"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sense of purpose

Charlie Rose Talks to the Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein - BusinessWeek:

"What do most people say on their deathbed? They don't say, I wish I'd made more money. What they say is, I wish I'd spent more time with my family and done more for society or my community. So I'm now 60 years old. And I'm doing what I call sprinting to the finish. I'm very concerned that if I slow down and retire, my immune system will relax, and all of a sudden the germs will come in and I'll die at 61. I want to accomplish much more than I did in my previous 60 years because I now have the resources, the access, to do things I couldn't do before. I'm actually more heavily scheduled than I was before, and I love what I'm doing."

Concerns about Washington's drift

Do the Democrats favor big business because it's easier to manage?

Fact And Comment - Forbes.com:

"Under the corporatist state, private companies exist but take their direction from government. Competition is seen as wasteful and destructive and therefore must be 'managed.' There is a basic hostility toward small businesses precisely because there are so many of them, making them harder to regulate and more apt to do things without government permission."

Now, with an apparent limit to government debt, or at least serious concerns about deficits, and with consumers, rightfully, retrenching, we need the business sector to invest.
But with the consumer re-capitalising their balance sheets, and slow or slowing growth abroad, business is cautious.
Layer on uncertainty about taxation and regulatory policy, and business will not invest.

Then we have a recess appointment of new head of Health Care

Why a recess appointment?
Rationing heath care?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maybe Chomsky got it wrong

Is there a "universal language"?
Maybe not

Does Language Influence Culture? - WSJ.com:

"...new research shows us that the languages we speak not only reflect or express our thoughts, but also shape the very thoughts we wish to express. The structures that exist in our languages profoundly shape how we construct reality, and help make us as smart and sophisticated as we are."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Act Naturally

Buck Owens - Act Naturally

"They're gonna put me in the movies
They're gonna make a big star out of me
We'll make a film about a man that's sad and lonely
And all I have to do is act naturally"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Problem and Prospects

Calories are cheap
So we have obesity problems

Calories are cheap, so consumers, if they choose, can pay more per calorie - the core idea behind my food investing

CARPE DIEM: As Share of Income, Americans Have the Cheapest Food in History and Cheapest Food on the Planet

Just say NO

Not for me, but then I don't live in an urban area
Nissan Leaf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Butt Ugly
100 mile range "depending on how you drive and what accessories you have on"

"zero emission" ... it runs on Electricity = COAL (or nukes, or hydro, or nat gas, unlikely to be solar, wind)

The only way this will sell is "fanatics" and subsities

No real surprise

Wrong headed policies from Washington
From uncertainties arising from health care reform to prospects of tax increases, from spending on make-work projects (census?) to hostility towards business, there is growing malaise in small business.

The march towards a social welfare state is bound to discourage invention and investment.

Layer on the dearth of credit from banks, and we have growing gloom.

Suggestion : bring some positive, predictable policies to the table.

Small-Business Confidence in U.S. Drops to Three-Month Low - BusinessWeek:

"July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among U.S. small businesses fell in June to the lowest level in three months as projections for profits, sales and economic conditions weakened, a private survey found.

The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index decreased to 89 from May’s 92.2 reading that was the highest since September 2008, the Washington-based group said today. Seven of the index’s 10 components dropped, led by a decline in the economic outlook six months from now."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010

China links


Various links

Advisor Perspectives

On interest rates
Likely best for hedging a long bond portfolio, but could be interesting tool against a portfolio of long dividend payers.

A need for rule sets
"a distinction between the complicated and the complex."

Op-Ed Contributor - The Euro’s Lost Promise - NYTimes.com:

"The dream of monetary union across Europe has turned into a nightmare. Led by France and Germany, European countries have decided to spend colossal sums of taxpayers’ money they cannot afford to heal mounting internal disparities they cannot conceal to shore up an edifice many believe cannot stand."

Greece—US Faces Same Economic Woes As Greece: Marc Faber - CNBC:

"'Many people haven't woken up to the severity of the US fiscal crisis,' Faber said by phone. 'The only difference for the US from Greece is that it can print more money.'

Faber said that most western countries as well as the US cannot pay for unfunded liabilities and that more sovereign defaults will happen in the future."


EU Debt Crisis - Government Expanded 'Like a Cancer': Marc Faber - CNBC:

"Governments have intervened too much in free markets since the crisis started, to the point that they are affecting the health of the world economy, Marc Faber, the author of 'The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report' told CNBC ..."

Similar thoughts here
By Jeff Gundlach "The US will Politely Default on its Debt."

"For going on three years, the developed world's economic policy has been dominated by the revival of the old idea that vast amounts of public spending could prevent deflation, cure a recession, and ignite a new era of government-led prosperity. It hasn't turned out that way."

Then we have taxes
The Obama Tax Trap - WSJ.com:

"''Next year when I start presenting some very difficult choices to the country, I hope some of these folks who are hollering about deficits step up. Because I'm calling their bluff.'

That was President Barack Obama, the heretofore unknown deficit hawk, all but announcing the other day the tax trap that he's been laying for Republicans. From what we hear about intra-GOP debates, more than a few will be happy to walk right into it."


The Browning Newsletter ( on weather and environment ) : July Issue

-On June 3, 1979, Mexico’s Ixtoc 1 oil rig had a blowout and spilled 3.3 million barrels of oil spill into the Gulf. This spill was the second largest in history. Most of the damage was confined to Mexico and Texas. The state of Texas had two months to prepare and did a masterful job of protecting the sensitive bays and lagoons protected by the barrier islands. When the Mexican government saw the slick surround the Rancho Nuevo nesting site for the endangered Kemp Ridley sea turtle, it airlifted thousands of baby sea turtles to a clean portion of the Gulf of Mexico to help save the rare species.

It took 10 months to cap the well and the damage was devastating. In some zones marine life was reduced by 50%; in others, 80%. What sur­vived wasn’t much better off. Scientists surveying fish and shrimp in the Mexican coastal waters near the spill, found them infested with tumors. Over 150 miles (241 km) of Texas beaches were coated with oil, some over a foot (30 cm) thick.

What was amazing, however, was how quickly most of the ecology recovered. Warm water, with turbulent hurricanes and growing bacteria recovers much quicker than the chilly Alaskan waters hit by the Exxon Valdez. In the Gulf, much of the oil evaporated; on beaches, the com­bined forces of pounding waves, ultraviolet light and petroleum-eating microbes broke it down. Most of the fish and beach populations were back to where they were before the spill within two to three years. After 6 years, it was difficult to find any evidence of oil. The worst impact was on sea turtles and some of the slow-breeding mammals – these took up to 2 decades to recover.

It doesn’t help this year’s bottom line, but the power of the Gulf to heal itself is awe-inspiring