Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not So Friggin Funny


Ha Friggin Ha

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ha Friggin Ha

GM & Chrysler get B^%# Slapped

Today the Big O Administration decided to get "tough" with Chrysler and GM. They figured if CEOs that have been in the industry for 30+ years can't figure out how to turn a profit, well then the US GOV must show them how. (And we know how well the Feds can balance a budget and produce results. ) Today Obama forced the resignation of the GM CEO Rick Wagoner as a stipulation for additional government aide. A similar move to when Hank Paulson forced our AIG's CEO in 2008. Mr. Obama announced the decision in a press conference addressing the "restructuring" of the US auto industry.

What do you call it when a government starts to control private industry? Not just a business, but an industry. GM and Chrysler screwed up, don't get me wrong. But, shouldn't the company's share holders do the hiring and firing of the CEO, not the President of the United States? Where does this path lead us....?
One thing is for sure, with Obama controlling the selectiong of the CEO of GM (and dont think he isn't) he will be able to pursue his green initiative with an American car maker in his pocket.

Heres an idea. Bankruptcy, its coming eventually, why prolong the inevitable?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


One of my favorite TV show is Frontline on PBS. Although the show is a little on the biased side it provides a great deal of information on relevant topics. Last night's Frontline was no exception.
The episode covered the impact of the Nation's debt and its effect of economic growth. It also covered in detail how we ended up where we are today. It explained how thanks to Bush's increased entitlement spending, the two wars, and the expiration of the pay-as-you-go provision, our nation is saddled with $11 some-ought trillion in debt.

The program also does a good job framing the potential outcome of the Obama spending patterns.

Check it out when you have an hour to burn...

No More Lenders???

What happens when no one wants to buy your bonds? Ask the UK.
Gordon Brown's government completed a failed auction yesterday, selling 1.63 billion in gifts (UK's terms for bonds) out of a total 1.75 billion up for sale. Although this is not a rare occurrence for the UK seeing how it happened about seven years ago. However, if the US sees this type of lending contraction our economy would be in a state of chaos.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Buzz

EU President says US handling of this economic crisis is a "road to hell"
--Tell us what you really think--

Obama picks Volcker to "rebalance" tax code.
I guess 'rebalance' is the new 'redistribute'.

Govenor of the Bank of England warns the PM Gordon Brown to stop spending money. "We are out of Money"

Ha Friggin Ha

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Federal Budget- A Lot of Zeros

The first news story I read today was a piece on Senator Judd Gregg criticizing Obama's budget. If the senator's name sounds familiar it is because he is the same man that Obama picked to head the Commerce Department. He is also the same man who turned down Obama's appointment because he thought Obama's views were too radical. (Surprise)

In the news piece I read this morning Gregg had this to say, Today’s analysis of the President’s FY 2010 budget by the Congressional Budget Office confirms that under the President’s plan, our debt will increase to shocking levels that are simply unsustainable and will devastate future economic opportunities for our children and grandchildren"

After reading Gregg's statement, I had to see this budget for myself.

Here is the Whitehouse.gov copy of the budget.
& Here is the Congressional Budget Office's review of the budget:

...If you decide to take a look at the budget it may give you a headache if you aren't familiar government accounting practices. As a matter of fact, it gave me a headache and I have an accounting background. Never the less they are worth looking over.

There are some major discrepancies in these two reports.
The primary discrepancy in the two reports is the budget deficit calculation. The White House is predicting much lower deficits than Congress. How much lower you ask......oh by about 2.3 trillion lower. In other words, the Big O and the Democratically Controlled Congress are not even close in their forecasts. Is the Big O a little too optimistic??

If you read through the Congressional budget review, which I highly recommend, there sections that are extremely alarming. Here are a few of the things that troubled me:

"Debt held by the public would rise, from 41 percent of GDP in 2008 to 57 percent in 2009 and to 82 percent of GDP by 2019." (FYI the Chinese= "the public")

"Spending for mandatory programs would fall in 2010 and 2011...and then rise by an average of 4.7 percent annually (about three-fourths of a percentage point above the growth rate of nominal GDP) through 2019."

"CBO’s estimate of the deficits under the President’s budget are higher each year than those estimated by the Administration—by $93 billion for 2009 and by about $2.3 trillion for the 2010–2019 period"

"The President’s budget proposal would establish a fund to finance some of the costs of health care reform, although the document does not specify the policies that would constitute such reform"

...and there's more. Check it out for yourself.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Buzz

Todays Buzz

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski tells Obama to worry about economy, not NCAA picks.


Photo of Putin undercover as a tourist surfaces.

Will Japan go to war with North Korea? I’m thinking maybe.

End of the fake-out week long rally? ?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FED Meeting Outcome

The FED decided to buy about $300 billion in longer term US treasuries today, along with another $750 billion in mortgage backed securities.

I am not sure how this will turn out in the long run, but wall street sure seems happy today.

This is effectively going to push down consumer & business loan rates and in turn provide a shot of energy to the market. That is if people are confident enough to borrow, who am I kidding, we are Americans, borrowing is what we do best (or worst).

On the flip side, the dollar will weaken and personal debt will increase. Lets just hope Bernanke can reign in the inflation this type of action will cause better than his predecessor did.

My Ireland vacation just got a little more expensive. Thanks Big Ben!

The Buzz today

-The new administration has laid out a climate plan that could cost up to $2 trillion dollars.

- CPI rose .4% in February. It looks like we might have to hold off on the deflation worries for now. Sorry mainstream media.

-Lance Armstrong has been tested for steriods 24 times since September 2008. I sure hope he is clean.

-The Hybrid fad is finally over...at least until the summer gas price increase.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Market is Sound?

Obama says US market is sound.

I don't think I even need to write anything else about this, but I am bored, so I will.

I think one thing that is going to piss me off with this administration is the fact that they can't tolerate bad press. Over the last couple of weeks the Obama administration has done nothing but tout our situation as the greatest financial crisis our generation has ever seen, and rightly so. After repeating that mantra about a thousand times Americans are beginning to realize that he and the Donkeys are using a Bush/Republican tactic of playing on the fears of Americans to pursue an agenda. Then, this weekend on Obama's glorified weekend vblog he says that the economy is sound despite the mess we are in. Who is he fooling?

Lets recap, our banking system has imploded, foreclosure rates jumped 30% in February, unemployment is up month to month (CA exceeding 10%), the Dow Industrials are down 40% from October 2008, and our #1 treasury holder (China) is doubting our ability to pay back our debt... The market is anything but sound.

On Meet the Press an Obama adviser Christina Romer said this, "The fundamentals are sound in the sense that the American workers are sound, we have a good capital stock, we have good technology." --Are you kidding me? All of these words and there is absolutely no meaning behind them. American workers are sound...ok I guess if you exclude all the unions, We have good capital stock.... I have no idea what she is refering to (cattle maybe, because its sure not our market capital), and we have good technology...compared to who, the East? ummm not really.

Last rhetorical question, if the market is sound why did the American taxpayers just cut about 3 trillion dollars worth of "Stimulus" and "Bailout" checks?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mr. Obama vs. The Market

Monday, March 9, 2009

IRA Violence

Are you kidding me? For the first time in 12 years there has been IRA violence in Northern Ireland. Three people have been killed this week in murders claimed by "The Real IRA", two UK Army soldiers and one police officer. All of this comes one month before my first trip to Belfast.
I just hope these are a couple of one off incidents.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Dow to 5320?

The bleeding continues today with another ugly day on Wall Street.
Almost down 50% from October.

Jim Cramer made a bold prediction today on CNBC. He believes that it is likely that the DOW will hit 5320 this year.
Hate to say it but, that doesn't seem to be stretch of the imagination.

Volcker has an idea from 1933

Today at NYU Stern School of Business Paul Volcker gave a conference that indicated some one is actually thinking about how to fix the bank problem. Up until today the Bad Bank theory has been the talked about solution. However the “Bad Bank” solution is not a solution at all. The Bad Bank idea was designed to ‘clean’ the balance sheets by transferring the toxic debt to a separate entity, a bad bank. Once the toxic debt is off the balance sheet, the theory is that the banks can get back to lending. The “Bad Bank’ idea is a feasible solution for the near term crisis.

But what about the long term?

Paul Volcker says that commercial banks and investment banks should be separated. Under this idea the commercial banks would be focused on providing depository services and access to credit to consumers. The investment banks can then operate with more risk due to the indirect impact of their actions on the commercial bank customer.

Ever heard of the Glass-Steagall Act?
One of the major fixes of the financial system after the great depression was the Glass-Steagall Act. In 1933 this legislation was introduced to give more power to the FED, while also separating the banks by type of business (commercial & investment).

So what happened?
In 1999 Phil Gramm (R- Texas) and Jim Leach (R- Iowa) drafted legislation that effectively repealed the Glass Steagall Act. This bill was passed on party-line votes in the house and senate, and eventually signed into law by Bill Clinton.

So, it looks as if the Big O and the gang are going to end up with legislation that will eventually put us back to what fixed the first Depression, the separation of banks.

The Republicans screwed the pooch on this one!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What I Read

I have been asked what newspapers and sites I read routinely. Although the list is never the same, it is always extensive. I read a lot of online newspapers, a lot of blogs, and many magazines. Needless to say I am thankful for the innovation of RSS.

Here is a list of the usual feeds.

My online reading:

New York Times & NY Post

LA Times, Washington Post


The Irish Independent

The UK Daily Mail

FT- Financial Times

Jerusalem Post

Spiegel - German Weekly - English Version



FEER- (Far Eastern Economic Review)

Drudge Report - The Daily Kos - Slate

My routine magazines-


The Atlantic

The New Yorker

The Economist

Backpacker - Nat Geo Explorer - Outside




Before RSS feeds reading all of these online newspapers/sites would not have been possible. Now, luckily, I have all of my news streamed over to my google home page where I can pick and choose what I want to read. & if I really want to I can now access them from my phone.

Technology giving a news junkie his fix.

Obama Snubs UK's Brown

In my daily perusing of online newspapers and blogs yesterday I found it amazing how many UK news sources are reporting that Obama “snubbed” the UK PM Brown in his visit to the White House this week. The reports stem from the White House cancelling a high profile rose garden press conference as well as a routine foreign dignitary state dinner and reception. To no surprise everyone in Washington and on Downing Street is downplaying the supposed “snubbing”. As we all know, it’s not whether or not Obama actually snubbed Brown that matters. What matters, is how the media reports the incident.

It will now prove to be more difficult for Brown to avoid the “America’s Puppet” label that awaits his return to the Isles.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Billionaire Rivalry

One of my favorite newspapers to read online is the UK's Daily Mail. They don't know how to be unbiased and most of the time their columns laughably crude.

Today they had a column on Bill Gates & family. According to Melinda Gates, despite how much she wants to have an iphone like the other billionaire housewives, they are banned in the Gates house. As a matter of fact, all apple products are banned.

That's what I call taking work home with you.

10.25% Sales Tax!

On April 1st the State of California will increase the sales tax rate 1%. This tax increase will put the Los Angeles County sales tax rate at 9.25%. The worst hit cities are Pico Rivera and the City of South Gate, both of whom will now see a 10.25% sales tax rate.

It makes no sense to me that these two cities are paying the highest tax rates in the state. These areas are desperately poor and they have some of the worst infrastructure in the Los Angeles County area. It is hard not to think like a supplysider when I see this type of thing occurring.

Meanwhile, here in a Republican Orange County, we have one of the lower sales tax rates at 8.75% and the County is much more affluent and functioning. It would be foolish of me to correlate the tax rate to the productivity of a geographic area, maybe it's just a coincidence.

Here is a run-down of some of the increased tax rates:

Republican Counties
Orange County 8.75%
Kern County 8.25%
San Joaquin County 8.75%
Riverside County 8.75%
Merced County 8.25%

Democratic Counties
San Francisco County 9.50%
Los Angeles County 9.25%
Alameda County 9.75%
Santa Cruz County 9.00%
Contra Costa County 9.25%
Marin County 9.00%


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Great Stuff!