Thursday, November 27, 2008
The credit crunch is over
But interest rates like LIBOR, an interbank offer rate, have come down to a level in which business can be done and the world's gov't. have seen fit to backstop the bigger banks. Confidence that these banks will not go under has risen and so the credit crunch is not as crunchy.
Now we have to deal with a fairly severe recession. More later.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Want to know what makes Bill O drool?
It is as though you are following a real world event happening right in front of your face with your own eyes. Any and all flickering in the movement of the vehicle, in the smoke from the tires, etc. are completely gone, and you are almost tricked into believing you are watching something in real life. The guests at the event were baffled by the quality of the image, and stared in amazement at the screen.Of course you are going to have to wait a couple of years for a display that can handle this.
Labels: Flat panel screen
Friday, November 21, 2008
It has also been 25 years since I first became aware of the broadcast below which first ran 45 years ago this Sunday, delayed by the BBC reporting of the sad news of Kennedy's assassination.
I love the harmonies.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
When to buy
First let's define fully invested. Everyone should alter their balance between stocks, bonds, and cash based on their age and on whether the stock market is over, under, or fairly valued. Diversification should be considered and your overall wealth- people who are wealthy enough to not need a certain portion of their assets in their lifetimes can hold more risky assets. Every year or six months you can go through your portfolio and decide what to buy or sell. Otherwise, ignore the market, ignorance is bliss as long as you know that you are not over invested.
I do not think that anyone should be shocked if the Dow went down to 4K or even lower. Markets tend to overshoot value in great extremes. Just as long as you do not lose your nerve or your job then you will be fine even in a depression. I am sure that the U.S. will survive and that the stock market will recover in time. Just don't be shocked by how low we can go when the general public panics. So far, I haven't seen that panic. We must have panic selling before the bear is over and that will be fairly soon if I am reading things correctly.
One more thing, I am always early. :-)
"The companies themselves, meanwhile, are showing little interest in the aggressive changes critics insist are needed to reverse the industry's long-term decline."
I understand GM's argument against bankruptcy, it would cast doubt on their warranties offered and limit their ability to sell cars. But it appears that they are going for all or nothing and maybe the CEOs know already that things are not salvageable.
Someone is Going to Pay in Chicago
Someone from my condo association informed me that the city council passed a $300 a year tax on garbage dumpsters for occupying space in the alley. I've not looked into the details on this and the email I received said that although it passed it is still subject to committee review. I'm not sure where that all stands.
Here are a few items from CBS' report last week on the budget that passed:
"The budget includes an array of tax hikes. It will raise property taxes by $86 million – a smaller amount than the mayor originally proposed, but still the largest of his 18-year administration.
Parking tickets will also go way up. Current tickets range from $25 to $75, depending on the violation. The new fines will range from $50 to $150.
It also raises fines for drivers to run red lights from $90 to $100, at the same time the city plans to install red-light cameras in 20 more intersections across the city."
At least I have some control over parking tickets and red light tickets can be avoided. But for property taxes I'm just screwed. At some point I'd like to believe that the mayor and aldermen will pay for all this in votes and or time served (courtesy of Patrick Fitzgerald) but for now citizens will pay in cash.
Bill C adds: I don't have many regrets about moving out of the city. One thing I have discovered is that exurbs with no businesses have exorbitant property taxes. A $250k home will pay about $600 a month in property taxes up here. Diego, does that beat you?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Auto Industry Advice - Updated
Read the whole thing. He is not alone in his assessment and I suspect it would be the popular opinion if debated.
Via Red State: Barney Frank said in an NPR interview: "I don't want to set a precedent that bankruptcy now is a way in which you undo what gains unions have been able to hold on to."
Meanwhile Ford and GM CEOs flew private jets to Washington to make their plea for a bailout.
Neither labor nor management seems interested in fixing any problems with the auto industry. It appears they simply want to maintain the current system at any expense.
John O adds: They want to maintain the status quo at any expense except their own. I haven't the time to follow the news right now but I wonder if anyone has asked why Toyota, Honda and other foreign manufacturers who produce cars here aren't facing such dire straights. Did anyone raise the issue in the recent Congressional hearings?
I'm not sure how the man calling the shots can be referred to as a House Negro:
Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house negroes."
This certainly wont work to divide and conquer and it wont do any psychological good either. It will probably make more people enjoy the headline: Al-Qaida leader submits to racial sensitivity training and U.S. predator drone bombing, but mostly U.S. predator drone bombing.
New Obama bumper sticker
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama
Monday, November 17, 2008
Victory in Iraq Day
I understand the reasoning behind declaring victory but I'm not sure if there is a significance behind the date that relates to Iraq. November 22nd will be the 45th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. I don't know if that matters in trying to get the attention that success in Iraq deserves.
The Steelers won 11-10 but only after a touchdown on the last play of the game was reversed following a replay review. As it turns out the reversal was the wrong call but the 11-10 score held up. At least the 11 was obtained by an old fashioned 2 point play - the safety. You can't score 2, 4, 8, or 11 points in the NFL without scoring 2 on one play. A recent addition of the 2 point conversion after touchdowns increased the chance for a score of 8 or 11 but for many years you needed a safety to score 2 points.
I'd like to see a list of all the NFL games ever played sorted by score to see what other final scores have not yet been tallied. Some favorites I would like to see: 2-0, 4-2, 5-4, and 6-4 OT.
John O adds: In 1970, Dallas beat Detroit 5-0 in a playoff game.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
New Star Trek Trailer
It looks good. But what do I know.
This year has turned into the year without football because of our hectic schedules. I haven't even seen the Dark Knight, the new Hulk movie, or American Carol. Well I am certainly not missing Star Trek.
Diego adds: I've never been drawn in to Star Trek but I've watched parts of episodes from a few (all?) of it's generations and liked one of the early movies. I don't agree with the review linked above that suggests that the original characters cannot be successful with different actors portraying them. The reason cited is personal chemistry among the original actors. My guess is that the show will never be the same as the original but the right cast and writers can create something special and worthwhile for both long time fans and newcomers.
There will only be one Kirk but there can be more than just Shatner. There is only one Doctor but there was a Hartnel and after a couple of others there was a Baker.
Special effects don't have to be a sign of a bad production but it does seem to be the norm for situations like this that if you have good effects, not much else is good.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
What is Bush going to do when he leaves office?
Friday, November 14, 2008
More on the Middle
Republicans need to fight the narrative, not try and fit into it like they did this election right from the start with their own primaries.
Update: Hugh Hewitt has some questions for anyone seeking the job as new RNC Chair. Some important ones:
What did you make of the presidential nominating process? Should it be changed? If so, how?
What is the key to a successful appearance on television? On radio?
Bill C Adds: The primaries need to be closed; only registered Republicans allowed. Also, we need to select delegates based on the proportion of the vote that they win, not winner take all. Winner take all means that conservatives divide up their votes and the lone moderate wins. Either of these changes would have greatly increased the chance that a Romney or Thompson would have gone much farther.
Look Out Belew!
I saw King Crimson at the Park West on their 2000 tour and thought one of the highlights was this performance by Adrian Belew. Here is a video from the same tour:
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The moronic middle
This is a great article and it neatly explains why a country can elect a Reagan and a Obama and why partisans of both parties hate Clinton and Bush, respectively for their squishiness.
Moving centrists toward one’s candidacy is not a process that hinges on taking the right policy stands, either. Instead, it involves the enthusiasm and social contagion that builds around exciting candidates. We know from several volumes of political-science research that less-informed voters commonly substitute someone else’s judgment for their own. That someone else is often a spouse, workmate, or neighbor knowledgeable and enthusiastic about one of the candidates. Support for a candidate spreads through social influence processes.
It is therefore no accident that Sarah Palin’s nomination gave John McCain the only lead that he had during the fall campaign. She was Senator McCain's only hope for closing the enthusiasm gap, but then economic crisis stalled the gains. Polls will show that Barack Obama had social contagion working in his favor to pull the incoherent center in a leftward direction.
The key to electoral victory is holding your base with policy and exciting the moronic middle with charisma. McCain never got that. He thought he could win over those who were in the middle of the road with his maverickiness but he ended up losing far more in his base. Obama did accomplish something remarkable, he got a higher percentage of votes than any Democrat in a generation. Still, that was not many more votes than Bush got in 2004. The big story was how many fewer votes that McVain got.
In 2004, turnout was 6 percentage points higher than in 2000. But Gans said he believed it did not spike more this year because fewer Republicans went to the polls. While it may be premature to draw conclusions, Gans said, it appeared that Republican voting declined 1.3 points, to 28.7 percent of the electorate, while Democratic turnout rose from 28.7 percent to 31.3 percent of the electorate.
The Democratic increase struck some analysts as modest, considering the party’s immense get-out-the-vote operation, strong anti-Bush sentiment and Obama's popularity.
“It sort of calls into question some of the vaunted ground game discussion, the whole turnout machine,” said a Democratic strategist who did not want to be quoted by name criticizing Obama’s campaign. “The GOTV effort was redoubled in 2008 compared to 2004, but it did not seem to make that big of a difference.”
Despite all the advantage that Obama had going into the election it was really the economic crisis that pushed him over the top. We are still a right-leaning country and if the Republicans had a candidate that could articulately express conservative positions then they will win.
Diego: Some follow politics more than others and it is hard to blame those who are limited to what they learn from TV due to time and other constraints. I'm not sure how much the elections turn out to be a high school popularity contest but that factors in to some extent and I don't like it. Moronic is a harsh word though!
I have seen this effect first hand this election as someone I know missed two months of work due to an injury. Once away from their politicialy toxic work environment their views began to slowly change. It was something to watch over time. When they returned to work, the politics returned. Moronic is still harsh though! But I understand.
Mass Payoffs In Chicago?
Last July: Chicago's sales tax jumps Tuesday to 10.25 percent, due in large part to Cook County's 1 percent tax increase. It's one of the highest tax rates in the country, even higher than New York and Los Angeles
Next July?: Stroger proposes to more than triple the county's share of the sales tax. It would make the combined local sales tax a whopping 11 percent – more than any other major U.S. city.
Stroger says: "Let me tell you this," he said. "We'll be passing something or there'll be severe problems."
There are going to severe problems for someone in Chicago but I don't think it will be the ones in office. It will be the tax/license/registration/fine/citation payers.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Taxation and Representation
Interesting questions and an interesting idea in the comment section. Should we have Representation without Taxation?
Grace, Why Would You Expect Anything Less?
I have read a few comments now regarding how Bush has handled the beginning of the transition of power since last week's election. Grace is the term often used. I don't see why anyone would expect anything less from Bush seeing as he passed on criticizing (or prosecuting) the Clinton administration upon their exit. Remember the stories of damaged equipment from the White House offices and looted items from Air Force One?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
One Of The Others
A University of Chicago professor, who had a background in the labor movement, told me this: When an auto worker ordered a car, that car was tagged, at the start of the production line, "For one of the boys." The workers made sure the car was made right. Wonderful story. But it makes you think about the thousands of other cars that were coming off that same line. You might have owned a few.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The end of the Joe Crede era?
Seriously, though, the White Sox should make this kid a priority. JOE COWLEY of the Chicago Sun-Times writes:
The Sox may have the inside track if they're close on the money. (Alexei) Ramirez and (Jose) Contreras are proving to be very good recruiters, especially Ramirez, who knew Viciedo since he made the Cuban national team at age 15. By 16, Viciedo hit .337 with 14 home runs.
Diego: Welcome, newest contributor. More an era than an aura but Joe's injuries will make his exit easier to deal with if he is finished with the White Sox. I'd like to see him back and I think that is possible, only to the extent his marketability has been diminished by his injury history. I'm not sure Josh Fields is the answer at third but he could do the job while we wait for the next Alexi Ramiriez to arrive. I wont be surprised if it is Crede at third next year though.
Labels: White Sox
Friday, November 07, 2008
Kings of Leon
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Salary per game (131): $209,923.66. Split between offense and defense, Rodriguez made $26,960.78 per at bat (510) and $12,211.36 per inning (1,126) in the field or $41,167.66 per chance (334) in the field.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Question number seven from PJM: What to do about the MSM?
"conservatives will need to strategize on how to minimize and work around the MSM in future campaigns. It may be that you can’t run a presidential campaign without the MSM, but that you can make them far less important. If the candidates cooperate more with new media and less with old media, that’s where the viewers and readers will go. If Palin’s first interviews were with Chris Wallace, Hugh Hewitt, Powerline, and Politico, that’s where the public would have gone to learn about Palin. And a far different first impression would have been formed."
The MSM is a big factor that the GOP must address. If they let the MSM dictate things the way they did the primary (especially) and the general election(s) then they have little chance of changing anything. They will lose, as Ed Morrissey notes:
"If the GOP wants to win 60 million votes in future national elections, it has to stand for something other than being Democrat Lite... When given only a choice between real Democrats and fake Democrats, Americans will choose the former, which we found out in 2006."I don't know all the players in the Republican ranks in Congress but I'm glad to see some of the old guard lose elections. I'd rather it be in the primary but if they are ousted in the general then the lesson is just more painfully learned. Paul Ryan (Rep WI) was interviewed on Fox last night and made the point that Republicans seem to be afraid to stand up for what they believe in and that this, along with any corruption (earmarks, etc.) must stop. I agree with that.
Reasons to Like Obama
Obama's allegiance to the Sox (he does not hesitate to express his scorn for fans of the Chicago Cubs) and his support for an Olympics in Chicago are absolute. In an interview with ESPN's Stuart Scott that aired on "SportsCenter" in August, Obama was asked who he would root for in a Cubs-White Sox World Series. This was his answer: "Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair-weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer; beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. South Side."
And With the Next Pick....Washington Selects....
An update to what I have pointed out before: Bush is OUR President and Obama will be OUR President. Like it, or not.