Wednesday, April 30, 2008

 

Little House on the Prairie


I thought the TV show was stupid when I was younger but have to admit that I never watched it or read any of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. The Little House on the Prairie in Independence, Kansas was on my route so I stopped to take a picture. Not much to it. I can't imagine a family living there but it was in the late 1800's. This is not the actual house the Ingalls family lived in but a replica built to specifications from her books.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

 

Message from Coffeyville

Crime Does Not Pay. It is good to see the real heroes memorialized rather than the gangsters. The photo below hangs inside the Dalton Defenders Museum in Coffeyville, Kansas. The photos below that are of the Bank the Dalton gang tried to rob on October 5, 1892. There is a memorial plaza and markers in the sidewalk honoring the four men who died when the people defended the town from the Dalton Gang.







On October 5, 1892 The Dalton Gang rode into Coffeyville, Kansas to rob the Condon and First National Banks. Following a 12 minute gun battle, four members of the Dalton Gang were killed: Bob & Grat Dalton, Bill Power and Dick Broadwell. Emmet Dalton survived. Four courageous citizens also lay dead: George Cubine, Charles Connelly, Charles Brown and Lucius Baldwin.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

 

OKC Memorial


A statue of St. Joseph stands across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial which is located on the site of the 1995 bombing. Below is a photo of the reflecting pool and the Field of Empty Chairs.


 

Honorary Alley

Mickey Mantel gets a street, the Flaming Lips get an alley. I had a good laugh when I spotted the sign outside of Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City Redhawks. I set out to take a photo of the intersection of streets named after Mantel and Johnny Bench but saw this on the way back to my car.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

 

Friday Night Video

Or Early Saturday Video, depends on your perspective.

I'm in Oklahoma City to see Rush, so here are the Flaming Lips, enjoy!


Friday, April 25, 2008

 

Lee Elia's rant

April 29th is the 25th anniversary of Lee Elia's famous rant against the Cubs fans who had booed his team that day. I was listening to WLS yesterday while they discussed it. The question that set off Elia was asked by WLS sports reporter Les Grobstein. More background here. Elia wasn't proud of his loss of temper but you can hardly blame him about being sick of Cubs fans. I wonder if he would have liked it better if the fans did not pay attention to the game like the majority fans do today.


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

 

Thursday Thoughts

Who is more electable for the Democrats? I thought Obama was their best choice but I don't think so anymore. If the dirt piles up like this in the primary it would seem he is unelectable in the general. Still, there is plenty of time until November and things can change.

It seems like a gamble to pull for Obama in the primary when you have to realize that you might be wishing him right into the Presidency. He should get voted away from higher office by a decent margin but what if he wins? Presidential powers may be limited by Congress while in office but he is still young. He could be a two term Jimmy Carter in the making. He will have a lot of time to travel the world as an ex-President.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

 

Answer: A lot bigger thanks to Bill O

Click for the question.

 

Shock Jock Schadenfreude

Via Hot Air.

Bill O's gotta love this. These are the same clowns behind the St. Patrick's Cathedral desecration.

Hayden says Lindsay was living in Philadelphia, Margera's stomping grounds, when she met him and made the tape "to gain some exposure." [Emphasis added.]


I guess there is no such thing as bad exposure. Two mental midgets made for each other.

 

Bloody Weekend in Chicago

And a little too close to home.

Sunday morning, two people were critically injured when an intruder broke into their apartment in Ravenswood and stabbed them both. Police said a 26-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were stabbed in a home invasion at 1932 W. Winona St. about 6 a.m. Sunday.


I guess we moved out of the city at just about the right time.

Diego: This was close to home for me but District 20 is the safest in the city. The intruder, a 17 year old homeless individual from Des Plaines, entered a garden apartment through an open window and attacked a couple with a knife from their kitchen. He didn't flee the scene but rather hung around outside where the police found him when they arrived.

John O adds: Its been clear for some time that there is a gang war of some sort currently going on in the area, though that doesn't explain all of the recent violence. The media narrative, which until this weekend focused on CPS 'students' and the related anti-gun rallies has finally acknowledged this. The implications, why there are so many gang members enrolled in CPS and who, exactly, the shooters are, remain a media mystery.

 

Underground links likely to surface for Obama

John Kass demolishes the but I was only 8 years old defense by connecting Dohrn to murders that happened in the eighties. Nice friends. Listen to Dohrn call America "the monster."

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

 

So far no disaster


The Stock markets started to rally last week with the Dow taking out my resistance level of 12,750 which has caused me to be a lot more bullish. Here is what I said:

A market that is not falling in the face of of worsening news is a strong market. That is why I think the risk is that the stocks will rally from here. Not that I am saying that is going to happen but that would definitely catch a lot of people by surprise. If the stock market doesn't start down soon I think we are in for a monster rally. Closing above 12,750 on the Dow would make me very bullish. Conversely, trading below 12,100 means the bear is still alive and must be respected.


(Pat, pat, pat on back.) Here comes the caveat. The rally of the March 8th low has been ugly. Sharp up days and nauseating declines. Now that doesn't mean that it couldn't be a base for a coming rally but I would still be ultra cautious which is why I am going to bail on the idea of a rally if the Dow trades below 12,500. A mere 1.3% from where we trading at the moment. Today's sell off scared me. A brief move above an important resistance level and then selling off below that level is not a confidence builder. The rest of todays and tomorrows action will be important. A rally from here will make the two day sell off look corrective (three waves down) and that will be a nice base off which we can be a lot more confident about this rally.

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A Day at the Science Fair

I got this from Ace and laughed my ass off. Some really sick funny photoshops in there.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

 

Revealing the media bias: We get to set the agenda

It was an interesting week in that Liberals...sorry...Progressives pulled aside the curtain to reveal themselves in all their self-righteous, condiscending glory.

First, Tim Robbins directed his minions at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas to go forth and propagandize er, do good. Robbins had the sense to tell them to turn of the cameras because he knew what he was saying would be used against him, as it should. This is blatantly saying that broadcasters should push a point of view hiding behind the rhetoric of avoiding the 'Tawdry and Demeaning.' You guess who gets to define tawdry and demeaning.

Second, WaPo uber-liberal Tom Shales castigated George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson for having the temerity to question the Messiah about his affiliation with a racist, anti-American pastor and a unrepentant terrorist. Oh my, must never put Barack on the hot seat because these questions are 'hashed and rehashed' except that I have never heard Obama have to take questions which are pointed plus followed up upon. Never.

It would do the Democratic party good to have a media which would ask these tough questions because the right-leaning media will ask them and will keep hammering Barry for his associations. This isn't 1992. Dems are not going to get a pass on Jerry Wright and Bill Ayres.

 

Let Me Tell Y'all What It's Like...


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

 

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

I promised John I would find this since I heard Rush praising the Army choruses rendition and it turned up on his site. Rousing as usual.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

It is amazing how well this sentiment travels across the ages.

 

Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo warn 'delusional' investors on stocks

If you read only one bearish article this year, read this one.

Mr Anderson said investors should pay attention when the International Monetary Fund cuts its global growth forecast for 2008 three times in less than five months. The Fund has put the odds of a world recession at 25pc and predicted $945bn in losses from the credit debacle spread across banks, hedge funds, pension funds, and insurers.

"Even more alarming, the IMF estimates that only a quarter of these potential losses have been recognized," he said.

Of course stock prices are not cooperating. The Dow is up 183 as I type and all that matters is whether prices are rising or falling. Perhaps this another case of everyone who wants to sell has already done so. That is why I said the surprise risk is to the upside. No one is expecting good news. Still, while the market sits here we have to assume the bad news will filter into prices.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

 

Not voting for Obama proves you are a racist...

...if you are a Democrat.


The Obama's "bitter" comment have been beaten to death in the right-leaning blogosphere and MSM, it helps to have Hillary desperately flogging this, but I haven't heard anyone make the obvious logical connection. Barack, and now Bob Herbert, are calling Democrats bible-thumping, gun-toting hicks and racists. It is Democrats, for the most part, that are voting in the Democratic primaries so it would be them that have a problem voting for a black man. It would be them who cling to God and country and all that hillbilly silliness. Republicans have an excuse for not voting for him- Barack is very liberal.

If Republicans had a choice of say J.C. Watts and Sam Brownback or Bill Frist and we voted for either those brain dead morons over the black conservative then you could call me a racist because clearly there is a conservative who doesn't have his head up his ass in this group and he is black.

So I think all Republicans have a clean conscious until a black conservative runs for President. Except for Alan Keyes, that guy is just nuts. I guess I should qualify it by saying the first black conservative politician because there are a lot of black conservatives who don't necessarily have the political skills. Where is our Obama? J.C. we need you!

Also:

When you are trying to portray yourself as being in touch with the common man you don't pick an obscure leafy vegetable to reference when talking about the price of food.

Mr. Obama has a tendency to make such cultural miscues. Speaking to small-town voters in Iowa last year, he asked, "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?"


Has anyone gone to Charlie Trotters and seen the price of Dom Perignon lately? With gas going up so much I might have to get the hybrid Bentley.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

 

Consumer lead recession

Since consumer spending is north of 2/3rds of the U.S. economy the slowdown in spending is having dramatic results in retailing. (Registration required.)

Since last fall, eight mostly midsize chains — as diverse as the furniture store Levitz and the electronics seller Sharper Image — have filed for bankruptcy protection as they staggered under mounting debt and declining sales.

But the troubles are quickly spreading to bigger national companies, like Linens ‘n Things, the bedding and furniture retailer with 500 stores in 47 states. It may file for bankruptcy as early as this week, according to people briefed on the matter.

Even retailers that can avoid bankruptcy are shutting down stores to preserve cash through what could be a long economic downturn. Over the next year, Foot Locker said it would close 140 stores, Ann Taylor will start to shutter 117 and the jeweler Zales will close 100.

Add to this the credit crunch.

Retailing is a business with big ups and downs during the year, and retailers rely heavily on borrowed money to finance their purchases of merchandise and even to meet payrolls during slow periods. Yet the nation’s banks, struggling with the growing mortgage crisis, have started to balk at extending new loans, effectively cutting up the retail industry’s collective credit cards.


So the retailers are getting squeezed by lower sales and higher interest costs, if they can find someone willing to lend them money, it is no wonder that they are closing stores feeding the vicious cycle of higher unemployment and less spending. Ultimately, this is what deflation looks like. Now if we can only get the stock market to cooperate. (Sigh.)

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

 

Lonely Planet's bad trip

On our recent trip down to the D.R. we had a lot of trouble with the phone numbers given by Frommers and, I believe, Lonely Planet. They were just wrong. I am not sure that we were using the Lonely Planet guide, it was the one left for us by the owner of the villa we were renting but I am sure that Bill O brought the Frommers guide. Anyway, this is not surprising if what the subject of this article says is true.

"They didn't pay me enough to go Colombia,'' he said.

"I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating - an intern in the Colombian Consulate.

"They don't pay enough for what they expect the authors to do.''

Which gave me a great idea. I travel fairly frequently and would be happy to write about the places I visit for the cost of a couple of meals. (Especially Le Colonial in the Playa Dorado complex near Puerto Plata.) I wouldn't make up anything, I could send proof that I had eaten there in the form of receipts. Heck, I would write a review of the hotel if they cover 75% of the cost of staying there. So Lonely Planet or Frommers let me know if you want an honest reviewer. I would even go to Columbia.

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Obama Revealed

I've been giving some thought as to what Barrack Obama is really about as the primary has dragged on. He has now had a few issues that he has managed to work around with the Democrats (that will be another story in the general election); his former church, Reverend Wright (and others), his wife's new found pride in her country, and now his views on guns, religion and the mindset of small-town Americans.

I think Obama really believes what he said about Midwesterners at a San Francisco fund raiser and many liberals including John Kerry and Hillary Clinton share those views. The difference is that Kerry and Clinton know better than to say such things if they want to get elected, Obama does not.

Obama does not realize he has made a mistake. He is just learning politics on the fly here. He might be the first complete product of a liberalized education system to get this far. He believes that he is the one to explain things to the people in fly over country and if those people get offended then he just hasn't worded it right. But he believes the message.

Friday, April 11, 2008

 

A Mystery in the Middle East

A series of troubling events which make no sense but put together are reason for concern. Welcome to the world of intelligence.

The bombing of Syria symbolizes our confusion. Why would Syria want a nuclear reactor and why put it on the border of Turkey, a country the Syrians aren't particularly friendly with? If the Syrians had a nuclear reactor, why would the Israelis be coy about it? Why would the Americans? Having said nothing for months apart from careful leaks, why are the Israelis going to speak publicly now? And if what they are going to say is simply that the North Koreans provided the equipment, what's the big deal? That was leaked months ago.

The events of September 2007 make no sense and have never made any sense. The events we have seen since February make no sense either. That is noteworthy, and we bring it to your attention. We are not saying that the events are meaningless. We are saying that we do not know their meaning. But we can't help but regard them as ominous.

The Israeli bombing of an alleged nuclear facility in Syria last September is a really intriguing because of the fact that Israel has managed to keep a lid on the what and why of it. For a second imagine the howls of derision coming from the left if it turns out that it was connected to Saddam's WMDs. A pipe dream at this point but worth a smile at the thought of all the conspiracy theories that would be spun out of Israel being involved in uncovering WMDs.

I think that Israel and Hezbollah are going to tussle again and I am sure that Israel would rather do this on their time table so what we might be seeing is the prep for this war. The only question being how far will Israel go in bloodying Hezbollah?

 

Barack Obama in his own words

WOW! Just wow! Granted some of the quotes are not on the audio so I imagine they could have been made up but if they weren't Barry is not anywhere near the post-racial candidate that he is claiming.




Update: Via Backyard conservative.

Obama is a Jedi Master.

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Friday Hoedown!



Diego beat me to it. I have been wanting to add this but I keep forgetting so this week you get two, count 'em two awesome rocking tunes for the Friday night kickoff. To top it off I will be eating Harold's fried chicken and having a mild heart attack.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

 

Respite

With all the bad news that is coming out you would think the stock market would be crashing. It never works that way. In fact the more pessimism often signals a reversal. Everyone who could be short is short. A market that is not falling in the face of of worsening news is a strong market. That is why I think the risk is that the stocks will rally from here. Not that I am saying that is going to happen but that would definitely catch a lot of people by surprise. If the stock market doesn't start down soon I think we are in for a monster rally. Closing above 12,750 on the Dow would make me very bullish. Conversely, trading below 12,100 means the bear is still alive and must be respected.

Back to the bad news. The losses from the mortgage market are mounting and so is the estimates as to how much it will cost in the end. One trillion is the estimate from the IMF up from around 600 billion. Because of the uncertainty in when the bottom of the housing market will be reached banks are using liquidity to shore up their balance sheets rather than to lend. The Feds actions have been solely oriented towards keeping the financial system from going into a tailspin. I respect both sides of the 'suck it up' and financial debacle must be prevented all costs debate. A lot of innocent people would have been hurt if BSC had failed but the bubble needs to unwind. The Fed seems to be just trying to make sure the unwinding is as orderly as possible. What they are risking is that the gov't will become entangled in the process and taking on risks that don't belong on their balance sheets. The Fed is the lender of last resort but it should not be nations landlord.

What makes this an impossible job for the Fed is that the financial remedies they come up with will just continue to devalue the dollar and undo whatever good was done. Greenspan had an much easier time of buttressing the economy in 2001-2003. The dollar was strong and the unwinding stock market bubble was happening quickly in a visible way. The housing market and the credit market are opaque so the public is wary about jumping in while prices are heading down; another strike against the Fed being the creation of deflationary expectations.

What is ironic is that the panic has been most pronounced among the financial professionals. In this way the opaqueness of the credit market keeps the public from panicking. What the public could sell, stocks, has been relatively sheltered from the storm. I have given you my opinion from the technical side but I am really not optimistic and place the chance of a rally as a small percentage. Events can change that opinion. A falling stock market has the potential for getting out of control. The danger is that the public will lose faith in the Fed's ability to affect an orderly stock market decline.

P.S. Easy Al is fighting furiously to save his reputation. Kinda funny to him get what he deserves. He certainly didn't fight hard to stop the Maestro image at that time. Any more than he tried to discourage the stock or housing bubbles when he had a chance. The "I couldn't have foreseen this" argument won't fly. Too many told him about the problem and he ignored them.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

 

Opening Day


Opening Day in Chicago for the White Sox and a great game to watch, a 7-4 win over the Twins. The Sox are off to a great start so far and I like what I see. Not perfect but much better than last year's disappointment. The Sox have gotten no respect yet but this team can win and I think they will contend for the division.

Friday, April 04, 2008

 

Friday

I'm not looking back I just want to look around me now.



See more of the people and the places that surround me now. Time stand still.

Bonus question: Who is the girl with the camera?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

 

ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION

The inability to become aroused over any of the choices for President put forth by either party
in the 2008 election year!

(Hat Tip: Mom.)

 

Moving again

My life for the past 15 years has been itinerant. Spending no more than 2 years in any one location has made me non-sentimental for places. As I prepare to move again, this time with a wife and child, I have discovered that packing up is not as easy as it used to be. Not physically, although I have used movers since at least 1996. Packing and taping and lifting are difficult but just as long as I don't have to hump that 200+ lbs. TV down three flights, I can't complain. (BTW, the monster TV which I did purchase in '94 has died finally.) No the hardest thing about moving is trying to coordinate packing with baby naps and baby being awake; no noise when he is sleeping, fear of what he might get into when he is awake.

Babies make moving around boxes and trying to sanely pack evenly mildly unsafe items a nervous process. Can I put this down for one second without him pouncing on it? Scan the floor for loose items every time you move a box because it will end up in his mouth. Distract him long enough so his mother can pack the bathroom's contents otherwise he will struggle mightily to insert himself into the decision whether to keep the microscopically small amount of shampoo. Moving with a wife can be a hassle, also.

So enjoy your weekend. I know you will be having more fun than us. Except for John O, we expect you will be on unpacking duty on Sunday.

 

Tough times make for few takers at property auction

At some point prices come down to a level that it makes sense to buy. An auction is a very good way to find that floor and from this example I think we are getting closer to that floor at least in this area of Florida.

The auction, which was anticipated to take four to five hours, wound up clocking in at barely two. Two-thirds of the property on the block failed to garner a single bid.

DeCaro, who paced the stage with a headset microphone, struggled to get some momentum going and found himself at the mercy of a crowd that turned out to have largely decided they were best served by leaving their bid paddles in their laps.

By the time it was over, 67 of the 99 properties on the block had no bids.

"This was a disaster," said Fort Lauderdale broker Paul Merlesena as he stood near the door following the auction. "They're basically going to have to give them away now."


The property mentioned in the article can be viewed via Google maps at this link. I don't know the dimensions but just from eyeballing it I would have to say that 100k isn't such a bad price. The article also mentions foreign money starting to come in and take advantage of the weak dollar and falling prices. While this is not always an indicator of the bottom it is an example of prices seeking a level which represents true value not a bubble created frenzy. Maybe if you can scoop this lot up for 50k.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

 

Boycott Pizza Hut

Until they let their drivers defend themselves.

 

NCAA Prediction Update

Memphis over North Carolina.

That is a revision of my earlier prediction (the field had not yet been set!) of Memphis over UCLA. That will still happen, just not in the Championship.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

 

100 Years

So much has happened in the past 100 years. World wars one and two. The birth and death of communism. (Outside of American universities.) The radio, television, telephone, and internet have change the way humans communicate. The nuclear age with its potential for energy and terror. American society was largely agrarian 100 years ago, today about 2% of the population is dedicate to producing food.

So much progress and so much misery all pushing forward the human experience. Yet there is one thing that hasn't happened in the past one hundred years. The Cubs haven't won a world series. Congratulations losers. Don't worry, your loser fans aren't going to give up on you. Some things don't change.

Diego: And here is to 100 more!

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