Friday, December 19, 2008

Thoughts Before the Holidays

Before I start, I just want to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy New Year. It has been an interesting 2008 and here's to 2009 being a happy and healthy one.

On a news-related front, Blago made a public appearance today and gave one of the most incredulous, cocky speeches I've ever seen. Please watch it's short and amusing. He is "not guilty" he will "fight and fight" until his "last breath". He said NOTHING of substance. He reiterated that he will not quit his position. He should at least step aside and let the investigation proceed. I'm sure he can't be an effective governor with the media circus around him. I still don't know who more of a loser...him or Madoff.

Take a look at this chart on returns from the Madoff fund. It's a straight line for the past 20 years! Contrast that with the chart of the S&P....note the fluctuations. How did this not trigger any alerts? Unbelievable. Remember, if it's too good to be true, it can't be true. That performance is too linear! Second, why he is not in jail??? And, third, where is the $50 billion dollars? He could not have spent it all. He must have it hidden in some off-shore account. I hope for the sake of the investors and charities that they will be able to recoup some of that money.

Also, why did Obama pick Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his his inauguration? I know they are friends, but he is overtly anti-homosexual (in fact, he won't even allow homosexuals into his parish), and has many other views that are not in line with most Democrats/liberals. I do applaud Obama for not appeasing only one political view with his choices for his cabinet, but this move is certain to ruffle many feathers on the left because of Warren's hard-right social stances.

Newsweek published an interview with a Somali pirate on the processes involved in hijacking ships. OK, Newsweek, how about not publishing advice on how to be a crook. Bottom line, this pirates need to be taken out and not have their ransoms paid or else it will lead to more hijackings!!

Bush announced the auto-bailout details this morning. It's a $17 billion life-line, but I doubt these companies can get their act together that quickly. I don't know what to think about these bailouts anymore. It's probably like trying to plug a leaking dam with some putty, but at the same time, a FLOOD of new unemployed Americans won't be a welcomed either.

OK, that's enough for now. Again, best holiday wishes to one and all!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Madoff et al.

The Bernard Madoff scandal has impacted several people and organizations, including banks, charities, and pensions that had invested millions of dollars in his investment fund. The director of the SEC issued an official apology today for not catching on to Madoff, who basically stole billions of dollars from investors via the Ponzi scheme. What has the SEC been doing? They go after people like Martha Stewart and Mark Cuban for one episode each of insider trading, but completely miss the fraudulent undertakings of Madoff that had gone on for YEARS. People went to bed as multi-millionaires and woke up with almost nothing the next day. What an evil, narcissistic, arrogant, repugnant man. I am surprised he hasn't killed himself after the whole rouse was exposed, but it just shows how evil and unapologetic he is. The impact of the Madoff case will go beyond the actual dollars that were lost by the groups and individuals. It will likely cause a ripple effect in terms of confidence of investors around the world, who are going to be less likely to want to invest in the stock market. As if the worst year in stock market history wasn't enough to rattle investor confidence.

In regards to the market, the fed cut interest rates to almost zero today, and the market, for the time being, loved the news and rocketed higher. Importantly, the major averages did break above the 50 day moving averages. We'll see if a "Santa Claus" rally ensues, but, it is STILL as bear market, and one must remain cautious and place stop limits.

BTW, did you see the story about the boy named Adolf Hitler Campbell? Apparently, it was his 3rd birthday and his dad ordered a frosted cake with his name written on it, but the employee at the supermarket refused to do so, and they had to go to the local Walmart to get the cake. While I don't think the supermarket should have done that, what on earth were the parents thinking by naming him Adolf Hitler? The kid is going to receive constant teasing and torture from his classmates. How is he going to get a job? The parents are idiots. Even if they were trying to prove a point (not sure what that point is), it is going to seriously and negatively impact the poor kid's life.

On a lighter note, check out this elephant play the harmonica.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Size 10 Shoes

GW Bush was in Iraq giving a speech on Sunday when an Iraqi journalist stood up and flung one then his other shoe at the President. GW showed quick reflexes and ducked out of the way. After reading this op-ed piece by Frank Rich today, it wouldn't surprise me if Rich was diguised as the Iraqi reporter and was the one actually throwing his shoes at Bush. The title of his piece caught me by surprise ("Two cheers for Blagojevich"), but after reading the piece, he makes an excellent point (that the corruption is so broad and deep in Washington and the White House, that it almost makes Blagojevich's follies seem trivial). BTW, here are some funny Blagojevich cartoons.

If Bush would have been giving his speech in Iran rather than Iraq, he probably would have had more than a shoe (or two) thrown at him. They truly practice an "eye for an eye" punishment there. That would mean a lot of torture, electrocution, waterboarding, etc for Dubya.

Interestingly, Mr. McCain (who has vigorously opposed the Bush Administration on the torture issue), does not support Ms. Palin for president in 2012. George Stephanopolous was incredulous and asked again how he cannot support someone that he chose to be his V.P. and the next-in-line were he to fall ill, but McCain said, "my corpse is still warm" (he really didn't answer the question except for some mumbo jumbo that this is a new election cycle). Actually, I have to give McCain more credit than people like Rush Limbaugh who continue to blindly and stupidly support Palin for the 2012 run. McCain is being honest as he realized the grave mistake he made in choosing her. THE MAVERICK!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How did he get the fox urine?

This story immediately caught my eyes. A man who was fed up with some kids that had toilet papered his house sprayed the teens with fox urine. The article says he had a squirt gun filled with fox urine and sprayed them as they approached his house.

I am in complete disbelief. How can the report not indicate how on earth this man collected fox urine??!?!?!?!? Does anyone have any ideas how one would do so? Please educate me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


A new poll that indicates that most Americans are pessimistic about the economy (and have very negative views of congress), find that 67% of Americans have a favorable view of Obama (and only 14% have a negative view). That's really quite impressive, because it means a lot of Republicans are viewing him a favorable manner. I think that the moderate and excellent cabinet he is putting together has a lot to do with it.

There's a recent piece on a sports recession. Honestly, I don't know how the average fan can afford to attend several sporting events if things are as bad as they seem in the economy. The price of the tickets, drinks, food for a family of 4 costs at least $300-400 for any major event. Plus, really, with HDTV, it's so much more comfortable to be watching from home. Of note, CNBC just added an HD channel. It's awesome. They have constant cycling charts on the right side of the screen and the stock quotes at the bottom are just so crisp and clear.

BTW, The silver lining of the recession....lobsters are on sale because of the glut!

Gov. Blagojevich isn't giving up. Obama is calling for him to step down, but he won't...yet. He's quite an persistent little-bugger, isn't he? Here's a little montage of jokes from the late night circuit regarding the most reputable governor. I love Stewart's line..."he has nothing to hide, except whatever is written on his forehead...which probably says, 'Bribe me'."

Corruption All Around

Rep. Rangel and Gov. Blagojevich are being investigated on major corruption charges. The governor also tried to get the editorialists who were trying to expose his story at the Chicago Tribune fired. These stories are pretty disgusting and push the reputation of politicians into a deeper abyss.
Meanwhile, poor ex-Senator Larry Craig just wanted to have some fun in a men's room and is still losing appeals on his guilty charge. I still don't see the big deal of his actions, especially in comparison to the other dispicable antics that abound in Washington and politics. Plus, men hit on women all the time in bars and other public places. Why can't Larry look for love in the bathroom? My only complaint against him is that he keeps insisting that he's not gay. Larry should just come out of the closet (or bathroom stall). And, if he did come out, he would get to call in sick to work (if he still had a job...which, in my eyes, he still should).

O/T check out Gov. Blagojevich's frontal hairline. At least no one can tell when he furrows his brow. And his brow will become very furrowed when he hears his sentence (and meets his cellmate in prison).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quick Update

Good job by everyone keeping the discussion flowing while I was away/busy. Haven't had too much time to focus on the blog tonight, but here are some things that caught my eye.

1. The real "Mr. Short-term Memory" died today in New Haven. He had been the subject of several medical studies of the brain. Remember the Tom Hanks as "Mr. STM" on SNL?

2. Cojones- John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch recently requested a $10 million bonus for this year. Are you kidding? I don't know how right it is for the government to regulate CEO salaries/bonuses, but I think that companies that received government money should not be giving out bonuses for AT LEAST this year. Mr. Thain did withdraw his request after public scrutiny, but it is still ridiculous.

3. Bear Grylls, of Man vs. Wild, was injured in Antartica. It was only a matter of time. I hope he will be OK soon that he can resume taping one of my favorite shows and start drinking the fresh blood from the severed jugular of a yak again.

4. This study on the spread of happiness totally makes sense, but it does seem like it was a lot of work to actually prove. It was published in BMJ. Fortunately, sadness does not spread as easily. Each happy friend increases your own chance of being happy by 9 percent, whereas each unhappy friend decreases it by 7 percent. Choose your friends wisely!

5. The above study also demonstrated that obesity co-segregates. A person's likelihood of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given time period. I guess that would explain the new study that demonstrates that Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas are the unhealiest states in the U.S. Nothing against BBQ and other types of Southern food, but the portion sizes are just way too large.

6. Dog tries to save injured/dead dog in highway in Chile. Watch the video- it's pretty incredible. A new study also demonstrates that dogs have a sense of fairness. And, in Chicago, an obese dog froze to the sidewalk. Thankfully his layers of fat saved him from freezing to death.

7. OK, so the shooting and death of the teenager in Greece was a tragedy that needs thorough investigation. But, three days of rioting in Athens? That's enough. These people are always protesting in the streets. Where does it get them? What is this destruction going to accomplish? Already several have been injured now. Time to round up some Spartan police officers to quell the unrest.

8. The recession is even affecting television. NBC will cut back the number of hours of programming during primetime. And, in an interesting move, Jay Leno will move to 10 PM timeslot after Conan O'Brien takes over the 11:30 time slot in the spring. Conan is a gem. I'm glad he will have a chance to be seen by more people in the earlier time slot.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I did a quick scan of the news and between the economy (it was announced today that the recession actually started in Dec 07), the stock market (7th largest loss in market history), fiscal emergency in California, the continued terrorist attacks in India (a bomb exploded on a train today), and even the flooding of historic Venice, there is just not much in the way of uplifting stories to discuss.

I'm going to be away at a conference and interviews for the rest of the week, so blog updates, if any will be sparce. For those of you that haven't checked out the comments sections, there are some real fireworks and good discussions here (blog record 38 comments in regards to a single post).

Hold down the fort while I'm gone. Start a new string of discussion on a topic in the comments section for this link if something strikes a nerve!