
Police in Phoenix are investigating what they believe to be a murder-suicide after a couple was found dead in their bedroom.

Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos said investigators believe the victim, Debra Fernandez, 46, and the 52-year-old suspect, Thomas Fernandez, got in a fight late Sunday night over financial issues.

Fernandez's two adult children in their 20s were in the home and heard "popping" sounds but didn't realize they were gunshots. Martos said five small children, all under the age of 5, were also in the home near 4400 N. 53rd Lane.
Debra Fernandez is listed at 4421 N. 53rd Lane, Apartment 1.

Redfin has more info on the complex, from the apparently identical four-plex across the street, which just sold for $139,150, or $35,000 per unit.



Nine people in a run-down three-bedroom 1970's apartment on the outskirts of Phoenix. Welcome to the Greenspan Depression.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 230.

11.19.2012

Where are they now: Gypsy Taub

Back in 2007, we linked Gypsy Taub's groundbreaking investigative piece, "Is Cheney about to blow up the Bay Bridge?"

Sadly, Cheney apparently was not about to blow up the Bay Bridge. Or if he was, his plot was foiled by Taub's crack journalism.

Even more sadly, we neglected at the time to link Taub's interesting places you can insert an American flag (NSFW).

Well, our blog friend of five years ago has hit the big time and is now getting coverage in the mainstream press. She's fighting to keep nudity legal in San Francisco, against the prudish authoritarianism of Supervisor Scott Weiner. Supporting Weiner is the Castro / Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association's Rob Cox.

11.16.2012

An Ode to Hostess

Hostess closes its doors after years of producing something that, for good or bad, helped define Americana. I haven't eaten one of their products in recent or distant memory but I wanted to share a friend's take because growing up in the Midwest his comments resonate with me.
Today it was announced that Hostess is closing its doors, the grocery stores shelves will be absent another childhood memory. Gone are the sweet treats purchased by Dad at some out of the way gas station on Sunday drives through the Michigan country side. Gone will be the lesson, a rite of passage if you will, of standing in the school cafeteria line faced with the choice all teenagers must face, will it be the plastic wrapped sugar high or the school lunch which contained food sources of unknown origins. Missing from the back seat of your first car the empty wrappers of long ago devoured Dolly Madison cakes eaten on the way home after a long soccer practice. Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Snow Balls will no longer be seen as a quick fix to the hunger program that used to strike us at 3 a.m. after a long night out while on the way back to the dorm.

Wonder Bread, oh Wonder Bread, crusts on or crust off, rolled and squashed into squares and or balls of doughy, puffy goodness. Nothing flew a more accurate path than Wonder Bread when hurled at a sibling over morning breakfast. Served with Peanut Butter and Jelly stuffed into brown bags for those long day trips to some museum or factory where some poor kid with a healthy minded Mom would beg you to trade. On those days you were home sick from school grilled with American cheese to simple perfection by a Mom who made you feel like you were the only person in the world that mattered, was there ever a better meal?

Lost will be the smell coming from their small town commercial bakeries, where bleached flour, sugar and chemicals none of us could articulate were being blended, molded and cooked into tasty treats that had shelve lives longer than human life spans. Lost will be the clutter that gathers along the side of empty city streets, and in that clutter there smiling up at us would be Dolly, gently reminding us of simpler times and pleasures.

~EE

FHA needs a bailout; Gee, who could have seen that coming?

WSJ:
The Federal Housing Administration's projected losses hit $16.3 billion at the end of September, according to an independent annual audit to be released Friday, a much larger figure than had been forecast earlier.

The report strongly suggests the FHA will require taxpayer funding for the first time in its 78 years, though that won't be decided until early next year.

The FHA is required to maintain enough cash to pay for projected losses on the $1.1 trillion in loans that it guarantees. Last year, the independent audit said the FHA would have $2.6 billion after covering estimated losses.
The losses relate to loans made after the bubble burst, in 2008 and 2009.

Gee, who could have seen that coming? Certainly not the thousands of highly-paid bureaucrats in Treasury, HUD, FHA, etc., with their expensive models and experts.

Just some casual observer in San Diego with no particular industry expertise.
FHA is the new subprime

More precisely, FHA is the new put-option mortgage. As we said way back in January 2007 with Countrywide stock flying high around $40:
The mortgage industry calls them pay-option ARMs, because the buyer has the option to pay a full mortgage payment or a lot less. In reality, they are put-option ARMs, because the buyer is really getting a put option on the real estate market. If the market goes up, the buyer refinances or makes fully amortized payments on the loan. If the market goes down, the buyer makes minimal payments to live in a nice house for a period, and then hands the underwater house back to the lender. A no-lose proposition for the smart buyer!
Well, they're not ARMs any more. They are ridiculously low (~5%) 30-year fixed-rate loans. And the sucker is not a sleazy outfit like Countrywide. It's the FHA. That means you, the taxpayer.
These asshats in Washington either couldn't see, or didn't care, that making 3% down loans to deadbeats in a collapsing market would create huge losses for the taxpayer. They should all be run out of town on a rail.

11.15.2012

Japan goes Full Retard with call for negative interest rates

When you paint yourself too far into a corner with debt and money-printing, you start to think creatively [i.e. psychotically].

Here's the latest wisdom from debt- and demographically-doomed Japan:
The yen hit its lowest level against the dollar since late April on Thursday and looked vulnerable to more losses after the head of Japan's main opposition party called for a move towards negative interest rates.

The euro rallied to a two-week high against the yen and also rose against the dollar, despite data showing the euro zone slid into recession in the third quarter of 2012.

Shinzo Abe, the head of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party and frontrunner in next month's election, wants the Bank of Japan to consider sub-zero interest rates and reverse the yen's strength.
So you borrow a million dollars from the bank, put it in a vault, and after a year, you give them back $990,000. Yeah, that will fix the economy!

We've got negative real interest rates here already (interest rates less than inflation). But you can't do the vault trick with just negative real rates.

Don't worry; we're not far behind Japan. Grab some popcorn (and gold, guns, and ammo, obviously!) and let the silliness begin!

11.14.2012

Elmo cleared

Er... sort of.

No mention of whether the accuser received a settlement. There'd usually be a denial if he didn't.

Even if we take the retraction at face value, we've still got a forty-something guy taking advantage of an emotionally disturbed 18-ish kid for sex.  Way better on the criminal front, not so much on the creep front.

Meanwhile, shocking photos of Kermit the Frog have surfaced as the Sesame Street scandal continues.

11.12.2012

A humble prayer

"Dear Lord, if you bless me with intelligent, ambitious daughters, let their ambition be something other than to bed down the most powerful man they can and then destroy his life. Amen."

Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash accused of sex with underage boy

Now don't tell anyone where Elmo tickled you!
The man who voices the puppet of Elmo on Sesame Street has taken leave amid allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

Kevin Clash, 52, has taken a leave of absence from the popular children's show after the programme's lawyers were contacted by a 23-year-old man who claims he had a sexual relationship with the puppeteer seven years ago, when he was aged 16.

TMZ, who reported the allegations, said that Mr Clash had admitted he had a relationship with the man, but only after the accuser was an adult and said the accusations were both false and defamatory.
When Romney proposed cutting government subsidies to multi-million-dollar public broadcasting, was he also proposing cutting subsidies to a multi-millionaire child molester?

11.11.2012

U R F'd: Why taxing the rich won't come close to paying for Obama's spending

America just voted resoundingly to give Obama a blank check to keep spending like a drunken sailor, under the misguided belief that taxing "the rich" would pay for it.

Good luck with that. There simply aren't enough rich people out there. If you are in the middle class, we are going to have to tax the crap out of you to keep up with Obama's spending... unless we just go Full Zimbabwe and let the Fed print all the money Obama needs.

Recuento de Víctimas de Greenspan: Amaia Egaña

Some say love is the universal language. I say the universal language is debt despair.

Spain:
Fifty-three-year-old Amaia Egaña jumped four floors to her death as bailiffs prepared to kick her out after she failed to stay current on her mortgage payments. She is the second person in less than three weeks to commit suicide in the face of an impending eviction.
And of course the solution from just about every corner is to stop evictions:

A Spanish savings bank has halted all home-owner evictions after a ruined client threw herself out a window to her death, unleashing anti-bank street protests.

The weekend decision by Kutxabank, a lender in the northern Basque Country, was unprecedented in Spain, where banks and homeowners have been financially crushed by a 2008 property crash.

It was the second suicide linked to the eviction of a financially distressed home owner in 15 days.

Right-leaning Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy promised on Friday to offer proposals to ease the pressure on homeowners on Monday in talks with the opposition Socialists.

[...]

Rajoy said on Friday he hoped the talks with the opposition would include discussion of a 'temporary halt to the evictions which are hitting the most vulnerable families.'
Ending evictions is a great idea, because it would immediately end mortgage lending.  And that would be a great first step in ending debt slavery.

11.10.2012

Tee hee

From the Amazon blurb for "All In," the Petraeus biography written by the woman he was banging:
Afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends, Broadwell embedded with the general, his headquarters staff, and his soldiers on the front lines of fighting and at the strategic command in Afghanistan to chronicle the experiences of this American general as they were brought to bear in the terrible crucible of war.

McDanger does ATC

Our man Charlie McDanger lucks into a gig as an air traffic controller for a day.

11.09.2012

Boehner owns this

Who is the one man most responsible for Barack Obama's re-election and a likely permanent socialist majority?

John Boehner.

At every opportunity: the debt ceiling, the budget continuing resolution, every spending negotiation, Boehner abdicated his responsibility and let Obama keep spending at will.

Instead of insisting on responsible spending bills, Boehner let Obama run 8%-10% GDP deficits for four years running. He let Obama steal our children's future to create a sugar high and make the economy feel better, at least past re-election.

George W. Bush paved the way for Obama with irresponsible spending and reckless foreign wars. John Boehner just gave Obama a second term which he will use to entrench even more deeply the permanent dependent underclass... and a lot of the middle class will find themselves sliding down into that underclass.

When they write the epitaph for liberty and prosperity in America, George W. Bush and John Boehner will feature prominently.

P.S. Plus Zimbabwe Ben, who facilitates Obama's spending by monetizing his deficits.

11.07.2012

"When a man tells me something never ceases to amaze him, I reckon he is a slow learner."
-Old Zeke's Almanac

11.06.2012

More free sh*t! More free sh*t!

Screen shot from Yahoo News, not doctored.



America chooses Socialism!

Good luck with that one. How's it working out for Greece?

Americans could be excused for voting for Obama in 2008. He promised post-partisanship and hope and change. Four years later, his record is consistent as an unabashed statist and central planner, and a Nixonian political thug.

There are a lot of factors behind America's shocking and sudden embrace of socialism: the media being completely in the tank for Obama; the teachers' unions indoctrinating the youth; the Democrats successfully creating a giant, permanent underclass of voters dependent on government handouts; the swing state of Virginia being tipped by wealthy government bureaucrats and lobbyists in the Washington D.C. suburbs...

But that's all water under the bridge. America has embraced socialism. And what's done will not be undone. A continuing expansion of the dependency state will create a permanent voting majority for more dependency. More crony capitalism will direct more wealth to the politically connected, who will in turn use that wealth to further entrench their benefactors. The PRI ran Mexico for 70 years with a patronage system like this, and their resources and pork were trivial compared to the US federal government's.

Once you're gone, you can never come back

America, you had a hell of a run.

11.05.2012

"Facebook exists so we can talk about everything we do, rather than doing things worth talking about."
-Old Zeke's Almanac

ObamaCare to hurt working poor by cutting their hours

Gee, who could have seen this coming?
Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul's requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a fee.

Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker.
If I've got a restaurant and I have 30 employees working 40 hours a week, I'll have to pay $60,000 in ObamaCare fines. Or I can just change the schedule and have 40 employees working part-time at 29.5 hours a week and I'm home free. National chains such as Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Yard House, etc.) are already doing the math.

What about just providing health insurance instead of paying the fines? Nope, the cost of ObamaCare with its new coverage mandates and complete failure to control costs would be much higher than paying the fine -- and far too much to pay for many low-wage service positions in restaurants and retail.

It always comes back to the General Theory of Liberalism: leftists don't understand them.

10.31.2012

How JDA Slapped Some Fake Loser LA Lawyer In The Face With The First Amendment



WCV, I apologize in advance for this post. I know how you feel about filth on your website but you're the one who gave me full posting rights and I swear I'll try to keep it somewhat family friendly. This is about the First Amendment, not about porn, although porn also involves our Constitutional rights as long as we're talking about consenting adults I suppose! Regardless, this is an important win for liberty, which is why I am reposting some of it here. I have been personally attacked and that is an assault on liberty as far as I am concerned.

Anyhoo. Let's go way back. To 2009 when I wrote about AdultVest, a Francis Koenig-managed "adult" hedge fund accused of fraud at the time. Back then I wrote about it on Jr Deputy Accountant because it was dirty and an alleged fraud and I figured I could make a few dick jokes along the way. Win win, right?

Well about a month ago I got an email from an alleged "lawyer" in Beverly Hills, CA purporting to represent Francis Koenig demanding I take the three-year-old post in question down. I had no real emotional attachment to the post but really didn't want to delete it either so I didn't once I read the lame SEC dismissal of enforcement, knowing how inept those SEC guys are. The original FINAlternatives post upon which I based my own post remains active online today.

Well this fake lawyer didn't like that. He threatened me even harder, writing:

It has been nearly a month since our last communication. I have given you ample time to remove the damaging article aimed at my client Francis Koenig. 
I have advised you in writing that this article is outrageous, entirely untrue, and slanderous. I have provided you with evidence showing my client has been cleared. Yet you continue to display this article on your website. 
Your article starts by saying Koenig left Wall Street to "skeeze on the potential in alternative investments" and then references Bernie Madoff as a comparison! These are your baseless and egregious words. 
Your acknowledgement of my prior notice is clear and undeniable evidence of your awareness of the harm your article is causing my client;  Your actions in writing the article;  The ample time I have provided you to remove this article;  And your failure to remove the article after having been advised of the real and punitive damages this article is causing, is further evidence of your intent to continue to harm my client. 
I have advised you of my intention to proceed with both real and punitive damages to the fullest extent. 
I am now writing to inform you that we are preparing to file a lawsuit which will name you personally, your website, and your company, along with others who have also received my warning notice and have failed to take action. 
I am further advising you that your continued failure to remove the article will provide us with continued evidence of your intention to damage my client, and such failure will continue to add to the costs and damages which you have already caused. We intend to pursue these damages to the fullest extent available.
So I did what any good self-respecting blogger without a pre-paid legal team behind her would do; I removed the post. Obviously this guy was a tool but who has time for those headaches? I know I don't. I have way bigger fish to fry. But I made sure to take advantage of my prime Google real estate for his "client's" name by replacing it with an editor note about how this bully punked me into taking a very innocent post down:

Editor note: due to bullying by the lawyer for Francis Koenig, the previous post here has been removed. Should you be interested in reading it, I have saved an archive copy and can email it to any interested parties, just get in touch.

Mr. Koenig's lawyer stated in his initial communication with me that he and his client were "engaged in a full scale to wipe clean the defacing press that has been costly to Mr. Koenig" and "will do whatever means necessary in order to restore the reputation of Mr. Koenig in the shortest time possible," later following up with a threat to name me and this website in a lawsuit seeking costs and damages "to the fullest extent available." Not once was I asked to simply issue a correction.

This is an all-out assault on the First Amendment - as no defamation was intended in the original piece - but because this website is a hobby of mine, not the kind of money-making venture that could withstand harassment by some lawyer who finds it at all appropriate to demand removal of content, I have removed the post. I have also published all communications from the lawyer and will be in touch with the SEC to secure any and all documents related to AdultVest to independently investigate that matter further. 

Earlier discussions of the alleged fraud can still be found elsewhere on the Internet:

Porn Hedge Fund Founder Defends Investment Decisions 

Porn Hedge Fund Accused Of Fraud, Exonerated

Now. I have asked Francis Koenig's lawyer TWICE now for his California bar number and he's successfully dodged the question since. Mmm, maybe not "successfully," he dodged the question and now that I have been in contact with both the California Bar and SEC regarding his threats to me he's suddenly being super nice:

Adrienne, I responded to you a few minutes ago. In answer to your question, the bar number of the lead litigation attorney filing this case would provided on the lawsuit, however Mr. Koenig has requested that you are to be withdrawn from the case.

Sincerely, Chris

All of this to say NEVER BACK DOWN, folks. I removed the post because that was all this tool asked for and figured I could make up for it by humiliating him on the Internet in its place which I've already done but remember, as long as your intent is good, you're fully within your Constitutional right to trash whomever you like, especially if they're a phony punk trying to threaten you into submission. It's not libel if you do it based on good faith information at the time.

God bless the Constitution. COME AT ME, BRO!

10.30.2012

Why even try?

Exchange with a client, via text:

JY: Hey ... Can we meet tomorrow? Say noon or 1pm? 7:28 PM
Me: Most definitely. Swing by my house? 8:28 PM
JY: Sure, address? 8:32 PM
Me: I just go by Zeke but you can call me "sir" if you like. 8:33 PM
JY: ?  8:38 PM

10.25.2012

Is Colin Powell an idiot?

"Republican" Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama.

Powell voted for Obama in 2008. Lots of Republicans and moderates did. Obama offered a message of hope, change, post-racialism, and post-partisanship. Lots of people fell for it.  And John McCain was an execrable, free-speech-hating, bank-bailout-pushing, grumpy old man.

But now? After seeing the reality of Obama, an extreme leftist ideologue whose record on both the economy and foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster? How can a "Republican" vote for Obama over the ultimate mainstream moderate, Mitt Romney?

10.22.2012

MorOn.org lies to its thousands of gullible Facebook followers



Um, no.

The Salt Lake Tribune is not Mormon-owned. It's owned by an out-of-state corporation, MediaNews Group. And it has a history of liberal editorial policy despite its conservative constituency. They endorsed Obama in 2008, too.

In totally unrelated news, new study shows that Republicans are significantly better informed than Democrats.

10.21.2012

Asset allocation in uncharted waters

Megan McArdle is starting a new personal finance Q&A over at the Beast that Ate Newsweek.

Megan's got a pretty good understanding of finance... for a journalist.

My question, which is the only relevant question for this age group in personal finance at this time:
What should asset allocation be for people in their 30's and 40's given a stagnant economy, 8% GDP deficits, negative real interest rates, and Zimbabwe Ben promising to print money indefinitely?
If you've been reading this blog over the years, you know that my answer is and has been to buy real assets, stocks, and gold; have a little bit of cash, and don't touch a long-term Treasury with a 10-foot-pole. I'm still of the view that the only way out of this mess is a dollar devaluation money-printing orgy.

But I could be wrong. Look at Japan. They're 20 years ahead of us into the Depression, and their stock market is still down 75% from the peak, their interest rates are still near zero, and they still haven't seen inflation despite racking up debts that surpass even Obama and multiple bouts of Bernanke-esque money-printing. There are differences, of course. Japan has much worse demographics and much better trade balance than the U.S. But the biggest difference, I think, is that the Bank of Japan hasn't had a batshit insane chairman like Zimbabwe Ben who has openly committed to destroying the yen.

So that's where I am. Let's see what Megan says.

UPDATE: More on what the heck's going on with Japan, and what it means for us, here.

10.18.2012

Romney speech at Al Smith dinner

Wow. Well done.



John McCain had the stench of loser on him from miles away. Romney has anything but.

HT: Shane Atwell.

10.14.2012

Rime of the Ancient Australian

Hear the rime of the ancient mariner
See his eye as he stops one of three
Mesmerises one of the wedding guests
Stay here and listen to the nightmares of the sea.

And the music plays on, as the bride passes by
Caught by his spell and the mariner tells his tale.


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a Samuel Taylor Coleridge epic poem, later adapted by Iron Maiden for one of their greatest songs. In the story, a wise and grizzled mariner frightens a young wedding guest with a horrifying cautionary tale from his experience at sea.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is what I think of every time I recall the Australian expat I met two years ago. I have told this story to only a few people since.

It began with a simple Craigslist search for garage shelving in the summer of 2010. After a quick e-mail exchange, I arrived at a typical Southern California two-story house on a cul-de-sac in an upper-middle-class neighborhood. The owner had a locksmith truck out front, one, I would learn, from his successful small local locksmith business.

The owner invited me in to the garage to see the shelving for sale. After I agreed to the price, I began dismantling it for transport, and we began to talk. It turned out that he had lived here several years and his daughter had grown up here. But he was pulling her out of the local high school and moving the family back to Australia. "Why?" I asked.

"Oh, mate, you don't wanna know."

But of course I did. I pressed.

"My wife doesn't like me talking about this. But I've lived under a dictatorship before. And that's exactly what you've got coming here," he finally confessed.

He couldn't have known that I was no Obama fan. Most people my age in this area were Obama voters. But once he had decided to tell his tale, he couldn't stop.

He talked of things with which I was quite familiar, but with which most of the public would not have been: Eric Holder and the Black Panthers, the White House asking people to inform on their dissident friends and neighbors, the Obama cult of personality, and the way the media were no longer watchdogs but open supporters of the regime.

I had at that time already seen and participated in the blossoming Tea Party movement, and I was confident that the November 2010 elections would bring a sharp reversal. Won't we put an end to all this nonsense right there?

"Mate, it won't matter. These guys don't allow parliaments or Congresses to stop them."

How prescient he was. A landslide Congressional election, and yet nothing has changed. The Boehner Congress allows Obama's spending to continue unchecked. The Boehner Congress gave Obama the power to indefinitely detain Americans without trial in the NDAA. We have created a vast dependency class, with 15% of the population on food stamps, and millions more on extended unemployment benefits and disability payments. Obama went to war against Libya without Congressional authorization. Domestically, Obama rules by Executive Order without even the pretense of checks and balances. Senator Charles Schumer has proposed, and Speaker Boehner has endorsed, a Reich Flight Tax to confiscate the assets of Americans fleeing the Obama regime.

Maybe we put an end to this on November 6. But maybe not. It certainly wouldn't hurt to heed the warning of the ancient Australian and begin planning your escape strategy. Sovereign Man and International Living are two good places to start.

And the wedding guest's a sad and wiser man.

UPDATE: Thanks Instapundit for the link. And the optimism:
Fascism is forever descending upon the United States, but somehow it always lands on Europe.
Please see another immigrant's view of America at Left Coast Rebel's related post on Thomas Peterffy, and check out our San Diego Tea Party blogger friends the SLOBs.

10.11.2012

The Real Winner of Tonight's VP Debate...

 pic credit: me, Sacramento Tea Party rally 9/12/10

The clear winner of tonight's VP debate was obviously... the libertarians! Why? Because we weren't invited.

Not getting invited to this circus is like getting rejected to participate in The Bachelor. Sure, maybe we could famewhore our way into American homes with slick positions and posturing but why would we want to? It goes against everything we stand for. Because we are about true freedom, not the Nabisco/Monsanto/GM/JP Morgan Chase/Disney/Walmart brand of freedom most Americans cling to as if there is no other option. Little do they know. It is up to you, loyal freedom-loving WCV readers, to show them our political system doesn't have to be like choosing between watching the Real Housewives of Bumfarkery and the Kartrashians on the boobtube. Turning off the teevee is an option too.

Any empty puppet can stand (er, sit) there and spout off the talking points but it takes real guts to sit back, pop the popcorn and let these guys go at each other as if any of it matters.

Would we appreciate the opportunity to present the libertarian view to Americans who mistakenly view libertarians as pot-smoking, gun-shooting, gay-loving indifferent jerks? Sure. Do we need such an opportunity to get our point across? Nope. That's the great thing about believing what we believe, we don't need to prove anything to anyone. Like us if you want. Hey, hate us if you want too! We just don't care, and if nothing else we'll fight for your right to hate us because you, as an American, should be free to hate whomever you like - whether or not you understand where they are coming from - as long as your hate doesn't infringe on anyone else's right to do what they want to do as well.

Keep clinging to that sense of security if it makes you feel better, America, just know we're here ready to present a real alternative when you're ready for it.

And thanks to WC Varones for convincing me tonight to give my one Dictatorship of Columbia vote to Gary Johnson this November. While the "lesser of two evils" approach may work in any other district, seeing as how I'm still technically a resident of DC and the DC slums at that, might as well feel good knowing my throw-away vote went to the right candidate, not the one puppet who is maybe but not definitely less of an ass than the other guy. My DC voting district is the same that has repeatedly re-elected Marion Barry so I'm fairly sure I'll be the only one voting Libertarian this year but hey, no one said being the odd man out would be easy.

Besides, I kind of like being weird.

The political class versus the rest of us

Charlie McDanger riffs on Romney and the hypocrisy of the ruling class:

10.10.2012

San Francisco unites against Obama

Left, right, Code Pink, World Can't Wait, porn stars, medical marijuana advocates, PETA, drone strike objectors... everyone has a reason to oppose Obama.

I wish I were there.  I would have felt comfortable holding about 80% of those signs.

10.06.2012

Further thoughts on Obama's epic debate fail

Yes, Obama was arrogant, lazy, unprepared, and incompetent.

But enough about his Presidency. Let's talk about the debate.

Both contestants used bogus figures and optimistic assumptions. Romney's plan to grow his way out of 8% GDP deficits without serious defense cuts and entitlement reforms is as absurd as the Hope & Change that Obama promised his idiot voters four years ago.

But the biggest takeaway I have is how sad it is that our republic has come down to a game show where the smoothest talking blatant liar wins all.

So this is how democracy dies: not with a bang or a whimper, but a farce.

10.04.2012

Facebook lynches chair

In the wake of a shocking string of chair lynchings that brought out the Secret Service to investigate, Facebook gives us this:

McDanger's election notes

Some thoughts on race, politics, and option C from our friend McDanger: click here.

10.03.2012

Thoughts on #DenverDebate

- So that's what the whole campaign would have looked like without the media running interference for Obama.

- Somebody should tell Obama he's on split screen and we can see him seething every time Romney speaks.

- If Obama can issue an Executive Order to suspend layoff notices to help his re-election, maybe he should issue an Executive Order outlawing debates, too.

10.02.2012

Facebook makes you fat, broke, and obnoxious

... and not just from buying the stock.

WSJ:
According to soon-to-be-published research from professors at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh, browsing Facebook lowers our self control. The effect is most pronounced with people whose Facebook networks were made up of close friends, the researchers say.

[...]

People who spent more time online and who had a high percentage of close ties in their network were more likely to engage in binge eating and to have a greater body mass index, as well as to have more credit-card debt and a lower credit score, the research found. Another study found that people who browsed Facebook for five minutes and had strong network ties were more likely to choose a chocolate-chip cookie than a granola bar as a snack.

In a third study, the professors gave participants a set of anagrams that were impossible to solve, as well as timed IQ tests, then measured how long it took them to give up trying to solve the problems. They found people who spent more time on Facebook were more likely to give up on difficult tasks more quickly.  A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

Why are we often so aggressive online? Consider this recent post to this column's Facebook page, from someone I don't know: "Why should I even bother writing you? You won't respond."

We're less inhibited online because we don't have to see the reaction of the person we're addressing, says Sherry Turkle, psychologist and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of the social studies of science and technology. Because it's harder to see and focus on what we have in common, we tend to dehumanize each other, she says.

10.01.2012

Gold: should you buy now?

We've made the case for gold as a store of wealth here many times over the last several years.

But we're just some pseudonymous blogger.

If anyone has a reason to be biased against gold, it's a bond manager.  Bond managers seek real returns from positive interest rates on bonds based in a sound currency.  So if the world's biggest bond manager suggests you should consider gold, you would be wise to listen.

And here is that very bond manager, PIMCO:
We believe investors should consider allocating gold and other precious metals to a diversified investment portfolio. The supply of gold is constrained, and we see demand increasing consistent with global economic growth on a per capita basis. Regarding inflation in particular, we feel that the Federal Reserve’s decision to begin a third round of quantitative easing makes gold even more attractive.


We see the Fed’s actions in the wake of the financial crisis as a paradigm shift whereby the Fed is attempting to ease financial conditions and encourage risk-taking by increasing inflation expectations. Its policies will likely result in continuous negative real interest rates because nominal rates will be fixed at close to 0% for the foreseeable future.

9.29.2012

Ben Kingsley working as a Padres usher





Threat to democracy: the press is an arm of the Obama regime

This is a subject I've been meaning to write about, but have not had the time to give its due.  Fortunately, SLOB friend Leslie Eastman does an excellent job saying what needs to be said.

Democracy cannot survive without an honest and independent press. America has lost that free and independent press as reporters have become, nearly unanimously, Obama sycophants.

We have a record number of Americans on food stamps, a plummeting labor force as the hopeless give up looking for work, skyrocketing gas prices, serial trillion-dollar deficits, and foreign policy disasters in Africa. Under any prior President, or with even the veneer of an honest press, this would all be constant, front-page news and the President would be polling in the 30's.

The press decides elections by deciding what news the people get.

Please click on over to Temple of Mut for the whole story.

Here's Democrat and former Jimmy Carter aide Pat Caddell explaining.


9.28.2012

California FAIL: Campbell's, Comcast flee high cost of business

With California voters threatening to impose even higher taxes this November, more companies are calling it quits:
The Campbell Soup plant in Sacramento is closing as of July 2013 as the company says it is taking steps to “improve supply chain productivity,” according to a company release.

Employees were told of the closure during a 6 a.m. meeting Thursday at the plant.

“We employ about 700 people at the Sacramento plant and unfortunately those jobs will be eliminated,” said Campbell Soup Company spokesperson Anthony Sanzio. “This is a tough day for the company, for the employees. No one likes to do this.”

The company says the Sacramento plant, built in 1947, is the oldest in its network and has the highest production costs on a per-case basis.

[...]

The announcement comes just two days after Comcast announced it will close all three of its call centers in Northern California, including one is Sacramento, because of the high cost of doing business in the Golden State.

Thoughts on a #TradeWarTuesday

1) We're going to need to decouple from the evil Chinese regime. This started as a crazy Trump position but is now bipartisan consensus....