Saturday, July 31, 2010

When Less Was More - Opinionator Blog -

When Less Was More - Opinionator Blog - "Sadly, many of the small, architect-designed houses of the postwar period have been demolished to make way for McMansions. But those that remain, and those we know about from blueprints and photographs, have much to teach us — about the efficient use of space for storage, integrated indoor and outdoor space and the way careful design can facilitate natural ventilation. When you think about how many rooms you actually use, it seems obvious that various ideas from that optimistic era could make the next decade a happier, saner one than the overstuffed times we’ve just lived through."

Friday, July 30, 2010

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments -

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments - "Understanding that smug pot-shots at the Disney theme parks are de rigeur in academia, I would still hope for better research from an 'architectural historian.' For further reading, I recommend Karal Ann Marling's 'Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance.'"

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments -

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments - "Understanding that smug pot-shots at the Disney theme parks are de rigeur in academia, I would still hope for better research from an 'architectural historian.' For further reading, I recommend Karal Ann Marling's 'Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance.'"

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments -

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments - "I studied architecture in the fifties and practiced in the sixties, seventies,eighties, ninties and finally quit in 2007.
'Modern Architecture', as we called it was not warm and fuzzy but a way to solve problems, create playfullness with space and light and , so far as housing is concerned, create functional living spaces within, usually, conservative budgets.
The 'post modern' was so so but currently I don't tell people I ever was an architect."

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments -

When Less Was No Longer More - Readers' Comments - "The greed of your developer kept the Architect out of your subdivision not the profession of Architecture. They didn't want to pay someone to create homes that are functional and long lasting - they just wanted to make a fast buck. Poorly constructed homes, that are inefficient, don't consider city planning, and use one or 2 floor plans are a great way to make money."

Remember to click on links to registering to vote.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bulls About To Make Another Run At 1113? - CNBC

Bulls About To Make Another Run At 1113? - CNBC: "There could be ripple for Procter [PG 61.67 -1.03 (-1.64%) ], Campbell [CPB 35.77 -0.56 (-1.54%) ] and Heinz [HNZ 44.68 -0.81 (-1.78%) ], says Steve Grasso. My clients are wondering if they’re still defensive trades in the wake of Kellogg and Colgate results. If you’re looking to play defense, rather than consumer staples I’d rather play tobacco. I’m long Altria [MO 22.02 -0.05 (-0.23%) ]."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tech Tip -- Getting on Wireless on Canada Island

We arrived. Duh. But just an hour ago I got the wireless internet connection figured out. I was desolate yesterday for the lack of it. The answer came back to me in a dream. "Refresh to an earlier date" on my computer when the computer was working flawlessly with wireless at home in Cincinnati. Bam. "Wireless network is now available." Plug in Becca's code and repeat (wash and repeat) and I was on.

It's pleasant up here (probably berable down there too I imagine).

Remember to take the recycle bin out to the street Sunday night. Same with garbage which stays close to the garage but outside in the driveway.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tech Tip -- Moving Address Book to New Computer

When I change to a new computer, I just copy my old "outlook.pst" and "archive.pst" to the new machine, overwriting the outlook.pst created by the new install of Outlook.

These files are usually found at:

documents & settings...

"user name"...

local settings ...



Saturday, July 24, 2010

E.P.A. Weighs Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas -

E.P.A. Weighs Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas - "“Corporations have no conscience,” he added. “The E.P.A. must give them that conscience.”"

Remember to click on links to registering to vote.

Tech Tips -- Restoring Folder List to Microsoft Outlook Express

Click on Views, Layout and go from there.  Works for Microsoft Outlook too, I believe.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Trading Again -- Great Discipline Until it's Not

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

So I keep discipline, keep discipline, keep discipline, day after day.  Then at 3:55 pm word goes out over the wire and on CNBC that the SEC is investigating the GS settlement.  Immediate plunge in GS to 244 or so.  I buy 10 240 August puts @ $3.10 (things were moving so fast that I put the order in @ $3.30).

When the dust settles the news turns out to be, if anything, favorable to GS, being the result of a Republican congressman's inquiry to the SEC Inspector General.

Today the disciplined thing to do was exit as delicately as possible, which I did this morning @$2.62.

You can do the math. Ayyyyyyye!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Strategies - Robert Prechter’s Market Forecast Says ‘Take Cover’ -

Strategies - Robert Prechter’s Market Forecast Says ‘Take Cover’ - "For a rough parallel, he said, go all the way back to England and the collapse of the South Sea Bubble in 1720, a crash that deterred people “from buying stocks for 100 years,” he said. This time, he said, “If I’m right, it will be such a shock that people will be telling their grandkids many years from now, ‘Don’t touch stocks.’ ”"

Krugman: Economics and Politics - Paul Krugman Blog -

I spent some time reding this and the comments of other readers -- especially comment #31:

Economics and Politics - Paul Krugman Blog - "I’ll be frank: the discussion of fiscal stimulus this past year and a half has filled me with despair over the state of the economics profession. If you believe stimulus is a bad idea, fine; but surely the least one could have expected is that opponents would listen, even a bit, to what proponents were saying. In particular, the case for stimulus has always been highly conditional. Fiscal stimulus is what you do only if two conditions are satisfied: high unemployment, so that the proximate risk is deflation, not inflation; and monetary policy constrained by the zero lower bound."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tech Tips -- How to Type Letters With Umlauts

Cramer -- A Reevaluation Leading to Wobbles and Whoppers

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

The market has knocked the whanker-pins out from Jim Cramer's gyroscope.  He's wobbly now.  On Friday he said he had told his fans to sell out of the market.  Then he said this whopper:

"You were to sell as various of my bullet-points were satisfied so you avoided today's crash."

What he had said when he set up the bullet-point thesis in June 6, was that the market was not safe until all of the bullet-points were satisfied.  Check it out by clicking onto my "Cramer Yesterday" label.

At a deeper level Jim Cramer's show Mad Money depends on their being a market with which to recommend stocks.  There is barely such, in his mind now.  It's a casino.  Bet on black or red.  That's it.

So he has set up bullet boints to be "bully points" -- bullying us to believe that his listeners made money this month if they followed him.

Oh, and he took a week's vacation.  What's about that?  What are we Pajama Traders supposed to do?  At least give us some notification that you're doing it.  Don't just leave! (us hanging)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The endless summer - The Globe and Mail

The endless summer - The Globe and Mail: "Around the globe, it is the summer of our sun-stricken discontent.
This week, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed that the Earth is on course for the hottest year since record-keeping began in 1880 – 0.7 degrees above the 20th-century average."

Hot Enough For Ya?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mad Money Recap | Nightly Recap for:  Thursday, July 15, 2010

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

Cramer said on Stop Trading today that he told people to get out yesterday.  I didn't hear it.  Here's his opening segment last night.

Mad Money Recap Nightly Recap for: Thursday, July 15, 2010: "Here is the list of 'CRAMER'S RALLY REQUIREMENTS' on the board that he is checking off:

√ - Fine Print on Financial Regulations - completed
√ - Spanish Bank Stabilization
√ - Lower Unemployment
√ - Oil Spill Resolution
√ - Confirmation of China's Soft Landing
√ - European Stabilization"

Haven't Posted Long in a While

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

It's so easy to cut and save to one's blog a short paragraph, with the title automatically embedded so that the reader can click on the whole article.

Sometimes the comments to a Krugman piece are just as good as the Krugman piece.


Friday, July 16, 2010

OpinionWorldU.S.N.Y. /
Redo That Voodoo


Republicans are talking confidently about the midterm elections, which is cause for concern.

Comments are no longer being accepted.

Edward Reno, NV July 16th, 2010 2:00 am

I've only taken two basic university classes in economics. I mostly read my medical journals for work and history for recreation. I do like to follow the news daily. There are a few things that are extremely obvious even to a non-expert like me! For example, that both the Reagan and Bush era tax cuts to the wealthy led to larger deficits and long term decline in growth. And, that deregulating any industry too much can lead to disasters, since the public is left unguarded against excess. What I fail to understand is this: do these conservative Congressional Republicans really believe that tax cuts for the wealthy work? Do they believe that more and more deregulation is in the interest of the nation's safety and prosperity? That is, have they missed the obvious evidence? Or, do they merely spout propaganda to mislead people so that they get the backing of wealthy donors?

Recommend Recommended by 1639 Readers

Douglas Minneapolis July 16th, 2010 11:11 am

It would be cynical enough if it were only about pure economics. But it isn't, and it never has been. A nation in which the majority owe more than they make doesn't understand economics at any level. That cupidity makes Americans vulnerable to manipulation on breath-taking scale.

What it is about is ownership. Many fair-minded conservative Americans have been duped for generation after generation by the little club of the hyper-wealthy that appeal to the patriotism and sense of fairness of their poorer compatriots to get them to tilt the playing field ever further. Right now, about a third of America's billionaires inherited it. They didn't work for it. They didn't have to be good at something or know anything to acquire it. It was just handed over - the world's biggest welfare check. The working people who helped earn that wealth for the master in the first place certainly don't see any of it. These insanely wealthy people suddenly find themselves in charge of enormous economic power, and also with choices to make that affect millions of lives. You might as well give a six-year-old a TAC-nuke. People of this stripe lobby Congress, outsource their factories, and bank in the Caymans. They do it because they don't owe this country or its people anything. They belong to a small nation that has no boundaries, and whose passport is universally recognized.

George Carlin said it best. "It's a club.....and you ain't in it."

Recommended by 208 Readers

Jerry St. Louis July 16th, 2010 11:44 am

What is totally amazing to me is that the Republican Party has convinced so many middle and lower income groups to believe that tax cuts on the wealthy is somehow good for them and the country. Now that is Voodoo.

I have a Republican conservative friend who is constantly harping about Obama and higher taxes, and all the while this guy is on Social Security and pays no taxes anyway. Go figure! When I ask him what his complaint is he has no answer, he just hates Obama and because he believes in the Republican idea that we should not need taxes to pay for the hugh military he likes so much.

What the Democrats need is better propaganda and a boss that is a little more aggressive and willing to fight a propaganda ideology war.

Kamachanda Illinois July 16th, 2010 12:05 pm

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue"

"The Congressional Budget Office, the Treasury Department, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers and a former Bush administration economist all say that tax cuts lead to revenues that are lower than they otherwise would have been – even if they spur some economic growth."

I am so sick of the lies.

Recommend Recommended by 117 Readers Report as Inappropriate188.HIGHLIGHT (what's this?) Sal AnthonyQueens, NYJuly 16th, 201012:58 pmDear Mr. Krugman,

The reason we always hear that the rate of a permanent flat tax ought to be between 19 and 23 percent is because no matter how we've tried to configure the tax system over the course of the past eighty years or so, on average, that's what we've managed to collect. This happens because the higher you raise rates, the more those being slammed find ways to avoid getting hit.

As for the Reagan years, anyone can look up the fact we collected half a trillion dollars in taxes in 1981 and nearly a trillion in 1989. Revenues doubled over the course of his presidency. That is irrefutable economic fact. That we spent more than we brought in? So what else is new? As for Clinton's mild increase in taxes generating prosperity - surely you're joking. Subtract the blowout tax revenues brought in by the internet boom on Wall Street and we're quickly back to hundred-billion dollar budget deficits.

The issue is spending. Always has been, always will be. We can debate what we ought to spend ON, and I will surely concede that I'd rather send money to the unemployed than to bail out failing banks, but playing with the tax code is where all the mischief happens, and we should stop doing it.

When you put the same rate on everyone, someone making ten times what someone else makes is paying TEN TIMES the amount of taxes. If that isn't enough for you bloodthirsty liberals, then something's clearly wrong in your moral math.


Sal Anthony

Recommend Recommended by 26 Readers Report as Inappropriate190.HIGHLIGHT (what's this?) Nick LentoCliffside Park, NJJuly 16th, 201012:58 pmThis is a time when Democrats should be passing uncompromised good/progressive legislation that is popular with the people and that repudiates the old Bush/Reagan agendas......and then let the Republicans try to obstruct using the filibuster.

Let them talk and talk for days weeks and even months! let them talk right up till election day itself trying to justify their intellectually, morally and spiritually bankrupt positions that simply serve to enhance the short term wealth of a relatively tiny portion of the electorate.

Of course such a tactic would require a bold strategic vision and profoundly courageous leadership.

What the administration still doesn't get is that their poll numbers will go up when they truly stand up and lead. No compromise....just lead and stick to your guns. The American people are not so stupid nor so ignorant as the Republican propaganda machine would have us believe.

Bullies need to be stood up to and defeated. Please Mr President, take the lead and fight back.....enough with the compromising Mr Nice Guy stuff.

Recommend Recommended by 84 Readers Report as Inappropriate191.HIGHLIGHT (what's this?) John G.NYCJuly 16th, 201012:59 pmThe GOP has now reduced its entire fiscal program to one Orwellian sentence: Tax cuts good, spending bad.

Recommend Recommended by 55 Readers Report as Inappropriate216.HIGHLIGHT (what's this?) richard wilsonEurekaJuly 16th, 20101:12 pmIm embarrased by how gullible the working class in the US are. I bought the Tea Party line and , once my wife became unemployed, I watched Republicans clap for war and give a thumbs down for unemployment extensions. Why? Spending they say. Right. And, you continue to waste money on two unwinnable wars. Our infrastructure is gone, no party has done anything to create jobs and the unemployed are getting worse. If Huey Long came back Id vote for him. Anyone, even Lenin. Trust me, I know exactly what he did.You want a class war---then have one.

Recommend Recommended by 71 Readers Report as Inappropriate242.HIGHLIGHT (what's this?) Charles W.NJJuly 16th, 20101:39 pmI will take Voodoo economics over Marxist economics any day.

Recommend Recommended by 21

Cdr. John Newlin Vista, Calif. July 16th, 2010 2:05 pm

Aye, Dr. Krugman, there's the rub. And where is the President on this issue? Nowhere, Dr. Krugman. He's the invisible Commander-in-Chief. I wonder if he relies on you and others to spill a lot of ink in the Times and other organs so he doesn't have to take to the bully pulpit.

I don't think he's listening, Dr. Krugman. And his deafness is sending this once great country careening to the cliff of oblivion.

Then there is the complication of the Tea Party nut cases. Millions of people actually support this "movement." They are frustrated, angry, and are willing to believe anything that Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck spouts. Why is that? It's because the President has not a clue on how to lead, how to fight for what he believes, how to marshal the assets at his disposal to combat the forces of evil that have risen from the ashes of the Bush/Cheney disaster.

It is being reported today that Timothy Geithner, the Wall Street fox Obama hired to guard the nation's hen house, is lobbying against the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If the President makes the mistake of listening to Geithner, his presidency is doomed and we will suffer the slings and arrows of Boehner and McConnell. Those arrows will slay the middle class in America for certain.

Recommend Recommended by 51 Readers

MarkTucson, Arizona July 16th, 2010 2:07 pm

Paul: I am one Arizonan who CANNOT wait until 2012 to make Senator Kyl unemployed! He may be the most heartless man in America leading the fight to NOT extend unemployment benefits!

Recommend Recommended by 72 Readers

VA Vancouver, BC July 16th, 2010 2:18 pm

Absolutely this is happening right before our very noses. You can read it in any major newspaper or comment site.

The bank bailout fed blood to the voodoo economics vampire.

Recommend Recommended by 17 Readers

RayWashingtonJuly 16th, 2010
2:40 pm

With apologies to Karl Marx: "Tax cuts are the opiate of the masses."

Recommend Recommended by 36 Readers

Comments are no longer being accepted. Please submit a letter to the editor for print consideration.

Op-Ed Columnist - The Gospel of Mel Gibson -

Op-Ed Columnist - The Gospel of Mel Gibson - "In their book, “The Narcissism Epidemic,” Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell cite data to suggest that at least since the 1970s, we have suffered from national self-esteem inflation. They cite my favorite piece of sociological data: In 1950, thousands of teenagers were asked if they considered themselves an “important person.” Twelve percent said yes. In the late 1980s, another few thousand were asked. This time, 80 percent of girls and 77 percent of boys said yes."

Op-Ed Columnist - Redo That Voodoo -

Op-Ed Columnist - Redo That Voodoo - "Anyway, we really should thank Senators Kyl and McConnell for their sudden outbursts of candor. They’ve now made it clear, in case anyone had doubts, that their previous posturing on the deficit was entirely hypocritical. If they really do have the kind of electoral win they’re expecting, they won’t try to reduce the deficit — they’ll try to make it explode by demanding even more budget-busting tax cuts."

Op-Ed Columnist - Redo That Voodoo -

Op-Ed Columnist - Redo That Voodoo - "But if politicians who insist that the way to reduce deficits is to cut taxes, not raise them, start winning elections again, how much faith can anyone have that we’ll do what needs to be done? Yes, we can have a fiscal crisis. But if we do, it won’t be because we’ve spent too much trying to create jobs and help the unemployed. It will be because investors have looked at our politics and concluded, with justification, that we’ve turned into a banana republic."

Op-Ed Columnist - Redo That Voodoo -

Op-Ed Columnist - Redo That Voodoo - "His answer was breathtaking: “You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.” So $30 billion in aid to the unemployed is unaffordable, but 20 times that much in tax cuts for the rich doesn’t count."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

David Axelrod’s Talking Points « The Baseline Scenario

David Axelrod’s Talking Points « The Baseline Scenario: "Simon, I have heard Axelrod on other shows and he is incoherent. One would think a president as articulate as Obama would not have such a weak mouthpiece. I couldn’t agree more that the situation needs to be laid out in specific terms, with logical arguments. And one need not have an economics degree to get it – God knows I don’t and I manage to connect the dots – I think the situation can be summed up for middle America in terms we can understand, without being talked down to.
A friend invited me to watch a dressing down one of the liberal talking heads gave a Republican senator on MSNBC who was toeing the party line on stimulus and unemployment insurance extensions. While I vehemently disagree with the senator’s POV, the talking head did us no favors by acting like Rush Limbaugh. We must refute the knee-jerk talking points with real, legitimate, straight-forward facts, starting with the fact that the new numbers out today show why it is even harder to find a job, as job retraction has increased, not decreased. Sen. Kyl, et al, who say the unemployed are merely slackers who are parasites on the arse of the REAL producers, need to be proven to be the liars they are, and not by shouting them down, but by using solid evidence of our argument."

Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life « The Baseline Scenario

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

I have always been in awe of Simon Johnson.  But here I probably would agree with this commentator.

Tim Geithner’s Ninth Political Life « The Baseline Scenario: "Mr. Johnson,
People in glass houses should not throw stones. You were utterly clueless before the crisis. Your stint in the IMF was not marked by any insightful thinking. In fact you were engaged in and encouraging of conventional wisdom and groupthink. You never anticipated any significant economic event. But after the crisis and after the fact you have been vitriolic. But we have yet to hear you articulate a coherent pexecutable strategy."

Congress Sends Financial Overhaul Bill to Obama -

Congress Sends Financial Overhaul Bill to Obama - "Mr. Reid turned to his home state for a metaphor. “When you go to any of the great casinos across Nevada and put your chips on the table, you’re gambling with your own money,” Mr. Reid said. “You win, you win. And if you lose, you lose. But Wall Street rigged the game. They put our money on the table. When they won, they won big. The jackpots they took home were in the billions. But when they lost — and boy, did they lose big — they came crying to the taxpayers for help.”"

razor-burn-a-flood-of-fancy-shavers-leaves-some-men-feeling-nicked: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

razor-burn-a-flood-of-fancy-shavers-leaves-some-men-feeling-nicked: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance: "This time, razor makers are claiming breakthroughs in design. Gillette touts its Fusion ProGlide's ergonomic grips, its ultrafine cutting edge and a 'snow-plow guard' that moves around the shaving cream. It goes for $16.99 per four-pack of basic cartridges, about a 15% premium to regular Fusion blades."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

China's latest export: home buyers - The Globe and Mail

China's latest export: home buyers - The Globe and Mail: "Steve Ladurantaye Real Estate Reporter
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published on Tuesday, Jul. 13, 2010 8:06PM EDT

Last updated on Tuesday, Jul. 13, 2010 8:25PM EDT

Half a world away, a handful of Chinese citizens are feverishly planning a Canadian real-estate shopping excursion.
A farmer, an engineer, a furniture maker and a caterer are among the 30 hopeful investors who have paid $5,500 each to take a real estate tour of Toronto and Vancouver in August. This isn’t about tourism: Each of them expect to drop at least a half-million dollars on downtown condos during their 10-day visit.
While Chinese investors in Canada are nothing new, this delegation is thought by those in the industry to be one of the largest to travel in one group. The trip was put together by Ricky Zhang of TransAsia Investment Partners, a Chinese company that was created to help residents buy properties abroad, particularly in Canada.
He said it was difficult for investment groups to travel together before last December, because Canada and China didn’t have a deal that allowed large Chinese tours to Canada. But with a travel agreement now in place, he said interest has increased and Chinese investors are looking to spend heavily while abroad.
“With the rising risk of the bubble bursting in the Chinese real estate market, there is a demand for overseas real estate for diversification, safety and relatively high rental yield,” he said."

Friedman: Op-Ed Columnist - The Spies Who Loved Us -

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

Sometimes Friedman is good by accentuating the negative!

Op-Ed Columnist - The Spies Who Loved Us - "Look, if you had told me that we had just arrested 11 Finns who were spying on our schools, then I’d really have felt good — since Finland’s public schools always score at the top of the world education tables. If you had told me that 11 Singaporeans were arrested spying on how our government works, then I’d really have felt good — since Singapore has one of the cleanest, well-run bureaucracies in the world and pays its cabinet ministers $1 million-plus a year. If you had told me that 11 Hong Kong Chinese had been arrested studying how we regulate our financial markets, then I’d really have felt good — since that is something Hong Kong excels at. And if you had told me that 11 South Koreans were arrested studying our high-speed bandwidth penetration, then I’d really have felt good — because we’ve been lagging them for a long time."

After a Crisis, a Show of Power From Dimon and JPMorgan -

After a Crisis, a Show of Power From Dimon and JPMorgan - "“They are not Wells Fargo when it comes to retail banking. They are not American Express when it comes to credit cards. They are not BlackRock when it comes to asset management,” said Michael Mayo of Crédit Agricole Securities. “And JPMorgan is not Goldman Sachs in emerging markets.”"

David Brooks: Op-Ed Columnist - An Economy of Grinds -

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

David Brooks writes pieces that are often hard to categorize, but I read everything he writes.  This one deserves note and reading over and over again.  It covers an interesting class view that fits with my own.

Knowing Brooks's Republican political-history, this piece is not of small import.  David Brooks is slowly feeling his way into a world-view that is anti-establishment, anti-corporate.  Far from where he was during the Bush years.  Click on and start at the beginning.

Op-Ed Columnist - An Economy of Grinds - "Since the princes are nicer and more impressive, it is easy to be seduced into the belief that they also are more trustworthy. This is false. During the last few years, for example, the princes at Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers behaved with incredible stupidity while the hedge fund loners often behaved with impressive restraint."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist - The Feckless Fed -

Op-Ed Columnist - The Feckless Fed - "What should it be doing? Conventional monetary policy, in which the Fed drives down short-term interest rates by buying short-term U.S. government debt, has reached its limit: those short-term rates are already near zero, and can’t go significantly lower. (Investors won’t buy bonds that yield negative interest, since they can always hoard cash instead.) But the message of Mr. Bernanke’s 2002 speech was that there are other things the Fed can do. It can buy longer-term government debt. It can buy private-sector debt. It can try to move expectations by announcing that it will keep short-term rates low for a long time. It can raise its long-run inflation target, to help convince the private sector that borrowing is a good idea and hoarding cash a mistake."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist - The Medium Is the Medium -

Op-Ed Columnist - The Medium Is the Medium - "But there was one interesting observation made by a philanthropist who gives books to disadvantaged kids. It’s not the physical presence of the books that produces the biggest impact, she suggested. It’s the change in the way the students see themselves as they build a home library. They see themselves as readers, as members of a different group."

I Told You So! Dominion, Duke Retail offer lower electric bills | | Cincinnati.Com

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

More from the Enquirer this morning.   See my comments on the preceding blog.

Dominion, Duke Retail offer lower electric bills Cincinnati.Com: "A combination of the weak economy and Ohio's electric deregulation law is creating opportunities for Greater Cincinnati area residents to cut their monthly electric bills."

I Told You So! Duke, Springfield Twp. wrangle over electricity offers | | Cincinnati.Com

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

The aggregation fun starts.  I predicted it.  Click on the label :aggregation" or just put that word up in the upper left space, to collect all my blogs on this.  Now I will do the same to see if I'm right on my comment just now.

What a farce deregulation of electricity is.  What a waste of manpower both here and at the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.  Kentucky regulators never drank the deregulation Cool-Aid thanks to staffer Rick Raff.

Duke, Springfield Twp. wrangle over electricity offers Cincinnati.Com: "An electric service offer from a Duke Energy subsidiary is aggravating Springfield Township officials who say it inaccurately describes the township's new residential aggregation offer to residents."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bill Simmons: Countdown to the LeBron James decision - ESPN

Bill Simmons: Countdown to the LeBron James decision - ESPN: "20. Seven months later, it's happening. I can't wait to watch for the same reasons I couldn't turn away from O.J.'s Bronco chase or the Artest melee: it's Car Wreck Television. If LeBron picks anyone other than the Cavaliers, it will be the cruelest television moment since David Chase ended 'The Sopranos' by making everyone think they lost power. Cleveland fans will never forgive LeBron, nor should they. He knows better than anyone what kind of sports anguish they have suffered over the years. Losing LeBron on a contrived one-hour show would be worse than Byner's fumble, Jose Mesa, the Game 5 meltdown against Boston, The Drive, The Shot and everything else. At least those stomach-punch moments weren't preordained, unless you believe God hates Cleveland (entirely possible, by the way). This stomach-punch moment? Calculated. By a local kid they loved, defended and revered."

Obama’s Lincoln Moment - Opinionator Blog -

Obama’s Lincoln Moment - Opinionator Blog - "The Republican governing philosophy of a criminal deregulatory environment drove the economy into a ditch. And when they put more than a trillion dollars worth of wars on the credit card, they left future administrations with few options."

Obama’s Lincoln Moment - Opinionator Blog -

Obama’s Lincoln Moment - Opinionator Blog - "In case any of us have forgotten, these dead soldiers seem to hail disproportionately from rural and small-town America. Their friends and family might ask Michael Steele, the Republican Party chairman, if they died in “a war of Obama’s choosing,” as he said. If the Democratic party leader had said such a thing publicly, he would be called a coward, or even a traitor, by the loudest voices in Steele’s party."

Obama’s Lincoln Moment - Opinionator Blog -

Obama’s Lincoln Moment - Opinionator Blog - "perhaps the only public figure to emerge from the Bush years with his reputation for competence intact. Gen. David H. Petraeus took command over the 4th of July holiday, saying “we are in this to win.”"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Let Goldman Be Goldman - Opinionator Blog -

Let Goldman Be Goldman - Opinionator Blog - "Unfortunately, nothing in the 2,319-page Dodd-Frank bill addresses the dramatic change in Wall Street’s culture away from taking prudent risks with its own partners’ capital toward a culture that rewards bankers and traders for taking risks with other people’s money. This ethic is pervasive across Wall Street, and not just at Goldman Sachs, which as the last major Wall Street firm to go public — in 1999 — retains more of a partnership mentality than do its brethren."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Best Hour of CNBC

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

Just finished the best hour of CNBC.  Charles Whalen -- Wow.  Then a guy who used to be coo of Shell North America.

Learned more than ever about two huge subjects. FINRA and big oil.

Op-Ed Contributors - Are Profits Hurting Capitalism? -

Op-Ed Contributors - Are Profits Hurting Capitalism? - "The reason for all this saving in the United States is that public companies have become obsessed with quarterly earnings. To show short-term profits, they avoid investing in future growth. To develop new products, buy new equipment or expand geographically, an enterprise has to spend money — on marketing research, product design, prototype development, legal expenses associated with patents, lining up contractors and so on."

Op-Ed Columnist - A Little Economic Realism -

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

David Brooks weighs in on the opposite side of Paul Krugman.  Keynes 1; Friedman 1.

This is important and importantly bad.  1930's here we come.

But his logic about corporate enterpreneurs is flawless.

Op-Ed Columnist - A Little Economic Realism - "You can’t read models, but you do talk to entrepreneurs in Racine and Yakima. Higher deficits will make them more insecure and more risk-averse, not less. They’re afraid of a fiscal crisis. They’re afraid of future tax increases. They don’t believe government-stimulated growth is real and lasting. Maybe they are wrong to feel this way, but they do. And they are the ones who invest and hire, not the theorists."

Op-Ed Columnist - An Easy Call -

Op-Ed Columnist - An Easy Call - "These wholly unnecessary interactions with police officers are frequently traumatic and degrading. Men and women, boys and girls — in a vast majority of cases, black or Hispanic — are routinely ordered to sprawl face down on the sidewalk or in the street, or to spread-eagle themselves against a wall. They are frisked and often verbally humiliated. And I have been told time and again by people who have been through these encounters that police officers have threatened to charge them with disorderly conduct if they dared to raise any objections."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Tricky Day Gone By

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

A Monday following the 4th of July.

Thinking very bad Prectorish thoughts about our economy and our country.  Just read a piece in the New Yorker of this week that darkens the mood, dealing with escape from Sudan. Fiction, I think, but....

Listened to Erick Deters, the Cunningham wanna-be on WLW, on my way to and from Terrace Park to check on Doug and Becca's house.  Raised temperature for air conditioning from 71 to 85.  Watered.

Tonight will be normal, as any pre-trading day is.  Except in dreams. How long before the fall?

Agency Agreed That Spill Risk to Wildlife Was ‘Low’ -

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

The New York Times could not take the next step and explain this subtle fact:

It was the deregulatory boys of Bush who set the passive framework of going along to get along.  Eight years of this.  Now it gets blurred into the Obama watch.

Agency Agreed That Spill Risk to Wildlife Was ‘Low’ - "“If they had looked at a 30-day time span for oil reaching shore, the risk would probably have looked a lot higher and maybe triggered a more stringent review under the Endangered Species Act,” Dr. Small said. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anyone at the agencies asked for that.”"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Taking the Mystery Out of Web Anonymity -

Taking the Mystery Out of Web Anonymity - "“Imagine what would happen if people lost trust in using the Internet: what would that do to our economy?” Mr. Joffe asked. “You would have to go down to your local bank branch and you’d join 5,000 other people waiting to do their banking. That infrastructure has gone away and the banks can’t cope with it anymore.”"

What Is Goldman Sachs Thinking? « The Baseline Scenario

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

This is a simple piece but very profound.  Please click on and read on.  This type of piece by Simon Johnson nips dangerous thinking in the bud.  But to what avail?  The smart guys start something and then the dumb guys plow in and overdo it just as the smart guys are doing a 180.  It's the nature of capitalism.  Do it until Goldman Sachs calls you up and says "you owe us 3 gazillion; pay up," and then does (already did) a giant squid-sucking vehicle that drives the previous-good-thing down and the taxpayers have to pay.  But the taxpayers can't pay. Thus chaos.

What Is Goldman Sachs Thinking? « The Baseline Scenario: "Financial Times (p.13, front of the Companies and Markets section):
“Debt-to-GDP ratios in the developed world are about double those in emerging markets and they’re growing. This makes emerging markets interesting because you’re pick up incremental spread [higher interest rates compared with developed world rates], and in return you’re actually taking less macroeconomic risk.”This is a dangerous view for three reasons."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Strategies - Robert Prechter’s Market Forecast Says ‘Take Cover’ -

Strategies - Robert Prechter’s Market Forecast Says ‘Take Cover’ - "Strategies
A Market Forecast That Says ‘Take Cover’By JEFF SOMMER
Published: July 2, 2010
WITH the stock market lurching again, plenty of investors are nervous, and some are downright bearish. Then there’s Robert Prechter, the market forecaster and social theorist, who is in another league entirely."

Talking Business - On Financial Crisis, Hearings That Aren’t Just Theater -

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

Joe Nocera, whom I am sometimes critical of,  does a good job here, waiting a couple of days to get it right, reporting regarding the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearings of this week.

Talking Business - On Financial Crisis, Hearings That Aren’t Just Theater - "He added: “I have been taken aback at the extent to which our financial markets, in addition to their traditional role, became betting parlors. I have also been struck by the way we built up a shadow banking system that was subject to enormous runs. And by the absolute failure of the regulatory mechanism. And how, with so many of our witnesses, when it comes to assessing responsibility, all fingers point away from themselves. And the way we forgot some fundamental lessons about balance between private enterprise and public good.”"

The White Ribbon Movie Review - Read Variety's Analysis Of The Film The White Ribbon

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

The White Ribbon Movie Review - Read Variety's Analysis Of The Film The White Ribbon: "rural village in pre-World War I Germany to advance the notion that malice is arguably the dominant human trait."

I stayed with this long movie happily and willingly for one main reason:  knowing that it took place in 1914 I could imagine the people who were about to live through WWI, the Weimar Republic, Hitler and then WWII.  They were people, their barns were just like Pennsylkvania, they had lusts and secrets and farm animals just like Hamilton, Ohio.

The movie has nothing implied and hints at nothing coming.

Just like a snapshot of a lazy 10:50 am, July 3, 2010 implies and hints as nothing coming.

Book Review - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - By David Mitchell -

Book Review - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - By David Mitchell - "And so for a time, the novel becomes an urgent adventure story. It turns out that to forgive debts incurred by her father, who has recently died, Miss Aibagawa has been bequeathed to a pseudo-­respectable demigod who runs a kind of bizarre nunnery called the Mount Shiranui Shrine, where the women are drugged and impregnated and kept for decades against their will. Miss Aibagawa is told it will be 20 years before she is able to see the World Below again. De Zoet learns of her captivity and is determined to rescue her, but complications, too many to mention, arise."

How to Read This Blog

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

OK, times change.  It is so easy to clip a paragraph from something I'm reading on the web, and then include it on this blog.  Without comment. 

It's lazy but it gives me a quick window into the article that I can later click on and read in full.  And it's cloud computing which keeps track of pretty much every article I read.  And I am hoping that dear relatives are secretly signing on to read my blog.  Some aren't so secret and admit to doing it, which gives me immense pleasure.

The most hilarious web item read in the past month is "You Suck at Photoshop," which, as I said, is simply hilarious.  And it replicates itself with an enfolding story of Donnie Doyle's, the author's, ingeniously funny "life" and "marriage."

You can Google it quickly. 

Payback Time - Budget in the Red, Illinois Has Stopped Paying Bills -

Payback Time - Budget in the Red, Illinois Has Stopped Paying Bills - "Few budget analysts are surprised to see Illinois, with a limping economy and broken political culture, edge close to the abyss. Two of the last six governors have served jail terms, and a third is on trial."

The White Ribbon Movie Review - Read Variety's Analysis Of The Film The White Ribbon

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

Saw this movie last night (Netflix) and liked this "warm narrative."

The White Ribbon Movie Review - Read Variety's Analysis Of The Film The White Ribbon: "The only warm narrative thread is the endearingly bashful courtship between the pudding-faced young school teacher (Christian Friedel) and 17-year-old Eva (Leonie Benesch), who works as a nanny at the Baron’s estate. The ever-so-gradual blossoming of their romance is a tickling delight, even though one suspects Haneke will throw a monkeywrench into it."

The White Ribbon Movie Review - Read Variety's Analysis Of The Film The White Ribbon

The White Ribbon Movie Review - Read Variety's Analysis Of The Film The White Ribbon: "The villagers here live a mostly isolated existence far more redolent of 19th century life than of the mechanized 20th century that will soon engulf them, and the film meticulously conveys both the physical realities of the times and of the moral strictures under which almost no family is a stranger to child abuse, malicious behavior, adultery and premature death. About the only leading character immune from such a stigma is the childless one, the schoolteacher who, in a welcoming older voice (Ernst Jacobi), also serves as the sorry tale’s narrator."

Building a case for natural gas - The Globe and Mail

Building a case for natural gas - The Globe and Mail: "Among his favourites are ARC Energy Trust, Bonavista Energy Trust, Nuvista Energy Ltd., Peyto Energy Trust and Progress Energy Resources Corp."

A Canadian solution to the Gulf oil spill - The Globe and Mail

A Canadian solution to the Gulf oil spill - The Globe and Mail: "He has urged Florida officials to sprinkle the moss just off shore once an oil flow is spotted. The moss can float for about four hours and when it washes ashore it can be easily picked up and taken away. Florida officials were unavailable for comment Friday but Mr. Green said they are considering the moss."

Friday, July 2, 2010

MIT: The Future Is A (Natural) Gas « The Energy Source -

MIT: The Future Is A (Natural) Gas « The Energy Source - "Its importance is parsed in great detail in a report released today by MIT called 'The Future of Natural Gas.' It's one of a series of reports by MIT's Energy Initiative, headed by Ernest Moniz, an MIT physics professor and former Under Secretary of the Department of Energy. In the past, the group has produced reports on coal, nuclear power, and geothermal power."

The G20’s China Bet « The Baseline Scenario

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

Wonkish but necessary to read.

The G20’s China Bet « The Baseline Scenario: "The G20’s China Bet
with 40 comments
By Simon Johnson
The G20 communiqué, released after the Toronto summit on Sunday, made it quite clear that most industrialized countries now have budget deficit reduction fever (see this version, with line-by-line comments by me, Marc Chandler and Arvind Subramanian). The US resisted the pressure to cut government spending and/or raise taxes in a precipitate manner, but the sense of the meeting was clear – cut now to some extent and cut more tomorrow."

Krugman: A depression is coming - The Globe and Mail

Krugman: A depression is coming - The Globe and Mail: "Who knew that Paul Krugman, the economist and New York Times columnist would emerge as a voice of doom? Mr. Krugman, who has recently been arguing the necessity of continuing stimulus spending at a time when the global economic recovery is weak, is – to put it mildly – disappointed by the G-20’s commitment of deficit reduction."

Op-Ed Columnist - Such, Such Are His Joys -

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

An odd column by David Brooks, that, simply, simply, must be read:

Op-Ed Columnist - Such, Such Are His Joys - "On Wednesday, the essayist Christopher Hitchens announced that he has cancer of the esophagus and will soon begin chemotherapy. There are others who know him better than I who can reflect on his illness."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cincinnati.Com | Cincinnati Enquirer | Paul Daugherty » The Morning Line, 7/1

Cincinnati.Com Cincinnati Enquirer Paul Daugherty » The Morning Line, 7/1: "Cincinnati.Com Staff
PaulDaugherty wrote:

Ah. Occasionally, TML forgets the list of readers (i.e. Morning Mobsters, aka Mobsters) is growing exponentially and thus, a glossary of TML-isms is needed.

DBJ -- Daily Blog Jack, a lame effort to increase the page views, usually with scantily clad women.

MPWS -- My Pirates Who Suck

Pogo -- an informed Mobster. More Pogos welcome

Shin -- an informed Mobster who happens to be right of Reagan politically

The Men -- the Cincinnati Bengals

The Club -- the Cincinnati Reds

Keystone -- The Morning Man's beverage of choice

The Morning Man -- me
7/1/2010 10:15:59 A"

Op-Ed Columnist - The Most Unhappy Fellow in Washington -

Op-Ed Columnist - The Most Unhappy Fellow in Washington - "Boehner said. “But all of this other drilling that’s going on down there in the more shallow waters — there’s no reason to have a moratorium.”
This is actually a perfect description of the Obama policy. It was as if Boehner had denounced the health care reform law by saying that it would probably be a good idea to require people to have insurance and subsidize it for the poor, but that there was absolutely no reason to nationalize all the hospitals and have them run by the Army. Boehner looked burned-out in the interview, like a sullen college student sitting through a boring seminar. A very tanned, puffy-eyed, 60-year-old college student."

Op-Ed Columnist - The Most Unhappy Fellow in Washington -

Op-Ed Columnist - The Most Unhappy Fellow in Washington - "Which Brown claimed he could not support. This was at the same time that he was refusing to give the Democrats a final critical vote on extending unemployment benefits. We have here a populist man of the people playing the role of friend to the big banks while not being particularly helpful to the long-term unemployed. What can I tell you? The guy is extremely popular in Massachusetts. Maybe it’s because he drives a truck."

KaChing Lets Investors See and Mirror Experts’ Trades -

KaChing Lets Investors See and Mirror Experts’ Trades - "Daniel Carroll, who started investing when he was 15, thinks he has a way to let average investors learn about investing while experts manage the money. In 2008, he started KaChing, a Web site where 400,000 amateur and professional investors manage virtual portfolios. Others have logged on to see what the investors on the site are doing and make the same trades in their own real portfolios."

Mad Money's Jim Cramer: Confused by Market’s Contradictions? Cramer Explains - CNBC

Mad Money's Jim Cramer: Confused by Market’s Contradictions? Cramer Explains - CNBC: "The euro, meanwhile, is trying to stabilize despite problems with the PIIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Italy Greece and Spain. But Ireland’s economy has improved, Italy’s problems were always “vastly overblown,” Cramer said, and as goes Spain so goes Portugal. And the rebound in Spain’s megabank, Banco Santander, means there’s now less reason for concern about that country. Yes, there’s a good chance Greece could default, but Cramer doubted it would send the euro down to $1 from its present exchange rate of $1.22. Plus, both the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank seem to be getting the Continent’s debt crisis under control. In the very least, they’ve made it manageable."

Is a cottage a good investment? - The Globe and Mail

Is a cottage a good investment? - The Globe and Mail: "Buying a cottage is most often an emotional purchase of an idyllic family haven -- so don't kid yourself into thinking it's also a sound financial investment."

Passing along the keys to the family cottage - The Globe and Mail

Passing along the keys to the family cottage - The Globe and Mail: "Spring is here and summer is on the way. If you’re like many Canadians, you might be heading to the cottage in the next couple of weeks to put the boat in the water and do some spring cleaning. My cottage is really easy to look after. I can drive to Muskoka and in 12 minutes have the place ready to go. It’s called a tent. And it comes with a skylight – a rip in the canvas. That’s right – canvas."

Cassano Switches Topics and Committee Goes Along

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

What kid gloves.  Disgusting.

Cassano defends actions at AIG: "Joseph Cassano, who oversaw the American International Group unit that doomed the company and prompted a $182 billion federal bailout, defended his investment decisions Wednesday, adding that he could have saved taxpayers money if he had stayed with the firm."

Joseph J. Cassano -- Crisis Panel Hears of Goldman Push for A.I.G. Cash -

(c) 2010 F. Bruce Abel

OK, we had Pod One of the Giant Sucking Squid in the examination room (of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission) the real one:  Joseph J. Cassano.  And CNBC missed it by not only not showing the whole thing but when it showed clips one could not know who was Cassano and who was the chairman of the commission, etc. They missed it because, unlike me, the reporters at CNBC do not know who the real focuses should be on. C-Span missed it.  Today's Gretchen Morgenson sort of missed it.  Cramer missed it last night -- no mention.

I was able to go onto and get it.

Another pod of the Giant Sucking Squid, Goldman Sachs, was also in the room, casually draped over and into a federal chair.

And Cassano "got away," without even a flipped tie, from the Commission! and its excellent cross-examiner, creating a plausible parallel world in the mind of the chairman, the latter of whom appeared on all the nightly news shows -- at least one -- and put the blame on Goldman Sachs and said Cassano "had a point."

Cassano, who started with Michael Milken, now has taken part in destroying the financial world twice.

He not only keeps his hundreds of millions, he becomes the darling of the committee.

Read on Gretchen's story of this morning:

Crisis Panel Hears of Goldman Push for A.I.G. Cash - "But perhaps more revealing than the executives’ explanations was the release of 500 pages of documents by the panel, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, showing how Goldman’s aggressive and repeated demands for billions in cash from A.I.G. drove the insurer to the brink of failure in September 2008."