Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Obama's huge package"

Chris Matthews:  "Pat, what does Obama have to do right away when he takes office?"

Pat Buchanan: "Well, the first thing he has to do is try to get his huge package through."

Chris Matthews:  "You mean his economic package..."

Pat Buchanan: "Umm, yes."

Can't make it up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sleepy Fred sounds bitter...


What's with the whining, Fred?  Did you lose your retirement savings in the financial meltdown?

His whining would carry more weight if he had not been a paid lawyer-lobbyist for 20 years and had not called for reduced regulation lo these many years, that is when he wasn't play acting at being a crime fighter.

Also, if Fred is so fucking smart, then where is his recommeded solution?  He has none.  A lot of castigation of the Washington elite by one of their own... Methinks he doth protest too much.

File this under: Annoying ravings from an old man. 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Justice delayed...

Authorities say the case against [Bristol Palin's future mother-in-law] Sherry Johnston began in the second week of September, when drug investigators intercepted a package containing 179 OxyContin pills. That led to the arrest of the suspects, who agreed to be informants.

The trooper's affidavit indicates that Sarah Palin's candidacy factored into the investigation, with state officials delaying execution of a search warrant until this month, when Johnston was "no longer under the protection or surveillance of the Secret Service."

Why the delay?  Imagine if the election outcome had been different.

Military-Indutrial Complex going strong

NPR's On the Media about the conflicts of interests among paid advisers to the Pentagon:

My letter to Fox-17 Sports

To Whom It may Concern:

Enough is enough. Why are the 0-15 Lions pre-empting the Bears who are in contention for a play-off spot??!!!!  

I have lived in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids for 20 years and have had to endure watching the Lions week after week despite the fact that Chicago is geographically no farther than Detroit from Kalamazoo and the Bears have had much more success than the Lions during this time period. So today I have to watch (yet again) the struggling Lions, this time as they try to avoid the ignominious distinction of being the only team in NFL history to go 0-16.  

At some point this stops being entertainment, stops being a game... and that point was reached at least 15 years ago Great programming choice. Thanks.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Human fat can power cars!!!

Finally, a solution to two of our problems: obesity can be solved with liposuction and the fat can power our SUV's.  Who said Americans don't innovate anymore?

Alan Bittner, pictured at right, [a plastic surgeon] who founded a high-profile clinic on Rodeo Drive...claims to be able to power both his Ford Explorer and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator on biofuel converted from excess flesh from human tums, bums and thighs. "The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel – and I have more fat than I can use," he says. "Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly, but they get to take part in saving the Earth."

A gallon of "lipodiesel" will give motorists roughly the same mileage as they would get from regular diesel, the magazine added. At present, most biofuel is made from a mixture of specially grown corn, and left-over beef or pork products.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Obama's approval at record high for President-elect

An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent — that’s the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster.

- Bill Schneider, CNN’s senior political analyst, on a poll indicating overwhelming approval for Barack Obama.

(h/t Barry)

My only caveat is the word "was."  Bush has 4 weeks remaining and a lot can still happen.

Stocks: Long Silicon Labs (SLAB)

1. Trading above the 50-day
2. Small caps good bet for "textbook january effect"
3. Break-out and pull back, ready for "go"

1. Market risk is still high
2. Cap ex spending may be a couple quarters away
3. Trades at high PE

Buy at your own risk, I'm just a knucklehead on the internet.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Obama builds team to solve health care

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD PhD, has been appointed adviser for health care to the new president.  He is the author of a comprehensive plan to cover all US citizens with high quality health care which seems like exactly what we need.  Unfortunately, he is more well known for his brother and incoming White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, with cries of nepotism surfacing.

Zeke Emauel's plan, outlined in his book Healthcare, Guaranteed, calls for a value-added tax (VAT) on consumption that would pay for universal health insurance.  The plan issuccinctly outlined in two posts on Maggie Mahar's blog: Part 1 is here and Part 2, here.

The advantages:

1. Everyone is covered and everyone pays in.

2. Health insurance is decoupled from employers.

3. Eliminates the differences that exist in reimbursement.

Potential disadvantages include the possibility that a 10% VAT would be insufficient thus leading to another government entitlement burdened with cost overruns.  This seems like a smalll risk to take given that the current health care "system" is increasingly unworkable and bankrupting our nation.  In addition, cost overruns and revenue shortfalls would be extremely easy to remedy under Emanuel's plan.

While I had favored Hillary Clinton's mandate for health insurance over Obama's less comprehensive plan during the Democratic primary, this development is very heartening and signals that the new president is astutely assembling the team with the right ideas.  Obama gets it. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama plays it cool

Stocks: Short General Mills (GIS)

Just thinking out loud.. do not follow this advice!!  Here's the case to sell it short:

1. Market bias is down
2. Staples have outperformed and due to correct
3. Ag products at recent lows already, so costs may rise from here.
4. More competition for breakfast products
5. Cramer likes GIS
6. Teresa Lo has cautioned on GIS
7. Price is at 50-200 MA downward cross

Conclusion:  look for entry point for short near 50-day MA or downsloping resistance, approx $59.

UPDATE at 11:16am

GIS has hit a short-term overbought condition at 59.17, which was a great entry point for a short position.  Anything over 59 looks okay.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Trouble on Caribou Loop Road

The mother of Sarah Palin's future son-in-law is arrested for trafficking controlled substances.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Sherry Johnston, the mother of Levi Johnston and future mother-in-law of Bristol Palin, is currently out on $5,000 bond.

Senator Al Franken...?

I've always thought he was funny and I was very surprised at his critical thought processes with his books and Air America radio program.

And now it looks like he's going to Washington.  Good job.

He's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people (of Minnesota) like him!

As long as ex-SNL cast members are going to D.C., who's next, Eddie Murphy as Surgeon General?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama chooses bigot to preside over inauguration

... and so what?  Rick Warren, creator of the Purpose Driven Life franchise, has been chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to give the invocation at the upcoming inauguration event.

I appreciate Obama's principle of inclusivity but disagree with the act.  The inauguration is a national event and to bring such an agent of intolerance onto the foremost stage to the world is a clear mistake.  Talk to Rick Warren, pray for Rick Warren, reason with Rick Warren, praise Rick Warren for his positive acts in the fight againse AIDS in Africa, but please do not put him on the Inaugural podium.

I've read Warren's keystone book about Christianity's place in a person life and while I found it fatuous and pointless, I understand the positive impact this work has had on many peoples' lives, but that does not change the social stances that Mr. Warren has taken.  It's Warren's parochial social views with which I take issue.  He has compared homosexuality to pedophilia and incest; he has taken a stand against stem cell research and a woman's reproductive rights; he has been an apologist for Bush's torture policies and has called for the assassination of a democratically elected world leader; and these should not be condoned by President Obama who has been supported by people whose lives are deeply and directly affected by these issues.

Marc Ambinder makes the point that Obama is acting from a different paradigm whereby we listen to all points of view and do not punish those who differ by excluding them from the process.

In his short political career, Obama has deftly manipulated political symbols to his advantage, but he's never been one to pay homage to one of the most sacred regulations of identity politics, which is that one must take care of one's own kind before turning outward.  His mind operates differently. Obama does believe, as many of his supporters do, that there are uncrossable demarcation lines between the reasonable and the profane. But he doesn't believe that Warren, someone he admires for reaching outside his (Warren's) comfort zone on AIDS, is all that different from himself.  Obama is simultaneously capable of admiring Warren while disdaining Warren's oogedy boogedy appraoch to gay relationships and his uninformed response to torture. Warren's views might be hurtful to gays; Obama does not think they are harmful. 

Couldn't disagree more.  Perhaps Mr. Obama can invite him to his home or his church, but please leave such small-minded bigots out of my nation's inauguration celebration.


Welcome to 1974!!!

Sure there were no CSI shows on TV, but we had Mannix!  Who could forget Joe Mannix, before the faky self-depricating Rockford Files or the more homo-erotic Magnum, chasing the bad guys with the help of his trusty Girl Friday, Gale.  That's when men were men: they smoked and drank and wore ties.  I'll take Mannix.

We also had President Gerry Ford (above) as the place-keeper chief executive who was chosen more for his willingness to pardon Nixon and his lying cronies than for anything else, such as the ignoble Whip Inflation Now buttons he and his cabinet wore.  But his wife Betty created a world famous drug rehab institute to cure herself of her various addictions, so his presidency was not for naught.  She also gave the clarion call for the new technology of mammogram screening in the 70's when she developed breast cancer.

Well, the stock market looks a lot like 1974 with crashes and terrorism and oil fluctuations.  Sure, the details are always a bit different, but the great economist Kondratieff would agree that the market rhymes from generation to generation.  Thirty-four years ago we had a presidential crisis and the dollar was devalued to almost nothing... sound familiar?

We hit bottom on the SPX and DJIA in October before making a run up to the 50-day moving average (red line) that failed a couple times (ala Eric) before breaking through.  Eventually the first rally above the 50-day failed and lower lows were reached, but the bottoming process was established.  Is this more like 1974 or will we see the more dolorous drop that we experienced from 1929 to 1933?  I vote 1974.

Happy Days was a brand new show and Archie Bunker was still going strong.  Nixon's drug-addled brain was back in San Clemente pondering his broken legacy of deciet and debacle, much like our current President will soon be doing.  The wonderful rhymes of history.

Today we see a similar stock market to 34 years ago, with a horrendous drop and now some decent base building as we crawl out of our hovels to realize that there are no muhroom clouds afterall-- we may actually survive!  In case you haven't noticed, the SPX is approaching it's 50-day moving average.  Sure, we are not out of the woods yet, but we ahve to accept the good news that people are buying stocks.

Yes, this may fail, and we may even see lower lows in the coming year, but the optimist says that we will again survive... just like we did in 1974.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where are the subpoenas?

Or, why not not just issue arrest warrants and get this thing going?

The Senate has issued a report that implicates Donald Rumsfeld as the author of interrogation techniques that can only be compared to war crimes, so the question remains as to why nothing is being done.

I can only scratch my head in wonder at the ineptitude of my Senator, Carl Levin, who is the author of the Senate report, for failing to bring these criminals to justice.

The report concluded that Rumsfeld's actions were "a direct cause of detainee abuse" at Guantanamo and "influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques ... in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own," the executive summary said.

"Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at (Guantanamo)."

Whether you are a fan of the Senate or not, their inaction is inexcusable given their official bipartisan stance and the gravity of the allegations.  If Clinton can be harangued and impeached over a blow job, surely Rummy and Cheney can be tried and convicted for violations of the Geneva Conventions.

Glenn Greenwald points out:

The policies which the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously [ie, composed of both Democrats and Republicans] concludes were authorized by Bush, Rumsfeld and several other top Bush officials did not merely lead to "abuse" and humiliating treatment, but are directly -- and unquestionably -- responsible for numerous detainee murders.  Many of those deaths caused by abusive treatment have been formally characterized as "homicides" by autopsies performed in Iraq and Afghanistan (see these chilling compilations of autopsy findings on detainees in U.S. custody, obtained by the ACLU, which reads like a classic and compelling exhibit in a war crimes trial).


Just ponder the uproar if, in any other country, the political parties joined together and issued a report documenting that the country's President and highest aides were directly responsible for war crimes and widespread detainee abuse and death.  Compare the inevitable reaction to such an event if it happened in another country to what happens in the U.S. when such an event occurs -- a virtual media blackout, ongoing fixations by political journalists with petty scandals, and an undisturbed consensus that, no matter what else is true, high-level American political figures (as opposed to powerless low-level functionaries) must never be held accountable for their crimes.

Jail these bastards.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why save the banks but not GM?

The Skeptical Optimist answers a great question:

We bailed out financial firms; why not car makers? 

Reason: the government has ultimate responsibility for the soundness of our economy's money system; it is NOT responsible for the soundness of the economy's passenger-car manufacturing systems. Money flows in one direction, real goods and services flow in the opposite direction, as explained here. The government must (reluctantly) step in as necessary to prevent the collapse of the nation's money system; private sector nonfinancial firms succeed or fail within that system. 

How to get out of debt:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators"

... or maybe as clowns at a carnival dunking booth.   Can anything be more emblematic of a failed policy, failed war, failed occupation and failed rebuilding of Iraq?

And I think it's safe to say that this will be Mr. Bush's last visit to Baghdad where, by the way, there is yet to be a boulevard named in his honor.

Video shows that bastard intended to really hurt our prez.

Friday, December 12, 2008

TK and his TA

I listen to TK pretty much daily to get his "view of the market."  His technical analysis (TA) is simple and straightforward, if not always correct.  Lately he is espousing a reverse head and shoulders pattern and calling for a "move to the upside."  Don't get me wrong, I have made some money using TK's TA, but I'm somewhat more skeptical of his latest interpretation.

Another bounce off support could fail and we may be looking at 7800 DJIA again.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Santa Claus rally after a little more pain?

Despite really crappy nonfarm payroll numbers today, the market managed a 250 point rally.  Notwithstanding Bill Miller's constant bottom-calling, this still does not look like it.  Bottoms are processes, yada, yada, yada...

We will likely test out lows one more time for the big Dubya pattern-- how fitting-- as a tribute to our fearful leader who actually uttered the "R" word today.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mr. Market Cliche: bottoms, whistles and fighting the fed...

Teresa Lo has linked to the this video.  I would challenge anyone to find one phrase uttered by Jordan Kimmel that is not a market cliche.

Whether a  student of the financial media, or just a casual observer, I think you would agree that Mr. Kimmel deserves kudos for such an impressive display of verbal diarrhea. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bush: "I woulda kicked Saddam's ass no matter what."

Charlie Gibson's recent interview with George and Laura Bush will be used by historians to argue the case for President Bush being the most clueless and damaging national leader ever-- narrowly besting Caligula.

GIBSON: If the intelligence had been right, would there have been an Iraq war?

BUSH: Yes, because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to let the inspectors go in to determine whether or not the U.N. resolutions were being upheld. In other words, if he had had weapons of mass destruction, would there have been a war? Absolutely.

GIBSON: No, if you had known he didn't.

BUSH: Oh, I see what you're saying. You know, that's an interesting question. That is a do-over that I can't do. It's hard for me to speculate.

Alright, the first question may have been simply misunderstood, although I cannot fathom how, I'll give Bush the benefit of the doubt that he didn't get Gibson meaning about he correctness of "the intelligence." But the answer to the second question is crystal clear: Even if he had known for a fact that Saddam was no threat to the US,  Bush may still have waged war on him.  Is that what the Iraq Force Resolution* passed by Congress in 2002 authorized?

Impeach him.  Now.

*The resolution authorized President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate" in order to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq."


Monday, December 01, 2008

Bush ignored warnings about mortgage meltdown

C'mon, you all knew this... we just didn't have any concrete evidence until now.

Bush is the same imbecile who had ignored warnings about 9-11, the absence of WMD's in Iraq, the ensuing chaos in occupied Iraq, Katrina, etc, etc... so why not the economic explosion, too?

According to an Associated Press item reported in CNN/Money:

The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown...

Bowing to aggressive lobbying -- along with assurances from banks that the troubled mortgages were OK -- regulators delayed action for nearly one year. By the time new rules were released late in 2006, the toughest of the proposed provisions were gone and the meltdown was under way.

The administration's blind eye to the impending crisis is emblematic of its governing philosophy, which trusted market forces and discounted the value of government intervention in the economy. Its belief ironically has ushered in the most massive government intervention since the 1930s.  [emphasis Kalamazoo Post's]

Truthfully, who did not know this in their heart of hearts?  And, sure, apologists will whine on that nothing can be proved about Bush's neglect, and so be it.

And we continue with bank regulators' warnings being ignored:

In 2005, faced with ominous signs the housing market was in jeopardy, bank regulators proposed new guidelines for banks writing risky loans. Today, in the midst of the worst housing recession in a generation, the proposal reads like a list of what-ifs:

--Regulators told bankers exotic mortgages were often inappropriate for buyers with bad credit.

--Banks would have been required to increase efforts to verify that buyers actually had jobs and could afford houses.

--Regulators proposed a cap on risky mortgages so a string of defaults wouldn't be crippling.

--Banks that bundled and sold mortgages were told to be sure investors knew exactly what they were buying.

--Regulators urged banks to help buyers make responsible decisions and clearly advise them that interest rates might skyrocket and huge payments might be due sooner than expected.

Those proposals all were stripped from the final rules. None required congressional approval or the president's signature.

Barry Ritholtz has noted, "The banks that lobbied most aggressively against the rules reads like a who’s who of bankruptcy and FDIC conservatorship: IndyMac, Countrywide Financial, Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, and Downey Savings."  Your tax dollars hard at work bailing out their bad decisions.

So, as we all work that extra decade to make up for our lost retirement funds, we can all rest assured that President Dumbshit and his family are living off a federal pension with full-time secret service and lifetime health insurance-- all at our expense.

And don't worry about Hop-a-Long Cheney: he's been in foreign bonds for quite some time. (Patriot.)

"White House says unaware of any Citigroup rescue talks"

You cannot make this stuff up.  

Just 12 hours before a $300 billion capital infusion of Citigroup is announced, the White House has no idea talks are taking place.

(White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, at right.)

"Impeachment Bush" Advertisement

This has been running in California; time to take it nationwide.

Contact your Representative:

Fred Upton (Republican, MI-6)

Kalamazoo District Office
157 South Kalamazoo Mall
Suite 180
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: (269) 385-0039
Fax: (269) 385-2888

Contact your Senators:

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4822
TTY: (202) 224-2066

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)

269 Russell Office Building
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2202
Phone (202) 224-6221
Fax (202) 224-1388
TTY (202) 224-2816

Military-industrial complex controls the media

Nobody has written more eloquently and substantively than Glenn Greeenwald on the issue of retired generals and their conflicts of interest.  I have referenced a silimilar story last April and now we again have information, this time of General Barry McCaffrey's (shown at right) undisclosed interests while he touts Pentagon programs on network news shows.

If you read one thing today, read this article and the associated links, especially the NY Times article.

Brian Williams, NBC and the parent company General Electric-- one of the elite members of the military-industrial complex-- need to disclose the various business interests of their "advisers."