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..

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Busy Saturday

I just posted concerning our Saturday night, but there was more to yesterday than that. I'd arisen at 5 AM to go count some inventory in Joliet. Janett got up with me and by seven was on her way to Jasons's (our oldest boy's) house to see her daughter, Valerie and Valerie's family.

Valerie (second oldest) and John and their little ones, Hannah and Logan are moving from St Paul to Waycross GA. John's company asked him to take work down there and, in this economy, the decision to move seemed to be the right one. Now they'll be two day drive away, but since Janett's brothers are in Georgia, chances are Janett'll get down there for visits every other year.

Janett helped Jase fix a big breakfast and enjoyed a nice vist before seeing the family off on the second leg of their journey, Valerie driving the family van and John driving the big U-Haul. Cogratulations and best wishes to the Hustons!

Sweet Caroline

Janett, Kim and Steffie and I went to the Neil Diamond show in Chicago last night.
It was an enjoyable evening. I can't sing so I'm not in a position to judge, but I thought Mr Diamond's voice was excellent. I mean, he's been working that voice pretty hard for 45 years now. And he was at once personable and professional in his manner with the audience.

In a way the event held the most significance for Janett, for whom Neil Diamond's music was a source of great comfort and encouragement in the seventies when things were tough. She had to overcome her agorophobic feelings to attend a concert at the United Center, and she did it.

I enjoyed the music, but I was happiest about just being with the three of them for a fun evening. We had dinner out before driving to Chicago and got to the United Center just ten minutes before (scheduled) show time, so we were in the last aisle in the parking lot, which made leaving easier when the show was over. All in all, nothing could have been nicer.

Sunday morning news from the BBC

US man charged for shooting mower

Witnesses told police Mr Walendowski appeared to have been drinking

A 56-year-old man from the Midwestern US state of Wisconsin has been arrested after shooting his lawn mower in his garden because it would not start.

Keith Walendowski was charged by police in Milwaukee with disorderly conduct and possession of a sawn-off shotgun.

He could face a fine of up to $11,000 and a maximum prison sentence of six-and-a-half years if convicted.

Police officers said Mr Walendowski had told them: "It's my lawn mower and my yard, so I can shoot it if I want."

Police found the shotgun, a handgun and a stungun, as well as ammunition, when they detained Mr Walendowski in the basement of his house.

Witnesses told police that he appeared to have been drinking.

The lawn mower was found sitting outside Mr Walendowski's house, which he shares with his mother, with the rubbish on Friday.

A local retailer said that Mr Walendowski might now have difficulty getting his lawn mower repaired.

"Anything not factory recommended would void the warranty," said Dick Wagner, of Wagner's Garden Mart in Milwaukee.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stepping outside of myself

for a moment, heres a good article from Woodshedder's page at IBank Coin

In short, the article says there's too much debt. Federal deficit spending won't help a lot getting us out of this recession as banks and other financial institutions have to curtail and rescind their aggressive lending policies of recet years. Was it twenty years ago we first started using the phrase, "Other peoples' money?" Well, the idea caught on to the extent that folks are buying their groceries using other people's money.

You know my feeling is that the deal makers took (take) their cut off the top and left both the lenders and debtors in a bind. But that doesn't exonerate lenders who didn't look hard enough at the security of the loans they were making/debt they were buying. Also borrowers were reckless, especially the fund managers who put together deals that couldn't work out, and financed those deals with borrowed money.

Of course, we sympathise with workers who borrowed to finance a decent standard of living during a period of flat or declining real wages - but some consumers developed a rather extreme view of what "decent" meant, and some of these folks had more than adequate incomes to live on responsibly.

Anyway there's too much debt out there.

Welcome to the Keynesian Nightmare

British economist John Maynard Keynes was an advisor to the American government in the 1930s when it was struggling to restart the domestic economy. The Depression was tragic but, to put it in historical context, Keynes and his client were dealing with a cyclical problem that, by the 1930’s, had already happened regularly during US history.

Before World War II, the US had had many serious recessions or depressions, including 1807, 1837, 1873, 1882, 1893, 1907, 1920, 1933, and 1937. During the 1930s Depression, Keynes’ interpretation of the economic problem was that the US, indeed the world, was caught in what he described as a liquidity trap. A liquidity trap is defined as a time when institutions and consumers hoard money and refuse to spend, protecting their own financial assets for fear of losing them. He argued mightily for his solution to the problem, what we now call Keynesianism. To simplify, he wanted FDR to ‘prime the pump’ of the economy, to put so much money in people’s hands that the increased consumption would lead the way out of the liquidity trap, that the resulting improvement in consumer confidence and normalization of lending habits would reestablish the footing of the economy. The Roosevelt Administration and the economic community initially dismissed his ideas as too simplistic, but the New Deal came to look a lot like the Keynesian construct.

Ultimately, the US was dragged out of the Depression by the deficit spending of World War II, but Keynesianism got the credit, thus setting the course of economic policy for much of the post-war Western world. Keynes, who died in 1946, didn’t live to see the implementation of his theory in the real world.

Since WWII there have been ten recessions in the US, but unlike the pre-war recessions, none of them turned into a depression. I think this is because the Keynesian prescription of deficit spending and heavy government pump-priming has been engineered on a massive scale. Or, as Richard Nixon famously claimed in 1971, “I guess we are all Keynesians now.” Keynesianism had triumphed, and the result is that Keynesian spending provided the foundation for the greatest economic boom that the world had ever experienced. Capitalists throughout the world piled into the example of the US, and in the process turned Keynes’ dream into a nightmare: The nightmare of economies powered by huge amounts of debt and inescapable liquidity traps.

So here we are sixty years past America’s emergence as the world’s dominant superpower, and the perversity of Keynesian theory has grown like a weed. I think it is fair to say that the world we are in today is not the world Keynes foresaw when he wrote his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936. The most pronounced change, to me, is to the amount of debt capital issued in the US and its changing composition. The US grew during the Cold War economic boom thanks to the issuance of the US Treasury’s full faith and credit notes and bonds,, and since then the rest of the US economy has followed suit as society has gotten more and more comfortable with credit risk— first corporate debt, then consumer debt, then junk bonds, then mortgage debt, then structured debt. As a result, today the dominant part of the total debt structure in the US, the part that has played the largest role in driving GDP growth over the last decade, has occurred outside of the government’s purview.

It is no secret that the US is a country driven by debt. It now takes approximately $3.25 of total debt in the US to generate $1 of GDP, a significant increase from 1952, when it took just $1.30 in debt to generate $1 of GDP. However, in 1952, government debt—federal, state and local— was $244 billion and accounted for 55.1% of the $443.6 billion in total debt outstanding in the US. Today, government debt stands at $7.2 trillion but accounts for just 15.7% of the $45 trillion in total debt. Household debt today has a much larger impact on economic growth than government debt— at $13.6 trillion, it is almost twice as much as government debt, while in 1952 it was just one-third of government debt.

The first part of the Keynesian nightmare is related to this change in the composition of debt in the US. If we are counting on deficit spending and the resulting debt capital creation to pull the economy out of recession, the non- governmental borrower who has driven economic growth over the last half decade won’t be there. Don’t count on him. That borrower marks to market and has to cover debt service out of earnings. His ability to borrow today is severely restricted by the asset deflation in house prices and on bank balance sheets. The government, on the other hand, doesn’t mark to market and owns a printing press. So we would be on the watch for much, much deeper government deficits and a surge in government debt issuance going forward.

The second part of the Keynesian nightmare is that we might be in the middle of one of the worst liquidity traps ever. Banks are hoarding liquidity not so much because they are afraid to lend to weak credits but because they are protecting their own capital ratios. Their massive writedowns and equally massive capital infusions—neither of which are done— aren’t working. So while the ECB and the Fed are trying to break the excess liquidity preference of financial institutions through extraordinary measures, the market is doing the opposite: While the Fed may be accommodative, the widening of credit spreads is restrictive. I suggest that this should offset the inflationary potential of the Fed’s actions. The struggling consumer will also likely start to pull in his horns and spend less and save more. We’ll see whether those election-year fiscal stimulus checks change consumer confidence, but my guess is that $600 or $800 or whatever the package provides to consumers will be a transient event for the economy.

In short, the Keynesian nightmare is that it won’t work. Maybe that’s why the Fed cut 125 basis points in just eight days. And maybe that’s why they have more to do.

Michael A.J. Farrell

Chairman, CEO and President of Annaly Capital Management, Inc.

Editors note: Thanks to Pablo222 over at Covestor for posting this article in the comments section. I am intrigued by the change in ratios between consumer and government debt.

A (very) little Yeats

addressing a feeling I may be feeling.


THOUGH leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm resting up..

I don't feel like I'm thinking things through toward forecasts or solutions. Which brings to mind the word "ruminating" Yep, that's what I'm doin', ruminating. In the mean time, if anyone is a little short of cash, I got this e-mail today. $800,000 waiting to be picked up.

Good day!!!

cheque of $800,000.00 with this email: fsfedexexpressdelivery@gmail.
Endeavour to provide them with your Security Keeping Code:(SCT/0433/CC) and also
remember to pay their security keeping fee of $150. I have already
paid for the Delivery, Insurance and the Anti-terrorist Clearance.

My Regards
Mr. Mike Walterman.

There was no addressee named, so I figure it'll work for anyone.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hi everybody

I've been working hard the last week and I'm dog tired, so not much to say except that I've gotten through, and things should be under control for a while. I doubled my money on a couple of investments in the last month - closed one Tuesday morning and one early today, right about at their bottoms. Too bad I didn't have more money committed, but I'm still learning.

ND hired a new athletic director yesterday. Seems like a good fellow, and right for the job

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Photos from 4 of July at Louie's

You know how people usually get all the attention when the camera comes out? Well, Janett got plenty of snaps of the partiers, but demonstrating the rare sensitivity, which is one of the quallities we all appreciate in her, Janett got the following shots.

Maybe next year we'll stay a little later and try to get a shot of Coonie sneaking into the garage to raid the garbage cans.

Happy Fourth


Thursday, July 03, 2008

The kids are alright

was kind of what someone said on an ND football blog about the freshman and sophmores who'll have to step up next year. Which made me think of this song.

I like the video because The Who seem so Beatlish, and because they're filming at some park and draw a crowd of about eight kids, who were apparently just passing by, and weren't sure they knew who the band was. Ah, for those simpler days, now gone by. But If you like drummers you'll enjoy Keith Moon