Showing posts from October, 2011

Danny Elfman on the 99%-ers

Ladies and gentlemen, the genius behind Oingo Boingo, The Simpsons and Nightmare Before Christmas soundtracks, and Jenna Elfman:

I'm so tired of hearing you whine
About the revolution
Bringin' down the rich
When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby!

You're just a middle class, socialist brat
From a suburban family and you never really had to work
And you tell me that we've got to get back
To the struggling masses (whoever they are)
You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain
Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain
What the hell do you know about suffering and pain . . .

Movie Review: Drive

I recently saw Drive, not knowing anything about it other than it inspired a man to throw a hot dog at Tiger Woods because he "wanted to do something courageous and epic."

The movie is strange. It starts off with pink script credits reminiscent of Miami Vice or 80's John Hughes teen movies. And the soundtrack, though original, is heavily influenced by 80's music.

After an opening heist and getaway scene sets the hook, the film turns to a character drama replete with love interest, cute kid, flawed but loving mentor, etc. And then Ryan Gosling does the worst James Dean act I've ever seen. He stands around, wearing a denim jacket, leaning against doorways, and not talking. Except he doesn't look cool and disaffected as James Dean did. He looks retarded. I thought this might be Gilbert Grape 2: The Driver Years.

The theme song from the movie is "A Real Hero" by "College featuring Electric Youth," though I'm not sure whether College is…

It Depends What the Definition of Default Is

You silly sovereign CDS holders thought you had something of value didn't you? I'm so sorry, the appropriate instrument for today's "event" is the CHS - Credit Haircut Swap. Credit Default Swaps on sovereigns are worthless. Thanks for the risk-less cash flow though, piggy.

More from ZH, the source of the graphicSo,
the European joke has come full circle. Indebted nations borrow more
money to bail out other indebted nations who ask insolvent banks to cut a
50% off deal on the loans that were given to them, but the insolvent
banks will then have to raise capital which the will of course borrow
from the over-indebted nations whom they just gave money to. Get it?
Problem solved - BTMFD!!!
Also Mish with some commentaryAs a result of labeling 50% haircuts "voluntary", Credit Default Swap contracts have proven to be useless when it comes to protecting against sovereign default. The serious implication is investors will need to find another way to hedge.And Denning…

Sound familiar?

Fiat currencies of the ages: French Assignats.

HT: Jesse.

When Irony Attacks!

A mere month into the grand experiment that is Occupy Wall Street, the kids discover the joys of dictatorial bureaucrats who take all their money and tell them what to do.
Even in Zuccotti Park, greed is good.

Occupy Wall Street’s Finance Committee has nearly $500,000 in the bank, and donations continue to pour in -- but its reluctance to share the wealth with other protesters is fraying tempers.

Some drummers -- incensed they got no money to replace or safeguard their drums after a midnight vandal destroyed their instruments Wednesday -- are threatening to splinter off.

“F--k Finance. I hope Mayor Bloomberg gets an injunction and demands to see the movement’s books. We need to know how much money we really have and where it’s going,” said a frustrated Bryan Smith, 45, who joined OWS in Lower Manhattan nearly three weeks ago from Los Angeles, where he works in TV production.

Smith is a member of the Comfort Working Group -- one of about 30 small collectives that have sprung up within OWS. …

Steve Jobs, teabagger

HuffPo via Instapundit:
“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.

Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.”

I am the 99%

I've never posted a picture of myself on the blog before, and I think it's about time I do so.

Greenspan's Body Count: Samuel Friedlander, Amy Friedlander, Molly Friedlander, Gregory Friedlander

Serial killer Alan Greenspan paid a visit to the wealthy New York suburb of Cross River:
A Westchester County attorney, apparently facing financial straits and a crumbling marriage, bludgeoned his wife to death, then shot and killed the couple's two children before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.

New York State Police said they believe 50-year-old Samuel Friedlander repeatedly struck Amy Friedlander, 46, with a blunt object during a heated argument in the master bedroom of their Lewisboro home sometime around midnight Monday night. He then walked down the hallway and shot his two children with a 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun as they lay in bed, according to state police spokesman Major Michael Kopy.


Several media outlets reported that the couple's house had been put up for sale.

Michael Foley, a New York City police officer turned associate criminology professor at Western Connecticut State University, said that in many cases, people who come from more affluent…

Steve Wynn goes off again about how Obama is destroying the economy

On his 3rd quarter earnings call, courtesy ZeroHedge [bad transcription corrected by WCV]:
What you do have on Wall Street is a reflection of the anxiety, insecurity and the fear that is endemic in the United States of America about the way government has gotten into the business of managing everyone's life and the ability of the government to manage the economy intelligently, by increasing these deficits, and government spending irrationally to the point of threatening everybody's financial security. I am watching my employees' standard of living drop like a rock because of deficits. I think that the American public is beginning to make the connection between deficits and their own loss of living standard.

People that work for me are being paid in 80-cent dollars on the way to 70-cent dollars, and even though I have given two cost of living increases to my employees, in spite of operating losses in America, because I've been able to use some money from Macau. I have not…


I wonder how the 99% feel about property rights now that their sh*t is being stolen?Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.

BREAKING: America leaderless as Obama's Teleprompter is stolen!

Henrico, Virginia:
A truck filled with President Obama's podiums and audio equipment was stolen in Henrico just days before his visit to Chesterfield.

We confirmed an investigation with the U.S. Defense Department. There are still a lot of questions. The biggest one being did the thieves intentionally target the President's truck or did they take advantage of a crime of opportunity and give a big "uh-oh" when they saw what was inside.

When you see President Obama speak, there is a pretty typical setup including the presidential seal on a podium, the see-thru Teleprompter and a portable sound system.

Thieves saw the truck carrying that equipment and couldn't resist the target.

We're told the truck was parked at the Virginia Center Commons Courtyard Marriott in advance on Wednesday's presidential visit to Chesterfield.
The thieves are reportedly holding TOTUS for ransom, but the American public is refusing to take their phone calls.
"Loose lips sink ships, but they also gobble up seamen."
-Old Zeke's Adages and Additions

We are the 53%

A great response to the "We are the 99%" crowd is We are the 53%. That's 53% as in the percentage of Americans who pay taxes while the other 47% contributes nothing (yes, it's safe to assume that 99% of the 99% are in the 47%).

Read through the people's life stories. It's amazing how so many start out just like the 99%-ers. But then they diverge: the 53%-ers went to work while the 99%-ers went whining for a handout.

We don't have a "rich not paying their fair share" problem

... We have a Warren Buffett not paying his fair share problem.

HT: T-Dub.

I am the 1%

Photo courtesy Exurban League.

Gold and Asset Allocation: Less Risk, More Return

One of the basic principles of investing is that expected return increases with risk. The "safest" investments like FDIC-insured CDs and short-term Treasuries have essentially zero risk of loss of principal, but you will earn close to zero on them. Corporate bonds are riskier but will return more on average. Stocks are still riskier but can be expected to earn even more, perhaps several percentage points above inflation over the long run.

The range of possible optimal portfolios then looks something like this, with cash and conservative bond-heavy portfolios in the lower left corner and aggressive stock-heavy portfolios in the upper right. The below, from Charles Schwab, is based on actual returns since 1/1/2009 for various mixes of cash, bonds, large cap, small cap, and international equity. This was a period of strong market returns, so the numbers are higher than long-run expected returns, but the shape of the curve is the same.
On the vertical axis is annualized retu…

Breakfast at the Varones household

(photos by Charlie McDanger)

Fascist pig Michael Bloomberg to shut down Occupy Wall Street

Read all about it at Naked Capitalism.

Not like you couldn't have seen this coming from a nanny-stater with fascist tendencies, eh?

Dennis Ritchie Passes

To those of us in the programming world this is uncanny. Dennis Ritchie passed away today.

To say Ritchie's contribution to computing and our information age was enormous doesn't do him justice. He is on par with Edison, Bell and Pasteur as far as his contribution to humanity moving forward. The brevity of his Wiki page belies his importance.

This is the guy who invented the C computer programming language, which is the basis for almost all computing today. Woz, Jobs, Gates, Allen, et al, built their success on Ritchie's invention. Oh and he also was one of the co-inventors of Unix. Denninger provides more detail into Ritchie's contribution here.

RIP Dennis, thanks for everything.

Seal Beach salon shooter identified as Scott DeKraai

The shooter in today's Seal Beach Salon Meritage shooting is reportedly Scott DeKraai of Huntington Beach, who was targeting his ex-wife Michelle. They have a 7-year-old son together and were in a custody dispute.

As usual, Patch beats the MSM:
Eight people were killed and one critically wounded Wednesday afternoon when a heavily armed gunman wearing body armor opened fire at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, police said.

Shortly after the shootings, a white male suspect -- who had weapons strewn across the floorboard of his white truck and guns strapped to his body -- was arrested without incident half a mile from the scene, police and witnesses said.

The alleged gunman was the ex-husband of a salon employee named Michelle, according to the husband of another employee who survived the shooting unharmed after locking herself inside a back room. Another source identified the suspect as Scott DeKraii of Long Beach, who worked in sportfishing.
DeKraai was injured in a tug boat accident i…

Fly private jets on the cheap

Our friend Charlie discusses Jetsuite, a pretty great option if you're spontaneous and live in the southwest.

Herman Cain candidacy implodes as he endorses bubble-blower Alan Greenspan as model Fed Chairman

You may have noticed that I haven't had a kind word to say about Herman Cain even as he's risen in the Republican polls. He seemed an empty suit in his first debate appearance, and his thin resume is not a selling point in a country just burned by electing a community organizer.

Well, tonight's endorsement of Father of the Economic Collapse Alan Greenspan should be the final nail in the coffin of Herman Cain's electoral prospects.
Moderator: Which Fed Chairman has been most effective.

Cain: Greenspan [would serve as model] for Federal Reserve chairman. We should not eliminate the Fed, but fix the Fed.

Paul: Greenspan was a disaster. [Applause]. Greenspan kept interest rates too low to long. Paul Volcker was the best chair because he tried to address inflation. Bernanke compounds the problem started by Greenspan.

Cain was previously Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which I'm led to believe is some sort of ceremonial position for bus…

Lest we forget

Before there was #OccupyWallStreet, there was the initial rage over the economic collapse caused by the Wall Street - Washington cabal. Let's hearken back to those early days.

Allow me to re-post the song I posted here back in June 2009.

Hearing this song 2+ years later, it retains its beauty and its righteousness, but what really stands out is the naivety of the lyricist in thinking that the bankers were about to get their comeuppance. He clearly had no idea that they owned and operated the Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the Obama regime. He underestimated the corruption and depravity of Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Barack Obama.

So we didn't get the natural cleansing of excess in 2009. #OccupyWallStreet follows.

Hospitality tips

Nothing says "Welcome!" like a nice arrangement of chocolate and produce when you have guests in your home.

Fun sticker ideas

(click to enlarge)

Steve Jobs, R.I.P. adios a**hole

This blog tries to be even-handed and welcome all perspectives, and earlier we had a warm tribute to the man behind Apple.

So, I throw another opinion into the mix. Before we get to the man himself, let me address the company. From my standpoint, it appears Apple is primarily successful at marketing pretty products to a flock of sheep, who line up around the block to buy whatever the company makes--regardless of value or utility.

I have music players from several companies, and only Apple tries to block me from moving content from my player (iPod) back to a computer. Thanks, DRM fascists. Of course, Apple's products cost several times what the other companies' do, for the same--no, less--functionality.

At my house, Windows PCs and Android phones connect seamlessly with my wireless router. Apple products don't, and require multiple router resets, if they work at all. When a guest says, "Hey, I can't connect to your internet," it's a guarantee they just …

There's an app for that


Occupy San Diego video

I'll have a full report on yesterday's Occupy San Diego protest up shortly. In the meantime, here's some video of the march arriving at the civic center.

UPDATE: OK, I lied. I'm not going to get around to a full write-up this weekend, so please see my excellent compatriots Left Coast Rebel, Temple of Mut, and B-Daddy for the scoop.

Who are the Occupiers?

Long before the usual leftist hack groups of unions,, Van Jones, and other Obama re-election front groups heard of Occupy Wall Street, the movement was started by true revolutionaries Adbusters and soon joined by internet resistance group Anonymous.

The originators do not see Obama as part of the solution but as part of the corrupt, two-party Kabuki theater meant to distract the public while enriching the bankers. And they are right.

While much of the conservative media has dismissed the Occupy protests as a left-wing reaction to the Tea Party, they are wrong. Yes, the Obamunists are trying to co-opt the movement. But they may not succeed. The public is rightly outraged that the banks took over Congress and the Treasury, blew up the economy, then got bailouts and big bonuses. And Obama hasn't lifted a finger to change any of that or prosecute any of the crooks.

Conservatives should join, not condemn, the Occupy protests. Libertarians and End-the-Fedsters are already …

Steve Jobs Passes

It's funny the news just hit and I got a text on my iPhone from a colleague in Beijing asking me if I saw it. What would have the world been like without Jobs and Woz teaming up to change it?

Thanks for everything Steve.



40% of our economy is the federal government. On top of state and local spending. We lost the Cold War.

UPDATE: Welfare Nation, courtesy of the WSJ.

The Obama Presidency by the Numbers


The Government Is So Unfair

What do you MEAN the government won't buy formula for the baby I made?! That is SO wrong. I'm boycotting the government, you scumbags.

Or I guess you can force us to accept free WIC food and health care.

God it is so unfair.

[via We Are the 99 Percent]

Cardiff Kook joins #OccupyWallStreet -- Occupy San Diego

The Cardiff Kook has joined the nationwide #OccupyWallStreet movement, supporting the local San Diego arm, oddly enough called Occupy San Diego.

I fully support the motivation behind #OccupyWallStreet, to hold accountable the dirty banksters, the crony capitalists, and the Dirty Fed who destroyed our economy. But it looks like these kids are a little bit clueless about who the bad guys are, and some are actually calling for the re-election of Barack Obama who was elected with Wall Street money, who bailed out the bad banks, who continues to allow Too Big To Fail to get even bigger, whose Justice Department still hasn't prosecuted a single Wall Street CEO for blowing up the economy, and whose administration is running the biggest crony capitalist schemes in American history.

Related thoughts from our friends Beers with Demo and Jr.DeputyAccountant.

Separated at birth: Ozzy Osbourne and Roseanne Barr

Maybe she could bitethe heads off bankers.

"Oh, it's OK. I'm a libertarian."

I've found the most delightful response to do-gooder busybodies who want to lecture you on silly things like walking your dog without a leash or smoking on the beach.
As soon as they start in on their lecture, just say very politely and sincerely, "Oh, it's OK. I'm a libertarian," as if the laws simply don't apply to you. The look of complete dumbfoundedness combined with outrage on their faces is priceless.

Walking away from your mortgage just got a lot scarier

We've beentouting the benefits of walking away from an underwater mortgage here foryears.
Of course, as we noted, there's one catch: "recourse debt." The laws vary greatly by state, but often (as in California, I believe, but I'm not a lawyer, so consult one) purchase loans are non-recourse while refinance loans are recourse. Recourse debt means the banks can sue you many years after a foreclosure for the loss they took.
For a while, it looked like this recourse risk was only theoretical, as the banks were overwhelmed with an operational deluge and political pushback on targeting the poor. Now, it seems, that has changed.
Wall Street Journal: House is gone, but debt lives on. Joseph Reilly lost his vacation home here last year when he was out of work and stopped paying his mortgage. The bank took the house and sold it. Mr. Reilly thought that was the end of it. In June, he learned otherwise. A phone call informed him of a court judgment against him for $192,5…

Kamala Uses a Choke Hold on Tom Miller