Saturday, February 27, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wourdes – Pilgrims with diseased portfolios are wheeled into the The Marketslayer’s home to drink from the holy tap. The fount from which all investment returns flow.
The Great Mosque of Munger – The faithful enter the mosque dressed only in a plain white cloth. They circle the Chabaa seven times to signify the seven levels of fundamental risk. Then they ritually stone the Devil of Technical Analysis with small denomination debentures.
The Shroud of Warrin – When El Buffo was a young portfolio manager he used to wrap his fundamental analysis in a plain white cloth woven by his Mom. The investment insights held therein were so powerful that they literally burned an image into the cloth. That image? The profile of a young Warren Buffet in the throes of his investment Passion. The faithful fall to their knees and seek absolution for their investing failures – churning, lack of diversification, sitting on too much cash, momentum investing.
I mention those elements because I think they describe something essential about the highest elements of manhood — the combination of the aggression with courage with duty with honor with brotherhood. You see shadows of these things in good sports teams, in some fraternities, and even (but rarely) in some men’s groups. But you often see perversions of them as men — without an object upon which to focus their aggression, without real brothers to stand beside, and without a higher purpose to motivate them — flail around aimlessly, often violently or petulantly. Unable to express their natures, culturally condemned as those natures are misunderstood by a feminized church and education system, and without a higher call, there is nothing there but pursuit of the hookup, aimless adventures, and effortless access to porn.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
# No mention by the Washington Post
# No mention by USA Today
# No mention by ANY major U.S. newspaper EXCEPT the Washington Times
# No mention by the Associated Press
# No mention by Reuters
# No mention by UPI
# No mention by ABC News
# No mention by CBS News
# No mention by NBC News
# No mention by MSNBC
- What the Israeli's do.
- Whether we try to stop them.
- And if they don't try or we stop them, then whether or not a nuclear device goes off in a city somewhere in the world.
Friday, February 19, 2010
I have, alas, studied philosophy
Jurisprudence and medicine too
And worst of all theology
With keen endeavor, through and through ----
And here I am, for all my lore,
The wretched fool I was before.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It has become a cliché to say that the U.S. is in decline. It is certainly true, but need not be irreversible, and the country has been there before. It was in decline when the Watergate debacle destroyed a successful presidency and the long and costly enterprise in Vietnam ended terribly on the helipad on the roof of theU.S. embassy in Saigon. But 15 years later, the country was at a unique pinnacle as the world’s only superpower. Not even the Roman Empire enjoyed such eminence, though its rivals, Persia and China, were (unlike their current status) too distant to be seriously bothersome. What is unusual now is that all the Great Powers are in decline, except China — and that country’s rise is at least a third composed of a public-relations flim-flam job.
During the Q&A session, I felt compelled to ask the obvious question: Did he believe that the healthcare reform and related tax proposals, the proposed cap and trade legislation and the consequent increase in energy costs, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the agitation for higher taxes on the wealthy, the proposal to increase corporate tax rates, the proposal to increase capital gains taxes, the trial floating of ideas such as a national VAT and removal of the earnings cap on FICA, the more robust regulatory bureaucracy . . . did he believe any of these uncertainties were depressing hiring?
He stated yes, without a doubt and proceeded to relay a conversation he had with a local chemical company regarding their 2010 capital expenditure budget. When asked what the company intended to invest in 2010, the response was ‘nothing,’ not due to a paucity of good opportunities, but because it was impossible for the company to calculate a rate of return given all the uncertainty over cost of labor, energy prices, regulatory mandates and the like.
Of course Uncertainty Kills is just a derivative of the more central meme: Stupidity Kills.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct.
What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.
"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."
"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."
According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of it—the money, our whole economy—it's all a lie!"
OIL: “Exxon Mobil (XOM) announced today that in 2009 the company’s proven reserves increased by 133% of the amount of oil produced. . . . Amazingly, Exxon, who has been accused in the past of being too conservative in terms of exploration and development, has been finding more oil than it produces for each of the last 16 years, to the dismay of peak oil proponents.”
And this is despite the fact that US companies can't explore in the richest unexplored places in the world, like Iran, Saudi, Venezuela, Most of Russia. They're working in the 'picked over', 'played out' regions of the world.
So how do YOU know what you know?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
My son is dealing with more sophisticated, intellectually challenging ideas in his Christian High School that I saw in my entire formal education.
So who is it that is easily led? Easy to command? Not evangelical Christians.
Reality is sooo hard to deal with, innit?
Oh, I forgot to tell you about the time I met the Goracle in person: It was at an I banker's cocktail party in New Orleans prior to Katrina. He was standing around alone, looking lost. We walked up and schmoozed for a few minutes. He's a lot shorter than he looks.
And he had Dandruff.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Women are not, as the cliché goes, delicate flowers but dense rose bushes. Underneath those sweet-smelling, soft red flowers are thorns. If you just grab for a rose, even if it looks like it wants to be picked, you’ll walk away with a bleeding hand. Proceed with caution. Find a spot where the thorns are thinner. Be gentle, speak softly. After a few tries, maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to get that dangerously beautiful flower to budge a tiny bit. You can’t take it home just yet, but maybe you can get close enough to try.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
He's right. I've been saying for months that the difference between America and Europe is that, when the global economy nosedived, everywhere from Iceland to Bulgaria mobs took to the streets and besieged Parliament, demanding to know why government didn't do more for them. This is the only country in the developed world where a mass movement took to the streets to say we can do just fine if you control-freak statists would just stay the hell out of our lives, and our pockets. You can shove your non-stimulating stimulus, your jobless jobs bill, and your multitrillion-dollar porkathons. This isn't karaoke. These guys are singing "I'll do it my way" for real.
This bizarre combination of claims is revelatory of the president’s outlook on politics. “Incremental gains” is a phrase foreign to his vocabulary, as is the notion of having Washington solve problems by getting out of the way and unleashing the initiative of individuals or communities. Rather, problems must be solved all at once, comprehensively, nationwide, from the top, by the federal government. This approach is largely divorced from practical considerations or, as Sebelius notes, from compromise. It is the approach of the theoretician, not the practitioner; of the academic, not the statesman; of one who prefers to decree or to gain acquiescence, rather than to negotiate or to persuade.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Listening to his defenders reminds me of those people who sit around whining about how their Dad was really distant and critical. … I mean, fine, you apparently had a rotten childhood, but Dad can’t get come and get you off the couch and find you a girlfriend and a better job. Girls and employers get really creeped out if they try.
Whatever George W. Bush did or did not do, he’s no longer in office, and doesn’t have the power to do a damn thing about the budget. Obama is the one who is president with the really humongous deficits. Deficits of the size Bush ran are basically sustainable indefinitely; deficits of the size that Obama is apparently planning to run, aren’t. If he doesn’t change those plans, he will be the one who led the government into fiscal crisis, even if changing them would be [sob!] politically difficult.
I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul. But then, and always throughout that campaign, she was laboring to do more than establish her own place. She was selling a ticket headed by John McCain against formidable Democratic opposition and burdened by the legacy of the Bush administration.
Blessed with an enthusiastic audience of conservative activists, Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The Hollywood touch
Political scientists credit Ronald Reagan with having managed the best transition from campaigning to governing when he moved to the White House in 1981. While lacking in intellectual skills, Reagan was often a shrewd judge of character. Following his victory in a bitter primary campaign with George H.W. Bush in 1980, Reagan promptly hired his defeated opponent’s campaign manager, James Baker, to be his first chief of staff. Understated but authoritative, Mr Baker is considered one of the most effective performers in that role, to which he brought a good managerial background and an ability to play honest broker.
IF YOU GET STRANDED IN YOUR VEHICLE...DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAR TO TRY TO WALK FOR ASSISTANCE...YOU CAN QUICKLY BECOME DISORIENTED IN WIND DRIVEN SNOW AND COLD. THIS STORM WILL SUBSIDE EARLY THIS EVENING...SO WAIT IN YOUR CAR FOR EMERGENCY HELP TO ARRIVE. PERIODICALLY RUN YOUR ENGINE FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES EACH HOUR FOR HEAT. ENSURE YOUR EXHAUST PIPE IS CLEARED OF SNOW AND ICE. CRACK YOUR WINDOWS TO AVOID CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING. TIE A COLORED CLOTH TO YOUR CARS ANTENNA TO BE VISIBLE TO RESCUERS. FROM TIME-TO-TIME...MOVE YOUR ARMS...LEGS...FINGERS...AND TOES TO KEEP BLOOD CIRCULATING.
Mr. Obama said he “won’t hesitate to embrace a good idea from my friends in the minority party.” But he wants his way. He wants his energy policy enacted along with his jobs bill, his financial regulatory reform and his health care plan.And if the opposition continues to block his objectives, he said he “won’t hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy that’s rooted not in substantive disagreement but in political expedience.”
When a sitting president calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender. And if they block his proposals, its “obstinacy” and not political views they hold as strongly as he holds his.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
The Obama administration said it was going to respect science and respond to evidence -- a contrast, many Democrats said, to the previous regime. So why is President Obama killing off the program that offers the best chance to find out if school vouchers work?
Congress has been paying for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which helps more than a thousand District children attend private schools. It gives a chance of a future to children who otherwise would be condemned to attend failing schools. How can that be bad?
Nope, not gonna happen - grannies are going to continue to give us hugs, cookies and bankruptcy. My goodness gracious! How DID you get that red ink all over you?
I've asked my pastor why this isn't a moral issue - after all one generation is stealing the sweat off the brow of another - involuntary servitude really. I don't get anything except tepid clichés and silence. But of course our Church was a slave church and never said boo about the slavers in their midst pre 1865. And they're thinking: "well we survived that, so we'll survive this". But they forget: there were no slave members in 1865. When this comes down half the church will be slaves to the other half. It will tear congregations to shreds.
And the Pastors who have stuck with the old looters because they had all the money and power will be crucified on their crosses of gold. Hey! I'm channeling William Jennings Bryan! Talk about an old looter!
Monday, February 08, 2010
You benefit from Wal-Mart whether you shop there or not.
In most goods and services there are very few active consumers. What happens is, everybody selling a good is affected by Wal-Mart. You benefit from that wherever you are. So many of those who oppose consumer-driven health care use the perfect as the enemy of the good. You’re not going to shop for health care if you’re hit by a bus. That’s not the point. The point is you’re served in a health-care system that’s been tightened up, both from a cost and quality point of view, by the fact that some consumers, for many procedures, are shopping around, and not just on price.
The reality is that if I’d known what I know about this hospital, it’s not where I would have put my father. It’s not that I would have been able to discover that when he got sick. It’s that in the same way that I can find out about almost any business that I choose, their quality record and their pricing, I want the same thing for health care. It doesn’t mean that if you’re hit by a bus you pick up the phone and call ten hospitals.
And I think this misunderstanding of how consumer economies actually work is crucial to a mistake that’s made a lot, which is that it’s much better to have some big, financially interested institution make a decision on your behalf because you’re not smart enough. You don’t have to be smart enough to get the best deal on most things in our economy, because some people care enough to create the Wal-Marts of the world. And that’s all that happens, is that once there’s a Wal-Mart, you’d better be competitive with Wal-Mart, or you’re out of business.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
... Ms. Palin is quietly assembling the infrastructure of an expanding political operation....
Ms. Palin has also enlisted a small team of policy counselors to guide her through the substantive areas in which many deemed her to be lacking in 2008....
People with knowledge of the daily briefings say they are conducted by phone or e-mail. They typically include information on the day’s news, material that could be relevant to an upcoming speech, or guidance about a candidate Ms. Palin might endorse....
[T]he question of Ms. Palin’s ambitions and abilities remain as much a mystery now as when she first stormed the national consciousness 18 months ago. They warn against any notion that she has any grand plan beside keeping faith that God would help her recognize “the next open door” (a favorite Palin refrain)