The US has enjoyed the top AAA credit rating since 1917 and now, it's history. Standard & Poors, the ratings agency that deals with sovereign debt, just downgraded our long term credit rating late Friday night after the after hours markets were closed in the US. Everyone is pointing fingers but not taking the blame for what happened. It was simple. S&P warned but no one took them seriously enough to prevent the downgrade. Now, we all have to live with the consequences.
There's a lot of blame to go around for the creation of the financial meltdown we had a few years ago but the problems began all the way back during the Carter administration. To be fair, though, the problems for the country began in 1913 when president Wilson created the extra-Constitutional Federal Reserve which took monetary policy out of the hands of Congress and put it into the hands of those who are not answerable to anyone. Since then, over the past 98 years, we've had a series of boom and bust cycles or bubbles. We've lived through some of them. After each bubble pops, there's a recession. Some recent bubbles were the tech or dot com bubble which popped in 2000, followed by the 2001 recession; the housing bubble which began to pop in 2006, followed by the recession which began in December, 2007; and the oil bubble that popped in the summer of 2008. The stock market crashed a few months later.ShareThis
That's a little snark monster. Do we really need to see him stalking these pages? Anyway, this thread gives me a chance to say something about what's going on. I haven't been inclined to continue economic and investing updates due to a seeming lack of interest but today's drop might have gotten some attention.
A correction was due after such a strong bull market over such a long period of time. The market is down only 10.54% and a correction is usually in the 10 to 15% range. It's normal and nothing to get panicked about, though there was panic in Europe and for good reason. What happened to Greece is happening in other countries with larger economies. The world economy has slowed and governments don't have the resources to continue making payments to a bloated welfare state. What we're seeing are the consequences of socialism run amok. Socialism is a parasite on the capitalist host. When times are good, the economic drain from socialism isn't noticed so much but when the business cycle turns negative, it's noticed.ShareThis
Remember Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild back in 2008 supporting Hillary? She was on Fox News Channel fairly often talking about her support for Hillary Clinton's campaign and she was great. When it became apparent that the DNC had been taken over by the far left and that they weren't about to give Hillary a fair chance, Lady Lynn joined the ranks of the PUMAs after Hillary dropped out a week later. She then supported John McCain, the only alternative to Obama and the far left agenda he represented. Now, Lady Lynn is supporting Jon Huntsman, Jr., in his bid to win the GOP nomination for president.
I've been somewhat busy lately so haven't had much of a chance to post my thoughts here but at BJ's urging, here I am. :) These past several weeks, my mom has been gradually undergoing a transformation from stalwart Obama supporter to at least the point where she's willing to support a GOP candidate if the right one rises to the fore. I've gotten her to watch some of Glenn Beck's shows, some of Fox news, and have been apprising her on a weekly basis of what's going on with the economy and with Obama's treatment of Israel. My mom often reacts to situations emotionally and puts her money where her heart is. During the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, she gave money directly to Israel's treasury with the help of the Israel embassy in Washington. (Inheritance? What inheritance?) ;)ShareThis
I've been wanting to write something for some time but haven't managed to for one reason or another. The media ignores the important issues that affect our lives while spending vast amounts of time on little things like some congressman's member. Ooo, ooh, maybe Rick Perry will get into the race! Yeah, all we need is another globalist in the WH. Hey, let's all try our hand at reading Sarah's emails to see if we can dig up anything juicy. With the Washington Post and the New York Times poring over mountains of emails, all they've come up with so far is that she once said, and I'm quoting verbatim now, is "sheesh!" Geez, where are the character assassins of yore? Maybe they'll invent something. Yeah, that could work! Considering the harm done by some past presidents, the idea of a president Palin does not scare me in the least.
So, what ARE the issues that need some attention? Well, let's see.
How about the horrors of global warming?ShareThis
Over at Uppity Woman, I was reminded what day this is. Never forget.
Time to celebrate! Big stock market rally looks probable on Wall Street today. Impromptu crowds celebrating outside White House fence in DC and in Times Square. Lots of American flags, chanting USA, and some Bush/Cheney memorabilia on display. I even spotted a yellow Gadsden flag flown by a Tea Party member. It's happy time!
Some sort of revenge attacks seem likely but at least we got the big fish. He resisted, tried to use a woman as a human shield but she was shot and then Osama was shot in the head, along with some others, including his son.
Update: The op was carried out by Navy Seals. Hurray for the Seals! Fantastic operation, flawlessly executed. Makes the US stronger and the dollar is strengthening on the news.
Update 2: Details on the timeline: Bin Laden is Killed: White House Time Line | Jewish Internet Defense ForceShareThis
Whew! We finally got our 2010 taxes done, ready for mailing. Can't e-file this year because I had to include a form downloaded from the IRS that Turbotax couldn't handle. Things got so complicated, for the first time I had to call an accountant to figure out how to do something. Doing the taxes this time was harder and took longer, thanks to our dear leader. For the first time, we got hit with a huge AMT bill and an unprecedented gigantic tax bill for both federal and state. Guess that's par for the course when you sell some stock and are a partner in 5 restaurants. Someone has to pay for the wonderful benefits the government provides. ;)
Things have been stressful enough doing the taxes but I nearly fainted when I saw the taxes due number after accidentally importing financial data twice. I thought I was importing from two different accounts without realizing all account data was already lumped together by the institution. Good thing I took a look at the worksheet and saw all the repetition.ShareThis
We decided it was time to take the new Lexus on a little trip and get some R&R at the beach. Wow, what a spectacular car! The ride was like a dream. Smooth, quiet and when there's someone ahead of you going too slow, zoom! Just effortless speed. Gas mileage was great! Much better than the V6 in my old car.
Tomorrow, the Super Moon will rise over the ocean. I got some pictures tonight and it was almost full and bigger than usual. This full moon, known as the Worm Moon, is much closer to the Earth because it coincides with its closest approach, perigee. That's something that happens about every 18 years. This clip from NASA explains it:
We're staying in a suite with a fireplace and extra-large whirlpool tub at a luxury spa. Breakfast and afternoon tea are included. Our suite is on the concierge floor so complimentary beverages and snacks are always available in the library. The room also has a refrigerator and wet bar plus high speed Internet. I set up my own wireless network for my iPhone and MacBook Pro.
I'm trying out a new Nikon superzoom camera this trip, the new P500, and it seems to be performing really well. The pictures I'm getting in less than ideal circumstances are better than expected. This one was taken from my seat inside a restaurant by the ocean:
After dinner, I set up the camera on the tripod and took this:ShareThis
Hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day. This is the day my wife and I celebrate the anniversary of the day we met and this time it's our 40th. We celebrated with balloons, red and white carnations, candy, filet mignon and champagne. Last night, we drove out into the Maryland countryside with my mom in the Lexus limo to see the sunset at a mountain park. The sunset was magnificent over the snow-covered rolling foothills. Later, the moon shone through the moonroof as we went to dinner.
We were surprised on Saturday when we got a package from the daughter of my best friend from college. It included a pair of colorful dishes that look like cupcakes and a pair of towels covered with valentine's. We used the cupcake dishes for little heart cakes.ShareThis
As I was responding to Sharyn's comment, Economic Recovery, my post got too big for a simple comment so I turned it into this blog entry. She quoted Robert Reich in his Feb 4 article: Robert Reich: The Jobs Report, and America's Two Economies.
Just about everything he said in his article is wrong.
At a time when corporate profits are through the roof, the Dow is flirting with 12,000, Wall Street paychecks are fat again, and big corporations are sitting on more than $1 trillion in cash, you'd expect jobs be coming back. But you'd be wrong.ShareThis
Wednesday night was the first night of Chanukah, an 8-day festival of lights. Chabad.org sums it up best:ShareThis
Just spent the last 24 hours, minus some sleeping hours, shopping online for Christmas and Hanukah presents. We're trying hard to do things better this year by getting an early start on getting ready to enjoy the holidays. I'm really hoping we can start decorating on Sunday. Neither one of us is religious in any way but there will be a collection of menorahs, Hanukah decorations, Christmas decorations, and lots of pretty lights. Hanukah is, after all, known as the festival of lights and I sure like to see things sparkle when it gets dark so early.
This year, it'd be nice if we could keep things simple but really cool and innovative. Just a little different and more fun would be great. A service organization just opened up a Christmas tree lot nearby and I hope to go there for some greens, a wreath, and some pine roping. Using plastic garlands from China have lost their luster for me.
It doesn't look like Santa will deliver my new car for Christmas this year but it could arrive a month later. Toyota confirmed that is does take 3 months to get a custom built Lexus. Too bad because it'll be a sparkly snowy white. When it does come in January, it might be hard to spot in the snow even if it isn't buried.ShareThis
Thanksgiving is coming in less than a week. The History Channel is having a three day special on the Real Story of Thanksgiving starting Monday at 9 PM. The picture above depicts some Indians with the Pilgrims but the truth is there were many more Indians than Pilgrims at that first Thanksgiving feast in 1621 and they brought food to share.
Some of my forebears came to the new world on the ship after the Mayflower and settled in New England. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays even though I have to do most of the cooking. Even if you only have popcorn, toast, pretzels, and candy, make it a festive day.
Here's where I got that picture: Cosmic Log - Pilgrims and Indians in her family treeShareThis
I love these videos and this one brilliantly explains this second round of quantitative easing:
Inflation is happening so take advantage of sales and buy now.ShareThis
I've been saving up some odds & ends to post so here they are. Please read the open letter from a Hillary Dem turned PUMA. It says what a lot of us are thinking these days. An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh and His Listeners — With Notes on the Democrat Civil War Already In Progress « HillBuzz.orgShareThis
September can be a perilous month for the stock market but especially this year as our economy struggles to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. This is also the month when direct peace talks began between Israel and the Palestinian Authority for the first time in two years. The Islamic Republic of Iran doesn't want there to be any peace that could lead to the creation of a separate Palestinian state. They'll do everything to stop it, including provoking a proxy war with Israel.ShareThis
I'm just a dumb guy but I'm taken with Sarah Palin's Mama Grizzlies effort to empower women. Something has gone horribly wrong with our government and something needs to be done about it. The leftists (progressives, communists, socialists, Marxists, statists, collectivists) should never have been allowed to take over the DNC and BHO should never have won the nomination. Had the DNC rules and bylaws not been changed in 2007, HIllary Clinton would have won the nomination. Without the corruption and voter intimidation in the caucuses, Obama would never have won. Had Hillary won the nomination, she would be president now and the country would probably be on the right track. Obama is president, we're on the wrong track, and we're screwed. Even though Hillary is a self-professed progressive, we'd be doing far better than we are now.ShareThis
(Note: I wrote this last night but the hour was late, I was tired, and forgot to post it. Today, the market fell in reaction to overseas markets which are falling due to European banking concerns. Roubini is warning that Europe faces a double-dip which could affect markets here. Dodd is talking about ending TARP early to fund financial reform. The Shanghai index is down over 4%. Last night, it looked as though we were teetering on the edge, hence the title of this post. Now, we're going over the edge but I'm hoping this is a knee jerk reaction and not the start of a longer downtrend. Consumer confidence plunged to the lowest level since March.)
Monday, June 28. These days, it's hard to know what to think about anything. The strangest things are happening and it's really hard to know what to make of them. It's hard to help feeling helpless in the face of events beyond our control. Of course, three months from the 4th of July, we get the chance to make our views known in the voting booth but a lot can happen in those months ahead.ShareThis
Top 3 stories on Google tonight: Yuan, Golf, and BP. Scanning the Google News page, no mention of Israel or Iran and yet, that's the biggest news right now, if only people knew it. What's up with that? Here are some links that'll give you an idea what's going on:ShareThis
After 3 hours in the dentist's chair today, I'm out of it and sore. I tried to watch the president's speech tonight but fell asleep a few minutes into it. From what I could gather once I managed to gather some of my wits is that he isn't doing a whole lot about the situation but is seizing on the opportunity to grow government even bigger at our expense. Also, his drilling policy could cost 120,000 jobs. This cartoon seems appropriate (click for full size):
In other news, my car deal fell through. No car could be found that matched what I wanted so we'll have to wait 3 months for the new models to come out. No biggie but we're disappointed.
This is an open thread so please feel to discuss anything that's on your mind. :)ShareThis
May 31, Memorial Day, 2010: I bought a new car. It isn't in the area so maybe I'll get it next week or maybe Flag Day. I looked at American cars and Japanese cars made in the USA but finally decided on a car that's only made in Japan, a 2010 Lexus LS 460. It'll look just like this:
I won't bore you with how awesome it is (0-60 in 5.4 sec.), just that it's roomy, very comfortable and quiet. The starfire pearl paint is like fresh fallen sparkly snow. The interior is parchment leather and polished wood.
Once in a while, something happens that makes people, governments, and media outlets show their true colors. This year, on Memorial Day, a group of 6 ships led by communists and terrorists tried to run Israel's arms blockade of Gaza. Because of all the rockets and mortar shells that have rained down on innocent Israelis since 2005, Israel will not allow any country or entity to ship goods directly to Gaza. All food and other aid is transferred to Gaza after being inspected first by Israel to eliminate an avenue of contraband. Ayers, Dohrn helped organize flotilla group | Washington Examiner. » Media Matters Covers Up Obama Ties to Hamas Ally Jodie Evans - Big GovernmentShareThis
Just relaxing and having a nice time at the beach this week. We drove here on Thursday as the stock market was in meltdown mode but I was blissfully unaware. It was a beautiful day driving over the Chesapeake Bay and that's all I cared about. Once we got to the inn, I checked the markets with my iPhone and whoa, the correction I'd been expecting was in full swing. The market has been in decline this whole month but at the same time, the leading economic indicators have also been in decline. It's hard to tell at this point how long this trend will continue. It could be a short term correction followed by a big move up in June. There are so many risks to the economy right now, anything could send it teetering over the edge again. Could there be a double-dip recession? Sure, anything is possible.ShareThis
Sayonara Specter, Sestak wins but Toomey will beat him in November. Rand Paul wins in KY. Looks like a runoff for AR. Anyone have any thoughts on how things are going and looking for November?
Some good news about the economy today but the market is down. Europe closed down sharply on fears of strict reform measures. The economy is definitely improving in the good ol' USA but the unemployment rate is moving higher as some of the long term unemployed start looking for work again. One of the last space shuttles took off this afternoon and it was a spectacular launch.
My wife and I have been doing some car shopping lately so we haven't been paying close attention to what's going on in politics. As with things politicians say, car specs don't always give you the whole picture.
The luxury sedan contenders:ShareThis