A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Malefactors is OK

I checked

"malefactors" in last post

Is that a word? Did I spell-check? Was I tired? I should have my posting privileges revoked for a day. I'm trying to figure out how to link to Janett's My Space.
It's a lot of fun, but I'm not a my spacer yet. I've reached my limits - I cant remember any more passwords.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Forgive me, but

Squeaky Fromme is to assassin as Gerald Ford is to president.

Pardoning President Nixon was a message to all potential malefactors "Worst case you get caught, and we get you a pardon" See Irangate for a case of implementation of this strategy. How many times do we hear criminal politicians propose that "For the good of the country we must put this episode behind us and get on with the work of serving the people of our great nation". Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams play says it best. "Oh, the mendacity." Thanks Gerry for the corruption of the system.

But that's not what cost him the election to Jimmy Carter, any more than Chevy Chase's impersonations of him tripping over his own feet and falling down a lot. He lost that election because he said in a televised debate that the Soviet Union did not and never would dominate Eastern Europe. Jimmy Carter, the moderator and all of America were too shocked to speak, but the word DUMMY in neon letters flashed in everyones' minds simultaneously, and we all said a silent prayer that election day would arrive before the next serious problen hit his desk.

But the reason to abhor Gerald Ford is that he was J Edgar Hoover's man on the Warren Commission and that he changed the wording of the Commission's report as to where the bullet entered the presidents back. He changed the report to say the bullet hit the president in the neck, Which allowed the commision to conclude that the bullet passed through and hit Gov Connelly in the shoulder, an impossible trajectory from where the bullet actually hit the president. The single bullet lie was neccessary to keep the number of shots fired to two rather than three because Lee Harvey Oswald couldn't have fired three shots from his supposed vantage point in the time that the president's limousine was in his line of sight. I'm sure Mr Ford rationalized this deception with the thought, "For the good of the country we must put this episode behind us and get on with the work of serving the people of our great nation". Oh, the mendacity.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Interesting, Very Interesting

From a blog called "The End of Money" by Dr Chris Martenson

"However, as you know I am a huge critic of the way that our government collects and reports inflation numbers and I think the stock market is making a huge mistake in believing the ‘official inflation numbers’. For example, in the most recent GDP announcement it was reported that food costs are up 2.4% over the past year.

Hmmmm. Could they have forgotten to include the cost of orange juice which is up not 2.8%, not 3.9% not even a horrendous 9.2% but rather 66.0%(!!) over the past year?

In fact, this is not an isolated example. The following links to charts of all the major grain types reveals similar patterns. I wonder how food costs can be said to be up 2.4% when the actual price increases are up over 15 to 30 times that amount? A fair question, to be sure.

Corn (up 87% over the last year)

Wheat (up 58%)

Oats (up 44%)

Continuing into other basic materials I cannot find any that even remotely correspond to the government’s numbers

Oil (Unchanged)

Copper (up 60%)

Silver (up 75%)

Aluminum (up 39%)

These charts show, in frightening and graphic detail, that inflation is running at anything but the ~3.3% that the government recently reported."

Traditionally, the purpose of economic regulation and the central banking system has been to insure enough money/credit is available to fund economic activity and some growth in the level of economic activity. When the growth in the supply of money
(including money you can borrow as well as money you have) exceeds the increases in the production of things to buy, you have "more money chasing fewer goods" and the price of the goods are bid up. This is what we think of as inflation, and this appears to be occurring now. It is "strange" that the government's numbers contradict the market price changes Dr. Martenson observes.

One aspect of the problem of inflation is that a period of inflation can lead to a period of deflation. For instance, if the price of houses have been inflated, people might decide they can't afford to buy a new house right at the moment. Demand for new houses decline as the supply continues to grow. Sellers reduce their asking price slightly, but this creates a new problem. Potential buyers get nervous about borrowing to buy something the price of which is falling and may fall further. So they wait to buy to see if the price falls further. Now the builders are getting squeezed - they not only reduce prices further, they stop building more houses. Now economic activity is curtailled, people are getting laid off. In this part of the cycle, the Federal Reserve can make more money available, and thereby lower interest rates a little but people are now not only expecting prices to keep going down, they're afraid the ecomic slowdown might cost them their jobs, or at least cost them their raises and bonuses, and so they are reluctant to borrow until they feel more confident about their prospects.

Meanwhile the people who have been laid off are trying to sell their houses at lower and lower prices. Many times they will find they can't sell their house for enough money to cover their mortgage, so they'll leave their house on the market until they can't make their monthly payments and the "bank" forecloses. Now, the house goes on the market for a real bargain basement price, further reducing the price others can hope to receive if they sell. At this point, the builders have practically shut down, and more and more people are being laid off.

We're getting close to this point in the cycle. What can the government do?
Encourage the Federal Reserve bank to make more money available to help consumers buy more? That policy becomes has become less effective since confidence has become eroded. The failing housing industry is particularly a cause for concern because (I've read) that 30% of the job creation in our country in the last ten years have been linked to the housing industry, and these are the jobs that pay relatively good wages as compared to jobs in the "service" industries. As this employment is eliminated the prospect of economic contraction brcomes almost inevitable.

Of couse, the Fed is well aware of these risks and has been making credit available to keep the economy afloat. My opinion is that the money is being borrowed, but not to buy houses, but by hedge funds and venture capitalists to buy stocks. This would explain why the stock market keeps going up while the economic environment is deteriorating. I've stopped predicting the fall of the stock prices because, wirh this flood of Fed money going into the market rational expectations do not apply. But I will say this, when the market does start to fall there's going to be a lot of hedge funds trying to liquidate their very large holdings in a very short period of time.

So what's the good news? Got me.

The day after Christmas

We're having a quiet morning at home. We're lucky, we're not travelling home from somepace. Steffy and Mark left for Iowa this morning. Kim's in North Carolina with Ross and his family, Noah's in Afghanistan, but should be back at Fort Drum NY in a month or two.

Janett's not feeling well. Uh Oh - another diverticulitis flare up? We were at Steffy and Mark's yesterday, and since they were leaving home today we got the lion's share of the left-overs. I don't know how to bring up the subject of chowing down when she's not feeling good.

We turned on the TV, and caught the very end of My Friend Flicka, but not too worry - Thunderbolt, Son of Flicka is coming on next.

Don't forget about Baby Jesus.

LOve to all.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

On a happier note

ND plays in the Sugar Bowl on Jan 3. Here's hoping for a win. Then we can root for the Irish basketball team to getback to the NCAA's for the first time in what seems like five years. As a last resort, Irish fans can fall back on coverage of reported Leprechaun sightings. "Who all see the Leprechaun, say Yeah"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

OK , you asked for it

I've refrained from posting a lot of negative thoughts and forebodings and I shouldn't get onto that track in this happy week, but I had a weird realization on Sunday. I was talking to Lou about the trade and fiscal deficits, the enormous debt being incurred in both the private and public sectors and I began to worry about an impending collapse. It's hard to imagine the impact of the consequences on the American people, particularly because so many trust in the substance and structure of the res publica.

I imagined decent trusting people, many losing their pensions, many losing their homes, many losing their employment and their income, wondering how God could let their world collapse around them. So, the question popped into my head, "Does God care whether we die from cancer or starve to death?" If He wouldn't let us starve to death, does that mean He likes us better than all those people who He does allow to suffer such deaths?

My sense is that God does not like us better and in fact he may feel that those others are closer to Him than we. I guess my point, if there is one, is that God wills us to have spiritual abundance, not neccessarily material, and that suffering adversity with faith glorifies Him more than enjoying comforts with faith.

Still, I pray that He spares us the worst of what I can imagine unfolding.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I dont think I'm rushing the season

I think I have to shift my thoughts from the newborn in the manger to the Infant of Prague. Christ as a child, but wearing a crown and royal robes, holding the globe of the earth in his left hand, right hand raised in a blessing.

'The Little King has been enthroned as the Great King of the world to assist His subjects in their trials, difficulties, and crosses. He Who Himself has suffered so much desires to assist those who come to Him. He wishes to attract all hearts to His own through the attractiveness and simplicity of His Divine Infancy.'

Ho Ho Ho

It's been kind of a slow week for posting, not just me, everybody.

Maybe folks are distracted by shopping and decorating and such.

Well, I had to drop in and mention that the ND basketball team beat number 4 ranked Alabama this week and number 24 ranked Maryland last week. The Irish have one loss, and I don't even know to whom they lost. Kind of early for me to be looking at round-ball, but these are good vibes.

Janett's diverticulitis has been acting up this week, so we've been kind of laid back. We did get to Louie's house last night to see the kids and give him a hand starting on the Chrismas decorations. Today is the anniversary of Meg's passing, but they all seem to be OK. I'm sure they feel her absence acutely, as does Janett. Me too, I guess...but I'm a weird kind of mix of lover and loner. I'm too busy dealing with other peoples' feelings to acknowlege my own. Remember last Christmas' blog with the Infant of Prague? Maybr I'll go there again this year.

Friday, December 01, 2006

FANtastic football clips No. 33 - Armando Allen

This one is shorter but better in quality. The kid runs by, around, over, and through people.
Armando Allen Highlight

Armando Allen announced today he'll accept a scholarship at Notre Dame, and enroll this winter so he can attend spring practice.
We've already got a couple of quite good running backs coming up in James Aldridge and Munir Prince, and I hope we can utilize their talents as well, but this guy may the kind of game breaker that Tim Brown and Raghib Ismael were.
AND bringing the best running back in Florida the same year he brings in the best quarterback in California is a monster success for Charlie Weis.