Friday, June 30, 2006

Kerry on the O'Reilly Factor

This sure seemed like a civil exchange between the two men. I didn't see it but there were no lines that said or or something like that. I agree with this Kerry line as well.

KERRY: I believe the American people have been sold short by the United States Congress with respect to the energy future of our country. Yes. And it is regrettable, because millions of jobs have been lost. Our security has been put at risk.

The United States' technological lead in those areas has been set back. Our health has been set back. The environment has been set back. The overall security interests of our nation have not been well served.

This is where Dems and Repubs need to find common ground. The Dems can take the environment side of things and the Repubs can take the security side. The Dems can rail on about how it is destroying wildlife, polluting things, global warming, etc. And the Repubs can rail on about the Oil Sheikh, Iran using oil to fund nukes, Hugo Chavez etc. Then they can meet in the middle and week us off oil.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

FED Raises Rates to 5.25

Hmm, very bullish sentiment that they may pause in raising rates in their next meeting.

In the statement explaining the decision, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues said that "the extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information."

Again numbers like the PPI and the CPI are going to have an even greater chance of moving the market. More then forecast GDP growth might hurt the numbers as well. That expected pause sure helped financials. XLF is up 2% today.

Gaza Situation Escalates

It looks like the Israelis are really starting the crack down on Hamas and are escalating things.

In a clear warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Israeli airplanes flew over his seaside home near the Mediterranean port city of Latakia in northwestern Syria, military officials confirmed, citing the "direct link" between his government and Hamas. Israeli television reports said four planes were involved in the low-altitude flight, and that Assad was there at the time.

Now that is pretty nuts the Israeli Air Force decided to just rattle the windows a little bit and put the fear of Allah into Bashar. Now that is a show fo strength. Also Hamas animals killed off the settler that they grabbed.

Adding to the tension, a Palestinian militant group said it killed an 18-year-old Jewish settler kidnapped in the West Bank. Israeli security officials said Eliahu Asheri's body was found buried near Ramallah. They said he was shot in the head, apparently soon after he was abducted on Sunday.

I still think that the longer this drags on the better chance Gilad Shalit is going to suffer the same fate and this poor kid. Just a shot in the head and buried in some lonely Gaza neighborhood and the killers are going to slip away into Egypt.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Burger King Coverage Initiated

Hmm some good things and some bad from the roundup of people that are starting coverage on this stock. I agree with this Morgan Stanley guy:

Morgan Stanley analyst Mark Wiltamuth also initiated with an "Overweight" rating, noting that the company's valuation is below its competitors such as McDonald's Corp. and Yum Brands Inc., "yet it offers higher operating earnings and EPS growth and we see prospects for sales and earnings upside surprises from the value menu launch," he wrote.

It is currently the number 2 fast food chain in the midst of a turnaround and it is valued below the number 3 and 4 chains. As a value investor you have to like how the company is undervalued even though it has better growth prospects then some of the other stocks in its industry. They seem to have hardly dipped into the international market as well. This Lehman guy agrees with me:

Lehman Brothers analyst Jeffrey A. Bernstein also thinks investors should seek out Burger King shares, initiating the stock at "Overweight" with $20 price target.

"We believe the Burger King U.S. business has been reinvigorated with a host of new products and initiatives, leading to improved sales and profitability metrics, benefiting from a well defined roadmap developed by their peers," he wrote in a report Tuesday. Bernstein added that outside of the U.S. and Canada, there are "significant" unit growth opportunities for the company.

Some of their new products are crappy though. The Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch was freakishly large and I was forced to eat it with a knife and fork. I'm looking to try the Extreme Spicy Tendercrisp with the jalepeneos. I want to gauge the spiciness level of it.

Here is a Pic of Gilad Shalit

He looks like a nice enough kid. Lets hope he gets out of this mess all in one piece.

Israeli Planes Strike Gaza Bridges

It looks like they are laying the groundwork by knocking out bridges that will seperate the Gaza strip.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the object of the attacks on the bridges late Tuesday and early Wednesday was "to impair the ability of the terrorists to transfer the kidnapped soldier." Knocking down the bridges would cut Gaza in two, Palestinian security officials said.

Israel On the Move in Gaza

It looks like the Israeli army is about to roll tanks in Gaza over their kidnapped soldier.

Palestinian security forces said Israeli tanks were on the move near the Israeli village of Nahal Oz, a main Israeli staging area just outside Gaza, but they had not yet entered the territory.

Are they planning on a full scale invasion of Gaza? As soon as the tanks enter these terrorists are going to cut this soldier's head off. I guess they weighted the risks when they set out or they are banking on simply recovering his corpse.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cell Phones Excite Brain Cells

Hmm this is an interesting study about how cell phones affect your brain.

Dr. Paolo Rossini of Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan and colleagues used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS to check brain function while people used these phones.

They had 15 young male volunteers use a GSM 900 cell phone for 45 minutes. In 12 of the 15, the cells in the motor cortex adjacent to the cell phone showed excitability during phone use but returned to normal within an hour.

The cortex is the outside layer of the brain and the motor cortex is known as the "excitable area" because magnetic stimulation has been shown to cause a muscle twitch.

Hmm I wonder what effects this excitability has? I wonder if you excite the left brain you will become more creative or the right brain gets excited you can think better. So depending on what side you use the cell phone on you get either a boost of creativity or cognition. Or maybe that excitability is what causes brain cancer in some cell phone users. I think more study is in order to see if these things are safe over the long haul.

New York Times should be Punished

I think newspapers need to think about the War on Terror before they publish any old leak that comes down the pike. I'm all for the First Amendment but newspapers need to have some judgment when it comes to keeping secrets during a war. And it seems that Tony Snow agrees with me.

"Certainly nobody is going to deny First Amendment rights. But the New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public's right to know in some cases might override somebody's right to live," Snow said. "And whether, in fact, the publication...could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans."

The Times needed to have the same thinking that they kept the knowledge that FDR was wheelchair bound under wraps. Sometimes the American people do not need to know every secret thing the government does during a wartime situation.

I mean if civil liberties were infringed and crimes were committed then they should blow the whistle. But when they get a leak and then go to the White House who raise objections they should not say "let's publish this anyway." There should be some kind of consequences for leaking top secret information like this. It is kind of like publishing troop movements or the battle plan during the war. This should be investigated and if there was wrongdoing then there should be some kind of punishment.

It think at the very least the leak should be plugged since that person is acting like a double agent giving away our secrets in order to strengthen Al-Quida postions and warn them that they are being tracked.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Cadbury recalls 1 millions Chocolate Bars

They might have traces of salmonella in them but only UK and Irish bars are affected.

The precautionary recall involves seven products -- 250 gram bars of Dairy Milk Turkish, Dairy Milk Caramel and Dairy Milk Mint; Dairy Milk 8 chunk; 1 kilogram bars of Dairy Milk: Diary Milk Button Easter Eggs (105 grams); and Cadbury Freddo 10p.

I have the agree that Cadbury is the best chocolate bars around and they easily kick the crap out of anything Hersheys makes. Too bad they aren't more available here in Hawaii. This recall should affect their quality very much.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Ultimate USB ThumbDrive

This is a great article from PCmag that lets you put all kinds of stuff on a Keydrive so you can browse, e-mail, FTP, and even do Office related tasks all from your USB drive. I think I will be doing this to see what it is like.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MySpace Teen Goes to the West Bank

Check out what happened to this 17 year old girl who tried to travel to the West Bank to be with a guy she met on MySpace.

She was traveling to be with Abdullah Jimzawi, a 20-year-old high school dropout who lives with his parents in Jericho, West Bank. They met through, a social networking Web site whose popularity with teenagers has raised concerns among U.S. authorities, with scattered accounts of sexual predators targeting minors on the site.

Jimzawi, in a recent interview with The Associated Press, said he loves the girl and the two planned to marry. She was to convert to Islam, he said.

That was pretty brave of her to travel like that halfway around the world to a pretty dangerous place to be with a guy. Or it could mean she is ignorant of that part of the world and thought it was like getting on a plane and going to Las Vegas or something. This part I don't agree with though:

At a hearing Monday, Judge W. Wallace Kent Jr. ordered Lester to give up her passport and undergo counseling. He did not rule on the validity of the petition.

Why would she need counseling? She seems to have her stuff together enough to travel all the way to Amman, Jordan and try to head to Tel Aviv. She is 17 so it is not like she doesn't know what she is doing. I wonder if she would have to have court mandated counseling if this 20 year old guy was living in Spain or something?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Check out these Weird Puma Shoes

Hmm, I guess the click through advertising on Yahoo worked because I clicked through this Puma ad to see why these shoes looked like grass. It turns out they have a funky pattern on them to make them look like grass. Here is a pic from their website:

They are called the Puma V1.06 iFG and go for like $175. I guess they grow on you the more you look at them but they still look kind of strange to me. I wonder if they have some with a dirt pattern on them for those soccer fields in South America and Africa?

Is Rooney Enough to Win it for England

This is a pretty good article forwarded to me by my Dad that talks about Wayne Rooney and whether he is going to take England to the World Cup.

He has the vision and the skill to pick out teammates with accurate, well-timed passes that often lead to goals. He also knows his powerful build and impressive control make it almost impossible for defenders to take the ball from him. When opponents try to shackle him with two or three defenders, that leaves teammates unmarked and he slips the ball out for them to score. The sort of thing Pele used to do.

Now England just needs to play up to their potential and they could do it. Here is a picture of Rooney and his wife. She has kind of a weird nose:

Jolie Wants Another Adopted Child?

I guess she is running her own immigration agency to get destitute babies out of Third World countrires one at a time. I guess she is this generations Mia Farrow.

We don't know which which country. But we're looking at different countries," the actress tells Cooper. "And we're I'm just it's gonna be the balance of what would be best for Mad and for Z right now. It's, you know, another boy, another girl, which country, which race would fit best with the kids."

North Korea to Test ICBM

Hmm I wonder what our response will be to information that they could turn LA into a smoking crater?

U.S. officials have said the 116-foot-long missile has a firing range of 9,300 miles and could reach as far as the U.S. West Coast. Most analysts, however, say North Korea is still a long way from perfecting technology that would make the missile accurate and capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

I think it wasn't such a big deal for them to strike Japan or Korea but now they can actually hit our West Coast ports and that should put some fear into us. I still think the whole idea of MAD will deter them from taking the first shot though. They would get LA but we would not leave stone on stone in that country. I wonder if the loony liberals from the left coast will sleep a little less easy tonight?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Spears wants Baby in Namibia now?

I guess Namibia is becoming the new Hollywood hotspot to give birth now.

"Deputy Tourism Minister Leon Jooste confirmed that he received a telephonic enquiry from Spears' office to have her second baby born in Namibia," the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) said Friday.

I just hope this translates to a tourism boost for Namibia. Or will all this attention from celebs cause the Namibians to build lots of tourism type facilities just before the nation becomes forgotten like those goofy little dogs that they used to carry around? Actually, this may be the reason why stars want to have a baby in the country:

The Namibian government had asked the press to respect the couple's privacy and deported three French paparazzi and a South African photographer after they tried to take photographs of a very pregnant Jolie.

When you have the government deporting paparazzi you will have a nice secret baby birthing and can sell the first pics for millions. It is just a way to increase the revenue that can be generated by the baby.

North Korea has Missile that can Strike US

This is some pretty worrying news for people on the west coast and living here in Hawaii.

North Korea is accelerating preparations for testing a missile that has the potential to strike the United States, a U.S. government official said Friday. A test of the Taepodong-2 long-range missile may be imminent, the official said.

I guess North Korea is tired of Iran being the focus of the national stage and wants to get in on the act as well. Will we be entering a new Cold War with North Korea playing the Russia role?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Panel recommends Churchill be fired

I guess the University of Colorado is tired of having this person associated with their school. I thought of something interesting while looking at these comments.

The essay referred to some World Trade Center victims as "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolf Eichmann, who carried out Adolf Hitler's plan to exterminate European Jews during World War II.

They did not seem to engender the same revulsion and condemnation from the left that Ann Coulters comments on the 9/11 widows have had. This is indicative of how polarized our nation is. I'm sure many on the left feel that the people that died in 9/11 can't be described in the same breath as a guy that signed the death warrant of millions of people. But they can't speak out because they will loose their loony liberal base.

This loony liberal base also makes it seem like the Dems hope the US loses in Iraq and are driven out in shame. The Dems are forced to say things like "pull all of the troops out by the end of the year" even though the Iraqis have gone to the UN with a request that we not leave until they get things under control. I think the Dems know full well what chaos we will leave in our wake if we leave when the Iraqis aren't ready to take over yet. Yet their highly polarized base forces them to say things like that or they won't get support.

I just can't fathom how someone can advocate abandoning millions of people just so they can feel better morally (since US troops will no longer be involved in a so-called "illegal" war.) They seem to care more about US citizens then about Iraqi citizens. The left seems too busy convicting our troops without a trial over Haditha or looking for our hidden prisons to investigate Shiite Death Squads or people getting murdered in Darfur. I thought they were supposed to be a nuanced, compassionate, internationalist party. The so-called Progressives. I guess they are only progressive when it comes to US citizens and not Africans or Iraqis.

Spiderman Reveals Secret Identity

This is a very interesting turn of events for Spiderman fans.

In the latest edition of the Marvel comic "Civil War" on sale, Spiderman does the unthinkable and removes his Spidey mask to publicly reveal his hidden identity.

"I'm proud of who I am, and I'm here right now to prove it," the legendary webslinger tells a press conference called in New York's Times Square, before pulling off his mask and standing before the massed ranks of reporters as newspaper photographer Peter Parker.

I wonder which way they are going to go with this storyline. In the Marvel Universe the Fantastic 4 does not use masks and become celebrities because of it. I wonder if the Daily Bugle will still go after Spider-Man or will he become a celebrity. In any case it is always cool to see comics make national news.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Daryl Hannah Chased Up a Tree

This article is just too funny. This shows how hopelessly deluded some celebs are.

Horowitz had offered to sell 10 acres of the property to a non-profit group for $16.3 million so the farm could be continued, but when the group came up short, he secured an eviction order from a judge.

Over the past few weeks, Hannah has been living on the property in a tent in an effort to draw attention to the farmers' plight. On Tuesday, she said she had been sleeping in her tent when the police raid began around 5 a.m. and that she quickly made for the branches of a tree.

"I felt an extreme sense of urgency. Not only did I have to climb up the tree, I had to pull up the rope behind me so they could not follow me," the actress told the Los Angeles Times by cell phone from her tree perch.

This whole protest could have been avoided if these stars would just get out their pocketbooks and helped that non-profit organization pay that $16.3 million for the land. Or raise the money in a fundraiser or on the internet like Howard Dean did. They would been able to get the money in no time and no one would have had to live on the farm in a tent like a dumb ass. And this is just the most priceless thing in the whole article:

He also said that the majority of the farmers had been relocated to other gardening sites around the city, a statement echoed by City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

Yup all the crazy tree climbing and concrete barrel chaining was pretty much for no reason. The stars could have just helped the farmers find new land in some other part of the city. In fact why don't they just let the farmers set up a communal garden on the grounds of their mansions. Maybe their love of Latino farmers stops as soon as "the Man" stops "getting them down."

Condoleezza Rice Tops in Eat Dinner Poll

Hmm it seems like Esquire reading men like brains over beauty when it comes to a dinner date.

Rice was followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie in a national survey published in the magazine's July issue. The 29-question survey, conducted by Beta Research Corp., polled 1,083 men aged 25 and older.

I agree with their choice of male that men would like to invite to dinner as well. They picked Jay Leno. I think he is the only male celebrity that I would really like the spot somewhere on the street and shake his hand. I have always liked Jay Leno for some reason. It is also interesting that Bush made the list as well:

Asked which famous man they'd invite to dinner, 37 percent picked "Tonight" host Jay Leno.
Bill Clinton placed second, trailed by George Clooney and President Bush.

I think Bush would be fun to talk about baseball with since he was a former owner.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sun Fires Back in Becks defense

The Sun is pulling for the the England skipper but wow the pics they chose do not do Beckham's mom and sister any favors:

Another insider said: "David and Victoria are furious. They thought this was all about football and didn't come to Germany expecting to be ridiculed."

Former England skipper Mick Channon slammed Bild.

He said: "Writing stuff like that is just plain sick and is is clearly insulting. Beckham should ignore it and carry on playing the way he has been. He's been great in the last four or five England games."

Sun gets in a nice little dig at the German Teams' wives as well:

While the England players' wives and girlfriends include stunners like Posh Spice, Coleen McLoughlin and Cheryl Tweedy, can anyone name a partner of the German footie stars?

Bild vs. Becks Sister

I'm hoping for a Germany/England game before this World Cup is out. Since this is the first shot across Englands bow by the Bild Newspaper. This is what they said:

Beckham's 24-year-old sister Joanne came in for especially harsh treatment in the full-page spread accompanied by colour photographs.

"Dear me, is she chubby. Arms, bust, bum, all very British. Joanne is the sort of girl who drinks sangria on the beach in Majorca. And then dances on a table with her top off," said the paper Monday.

Here is a picture of Joanne Beckham. She does look like she enjoys the sweets:

Interesting Article by Michael Barone

This is a very interesting article on why the Dems message is falling short with some Americans when it comes to Iraq.

It comes down to this: A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W. Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there -- a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women -- and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton.

Successes are discounted, setbacks are trumpeted, the level of American casualties is treated as if it were comparable to those in Vietnam or World War II. Allegations of American misdeeds are repeated over and over; the work of reconstruction and aid of American military personnel and civilians is ignored.

I think if the Dems should run on a platform that says the Bush administration has screwed up and turned Iraq into a quagmire but they have a better plan to succeed in Iraq. In other words use their plan as a backdrop to show how the Repubs have failed (they can go point by point) and how they will succeed if only the voters give them a chance. In other words tell us how the Dems plans to rebuild Iraq are better.

I have a feeling that many Americans don't like the war but they really want to see us eke out some sort of lasting victory. They want to see that all the deaths and destruction ended up building a better Iraq in whatever form it takes. They are not ready for the image of the last Air America helicopter on of the roof of the American Embassy as Saigon falls. I think some on the far left of the Dems can't wait to see that image so they can say "I told you so, look what the Repubs have wrought."

Palestine Lurching Toward Civil War?

It looks like it is getting to Palestinian on Palestinian violence in the West Bank now.

In Monday's unrest, hundreds of members of the Preventive Security force shot out the windows of the parliament building before storming the two-building Cabinet complex, where they smashed furniture, destroyed computers and tore up documents. No casualties were reported.

Shooting wildly in the air, the mob then set fire to one of the Cabinet buildings, gutting the fourth floor. When a fire engine approached the scene, one gunman lay on the road, preventing it from reaching the building.

I guess we could soon see a coup against the Hamas led government. This Middle Eastern democracy project may be springing a few leaks here. All Hamas had to do is work with the Israelis and get rid of the "destroy Israel" plank and they could have been able to rule in peace. Now they might be shot to death by their own countrymen. I guess Hamas is really willing to fight for peace now.

World Cup Ball Like Knuckler

This is an interesting article on why goalies hate the new Worldcup Ball this year.

The new Adidas Teamgeist football, as it is called, has 14 panels instead of the 26 or 32 that traditionally create the hexagonal pattern.

Fewer panels means fewer seams, which will make the ball behave more like a baseball, says Ken Bray, a sports scientist at the University of Bath in the UK.

Here is a picture of the ball. It does look very different then a normal soccer ball. I wonder if there will be controversy because of it?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Rio Shaking Down Motorists for World Cup Decorations

Now this is one soccer crazed country.

Cars have been stopped by rope barriers in side streets and drivers asked to make contributions.

In one recent such incident in Rio's hilltop Santa Teresa district, a young man in T-shirt and shorts approached a halted car. But instead of drawing a gun -- as often happens in this crime-plagued city -- the man politely asked: "Any change to buy decorations ?"

On payment of a couple of reais ($1), the rope was dropped.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Texas Instruments Raises Outlook

Hmm it seems that TXN is looking at good growth in the coming quarter.

TI, which sells chips for everything from cell phones to calculators, now expects second-quarter earnings from continuing operations of 46 cents to 48 cents a share, versus its earlier estimate of 38 cents to 43 cents a share.

Analysts on average had forecast 40 cents a share.

When you couple it with this article that I read yesterday about cell phone sales being up 20%. TXN is the leader is cell phone chip making so they may be a pretty good growth story going forward. It also seems to be trading at a discount to the market, and is about $7 cheaper then its fair market value. It is certainly a decent add to someones Watch List.

Mobile phones are a particularly hot item, driven by an apparent desire for a wave of more advanced models that have expanded the handsets' usefulness beyond verbal communication by turning them into vehicles for Web surfing, pictures and videos.

The trade group estimated cell phone shipments this year will increase 20 percent to about 1 billion units. Each of those devices contains chips costing an average of $41.

al-Zarqawi Killed At Last

Well, it looks like the US got their man at last.

Coalition forces killed al-Qaida terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and one of his key lieutenants, spiritual adviser sheik Abdel-Rahman, yesterday, June 7, at about 6:15 in the evening. This happened in an airstrike which was conducted against an identified, isolated safe house.

It will be very interesting to learn how they did it in the years to come. Was it a member of Zarqawis group that ratted him out? And what roll did the Jordan Intelligence play in this whole thing. I think a History Channel documentary should be in order on what went down.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Weird Solar System Found 60 Light Years Away

This sounds pretty interesting if you are an Astronomy buff. It is about the solar system known as Beta Pectoris which is about 60 light years away from us.

The new finding raises the possibility that in a few million years time, Beta Pictoris could be home to bizarre alien worlds that sound like something dreamed up by astronomers who've read too much science-fiction.

carbon-rich worlds are forming in Beta Pictoris, they might be covered with tar and smog, with mountains made of giant diamonds," said Marc Kuchner, an expert on extrasolar planets also from Goddard. Kuchner, who was not involved in the study, said that "life on such a planet is not implausible, but it certainly would be exotic."

That kind of makes me think about the Valley of Diamonds that Sindbad visited in the 1001 Arabian Nights Stories. Incidentally that is also a Magic card that I had from the Arabian Nights set:

UBS "Logic Bombing" Pretty Harrowing

Wow if you are an IT professional this story is pretty harrowing stuff. It involved a 2002 attack on UBS PaineWebber by a disgruntled SysAdmin.

On the day of the attack, Rodriguez said that at one point there was "chaos" in the UBS Escalation Center. Systems administrators and other IT workers were streaming into the offices there, asking questions and making suggestions. A room that normally sees six or seven workers was suddenly teeming with 20 or 30 by mid-morning. By noon, she says there were maybe 50 people working on the downed network. Just an hour later, there were hundreds involved across the country.

"Every branch was having problems," she said. "Every single broker was complaining. They couldn't log onto their desktops and [get to] their applications because the servers were down. The brokers might have been able to make some calls to friend brokers, but my understanding was that trading was not doable."

Now that is pressure when guys that are used to moving millions of dollars back and forth and are paid handsomly for it can't even log into their PCs to check their e-mail. That was perhaps millions of dollars in trading profits that cannot be recouped because one disgruntled SysAdmin figured he wasn't paid enough and crashed their system. I would hate to have been working at UBS trying to get their 2000 servers back online from backup tapes. That sounds nuts.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bush Says Iran Talks Positive

It looks like we are offering them a pretty good deal here. I wonder if Iran is going to reject even this sweetened deal by the US.

The package includes a promise of Western technical help in developing peaceful civilian nuclear energy if Iran stops enriching uranium, a waiver of U.S. legal restrictions to allow export of some agricultural technology, access to U.S. aircraft parts or new Boeing Co. planes to upgrade Iran's aging fleet and U.S. and European backing for Iran to join the
World Trade Organization diplomats and others said.

I wonder what the next step will be if Iran rejects even this proposal. Are we going to go down the long torturous path to a military solution with Russia and China fighting us all the way? I would be willing to bet any money that if sanctions go in and oil goes to $90 we will see a steep recession in this country for sure. Hope you got your DIA, SPY, and QQQQ shorts in if that happens.

Now 2.2 Million Active Duty Military Data was Stolen

It looks like that same idiot that got their laptop stolen may have had info on 2.2 million active duty military people as well.

In fact, names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of as many as 1.1 million active-duty personnel from all the armed forces, or 80 percent of all active-duty members, are believed to have been included, along with 430,000 members of the National Guard, and 645,000 members of the Reserves.

Yup those are the men and women dying in Iraq that got their info nicked by the lax security at the VA. The idea of letting all of that info walk out the door so simply without any checks is mind blowing to me. I think VA Secretary Jim Nicholson should resign ASAP.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Rage" Disorder a Real Thing?

This is a really interesting article on something called Rage Disorder.

By definition, intermittent explosive disorder involves multiple outbursts that are way out of proportion to the situation. These angry outbursts often include threats or aggressive actions and property damage. The disorder typically first appears in adolescence; in the study, the average age of onset was 14.

It seems that these aren't just people who get pissed for no reason but it is an actual brain chemistry thing going on:

Coccaro said the disorder involves inadequate production or functioning of serotonin, a mood-regulating and behavior-inhibiting brain chemical. Treatment with antidepressants, including those that target serotonin receptors in the brain, is often helpful, along with behavior therapy akin to anger management, Coccaro said.

Friday, June 02, 2006

NYSE and Euronext to Merge

Looks like consolidation in the Exchange space. And big changes ahead for World Markets:

The NYSE-Euronext deal could turn world markets upside down, spurring mass consolidations, threatening the future of open-outcry trading and perhaps even opening the way for a round-the-clock worldwide exchange. The acquisition would create a single platform where traders could deal in stocks, options, futures, commodities and corporate bonds across two continents — for up to 12 hours daily.

It sure would be cool to be able to trade actual European Stocks and not just the ADRs of them. Also the idea of the stock exchange being open 12 hours a day appeals to me because I don't have an hour or so to get trades in before the market closes. Seems like a good deal for both parties.

Info on Types of Orders

This is very good information for every starting investor to know.

Market Order: This is for immediate execution at the best price available when the order reaches the marketplace. This is the most common type of order and is nearly always filled, since no price is specified. As an example, you might call your broker and bark into the phone, "Buy me 75 shares of Scrunchie Manufacturing (ticker: SCRNCH) at the market!"

Limit Order: This is an order to buy or sell only at a specified price (the limit) or better. Investors who have a maximum or minimum price at which they're willing to trade use limit orders. As an example, imagine that Amalgamated Chorus Girls Inc. (ticker: KICKK) is trading at $35 and you want to buy, but not at the current price. You might click over to your brokerage's website and place an order to buy 50 shares of KICKK at a limit of $33 per share. This means that if KICKK hits $33 during the day and your order is next in line to be filled, it will be filled at that price. With a limit order, you'll only pay $33 or less per share, if your order is filled.

Fill-or-Kill: This order is submitted for immediate execution. If it cannot be filled immediately, it's automatically canceled.

Day Order: This order terminates automatically at the end of the business day if it hasn't been filled.

GTC (Good 'til Canceled): This order remains in effect until canceled by the customer or executed by the broker. It doesn't typically remain in effect forever, though. Many brokerages cancel GTC orders after a month or two.

All-or-None (AON): This is a limit order in which the broker is directed to attempt to fill the entire amount of the order or none of it. An all-or-none order differs from a fill-or-kill order in that, with an all-or-none order, immediate execution is not required.

Stop Order: This becomes a market order when a specified price is reached or passed. Buy stops are entered above the current market price, and sell stops are entered below it. For example, you might place a stop order to have your shares of Stained Glass Windshield Co. (ticker: STAIN) automatically sold if the price falls below $40 per share. A stop order guarantees execution, but not price.

Stop Limit Order: This is similar to a stop order, but it becomes a limit order instead of a market order when the price is reached or passed. If you place a "sell 100 XYZ $55 stop limit" order, if XYZ drops to $55 per share or below, the order becomes a limit order to sell 100 shares at no less than $55.

Australia Formed By Giant Meteor

This is some interesting information about how Australia was formed.

Ohio State University scientists said the 483-kilometer-wide (300-mile-wide) crater is now hidden more than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

"Gravity measurements that reveal its existence suggest that it could date back about 250 million years -- the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction, when almost all animal life on Earth died out," the university said in a statement Thursday.

A 300 mile wide crater a mile below the Antarctic Ice Sheet sounds pretty nuts. I wonder if it would ever be possible for scientists to drill down there and check out the crater.

AMD Accounces Chip Plans

It still seems like AMD is the innovator and the growth company and Intel looks like the broken old tech name resting on their laurels.

"WeÂ’re fully positioned to service one-third of the market by 2008," AMD VP of manufacturing Daryl Ostrander said during a presentation to investors and analysts at the company's Sunnyvale, Calif. headquarters last week. AMD held 21.4% of the overall x86 chip market at the end of last year versus nearly 77% for Intel, according to Mercury Research. It will invest $2.5 billion to increase manufacturing capacity at two plants in Germany. Ostrander reaffirmed plans to move from 90-nanometer chip technology to better performing 65-nanometer technology by the end of this year, and pushed up the schedule for shipping chips with 45-nanometer components to 2008.

I know I have used AMD chips for quite a while because I don't want to pay the added Intel markup for pretty much the same performance. Also yourchoicee of motherboards are greatly reduced when you use Intel. I think too much sitting back and enjoying their near monopolistic status in the 90s have gone to Intel's head.

Spelling Bee a Big Deal now

This sure is an interesting change in something that is used to be treated as a farce by most of America. It seemed like the only coverage that the Spelling Bee got was when some poor kid passed out or some other kid shouts out the letters or something. Now it is prime time TV.

The broadcast had the flavor and style of a sports program, opening with a montage of the competitors and including a short profile of the first speller before he got his word. Profiles of other spellers followed during subsequent commercial breaks, and each pause in the competition brought a groan from the audience.

Each word or grimace by spellers triggered a blast of camera shutters, and the live TV camera followed the losers into the arms of comforting parents.

Maybe we will see a return to the 50s where things like the College Bowl were celebrated and talked about. It does seem to be a return to simpler times where High School Musicals and Spelling Bees were the talk of the town. There was no IPods, Internet or International Terror to make people afraid and their lives hectic.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

US Softens Stance on Iran

Hmm it looks like we are giving some quarter on the negotiations with Iran about their nukes.

In Washington, the U.S. official said there was agreement with Germany, France and Britain over the package of "carrots and sticks" and that Russia and China -- in the past reluctant to support punitive measures -- also appeared to be on board.

"We have substantial agreement with the Russians and the Chinese. We are agreed certainly on the need for moving forward in the (U.N.) Security Council if Iran doesn't respond to the offer," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Now the ball is back in Iran's court. Lets see what they do with it. If I were Iran I would agree to have the UN monitor the enrichment but insist that it must be done in Iran. In other words get the enrichment technology online using Russian help. Then when they are ready to build the bomb, kick out the inspectors and break the seals. Rely on UN paralysis and a wishy-washy "never use force" Dem to be in the White House to buy them enough time to get some bombs built. Once they have the nuke, Iran will be able to able to dictate terms.