Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You can always count on America to do the right thing (QE edition)

You can always count on America to do the right thing...after she's tried everything else.

The latest "big response" to our current "recession" is "Quantitative Easing". In English, this means, "Printing gobs of money."

What is that supposed to do? Well, in *theory* it is to put more money into circulation, thus increasing inflation.

"Inflation?", you ask.

Yes! Inflation. Because there's nothing worse than something that's even wrong in theory, let alone in practice.

The theory is that people aren't spending money because prices are currently deflationary. (Note that this was visciously denied for over two years.) The thought is that people aren't spending money because they're sitting around the house waiting for prices to go down.

The answer to that "problem" is to cause inflation, thus prompting people to get off their duffs and go spend money before prices go up.

But everyone *not* bought and paid for by Wall St. realizes that we're not sitting around waiting for prices to go down -- WE'RE WAITING FOR A PAYCHECK BECAUSE NO ONE HAS ANY JOBS.

No, the problem isn't that "finance" accounts for 40% of our GDP and millions are being tossed out of homes they were duped into buying.

Nope, it because the lazy, no working motherf*ckers are sitting at home waiting for prices to go down.

So, what does inflation do to people who don't have money?

I'll let you ponder that one. Shouldn't be hard... unless your job is to protect Wall St.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Lazy F*cking Americans


Bob Brody, who has an apple orchard next door to Gebbers, says he thinks the visa system is too expensive, and the other alternative — hiring Americans — is a fantasy.

"They won't do it," he says. "Talk to any grower."

In the last 10 years, Brody says he's had only one American ask for a job as an apple picker, and he wanted too much money.

But now, the pay is inching up. Like most growers in the region, Brody says he needs more workers. He's offering an extra dollar per bin of apples picked; in his productive Red Delicious orchards, he's offering $15 per bin. At that rate, a fast worker can make $120 a day.
You'll have to listen to the piece to get this next part: for some reason they chose not to print it:

Brody: "What I like about the Hispanics is they'll work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day if you ask them to. And not once have I had anybody bitch."

Bitch? What's to bitch about? Read further down the page and see what it takes to earn your $15:
The bin holds half a ton of apples...
That's right. Pick a *ton* of apples... literally.. and they'll pay you $30.

This is how our slave class lives.

Lazy fucking Americans: welcome to your future.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Old Restaurant

So we went to dinner tonight at the Thai restaurant downtown -- you know, the one that's been at least a half-dozen restaurants in the past 3 years.

TLDR:  After a dozen or so tries, this week's version of a Thai restaurant isn't that good either.

The only interesting part of this story happened just as we were finishing up.  A new table arrived and sat beside us.  Soon the waitress brought the guy sitting next to me a green drink.  It looked exactly like a Thai iced tea, except, well green.  On top, however, was the magic - a thick, brown layer of albatross vomit.

That stuff *reaked*.  I had to turn my head and hold my nose *from another table away*.  If I'd had a plate of 3-day old sun-ripened anchovies I could have stuffed them up my nose and still cut the smell coming off that guy's *drink*.

Now keep in mind this was an *iced* drink, one that I would suppose would have been a sweet one until the kitchen staff allowed three cats sick from rummaging in a canning factory dumpster to retch on top of it.

In two seconds, that guy managed to remove from me any desire to visit Asia.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Progression" of Cancer Treatment

Until circa 1800:

Relative: "What killed him?"
Doctor: "I dunno."

Circa 1860:
Relative: "What did he die of?"
Doctor: "Cancer"

Circa 1950:
Relative: "What did he die of?"
Doctor: "Lung cancer."

Circa 1970:
Doctor: "The lab results are back."
Patient: "What do they say?"
Doctor: "You've got lung cancer. You have 6 months to live."

Circa 2010:
Doctor: "Your genetic tests are back."
Parent: "What do they say?"
Doctor: "Your son will be 6'2", he'll be very successful but won't quite be able to get into Dartmouth, and he'll die of lung cancer at age 50."

We've made terrific advances in the diagnosis of cancer. That's fine and good, but wouldn't you agree it's way past time we:
- Learned to prevent it?
- Learned to treat it?
- Learned to cure it?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Bells of the New Church

It's 2 p.m. Those at work hear nothing. For those about and listening to the "airwaves", the bells of the new church are ringing. "The Dow is up ten points this hour on the announcement of Google's new ..." We may not understand the text, but we sure understand the sub-text: "Why aren't you at work? Aren't you a good Calvinist?"

The call from the temple is carried live across the land every hour. The news of the day, followed by the news from the church. The Dow is up. You should hope so, at least.

The new American puritans have given up on the old god... with his requirements for honesty, foregiveness and care for those less fortunate. Sure, they never held themselves to those ideals, but why embarass everyone be even bringing them up anymore? Let the old church fuck the choirboys. The new church has something better: money. The new church calls for only one thing: Greed. What can you do for yourself? Does it make money?

If you're poor, you must not be pleasing the new god. Please it and you'll be rich for life. Never have to work again. You weren't *lucky* you were *smart*. Or so the theory goes. Sure, you hear stories here and there of someone who knew someone who made it to the new nirvana. But for most, you're just not doing something right.

Obey the holy books. Profits for the shareholders! Remember your mantra: "It's only business". Please the new god and you're rich. We're all shareholders... right? Yeah! To Hell with everyone else!

The new church brings hell closer than ever. No more fire; no more brimstone incense in the back alcove to stoke the fear. With this new church you've already seen *your* future. You've seen the bills, the mortgage payments, the car loan, the food receits; all debts to the church. Fail your god now and Hell is as close as the nearest debtor's prison... (what is it called these days? Oh right, bad credit.. or homeless shelter... we forget which.)

"Jobs"? "A home"? "A retirement plan"? Come on, that wasn't really working for you, was it? With the new religion, you'll be *rich*. You won't *have* to work. Just sit at home with your computer and wire us your funds. The old system of houses, jobs and decent retirement sounds pretty Socialist to us, anyway. The new holy books have all the answers. The books said to send the jobs somewhere else and we obeyed. It's only business. How could we make a living giving all the work to you guys? You're just too expensive. It just wouldn't have worked out. The Holy Market said so.

Don't question it... you'll just embarrass yourself. Why, you sound like a Socialist.. or a Marxist, or Communist or some other "ist" we don't really understand.

3 p.m. "The Dow is up this hour on news that unemployment numbers were down less than predicted by The Analysts. The Dow is up.... erm... 1 point." The sub-priests of the airwaves poke sticks into the entrails of the infotainment to ascertain what must be making god angry. Meanwhile, the true priests battle each other over the collection plate offerings of stock purchases and who will be saddled each other with the burnt offerings of mortgage market derivatives gone foul.

Socialism might be ok? What are you, an Elitist? Don't you know that no one really knows just what Socialism is? Even a little bit is a gift from Satan.. or Stalin or that other evil guy from the war we won. We won the holy World War II against the best evil reference of known history. Known history being very short these days. The true enemy of this church --education-- died quietly years ago... victim of continuous budget cuts. Cut Taxes! Was the battle cry. Teachers are stealing your money! Firefighters and nurses cost too much! Sure, history is written by the victors, but no one needs history anymore. Hitler was evil and he was a Nazi and that's the same as Socialism and Communism. Enough said.

4 p.m. "The Dow is up on news of the arrest of those suspected in the terrorist plot to blow up the...." How much to we have to torture people before they learn not to attack the new church? Those infidels! Hell, they were even infidels of the old one. How can these throwbacks believe the things their wacky religion teaches? Don't they have *education* for Wall Street's sake?

Let them fuck choirboys with the old church. The new church has its eye on the orifices on an entire nation. Investments, retirements, federal dollars, mortgages, dirivatives on mortgages, dirivatives on dirivatives and other confidence schemes. Entire Federal Treasuries and soon even Federal retirement funds will flow into the insatiable maw.

5 p.m. "The Dow closes even." rings across the fields. But the fields are empty. The jobs were sent elsewhere by order of the holy Books. Here lay the answer to every question. "Did we make a profit?" "Should we sell?" "Can our costs be passed to someone else? The taxpayer, perhaps?" "Will we get caught?" Leave the the media to the tea leaves and talking heads the prognosticators. We'll make our money in the private after-hours markets.. far from the eyes of prying commoners.

The only possible concern for The Future in the new church is where the money will come from then. But that will only concen those that are here *next quarter*. That's too far away to be of concern. After all, our golden parachute guarantees us money whether tomorrow comes or not.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Economy Will Not be Fixed

I was wrong when I implied that our financial situation isn't going to be fixed because Republicans and Democrats are owned by Big Money.

Truth is, they apparently have to beg from Big Money.

I regret the error.

NY Times

WASHINGTON — If the Democratic Party has a stronghold on Wall Street, it is JPMorgan Chase.

Its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, is a friend of President Obama’s from Chicago, a frequent White House guest and a big Democratic donor. Its vice chairman, William M. Daley, a former Clinton administration cabinet official and Obama transition adviser, comes from Chicago’s Democratic dynasty.

But this year Chase’s political action committee is sending the Democrats a pointed message. While it has contributed to some individual Democrats and state organizations, it has rebuffed solicitations from the national Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. Instead, it gave $30,000 to their Republican counterparts.

The shift reflects the hard political edge to the industry’s campaign to thwart Mr. Obama’s proposals for tighter financial regulations.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Quote: The Average Person

"The average person has one breast and one testicle." -- Watts Wacker

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Moral Hazards"

When the whole "US Government will backstop Wall Steet" thing happened, all everyone could talk about was "Moral Hazard".

In short, Moral Hazard posits that if the government bails them out this time, then it increases the odds that the Banksters will make even more risky bets in the future, betting on yet another bailout.

What a wonderful mis-direction this is!

"Be careful! Doing this could cause the entire financial system to collapse next time."


Again, what a wonderful mis-direction! In essense, its saying, "Well, ok, this time, but not again." Don't punish anyone now, just make sure it doesn't happen again [sound of wrist being slapped].


It's not a "Moral Hazard" for the future, it is a complete breakdown of morals right now!

Principal: "Ms. Smith, your son has been setting fires in the classrooms and has caused the school to burn down."

Ms. Smith: "Oh, goodness! We should do something about this. One day he could wind up burning down the entire school!"

Principal: "Yes, Ms. Smith. That's very precient of you. He could burn down the school [again]. But in the meantime, WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP GIVING HIM MATCHES!?!?!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti: Water and Food in Crisis

Will someone who has experience with distributing food and water in crisis areas please consider the following and tell me why it won't/doesn't work?

If there's anything we learned spending 3 days watching hundreds of Americans starve in the Convention Center area of the New Orleans Katrina aftermath, it is that Americans really have no idea of how to provide basic essentials after a disaster.

Well -- pending someone explaining to me why this won't work -- here is a way to make it work.

First year engineering students are often tasked with a competition: create an entry that will drop an egg 'N' feet to the ground without breaking the egg.

I posit that we're have and continue to waste engineering expertise on such a stupid goal. Why not change the challenge to: 'Drop water safely to the ground from 10,000 feet'?

In a widespread disaster, there are plenty of things in short supply (in order of severity): rescue, medical treatment, water, food, shelter, security, communication, transportation.

Unbeknownst to the US military (doesn't the US have any other organization to help people? Most other countries seem to be able to get these things done without toting machine guns.) there are ways to get at least some of these items to people fast. Here's what you do.

Make many different small kits:

A) Water: 5-gal cardboard "cubetainers" would be excellent for this. Fill each container only half-way to provide some crash-resistance. "Cube-tainers" stack well and the inner liner can be easily re-used to store water from other sources as/if it becomes available. If all else fails, strap a parachute on a 1-liter Desani bottle for Christ's sake.

B) "Food": Candy bars, granola bars, Lord knows the US if full of "sports bars". Pack 'em up and strap on a 'chute.

C) Shelter: Tents, battery-powered flashlights, water purification tablets, blankets.

D) Medical supplies: Basics, with instructions in 400 different languages.

E) One-way and Two-way radios: One-way to receive broadcasts such as "Sit tight, we're coming to deliver X in Y hours." A smaller number of two-way radios, hard-tuned to fixed frequencies to allow vicims to organize and radio authorities on their situations, their needs and what resources they have to contribute, if possible.

Now, the US military tries to deliver these things to ground-level in pallets and gets all wound up when starving people rush their helicopters (those damn poor people!)

The right way to do this is push this shit out the back of a C-5 at 10,000 ft. That's right, no 15 pallets of X. I'm talking 10,000 pieces each of A through E. Yes, it will land all over the place and yes, it will land in a lot of "wrong" places. But what this does accomplish is scatter people about. Scattered bits of food, water, clothing, shelter, med supplies, etc. don't get gobbled up by "greedy" people. There's no way to Bogart too much because it's all over the place. Also, it keeps rioting mosh-pits from forming at distribution points because there ain't any.

Yes, you're gonna have to make more trips to do this and yes, it's gonna be "inefficient". But you also are getting water, food, shelter and basic medicine to people *on the day of the disters* and not 2 weeks later after everyone has died from starvation waiting to fill out forms in triplicate.

So yes, the Haitians are rioting. Good on them. Lord knows we should have rioted when the US Gub took 3 days just to get a bottle of water to downtown New Orleans. In-fucking-excusible.

The American Dream -- You Have to be Asleep to Believe It

George Carlin