Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We all know who the top kumquat is in the current realm of American politics. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is most certainly the runner-up. A kumquat not only is a small fruit with a somewhat sweet outside containing an acidic inside, but it also rhymes well with another word for these two certified denizens of hatred and divisiveness. God told them to do it. Yeah! That's the ticket. Just go ahead and put both these self-righteous whack-jobs on the ticket together so the rest of us can vote them out of our lives once and for all!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I paid $2.56 a gallon this morning, the lowest in quite a while, but all logic tells me this sign will be returning to the American landscape sooner than we would like to think. Anyone who is interested in the future of Happy Motoring should visit James Howard Kunstler's blog on a regular basis. He posts new material at least as often as every Monday morning, and sometimes more so.
Although Kunstler has obviously been lumped in with the disciples of Peak Oil by the general public and media, I admire his outlook because he approaches the problem from a more comprehensive prospective than most prognosticators. Rather than quibble over the exact date that oil supplies will be completely expired, Kunstler attempts to warn us of the many ramifications of simply running low on oil. His favorite positive soapbox is describing how we need to rebuild our passenger rail lines. His favorite negative one is how our widespread exurbs will be the death of our current consumer economy. Of course I would love to debate this guy, because I love Texas, suburbia, cars, and the car culture. He loves New York, small towns, and using sidewalks for transportation. Aside from these little nuisances, Kunstler and I are probably a lot alike. We are far left, white, male, nerdy, Baby Boomers of approximately the same age. We are bloggers who have been watching the housing bubble develop and pop since the early part of this millennium. We both know what's the matter with Kansas, but we seem to be powerless to cure it. James Howard Kunstler is one of my favorite writers, even though I have not actually read any of his books.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this little fellow. Unlike his many similar, hate-filled pundit-pals, Glenn Beck does have at least a few rational ideas. Most of these are within the realm of his fiscal conservatism. Unfortunately, the rest of the time, Chipmunk is as bat-wing nuts as his pals over at the Fair & Balanced Network. Remember when The Blues Brothers met the barkeeper: "We have both kinds, country and western!" The recent rumor is that Chipmunk will join the F&B buttheads next spring. I guess that's where he belongs, after all. I shudder to think what they will be paying this little rodent to spread misinformation to the idiotic faithful.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The dirtiest four-letter word in America is not among the list that George Carlin made famous. No, this dirty word drew its notoriety from Ronald Reagan, Phil Gramm, Alan Greenspan, and the George Bushes. In more ways than you can count, the nation reached its zenith in 1969, when the highest tax bracket was 91%. Yes, that's right, not the dinky little 36-39% currently being bandied about like a shuttlecock. Back in '69, rich had a wholly different meaning. There was no such thing as a hedge fund manager whose annual income was measured in billions. There were no Limbaughs or O'Reillys making millions annually in the hate-mongering profession, either. There were, of course, millions of bigoted, but hard working, Archie Bunkers without college degrees who were able to raise families comfortably.
The humongous elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is the wrong decision made back in 1970. The incorrect assumption was that if we cheated logic in every manner possible, we could continue our economy's limitless growth without controlling the population's growth, or even increasing taxes for the social service needs that were certain to explode along with this growth. The short version is that we correctly integrated our public school systems in the '60's while incorrectly refusing to increase funding for the education of an increased population. I coined the tacky, but succinct, phrase breeding ignorance to describe the new direction America took in 1970.
So here we are with an exploding, and ignorant, population facing an ever shrinking job market. A lot of the damage to our job market has simply been the result of technological development. A lot has been due to a crumbling educational system, and the greed is good concept has been a real stinker. Here we are on a down escalator with its switch locked into the on position, and only so many people can squeeze onto its narrow lane. Expansionism, materialism, and imperialism have all contributed to our demise. Sooner or later we shall have to control population growth or we shall all go crashing downward, and some of us will not land on our feet.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Today's scary image is of one of the most despicable, prune-faced, bold-faced liars in America. I am ashamed to say that this piece of trash is the sister of Pat Buchanan, who at least is a professional, intellectual pundit with a few rational things to say. Bay Buchanan is probably the most vomit-inducing talking head that CNN insists on repeatedly shoving down our throats every damn night. Considering the rat doo-doo level to which CNN has recently stooped, this is really saying something!
Friday, October 24, 2008
You thought this was going to be a classic photo of Lon Chaney, Jr., or some other famous movie werewolf, didn't you? See Thirty-one Classic Scary Nights in October for more on that subject. No, this photo should only be scary if you're one of those insensitive a-holes who thinks wolves should be shot from airplanes for sport. Englishman Shaun Ellis has been featured in recent weeks in a series shown on Animal Planet entitled Living with the Wolfman. He and his girlfriend Helen have shown the world what life is like among the wolf pack. Wolves are just some of God's creatures. This is one of the devil's own.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here in Austin we have always been acutely aware of the influence on our economy of the technology stocks traded on the NASDAQ. The NASDAQ just hit a five-year low today when it closed at 1603. For a little perspective, note that a high point reached two-and-a-half years ago on March 29th, 2006, was 2337. For a little more perspective, remember that the NASDAQ's all-time high occurred on March 10th, 2000, at 5132. Depression, anyone?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"Let's see, that's $150,000 for clothes and makeup, $21,000 for airline seats for me and the kids, $17,000 to sleep in my own bed... hey, I could feed and clothe a lot of starving kids with that!"
(Click the photo for a larger view of the holes in his soles.)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
No, this is not a scary picture. I could not locate a photo of the really scary person who should be pictured here. Jon Stewart is a true American hero and patriot, and the Comedy Central network should be congratulated for bringing him to us. Last night on his show, Mr. Stewart ran a video that mentioned a name I have not heard even once before on television, Mark Chryson, the Palin connection to the far right, secessionist Alaska Independence Party.
Every one of those overpaid a-holes over at CNN acts as if they have never heard of AIP. We have to get our political truth from the comedy channel! How sick is America? I decided a few weeks ago that I had had it with CNN, and this is the principal reason. How many times do they have to say Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers before they can mutter the phrases witch doctor and AIP? I cannot tell you how much I despise Gloria Borger, Wolf Blitzer, and Lou Dobbs. Although Wolf was always a bowser, I used to really like the other two. As soon as this election is over, I am removing CNN from my TV's channel rotation, and I encourage all the other sane people in this country to do the same. I'm not waiting around for those turds to start trying to sell The Bitch in 2012 to America!
I salute you for your patriotic courage, Jon Stewart. Keep up the good work! Here are a couple of links that detail some of the AIP story, you know, the one CNN refuses to mention:
The Salon Story
A Detailed Version from Another Blog
Monday, October 20, 2008
Has there ever been a single American who has whipped up more hatred and ignorance than this a-hole? The simple knowledge of how much this devilish shepherd is paid to lead the anti-intellectual sheep will make you toss your cookies!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Although I live deep in the heart of Texas where I can avoid wearing long pants for at least half of every year, I sympathize with all our Yankee brethren who are at the mercy of heating oil prices every winter. Many of my favorite economic pundits have been warning of the possibility that a record-breaking, miserable winter season could on the way for many Americans. These are not meteorologists predicting terrible storms or exceptionally low temperatures, but financial experts warning of record heating oil prices. Although we seem to be catching a small break in the upward spiral of gasoline prices lately, they are still the highest Americans have ever had to contend with on a consistent basis.
Click the chart above to enlarge for viewing. Notice how heating oil prices have consistently risen in their own plotted line above that of the oil prices per barrel. Here is the really scary part: this chart peaks in October 2005! That was back in the good old days before gas prices doubled and the housing bubble popped. How many of you are now living in your cars? How many more homeless Americans are there now than there were in 2005? How many of you no longer have homes to heat? How many of you will be using your heating oil funds to purchase food? For Americans living in colder climates, this could be the scariest winter of all.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I have been diligently following Housing Tracker for several years now, watching house prices crash and burn like Sherman raging though the South. Housing Tracker tracks the asking prices of homes within fifty-two metro areas. The list is updated approximately once a week, and there are actually two lists, each updated usually on a separate date from its sister list. What is called the Old Housing Tracker covers smaller, tighter versions of the same metro areas as the New Housing Tracker. Of course most of the Texas cities have consistently scored at or near the top of the heap, while many (or most) California areas have dragged the bottom. In recent postings, Riverside CA has shown some really sad figures. The most recent page for the tighter metro area shows a 42% loss from one year ago. The frightening part is that the peak for Riverside was April of 2006, making the entire downward drop 52%, more akin to a skydiver than a down escalator.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The news reports from yesterday are true! The monster you see pictured here was spotted leaving a Washington, D.C., hospital after an all-too-brief visit. Doctors were concerned that his heart was not pumping blood correctly. The problem was that it was not his blood in the first place. It was the blood of the USA and all its citizens!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
You could choose any one of many hedge fund billionaires as the ringleader of the housing and credit bubble and bust. but I'm with Bill Fleckenstein on this one. Alan Greenspan's relentless concessions to Wall Street with repetitive interest rate cuts led us to this brink of disaster. Why would anyone want to actually save cash in an interest-bearing account when the interest earned was so much lower than the amount lost to inflation?
Note: In case you noticed that there were two images for October 12th and none for the 13th, it wasn't because I'm superstitious about the date. I had to tend to personal business that prevented me from posting on the 13th, so I presented a complementary pair of scary images for the 12th, one early and one later in the day.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Jim Cramer is so loud and obnoxious that he is more famous than his subtler pal, Larry Kudlow, who at least acts professional on camera. I think he is more despicable simply because he is more popular. This guy has made, lost, and regained countless millions. He leads others to think that they can do it, too, just like any other get-rich-quick TV hustler. How many of his millions were accumulated through insider trading and other unethical practices that the saps to whom he is trying to sell his bullhockey to will never have access?
Cramer began as a stock broker for Goldman Sachs in '84, and he started his own hedge fund in 1987. He has been investigated and interviewed so many times that I shall simply direct you to his Wikipedia page to read about Cramer's numerous questionable activities. Cramer split with Kudlow when Larry called Cramer a sweet potato bull macho on Kudlow & Cramer back in October 2002. Personally, I think Lawrence Kudlow was being too nice in his assessment. Let's make a hedge fund manager a hero. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Today's scary image of October harks back a decade or so to the time when I realized that Phil Gramm is America's Marie Antoinette in pants. He was the original selfish butthead to tell America they could just lump it as far as our rampant job losses go. He might as well have said, "Let them eat dog food for breakfast", for all he cares about the health and financial well being of Americans.
McCain's #1 financial advisor has always been Mr. Gramm Crackers. Sure, McCranky has given Mr. Crackers a brief timeout from the public eye over his Americans are just a bunch of whiners comment, but who do you think he really has in mind to be his Secretary of the Treasury? It ain't Elmer Fudd, although Elmer would be an improvement!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The man of the hour meets the mad dog at 8 p.m. tonight on most TV channels. The news is rampant with the recent crazy exploits of the losing-wingnut team. Will tonight's debate change anything? I doubt it. The man of the hour will still be the man of the hour tomorrow, and the wingnut will still be crashing his plane someplace. I hope he has his Wicked Witch of the West sidekick with him when he goes down.
Monday, October 6, 2008
At one point today, the market was down 800 points. That's not minus 800 from a high in recent days. That's minus 800 after the Dow has been recently battered and world markets retracted overnight. Fortunately, the tally at the end of today was only down 368. Unfortunately, the Wall Street fatcats are screaming for yet another rate cut. Isn't that one of the leading factors that has gotten us into this mess? Tomorrow is another Tuesday in October....
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
This fourth scary image of October could be considered frightening in two ways, and no, I don't mean that The Terminator is scary. He's not scary. He's a nice guy, he works hard, and he's entertaining, too. The scary part is that California is on its way to bankruptcy. The other scary part is who will probably ask for a bailout next, and get it. The prospect of California cities and counties, as well as California itself, declaring bankruptcy should have been obvious for years now. There are three very strong reasons for this. Arnold's state has led the nation in overpriced, but we can't sell it, real estate, leading the crash patrol in home evaluations, which will bring lower city, county, and state revenues. Secondly, no state has ignored the obvious drain on its economy with the acceptance and proliferation of illegal immigration as much as California. In spite of what you may have been led to believe by a corrupt Republican national administration, California has never fully recovered from the military downsizing of the '70's and '80's, or from the tech bust of 2000. Our largest state has been suffering silently all along, just like the rest of us. I am afraid Arnold's $7 billion request is only the beginning.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I am starting a new series today I call 31 Scary Images of October. I hope to post one of these for each day of this month. Yes, I know that this first picture actually comes from September 29th, but what could be scarier to kick off the series than our fearless leader stepping away from the largest point loss of the Dow in a single day in a our nation's history?