Friday, August 29, 2008

HuffPost Insults Palin By Calling Her Snow White

It is interesting to see that the so-called progressive, pro-woman Left levels an attack at her in way that makes me think about how Clinton called Obama's run a "fairy tale." So she is just a fairy tale figure like Snow White to the HuffPost?

Maybe some on the Left actually view women just like Snow White in the fairy tale. In other words women are just there to cook and clean for a bunch of men. They see women as gullible enough to eat something sold to them by anyone that happens to come by their house. These women then have to be rescued by princes (like the Federal Government and Obama) since the Left can't see women as able to rescue themselves. This part is especially insulting:

Dwarfed at the altar by a total unknown. Each rejected candidate now having to gamely march out before the national media to defend this singular act of a political Hail Mary pass. To steal an old adage of former Secretary of State James Baker... putting Sarah Palin into a debate with Joe Biden is going to be like throwing Howdy Doody into a knife fight!

Yes the HuffPost just referred to Gov. Palin as Howdy Doody. Ignore the fact that she beat a 25 year political veteran in Frank Murkowski and fought against Ted Stevens and his pork politics. From all indications she seems pretty smart and capable. To the HuffPost she is just some little freckle faced puppet there to amuse them and look pretty.

Also I love how they keep referring to her as a former-beauty queen as well because it further denigrates and devalues her smarts and ability. I could have sworn that the Dems were the party of Ferraro and Clinton. Maybe there are more sexists like Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann then you might think hiding in their ranks.

Obama Camp Goes After Palin Right Out of the Blocks

It really looks like they are running scared with this choice and just threw a quick attack together after Googling Palin's name:

Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."

I wonder if it is actually a good idea to insult small town America like that by saying that their leaders can't be President one day. They also kind of glossed over the fact that she is the governor of the largest US state by landmass. I think they are wrong-footed and just went into attack mode on instinct having prepared for Romney or Pawlenty or someone else and not Palin. Now they have to skate the fine line of sexism when they destroyed Hillary.

McCain Picks Palin as VP: He heeded my advice!

It seems that McCain went for the shake-up the ticket pick at VP instead of the safe pick like Romney or Pawlenty.

At a raucous rally in the swing state of Ohio, McCain introduced Palin as the political partner "who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people who are counting on us."

"I am honored," she said moments later, the first Republican woman chosen for national office.

What is cool is that I said it before in this blog that he needed a woman or a minority as his running mate and not just some white dude from a swing state. I even put Palin down as one of the women he should pick. Now America just needs to get to know her. She does seem very popular in Alaska.

I think Linda Lingle would have been just as good a pick with a little more experience. However Palin is young, a hunter, a gun lover, and wants to drill in ANWAR so she should be a great ticket balancer. It also makes the GOP look more like a big tent party and not just for white dudes.

I also loved how this announcement sucked all the air out of the Obama Stadium Show and Imperial Coronation that was at INVESCO field. The same CNN anchors who gushed about the 80,000 people and the overflow crowd looked shell-shocked as they were forced to go wall-to-wall about Palin.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dems are Concerned with Obamopolis as Well.

It seems that the Temple of Obama at Denver is starting to give the Dems some pause as well.

It’s likely that the campaign would do it differently if it had to do it again because the decision was made before the European trip,” said a senior Democratic elected officeholder who has worked closely with the Obama campaign. The GOP narrative of Obama as celebrity took root during that trip, where the Illinois senator played to large crowds of adoring Europeans.

Obama campaign officials acknowledged the apprehension Wednesday.

“I have heard some of the concerns and criticism that it’s such a big venue,” said a senior Obama campaign aide. “It’s no surprise that people could be a little nervous. We’re trying to do something new.”

I think the idea of a Greek god as President is starting to show its bad side and the Dems are scrambling. All McCain has to do now is accept his nomination in a town hall style event surrounded by ordinary people and the plucky everyman vs. the narcissistic celebrity narrative is all set.

I think all this fawning media attention and 80,000 seat stadium shows are going to be a serious setback for the Obama campaign. Americans love to see people like Paris Hilton brought low (judging by her jail stay and the furor it caused) and a celebutant like Obama might just suffer the same fate. I think this celebrity card is now the strongest one in the McCain playbook.

The Obamopolis In All Its Glory!

I think Obama thinks he is an actual Greek god and not just a rock star judging by the set of his acceptance speech. Yes those are Doric columns in the background. "Look Upon Him Ye Mighty and Despair For he is Emperor Obama the First!"

Putin Lets his Paranoid Flag Fly Free

I think he might be showing his old KGB T-shirt under his Judo Gi with these remarks.

"It is not just that the American side could not restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal act. The American side in effect armed and trained the Georgian army," Putin said in an interview with CNN, part of which was broadcast on Russian state television.

Um, I think Putin does know that Georgia had a pretty weak army compared to Russia right? The Georgians could get all the American training in the world but they also needed American armor, technology, and command and control to get its full effect. I mean the Georgians had a bunch of Soviet era tanks and MIGs and not M-1 Abrams Tanks and F-22s Raptors. If they did they might have actually been a threat to Russia. The funny thing is after Russia decimated their military Georgia just might get that state of the art hardware after all to guard them from the Russian aggressor.

"Why ... seek a difficult compromise solution in the peacekeeping process? It is easier to arm one of the sides and provoke it into killing another side. And the job is done.

Does Putin actually think that Georgia could have "killed" the other side? I assume he means South Ossetia and not Russia. Sometimes it is hard to tell what he means when he is that paranoid. I think Putin does sleep in a closet with a loaded pistol with a silencer on it like that guy in the movie Munich.

"... The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict with the aim of making the situation more tense and creating a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the post of U.S. president."

So the Georgian crisis was precipitated by the US to give a "competitive advantage" to one of the candidates? I think it is about time that Putin puts down the Big Book of Conspiricies and comes in from the cold a little bit. They *all* aren't out to get you Vlady.

More Aflac Options Movement

Hmm it seems that call options are going fast and furious today in AFL. It looks like 12168 contracts have already traded in the September 60 and 65 which is just about double the amount of open interest in all of the September contracts. There is even 1066 contracts moving in the October 60 as well. More commentary from Interactive Brokers Options report (they are blaming the action on a funny buyback by Aflac to the tune of $825 million:)

AFL – Aflac Inc. – There is considerable interest in options contracts on Aflac – the supplemental life and health insurance provider. Current existing open interest of 81,099 lots compares to volume seen today of 11,000 contracts mainly on the call side. With shares just 1% firmer at $56.79 we’re observing interest in the September contract at the 60 and 65 strike prices, where activity appears to have been initiated by buyers today. Two days ago the company announced an unusual method of repurchasing its own shares when it announced that it would pay Goldman Sachs $825 million using internal capital to fund purchases, to deliver three tranches of Alfac shares in December, January and February according to one version of the story. The story is possibly putting a floor under the share price at Afflac or could be order-flow from the investment bank as it seeks to slowly buy stock.

Kerry Tries to Make up For Bush Loss at DemCon

It seems that Kerry wants to make up for not beating a President that was eminently beatable with a bunch of crazy rhetoric.

"How insulting to suggest that those who question the mission, question the troops.

The problem is that some on the left actually do question the troops. General Betray-us anyone? So when so-called moderate voices on the left fail to denounce that kind of rhetoric then they give the impression that they tacitly approve of it even when you don't. I guess the MoveOn wing of the party is just too strong with the money bags for a guy like Kerry to denounce.

"How pathetic to suggest that those who question a failed policy doubt America itself.

You do question America when you describe its policy as failed. That means America would have let 4000 servicemen die in vain. Also where does he get off saying the Iraq war was a failure? You might have said that if you listened to guys like Kerry and you pulled the troops out in 2006. If we pulled out when the civil war was thickest, when there were headless bodies in the street, then you could say that the Iraq war was a failure. We would have left at the wrong possible time and let the Iraqi's fend for themselves.

However we may actually get a chance to pull out of a stable, democratic power instead of a country wracked by civil war. In other words we may get a Japan out of Iraq instead of a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Sunni Awakening+Surge did that and I hope Kerry can admit that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aflac Buyout Rumor?

I was reading a Fast Money recap (the traders have great insight but I have a hard time following the show since they all seem to talk at once) and I came across this little throw away line.

Najarian said someone out there believes Aflac AFL is being "shopped around" or could possibly be bought out -- this belief came to be when he noticed strong call option activity with $65 strike price.

Sure enough some trader bought 3110 of the Sept. 65 calls which are selling for $0.10 each. That is almost as many options as the total outstanding open interest for September on the call side. So I was wondering who could buy out this $26 billion market cap company.

One thing I found interesting was that Aflac gets almost 3 times the amount of revenue from Japan as it does from the US. They also make 5 times more income from their Aflac Japan arm as the Aflac US arm. In fact 1 out of every 4 Japanese families have Aflac insurance. So any buyer would get instantly get a massive share of the Japanese market right up front.

I was thinking it probably isn't a US company because many of the US supplemental carriers seem quite a bit smaller then Aflac. A US potential might be AIG but their stock is in the crapper and they have to raise funds just to keep their heads above water. Also M&A might be tougher in this climate with credit markets are so bad.

So I figure it would be a foreign company since they get that dollar weakness on their side and have been buying US companies left and right. I noticed there are a few very big insurers that would fit the bill. I think it might be AXA, ING, or Allianz since all of them are huge and have big money to throw around.

Any one of them could easily buy the company strait-up and not have to use stock or go to the credit markets to make it happen. This company would then get their foot in the door of the Japanese market and would get a well regarded US company as well. I think it could be ING because they were actually considering large acquisition opportunities according to this. They walked away from a deal (whatever it was) but that doesn't mean they are out of the big acquisition game forever.

However it might be a left-field company like Berkshire-Hathaway since they do own Geico and have been in the insurance business years. Aflac has that wide moat and best of breed advantage that Buffet likes. One of Buffets investing disciples David Carr was even checking out the stock and went to Japan 6 times to do it.

Or it could just be some trader heard from somebody that some European guys were hanging around the Aflac headquarters in Columbus Georgia. That trader decided to throw a few thousand bucks at a real longshot stock move in the hopes that something would come of it. Since the rumor is based on one trade it is hard to give it that much thought. In any case Aflac is a strong company that has been beaten up recently and can be had at a pretty nice discount.

Big Companies Might Scrap US Accounting Rules

It seems that we might get one set of accounting rules to rule them all by 2010.

SEC commissioners today approved a ``road map'' that might allow corporations with market values exceeding $700 million to abandon U.S. accounting standards by 2014. Under the plan, about 110 U.S. companies that are global leaders in their industries may move to international rules as soon as 2010.

``A global set of high-quality accounting standards would be an international language of disclosure, transparency and comparability,'' SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said at an open meeting in Washington. ``It's a goal worth pursuing.''

It seems that they need to hammer out an international standard that allows the SEC as well as foreign accounting groups to weight in on the new rules. One good thing that would come out of it is that CPAs would be able to work abroad without having to learn a new set of rules. Hmm, that means there could be CPA outsourcing as well. The double edged sword of Globalization strikes again.

The Great State of Clintonia Declares for Obama!

It seems that a Hillary floor-vote insurgency is not going to happen afterall. I was hoping for a smoke filled room but instead we got this some planned event.

Clinton's call for Obama to be approved by acclamation — midway through the traditional roll call of the states — was the culmination of a painstaking agreement worked out between the two camps to present a unified front.

It still looks like she held her delegates to the last minute just to get some sort of deal out of Obama. I think she might get Secretary of State, a shot at Supreme Court Justice, or something similar out of an Obama Presidency. If McCain wins she will be waiting in the weeds for a run at him in 4 years as well.

Fannie Shuffles the Deck Chairs

This company has been done so bad recently only a turnaround expert or a surprise updraft in housing will help the company.

The company's chief financial officer, Stephen Swad, was replaced and the chief business officer, Peter Niculescu, will take on an expanded role. Fannie Mae also appointed a new chief financial officer and chief risk officer, effective immediately.

I'm not sure why they don't can the CEO as well. The stock has gone from 60 to 6 in a little over a year. If they get nationalized then the stock will actually go to zero. You figure that would get the person at the helm fired but I guess not.

Dead Sea Scrolls Digitized

I think this is a great idea and I wonder why it took so long for scholars to actually do this

Over the next two years, the Israel Antiquities Authority will digitally photograph and scan every bit of crumbling parchment and papyrus that makes up the scrolls, which include the oldest written record of the Bible's Old Testament.

The images eventually will be posted on the Internet for anyone to see.

Now we will have a record of the scrolls long after they have turned to dust. I think more old works should be preserved in the same way. It is time for Congress to appropriate the funds and create a Digital Document Ark. Too bad the Library at Alexandria didn't have something this to take the scrolls to DVD.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

House Prices Start to Stablize

It seems that house prices are finally starting to flat-line according to this article. We might even see some growth going forward with a recovery in 2009. It should be good for any financials that can get through this mess intact.

The S&P/Case-Shiller's measure of prices in 20 metropolitan areas fell 0.5 percent from the previous month, with nine areas reporting a gain compared with seven in May. Prices were down 15.9 percent from the previous year, less than economists had projected.
``We have cities that have been up three months in a row, including Boston,''
Karl Case, co-founder of the index and a professor at Wellesley College, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. ``The last three months are encouraging to me.''

Obama Aides Wants to Reward Russia for War

I am looking at Obama's foreign policy wonks as potentially dangerous to US interests abroad according to these statements:

At the forum, organized by the Truman National Security Project, a national security leadership institute for Democrats based in Washington, Perry said ``you start out by treating'' the Russians ``with respect.'' Danzig said the U.S. shouldn't aim to punish Russia, rather draw it ``further into the community of nations.''

So we need to treat them with respect after they invaded a sovereign nation that is allied with the US and decimated their military? The Russians recognize two breakaway parts of Georgia and we are supposed to just stand there and let that happen? I guess that is what the Obama Administration will do for its allies.

I don't think Poland, the Ukraine, or any other nation that wants to stay out of Russia's sphere of influence can trust an Obama administration that would be willing to reward and not punish their invader. Georgia can expect no NATO membership or protection from Russian tanks if Obama is boss.

Monday, August 25, 2008

British Government Loses Data on Thumb Drive

Holy crap I think they need to fire everyone from the top down. This loss of data is inexcusable.

Last time around, the data loss involved someone making a copy of data they weren't supposed to, and then mailing it to another department. This time round, a consultant for PA Consulting copied files containing records on all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales onto a USB drive, which then got lost.

Why is this guy able to put this data on the USB drive in the first place? You would think that any server that contains sensitive data would have their USB ports locked down. Also I think the Brits might want to invest in some encrypted thumb drives as well to use on any servers that must have USB access.

Biden in as Obama's VP

I hope he didn't plagiarize his acceptance speech.

During his career he also has been accused of plagiarizing the words and phrases of other politicians and is frequently remembered as having presided over one of the most embarrassing spectacles in Senate history -- the hearings that explored sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court nominee and later Justice Clarence Thomas. As then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden caved into liberal special interests and overblown media revelations and reopened the confirmation hearings to take utterly unsubstantiated testimony from a former Thomas protege, Anita Hill, that Thomas had on several occasions during a long friendship used offensive remarks in her presence. The allegations were laughable.

Fuld May Be out at Lehman

I guess losing billions of dollars is finally going to cost this CEO his job. It might be good for the stock unless people start to pull their money out of the stock in the next several months.

The big Lehman Brothers (LEH) story Monday is that CEO Dick Fuld is on the ropes. The Observer newspaper, citing “well-placed sources within the bank,” reported over the weekend that Fuld faces a “planned coup” that will force him out by year-end. The paper said operating chief Bart McDade, installed in June as Fuld sought to restore faith in the firm after a big second-quarter loss took Wall Street by surprise, has taken over many of Fuld’s responsibilities.

Obama and Clinton Still At War

It is interesting how this article describes how the Clintons are currently acting.

One senior Obama supporter said the Clinton associates negotiating on her behalf act like “Japanese soldiers in the South Pacific still fighting after the war is over.”

It also describes Bill Clinton as protecting his legacy even if it would destroy Obama. I would be willing to bet that Bill Clinton is going to make a deal with Obama in order to get some kind of cabinet post. Also I think Hillary will be in the Obama White House in some capacity.

The former president is disappointed, associates said, because he is eager to speak about the economy and more broadly about Democratic ideas — emphasizing the contrast between the Bush years and his own record in the 1990s.

This is an especially sore point for Bill Clinton, people close to him say, because among many grievances he has about the campaign Obama waged against his wife is a belief that the candidate poor-mouthed the political and policy successes of his two terms.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dem VP Hopefuls Sited! The AP breathlessly coos

I was expecting paparazzi shots of Joe Biden coming out of Sushi Roku with his arm around Anna Ferris or something but instead I got this.

_Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine visited George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he watched his son participate in a Navy-Marine Corps ROTC program. Asked if he had signed up for the text message, Kaine said, "I haven't because I don't know how, but my son has."

_Sen. Joe Biden was at home in northern Delaware, where he met for about 30 minutes with his state director.

_Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was in her office in Topeka, Kan., then left the Statehouse to address a meeting of Kansas AFL-CIO activists. She also planned to interview judicial candidates, meet with aides and prepare for the Democratic National Convention in Denver, her staff has said.

_Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh went to his twin sons' tennis camp in Washington and planned to return to his home in the District to spend time with his family, Bayh spokesman Eric Kleiman said.

_New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton toured the New York State Fair in Syracuse. The senator planned to head back to her Westchester County house without a public schedule, said Jay Biba, regional director of Clinton's central New York office. She declined to say whether she had heard from the Obama campaign.

_Texas Rep. Chet Edwards had lunch with his son in Waco.

So we have Kaine looking clueless about signing up for a text while watching his son do something for school (Do you really want the No.2 in line for the nuclear football to not know how to sign up for a text?) Biden and Sebalius are actually working and meeting with constituents. Bayh went with his sons to tennis camp. Hillary hung out at the State Fair and probably ate too much cotton candy and/or fried Twinkies. And Edwards had lunch.

Sigh, not a single drunken fist-fight with a paparazzo or coked-out car chase among them. I think the AP should leave the celeb-siting business to TMZ. I also love how they wrote Democrats up on the top like they would actually put the whereabouts of the Republican VP hopefuls. It is nice to see the AP still pretending to be unbiased.

Korean Bank to Buy Lehman?

At least that is what this rumors says.

State-run Korea Development Bank said Friday that it will consider acquiring Lehman Brothers (nyse: LEH - news - people ). The announcement follows a report that KDB and another Asian investor had walked away from a potential deal with the U.S. investment bank. It also comes a day after Ladenburg Thalmann analyst Dick Bove upgraded Lehman's stock to "buy" because he believed the brokerage has become a hostile takeover candidate.

The problem I am seeing with this possible deal is that it might be blocked in the same way that the Dubai ports deal was blocked. It would be done on idiotic, protectionist, knee-jerk, anti-foreign sentiment. I know that Korea and Dubai are viewed differently by Congress (hopefully they could find both on a map) but you never know.

I guess since they allowed the Belgians and Canadians to buy our beer companies they won't stand in the way of this deal. I think the word state-owned in front of Korean Development Bank is what is giving me pause and not letting me pull the trigger.

I Just Got a Text from Obama: Hillary NOT the VP!

I guess he would like to eat his meals without a food taster and and not have some other guy starting his car in the morning. However they didn't even vet her as a possibility. That should make the Clintonistas really happy.

“She was never vetted,” a Democratic official reported. “She was not asked for a single piece of paper. She and Senator Obama have never had a single conversation about it. How would he know if she’d take it?”

The official also said Clinton never met with Obama’s vetting team of Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy.

They should have at least talked to her a little and maybe considered her but I guess Obama just hates her too much to even try.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Intel Reveals Wireless Electricity (WERL): Its a World Changer

Now this is a very interesting development from Intel that might be the beginning of a world changing type of event.

Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner demonstrated a Wireless Energy Resonant Link as he spoke at the California firm's annual developers forum in San Francisco.

Electricity was sent wirelessly to a lamp on stage, lighting a 60 watt bulb that uses more power than a typical laptop computer.

If this device is practical and cheap it may be the end of power cords as we know it. Also the idea of a recharging zone instead of a physical recharger may be coming soon to an airport or coffee shop near you. In fact the entire Starbucks may allow you to recharge your devices.

You might even be able to buy a home WERL and all of the devices in your home can operate without power cords. I envision a white block in every room that looks just like a UPC (with a few plugs in it for backward compatibility) connected to a wall outlet. The device may even be called the Intel WERL.

I think the term WERL might even be used as a general term going forward. So you would WERL devices instead of powering them on. So you would say "I WERLed my new IPhone at Starbucks." Or "crap, I don't get any WERL out here in the sticks so I plugged in my dusty old battery pack." Or "I hate going to Mozambique that place is a WERL dead zone so you have to bring your own Battery-pack WERL (or BP-WERL) everywhere you go"

Hmm, this could be a great time to buy some Intel stock and hold on for a very lucrative sounding licencing-based revenue scheme.

Great Breakdown of the World Post Russo-Georgia War

This is a great article on the post Russo-Georgia War. This one point had me thinking:

But I think mostly the Russian leaders feel something worse, which is fear. The Russian leaders picture their country in a terrifyingly vulnerable position, not unlike how Israel sees itself. Fear, not "humiliation," led Russia to invade Georgia--a fear of utter destruction facing their own country. Russian diplomats have expressed this fear openly during the last few months. I have heard them to do it--speaking aloud, with hot conviction, about an "existential danger" to Russia, posed by Georgia.

I think this may be a consequence of having your country ruled by former KGB agents. Spies are always looking for a hidden plot or secret double-dealing that is aimed at throwing them out of power or killing them off. The KGBocrats in Moscow are automatically paranoid as a reflex action. It took that mentality to survive as a KGB agent. The KGBocrats look at Georgia as weapon of the West aimed directly at the heart of Russia.

The KGBocrats could also view US missiles in Poland as being secretly aimed at Moscow and not there to stop a potential Iranian ICBM. When the Russians are given the opportunity to tour the missile bases they refuse. They figure that they will be shown fake missiles or dummy consoles so why bother?

You can see that any maneuvering whether political, economic, or militarily in their sphere of influence will be countered to fit their paranoid thinking. The worst part is an irrational enemy that is motivated by fear is capable of almost anything. You can't game a Bear that thinks his back is against the wall even when it isn't. It makes me wonder if Putin sleeps in the closet at night holding a pistol with a silencer like Eric Bana in Munich?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oil Prices up Despite Crude Buildup

This is just more of the same regarding oil prices.

It was a volatile day for energy prices, which initially retreated after the U.S. Energy Department said a big gain in imports drove crude inventories up by a hefty 9.4 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 15. The figure came in much higher than the average analyst forecast for a 1.7 million-barrel increase, according to energy information provider Platts.

So this means there was 7.7 million more barrels crude oil imported then economists forecast? That must be the easiest job in the world to say oil imports should increase by 1.7 million barrels and whoops we were just off by 7.7 million.

In any case this would seem very bearish for oil since refinery utilization has also dropped from 85.90 to 85.70. It was true that gasoline inventories shrank by 6.2 million barrels so that should prop up the price for a while in hopes that all that extra crude will go to replace that gasoline "shortfall."

I love the supply concerns that AP sites in their article as well. They chalked up the higher price to Russia not honoring the ceasefire which did not come close to touching those Georgian pipelines. Then they say thunderstorms in the Atlantic *might* cause more tropical storms that *might* cut Gulf of Mexico production. Finally, they finish it all up with Venezuela *might* vote to lower OPEC quotas while the OPEC President has said that prices above $120 are abnormal. OPEC knows that they don't want prices too high because it kills demand.

Were Out of Iraq by 2011!

It seems that the Iraqi's have done something that Code Pink, MoveOn, Cindy Sheehan, and all of the other defeatist, anti-war leftists could not do. They are showing us the door in Iraq. And it is due to the security provided by the Sunni Awakening and the Troop Surge that the Democrats tried to block. General "Betray-Us," our military, and a few very brave ex-insurgents have given us the best end-game that we could have ever imagined in Iraq.

In addition to spelling out that U.S. troops would move out of Iraqi cities by next summer, the Iraqi government has pushed for a specific date — most likely the end of 2011 — by which all U.S. forces would depart the country. In the meantime, the U.S. troops would be positioned on bases in other parts of the country to make them less visible while positioned to assist Iraqi forces as needed.

So we won't leave them high-and-dry at the worst possible moment while the country burns behind us like the anti-war left had wanted us to do. Our army won't leave Iraq in defeat and humiliation with thousands of our troops having died in vain like Obama wanted.

Instead we will hand off the security to the Iraqis and march out confidently that we made an anti-American dictatorship that gassed their own people into a generally stable democracy in just 9 years.

Not too bad for the Wrong War, fought for Bush's folly, that traded Iraqi Blood for Oil, that became the worst American debacle since Vietnam, that would immediately destroy the American Empire, that would leave us hated throughout the world for decades. I guess you can score one for Bush-Hitler and Cheney-Goebbels.

Don't Steal Iraqi Oil Senator Obama! Virginians don't need broadband that bad!

Now this is an interesting new development from Obama.

With Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor now running for Senate, at his side, Obama said it was wrong that the Iraqi government has been sitting on billions of dollars in oil revenue while the U.S. spends billions to rebuild the war-torn country.

"We should be using some of that money to rebuild Virginia, laying roads, building broadband lines and putting people back to work," Obama said.

Wait is he actually advocating that we steal Iraqi oil revenue in order to build roads, broadband and put people back to work in Virginia? That sounds exactly like what the Leftists attacked Bush with. They said Bush-hitler was going to steal Iraqi oil in order to hatch some evil Neocon plot for world domination or to destroy civil liberties or whatever. So it is now Obama who is advocating that the US go ahead and steal Iraqi oil money so that Virginians can download porn faster? Holy, crap this guy will say anything to get elected.

McCain Passes Obama in Poll

It seems that McCain is going to make this a race after all.

McCain leads Obama among likely U.S. voters by 46 percent to 41 percent, wiping out Obama's solid 7-point advantage in July and taking his first lead in the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll.

I think the reason for this turn around may have been the Russo-Georgian war. It is the kind of thing that pushes international politics right into the face of Americans. Then they start to think that a rock-star celebutant like Obama is not the right guy to go head-to-head with inscrutably blank-faced former KGB Empire-builders like Putin.

Russia would have a free hand if matched up with an Obama America. Imagine Obama sitting down "with no preconditions" with a guy like Putin. Obama would look like a complete neophyte compared to him and Russia would know that the door is open. Crimea, Poland, Ukraine: Putin can take his pick and strangle Europe's oil lifeline as a bonus? All of this plays into McCains hands.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Economist Says Big Bank Will Fail: Could it be Lehman?

It seems that former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff has his crystal ball out and is making some heavyweight predictions.

"We're not just going to see mid-sized banks go under in the next few months, we're going to see a whopper, we're going to see a big one, one of the big investment banks or big banks," said Rogoff, who is an economics professor at Harvard University and was the International Monetary Fund's chief economist from 2001 to 2004.

Too bad he doesn't have any specifics or actual numbers to back up his claim. Is he saying it might be Lehman, maybe AIG, or who is he thinking of? It seems to me that Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are doing okay judging by the numbers this past quarter. It probably wouldn't be Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan since they seem to be okay for the most part. He says US bank as well so UBS seems to be safe in his view.

However I think Lehman will be Rogoff's "whopper" according to this.

Lehman Brothers is exploring the possibility of selling a stake in its investment management arm in an attempt to bolster its capital position in the wake of the continuing credit crisis.

The investment bank, led by chairman and chief executive Dick Fuld, is sounding out potential interest in the division, which includes the Neuberger Berman business which it bought for $3.1bn (£1.66bn) in 2003.

The assets included in the possible sale are also believed to be certain parts of the bank's private equity and hedge fund businesses.

This move seems to me to be like Activision selling off certain popular gaming franchises just to stay afloat. Lehman's Investment Management arm brought in $1.8 billion in revenue in the last 6 months and provided a 24% revenue growth YoY. It seems to be the only thing that made any money this past quarter.

Actually judging from these numbers this move would be more like Activision selling off the Guitar Hero or Warcraft franchise so they have enough capital to stay in business. It might keep them going for a while but it might competitively damage them in years to come. This move by Lehman really seems to smack of desperation IMO.

I think all it would take to kill them off is a bunch of big money guys pulling their cash out of their Lehman accounts at the same time. We might even see another Bear Stearns style bailout of Lehman going forward.

Now Platts is Causing Oil Prices to Rise

It seems that the oil market may be getting irrational again according to this.

Crude jumped after an estimate from Platts, the energy research arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., predicted a 3 million barrel decline in gasoline stocks for last week and an increase in refinery utilization of 0.4%.

Okay that looks good on the surface but check out these numbers on August refinery utilization.

2008-Aug 08/01 87.0 08/08 85.9

So that would put utilization at 86.3 which is a full 5.3% less then same time a year ago. The gasoline stocks are slightly more then last year (202.8 vs. 201.9) when oil was cheaper and crack spreads were much higher.

So I was just wondering why the refiners would suddenly ramp up utilization like that when they have been steadily dropping it earlier in the month? You would think that gasoline demand wouldn't be spiking for any reason that I could see. I don't think Americans will be trading in their Sedans for SUVs anytime soon.

I guess Platts is saying this because gas stocks have dropped by 6.4 million barrels since the 1st of August while crude oil dropped $30 a barrel. Perhaps they are saying that the drop will continue. I guess they figure that refiners are going to buy a lot of cheaper oil while they ramp up production. But who are they going to be selling that gas to? I guess we have to wait for the Wednesday report before we can tell what is happening for sure.

HPQ Increases Sales and does Great Internationally

It seems that there is nothing stopping people from buying their laptops.

Third-quarter sales increased 10 percent to $28 billion, compared with the average estimate of $27.4 billion by analysts. Excluding the effects of currency translation, sales rose 5 percent. Sales rose 4 percent in the Americas; 16 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and 14 percent in Asia Pacific. Revenue from outside the U.S. accounted for more than two-thirds of sales.

They seem to be the Juggernaut when it comes to selling computers abroad. It is down for the year but I can see these numbers pushing the stock to near term highs.

Monday, August 18, 2008

After Georgia Who's Next on the Russian Plate?

This is an interesting article about who might be next on Ivan's plate.

Moscow has both a strong military presence and broad-based popular support in Transnistria and Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, which Russia ceded to its "Socialist brother" in 1954.

Transnistria is the eastern part of Moldova which abuts the Ukraine so it wouldn't seem like much of an important area. However it might be used as a proxy power in a possible Russo-Ukrainian war. Transnistrian auxiliaries/terrorist groups can be maintained by Moscow similar to how Hezbollah is maintained in by Iran. If there is some kind of conflict in the region then these groups can destabilize the government of Moldova if that country is actually granted NATO membership.

The capital of Moldova (Chisinau) is only a few kilometers from the Transnistrian "border" region so Russian backed rebels could be in their capital before world opinion condemns the move in "the strongest possible terms." If the Moldovan government falls and is replaced by a pro-Russian military dictatorship then the Russians could land peacekeeping troops and extend their sphere of influence right into the heart of New Europe.

The Russians grabbing the Crimea would be a no-brainer if there were a Russo-Ukrainian conflict. If the Ukraine entered NATO then the Crimea will probably be peaceably detached and pro-Moscow Crimean government will probably be formed. The Russians will then get a satellite power, their Black Sea Fleet base back, access to their old Soviet era vacation spots, and lots of nice beachfront land. These two places offer lots of upside for Moscow with only a little international condemnation and maybe some Western indifference depending on how they play things.

New Europe Fleeing Russian Sphere of Influence

It seems that New Europe is finally starting the strengthen themselves against the shadow of the Russian Bear since they know the enemy far better then Old Europe does. Hell, the enemy controlled their countries for 40 years.

From Poland to Ukraine, the Czech Republic to Bulgaria, Russia's invasion of Georgia with tanks, troops, and planes is described as a test of Western resolve. The former Soviet states are vowing to thwart Russian aims – in deals with the European Union, in a missile-defense pact with the US, and in trade and diplomacy.

Polish and Baltic officials, most of whom grew up under Soviet occupation, have long chafed at being described in Western Europe as too "Russia-phobic" in their oft-repeated warnings about Moscow's intentions. But now in this gritty capital, the refrain is, "We told you so."

I just wonder that pushing back against the Russian Sphere of Influence is going to get them invaded as well. As we can see the West really aren't going to help Georgia but will they come to the aid of the Ukraine or Poland if the Russian missiles start to fall? That is open to debate I think depending on who is at the helm of the US. If Obama gets in I think the Russians have a free hand in their Empire building. Maybe not so with McCain. There is a nice conspiracy theory added into this article as well:

Most Poles will agree that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made a serious mistake in trying to enter South Ossetia with force. But they feel it was an error that Russia seized upon in a planned operation to annex Ossetia and Abkhazia, where they say a new millionaire class in Moscow is rapidly buying up coastal property.

Why isn't the Left shouting "No Blood for Coastal Real Estate?" So this conjecture actually fills a very important "Why was Russia so ready to invade Georgia" component to the Russo-Georgian war. Russia wanted to flex their muscles to the world, expose the weakness of the West in their sphere of influence, and annex some nice real estate for their millionaire former KGB chiefs in the bargain. I guess it makes about as much sense as "Oilman Bush attacks Iraq in order to steal their oil."

News Not Read As Much By Young People

This is an interesting trend that is going to get more and more press as we go forward.

Despite the fact that there are now more ways to get news than ever before, there's still a lot of room for improvement in both the online and offline world. For one, a larger proportion of young people are paying no attention to the news in a typical day than ten years ago—34 percent now versus 25 percent in 1998. Pew notes that social networking sites are popular among kids these days, but fewer than 10 percent say that they get news from these sites.

You can see that these young people aren't connected to what is going on beyond their narrow world of Facebook and MySpace. This does not bode well for Americans unless these kids become more engaged. I wonder if they are paying no attention because they dislike how the news media is corrupt and biased? I think Pew should do another survey on that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Russia Threatens Poland Over Missiles

It seems Russia is really swinging a big stick threatening a nuclear strike against Poland if we deploy a missile system there. I think Ivan is holding all the cards and all the West can do is condemn things "in the strongest possible terms."

"Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike — 100 percent," Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying.

He added, in clear reference to the agreement, that Russia's military doctrine sanctions the use of nuclear weapons "against the allies of countries having nuclear weapons if they in some way help them." Nogovitsyn that would include elements of strategic deterrence systems, he said, according to Interfax.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Speculators a Big Part of the Oil Market: Confirmed

As I have suspected since oil prices went to record highs it seems that speculation had a large part to play in high oil prices this summer and not supply/demand problems or whatever Ole Slorer of Morgan Stanley trotted out.

"There may have been multiple 'positions' which were reclassified ... but they all appear to have been held by just one trader, and this was a very special trader, with an enormous concentration of positions in crude oil amounting to perhaps 460 million barrels, and not much interest in anything else," noted John Kemp of RBS Sempra Commodities.

460 million barrels is the equivalent to almost 21.9 days of US oil consumption all tied up in the positions of one trader. You would figure that if one speculator controlled $54 billion dollars worth of oil then prices are likely to rise or fall depending on what that that person or firm does. My money is on a massive pension fund doing the trading and that is why the Commodities Futures Trading Commission won't disclose their name. In any case that trader cost a lot of Americans a lot of money at the pump this summer.

Russo-Georgia War Predicted in 2001 Video Game

Now this is some kind of uncanny coincidence.

The South Ossetia war, which began on August 7, bears a close resemblance to events portrayed in the 2001 Xbox and Playstation 2 game "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon," the first level of which takes place against the backdrop of a struggle between Georgian rebel forces and the legitimate Georgian government in the South Ossetian region.

Ghost Recon's plot follows these skirmishes with a full-scale Russian invasion of the region, a subsequent evacuation of US forces, and ultimately the fall of the Georgian government. Ghost Recon almost got the timescale right, too: the game's imaginary events begin in April 2008, just a few months before the real war kicked off.

So all we need now is the fall of the Georgian government and the game will be like Nostradamus. I think someone should check if Tom Clancy is looking into a pool of water in order to make the premise for his games.

Obama Flip-Flops My Way on Taxes

This guy is just a political weather-vain on just about everything. Too bad this is the direction I want to see him traveling in.

This is a pretty big change for Obamanomics. Economic advisers Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman, in today's Wall Street Journal, now say that Barack Obama's tax plan will do the following:

1) It will increase capital gains and dividend tax rates, to 20 percent, only for families making over $250,000. Before, Obama was hinting at rates as high as 28 percent for everyone.

2) On the issue of the Social Security income cap, he's now considering a plan that would make folks earning over $250,000 pay in the range of 2 to 4 percentage points more in total (combined employer and employee) payroll taxes. Previously, there were hints at increases of from 6 percent to 12 percentage points.

On issue 1 (that is if Obama doesn't flip-flop and oppose it next week) was the major sticking point on voting for him. If he doesn't raise my capital gains taxes then I am all for his economic plan. Issue 2 doesn't concern me because I am currently not making even close to $250K a year and probably won't have to worry about making that much until Jenna Bush is President.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Gang of 10 Introduces Energy Plan: Pass It Already!

I am looking over the so-called Gang of 10 bipartisan senators and I like what I am seeing. Here is a breakdown of their plan from Instapundit.

1. The "gang of 10" bill unilaterally opens up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, with no state veto. The GOP bill didn't do that, because Mel Martinez and Charlie Crist didn't want it. Non-Gulf states Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas can opt-in if they like; the old GOP bill was opt-in everywhere, allowing Florida to block drilling in the Gulf off of its shores.

This is where their plan falls a bit short but I can accept it. It misses the California Coast and ANWR but I'm pretty sure those areas would be too hard to get Democrats to drill in anyway. They can fight those battles once gas goes to $5.50 or something. Expanding drilling in the Gulf of Mexico will allow US companies to use the oil off of our own coasts instead of Chinese and Cuban companies.

2. The bill also allows for seismic exploration along the entire continental shelf.

Why this hasn't been mentioned is a wonder to me. We need to know exactly how much oil wealth there is off of our shores in order to make an argument to go after it. If there is a Tupi Oil Field out there then there is no way that California Dems can go against drilling it.

3. The ban on drilling within 50 miles of the coast was also in the GOP bill.

This is a sop to anyone that has expensive coastal land whose views will be "wrecked" by off shore rigs. I have never had this view because modern offshore rigs are cool looking to me. I think all the pipes and stuff coming out of the ground look like something out of Star Wars.

4. Contrary to many commentators' claims, the "gang of ten" bill is not a lifeline for Obama: "What a bunch of C-R-A-P. " (Yes, he spelled it out like that) "If Obama embraced this, he would be the biggest flipflopper ever." A lot of the opposition to the bill is really a case of trying to keep drilling as an election issue instead of getting more drilling.

If this is the energy issue is not solved before October and is instead turned into election fodder then Congress needs to be shown the door. This is our a matter of national security at stake. Iran and Venezuela should never again be allowed to control our economy to the extent that they do.

5. The bill includes a Zubrin-like flex-fuel provision, requiring that 75% of cars by 2015 and 85% by 2020 be capable of running on something besides gasoline.

This seems like a pretty good idea to put a kick in the pants of the car industry. The technology is there but the financial incentive to change is not. I think 2020 is too long to wait for 85% of cars to be running on electricity or some other kind of fuel.

6. "Our bill also opens up coal-to-liquids. We couldn't have gotten 44 Republicans for that."

That seems pretty reasonable. If we can find a way to power our cars with coal, natural gas, or even cow turds then we should give the scientists some research money to see if it is feasible.

7. The bill is "incredibly aggressive" on nuclear power, including accelerated-depreciation provisions like those for solar and wind power, more NRC resources to speed licensing, and an end to the Carter-era ban on nuclear fuel reprocessing. "We couldn't have gotten 44 Republicans on this."

This is the red meat of this bill IMO. Electric cars like the Ford Volt will be worthless unless we can power them with a clean, renewable, form of energy like nuclear. Wind and Solar should be pursued but nuclear is the stopgap until those technologies can get cheaper and more efficient. France and Japan have been going nuclear since the 70s.

Also if ending that asinine Carter-era ban on fuel reprocessing is the only thing Congress does this session then I would be happy. That is an absolutely idiotic ban that shows how bad Carter was at just about everything he touched as President. Reprocessing might reduce nuclear waste by 90% by some estimates and actually allows France to store all of the nuclear waste under 500 meters underground in one town called Bure.

8. The bill also promotes cellulosic ethanol.

I think this should be pushed too. I think no technology should go without research when it comes to weening ourselves off of foreign oil. This is a national security problem as big as the war on terror. Closing the Gulf of Hormuz should never lead the US into economic ruin.

Faster then Light Travel Possible

Warp Factor 6 Number One. It seems that faster then light speed travel is actually possible by manipulating Dark Energy.

"The dark energy is simultaneously decreased just in front of the ship to decrease (and bring to a stop) the expansion rate of the universe in front of the ship," Cleaver told "If the dark energy can be made negative directly in front of the ship, then space in front of the ship would locally contract."

This loophole means that the spaceship would not conflict with Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which states that objects accelerating to the speed of light require an infinite amount of energy.

There is just one catch:

However, the Baylor physicists estimate that manipulating dark energy through the extra dimension requires energy equivalent to the converting the entire mass of Jupiter into pure energy — enough to move a ship measuring roughly 33 feet (10 meters) by 33 feet by 33 feet.

So the ship would need a Jupiter to Energy conversion engine installed just to make the jump to lightspeed? I think they just need one of those Time energy devices that was developed after the Montauk Experiment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The IPhone Kill-Switch

Apple is looking more and more like the evil empire Microsoft with their latest moves.

However, Greengart said he's less concerned with the "heavy-handed and Big Brotherish" kill switch than the fact that Apple didn't disclose it in the first place. As far as he knows, no other mobile phone has a kill-switch capability.

I think if Apple just disclosed this at the very beginning people would have lauded it as a smart security application and wondered why other phones didn't have such a thing. Instead they tried to be insular and sneaky about it and ended up looking guilty. I think Apple really needs to dial back the secrecy. If they didn't have the passionate base of consumers and world class products they would have been widely condemned for sneaking around like they are now.

CVS Caremark Bought Out Longs Drugs

This should be interesting news to people living in Hawaii.

The acquisition of Longs' 521 stores will add to CVS's presence in California and will give it a leading position in Hawaii, where it doesn't operate. Longs' stores are also located in Nevada and Arizona.

CVS will pay $71.50 per share for Longs, including its Rx America subsidiary, a prescription benefits management services company with over 8 million members. Longs shares closed at $54.04 before the news on Tuesday, but surged nearly 30 percent in extended trading on the deal.

I wonder if competition between them and Walgreen's is going to lower prices for prescription drugs in Hawaii? I have been shopping at Walgreen's every few days after they opened across the street from me and I have to say that I am impressed. They stock quite a few different foods that aren't seen in Hawaii so I'm hoping CVS will follow suit.

Russia Declares Cease Fire: Lesson to the West Taught

Just as I suspected the Russians declared a unilateral cease fire and agreed to the demands of the West. There is no way that any war of aggression in the 21st century will be fought longer then a week or so without extenuating circumstances.

Russia succeeded in its military goals, punished Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili -- a staunch U.S. ally -- and showed its ex-Soviet neighbors that it is the sole military power in the region, said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in an interview in Tbilisi. "Do you see any other troops here?" he said.

I was thinking about this and I wonder what these ex-Soviet nations are going to do? They could toe the Russian line and fall under their sphere of influence or they could start to buff up their own armies. In fact they might even go as far as to form their own protection scheme seeing that NATO will probably never admit Georgia now that Russia is their enemy.

Maybe they could call it the Black Sea Alliance, or the Caspian Sea Alliance, or maybe name it after something that's not based on location. It seems that the West will not protect their interests so they can either fall in with Russia or form up in order to counter Russian aggression. I think they should include Turkey into the mix so they will have influence into the Middle East as well as counter the Russian threat.

Oil at $114; Time for Airlines to Make Money again?

At least Morgan Stanley analyst William Greene thinks so unless they blow it by trying to lower prices or jack up capacity in order to go after market share. I just hope they take this opportunity to put some deeper oil hedges on.

Airline analysts aren’t overly optimistic, fearing that the industry could reverse course from the very recent trend of cutting the number of flights and seats. As Greene hinted darkly, “falling oil prices introduce the risk of destructive competition as plans for capacity rationalization and revenue discipline fall victim to the seductive cost and market share benefits associated with capacity growth. Such actions would inevitably erode operating margins in an oil-driven up-cycle.”

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia Invading Georgia: a Strategy Game Tactic

It seems like they are using the Allied Casus Belli Tactic to me according to this.

But a senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition he not be named, said the outlook was "grim" and that Russia had planned its moves in Georgia for some time.

"This appears to be a full invasion of Georgia with an end result uncertain and an objective that is not clear but appears to be aggressive in nature," said the official. "Words like invasion should not be used lightly but this is an invasion."

I can tell you what the end result might be. The Russians are counting on the West to do nothing to support Georgia and then Moscow takes over the capital and deposes Saakashvili. They feel they have a valid Casus Belli when Georgia attacked South Ossetia which is their de facto satellite. It seems that the Russians were ready to roll tanks into Georgia in a few days so they were merely waiting for spark and they are executing the tactic now.

The West won't do anything so Russia would be able to eliminate NATO influence right on their doorstep at little cost to them. They also show the rest of their neighbors that Russian tanks trump Western diplomacy. Their neighbors are now forced to join the Russian Sphere of Influence (and thus ignore the West) or they will roll the tanks on you.

Putin has gone to a tactic that I have used in strategy video games like Victoria: A Place in the Sun or Europa Universalis time and time again. Goad the weaker nation into attacking your ally and then throw your entire might at the enemy nation before your ally can sue for peace.

You are counting on the other Great Powers to be intimidated into not escalating the war. They will not risk a Great War just to prevent you from land grabbing neighboring weaker nations outside their sphere of influence.

One example of this is when you attack Egypt with the Ottoman Empire. You get Egypt to attack one of your neighbors and then quickly ally with that neighbor. You then have your fast cavalry overwhelm every province in Egypt including the capital before your ally is able to sue for peace. Then you get to dictate terms to Egypt and grab whatever parts of their nation that you want. You can even reward your attacked ally with parts of Egypt to strengthen them.

Russia is counting on the speed of their attack to be faster then the condemnation of the West. They have already bisected the country by taking the East/West Highway so it is just a matter of time. Now they might move on the capital and make the Georgian government fall. My money is on Russia going just short of this and instead decimating the Georgian army as a lesson to the world. Russia will show that they cannot be trifled with when it comes to their "border security" and weaker nations cannot mess around in their sphere of influence.

McCain Mining Gold From Barack "Paris the Heiress" Obama

It sure seems that way judging from the quick Obama response.

For the second time in two weeks, he aired a TV ad Monday rebutting Republican John McCain's claim that Obama is little more than a celebrity, like the blonde hotel heiress.

Why would he even waste money on an ad if this stuff isn't hitting home? I think it is because main stream America dislikes the political side of celebrities and if Obama is a "political celebrity" then it resonates with them. The whole "Shut up and sing or act" view is shared by a great many voters for the most part.

What is worse is that McCain has linked Obama to Paris Hilton who is the poster child for dumb, vacuous, and naive celebrities. Her "Vote or Die" campaign and her subsequent failure to vote as a case-in-point. So Obama is being portrayed as Barack "Paris" Obama. He is already shown he is naive with his pie-in-the-sky economic plan and his "lets go have Mojitos at the club" attitude toward Ahmadinejad.

He even talks down to main-stream Americans with his "cling to guns and religion" message. Obama showed the same condescension that Hollywood liberals have always shown toward the so-called flyover states. How can main-stream Americans vote for a guy that seems as vacuous and naive as Paris Hilton but at the same time tells them that they "cling" to their guns and Bibles? Obama as the condescending celebutant might be a goldmine for McCain.

Edwards Affair Cost Hillary the Dem Nod

I would have to agree with Howard Wolfson on this matter.

"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," Howard Wolfson, who was the combative communications director for Clinton's doomed campaign, told

She would have come in first after Edwards would have damaged his campaign to the very core if he were caught having an affair while his loving wife had terminal cancer. The funny part is the media was in the tank for Edwards. That fact must really be rubbing the Clintonites raw.

The media kept it all quiet and let the National Enquirer break the story instead. So of course Edwards would lie about not having the affair if a tabloid was making the claim. If it was the New York Times it would have been totally different story. Edwards would have had to go into damage control mode and probably would have dropped out of the race soon after the allegations came to light.

Clinton would have then swept Iowa. Obama would probably have hung around for a while but would have dropped out when it was "inevitable" that Clinton had it wrapped up. There is no way that Obama could have rattled off 11 strait victories if he didn't win in Iowa first.

ITunes Becoming the new AOL?

At least PCWorld is starting to think so.

The status of Apple's iTunes today bears an uncanny resemblance to the dominance, influence, and nagging problems that AOL had in early 2000, when the ISP boasted 26.7 million paying subscribers and Steve Case was the Internet star of the moment.

I know some people that refuse to use ITunes because they don't want their large MP3 collections that they have ripped to be messed with by ITunes. I think they are afraid it will dial home and auto-erase things (or rat them out to RIAA) that did not have correct DRM.

It is a strange, paranoid fear but it doesn't stop people from avoiding the software. I remember back in the day people didn't want to use AOL for similar reasons. They were afraid it will "mess up their machines" and used other dial-up services instead. AOL was pretty crash prone in the early 90s IIRC.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Edwards had an Affair: Confirmed by Edwards Himself

I guess we can elevate the National Enquirer to scoop-breaking news magazine status now.
Edwards, 55, admitted he had the affair with 44-year-old Rielle Hunter, whom he met in a New York City bar in 2006. But in an interview with ABC's "Nightline," set to air on Friday night, he said he did not love her, according to the network's early evening broadcast of "World News."

Hunter subsequently was hired by an Edwards political action committee to produce documentaries, and traveled around the country and to Africa, ABC News said.

So we have a Democratic Senator running for President with a wife fighting cancer who had an affair with a 44 year old woman. Then he got her a job at his own PAC which let her "produce documentaries and travel the US and Africa" and none of the main-stream media picked up on it? I think they should hang their head in shame.
If Edwards was a Republican they would have been wall-to-wall day-after-day months ago and he would have had to go into the witness protection program. Here is a picture of Ms. Hunter. She's a pretty okay looking woman and most men (who aren't married to a loving wife fighting cancer) would love to be able to pick her up at a New York City bar.

Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 in Pittsburgh

I was looking at another sports blog and I came across this place run by Jerome "the Bus" Bettis who used to play for the Steelers. I was reading the menu and there are some tasty looking things on this list. I hope he franchises this place and brings it to Hawaii because the food sounds pretty good. They need to do a ESPN football event at this place and showcase the food. My order would be:


Ultimate Cheesy Fries 6.95
Crispy Fries smothered with a blend of melted cheese topped with crispy bacon and scallions. Add chili .95 (Scallions is a great choice for cheese fries. He needs to add jalapenos though.)

Main Course:

Kielbasa Hoagie 7.95

Polish kielbasa topped with sauerkraut and mustard on a hoagie roll (Too bad they don't serve it on a poppy seed roll though.)


Coffee Caramel Crunch Pie 7.95

Multiple layers of coffee ice cream, crumbled Heath bar, and Oreo cookie crumbs, topped with a warm caramel sauce. (I would have to get this to go so I don't explode at the table)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Crazy Dude Threatening Obama is Caught

Now he has some crazy trying to take a shot at him.

In the interview with a Secret Service agent, Geisel said "if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he simply would shoot him with a sniper rifle, but then he claimed that he was just joking," according to court documents.

A search of Geisel's 1998 Ford Explorer and hotel room in Miami uncovered a loaded 9mm handgun, knives, dozens of rounds of ammunition including armor-piercing types, body armor, military-style fatigues and a machete. The SUV was wired with flashing red and yellow emergency lights.

I don't think this nutjob had a chance but I could see other crazies trying it in the future as we get closer to elction time. I mean Jesse Jackson wants to castrate him and Hillary Clinton hopes that he would be assassinated as well. Obama needs some serious around the clock Secret Service protection going forward.

Bin Laden's Driver Gets 5 Year Sentence

I guess driving Osama around and supporting terrorism isn't too bad an offence according to this. I have seen people caught with drugs getting a tougher sentence then this. I guess sticking things out at Gitmo may be the best course of action if you see more of these sentences carried out.

Salim Hamdan's sentence of 5 1/2 years, including five years and a month already served at Guantanamo Bay, fell far short of the 30 years to life that prosecutors wanted. It now goes for mandatory review to a Pentagon official who can shorten the sentence but not extend it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Obama the End of Black Politics?

I would think so if he wins the Presidency. This is a very interesting article by the New York Times about how Obama might spell the end of black politics as we know it.

“I’m the new black politics,” says Cornell Belcher, a 38-year-old pollster who is working for Obama. “The people I work with are the new black politics. We don’t carry around that history. We see the world through post-civil-rights eyes. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but that’s just the way it is.

This new generation of black leaders will change this country for the better by simply allowing everyone else to move beyond race and start looking at the substance. I hope they everyone that makes a protest vote against Obama does so because he is an inexperienced, media-created rock star that is all hype and not because of the color of his skin.

The Extent of High Oil on Refiners (Sunoco Earnings)

This past quarter is case-in-point on how high oil prices hurt refiners.

Refining and Supply earned $32 million in the second quarter of 2008 versus $482 million in the second quarter of 2007. The decrease in earnings was due to significantly lower realized margins along with higher expenses and lower production volumes. The lower margins reflect the negative impact of higher average crude oil costs and lower product demand than a year ago, especially for gasoline, while the higher expenses were largely the result of increased prices for purchased fuel and utilities.

So they made $450 million less when oil prices went from $60-$70 a barrel to $140 a barrel. So whenever someone talks about the "oil companies record profits" need to look at how these high prices blast the refinery end of the oil majors.

1/3 of Yahoo's Shareholders Vote "No" to Yang

I guess these people got burned on the lack of a Microsoft deal and are taking out their frustrations on the people who scuttled the deal. I wonder if Capital Research Global Investors (CRGI for short?) didn't raise a fuss would Yahoo have reported that 14.6% number and said that Yang had decent support? That 33.7% number looks pretty bad for a CEO.

Voters were deciding whether the two should stay on the Sunnyvale company's board of directors. At first, Yahoo had reported much lower "nay" votes for the two -- just 14.6 percent against Yang and 20.5 percent against Bostock.

New figures were released after the company (NASDAQ: YHOO) blamed tabulation errors for incorrect results. The restated counts showed 33.7 percent of the shares voted were against Yang and 39.6 percent against Bostock.

Capital Research Global Investors, Yahoo's biggest shareholder, asked for a recount because it had withheld its votes to protest Yahoo's bungled merger talks with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). Published results didn't seem to show Capital Research what it expected to see.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Paris Hilton for President: Change that's Hot!

We have now entered the Twilight Zone of the 2008 campaign for sure:

She then discusses energy policy, and suggests a hybrid of McCain's offshore oil drilling plan and Obama's incentives for new energy technology.

"Energy crisis solved! I'll see you at the debates," she said,

McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said Hilton appears to support his candidate's "all of the above" energy solution.

"Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan," Bounds said.

Here is the ad from

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

NRA Double Agent: Other Leftist Groups Probably Compromised

This is a very interesting story and makes me wonder if other liberal groups have been infiltrated as well.

"It raises some real concerns with the tactics of the NRA. If they've got one person, maybe they have more. If they've done this dirty trick, what else have they done?" said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign, which planned to search its offices for listening devices and computer spyware.

Maybe's new web stringer is actually secretly working for Rush Limbaugh and is there to stir up infighting among their various donors. Maybe Mother Jones itself has a "Deep Red-State" copyrighter about to plant some hashish in the desk of their Editor and Chief. You never can tell.

I think these leftists groups should do a serious Stalinist Purge just to be sure. I mean anyone could be a "Blue-Stater" by simply mouthing leftist platitudes and holding "progressive positions" on "issues that matter." These secret Limbaughites and Hannityists will probably be the ones with the loudest voices of protest over "healthcare inequality," they go to every meet and greet with La Raza, and will probably have a "Bush=Hitler" bumper sticker on their Toyota Prius.

Every night these Hannityists go home to their San Fransisco walk-up and secretly faxes the inner workings of Code Pinks "12 Plans to Boot Bush" and get their orders on whose cup they need to pour the mescaline into the next morning. That plate of free pink cupcakes brought in by Joan "Fellow Traveller" Clegheimer might just have angel dust mixed into the topping.

Message to the Left: being paranoid doesn't mean there isn't a mole (or moles) in your ranks. Purge them now before it is too late!

Obama Up 6 Points on McCain

I guess you could call this the Rock Star World Tour 2008 bump.

Obama is ahead of his Republican rival 47 percent to 41 percent among registered voters, the poll showed. The survey was taken after the Democratic senator had returned from a trip to Middle Eastern and European capitals, and during a week that saw the two camps clash over which one had brought race into a campaign in which an Obama victory would make him the first African-American president.

I think only a very good showing in the debates or a massive screw up by Obama is going to save McCain going forward.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Nancy Grace Lawsuit Goes Forward

It seems that prosecutor type attack shows are going to have to change their tactics in light of this news.

CNN and Grace argued the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Melinda Duckett's family would "severely chill" journalists' coverage of missing-persons cases. But U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges on Thursday denied their motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

This should bring an end to reporters trying these cases in the court of public opinion instead of prosecutors and detectives actually trying to find the truth. The missing person in the Duckett case will never be found because Nancy Grace caused an important source of information to kill herself instead of helping police.

So hopefully a nice multi-million dollar judgement will be wrung out of CNN to prevent other attack shows from messing things up in the future.