My Emails

I really don't know what to advise some people to do with me. Really; I get carried away. Here's my latest example; an email out to the whole list in response to friends in our town home complex inviting everyone over for an elections-results party. We're warned that it's a democrat household, but everyone is welcome, which I know for sure is the truth. 'S' and 'J' are special people and I'm happy to count them as friends. On with it. Well, I've been letting 'FP' off the hook lately, and in any case, I don't get political unless in response to someone else (so 'fair game'). Don't know whether I can take all the "excitement," but you know I always enjoy the two of you, 'S' and 'J'. Ah, the bi-annual tribal ritual. Which tribe shall prevail? Me? I'll be rooting for the tribe that "wins" most elections: the 40-50% or so who don't vote, leaving the other tribes to divvy up the rest. But seriously, my life, property, and rights aren't up for a vote, and I don't believe any of yours are either. In short, I'd never consider doing that to you. But what choices, eh? I...


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Speechless

Utterly. Completely. Well, least there's an election comin' up next week. So's that, y'know, there's still hope 'n all.


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What I Love The Most

Well, John Sabotta likes to hammer away at me for my "hate," which is to some extent a valid criticism -- though I maintain that my hate is well placed, when properly understood. But it got me to wondering what I love the most in this here "democracy;" so here it is, by way of an experience last night that repeats itself in myriad ways, often. How many remember this little incident? I do, because the Wendy's in question, on the corner of Alma & Monterey Road, is a couple of miles from where I used to live in downtown San Jose, before I moved to the 'burbs' in '99. I like Wendy's, so I used to go there at least every couple of weeks, and now that I'm back in downtown, I go there again from time-to-time. Last night was interesting. Here in San Jose, it's not uncommon at all in a fast food joint for the entire crew to be Mexican immigrants and last night was no exception. I have my issues sometimes with what I see as poor professionalism and attention to detail, but not on this night. These kids were hoppin'. It was busy, but they...


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Who?

I just flipped on the TV to check out what goodies the DVR has waiting for me, and The Who is on INHD, playing the Isle of Wight, to which I'll add, offhand: that no one will ever surpass Jethro Tull's performance there in 1970 (also seen recently on INHD). At any rate, can someone please 'splain to me what's so special about this band? Beck? I've always thought their music, even at its best, pedestrian, and I just don't get the allure. For that matter, that applies to Mick & Co., though at their best, I'd probably have to go with The Stones. And, I like The Who's Magic Bus and My Generation, just so's you know. Do you want to know what I like best about The Who? Well, when I was an undergrad at Oregon State, my dorm was next door to a grad student working on his PhD in chemistry. First honest-to-God atheist I'd even met, and a great all-around guy. Anyway, Alex's favorite band was The Who, and he delighted in people asking him "who have you seen in concert?" His silly reply was always the same: "Yes." Made me laugh every time, and that's...


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The True Face of Pure Evil

The survival of this country will not be determined by the degree to which the government, simply by inertia, imposes taxes, entitlements, controls, etc., although such impositions will be harmful (and all of them and worse will be embraced or pioneered by conservatives, as Bush has shown). What does determine the survival of this country is not political concretes, but fundamental philosophy. And in this area the only real threat to the country now, the only political evil comparable to or even greater than the threat once posed by Soviet Communism, is religion and the Party which is its home and sponsor. That's just dead on, even though Leonard Peikoff is wrong that this implies that I have any moral obligation to vote, and/or to vote as he would have me to vote. But I'm interested in the core issue here: "What does determine the survival of this country is not political concretes, but fundamental philosophy." Indeed, and I will remind you that we are governed by a nutbar and others who actually believe that "Jesus is coming again; Praise God." They believe he will come in a Rapture, and that millions of them will disappear into thin air, leaving...


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Learning Something New

Wow. You know, if you really try, you can learn something new every day. Well, I'm not much for gleaning deep meaning out of primitive practices, but to each his own, I suppose. Update: And now this.


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Well, Finally: The Real Issue

This has been too long in coming. Ah, Ms. Allen, but you let your son smoke a joint in your home. There was residue in your trash can. As far as the government is concerned, that makes you no better than a terrorist. And worthy of no better treatment than one. Also keep in mind, this is not a "botched" raid. The police did exactly what they intended. They got the right address. They found contraband. And they'll get two prosecutions out of this. For them, this case isn't a travesty, it's a victory. It's "protocol." Cases like this one are worth remembering when debating the overuse of SWAT teams. Botched raids make for sympathetic anecdotes. But the argument isn't that we shouldn't send SWAT teams out on drug busts because they frequently hit the wrong home. It's that in a free society, it shouldn't be "protocol" for the government to break down your door, set your house on fire, invade your home with assault weapons, and slaughter your family pet for the crime of lighting up a joint within the privacy of your own home. That's the argument. This is the one aspect I have not liked about Radley's...


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A Reading II

Everyone knows about the 1929 crash on Wall Street. Few know of the 1907 crash. It was a crash brought on by a liquidity crisis. That is, there was no more margin, no more cash, and no more credit with which to buy stocks to keep a rally going and prices overinflated. J.P. Morgan stepped in and provided the liquidity. Here's the rest of the story. That day, October 24, 1907, was to be branded into Livermore’s memory. It was the first time he had ever made more than $1 million in profit, and he had done it in a single day. Furthermore, the day was not yet over. For him it was most important that he had followed his new rules. He had been patient in waiting for the big turn in the market. He had started with small positions, sending out probes into the market to confirm that he was right. And finally, when everything was in his favor, he had done what he loved best: He plunged big time, like a king cobra. His paper profits and his stock positions were so large near the end of the day, as a result of his pyramiding, that he...


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Delicious Rage

Well, Radley Balko has up a Fox News column up about the Internet gambling ban by the Fucking Republicans. He's blogged some of the responses he's received to the column: 75 against and only 2 for it. Go read and relish in the delicious rage. Warms me heart all over. Incidentally, I was talking with someone in the know this last weekend who was invested in at least one of the UK companies whose stock has gone to zero. He's aware of a number of people, mostly well-to-do conservatives, who have lost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in various UK gambling companies. As far as I'm concerned, no amount of backlash will be sufficient. I'd love to see the Republicans lose every single race. Too much to wish for, I know, and I certainly don't relish the thought of the commies getting their claws deeper into me, but justice needs to prevail, regardless of slippery slopes. The Republicans need to go down, and down hard.


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Give it a Rest, Already

I don't know about you, but I find fake, appeasing-the-base bigotry quite a bit more offensive than even the real thing. Me too. You know, I could dig deep and find respect even for a politician that's at least meticulously honest, regardless his views. Yes, you guessed it. I've gone and said something stupid; because there really is no such thing, anymore. There was a time, perhaps, but honesty has never been much in favor. It's a distortion of coercion upon a natural human facet. To explain: this, really, is at the root at our primary universal antagonism of individualism vs. collectivism. Politics is a perfectly valid discipline having to do with individual ethics extended to the society of individuals in which an individual partakes. Further, this is an area where negotiation comes into play. You may have every individual right, but adults -- mature, rational adults -- weigh all the facts and likely consequences. There is a certain validity to "common" or "greater" good, but such conclusions and resultant actions are wholly subjective, voluntary, and come about principally through a most strange phenomenon: asking nicely. Radley's piece is about gays, and my title is about giving it a rest....


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“Too Much Risk”

You could bet that they had their fashions just jammin', though. Beck (who else?). Yea. You know, it's the corollary. Policing has become a "profession" unto and as an end in itself, rather than something good men used to feel called to as a simple desire to keep a bit of the "general chaos" in check, help out here and there, and generally provide people with a decent sense of reasonable security. It may be a tired reference, but good ol' Andy Griffith comes to mind. He exercised authority now and then, but I doubt many would question that he hadn't earned it through the respect he commanded, and guess what: respect is something that no uniform, badge, medal, or "fashions" establish. Character establishes respect. Imagine Andy letting those people die in that building. A shame that all I can come up with is a fictional character, eh?


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A Reading

Said Livermore to his son Paul: "I believe that the public wants to be led, to be instructed, to be told what to do. They want reassurance. They will always move en masse, a mob, a herd, a group, because people want the safety of human company. They are afraid to stand alone because they want to be safely included within the herd, not to be the lone calf standing on the desolate, dangerous, wolf-patrolled prairie of contrary opinion. "This is where it gets slightly complicated because I always wanted to trade along the line of least resistance, so I was generally moving along with the crowd, the herd, most of the time. It was when the change in trend started to appear, the change in market direction, that was the most difficult change to catch and act upon. So I was always hunting for the clues to the change. So I was always ready to separate myself from the popular thinking, the group thinking, and go the opposite way. "It is the most difficult time in a speculator's trading life. These major changes in trends were hard to catch, but I did not want to ride the sled downhill...


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Euphemisms

Here's a 3-minute video of a bunch of people chortling. Now, I don't know how you use that word, but it somehow makes me think of the sort of laugh that predators do, when they reflect of having got something for nothing. Listen to the way someone laughs when they've come upon some new business opportunity to get rich quick. That's chortling. Here's the video. (Good thing Google bought YouTube, 'cause it's way better.) Anyway, notice the use of euphemisms throughout, assuming you're familiar with the subject matter. (Beck)


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Oxymoron of the Year

Well, it seems that Wesley Snipes is going down, potentially for 16 years of jail time, for defending himself himself against having his money stolen from him. (Aside: don't even think about it. I'm talking to you, reading out there, who was just about to comment or was thinking that taxes aren't theft. They are, and it's a simple matter of getting your head out of your ass. What the government does is perfectly and clearly understood as theft if anyone else does it. There is no moral principle in the universe, upon which it can be rationally argued that the slightest right accrues to any given group of people -- as in: government -- that has not already accrued to individuals. If you don't see that, then you're simply part of perpetuating a very large problem.) One thing in the report doesn't make sense. If he didn't file -- i.e., report to the state what the state is to then steal from him under pain of "interest," penalties, "interest" and penalties on the "interest" and penalties, jail time, and/or death -- should he insist upon uncompromisingly defending himself from being unjustly captured, held against his will, and imprisoned for...


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Bears Have More Fun

Here's why Bears have so much more fun. That's the action on the S&P over a 3-day, 2 1/2 hour period, up to about noon yesterday. Those are 30-minute candles. A white candle is up in the period, and a red candle is down. See that 3-day fight to climb that mountain. All wiped out in 2 1/2 hours yesterday morning. Gotta love it. Warms my heart. Nothing like huge red candles. Speaking of which, here's Dow Mania over the last few days: Same three-day gains wiped in yesterday morning's first two hours. But, because it's TWELVE THOUSAND!, they just had to go and run it up yesterday and this morning, right outta the blocks. But this just illustrates why it's even more fun to be a Bear. Unsustainable climbs, without building consolidation at various stages along the way offers no resistance for the tumble that almost always comes shortly thereafter. Ha, ha, ha. The Dow was up just about 100 points or more in the first few minutes of the day, and is now almost in negative territory. Go Bears!


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Smart Money

Here's a chart of the S&P 500 over the last three years. Contrary to what CNBC would have you believe, it's the S&P that's the real gage of the market as a whole, not the Dow. Hell, even the NASDAQ is a far better gage than the Dow. (Click the chart for the large version.) Incidentally, at around 1365 currently, the S&P is still quite far from it's all-time intra-day high of 1552.87, reached on March 1, 2000. It's not way off; a 14% gain from here will get it there. But where is the smart money, even though smarts sometimes prove wrong? Notice how the chart has tracked along a 100-pt wide channel pretty generally for the last three years. It's running at a slope of around 10% gain per year. Average. We're in the midst of a pretty serious housing correction and the economy is clearly slowing. Where's the smart money? And, oh, here's the NASDAQ Composite over the last 10 years (click it for large). It has not even recovered to within 50% of it's all-time high. Now, of course, the NASDAQ was most representative of the Internet bubble. But does this paint a picture of Tulip...


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Ha!

No sooner did I post my last than I see this. Wall Street compensation averaged $289,664 per person, 5.1 times the average $56,634 for workers citywide, the comptroller said in a study released Tuesday. The highest-paid bankers and traders can command eight-figure pay packages. Bonuses totaled a record $21.5 billion, or $125,500 per person. The securities industry paid out $48.8 billion, while generating $2.1 billion of taxes for the city, Hevesi said. Wall Street compensation increased 21.9 percent in 2004 and another 11.8 percent in 2005, Hevesi said. Buy, buy, buy. After all, they make money on each transaction, and they also have the house edge (bid/ask spread) on the floor, as traders and market makers. Buy , buy, buy. Did your portfolio make 21.9% in 2004, or 11.8% in 2005? Well, let's see. on Jan 2, 2004, the S&P 500 opened at 1111.92 and closed at 1211.92 on Dec 31, 2004. An exact 100 point gain on the entire year for 9%. Not bad, and better than 95% of mutual funds, but certainly not even half of the 22% increase in compensation those telling you to buy, buy, buy got. 2005? It opened on Jan 3 where 2004 left...


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Why 12,000?

Because it's TWELVE-THOUSAND!!! You know, most people who trade equities or options actively, eventually become Bears -- at least sentimentally. There's lots of reasons for that, but primarily, it's because markets, when they go down, go down faster and harder than they go up (They take the stairs up, and the elevator -- or window -- down.). Jesse Livermore, regarded by some to be the greatest stock trader of all time, shorted the market in 1929 and made a $100 million. Adjust that for inflation. it was 1929. Jesse was great because he was the greatest Bear. But you don't even need a crash. Corrections of up to 5-10% take a matter of days, while the climb back up can take weeks and months. And if you're used to the idea of doing best in bear or crashing markets, then crashes don't scare you. You secretly long for them. Bull markets are effing boring. The other reason is that Bulls are either making money on the transactions (brokers), or they're suckers, morons, or ignoramuses when it comes to understanding what's really going on. At least that's how the Bears see them. Do they make money? Sure. Buy and hold, and...


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Microfinancing

Though I saw the news item awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to "Bangladesh Bankers," I didn't bother to get to the story behind the story. Though I once spent a few hours in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on a layover between Paris and Bangkok, it just didn't spark that much interest. That's too bad, because it's a good story. And, nevermind, because John Venlet, a mortgage broker, has the goods. Warms my heart, all over, and makes up a bit for a few of my last enraged posts.


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