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Showing posts from November, 2006

Whether the economy II

The powerful economic cross currents continue.

The dollar plunges against the Euro (take that deficit doesn't matter crowd). Median house prices decline for the third consecutive month; an exceptionally rare occurence. Auto sales too decline. Twenty years ago, if housing and autos were both down, a recession was virtually guaranteed. Today, with technology and services far bigger economic components, it isn't a fait accompli. Interest rates continue very reasonable, with a decent chance that the Fed's next move is down, not up.

Liz Ann Sonders, a heavy hitter investor, sees the housing decline as a very bad omen, almost always followed by a recession as construction workers lose their jobs, banks deal with defaulted mortgages, building materials manufacturers lay off workers and so on.

I'm not that negative yet, but I'm looking at placing some stop loss orders just in case...

Michael Richards - v2

So Michael Richards has reached out to Jesse Jackson? Who has reached out to Al Sharpton?

Michael - why couldn't you do like everyone else and check into rehab? Please, it's not too late - rehab in some country a long way from here....

Alexander Litvinenko RIP

In what may be the weirdest story of 2006, former KGB agent Alexander Litvenenko died from radiation poisoning. Apparently, Mr. Litvenenko consumed Polonium 210. I must confess that I had never heard of Polonium before, but you can't buy it in your local hardware store, unless your local hardware store happens to have a nuclear reactor, or your local school district has invested in a particle accelerator.

In a deathbed statement, he accused Prime Minister Putin of having him assasinated.

Apparently Mr. Litvenenko had recently dined at a popular Picadilly Circus sushi bar, and became ill soon after.

I've actually been more than willing to give Mr. Putin the benefit of the doubt. However, bit by bit the successful parts of the Russian economy have been expropriated by the central government, the press co-opted, and journalists eliminated. This is looking like a message from the old Soviet: get in our way and we'll take you out, even if you are in a free country, and we'…

The Speaker of the House

After watching Nancy Pelosi in action recently, I've become concerned that she isn't too bright, and she's only two people away from the Presidency. But upon further reflection, I don't think that Dennis Hastert was publishing articles on string theory in the Journal of Science either....
be well W.

Handicapping the Presidency

The Congressional elections have now all been decided, and the race for the 2008 Presidency is in full swing. This is a seriously crowded field. Here are my early thoughts.

On the Republican side, there are at least six candidates.

Govenor Mitt Romney. Smart. Amazingly telegenic. Squeaky clean. A very rich, very smart capitalist (a co-founder of Bain Capital). Anti-abortion views will appeal to the religious conservatives, fiscal policy is likely to appeal to deficit hawks. Experience however, is rather light. Somewhat of a long shot.

Senator John McCain. Experienced, war hero, author; he owns the stateman position. We must assume he is the front runner, and has a legitimate claim to the centrist/moderate position. Age and temper may work against him, although he does seem to have mellowed a little in the last few years. Not the favorite of either the fiscal hawks or the religious right.

America's Mayor Rudy Guilani. Exhibited leadership after Sept. 11 that no one forsaw. Messy divorc…

On Nancy Pelosi

There will eventually be a woman president of the U.S.

Perhaps as soon as 2008 with Ms. Clinton. She is certainly smart enough, highly skilled and qualified. We'll see.

However, I'm not too enamored of Ms. Pelosi in that role. Maybe she would surprise me and rise to the occasion. Is my knowledge of the Constitution correct? Is she third in line?

W is a healthy guy. That is a good thing, because if something were to happen to him, Dick "more gravy please" Cheney could go at any time. He's got more electronics and chip power in his chest than a good size data center.....and just like that - Nancy's in....

A Pox on Both Your Houses

As far as I can recall, yesterday was the first time I haven't voted in over thirty years. I felt totally betrayed by the Republicans, who were spending in a way that Lyndon Johnson and Tip O'Neill would have found embarrasing. They tried sidling up to us at the end, talking about spending, the borders and so on, but it struck me as totally phony. They were in power for years; if they had wanted to control spending, build a levee againist the tsunami of illegal immigrants, fix the death tax or deal with the mind-numbing crisis of Social Security, they could have. But they didn't.

On the other hand, I couldn't get excited about Jim Webb, or putting Nancy Pelosi in as Speaker of the House. So I stayed home.

I was bummed out about the election and some things at work, so I lit up a Macanudo. I'm not sure what they call it - it was a small ring gauge - so a panatella or a lancero - and listened as the election reports came in. Not a rout, but nontheless a big vic…