Thursday, June 30, 2011

Can Obama Get Around the Debt Ceiling usng the 14th Amendment?

Now this is a very interesting issue and might be seen as going around the separation of powers.

Critics of the debt limit cite the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which states: "the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." (Emphasis ours)

Of course, the Fourteenth Amendment is open to wide, and varying, interpretation and debate. The most basic question here is, does a limit on debt "question" the "validity" of the debt?

I wonder if this means that we can default at all? It seems to be a violation of Constitution if we "question the validity" of the public debt by defaulting on it.  Would we have to find money somewhere no matter what (I guess lease off some monuments or something) to pay off the debt?

I guess Obama would have a shaky leg to stand on if he just tasked the Treasury Department with paying off our debts no matter what the ceiling is and issuing bonds if they have to. I mean after world markets tank if Congress doesn't get a debt ceiling move he would look like a White Knight unilaterally raising the the debt ceiling. Actually the thing he would worry about is the "validity of public debt" to foreign holders. It is a sticky constitutional issue that might come up in August at the earliest.

Reporter Suspended After Calling Obama a Dick

Um, what is so inappropriate about letting out your opinion on the President. I mean they called Bush far worse than that.

"Are we on the seven-second delay?" Halperin asked.

"We have it. We can use it. Go for it. Let's see what happens," co-anchor Joe Scarborough replied.

"I thought he was a dick yesterday," Halperin replied, sending the hosts into a brief moment of panic.

Halperin apologized later on in the show and issued his own mea culpa hours later via MSNBC.

"I completely agree with everything in MSNBC's statement about my remark," he said. "I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it."

Well, MSNBC is a mouthpiece for the White House so I understand that they will brook no bad words against the Fearless Leader. What was funny is that some sources I read called it a slur. I was all expecting Halprin to be "suspended indefinitely" because he called Obama some racist name but since when is dick a slur?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Good News Kids: The Government Can't Stop you From Buying Grand Theft Auto

I guess the parents now need to exercise some responsibility if they don't want their kids playing violent games.

On a 7-2 vote, the high court upheld a federal appeals court decision to throw out California's ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento had ruled that the law violated minors' rights under the First Amendment, and the high court agreed.

"No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm," said Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion. "But that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed."

Well, the different anti-video game groups can now go into overdrive saying that it was violent video games that caused whatever social ill they want to scapegoat. What is funny is that the ban probably didn't effect kids as much as some people would believe. I mean most minors have played these games due to lax parents or an older sibling or friends buying them the game. It was one of those laws like prohibition that no one actually followed unless they weren't likely to play the games in the first place.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pottermore Appears to be an MMORPG?

I guess this game would be nominally popular but I'm not sure how it will do against so many MMORPGs out there.

A leaked memo has revealed Pottermore to be a persistent world that blends World of Warcraft with real world treasure hunts. Users will dig up clues, which will let them find prizes in the real world. 

The memo says Thursday's announcement, which will come via YouTube, will discuss the project's partners and focus on what people can find - particularly quills and wands hidden around the U.S. and U.K.

The idea of real world treasure hunts based on the game does sound interesting. But I just got the picture of 1000s of people showing up at some rural country area tearing up the grass trying to find the "Trolls Tooth Totem" or other such nonsense. However if the game doesn't have a monthly subscription fee I might try it out just for fun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Greek PM Survives No Confidence: We Still Aren't Out of the Woods Yet

So far so good. At least we won't get a Greek debt failure yet.

Lawmakers voted 155-143 for the motion, with two abstentions in the 300-member legislature, sticking strictly to party lines after a heated debate that saw sections of the opposition briefly walk out of the chamber.

Outside, several thousand protesters chanted "Thieves! thieves!" and other anti-austerity slogans, shining green laser lights at the parliament building and into the eyes of riot police protecting it.

I think the EU needs to boot Greece out of the Euro so that they could inflate away the problem with the New Drachma. Even then they would have deadly riots over cutting back the spending. Greece is the case in point when it comes to promising people more government then they could afford. You get people used to a certain way of living and when you have to pull back the money for that lifestyle they freak out and riot. 

Interesting Income Stock: NuStar Energy

Well I was researching some stocks and came across. NuStar Energy LP (NS)

This company is a limited partnership that seems to have several things it is trying to do at once. First they are an oil storage company that provides 80 million barrels of storage at 65 terminals. They not only store the oil but provide barges and emergency response and other types of value added services as well. They also own a number of oil and anhydrous ammonia pipelines that are based in the US as well. Finally they have a segment that turns oil into asphalt and buys and sells gasoline and other petroleum products.

The fundamentals look pretty solid with double digit top and bottom line growth year to year. On looking at their 10-Q you can see that the revenue of their asphalt segment is growing great guns with revenue going $1.04 billion from $758 million one year ago. The storage segment went from $125 million from $114 million while the transportation segment fell to $73 million from $75 million. The pipelines segment might get helped out from a 2011 project to provide a pipeline that serves the Eagle Ford Shale. All told operating income was $55.7 million from $33.7 million. It seems that turning oil into asphalt seems quite lucrative for NuStar. I guess you can look into asphalt demand metrics to see if this growth continues going forward.

What actually caught my eye was a great dividend of $4.30 which provides a 6.9% yield. I guess this is pretty much a result of owning those pipelines and oil storage terminals. The only bad thing I could see is that they were carrying 2.4 billion in debt and had only $77 million in cash in the bank. Also they seem to be increasing the debt from quarter to quarter. I guess they are building a leverage horde in order to do more acquisitions down the road.

The stock has been beaten down a bit recently when oil prices dropped from $68 - $70 back down to $62. It bounced perfectly off of $60 so you would probably put you stop below that point. In any case the stock seems like a pretty decent one for income with a growth driver in that oil to asphalt business. They also seem to be a bit lower risk with only a 0.32 Beta.

Wild West Show Turns Dangerous

It seems that some tourists may have gotten shot at a Wild West show in South Dakota.

Three spectators were hospitalized on Friday evening after receiving "wounds that were consistent with bullet-type injuries," Lieutenant Marty Graves of the Pennington County Sheriff's Department told Reuters.

The guns used in the show were supposed to be loaded with fake bullets known as blanks, Graves said. No real bullets or bullet fragments were recovered from the scene.

My money is on blanks exploding near tourists perhaps injuring them. I know blanks can actually kill someone if it is fired too close to them. That is what supposedly killed Brandon Scott Lee in the Crow movie.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Domain Names to Change: You can have now?

Now this seems to be a sea change in the way domain names are doled out going forward.

Experts say corporations should be among the first to register, resulting in domain names ending in brands like .toyota, .apple or .coke.

The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites -- and a danger for those who fail to take advantage.
Japanese electronics giant Canon, for instance, has already said it plans to apply for rights to use domain names ending with .canon.

I guess this makes quite a bit of sense and will prevent Internet hangers on now. So gone will be the sites that use something like or other mispellings. Hopefully it will break the back of cyber-squatting and people making large sums of money because they registered way back in the day.

4 Ways Blackberry Can Save its Ass: Yeah I Don't Think So

Well some of these ideas have merit but here is my take on the subject.

No. 1: Make Like Google, Streamline Management

Having two CEOs seems like a bad idea much of the time. It didn't seem like a liability when they were growing like a weed. Now they will be fighting for survival against two huge rivals and they can afford no further management slip-ups or shakeups. RIM needs to poach some dude from Google or Apple as their CEO and come in for the fight of their lives.

No. 2: Open Up Its Secure Servers

This might be a good idea if it wouldn't cannibalize their handset market share even further. I mean if I could get Blackberry email service with an Android style phone then why would I have a Blackberry at all? If they do go away from handset sales and turn themselves into a server software company by offering a Microsoft Exchange-like email server (that is as good or better then MSFT) then this would be a great idea.

No. 3: Get With Social -- Cultivate Developer Community

Oh man this should be written on every cubicle at RIM headquarters. Their app store is absolutely worthless. I downloaded an NFL app that actually crashed my Blackberry and forced me to take out the battery to reset it. I even had trouble uninstalling that POS. There is no reason for this kind of thing to happen in this day and age.

RIM is now competing with Apps that are leaving the world of tech and entering pop culture. Angry Birds started as an IPhone App and it is now taking the world by storm. I even hear of an Angry Birds TV shows and movie in the works. I mean IPhone and Android Apps are being talked about on Jimmy Fallon seemingly every night. I can't even tell you a Blackberry app off the top of my head and I have owned one for 2 years.

Plus their Blackberry store is a joke that seems to take forever to load and crashes repeatedly. Maybe there is an update floating around somewhere but there is really no compelling reason to download it because there is nothing in the store that is worth checking out.

No. 4: Drill Down Abroad

I guess this all boils down to smash Nokia in the markets that they had once dominated. I guess this is possible if they come out with a dirt cheap Blackberry that is superior to anything that Nokia is putting out. Then if this thing takes off and people use Blackberry messenger instead of texting maybe they have something. Basically RIM would be selling a glorified Internet keyboard and not an actual smart phone. If they are forced to take this route they will join Nokia on the bottom of the handset barrel.

My Takeaway:

I think you can stick a fork in RIM they are done. The stock price will continue to bleed out until Microsoft picks them up for pennies on the dollar. Then you will see MSFT ditch the Blackberry software and just tighten the interface with Exchange and put Windows 7 mobile on Blackberry handsets.

Knowing Microsoft they will then screw up and lock out any user with an older Blackberry and force them to upgrade to the newest models. This will allow a mass exodus to Android and IPhone handsets and MSFT will be holding a big pile of fail. They will then vainly try to ramp up the App store and offer 25,000 Apps (most of them somehow related to Office or Xbox Live) while IPhone and Android will offer 2 million Apps each or something similar.

MSFT will then quietly write off the acquisition and the Blackberry will join the Walkman as a product that was widely popular that had a competitor that come out with something even better. Then the company flails around and tries to protect their lead. Then they try to keep their product on life support.  Then finally their product simply disappears.

I mean this trend seems to happen over and over in the tech world. It happened with the RAZR by Motorola, Guitar Hero and Rock Band, then the Nintendo Wii, and now the Blackberry. What a cutthroat world consumer tech is. You basically go from King to "whatever happened to..." in a few short years.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weiner Resigns

Well after hemming and hawing for weeks he is finally out of there.

Weiner said he had hoped to remain in Congress but conceded his predicament had made that impossible. Instead, he said he would resign "so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and, most importantly, that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused."

Now the Congress can work on the debt ceiling and not have to worry about getting questions about some idiot Congressman sexting porn stars and 20-something girls. Now he can get a nice cushy job as a pundit after a a year of reflection/divorce from Huma. I mean he has the firebrand chops to be the liberal version of Glenn Beck over at MSNBC if he wants to. I mean if the scumbag Spitzer can find work then Weiner will certainly get his own show.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Stick a Fork in Him Newt is Done

Well I guess he really didn't want to be President after all. It seems his entire staff just resigned on him.

Rick Tyler, Gingrich's spokesman, said that he, campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior strategists had all quit, along with aides in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Other officials said Gingrich was informed that his entire high command was quitting in a meeting at his headquarters in Washington. They cited differences over the direction of the campaign.

In other words he has to start again from scratch and his ground game in those early states is probably destroyed. He should just pack it in and wait until 2016. Oh well Herman Cain is still in the race so I still have a chance to vote for a Conservative that I think can fix this ailing economy.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Who are Weiners Women? One is a Former Porn Star

I'm sure we will be getting a whole blizzard of them going forward like Tiger's many many girls. But here are the ones we know about.

•Meagan Broussard: A 26-year-old single mom from Texas, Broussard is the women who provided the photos of Weiner published yesterday on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government site. She provided dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs to ABC News detailing her online relationship with Weiner, which began in April. "I didn't think it was him," she told ABC. "I thought for sure, 'Why would someone in that position be doing this?'"

Way to keep it classy ABC News.

Lisa Weiss: A 40-year-old blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, Weiss told RadarOnline that she "sexted" with Weiner for nine months, beginning last August after they exchanged messages on Facebook. She claims to have more than 200 messages from Weiner and says the congressman phoned her from his private congressional line during work hours. "A few days later, I tried to call him back on that number," Weiss told Radar. "But the number wouldn't connect to his office; instead there was a recorded message that it was an outgoing U.S. Congress line only."

Is that Sarah Palin to her right with the pixilated face? Plus TMZ seems to be a lot more classy than ABC News by showing this woman with clothes on. Go figure.

•Ginger Lee: A former porn star, Lee allegedly sexted with Weiner for months. She has provided emails to TMZ that allegedly show Weiner pressured her to lie about their relationship—going so far as offer "someone on team" to advise her on how to handle the media. On June 2, Weiner allegedly drafted a statement for Lee, that suggested she was merely followed the congressman on Twitter. "The key is to have a short, thought out statement that tackles the top line questions and then refer people back to it," Weiner allegedly wrote. "Have a couple of iterations of: 'This is silly . . . . And then maybe insert some y'alls in there."

You can go ahead and do a Google Image Search for her. Her pictures are NSFW. Suffice it to say she looks like a blond 17 year old who is very small up top and no butt. The part about having people on Weiners team "advising" her sounds pretty sleazy as well. In any case these gals seem to be the polar opposite of his quite put together wife.

So Who Did Weiner Cyber Cheat On? Hint: She is a Muslim "Body Person" of Hillary

Wow from this write up she seems to have been one of the most eligible young women in liberal land.

Her first job for Hillary Clinton was as a White House intern in 1996 when Clinton was first lady. She always worked close to Clinton, and in 2000—when Clinton was running for the senate—Abedin became her ubiquitous traveling aide, the person with Clinton every waking minute, who makes the trains run on time and who must anticipate her boss’ needs. She carries two BlackBerries and is, in effect, the gatekeeper, thereby making her a rather powerful arbitrator of who reaches Clinton.

She seems to be a practicing Muslim that lived for many years in Saudi Arabia and seems to wield a lot of clout with the Clintons. She is one year younger than me and has only been married to Weiner for 11 months. I guess you can insert a joke about how Jews keep humiliating the Muslims but that would be crass.

She was also super private and this whole scandal must be driving her up the wall. I bet Hillary has been asking about Seal Team 6 to lay some smack down on Weiner. She is kind of good looking if you like awfully skinny girls. Yes you can see her bony wrist in this picture.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Base Found on Mars? Um, I'm not convinced.

Well there seems to be a strange anomaly on a picture of the surface of Mars from an amateur astronomer.

Describing the 'structure' as a living quarters with red and blue stripes on it, to the untrained eye it looks nothing more than a white splodge on an otherwise unblemished red landscape.
He even lists the co-ordinates 49'19.73"N 29 33'06.53"W so others can go see the anomaly for themselves.

It seriously looks like a rendering anomaly to me but you can judge for yourself.