Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama's Hope-ocracy

Interesting video. I have no doubt Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats which is why I'll be voting Libertarian. I like the video because it exposes two myths The first myth is that the absence of regulation causes this crisis. The second is that Obama is somehow different from any other Chicago pol.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Think it is Time to Buy

I have a policy that I've always followed when making financial decisions. Find a trend that seems like a sure bet, and take the opposite position to realize a small advantage.

Bubbles are a fantastic opportunity. Whenever I'm at a social gathering involving a group of people who are casual acquaintances, and they talk about investing, I listen carefully for their consensus on "sure things." Many people will discuss the money they've made, the smart deals that have turned out golden. This was the situation in the late 90's, when it seemed everybody knew of some hot dotcom opportunity, and they spoke confidently about how regular patterns of earnings weren't important anymore. That web traffic was the new measure of wealth. Because of this I never invested in Nasdaq, except to buy a handful of put options on Ebay. I kept my pension money invested in an S&P index fund. Each time the S&P rose another 10%, I took 10% of my money and moved it into government bonds. Hence I maintained a steady, but quite unspectacular, positive rate of return through both sides of the dotcom bubble years.

It's the same with real estate. Two years ago everyone you met at a casual social gathering spoke of rising prices. "They're not making any more real estate." They looked at me like I was nuts when I said that if my personal family situation allowed, I would sell my home and rent for a few years, so I could buy a better home and still make a nice profit.

About three months ago I met someone who said he spent all night the night before trading oil futures. A guy just like me, but he was excited to say that he was making as much money trading at night as he was working during the day. "Time to sell oil" I thought.

When the average guy climbs on a financial bandwagon, the smart money gets out. You know a bubble is happening when the people around you start talking about the smart investments they've made, and they are all bets on the the same market trend. How do you know a bubble is bursting? When there are calls for lawsuits, and prosecution of speculators that fleeced the market. That is what is happening now - and panics are a good opportunity too.

So if I had some cash available (which I don't - I have kids in college) I would either buy an S&P index fund, or buy a nice house in a middle-class neighborhood.

At this point, I'm a lot more worried about the Federal Reserve than I am about the stock market. The market may move lower, but when I see the fed taking on $200 billion of mortgage debt by Fannie and Freddie Mae, and $85 billion for AIG I have to wonder. For many years now it has been clear that the U.S. government is in no position to meet its long term entitlements program obligations. Recently the government has been borrowing $12 billion a month to fund the Iraq war. Now it seems it to be taking on $50 or so billion dollars every single day in a futile effort to stabilize markets. And yet at the same time, investors are flocking to three month Treasury bills in what is called a "flight to safety" I think it is significant that investors only feel safe in making very, very short terms bets on the U.S. government.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Smear is Born

This is pretty funny. Pandagon, Amanda Marcotte's left wing hate blog, claims to have found a ... a ... Smoking Gun! You see Sarah Palin is a rape enabler! Make sure you read the comments to see how they plan on using Sarah's signature on a financial document to cast her as pro-rape. Comments like:


Once this story makes it to the MSM the McCain/Palin candidacy is DEAD. As soon as I clear up a few details I’m going to e-mail this to every big city newspaper editor I can find. I would appreciate it if Amanda (or any commentor) could clarify the some minor points which I couldn’t quite pin down from the links in this post. Part of it may be that I’m just bad at interpreting the documents.
I think there’s enough in the HuffPo piece to spark an investigation even without further confirmation so I may go ahead in a couple of days anyway. What newspapers should I e-mail first? Would it be best to start with Andrew Sullivan, who really seems to be on Palin’s case lately?

The way to exploit this is through the fear that mid-stream Americans have about sexual predators attacking them or their loved ones.

Simple. If someone you loved was raped, or you were raped, you would want to have the best evidence possible to secure a conviction and keep the creeps off the street. Here there is no political will - in fact, there is strong political desire - to allow violent pervs to continue to run free.

One commenter had the sense to inject a note of reality:
I’m confused. You guys think that signature on a FINANCIAL STATEMENT means this was her idea or that she was even aware of the change? ROTFLMAO

Of course, this dose of cold water was ignored by all the leftist Karl Rove wannabees, too unwilling to part with their hopes of finding something that will end the appeal of this women. None of them seemed to realize that the issue has been out there for at least a week, and has found zero traction among the only people that matter: normal, everyday voters who are undecided.

Sure, make rape the central issue of this campaign. Bring it up at every campaign stop. Have Obama make an oration on it in each of the battleground states. After all, the persistence of the Patriarchy is one of those hot-button issues that sway voters.

They just can't help themselves.

For another good laugh, check out Dennis the Peasant's Amanda Marcotte Sentence of the Week.

Even Libertarians are Nuts

I'll almost certainly "waste my vote" on the Libertarian candidate this year. But party loyalty only goes so far. This Libertarian-leaning comedian, Doug Stanhope, has created a website where you can contribute money to Bristol Palin to encourage her to get an abortion. The site is easily found if you are so motivated. What a repulsive idea. Lest you think something like this is beyond this pale, or an obvious joke, this lunatic is proud of her contribution.

The world is going nuts. No doubt the pro-choice extremists have no problem with a cash inducement for abortion, as an affirmation of Roe vs. Wade. After all, choice is one of those absolutes that must be unconditionally supported.

The world is going nuts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You Will Vote for The One...

Hat Tip: HillBuzz, a blog for disgruntled Hillary supporters. They bear a deep resentment towards Omama, and are gleefully cataloging the excesses of his supporters as they trash Sarah Palin. They very much want his "sexist" politics to be seen as the reason for his loss this year, so they have their day in 2012.

But these extreme Obama supporters aren't sexists - they just have a general hatred for Americans like Palin.

It is also worth taking a look at the differences in the way Charles Gibson treated Obama and Palin in their initial interviews. The full transcript of Sarah's interview reveals that the interview was edited to make her position on Russia seem less nuanced. Of course they took out Gibson's admission that he misquoted her ("I take your point on Lincoln's words."). And while it may be true that Sarah Palin didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was, it seems that Professor Gibson didn't know, either. Given a choice between two people, one that doesn't know something but is aware there is a gap in her knowledge, versus an arrogant poseur with a misguided confidence in his own knowledge, I'll take the first person every time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Great Piece on Fatherhood

I just came across this and wanted to pass it along. Writing so perfect it takes my breath away. See Dana Blackenhorn on Fatherhood.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Myth of Sarah

From Time:

She embodies the most basic American myth — Jefferson's yeoman farmer, the fantasia of rural righteousness — updated in a crucial way: now Mom works too. Palin's story stands with one foot squarely in the nostalgia for small-town America and the other in the new middle-class reality. She brings home the bacon, raises the kids — with a significant assist from Mr. Mom — hunts moose and looks great in the process. I can't imagine a more powerful, or current, American Dream.

I can. It is the myth of the activist, living in the fire with the common people who are oppressed by racism and capitalism. The heroic activist that stares down bigotry, and, even in the face of threats to his life, rails against injustice like a Prophet. One who stands before the multitude and uses the rhythm and cadences of the old spirituals to inspire new efforts towards justice with the power of extraordinary words.

We see The One in our yearning for the sixties.

She Didn't Cry

Well, she didn't cry. Consider her position: she finds herself suddenly at the center of a media firestorm, and many think her choice for this position was a huge mistake. There are claims she is completely unqualified as a candidate. There are claims she is a terrible mother, and there are all sorts of weird stories floating around the internet about her pregnancy, and about her daughter.

So you need to walk out into a convention hall, stand in the lights, in the full knowledge that there are millions of people watching, many of whom hope you embarrass yourself

She didn’t just do well. She did more than that. I've been following convention speeches since 1968, and there is no question that this was the best speech I've ever heard. I've heard Kennedy in 1980, Reagan in 1980, Cuomo in 1984, Jackson in 1988. I watched The One stride out of his temple, and add yet another speech to his series of Greatest Speeches Ever Made.

But guess what? Sarah, in her very first national appearance, facing pressure greater than Kennedy, Jackson, Cuomo, and Obama, beat them all. It isn’t just me. Look this poll. Democrats liked the speech better than Republicans liked Obama. Twice as many independents felt better about Sarah Palin after her speech than they did after Obama's.

She was poised and composed, and she showed no sign of even the slightest anxiety about what she was up against. She seemed completely unconcerned about the attacks made on her. In fact, she seemed to thrive on the challenge, and seemed as comfortable with an audience as Ronald Reagan.

So the election is, right now anyway, about Sarah Palin. As I predicted, Democrats can’t help but attack her, because of who she is. She is anti-abortion, conservative, religious, white, and happily married. She achieved success in athletics with no help from Title IX lawyers. She became the Governor of a state all on her own, putting the lie to assertions that there is some glass ceiling in politics for woman. She'll be attacked because of who she is. And because extreme leftists are motivated by hatred, not policy issues, the attacks on her will continue to be venomous and personal.

So right now the election is about Palin, and compared to her The One looks like yesterday's news. Sarah Palin has an opportunity that few politicians ever have - the chance to set the agenda for a national political movement. Some have compared her to Reagan or Thatcher, but claims like that are premature. She has an opportunity, but it takes a politician of unusual skills to move a nation. It takes more than speeches. It takes a combination of a personal story, the ability to communicate effectively and an agenda, and it isn’t clear what her agenda is, or if she even has one.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Don't Think She'll Cry

From the Weekly Standard:

A nervous young McCain staffer took it upon himself to explain to Palin the facts of life in a national campaign, the intense scrutiny she'd be under from the media, the viciousness of the assault that she'd be facing, etc.:

Palin: "Thanks for the warning. By the way, do you know what they say the difference is between a hockey mom and a Pit Bull?"

McCain aide: "No, Governor."

Palin: "A hockey mom wears lipstick."

I think the Obama supporters think they are still dealing with Hillary, who got all teary-eyed when people were mean to her. Nobody, but nobody, made Margaret Thatcher cry.

Some on the Left Understand Palin

Nopt everybody on the left is clueless on why McCain picked Palin. The Huffington Post understands the real Palin demographic:

McCain/Palin polls at 47%, Obama/Biden at 45% post-Palin. So it's tied, according to Zogby. Enter the Wal-Mart voter. Zogby states "Among those who said they shop regularly at Wal-Mart - a demographic group that Zogby has found to be both "value" and "values" voters - Obama is getting walloped by McCain. Winning 62% support from weekly Wal-Mart shoppers, McCain wins these voters at a rate similar to what President Bush won in 2004. Obama wins 24% support from these voters."

130 million people shop each week at Wal-Mart, but many are repeat shoppers. 57% of the country shops there at least once a month. These are unique, i.e., not counted twice visitors. Over 70% of union households shop at Wal-Mart. Palin's husband is a United Steelworkers union member.

In this election, "Wal-Mart voters" seem to be the new soccer Moms. Everyday Americans shop at Wal-Mart. They understand it. They understand Sarah Palin; hunter, angler, Mom of 5. Instead of planning to punish Wal-Mart with check card legislation, maybe Obama should visit a few of their stores to meet their voters.

Maybe Obama will be smart enough to do this. But if he does visit, he'd be wise to avoid offering them restraining orders they can serve on their husbands, sex-ed and "family diversity" coloring books for their kids, or Planned Parenthood leaflets. He'll have to come up with something else to appeal to the bitter, gun-clinging Neanderthals he finds waiting on the checkout lines.