Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Then I remembered: the bean. A dark chocolate-covered Espresso coffee bean. Two of them, to be precise. Someone had offered me these delicacies about noon yesterday on the way to Heritage. Don't eat too many at once, they admonished as I downed two of them. Delicious, I said. If I'd ever had one, I couldn't recall.
The rest is history as I tossed early this morning. Finally I got out of bed and took a Benadryl and another multi-mineral hoping they would put me where I so wanted to be---in deep sleep. Must have dropped off soon after, but have to say, I feel a bit sluggish and tired today.
Have learned a good lesson about me and chocolate covered e-beans. Only one. And always before 10 am. If then. If ever. And what a short-hitter I am.
Monday, March 30, 2009
***The main stimulus to the world economy forthcoming from the G-20 this week will be the stimulus to the wine industry, especially in France. An untold amount of fine wines will be consumed by preening and grand-standing world leaders admiring and lecturing one another without ever getting to the heart of economic problems.
***Otherwise, very little of real import will be accomplished.
***Neither the Euro nor the European Union will survive the financial meltdown. As a result, every European country will go back to its own currency. There is no chance of a one-world currency as China recently suggested (and didn't really mean it since it is the US's greatest debt and dollar holder. They said it to put us down ahead of the G-20.)
***So far, the Obama administration is treating the economic meltdown like someone whose house is on fire who rather than rushing to put out the fire discusses redecorating the living room.
***A crisis like the world now faces does not draw countries together, as is the politically correct propaganda going into this G-20 circus. Rather it tends to drive consensus apart. This will be evident at the end of this meeting, though new promises will be made for the next gathering.
***The silly notions of world leaders wanting to regulate hedge funds--the most fast moving and liquid of global assets--- is based on fear and the fact that world leaders don't understand them. Hedge funds are not the issue of the cause of the financial meltdown, by a long shot. It's a straw man at the G-20.
***It is a testament of how far this country has fallen today when European countries, laden with debt, are lecturing the United States on the imminent dangers of debt finance. Germany has made it clear it won't go along with us on our road to hell.
***Regulation by governments can never keep up with that which it purports to regulate. It can never move fast enough and with enough sophistication. To think there can be regulations that people say, "It will never happen again," is pure hubris.
***The G-7 countries of old found it almost impossible to accomplish anything or to respond with a unified voice, especially to OPEC. Now that over a dozen more countries of varying stability have been added, gridlock is more than certainly assured. It can be no other way.
***The world economic crisis is a highly synchronized financial bust and no country will be able to dig itself out through exports. This is especially true for China, the erstwhile export king of the world. China has the most to lose in this crisis and political instability could have lasting effects on its and the world's economy.
***Geithner's ill advised bailout plan focuses on liquidity rather than the real issue solvency for banks and financial institutions. It is hubris to think that injecting liquidity will keep many of these institutions from ultimate collapse. Many should be allowed to fail, sooner rather than later.
MUSIC TO MY EARS
MY KIND AND ERUDITE RELATIVE AND HOST HERE IN DC, who--I'm horrified to admit---voted for Mr. Obama because he couldn't stomach Mr. Bush any longer, puts it this way:
"President Obama is riding a huge wave of popular tolerance at this point based on his rather attractive qualities as a human being. (??!!). But, if a year from now, 20 million people are unemployed and it is obvious that the dismissal of CEOs is not the same thing as effective policy, people are going to know the difference between symbolic sacrifice and achievement, he likely will be a one-term president.....He seems to be using the current economic crisis to achieve social engineering objectives rather than attacking the depression economy through the construction of public civil works." (!!!???)
Not bad for someone who's been reading The dying Washington Post for over 50 years. He continues, "It's very sad to see a local monopoly lose its edge. The real sadness (????!!!) though is the demise of The New York Times. (???!!) Don't think the Post was ever as creative and innovative as the Times in its reporting. Sure they did a great job on Watergate, but that was over forty years ago."
Boo Hoo! is all I can say. It couldn't happen to two more deserving enterprises.
However, after being exposed to the New York Post which started being delivered free on his street several months ago, my host says: I must say the NY Post is a great combination of skin and mean-spirited social and personal commentary...what they wrote about Bernie Madoff was simply wonderful....I won't go into anymore detail, but it was priceless and well-deserved. Bernie really skinned everybody, high rollers and school teachers alike. That's a real son-of-a-bitch."
Well said and on that we certainly can agree.
One of the things I most love doing when in DC is attend programs at the Heritage Foundation up on Mass Ave. near Union Station. Today I'm rushing around getting ready to go up for a briefing and panel discussion on the G-20 Summit in London. As Mr. Obama kicks out the GM chief, packs and assembles his cast of thousands---London papers call it his entourage--- to take with him----including cooks, basketballs and 200 Secret Service people, I think it worthwhile to hear some voices of reason regarding this whole thing. I'll report what I learn worthwhile later.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
An important message about how prayer, not more information, is often what we need to do for our unbelieving friends and relatives who scoff at the message of the Gospels. Only God can soften hearts out of His infinite compassion. Too much information, even knowledge of miracles like this, can never change hearts. But continuing prayer can and often does. I'm so glad I could be there to hear this in person.
— Swami Vivekananda, before the Parliament of Religions, — Chicago, 1893
(Well there you go, one way or another, I'm a desperate sinner in need of a Savior.)
ALL OTHER FORMS OF RELIGION—not to mention philosophy—deal with the problem of guilt apart from the intervention of God, and therefore they come to a ‘cheap’ conclusion. In them human beings are spared the final humiliation of knowing that the mediator must bear the punishment instead of us. To this yoke he need not submit. He is not stripped absolutely naked.
— Emil Brunner
(Both quotes from Redeemer Presbyterian Church bulletin, March 22, 2009)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The cafe is just starting to serve Al fresco.
Would rather stay here than a penthouse on Fifth Avenue (which I was graciously offered from friends in Wyoming.) I love the owner and she likes me too. I'm considered a regular now. The price they've cut with me is specially designed for a penny pincher. What more could a country girl ask in a big city like this? Close by are newsstands, cleaners, groceries, drug and book stores too.
Americans today have much better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers: Breast cancer mortality is 52% higher, HIGHER, in Germany and 88% Higher in the United Kingdom than in the United States. Prostate cancer mortality is a whooping 604% higher in the UK, 457% higher in Norway. And colo-rectal cancer mortality is 40% higher among Brits. (Source The National Center for Policy Analysis, in 10 Surprising Facts About American Healthcare.)
And is it any wonder what with 6-12 month wait times for socialized medicine in these countries and Canada? Access to treatment and prevention in the US run circles around other civilized nations. No wonder anyone who can afford to come to America to get treated, does. And Mr. Obama and Congress want to give us a system like Europe and Canada?! It's scandalous.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
THE FINE ART AND LUXURY OF HAND PRESSING SHIRTS
Tired. Hour late. But I saw this man ironing yesterday as I walked down York in Manhattan. Were I not in such a hurry, I would have stood and watched much longer. He's a pro. The iron, the steam, and the cotton all came together under his expert orchestration. To see his finished handiwork hanging in the next window was truly a sight to behold. This is the kind of sight seeing I like best.
I love to iron and always have, even though I don't do it as much today. It's an infinitely satisfying task---with a beginning, middle and end---that you can quickly see the fruits of your well-pressed labor. I've done it enough to know a master at his craft when I see one. Here he is. Fun and inspiring to watch. And, believe me, this man's expertise is so far above my pay grade, it's not funny!
Do you like to iron? Real men and real women know the subtle joys and infinite nuances of ironing.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
THE NEW YORK TIMES is so far in the hole financially that it's had to sell its new building on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, then lease it back. Whatever talks it and others have had with Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, about buying the building---the Gray Lady's erstwhile white elephant-- ended yesterday with Ballmer saying flat out, a resounding NO!
"Not 'no comment,'" Ballmer added. "No."
Meanwhile early Wednesday morning I'll get up at the crack of dawn, take a walk to my favorite newstand on 79th and First Avenue and buy a New York Post and IBD. But I'm long over buying a New York Times anymore. So over it.
In other news today, The Times lightens its load and has sold one of its small regional newspapers in Florence, Alabama.
"...in case Brooks is not convinced (that reducing government spending and cutting taxes has historically helped stimulate the economy), a thought experiment is in order: Let’s assume that the New York Times’ Metro desk is on one floor in the venerable paper’s new building, and that editorial staff is on another floor. After that, let’s assume that the Metro staffers enter the offices of Brooks, Nic Kristof, Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman, steal whatever cash is lying around, and then go spend it wildly in Manhattan. Would midtown-Manhattan’s economy be stimulated, or would Brooks, Kristof, Dowd, and Krugman be that much poorer the next time they wanted to go hog wild in Times Square? What Brooks never bothered to explain as he smacked the GOP for its allegedly born-again thriftiness is how government profligacy with money borrowed or taxed from the private sector would actually enhance economic growth."
Do read the whole article of Tamny's taking Brooks---who's a decent enough guy but doesn't have a clue about the economy---to task. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Monday, March 23, 2009
H/T Hot Air. But, not to be outdone, this is just as amazing: Legoland in Windsor, UK.
I've come down with an aching sinus infection and feel like I'm swimming in concrete. It's my fault as I've absolutely worn myself out over the past few weeks with other work that had to get done. On top of this, I'm packing to catch a flight to the East coast in the morning. Nonetheless, I have lots to say, so I hope you won't give up on me as I try to juggle several balls at once and let one fall for a bounce or two before catching them again.
Markets sizzled today and we'll have to see what it all means over the next few days. Still, when IBD says Geithner's plan just may work---may work, could work, though not necessarily will work--- I listen. IBD believes the collective wisdom of the markets is greater than individual pundits. I agree. Markets spoke clearly in the affirmative today in so-so volume. Still if things don't work out long term, here's the ultimate Obama survival kit against the evils of redistribution. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, it was a great day to be on Wall Street and Main Street. AIG execs who got bonuses just started giving it away.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
IT'S REASON NUMBER ONE
God's law demanded, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6:5). But we have ALL loved other things more. This is what sin is---dishonoring God by preferring other things over him, and acting on those preferences. Therefore, the Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) We glorify what we enjoy most. And it isn't God.
Therefore sin is not small, because it is not against a small Sovereign. The seriousness of an insult rises with the dignity of the one insulted. The Creator of the universe is infinitely worthy of respect and admiration and loyalty. Therefore, failure to love him is not trivial---it is treason. It defames God and destroys human happiness.
Since God is just, he does not sweet these crimes---our myriad sins of putting other things before Him---under the rug of the universe. He feels a holy wrath against them. They deserve to be punished, and he has made this clear: "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) "The soul who sins shall die: (Ezekiel 18:4)
There is a holy curse hanging over us and all sin. Not to punish would be unjust. The demaning of God would be endorsed. A lie would reign at the core of reality. Therefore, God says, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them" (Galatians 3:10, Deuteronomy 27:26).
But the love of God does not rest with the curse that hangs over all sinful humanity. He is not content to show wrath, no matter how holy it is. Therefore God sends his own Son to absorb his wrath and bear the curse for all who trust him. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us" (Galatians 3:13).
This is the meaning of the word "propitiation" in the text quoted above---Romans 3:25. It refers to the removal of God's wrath by providing a substitute. The substitute is provided by God himself. The substitute, Jesus Christ, does not just cancel the wrath; he absorbs it and diverts it from us to himself. God's wrath is just, and it was spent, not withdrawn.
Let us not trifle with God or trivialize his love.
We will never stand in awe of being loved by God until we reckon with the seriousness of our sin and the justice of his wrath against us. But when, by grace, we waken to our unworthiness, then we may look at the suffering and death of Christ and say, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the (wrath-absorbing) propitiation for our sins" (1John 4:10).
----John Piper, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die
Saturday, March 21, 2009
IT'S OKAY TO CRY
How he finds this stuff day in, day out, I'll never know. But I know exactly who'll love seeing it. It's 100% linen.
Coming soon, a few more reasons to use a hanky. But first, I'm going to the gym. Turned my IRS stuff in to my accountant yesterday afternoon and can't tell you how relieved I am. Free at last, Oh Great God Above! Free at last!
Friday, March 20, 2009
This morning I meet with a lawyer, an accountant, a banker and a candlestick maker so I'm even shorter on time than I have been this past week. However, I want to make a few statements here about the economy and hope to come back later today and in the days ahead to flesh this all out.
For now I want to say, the most recent move by the Fed announcing it would buy $1 trillion in bonds---unless it is a very short-term move---will decimate the value of the U S dollar, which has fallen 4.8% so far this week (and Friday markets haven't opened yet). That means our buying power with the dollar will be obliterated, again, and fuel huge commodities bubbles.
While our buying power goes way South, the prices of oil, gas and food with other goods and services will sky rocket. In addition, Mr. Obama promises higher taxes and cap and trade regulations which are really a tax and which are passed on to the consumer.
Gold, silver, and all commodity stocks and ETFs will rule again for investors. Maybe not today, but over the medium and long-hauls.
To know the political carnage of all this, we need only need look at the last three years of the Bush administration. As the dollar fell and commodities bubbles sprang up everywhere, Mr. Bush's poll numbers fell to abysmal depths. It was, in the simplest of terms, because of the falling value of the dollar and its buying power on our monthly budgets. You could track Bush's unpopularity by tracking the ETF chart of the dollar.
This week, the value of the dollar plummeted, as stocks and ETFs for gold and silver jumped uproariously. Watch and see Mr. Obama's numbers continue to fall, as we pay more and more for food, gasoline and various staples we use everyday. It's not going to be pretty.
If Mr. Obama thinks his bowling abilities look retarded, then just wait till you see his and his team's financial skills continue to unfold. Gird your loins for another major hit to the economy and to our pocketbooks. It could make the last years of the Bush administration look like paradise.
The moral of this sad story of incompetence is that Obama will be a one-termer just like his mentor, tired, old Jimmy Carter. Again, gird your loins cause it's going to get rough and messy on Main Street. It's the late 70s once again. Forget hope, forget change, forget it all: when our buying power is lost again, Mr. Obama is toast.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn), head of the Senate Banking Committee who has been screaming about outrageous AIG bonuses, slipped a provision into the Stimulus Package last month called the Dodd Amendment that exempted any and all restrictions on bonuses, including those for AIG employees, that had been negotiated before February 11, 2009. And ironically, the same Senator Dodd was AIG's largest single recipient of campaign donations during the 2008 election receiving a total of $103,000 from AIG coffers. Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D- CT) 202-224-2823, 202-224-1083.
Let's note another fact: The second largest recipient of AIG campaign monies in 2008---$101,232 to be exact, was our very own righteously indignant, angry new president Obama who knew about these AIG bonuses before he was inaugurated. As IBD asked in its Thursday editorial, If AIG gives back the bonuses, will the president give back these and other campaign contributions from troubled financial institutions? Great question. Here's White House contact info: http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/EOP/html/contact_the_whitehouse.html
HE'S TALKING ABOUT OUR CONGRESSIONAL CLOWNS AND WEASELS
Speaking truth to Cower at American Digest. Oh boy. There is going to be trouble, real trouble in this country. Good for Shep Smith. And it's going to get messy. And divisive. And We are not going to let them do it!
It's been great, but be forewarned: Markets probably topped today, Wednesday, and will fall over the next few days, Thursday and Friday,, and could fall hard again. If you have any profits, take them using tight sell stops. That way if the market goes up, you can stay in. And if you have any losses, cut them with tight sell stops. I did this afternoon.
Friday is triple witching day and options expirations. To repeat, markets will likely fall Thursday and Friday. There will be a great buying opportunity again when this sell-off is over. I'm erring on the side of caution and won't buy anything for a while. Take this for what it's worth. I can certainly be wrong, and often am.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
As Larry Kudlow says, The government shouldn't run anything because it can't run anything.
"This whole AIG fiasco — where the entire political class is suddenly screaming over bonuses paid to derivative traders in AIG’s financial-products division — is just a complete farce. What it really shows is how the government has completely bungled the AIG takeover.
"Blame the Bush administration and the Obama administration. It also shows, once again, why the government shouldn’t run anything, because it cannot run anything.
"AIG should have been placed in bankruptcy last fall under some sort of government sponsorship. While in bankruptcy, all the salary contracts (and every other AIG contract) would have been nullified and voided. At the same time, there would have been an orderly liquidation and sale of AIG’s assets and separate divisions.
"But as things stand now, there still is no clear road map for the dissolution of AIG. There are ideas, but nothing is set in concrete.
"And as for the $165 million or so in AIG bonus payments, the Obama administration — including the president, Treasury man Tim Geithner, and economic adviser Larry Summers — knew all about them many months ago. They were undoubtedly informed of this during the White House transition. So there’s no big surprise. Nobody should be shocked.
But President Obama is doing his best play-acting ever. He knows full well that the nationwide outcry against federal bailouts and takeovers is only going to get worse on his watch. His poll numbers are already falling, and this AIG episode is going to pull them down more."
Amen, Larry. Obama and Congress are play-acting and doing their best righteous indignation mimes to save their own asses. They haven't a clue what to do. And it's not like they didn't know the bonuses were coming. Read Larry's whole piece, AIG Outrage, and know that the mess is far from over. And that Tim Geithner's days are fortunately numbered as a result. He should never have been confirmed as Treasury Secretary. Ever. Nor should the government bureaucracy ever get into the business of running big business. It has never worked and never will.
The real question is how much of our money will be thrown down the toilet in the process of the government trying and failing to save and supervise AIG?
We should all be utterly outraged.
Monday, March 16, 2009
And I'll always be willing to ditch my car at the Salt Lake City airport and fly out there just to make sure you're eating right and taking care of yourself. Cause you're my bestest and oldest friend. And I sure do love you. Have a great year ahead!
WORKING MORE TO SHRINK THE GOVERNMENT
So to review: more taxes on income=less income. More taxes on business=less business, less jobs and less prosperity. Check. It's not rocket science. Tea anyone?
In addition, don't miss this video I can only link to rather than embed, featuring a fellow Tennessee conservative and lawyer. She's got it in for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and for good reason. There's gonna be a whole lot protest more coming.
Ah to be an adored and adorned elephant outside Bangkok, Thailand waiting to get treats of ice with flash-frozen fruits inside. The occasion for these festivities was National Elephant Day last week.
Meanwhile, what might our stock markets do this week? It's a mere guess but they will probably go down such that people will say, I knew it couldn't last! Too good to be true!
But the down won't be quite as steep nor as endless as before. And when it's done, we'll go on back to a more prolonged (bear market) rally soon. Only time will tell though. Be there.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Sunday: Martin Luther, Protestant Reformer and Evangelical, In and Out Through The Same Door In Wittenberg
In 1517 a Dominican friar name Johann Tetzel was selling indulgences near Wittenberg to raise money for constructing St. Peter's in Rome. According to Tetzel, those who purchased an indulgence would receive remission of purgatory. Indulgences could also be purchased on behalf of dead relatives and friends. The punch line of Tetzel's sermon was, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs." The sale of these indulgences infuriated Martin Luther, the professor of biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg, and he decided to hold a disputation with other faculty members on the subject. A professor interested in holding a disputation would nail the theses to be discussed on the cathedral door. Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the great wooden door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517.
Some of Luther's point for discussion were: (1) "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ is saying, 'Repent ye,' intended that the whole life of believers should be penitence." (32) "Those who believe that, through letters of pardon, they are made sure of their own salvation, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers." (37) Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has share in all the benefits of Christ and of the Church, given him by God, even without letters of pardon." (62) "The true treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God."
Luther knew from his own repentance and conversion that paying an indulgence could not achieve forgiveness of sins. Shortly before posting the Ninety-five Theses, Luther had begun studying the Greek New Testament, and his studies persuaded him that the Greek word for repentance, metanoia, meant a change of heart, not mere performance of outward works, as theologians of his day defined it.
Luther wrote the Ninety-five Theses in Latin, intending them to be discussed by scholars, not circulated among the populace. But as Luther himself acknowledged, "In a fortnight they flew all over Germany." Translated into German and sold as far away as Rome the Ninety-five Theses became much more than a university exercise.
For the next two decades, Luther enjoyed seeing the Reformation grow. Many regions in Germany accepted the evangelical doctrines that Luther and other reformers discovered in the Scriptures
Luther lived to see a second generation of evangelicals sing the hymns he had written, read his German translation of the Bible, and learn his catechism from their early childhood.
Throughout his life he preached and taught God's promise of redemption to the repentant sinner. On his deathbed he prayed, "O Lord Jesus Christ, I commend my poor soul to Thee. O Heavenly Father, I know that, although I shall be taken from this life, I shall live forever with Thee. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."
Luther died on February 18, 1546 at the age of sixty-two in Eisleben, the city where he was born. As word of his death spread to Wittenberg, bells tolled and people crowded the streets, wanting to pay their last respects to their leader.
On Monday, February 22, 1546, accompanied by a caravan that included his wife, Katie, his four children, and a throng of his followers, Luther's casket was borne through the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg on which, more than twenty-eight years earlier, the young monk had nailed his theses.
---The One Year Christian History, by E Michael and Sharon Rusten
Friday, March 13, 2009
STILL I'LL MAKE A QUICK COMMENT
I'M JUST A COUNTRY GIRL, REALLY, so take this for what it's worth: This is awful. I don't get this trend in facial expressions or shoes. It's Gwyneth wearing a condescending look in a big hurry (I've got much, much, much better things to do than to mess with anyone on this street, even my admirers...). She's also wearing a pair of shoes that remind me of the orthopedic Velcro bootie I wore last fall for six weeks, after my ankle surgery. It's something I would never willingly emulate or wear again. And won't, I pray to heaven.
Still, I have to say the combination of the look and those ghastly strapy shoes makes me want to look the other way. And stay away for a long, long time.
P.S. TODAY this, my second blog, turned 100,000. I know, I know, it looks like I'm only 39,000. Still you can't always judge by appearances. By web standards this is nothing, nothing, but for me it's a lot. Thank you so much for coming by once, or regularly. I am deeply appreciative. Please feel free to comment here or by email whenever you have something on your mind. Let me know what you're thinking. Remember I don't wear Gwyneth's expression above (most of the time!). Thanks again and God bless.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
DJIA +0.75% 7223.98 +53.92
NASDAQ +0.38% 1431.50 +5.40
NYSE +0.77% 4721.00 +36.01
S&P 500 +0.77% 756.55 +5.81
3/13/2009 (Market Close) Updating... Indexes refresh every two minutes
FRIDAY: Former Oama Supporter Warren Buffet Concerned By What He Sees. While Larry Kudlow notes the hugely important upturn in retail sales. Finally, Mr. Obama confidence numbers are falling, falling, falling fast.
UP, UP AND AWAY! Yes! Sure there'll be some down days and plenty of volatility, but at the least we have a nice bear market rally as markets rise and volume goes green. Be there! And use fairly tight stops and raise as necessary.
The best news is the financials are rallying. And there's no possibility of a real rally unless the financials go along. This is good news. It appears word may be getting out about loosening rules for mark-to-market and maybe even uptick. Wrote about that here Monday.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
---WSJ Photo Journal, Pictures of the Day
Think we could arrange to send Nancy Pelosi to the Space Station for a while? Here's a great piece by Michelle Malkin on how Nancy has commandeered the Air Force as her personal airline-of-choice, on call 24/7 at her beck and call. Do we have any idea of how much she's costing tax payers with her high falootin' ways? Read it and weep. Then mail a teabag to her office with a letter of protest. Nancy's contact info: 202-225-4965, 202-225-4188, firstname.lastname@example.org and fyi, I've added a permanent link called Contacting Congress in my sidebar to the right. Go down and find it. Use it. Soon I'll add White House contact info too.
Please note: I'll be blogging lightly for a few days. Am covered up with bus-y-ness. On top of already being swamped, I received a 20-page letter today from the IRS saying I owe back-taxes for 2007. Have been on the phone for hours with a customer representative of my online brokerage firm trying to untangle a mess that resulted from my firing a money manager back in 2006. I wasn't able to get proper basis information for taxes from this manager on some 25 stock transactions, then forgot about it. As a result the IRS says I owe thousands more dollars in taxes. In fact, when we finally get all this basis info located and documented, I will probably get a tax refund. However, it's extremely tedious work reconstructing all this, with lots of math calculations. And meetings with my accountant. Just have to bite the bullet and put it before everything else till it's over and done with.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Will Barack be a one-term president? Unless he gets out of the way of the economy righting itself rather than micro-managing it and continuing his wild spending spree, he will indeed be a one-term president, like Jimmy Carter. If all else fails, that's the bestwe can hope for. I don't even want to contemplate the worst care scenario.
Monday, March 9, 2009
OH YES IT IS
I'm going out on a limb and tell you why a rally is beginning in the next 1-7 trading days. Also I want to say why you should take everything Warren Buffett says right now about the economy with a grain of salt.
Six Reasons the Stock Market is About to Pop a Wheelie and Turn Around:
1. This Thursday, The Geithner Gang at Treasury will consider letting financial institutions drop the Mark-to Market accounting procedures (and go back to GAAP accounting) that has caused many of these institutions' long-term assets to be valued far, far lower than their true value, even with their toxic assets. If this mark-to-market rule---which came as a part of the dreaded Sarbanes-Oxley (over-reaction) Act---is suspended even temporarily, you can expect the markets to power up and rally. This will also help the financial institutions get back a little of their incredible lost value. At my breakfast recently with Senator Bob Corker, on the Senate Banking Committee, he assured his constituents he was in favor of this change, sooner rather than later.
A vital ingredient for getting the economy back track is helping the battered financial institutions get their heads above water. Suspending mark-to-market for now is job one. That said, John Tamny who is one of the smartest guys I know, has another opposing opinion on MTM accounting. I happen to mostly disagree with John on this one.
2. Also this Thursday, The Geithner Gang is to consider reinstating the Uptick Rule which would no longer allow short sellers to short a stock while it's falling and even when they don't even own it. If this happens, and it needs to happen, the long buyers will replace the short sellers who've been dragging an already brutalized market down by shorting stocks they don't even own as they fall. We will indeed see the markets start to turn around and make a substantial recovery this spring.
3. Many stocks are making higher-lows on lower volume from their November 2008 lows, which means selling is petering out.
4. The mood of the country is unbelievably pessimistic. When you hear Warren Buffett say the economy is going over a cliff, you can bet he's out there excitedly buying up everything he can get his hands on. Conversely, when he says things are going well, he is out there selling like crazy. He's not the richest man in the world by following the crowd. He's always been a contrarian, and still is. Remember, even in desperately bad times, someone is making money on other people's fear and desperation and need.
The smartest money always moves back in when the herd is still quaking, during the darkest hours before dawn. The smart money will be moving in within the next few trading days, especially if The Geithner Gang does what it knows it needs to do, suspending mark-to-market and reinstating uptick. That doesn't mean the smart money won't place tight stops and keep close watch when they do. But they'll ride the bucking bronco long before anyone else will and be rewarded handsomely.
5. People get more optimistic in the spring as the days get longer. It's silly but true. This rally may not last forever, but it will be a substantial bounce which lasts well into the summer. That doesn't mean there will be no volatility in stocks. There will be. But markets will improve as our spirits lift for a while at least. This will more than likely be a bear market rally, but it will still be a rally.
6. And finally, markets have already factored in the incredible damage the Obama-Geithner Gang can and will do to the economy, at least for now. Markets are a leading indicator rather than a lagging one. And in case you've been living on one of the moons of Pluto, the investor class--which is almost all of us now---doesn't much care for the Obama pseudo-cures for the economy.
BTW, this doesn't mean I think the economy isn't still sick or that we're not in a long-term contraction. But a market rally will help stabilize the free fall and also help our spirits as we make our way through this mess. The key though is not letting government intervene too much. The economy will be much better off if The Geithner Gang gives it an aspirin instead of trying to put it on life support.
Do I hear an amen? Or just another bull! ?
Yes, yes, I know Charles Nenner was wrong on his timing. But what I wrote about here was Nenner's call. What I've written here is mine, with the help of one of the best and most conservative money men anywhere. Tom, and Jack too, along with Investors Business Daily and Kevin Kennedy at Coolcat Report, have taught me so much about markets and how they work over the past 6-7 years. And I am deeply grateful. When Tom says we're close to a rally, I listen. And I happen to agree anyway.
Photo WSJ Photo Journal
Sunday, March 8, 2009
".....passive aggression has never been the American way. Around the same time in American history, General Andrew Jackson dealt with foreign invaders quite differently (than running in the face of enemy attack). His forces slaughtered 2,000 British soldiers two weeks after the war was over, rather than let them reach New Orleans. Americans don’t go John Galt. We go postal."
Thanks, C, for emailing this to me. Still laughing....
Reading the Bible faithfully, diligently, daily is the most important step for renewing our minds from darkness to light. Scripture memorization is an advanced way to deepen this renewing of our minds. Remember, after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and then went out into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by Satan, He rebuffed the devil by quoting Scripture. When we are pulled off course and go through trails and tribulations, one of the most amazing and effective things we can do is to follow Christ's lead and quote memorized Scripture over and over again out loud and in our heads.
Such memorized verses repeated during these trails breaks down negative mental thought forms that need to come down in our heads. And it replaces those thought forms with the very Words of God. It is truly rebulding our lives on solid ground.
I want to be much more diligent in memorizing Bible verses and often carry little cards with me when I hike or travel which helps me immeasurably in all sorts of ways. I need to do that today after a really tough day, yesterday.
Now for the confession.
I have to say it is very rare, and rarer still in recent years that I get hooked and really lose it. By the Grace of God I just don't get as hooked as I used to across the board. But yesterday, I absolutely lost it, got furious and stayed furious for hours.
It's been about two years since I really lost my temper like this and I don't like myself when I do. But yesterday I let myself get pushed too far by a meddler and reacted in an outspoken and perhaps unladylike way. ( I also gorged myself on almost an entire quiche, drank strong coffee, and downed dark chocolate with sea salt....)
And you wanna know the worst part? So far I'm not sorry. My little mind says this person had it coming.
Anyway, I stormed around here at my home away from home here in DC and then had a long conversation with several people and worked my way through it without doing too much damage and ended up getting a decent night's sleep. Today I awakened mostly refreshed but feel like I laid down some kind of boundary, albeit imperfectly, with this creepish behavior both in myself and in the meddler.
Today, I plan to go to church, travel and spend a good deal of time in Scripture memorization to help stabilize myself and my life back in God's Light. Most of all, I'm a sinner in need of a Savior. Am a sinner who needs to work this out with a lot of sober reflection and Scripture memorization will be a large part of it. I think Psalm 51 below is a place I will start today:
Psalm 51 (written by David after taking Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah killed in battle.)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
UPDATE: When God tests us and we don't pass.
Friday, March 6, 2009
As I wrap up my time in New York and head south, I see an interesting bit of news in the New York Post today: Our Elliott---as in Spitzer---former New York state attorney general and 1/4-term NY governor, has moved his base of new "operations" from New York to DC. Quaint.
He's now back into his family commercial real estate business founded by his father and swooping down on our nation's capital for fun and games and profit. It's not as if Washington doesn't have enough over-sexed clowns, tricksters and mental patients running the show. No, we now have one more. Nancy, Harry, Barack and now Elliott. What a party the next four years is going to be. My only question is Can our nation survive its Obama fever?
Thursday, March 5, 2009
A TALE OF POLITICAL WARMING IN A FROZEN CITY
THANK HEAVENS it's starting to thaw and the wind is subsiding here. It has truly been like being in the Arctic for the past five days. Had thought I would spend much of this winter in warmer weather but Life has a way of changing one's best laid plans---for which I am eternally grateful, if not layered to the hilt with warm clothes and pockets stuffed with Kleenex.
I can remember years ago coming to this city and staying in great and expensive hotels, doing the town with museums, galleries, restaurants, shopping and night life. Today, after zillions of trips here, a growing family and a shrinking pocketbook, my routine is vastly different. All I want is a little safe and inexpensive haven to nest and the ability to make a semblance of a routine of eating healthy and exercising while on the road. And I do like having my own space and letting others have theirs.
Sometimes it takes a while to find one's place in the pandamonium of such a large city like New York. I come here on guard in most every way, the least of which is in the realm of politics. I'm a blood red woman wandering around in a blue mega-city and the irony isn't lost on me. I gingerly walk several blocks from where I stay to a news stand and shyly ask for an IBD and Wall Street Journal early in the morning. So far I haven't been arrested though I do keep them tucked quietly under my arm as I walk back to my new favorite breakfast joint.
(And I don't talk politics with my children. I figure they'll come to their senses soon enough and frankly sooner now that our federal fiscal situation is so dire and they're about to be taxed to the hilt on every level just for breathing.)
Anyway, the photo above is where I like to hang out at the crack-of -dawn and read newspapers and drink a little coffee. I keep to myself and nobody gets hurt. I try not to make a lot of eye contact since that seems to be the way people up here live and let live.
So imagine my surprise several days ago when a man whose name turned out to be Larry sat down at a little table beside mine and pulled out the Wall Street Journal. Frankly, he looked like an escapee from Che's army. I would have pegged him as the most liberal of liberals in a city full of 'em.
But no. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Evidently he heard me ask the waitress for more coffee and was taken with my southern accent. It wasn't long before he turned to me and asked where I'm from. Then followed up by telling me I had Bette Davis eyes. Had I ever been told that before?
I said I couldn't remember. (Never did like her, but never mind.) And then the fun began....
Who are my U S Senators? was the next salvo from his table over to mine.
I looked back at him in silence. If looks were any indication, I could probably expect him to pull a gun on me if I answered.
So I acted for a moment as if I had to actually think about who my Senators are. I certainly didn't want him to know I had just had breakfast with one of them last week! Yikes!
Well, let's see, I think one of them is Bob Corker, I said and let it go at that, kind of like I'd been coached to answer truthfully on the witness stand but with as little info as possible.
And what about that guy Al Gore? Isn't he from your state? What do you think of him?
I must have involutarily grimmaced against my will. All I know is that Larry, took it as good news. Very good news indeed.
The facial expression that spoke a thousand words had just slipped off my face. He had my number, so to speak.
You're a conservative like I am, he said with glee. Say no more. I don't like him one bit either.
And so it was on that fateful freezing March morning on the upper East side of New York that Larry and I met at the little cafe-around-the-corner and became politically bonded. He was suddenly my new best conservative friend here. My only conservative friend.
From there, we actually conversed and I felt at ease enough to engage with him on a number of issues. We covered the waterfront and discovered we truly are conservative birds of a feather.
This yarn has gone on long enough except for one last thing: Larry then proceeded to introduce me to several other conservatives who were having breakfast there that day. So now I know several conservative acquaintances here and feel as if I have a little support group here in the city at my favorite breakfast cafe.
The moral of the story is don't always judge a book by it's cover. Who knows, we may even instigate a Tea Party up here at York and 81st later this spring, Larry and me and my other new best friends.
And now you know....the rest of the story, a story of political warming in New York City. And not a moment too soon for my little chilled red political heart.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I just walked 30 blocks in the bitter cold and wind. My eyes are watering, my nose running, my cheeks are rosy red/purple, and all I want to know is: Where's my global warming? I demand to know! I'm want it and want it now! And while we're at it, we could use a few sunspots too. All these months of a blank sun with no spots is really having a chilling effect.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
[On the cross] both law and love have triumphed. The one has not given way to the other. Each has kept its ground; nay, each has come from the conflict honored and glorified. Never has there been love like this love of God—so large, so lofty, so intense, so self-sacrificing. Yet never has the law been seen so pure, so broad, so glorious, so inexorable. There has been no compromise. [In the death of Jesus for us] law and love have both had their full scope. Not one jot or tittle has been surrendered by either. They have been satisfied to the full; the one in all its severity, the other in all its tenderness. Love has never been more truly love, and law has never been more truly law, than in this conjunction of the two.
— Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness