Wednesday, May 31, 2006

 

For Bookworm: Chicago Reader profile of Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy Hammond's motivation.

I had trouble finding this for some reason. The Chicago Readers' article on Mr. Hammond. (Via Anti-Strib.) It is a PDF file so no quotes but you can see that Hammond was active in leftist politics. For balance they throw in a rightwing hacker which has nothing to do with the story except to give it an air of all is fair in politics. Michelle Malkin is described as having "...defended wartime internment in a 2004 book." Obviously making her evil in the eyes of the typical leftist Chicago Reader reader.

I stopped picking up the Reader not too long ago for a couple of reasons. Foremost I can go online and read leftist BS, I don't need a local paper which gives me the same stuff with a local flavor. And it has gotten worse. You can feel the anger from columnist Michael Miner, who writes on press issues, when he took it upon himself to chastise the Tribune for not bothering to make the point that the recent anti-reform protesters were hurting themselves. Miner used to enjoyable reading. (He was really enraged about Plamegate.) Even Cecil Adams' The Straight Dope drew fire when he questioned the efficacy of Kyoto.

The other reason is Craig's List. I can read classified ads without a smarmy anti-war cartoon or Dan Savage's scatological references to Republicans.

This weekly papers rage is just more evidence that the leftists are seething. G_d help them use that energy to take over the Democratic party.

 

Housing Update, May 2006

Over the weekend Barron's had an article about the glut of vacation homes: Flippers, Start Swimming. [Subscription required.] Newsmax had a rundown of the article.

Barron's implicates speculative investors as the main reason for the pull back in prices. It points out that six out of 10 second-home owners own two or more homes in addition to their main residences, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

"The danger," says Barron's, "is that if enough of those investors decide the market has peaked, they could trigger a selling frenzy throughout the second-homes market. That, in turn, could add to the pressures in the main housing market. After all, second homes now account for a full 40% of homes sold in America."

...

The price jumps of the past decade or so have brought homes to (un)affordability levels not seen in years. Cleveland-based National City, a top banking and mortgage concern, says that homes are overvalued in Florida, California, and several other vacation-home spots.

Homes in Naples, FL, says the company, are 96 percent overvalued based on income levels, population densities, and historical prices. Port St. Lucie/Ft. Pierce, FL, homes are 75 percent overvalued, and Ft. Lauderdale homes are 54 percent overvalued.

Cities in Arizona, New Jersey, Oregon, New York, Nevada, and others are also overvalued, according to National City.

Alan Skrainka, chief market strategist at broker Edward Jones tells Barron's, "People don't believe in the laws of supply and demand anymore. We're not saying it's a bubble, but we're saying prices are overstated and will likely correct 20 to 25 percent over four or five years."

As that correction happens, says Barron's, the primary people to suffer will be the so-called "mass affluent" - people with investable assets of $100,000 to $1 million. A Chicago-based consulting firm, Spectrem Group, says that this demographic has more than one-third of its assets in real estate.

The Rude Awakening, an investment newsletter has asked readers for anecdotes relating to their local housing markets.

Miami, Florida,

The number of for sale signs that have appeared in the last
two weeks make me wonder if my deodorant is giving out or
if my neighbors have discovered a better community to live
in and forgot to tell me.

Furthermore, hurricane season is upon us and the blue tarps
cover so many roofs, it's almost out of fashion to have a
roof without one. I almost feel like placing one on my roof
just to be part of the club.

I am no Greenspan nor Buffet but something tells me that my
neighbors with the for sale signs and those with the new
Miami style blue roofs have finally realized that their
negative bank accounts, maxed out credit cards, extensive
interest only real estate portfolios, fancy new cell thin
cell phones, over sized plasma HDTV, luxury cars and $400
shades are choking them to the point where even a Heimlich
maneuver won't dislodge the large chunks of debt cutting of
the air that inflates their once puffed out chests!!!

If only I had joined the bandwagon, my hair too would be
graying and the bags under my eyes would surely give me
immediate entry into the club of the living dead.

Perhaps, I'm just a dreamer, they will never let me in, I
just broke the cardinal rule, I gave away their inner most
secrets to a bunch of strangers. Oh well, I'll just jog
passed them as I always do and smile. Not because they have
ever taken the time to smile back, but because perhaps one
day these homes may actually be occupied by someone like
me, someone not a member of the club.

...

I'd have to say downright frosty, not cooling.

My son just put his co-op on the market in Brooklyn
Heights, right across the river from Manhattan and just
steps away from the Promenade - a prime location. His small
one bedroom is listed at 799k & he has a huge
storage/workshop of 300 plus sq ft in the basement. Main
part is a totally redone 540 sq ft with fireplace etc etc.
Main lower level so few steps. In the past week he has had
two open houses and about 140 people have come through, but
no offers. I keep telling him to lower the price & get out,
but since the basement can be converted to living area as
it is right under the co-op with windows he's positive he
will get his price.

There is an old brownstone steps away from his that has
been on for 10.9 Million for eight months sitting vacant.
My daughter sold hers in Reseda, Calif last year & luckily
maxed out her profits (she listened to her MUM) & is now
renting.

Here near the so Shore of Lake Superior properties over
200k with 80 acres & a house have been on the market for
over a year, a total bargain anywhere else, but there is a
lot of supply & not any demand. The high price of gas has
turned people off from living too far away from shopping
etc.

However, our lakeshore property in Manitoulin Island Canada
has appreciated about 40% in one year. Can't wait to see
the new tax bill on that! So, an rundown on a few areas of
the country for you.

...

The housing market is currently booming in Casper Wyoming
due to the current energy boom in oil, natural gas and coal
(along with methane and alternative fuels) that the local
economy has relied upon for years. However, I have noticed
that houses (especially newer high end homes) are staying
on the market weeks longer than, say, four months ago and
even a year ago, when new houses sold within days of
completion and many before completion even.

We do have MANY new housing projects with the prices in the
mid 100s to upper 200s for three bedroom houses with
unfinished basements. This is to supply moderate priced
housing to the huge influx of workers moving here from out
of state. Condos are also catching on as THE alternate new
housing to invest in (similar to what is happening
nationally).

Casper and the surrounding communities of Rock Springs,
Green River, Riverton, Gillette and Cheyenne are
experiencing housing shortages and extreme worker
shortages. Anyone can get a job in this region in about any
field of work except high tech. The highest paying jobs are
in the energy industry which is backbreaking work with year
round exposure to the elements. Wyoming has harsh winters
and wind that never ceases blowing.

We just bought a house for 330,000 last year and could
resell it today for at least 360 to 375. We are currently
debating selling now while the housing market is still
strong here. We had originally planned to sell next summer,
but feel that the trickle down effect of the national
housing market may trickle down here sooner than that.
Maybe selling now makes better financial sense than waiting
to sell next year?

...

We recently moved here and are renting a nice apartment in
a complex. On the day we arrived to take possession of our
apartment we were informed by the nice people in the office
that the complex was going "condo". This meant that we
could buy our apartment or someone else would but they
would have to honor our lease agreement.

It's a two bedroom with a loft around 1550 sq. feet. They
want $388,000. LAST SUMMER we were told that there would be
at least three people lined up to WIN the chance to
purchase one. This summer - no one. Even Phoenix apartment
owners are having some troubles keeping them rented - much
less selling them.

The front office selling staff was let go Friday. They had
six months to sell all of the "condo's". The place is very
vacant. In our building of six apartments, there are two
occupied. Parking is great! Someone higher up needs to be
fired for not doing his homework on the current market.


A few of the "condo's" did actually sell, but the rumor now
is that a new team will be coming in and they are going to
lease the rest of them. So there will be some that are
owned and some that are rented. Those that are owned will
be paying an extra $200 home-owners association fee - for
something!!! I'd be sick if I owned an apartment amongst
leased ones - wouldn't you??


Anyway, things are pretty cool here - market wise that is.

...

Welcome to California. Renting is great selling Real Estate
is becoming a nightmare.

I sold my condo a year ago and I'm happy as a clam renting.

Here is an example of what is happening here in San Diego.
I moved into this condo complex April 1st.


http://maps.google.com/maps?oi=map&q=4009+Crown+Point+Dr,+San+Diego,+CA+92109

Click on the satellite view and you will see this is a
great location. Condo conversion done a few years ago.
Built in 1973.

The large building closest to the street has 76 units.
Range from $280k Studio / $375k 1br 1bth / $575k 2br 2 bth
/ to just North of a $million for a unit that combines a 1
br and a 2 br.

April 1st twenty units for sale =26% (counting lock boxes).

Yesterday 28 units for sale = 37%.

I rent one of the units closest to the bay just North of
the pool. 40 units $575k 2br 2 bth.


April 1st one for sale = 4%

Yesterday 4 for sale = 10%.

Hope you enjoy Laguna Beach. I always enjoyed driving
through there when I took the Coast Highway to get to
Newport Beach.

...

here in oil rich Alberta, Canada there are no signs of a
housing bust. Prices in Calgary are up about 30% over last
year and the average price of a resale home is $350,000 and
rising by about $500 per day. Bidding wars occur on a
regular basis and prognosticators are suggesting that the
average price will rise by another 25% over the next year.

People are flooding into Calgary and other Alberta cities
and towns. Just last month the president of the Calgary
Chamber of Commerce stated that we need an additional
48,000 skilled construction workers NOW just to help keep
up with demand. It is even worse in Fort McMurray which is
right on the edge of the vast tar sands. There, temporary
housing has been moved onto a city park to shelter
construction workers who are feverishly building more
homes, condos, etc. to house more employees needed for the
tar sands operations.

No sign of a downturn here for years to come.

So there you go, Alberta, Canada is booming. I know we will be packing our bags. :-P

Diego says: Someone please inform Cook County. I just got notice in the mail yesterday that for porperty taxes my assessed value went up 44%.

Bill C: I would challenge that. Maybe you can sneak into Stroger's hospital room and whisper into his ear, "Lower my assessment, lower my assessment."

 

Proper Armor

This poll focused on the difference in opinions of Black, Hispanic, and White students. I found some interesting points below.

About eight in 10 said it is good for school districts to require higher standards, even if that means kids must go to summer school.

The black and Hispanic children — under pressure to close their test-score gaps with whites — also see more pervasive academic woes, such as lower standards, higher dropout rates and kids who advance even if they don't learn.

In perspective, most students said schools were meeting expectations on most measures.

Emphasis mine.

Meanwhile the NY Times (via Drudge) reports on the coming hurricane season.

Convinced that tough tactics are needed, officials in hurricane-prone states are trumpeting dire warnings about the storm season that starts on Thursday, preaching self-reliance and prodding the public to prepare early and well.

"The big shortfall is complacency with the community," said Randall Webster, director of Horry County (South Carolina) Emergency Management. "Our main theme is, take interest as an individual and make preparations."

Emphasis mine.

It was not long ago that Bush and Rumsfeld and co. were criticized for sending our troops into battle without the proper armor. I'll leave that argument out of this post but point to the similarities in preparing our troops and educating our children. Just as you can't send the soldier off to the battle field unprepared you cannot advance the student to the next level without the proper education. Especially if the next level is the real world.

I like the government approach of emphasizing individual responsibility in disaster preparation. Education and common sense are an important part of survival in any situation. But from personal experience I find that the same people who were quick to criticize Bush and co. for supposedly sending the troops out unprepared are the same one's who argue for things like the advancement of students who haven't made the grade. Advancement is often argued based on the student's feelings rather than achievement. Such arguments do nothing to prepare the individual for the real world and when applied to the masses can make a disaster out of an otherwise manageable situation.

The curriculum of indoctrination does not help either.

Friday, May 26, 2006

 

Hacker Indicted

Jeremy Alexander Hammond was indicted for hacking ProtestWarrior.com's server and stealing information which included my credit card information.

On May 23, 2006, a grand jury at the U.S. District Court in Illinois handed down an indictment against Jeremy Alexander Hammond for hacking into the ProtestWarrior server.

The indictment reads in part, "Between January and February 2005, defendant HAMMOND accessed ProtestWarrior.com's server without authority on multiple occasions in an effort to obtain information not otherwise available to him or the general public, specifically credit card numbers, home addresses, and other identifying information of the members and customers of ProtestWarrior.com."

The specific violation is of Title 18, US Code, Sections 1030 (a)(2)(c) and 2. Per our understanding of the law, Jeremy faces a possible fine and imprisonment for up to 5 years.


I am sure that Jeremy won't do any time but if he does I have a new cause for him to take up. Jeremy is a slight, wee, boyish man. Of course that does not stop him from being a first class jerk.

ProtestWarrior will be releasing more details as they become available, including:

*chat logs between Jeremy and his cohorts' discussing their grand plans for
-the stolen credit cards
-the PW server
-PW's database
-previous attack on PW HQ
-other conservative sites they planned to attack

*video of Jeremy at DEFCON boasting of his plans to commit "electronic disobedience" and credit card fraud

*details of his violent criminal history including his arrest for assaulting a police officer and an arrest for punching his female roommate in the face [Emphasis Added.]

*information on the upcoming trial


I will be on this story like a prison gangster on a frail, pale hacker. ProtestWarrior has a forum and here is the threads discussing the capture and indictment.


 

The end of the poker dealer

I was reading an article in Card Player magazine by Bob Ciaffone discussing automated poker tables. (Unfortunately the article is not up on their website as of posting. I am sure it will be soon.) The idea is to bring the best features of online play to the poker room.

1) Mistake free dealing

2) Speedy Dealing

3) Free Dealing.

I like the idea. I want to play poker but my wife likes to watch me gamble and that is difficult at your average poker table. Most poker tables are crowded, people don't like it when you get too close to their chips. An automated table without chips would make it easier for her to sit with me.

John O adds: Bill, Inna could watch if you played online. You should at least try this while you can. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which requires ISPs to remove gambling-related hyperlinks upon notice from law enforcement agencies and forces bankers to monitor their customers’ purchases and transactions for gambling activity, has been quietly voted out of a House subcommittee. The full Judiciary committee will be voting on it soon. The Senate has already passed its own version. Should it become law in anything like its present form, it will in all likelihood effectively kill online poker.

I very much like the idea. Most poker players I know prefer playing at a physical table and interacting with other people to playing online at home. I like to do both though I much prefer playing online. Its convienent, cost effective and the pace of the game is much quicker. I can also play at multiple tables simultaneously.

Though tells would become more difficult to spot, an automated table would allow casinos to make their rake comperable to that taken in online poker rooms, which is generally about half the current average casino rake. And tipping the dealer would become unnecessary, further recucing players' expenses. Also, considering that a good Hold'em dealer can deal 40 hands per hour whereas online a full table of 10 often averages 60+ hands per hour, I would find the pace of the action more agreeable.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

Koffi Annan's Admission

Shouldn't this be getting more attention?
JIM LEHRER: Would it be correct to say that this whole episode, as you just described it, is an indication of where the weaknesses of the United Nations are, their inability to move quickly and stop something like this?

KOFI ANNAN: Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that we are an organization of 191 member states. You need to get the decisions taken. And since we don't have an army, we need to run around getting support and help from governments.

I have often described the way we operate and run this peacekeeping operation -- it would be a bit like telling the fire department in Washington, D.C., that, 'We know you need a fire department, but we'll get you one and build you one when the fire breaks,' because it's when the fire breaks that we start putting together the army, we start collecting the money to create an army that will go in.

And so there is the built-in delay in the way we operate. And this is why where member states deem that it is extremely urgent to move quickly, they've tended to put together a coalition of the willing, a multinational force, outside the U.N. so that they can move quickly. And in these situations, rapidity of deployment is a very important issue.
He should have also mentioned effectiveness as a reason. And just who are the 'they' who are putting together these coalitions of the willing? There's only one country I know of that does this.

Via Sirius_sir

 

Sending America Down The Memory Hole

Progressivism is becoming progressively intolerable

The politically correct indoctrination of American school children continues:
In perhaps a well-intentioned, but pernicious example of political correctness, the Michigan Department of Education is attempting to ban the 'America' and 'American' from our public schools. Even though the word 'America' appears in the department's own civics and government benchmarks, the department's style protocol for the Michigan Education Assessment Program requires that 'America' and 'Americans' be expunged from our testing and grade level expectations. Last week, the department ordered that our hard-working teachers not utter the words.

The Department of Education asserts that "Americans" includes Mexicans, Canadians and others in the Western Hemisphere, so referring to U.S. residents as Americans is inappropriate. In the department's view, "America" happens to include South, Central and North America. Accordingly, when referring to the colonial period, the state bureaucracy requires teachers to refer to "the colonies of North America" or "North Americans." After the American Revolution, the nation is called the United States (not of America).

The state's edict would be laughable if it were not so disgraceful. Instead of focusing on better teaching methods and educational resources to help our hard-working teachers and parents, the Department of Education spends its energy on confusing, misleading, historically inaccurate and counterproductive wordplay.
There is nothing well-intentioned about this. Its a brazen effort to expunge America from history and preclude Michigan children from identifying themselves as Americans. Its an absolute outrage that should cost every bureaucrat supporting it his job.

(Link via Instapundit.)

In an important and thought provoking post concerning political ideology and the clarifiying effect of recent events, Wrechard writes:
The Cold War was fought against armed Marxism on every continent and clime for half a century. But when the Cold War was over, or in places where Radical Marxists did not actually take up arms they were allowed to keep their narratives and tolerated, as the Muslim Ottoman Empire once countenanced Jews and Christians for as long as they posed no threat. No physical threat. But although Marxism was defeated by the largely economic process of Globalization it flourished -- even dominated -- in the cultural institutions of the West at a time when Islamism was triumphing over secularism in the Middle East. From the Marxist perspective at least, the Cold War ended not in defeat, but in a negotiated armistice; with surrender on the economic front offset by a capitulation to it by the West on cultural matters. People might have to work in private companies, it's true, but all the accompanying baggage of traditional culture like religion, sexual mores, notions of objectivity, etc were forfeit; and that was more than compensation. That was the tacit 'deal' and the EU, UN and cultural institutions were going to carry it out. By slow degrees the Western world was going to be politically corrected, multiculturalized and transnationalized. "Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do". And as the 1990s drew to a close it didn't seem all that far away.
How about now?

UPDATE: The Michigan Department of Education denies its removing 'America' or 'Americans' from the state's classrooms:
No such edict has gone out to school teachers across Michigan, nor will one, said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. He explained that an independent association of Social Studies educators has discussed the issue of official U.S. documents or titles, but that any recommendations regarding changes in school curriculum have not even made it to his desk for review.

Inasmuch, Flanagan emphatically stated that, if such a recommendation ever came to his desk, it would be stopped in its tracks.

“We are not seeking to do away with the terms ‘America’ or ‘American’ from classroom instruction,” Flanagan said. “It’s not going to happen. I consider myself an American. We live in the United States of America. We are citizens of the United States of America. But the vernacular is that we’re Americans.”

These curriculum associations consist of curriculum content supervisors who represent diverse views and opinions.

“These are advisory groups,” Flanagan said. “The conversations and internal communications between members of an independent association have been misconstrued as Department of Education policy. This is not a Department of Education policy, nor will it ever be our policy while I’m here. I would never approve the removal of ‘America’ or ‘American’ from our classrooms. Not on my watch.”
So it seems the story isn't true. Sadly, it seems all too possible that something like this could happen. Still, I'm curious about the relationship between such 'advisory groups' and MDE. Just how influential are they? And any 'advisory group' espousing this type of policy has no business whatsoever influencing curriculum in any way.

 

Merc launches futures contract based on indexes of home prices

Now you can hedge your house. As the article makes clear there are some questions about how well this indices will track home prices but it is a start. I only fear that some will fool themselves into believing that an index offers a perfect hedge.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

 

Its Just A Joke

The double standards of the media, that is

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, has been telling versions of this joke for some time:
“As we were heading away from downtown and heading toward the airport to come here [ed. note: here suggests Champaign-Urbana], we stopped at a red light (inaudible) I rolled the window down and there’s a young girl, an African-American girl, maybe about 13 or 14 years old. I looked at her, she looked at me. She said ‘Oh my God, it’s Mayor Daley.’

(Laughs)

“So, it’s nice to know that I’m known here.”
An audio file of two different versions, back-to-back, is here.

Eric Zorn wonders:
Even if the tale were true and not just a fictional attempt at self-effacement, why would the race of the girl matter?
Rich Miller notes:
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if a Republican told a joke like that he or she would be crucified in the media. It’s just maddening that he thinks it’s somehow funny or even relevant to always include the race of the ficticious girl in his repeated retelling of this story.
He's absolutely right.

At Capitolfaxblog, commenter VanillaMan tells a joke of his own:
He needs to update his story this way…

“As we were heading away from downtown and heading toward the airport to come here, we stopped at a red light. I rolled the window down and there’s a young girl, an African-American girl, maybe about 13 or 14 years old. I looked at her, she looked at me. She said ‘Oh my God, it’s Public Official A.’

 

Will Illinois Privatize Its Lottery?

Governor Blagojevich wants to privatize the Illinois Lottery:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday moved to sell or lease the Illinois Lottery, an action that he said would provide $10 billion in long-term funding for public schools.

But critics immediately ridiculed the plan as a phony, with a top Republican saying it “doesn’t insure there will be an increase of one dime” in how much the state spends to support elementary and secondary schools.

The governor’s plan, to be formally unveiled at a press conference this afternoon, will call for either leasing the Lottery to a private operator or selling it, perhaps by offering stock in an initial public offering (IPO). Sources familiar with the plan said that would pull in an estimated $10 billion, one-time payment.

The state would take about $4 billion of that money for extra school spending in the next four years. That $4 billion would be divided among school construction, pre-school education, more money for special education and a general increase in the “foundation level” that all public schools receive.

The remaining $6 billion would be saved, invested and generate a guaranteed $650 million a year for schools over the next two decades, according to sources familiar with the proposal.

The Lottery now generates about the same amount for the state, $650 million a year, but some of that money has been pulled off to pay for other state spending.
This strikes me as a stupendously bad idea. Perhaps it would lead to a short term increase in school funding. But borrowing from the future to pay for the present has been a hallmark of the Democrat controlled legislature and the Blagojevich administration. Does anyone seriously believe that they'll simply sit on $6 billion in cash, spending only the interest it generates?

ADDENDUM: I'm very interested in knowing how the state plans to earn an annual rate of return of close to 11% over ten years.

Monday, May 22, 2006

 

Jessie Macbeth

A phony who shouldn't be walking around free

In an interview posted at Socialist Alternative (video here) Jessie Macbeth, who claims to have been a Special Forces Ranger in Iraq, describes how he was encouraged to brutalize and intimidate the Iraqis and commit atrocities. But his story is full of holes. It seems Macbeth is a liar functioning as an enemy propagandist. He deserves to be imprisoned for a very long time.

But has he broken any laws? Wretchard comments:
In an earlier post I wrote that the defenses of civilization consisted not merely of arms, but of belief, culture, law and commerce. The hallmark of a functional civilization is that these things are bulwarks against barbarism -- and not portals for it -- by common consent. Belief, culture, law and commerce were once used by civilization as a wall against savagery; not as means of providing their escalade. But as author Philip Bobbitt, pointed out, the replacement of the nation state by the "market state" has loosened many of the ties which formerly bound together the peoples of traditional nations. In the modern multicultural state the cement of culture is no longer what it used to be. In that context, Riehl's question can be interpreted as asking: is there any sanction in Western belief, culture or law which prohibits Socialist Alternatives from trotting out deliberate lies? We already know that many on the Left would be opposed to deliberate lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction. But is there any corresponding prohibition against impersonating an Airborne Ranger in a broadcast? If none, then it's anything goes and barbarism is no longer strictly without, it is also within.


Bill C adds: The YouTube link is not working, if you want to see the videos go to peacefilms.org.

HotAir has a summary of this controversy.

 

India on alert for suicides after stocks slide

Another portentous omen, third world stock markets tend to fall apart before the U.S. stock market. India's stock market is only off 22% from its highs and they are already on suicide alert. That means there was a lot of speculation going on in that market.

"I borrowed money to trade in the market. I lost it all in the past two days," said 37-year-old Sanjay Joshi, a small investor. "I don't know how will I repay my loans."

In the 1990s, a stock market meltdown led to several bankrupt brokers and small investors committing suicide across India, some of them drowning in rivers or throwing themselves off highrises.

Analysts described the market slide -- which has been as much as 22.4 percent from an all-time high of 12,671.11 points on May 11 -- as a correction and said order should return soon.

"It seems overdone and the market should stabilize during the second half of this week," said Rajat Jain, Chief Investment Officer, Principal Asset Management Company Pvt Ltd.


I want to point out a couple of things. First, never listen to CIOs of investment companies for your investment advice. Second, this is under Reuters' oddly enough category. Suicide, hahaha.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

 

Markets ‘are like 1987 crash’

Good to know that I am not imagining this. (Via Drudge.)

A report by Barclays Capital says the run-up to the 1987 crash was characterised by a widening US current-account deficit, weak dollar, fears of rising inflation, a fading boom in American house prices, and the appointment of a new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.



All have been happening in recent months, with market nerves on edge last week over fears of higher inflation and a tumbling dollar, and the perception of mixed messages on interest rates from Ben Bernanke, the new Fed chairman.

“We are very uncomfortable about predicting financial crises, but we cannot help but see a certain similarity between the current economic and market conditions and the environment that led to the stock-market crash of October 1987,” said David Woo, head of global foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays Capital.


Now that this has been recognized the market is free to rally. If a crash situation does materialize that should put a stop to the relentless rise in interest rates. But I wouldn't put any money on that just yet.

P.S. Mom is doing much better. Her pain in the ankle/lower left leg has been diagnosed as arthritis and she is taking ibuprofen to reduce swelling which has greatly relieved her pain. She just needs to avoid trying to catch people and to slow down on. There is always next season.


Friday, May 19, 2006

 

Illegal Immigration Taking Toll On Environment

A stream along the U.S. border runs a golden yellow.

As the flow of people to the area increases with the flood of migrants crossing the border so does the number of people relieving themselves into the stream. Said one local resident, "The stench from this stream was always bad but it's gotten much worse recently, heck, it's worse than Chicago's Uptown el stop!" (the Wilson el stop in Chicago is known to frequently receive a fresh coat of urine from some of the local residents there).

Environmentalists are concerned over the changes in the stream but noted that the bright yellow color is "very pretty to look at and kind of soothing in a way".

No one has yet dared to follow the stream to it's source as many of the local residents don't beleive it is the work of migrants but rather the mythical figure 'the Whizzer of Ahhhs" who's existence has never actually been confirmed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

 

Look at #2

50 worst artists in music. Via VikingPundit.

Yes, I am baiting Mike.

Diego comments:

Just as it makes one feel good to know that the U.S. is on some left-wing shit list (Chomsky for example) I am happy that some of the bands/musicians I like are on a 'worst' list from Blender. You really must consider the list maker.

Keyboard “wizard” and professional cape wearer (#42 on the list Rick) Wakeman’s diabolical taste revealed itself early, when he elected to join prog-rockers Yes instead of David Bowie’s backing band, the Spiders From Mars.

A wise decision it was opting for music over celebrity. Blender wouldn't get that. From what little I've read of that magazine over the past few years they don't differentiate between music and entertainment. You can see Rick at the Abbey Pub on Friday June 23. I'll be there if I'm in town.

On Emerson, Lake & Palmer:

Appalling fact Singer-bassist Greg Lake performed on a $10,000 Persian rug that roadies vacuumed before every show.

I've seen the rug up close before and I would agree with Lake's version which I saw in an interview. When the band first started Lake was getting a shock from the microphone and suggested that the crew put a rug over all the wires that were running by his feet on stage. That was it. The crew grabbed a rug from somewhere and brought it with them from then on. I doubt it is a $10k rug but I can't say that for certain.

 

Happy Birthday Bill C

You are such a great guy.


 

Crash Alert


So it must be time to buy. (Chuckle)







The stock markets, for there are more than one has broken through support on a daily chart. (Not shown but you can use your imagination to fill in the trend channel lines.) I am using the Russell 2000 because it is a broad index that has clearly trended since the end of 2002. The bottom trend line comes in at 680 and that should be support, unless we are experiencing a significant crash. It is very unusual for a crash off a stock market high. '87 was not typical. What is typical is a months or years of falling prices before the urge to sell strikes the average investor. I am worried about a crash now for two reasons:

1) The real estate bubble has burst and everyone is hearing about it. This has a much higher potential to affect your average consumer than the stock bubble. Which leads to..

2) The MSM hates Bush and anything that could precipitate bad economic news which will hurt the Bush administration will be trumpheted. Get ready for an onslaught of Ma and Pa America are losing on their real estate speculation stories.

P.S. Gold and Silver have put in tops but it is too early to call those markets as anything more than a pause in their bull markets.

P.P.S. My mother might have a hairline fracture in her left leg. She can't put any weight on it but nothing is on the x-ray.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

 

Unparalyzed By Fear?

This is funny:
A wheelchair-bound Los Angeles woman, who has repeatedly filed lawsuits over access for the disabled, got up and ran after police arrested her for fraud, authorities said on Thursday.

Laura Lee Medley, 35, had sued in at least four California cities over injuries she claimed she sustained while trying to navigate her wheelchair before she was suspected of fraud.
Via Ace.

More: Captain Ed predicts:
Her next lawsuit will probably be against the LVPD for damaging her ability to earn a living through her specious lawsuits.

 

India's New Military Base

A portent of the future?

India is establishing its first ever military base outside its territory:
For the first time in its history, India is establishing a military base outside its borders. This will be at a former Soviet air base (Farkhor) about a hundred kilometers north of the capital of Tajikistan. About a dozen Indian MiG-29 fighters will be based at Farkhor, along with fewer than a hundred Indian military personnel.
I'm sure there will be more bases like this as India begins asserting itself as a world power.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

 

Blog Addition

I added Hot Air to our blogroll. It is the site with Michelle Malkin and Allahpundit, good to see him back. MM has a video rant, Allah is funny as ever, and there are lots of video clips that download quite fast.

Also, I updated the link to The Daily Cause which switched over to Wordpress. The contributors had some problems posting but Mike of Mens News Daily has us up and running. Which brings me to a request. Could one of you guys try and post a comment to The Daily Cause and see if it is accepting comments from the general public? Thanks.

 

Going Parabolic

Commodity markets trade differently than financial markets. This is due to the fact that the supply of commodities is restrained by natures ability to produce. Markets like gold, silver, soybeans, and corn all have a limited supply. The production of metals tends to be very predictable. A new mine might open but it doesn't greatly impact world supply and there will not likely be a great increase in the supply of metals until some clever scientist makes the dreams of alchemists into reality.

Gold and silver have gone parabolic like commodities are wont to do. The chart of both markets looks like the right side of a parabola and that is very interesting because another characteristic of commodity markets is that they tend to put in spike highs and lows. Financial markets like stocks and bonds tend to have rolling tops and bottoms. In a bull market, a financial market will see its momentum slow, the stock market at tops will be lead by fewer and fewer issues, and the initial down phase will be a slow, meandering. Commodities fly into their highs and fall off just as quickly, at least when a major top is being put in place. We are witnessing gold and silver and many other metals flying higher so it is an open question about what's next.

It has long been my belief that easy credit was behind the great bull markets in stocks and bonds and that real estate, commodities, and metals are the new arenas for the perpetuation of the great asset bubble of our time. Today we see oil, gold, silver, real estate, and most stock markets near their highest prices, which is rather remarkable, and I am wondering when the contraction of credit will begin. If I am right, these markets should fall in unison, also.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

 

There is one Colbert...


..and Stewart is his Prophet.






















Or his She-Ra. The loony left has built many shiny statues to Steven Colbert since the WH correspondents dinner. Why?

Because people are still talking about it! Think of the last time a comedian made such a splash in the media - I really can't recall. Bad comedy goes away after the initial "It sucked. {Raspberry}" Colbert's performance just keeps being bandied about. This morning, just skimming, I found seven separate articles about it posted this morning. Not blog articles, but, you know, "legit" news sources.


That's right, because Steven Colbert went on stage in front of the leader of the free world and mocked him. Of course he wouldn't be the leader of the free world if we weren't free to mock him, now would he? I saw the whole speech and Colbert had a couple of good chuckles. He seemed nervous and off his game. Probably because he wasn't on his home court. And that is why he flubbed the ball. Ok, enough of that. It doesn't matter if you are an unfunny comedian. It doesn't matter if you are a former CIA analyst with a very loose grasp of the facts. Just as long as you speak truth to power are an ignorant jerk to someone in the Bush administration. Everyday Democrats are learning why rage is a losing strategy. Just continue eating your own while we win elections.

Colbert was not funny but G_d help you if you speak truth to liberals.

Update: Ace sets me straight. Colbert = comedy genius/Messiah.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

Gran Turismo HD

WARNING FOR BILL O!

You might want to evacuate your bowels before you follow this link.

Gran Turismo in 1080p. Oh boy!

Update: Enter Gran Turismo in the search window for the video.

 

Way to go Mom! Boulder City hits the jackpot.

My mother moved to Boulder City, NV. 8 years ago. She has a beautiful view of Lake Mead and has watched housing prices double in part due to the fact that the municipal gov't of B.C. keeps a tight lid on development.

Now some local citizens want to cash in on 167 square miles owned by the city and distribute the money to the 15,000 residents.

They've developed a plan to cash in and make millionaires of every man, woman and child in this community of about 15,000. (It's too late to move. Only people living here as of March 31 qualify.)

The land is called Eldorado Valley, an expanse of dry lake bed flanked by red rocks.

Activists estimate the land's value up to $50 billion. They also say that is too much dough and too much responsibility for a bungling City Council to handle. The group insists its first choice is to protect that land. Still, if the activists can't save the land, they want to profit from it.

Profit, I pick profit. My mother and her husband could be in line for their share of this windfall. Good for you. Now about that flying car... Of course, there are your fair share of anti-growth activists morons:

"I would have to say that, almost universally, the people who live here in Boulder City favor slow growth to no growth," City Attorney Dave Olsen said.

Still, others oppose everything in between, including tourism, parks and economic development, he said.

"There is a consistent, vocal group of people here, not unlike just about every little town in the country, that many have affectionately dubbed, 'The Cave People.' " Olsen said. "That's 'Citizens Against Virtually Everything.' "

He is confident the land-sale petition will be shot down in court. He argues the March 31 residency cutoff date is arbitrary and unfair to longtime residents who may have moved recently.

Citizen petitions and charter amendments cannot interfere with administrative duties assigned to the city government by the charter, Olsen said. Selling land is one of those duties.

More fundamental, the city attorney said, the land doesn't belong to the residents of Boulder City in the first place.

Details, details. I am sure that Attorney Olsen is not that worried if he doesn't get his share of the loot. However, there are some residents of Boulder City who could really use the money. "What about the children!"

Friday, May 05, 2006

 

Cheney Rebukes Russians

I have a feeling getting my Russian visa for this summers trip just got a whole lot harder.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

Driving While Kennedy

Open thread to discuss Patrick (Son of Swimmer) Kennedy's completely innocent accident. At least the capital police aren't out to get him like airport security. Why can't bad things stop happening to these guys when they are out driving someone home or trying to go vote at 3 am?

 

Rape, Rape Shield Laws, and False Accusations

I must admit I have a kneejerk reaction to reports of rapes that involve high profile/wealthy people. The assumption I hold is that the charges are false. This is especially true if the two people knew each other. The reason for this is that I have known two men who have been falsely accused of rape, both while in college. I heard these men's stories 18 years apart from one another but they are remarkable similar. Both men are mild mannered, one is a committed supporter of Howard Dean the other was from a wealthy family who could not hurt a fly. He had dedicated his life to happy hour. Not once did I see him exercising but he was always smoking usually with a drink in his hand. Both new their accusers and, though not dating, were friendly enough to be friends with benefits.

For the lefty, this accusation was especially difficult to take. He identified with those who fought the oppressors and now he was one of them. When he first started telling me his story I didn't believe him because he knew of my belief in the cause of men's rights so I thought he was just winding me up. His pained expression and pleas of sincerity made me change my mind. He detailed how his "friend" had changed her mind about a sexual encounter between them because alcohol was involved and later she had felt coerced.

My carousing, cocktail wielding friend was far more matter of fact about the incident even though it had happened relatively recently. His attitude was that she was crazy because she had accused another of the same before him. The college we had both attended had treated him so badly and his family was so wealthy that they managed to hire a lawyer who cleared him and forced the school to give him the rest of his education gratis.

Over the years I have found that my friends experience is not all that uncommon.

For the past six months, I've been staring at a 30-pound box filled with court documents and what's left of a young man's life following one college night and a 5- to 15-second disputed sex act.

That is, 5 to 15 seconds into the act of sexual intercourse, she said, "Stop."

He stopped immediately.

She claimed rape.

Thus, before his 23rd birthday, Rich Gorman of Orlando was locked behind bars in the Liberty Correctional Institute near Tallahassee, serving a five-year sentence for sexual battery.

Maybe my friendship has clouded my judgement but these men are the least likely to have assaulted anyone that I know. It is hard to know what might motivate someone to bear false witness. I do know that it occurs and that many men have spent years of their lives in jail because of it. I think part of the problem is that Americans delude themselves too often about their sexuality.

She found that 73 percent of those who signed a virginity pledge and then went on to have premarital sex disavowed ever having signed such a pledge.

The teens were initially surveyed in 1995, and again a year later.

She also found that adolescents who'd had premarital sex and then decided to make a virginity pledge were highly likely to misreport their earlier sexual history, which makes it difficult to accurately assess virginity pledges' effects on early sexual intercourse. [Emphasis added.]

Perhaps it is our puritanical past but many Americans have a difficult time admitting that they have sexual needs. The most famous case of a false rape accusation in Illinois involved a man named Gary Dotson.

In July 1979, Gary Dotson was convicted of aggravated kidnaping and rape. He was sentenced to not less than twenty-five and not more than fifty years.

...

In March 1985, the victim recanted her testimony. She said she had fabricated the rape to hide a legitimate sexual encounter with her boyfriend.

Dotson was not the poster child for good behavior however he did serve a total of 8 years of his life for a crime he did not commit. That is bound to make anyone a little bitter. Dotson languished for six years because a girl was caught by her parents having sex and through the course of a trial could not bring herself to tell the world that she had sex with her boyfriend. I am not condoning what Cathleen Crowell Webb did but it is interesting that her guilt over accusing an innocent man could not overcome her shame. It shows what a powerful force shame about sex can be for a woman.

There are few studies of the number of false vs. true rape accusations but what there are show that the number might be at least 1 in 4. With such high numbers of false accusations it is very important to have physical evidence and it is important to consider the character of the person making the accusation. Women who have been caught lying in the past either about rape or some attempt at fraud should be considered suspect. This is why I oppose rape shield laws. They are supposed to protect the alleged victim but they also prevent the alleged rapist from defending himself against the charges. Our legal system, for the most part, goes out of its way to protect the rights of those accused of crimes. 'Better to free one hundred guilty men than to jail one innocent man,' or something like that. Feminists have successfully turned this principal around in the case of rape and convinced others out a sense of chivalry to toss aside the rights of men accused of rape. This must end. Some women lie about rape and men must be allowed to defend themselves against false charges. Also, women who are caught lying should suffer the penalties of false accusation. Rape shield laws were supposed to keep shame about being raped from stopping a woman from bringing charges. I ask, is a woman's desire to keep her rape secret more important than a man's right to defend himself against a crime? Tilting the scales of justice in the favor of any one protected class does a lot to tarnish the reputation of our legal system.

By the way, the accuser is hardly anonymous at this point.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 

Liberal Faith

 

Poweriser


Pogo-Stilts actually exist. (Via Gizmodo)

















No, it is not the NOW's plan for future Gender Wars. Maybe you saw this commercial and thought, like me, that this was done with CGI. There is no way something this cool exists. But it does! This is from a German company so maybe there is a global domination strategy involved but right now it just looks like a really great way to get around.

Check out the videos of the Poweriser in action. (The German word for video is video.)

 

Just curious....

all those immigrants, legal or otherwise, who chose to boycott U.S. merchants, employers and schools on Monday, did they also chose to boycott U.S. emergency rooms, police and other health and safety services?

Monday, May 01, 2006

 

A View From Above

I regret not bringing my camera to work today so I could take some pictures of the illegal alien march here in Chicago. I can get a good view from my office window overlooking Jackson Blvd. from 40 floors up. At about 12:30pm I looked out and counted all the flags I could see. I think this would be about a two block long random sample. There were 9 U.S. flags and 11 foreign flags. Not a good ratio if you like the U.S. I could not read any of the signs.

Matto's View:


I strolled out to Blommer's Chocolates to buy my bride a b-day present and noticed the ruckus a few blocks away. So I went down to Randolph and Desplaines (location of the Haymarket Riot 120 yrs ago) to watch the march.
It was a peaceful display with participants of all ages. The vast majority of flags I saw were American flags, carried properly. Mexican flags made up about 10%, with a smattering of other random flags (including mysterious all-red flags, must be socialist or something) turning up occassionally.

All in all I was impressed by what I saw. I support anyone who is willing to work hard and chase the American dream, but we are a nation of laws.

I walked away with one question in my mind: seeing how much this crowd loves America and is willing to work hard and support their families why can't we deport the liberals and nationalize the immigrants in their place?

Diego Update: There was a gap in the marching line at 1:30pm, I only counted 8 flags, 4 U.S. and 4 foreign. At 2:15pm I counted 20 foreign flags and 32 U.S. flags.

I am in favor of legal immigration. I'm afraid the reason that we can't deport the liberals and nationalize the immigrants in their place is because those organizing these rallies are trying to nationalize the liberals and indoctrinate the immigrants.

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