There was an old joke I heard once upon a time. A woman flies into Boston one evening for a business conference the next day. Getting very hungry, she gets into a cab and asks the driver where she can get scrod. The cabbie thinks for a minute and says, lady, you're the first person I've ever heard use the past pluperfect subjunctive of that word.
Ever since hearing that little joke, when things get really messed up, I use that word. When it comes to the healthcare issue, we're all scrod. Slowly, even the Left is starting to get it. Back on August 16, rentarainbow posted this: Obama has promised NOT to bargain for lower drug costs | www.partizane.com
As a followup, you might like to see this Air America interview of Greg Palast: Breitbart.tv » ‘Charming Liar’: Progressives Turn on Obama as Air America Exposes ‘Fascist’ Drug DealShareThis
Wow, don't you love that line from Network? Here it is:
Tonight, I'm mad as hell. I visited my mom Thursday and spoke with a cardiologist looking in on my mom while I was there. I mentioned I thought she had acute pancreatitis. He screwed up his face, showing an attitude that suggested I didn't know what the hell I was talking about. He said he'd talk with her doctor and look to see what her amylase level was. Huh? I thought to myself that an irritated pancreas might have a near normal amylase level and still be inflamed. That was just my intuitive guess. I'm a synthesist, a giant sponge that soaks up all sorts of information that I later process and use in new ways.ShareThis
We're very fortunate to have the best healthcare system in the world right here in the good old USA. People come here from all over the world to get the best care in serious situations. Our representatives are now engaged in a quest to reform the best system in the world. By reform, they mean change. The problem is, the vast majority of people with health insurance are very happy with what they have and don't want anything to change. As they hear about some of the unsavory things proposed in the main House bill, 3200, many people are up in arms, especially the elderly folks who don't want to see Medicare cut. They're going to town hall meetings and asking questions of their representatives while being bad mouthed by the Speaker of the House. How disgusting.ShareThis
You may have heard that the "Clunkers" auto rebate program has gone kerplunk, kerplooey. If not, there are a couple of articles about it here:
My wife and I tried to take advantage of that program by going car shopping this week. The program only became officially active starting July 24. I looked up the combined mileage of my wife's 1988 Acura Legend last week and the fueleconomy.gov site said 16 mpg. Based on that, we looked at cars that had a combined mileage estimate of 26 mpg or better to qualify for the $4500 tax refund. The car was for my wife so she drove 3 different Toyotas, a Corolla, the new Prius, and a new 2010 Camry. She really liked the Camry.ShareThis
I know I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating. The Jews who moved into the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), are the same people who were the original inhabitants of that land before they were driven out over 2500 years ago in what is known as the diaspora. They moved to neighboring Arab and Iranian lands. After WWII, these Jewish families were killed, raped, beaten or forced to leave everything behind and move to what became Israel. Prior to the establishment of the Jewish state, many of them lived in refugee camps in tents. It was these same Jews who moved back into their homeland when Israel defeated the Arab forces in the 1967 6-Day War. The story about the expulsion of a million Jews from Arab lands hasn't really been told, until now. Here's their story in 5 parts:ShareThis
Here we are in the worst recession since the Great Depression and yet Apple just announced its best non-holiday quarter ever. How can that be? Simple. Apple makes high quality products people want to buy the world over at prices they can afford. It's an extremely efficient company with excellent margins that maximize profits. Apple is fat free. Let's take a quick look at the earnings that were announced today after the close and what the market reaction is.
The Street was expecting profit per share of $1.17 but the actual number was $1.35. That's spectacular in this economic environment, made possible by surging iPhone and Mac sales. Although DRAM prices are climbing, Apple managed to retain a margin greater than 36%. Guidance for the current quarter, Apple's fiscal Q4, is for $1.18 to $1.23, far short of the consensus estimate of $1.30. Even so, the stock surged to $158.85 in after hours trading after closing at $151.51 in regular trading. Since February, AAPL has traded from a low of $78.20 to today's high, up $80.65, for a gain of over 103%. Yep, the stock more than doubled since the February low.ShareThis
There's a new technology being developed that gives online media a whole new dimension. I found this photo of the duckling using it by flying past a bunch of flickr collections using the arrow keys. You can experience it for yourself by downloading the latest version of WebKit. It'll also be incorporated into Snow Leopard, Apple's next generation operating system due later this year.
For a video of how it works, instructions and links: satine.org » Snow Stack is Here
Here's where you can get WebKit: WebKit nightly build 45754 or later
Once WebKit is installed, go here to play: Snow Stack - WebKit 3D CSS Visual Effects
Here's what it looks like to use, navigating by using arrow keys and space bar to zoom in.
The reason the Fed is doing all the things it's doing right now is because we're caught in a horrible deflationary spiral, as illustrated in this graphic I found via Google images. It's extremely difficult to break out of that spiral. During The Great Depression, it took WWII to do it. What might do it this time? How about if Israel attacks Iran? Yep, that'd do it.
What the Fed is doing is taking extreme inflationary measures to slow and stall the downward-spinning inflationary spiral. Though the retro-rockets are firing full blast, the downward momentum is barely slowing. Unemployment rates will continue to climb through all of next year, though the rate of the climb could slow in the latter half of 2010.ShareThis
White House press conference, Tuesday, June 23:
Major Garrett, Fox News, asked president Obama a question about his delayed substantive response to the events in Iran: "What took you so long?"
Now, it seems we have the answer:
US and Iranian sources report that before Iran's presidential election, the Obama administration sent a secret letter to its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for "cooperation in regional and bilateral relations" and a resolution of the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.ShareThis
Something stirring among some Democrats as they become aware of our president's agenda:
[Though] the Shoah has a central role in Israel's identity, it is not the reason behind its founding and it is not the main justification for its existence. The extreme characterization of this mistaken view is the following: the Western powers established Israel in 1948 based on their own guilt, at the expense of the Arab peoples who lived there. Therefore, the current state is illegitimate and should all be wiped off the face of the map. This flawed argument is not only in defiance of basic human dignity but in plain defiance of history. It is in defiance of ancient history, as told in Biblical texts and through archeological evidence. And it ignores the history of the last several centuries.ShareThis
Big things are afoot in Iran. Nice of the GC to admit the obvious. Now, what are they going to do about it? Good article and a bunch of videos here: Iranian media: Guardian Council admits election fraud
Meanwhile, former Iranian president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is behind the scenes trying to do something about the Ayatollah structure, i.e., replace it.
There's a chance for something truly historical here. Middle class, educated Iranians are angry and resentful about the amount of money being sent to Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iraq in an effort to control the vast majority of the Middle East. Iran could be headed for something akin to a democracy or a republic that represents the will of the people rather than that of a supreme ruler.
It's horrifying to see the violence in Iran against the young protesters and demonstrators. They want an end to the tyranny and the oppression at the hands of the mullahs. The injured are being arrested in hospitals so many are trying to get into embassies for treatment and refuge against those who would arrest them and possibly kill them.
While all of this is going on, I recall a vote back in 2007 that became a campaign issue: Kyl-Lieberman. Remember that? The Senate overwhelmingly voted to condemn the Iran Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. Hillary voted for it, Biden against, and Obama didn't vote. It's kind of interesting to remember that while all this is going on. The left thought that vote paved the way for an attack on Iran.
While helicopters were dropping hot water and chemicals on protesters, Obama hosted Tony Hawk who skateboarded his way down the halls of the White House. Today, O took his daughters out for ice cream in Del Ray at The Dairy Godmother, a boutique custard parlor in nearby Alexandria.ShareThis
A protester's sign spotted in Tehran reads, "Remember What Happened to Saddam!"
Speaking of Iran, some criticism of Obama's response: Charles Krauthammer - Obama Misses the Point With Iran Response - washingtonpost.comShareThis
RIM (Research in Motion) announced earnings this evening and they were good. About 7.8 million Blackberries were sold, a 44% increase over the year ago period. As a result of RIM's guidance for this quarter, though, shares after hours plunged 5.24 initially but recovered somewhat for a loss in after hours trading of .49. Often, if a company announces earnings that are better than expected but provides guidance that's disappointing, the stock will take a hit. This isn't a good environment for tepid forecasts of future earnings.
Shares of Apple rose after hours $1.12 on the news. New iPhone 3G S models are shipping and will be available in stores Friday morning. The iPhone cometh:ShareThis
Saw this on my local news tonight. A young white man moved here to Arlington and made this rap video about his experiences living here. Arlington county is across the river from DC comprising an area smaller than DC. The southern and eastern areas of the county are more city-like while the northern and western areas are lush, green and hilly residential suburbs. The areas shown in the video are built-up yuppie areas closer to DC. We shop at that Whole Foods and the other stores shown in the video.
In honor of Flag Day:
I'm very happy with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech today from the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University. It was a very well balanced speech since it managed to tick off just about everyone, though some admit it was a good speech. What I like about it is that Bibi stood up to Obama's bullying and didn't back down on the issues of Jerusalem or the settlements. He basically told Obama that if he wants to pursue a two-state solution, fine, but it's going to be on Israel's terms which are quite simple:
1. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas must recognize Israel as a Jewish nation-state.
2. Jerusalem will not be divided and must remain under Israeli control.
3. The Jewish settlements in the West Bank will remain, natural growth will happen within them, but there will be no additional land taken.
4. If a Palestinian state is formed, it will have to be demilitarized.ShareThis
There are two remarkable articles today in reaction to president Obama's Cairo speech that make excellent points about it. The first is by Daniel Pearl's father whose son was butchered in Pakistan in 2002.
What's needed is an affirmation of Israel's historical right to exist.
By JUDEA PEARL
A friend asked me to explain why people in Israel, including seasoned peace activists, felt less than buoyant about Barack Obama's speech in Cairo last week.
In theory, Mr. Obama's speech has affirmed everything Israelis have ever hoped for. Peaceful coexistence and mutual acceptance with its Arab neighbors has been the ultimate dream of the Zionist movement since the Balfour Declaration of 1917. So, why not embrace a major U.S. presidential speech that calls for concrete steps to advance that dream?
This Sunday, Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, will give a major policy speech at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He is expected to outline his vision for achieving peace with the Palestinians and the Muslim world. President Obama issued his views in a major speech recently at a university in Cairo. Obama's speech included a demand that Jews halt all building in West Bank settlements (villages), a demand that countered an agreement between President Bush and PM Olmert that served as the basis for Israel's agreement to pursue the "road map" to peace. That demand was echoed by Secretary of State Clinton.ShareThis
Obama gave his big address to the Muslim world from Egypt today and the reaction was mixed. I found it a disgusting mix of lies, distortions, and ignorance, liberally seasoned with horrible moral equivalence. You don't make progress based on falsehoods and a distortion of history. Publicly, Israel lauded the speech but privately, many Israelis were shocked at the rhetoric, some of which might as well have been written by a Hamas official. Trying to improve our image by pissing on the US and Israel might get some cheers from the Muslims but that approach won't achieve anything and it's a defeatist attitude that's doomed to produce nothing but failure.
You can read sycophantic drivel elsewhere but here are some views you might not come across:
Over at Uppity Woman is this wonderful Photoshopped image of Hillary and O by Beethoven Queen:
I love equality, don't you?ShareThis
I was never a Conan fan, except for Conan, The Barbarian. Now, he's the new host of The Tonight Show. I wonder how the ratings will be affected. Isn't his audience the 20-something Bamabots? We watched some of his premiere show Monday night but couldn't take much of it and switched to Frasier on Lifetime.
I used to like Letterman in small doses but not since he started ragging on Hillary. What all this amounts to is I'm avoiding network TV altogether now at 11:35 PM. Anything else is preferable, including TCM, HGTV, the Food channel--anything. I'll even see what's on the FNC. What do you like to watch?
BTW, Obama stopped by Saudi Arabia today on his way to Egypt for Thursday's big outreach speech to the Muslim world. Nothing like picking up some bling from the king.ShareThis
There are two topics I'm very interested in these days: the economy and Obama's shifting positions on the Middle East and Israel. These are two pretty much unrelated subjects but big things are going on with both at the same time. Let's start with the economy.
We're in the midst of a spectacular rally that has been going on for nearly 3 months. What's leading me to think it's near a peak is the declining volume as the market rises. Also, RSI and Stochastic levels indicate the markets are near overbought. I'm not sure what the catalyst will be for a decline but there could be some excuse next week. Of course, I could be wrong.
One of my favorite stock bloggers is Mose Levi who lives in Brussels. During this rally, the only stock he owned was AAPL but he just sold it today (Tuesday). He's still bullish but he's expecting a pullback soon. New iPhones could be introduced on Monday so there might be some selling on the news. The new iPhones will have some great new features and I'll probably get one. Mine is 2 years old and the contract is up the end of this month.
Smart phones are one product area that's doing very well throughout this recession and that probably won't change. They're like little handheld computers always hooked up to the Internet and are capable of using lots of apps that link to the Web.ShareThis
The last Monday in May is when we celebrate Memorial Day. It's a holiday that was set aside as a day to remember those soldiers who died in service to their country but it also marks the official start of the summer season. When I was a kid, it was celebrated on May 30 and marked the date of the Indianapolis 500 and the day the swimming pools opened. It's a long holiday weekend to get away and go to the beach or something.
Three years and four decades ago, I went to New York City for the Memorial Day weekend from Ft. Monmouth, NJ, where I was attending classes at the US Army Signal School. The city was like a ghost town. A night's stay at the Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen's Club cost $1.50. I remember walking barefoot through the Guggenheim Museum. I never gave much thought about those who died in combat.
Some years ago, I went jogging with a friend from Georgetown to the Memorial Bridge and the National Mall. We happened by the Vietnam Memorial Wall and that thing hit me like a ton of bricks. Overcome with emotion, it was all I could do to keep from sobbing on the spot. The emotional impact was so great, I've never been back since. I had been a soldier in Vietnam and knew some of the men whose names are on that wall.ShareThis
A distress call, if you like, for we are indeed in distress but it's also the first day of May. Communist countries usually have a May Day celebration but it's also a day celebrated by many different sorts of countries and by socialists.
For me, May Day is the day that my new Corian tub surround will be installed and when I get my new custom Corian vanity top with integrated Corian bowl. Next week, the new bathroom will be painted and the new fixtures installed. It has been a long, slow, difficult, exhausting, and very expensive process but I'm sure we'll be happy with the results.
The stock market has done very well since the early March lows but this extensive rally may soon have run its course. The easing of the mark to market rules and short covering can only get the market so far before reality once again starts to take hold.
Have a very happy May Day!ShareThis
Besides being Earth Day, it's also Apple's earnings day. Apple is a great American company that has a global presence in the tech sector. Born on April 1, 1976, it has always been about being different and finding better ways to do things. I'm using the latest MacBook Pro with its sleek glass Multitouch trackpad as I write this. It's a real dream machine carved out of a solid ingot of aluminum. I also have an iPhone that can do lots of amazing things. There's an App store within the iTunes store where you can download thousands of little apps for both the iPhone and the iPod touch. Launched only several months ago, the App Store is about to reach 1 billion downloads. Buy an app now and you could win $10,000 in prizes: 1 Billion App Countdown. You can also see some cool TV ads here.ShareThis