Monday, December 31, 2012

Psy Ends Gangnam Style: Disappears off the Face of Earth

Well it seems that Psy is done with Gangnam Style.

"The song became too popular, and so you start to have some concern about its life period," he said. "I'm really working hard on a new single right now, and I'm not saying ['Gangnam'] is ending on Dick Clark — I still have a lot of invitations to perform it . . . I'll be in Paris, and in February I got invited to perform in China, and I've still got to do promo. So let me say that in America I need a new single because 'Gangnam Style' got too popular, so I've got to write a new single."

I'm pretty sure that his "new single" will not be as catchy or as world beating as Gangnam Style. He will still be big-ish in Korea but I have a feeling that "Gangnam Style" has just joined the "Macarena" and "Who Let the Dogs Out" in the "Remember-When?" File.

2013 Predicitions: Entertainment and Sports

Well time to try my hand at the lighter side of the news:


1. Reality TV starts to grate on the public as American Idol has its lowest rated season ever. People talk of cancellation but it is still renewed for 2013. Many other reality TV staples are cancelled to make way for more Mad Men style adult dramas.

2. The Jersey Shore miscreants disappear from the national consensus as their 15 minutes of fame fades. This ignominious fate befalls Honey Boo boo, Dog the Bounty Hunter, the Storage Wars cast, and any American Idol not named Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood.

3. New Shows of 2012:
  Renewed: The Following, How to Live with your Parents, the Carrie Diaries, Cult
  Cancelled: Goodwin Games, Do No Harm, Save Me, Deception, 1600 Penn, Hannibal, Zero Hour, Red Widow, The Family Tools, Mistresses

4. Top 10 Movies for 2013 in any order:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thor the Dark World, Iron Man 3, Star Trek into Darkness, The Hunger Games Catching Fire, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Kick-ass 2, Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger


College Football National Title: Alabama
College Basketball National Title: Indiana
NFL: Denver Broncos
NBA: LA Clippers
MLB: Los Angeles Angels
NASCAR: Kasey Kahne
NHL: none season cancelled
Premier League Title: Arsenal
Bundesliga Title: Bayern Munich


2013 Predictions: Politics and the Economy

Well I might as well do my 2013 Predictions now since we are at the last day of the year:


1. There will be another fight over the debt ceiling with the GOP getting blamed for stalling and "holding the country ransom."  They will eventually cave and we will be put back on debt downgrade watch again. This time we are not downgraded.

2. Benghazi disappears into the woodwork as we slowly ease out of Afghanistan. Most of our foreign entanglements are finished by the end of the year. America's robust foreign policy on the early 2000s takes a backseat to new actors such as the Turks, the Russians and the Chinese. Europe moves further into the drivers seat of world affairs again.

3. Bashar Assad's government falls and he flees to Russia. The new Syria emerges out of the rubble and Lebanon returns to an active peace. General tensions ease in the Middle East and a relative calm falls over the region by year-end. Some of the Arab Spring governments become Islamist but it does not affect their relations with Israel.

4. The world will become a somewhat more peaceful place with much less warfare and death on the front page. People start looking inwardly and fixing some of their long running problems. The news becomes focused on solar panels in Africa and micro-transactions in Brazil and less about wars in the Middle East.

5. There is less partisan infighting as America tires of the whole "political divide" that has typified Washington for the last few years. No new gun laws are passed through the Congress and Sandy Hook unfortunately becomes just another footnote.


1. There will be 3% GDP growth by the end of the year as companies have more of an idea of what their taxes and hiring costs will be. Obamacare is not the debacle as many fear and its pull on the economy is not felt by many Americans. The $800 Obamacare Tax Penalty will quietly be repealedwith changes to the bill tacked onto a different piece of legislation.

2. Banks will have record profits during 2013. Having large cash hordes and an incentive to start loaning money out will bring billions of dollars in profit into the banks. Many banks will be enriched by the same things that made them money before the bailout. Private banking will flourish in 2013.

3. Hedge Funds lose quite a bit of their luster as their outsized gains disappear. There are record redemptions as rich people pull their money out and chase after tax free yield. Municipal bonds and Master Limited Partnerships become very popular since they avoid higher capital gains tax rates that come out of Washington deal-making. Dividends become less popular and stock buybacks soar.

4. The Apple TV becomes the most talked about new tech product of 2013 as it challenges the idea of Internet connected TV. Saving TV shows to ICloud and viewing movies from the Apple Store challenges Netflix and Amazon. People cancelling their cable becomes even more widespread than before. Windows 8 is a dismal failure and hastens the demise of the desktop as we know it. A big screen attached to a tablet or a smartphone becomes the new PC form factor of 2013.

5. There will be a Facebook and Twitter backlash as many people tire of having to update their lives and document it for people they barely know. Saying "I don't have Facebook" becomes a new way of being hip instead of being luddite. The social revolution hits a definite snag in 2013 as people cease to see the point.

6. Here are the end of 2013 numbers:

Dow: 13400
NASDAQ: 3210
S&P 500: 1410
Eur/Dollar: 0.84
10 Year Bond: 2.58%
Gold: $1640 an ounce
Oil: $85 a barrel

2012 Predicitions: Entertainment and Sports: A Recap

Well lets see how I did for the 2012 world of entertainment and sports.


1. Well it seems that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are still together and seem happy enough. Jennifer Aniston is now engaged but hasn't married yet.

2. Kardashians TV show is still on TV. Our long nation nightmare continues.

3. Renewed: Missed Napoleon Dynamite and Luck, got Lost Girl, Touch, and Apartment 23
    Cancelled: Missed Smash, Fashion Star, Scandal, all the rest from my list are in the TV graveyard.

4. The movies that didn't make it into the Top 10 in Box office were: MIB 3, Expendables 2, Wrath of the Titans, and World War Z was pushed back to 2013. The movie industry was also 6% better by a revenue standpoint as well.

5. My Sports Predictions were pretty dismal as well. Correct answers in blue

College Football National Title: LSU (Alabama)
College Basketball National Title: Ohio State (Kentucky)
NFL: Green Bay Packers (New York Giants)
NBA: Miami Heat (hey got one, Miami Heat)
MLB: Texas Rangers (San Fransisco Giants)
NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson (Brad Keselowski)
NHL: Chicago Blackhawks (Los Angeles Kings)
Premier League Title: Manchester City (hey got 2, Manchester City)

2012 Predictions Poltics and the Economy: A Recap

Well it is that time a year again so I'm looking back at my predictions for 2012 and seeing how I did.


1. Yup Romney won the GOP nomination but Obama won the election. However Obama didn't win in a squeaker and actually won fairly convincingly. The GOP didn't win the Senate and it seems that not much will be done.

2. There was no real budget fight per se but the fight was over raising the debt ceiling instead. There was no real compromise and the thing was punted so we have the "fiscal cliff" now.

3. Obamacare actually was proved constitutional and it will scar the landscape for years to come. Missed this one.

4. No civil war in North Korea. It seems Kim-Jong-Un is consolidating power and firing off long range missiles. Missed this one.

5. Iran was hit hard by sanctions but there was no revolutions. It turned out that Syria was the place for the government to gun down its people. Although the UN is not stepping in at all due to Russia.


1. Nailed this one. More green shoots plus a housing recovery with Europe taking more then its share of ink on its woeful situation. Missed high oil prices but nailed a slowdown in India and China. Worldwide growth also slowed in the second half of the year and parts of Europe did enter a recession.

2. The market was fairly decent and oil prices stayed fairly low. Also there was a rally of sorts after Obama was re-elected. Companies still hold vast cash reserves and the GDP is growing at only 1.7% at the end of the year and not at 3%. However, we avoided a recession for now.

3. Unemployment did stay in the 8% range and was slightly better by the end of the year.

4. Facebook's IPO was a debacle and may have a few lawsuits to settle before all the smoke clears. However, no "Facebook is dead" articles have been published yet. Whoops missed this one.

5. SOPA did indeed fail spectacularly.

6. Here are the numbers for the various indices that I predicted vs the actual numbers :

Dow: 12800 (13104)
NASDAQ: 2850 (3019)
S&P 500: 1320 (1320) Wow perfect guess!
Eur/Dollar: 0.98 (0.76)
10 Year Bond: 2.10% (1.76%)
Gold: $1310 an ounce ($1722 an ounce) Missed this one by a lot
Oil: $113 a barrel ($91 a barrel) This one too

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Clueless Anti-Gun Group Politicize Oregon Mall Shooting

I wonder if these people look at each of these mall shootings as a golden opportunity to push their message?

"Santa Claus could have been shot in the mall," said Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon, in an interview with the Portland Tribune. "If you're sick of this, you should call your legislators to tell them to fix the laws so that assault weapons don't end up in the hands of felons."

Nicely politicizing there Ms. Okamoto. First of all this killer did not seem to be a felon so that would not have prevented it. He also apparently stole the gun from his friend so that precluded all legal ways of preventing him from getting the gun. So other then having the government confiscate every gun you really couldn't prevent an insane person from shooting up the mall.

Also even if they did ban assault weapon and made owning them totally illegal it still would not prevent someone from buying a pistol and doing something similar. I mean the Virginia Tech shooter had two pistols. Also in the Aurora shootings the guy could have done about the same damage with just the pistols and the shotgun he had.

I think what people did in this Oregon shooting was perfect. They ran from the fire and hid in stores and waited for police and SWAT to kill off the shooter. Two people died and one was injured but it just seemed like bad luck that it happened to them. I think treating every " hearing firecrackers or popping balloons when there shouldn't be"  incident as a potential mass shooting might save quite a few lives.

Friday, December 07, 2012

NBC Might Pay the Price for Making Zimmerman Look Like a Racist

I think it would be difficult to defend the fact that NBC was trying to provide a narrative on this case and edited the 911 call to reflect that.

The call viewers heard was trimmed to suggest that Zimmerman volunteered to police, with no prompting, that Martin was black: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black."

But the portion of the tape that was deleted had the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman if the person who had raised his suspicion was "black, white or Hispanic," to which Zimmerman responded, "He looks black."

Someone made an editorial decision to remove the 911 dispatcher so NBC could keep the narrative as "evil racist guy kills innocent black kid in cold blood." They did not wait until facts were available but just rushed to judgement.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

MIT professor Philip Greenspun Hates Windows 8 and I Agree

Oh Windows 8 is such a piece of crap you don't even know. It seems that this famous computer scientist from MIT seems to agree with me.

“The only device that I can remember being as confused by is the BlackBerry PlayBook,” Greenspun wrote on his blog after using Windows 8 on a Dell (DELL) XPS One All-in-One desktop PC. The acclaimed computer scientist noted that Microsoft omitted all of the best features from the most popular touch-focused platforms and instead created a user interface he describes as a “dog’s breakfast.”

Imagine using that awful experience on a regular PC without a touch interface and then removing the Start button for no good reason. I had to work around that by creating icons of things like Control Panel and Office 2010 apps like Outlook and Excel directly from the Programs Files directory. I couldn't figure out any other way of getting to my Outlook easily. I guess I could fiddle with the worthless and ugly Metro interface but the less I saw of that the better. In any case if an MIT professor has trouble using Windows 8 then I would hate to be a person that learned Windows by using XP and then tried to use 8.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Fresh Eyes Identify Earliest Known Dinosaur

This is a pretty interesting find.

The creature was about the size of a Labrador dog and has been named Nyasasaurus parringtoni after southern Africa's Lake Nyasa, today called Lake Malawi, and Cambridge University's Rex Parrington, who collected the specimen at a site near the lake in the 1930s.

"It was a case of looking at the material with a fresh pair of eyes," Paul Barrett from the Natural History Museum, who worked on the study, told Reuters. "This closes a gap in the fossil record and pushes back the existence of dinosaurs."

It is pretty cool that a fossil found in the 30s and studied in the 50s finally enters the fossil record in 2012. I think a fresh set of eyes need to go over more findings from the past. Maybe even more knowledge can be uncovered from that sort of thing.

Anti-Tax Conservatives Kicked off of Budget Panel

I guess this might be the GOP moving slowly back toward the center.

Two of the most conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives have been kicked off the House Budget Committee, a rare move that could make it easier for the panel to advance a deal with Democrats to cut fiscal deficits.

I think this is Boehner flexing his muscles and trying to play the Tip O'Neil role in reverse. I think he has done the political calculus and figured that if we go off the cliff or bungee jump (go off the cliff and fix it when they come back from recess after Jan 1) the GOP is going to get hammered.

I figure there will be a 30% sell-off in the stock market if we go off the cliff and the GOP does not want that pinned to them because of two congressmen that won't listen to common sense.

Religious Right Softens Image Declares Peace in War on Religion

I guess Romney losing is putting some sense into the religious right.

Between the rise of the unchurched and the moderation of young religious conservatives, experts say, a smaller movement may emerge — one that retains its current zeal but carries less sway over the selection of GOP nominees. Or the movement could retain its power by successfully diversifying and coming up with a new way to talk to voters.

"We plan to reach out with a softer, pro-family agenda—less emphasis on the sexual points, more talk about family," Marx of the Faith and Freedom Coalition said. He also said activists would develop a "forward-looking" policy agenda akin to President George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism."

Also they need to back away from social positions like the earth is a few thousand years old and that global warming is fake. It might be a good idea to just keep Creationism and Intelligent Design in parochial schools as well. 

What a compassionate Christian Rightist needs to be talking about is that all schools need to be improved instead of trying to shoehorn their beliefs into the classroom. Instead of fighting a war in the classroom let all classrooms prosper. Do good works and people will flock to you. Don't try to change minds by forcing your beliefs on anyone.

Finally, the sexual issues need to be taken off the table entirely. So no talk of rape or abortion from any GOP candidate going forward. If a GOP candidate is asked about abortion they can just say this is my deeply held belief and has no standing on how I would govern.

Obama Proposes Tax Hikes Now but Rate Cuts Later (Maybe)

I guess he just can't live with the idea of rich people getting away with 3% more of a cut then other Americans.

"Let's let those go up," Obama told Bloomberg Television in an interview, referring to tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.

"And then let's set up a process with a time certain, at the end of 2013 or the fall of 2013, where we work on tax reform, we look at what loopholes and deduction both Democrats and Republicans are willing to close, and it's possible that we may be able to lower rates by broadening the base at that point."

In other words when those talks break down in 2013 he will have his rate hikes in place already. Pretty sneaky way of ramming through tax hikes. It does give Boehner some wiggle room to say that the GOP will bite the bullet and allow tax hikes in exchange for cuts in 2013. Whatever the case negotiating by brinksmanship is a crappy way of doing business.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Well At Least they Won't Hike My Taxes: Middle Class Tax Cuts Might Pass

At least I'm not going off the cliff according to the GOP Doomsday Plan.

Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. It's quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.

This is the ultimate can kick. No consensus on anything other then messing up the middle class with a tax hike. If they make them permanent though I would support that move. If I can lock in 15% dividend taxes and 25% short term capital gains taxes for 2013 then I would take it for now. However, any meaningful tax reform should make these rates 0%. The idea of capital gains and dividend taxes for middle class taxpayers are anathema to me.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Steel Coins Might Be Coming

I kind of like the idea of steel coins and it seems to be a way to save the mint a few million.

Several lawmakers were more intrigued with the idea of using different metal combinations in producing coins.

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said a penny costs more than 2 cents to make and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make. Moving to multiplated steel for coins would save the government nearly $200 million a year, he said.

I mean you could then melt the coins together and make various things out of them. It would be interesting to see a steel penny not be copper colored. It would kind of be like what they did in WW2 when copper was used in the war effort.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Windows 8 Phones Plagued By Reboots

I guess Microsoft just can't get out of its own way when it introduces new products.

Microsoft has reportedly acknowledged it has discovered that some Windows Phone 8 early adopters are experiencing random reboots. Microsoft experts say they've located the problem and will be able to offer a downloadable solution in the next few weeks. 

So they know of the problems but it will take weeks to fix it? I guess all of their engineers are on vacation or something. That's about par for the course for MSFT. Release a product to compete with Apple several years too late and execute it poorly. Why is Balmer still CEO at that company?

Grover Norquist Does Not Make Sense

I just don't understand how this guy became so prominent in the GOP establishment that people were scared of him when he says things like this.

"When you got married did your wife understand there was an expiration date on that promise? When you borrowed money to buy your house did you say, 'Oh geez. That mortgage? That was 10 years ago. You're still asking me for money?' You make a commitment, you make a commitment," says Norquist.

Did he just compare not hiking taxes to a marriage? Also that mortgage comment doesn't make sense when circumstances change. For instance a person would be a fool to keep the same mortgage as they had 10 years ago if it was possible to refinance it. If economic conditions change then you have to change with them. If taxes need to be hiked then just do it so it doesn't effect the vast majority of Americans. It is better than building up trillions more in debt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Obama Hits Campaign Trail to Push Tax Hikes

Why can't he stay in town and simply sit down with lawmakers and lead the country? Instead he is constantly fleeing Washington in order to make photo ops.

The president's visit to a small business in Hatfield, Pa., that makes parts for a construction toy company will cap a week of public outreach as the White House and congressional leaders seek a way to avoid the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

He already won Pennsylvania's electoral college votes. Why does he have to hang out at some construction toy company? Obama wants tax hikes so just make them palatable to the GOP and solve the problem. If they don't want hikes on people making more than $250K then push for people making more than $500K or a $1 million something. In other words sit down and lead and not rush off to mug for the cameras.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Senator Saxby Chambliss Turns Back on "No Taxes" Pledge

I guess getting hided in the election is bringing some realism back to Capitol Hill.

"I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge," Chambliss told Georgia television station WMAZ on Thursday. "If we do it his way, then we'll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that."

A vast majority of elected Republicans have signed the pledge Norquist created in 1986, which commits them to voting against tax increases, and it became a type of litmus test among U.S. conservatives.

I mean you cannot even negotiate with the Dems if you cannot raise taxes ever. Maybe there will be some wiggle room on raising taxes on people making over a million or something. As long as they can avoid the fiscal cliff by letting tax hikes go on the table as long as they aren't too excessive and do not target the middle class. I just don't agree that someone making $250K a year should be called rich.

Friday, November 09, 2012

GOP "Get Religion" on Immigration Reform at Long Last

It is funny to see how the GOP is starting to "evolve" on immigration reform.

"This issue has been around far too long," Boehner said. "A comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I'm confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all."

Just two years ago, Boehner said it was worth considering amending the U.S. Constitution to end birthright citizenship, because he said it might discourage people from illegally crossing the border. Boehner was also opposed to President George W. Bush's attempt to pass immigration reform.

Bush was prescient on this issue and it took losing the Latino vote by 70% in two strait Presidential elections to have them see the light. You can't treat 20 million people like hunted criminals and hope to get their friends and relatives to vote for you. The GOP needs to stop any "your papers please" laws going forward because they infringe on personal liberty which used to be a big deal in their party. 

Also Bush understood that speaking Spanish and reaching out to Latino communities might pay off for the GOP as well. Latinos seem to have quite a bit in common and might vote Republican much faster than Blacks or single women. Actually, all the GOP needs to do is split the Latino vote 50/50 and they have a better chance of winning Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico again.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Even Though I Don't Like Gingrich: What he Says Resonates

I usually think Gingrich is a huge bloviating moron but these words are spot-on.

"The question is do they want to, in a disciplined way, create a schedule and a program and include people who are not traditionally Republican?" Gingrich said during a Wednesday interview on CNN's "Starting Point With Soledad O'Brien." "The difference between outreach and inclusion, is outreach is when five white guys have a meeting and call you," he continued. "Inclusion is when you're in the meeting."

Yeah the GOP needs to not be 5 white guys in a room making decisions.They need to throw that tent wide and make sure there are Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and women in that room from here on in.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Biggest Winner for the 2012 Election: Math?

Well, I didn't believe Nate Silver but he shows that a mathematical analysis might be the way to go to handicap election's in the future. All that gut-feeling stuff is not the same as cold-hard math.

This year, according to all projections, Silver’s model has correctly predicted 50 out of 50 states. A last-minute flip for Florida, which finally went blue in Silver’s prediction on Monday night, helped him to a perfect game. 

A caveat: Florida has not yet been called officially, but Obama is in the lead with 98% of precincts reporting. If anything, Silver’s placing of Florida on a knife edge makes him look even more prescient. No wonder one of the night’s more popular tweets suggested that he was actually from the future, working from old newspapers.

I think his idea of taking all the polls and weighting them for historical accuracy is a very sound one. The idea that all the polls were used is what took some of the bias out of the equations. So you can have some polls (CNN) oversampling Democrats but others (Wall Street Journal) may have under-sampled them. Then he weighted them according to accuracy. That seems like a sound plan because the electorate seemed very much the same as in 2008. So if the poll was right in 2008 it should have been right in 2012.

The GOP made the mistake of thinking the electorate had changed from 2008 to 2012 and that did them in. I guess Silver needs to pick stocks next because I would love to see if his algorithm will work on Wall Street. Maybe he can use a mix of research Buy/Sell/Hold calls and newsletter picks as his "polls" for each stock to see if they hold up.

Why Romney Lost

Well everyone else are doing the post-mortem on why Romney lost so I might as well add my own. The problems with Romney were there from the very start. He is generally a white country-club conservative cut from similar cloth that John Kerry was. He was the Republican Kerry. Romney was portrayed as a clueless rich guy and quite a few of his actions pounded that point home. He only came on after the last debate because he seemed like a fairly caring individual that wanted to do well for the country. Also Obama looked like he didn't give a crap until the final week of the election. Here are some of the reasons why I think Romney lost and some tonics for the GOP going forward.

1. Hispanics are a force to be reckoned with.

I think the GOP ignoring the fastest growing group in the US is going to cost them many elections unless they change their tune. That means no more talk of "self-deportation" or other nonsense. Also building fences or demonizing illegals cannot be a plank in the GOP platform going forward. The GOP needs to embrace immigration reform and allow Obama to "win" on this issue. There needs to be some form of amnesty on the books. The GOP idea that an illegal is taking away an American's job needs to die in 2012. Make that illegal an American that pays his taxes and becomes a solid citizen and not a hunted man. Then make him a Republican.

I mean whenever Romney talked about "self-deportation" a Hispanic voter thought he wants to send my grandma back to Guatemala even though she's lived here since the 70s. The GOP needs to figure a way for that person's grandma to stay in this country and not have to fear being deported. If that means amnesty then so be it. There needs to be some mechanism in place because you cannot deport 20 million people.

After this Hispanic voter can be assured of safety for his family the GOP can appeal to his other issues using traditional GOP methods. That means pushing for economic security, good jobs, and his appealing to his faith. Hispanics seem to be more religious as a group than other voting blocs so reaching out here can peel some of them away from the generally nonreligious (or openly anti-religious) Democrats.

2. 47% of Americans are Lazy Parasites

This one hidden video cost him the election IMO. Obama needs to send a fruit basket to Mother Jones because they won it for him. There is a deep-seated idea that the GOP are a bunch of heartless assholes that want to steal from the poor and give the money to the rich. I mean nearly shutting down the government to protect a 3% tax hike on people making over $1 million does that to you.

The GOP used to fight for the little guy. The small businessman or the middle class American that wants to build a good life for himself. Romney talked about helping the Middle Class but far too late to do any good. He kept having to fend off the "tax cuts for the rich" crap that Obama kept hitting him with.

Then when he was caught talking to the GOP big-money men saying that people won't vote for him because they are used to living on the dole it rubs those little guys the wrong way. The whole idea of personal responsibility is a crock when you look at how the recession is kicking peoples asses. I mean there are vast majorities of Americans that did everything right and still got smashed. They need the government to be there for them or they starve to death.

This 47% crack is especially galling coming from a guy that has a elevator for his cars and owns a dressage horse. I mean how do you appeal to a middle class voter from Ohio or Pennsylvania when you are more worried about your dressage horse competing in the Olympics than trying to be president? That idea of the clueless rich-guy that doesn't understand your pain doomed Romney from the very start.

3. Losing the Women's vote

I think going after Planned Parenthood by saying you will shut them down was a huge mistake. Even though PP does abortions they do quite a bit of good for poor women. If they wanted to get rid of it the GOP needed to come up with an alternative. Maybe free vouchers that women could use for women's health that didn't pay for abortions. Even saying that they would "reform" PP to get rid of the abortions instead of just killing the program would have been a better idea. If I was advising Romney I would have told him to dump the whole issue.

Also the idea that the government should or shouldn't pay for contraception was an idiotic argument to make. I mean this issue just comes down to weather church sponsored hospitals would carry it or not. If you give them an "opt-out" then the issue is solved. Young women today should be afforded free contraception just because they will bear the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy. The grognards in the GOP like that guy that said give women aspirin so they keep their legs shut need to be drummed out of the party. This is a big issue for some women so the GOP needed to figure a way to get the job done so that it didn't offend religious groups.

Speaking of grognards, the GOP needs to banish every single one of them that have some weird-assed definition of rape. Men like Akin and Mourdock have no place in a party that wants to win more than 43% of the women's vote. The GOP should have tried to not only distance themselves from these guys but offered a different candidate instead. If that wasn't possible, then condemn them in the strongest possible terms, and de-fund their campaigns. It's 2012 so why is the GOP still "defining" rape or even talking about it in an election?

4. Trying to Say the 2008 Election was a fluke that didn't carry over to 2012

I actually believed this one so Romney can't be faulted too badly for following it. I really think that the electorate has changed from 2004 to 2012. There are more urbanites, women, Blacks, and Hispanics than ever before as part of the voting block. The bad part is that they are solidly Democratic. There are just less angry-white guys than ever that before that will vote for your rich country-club guy.

So the GOP needs to open the tent to everyone that wants fiscal security, good jobs, and a growing economy. So that means they need to start courting some of these groups that are supposed to be Democratic with these ideas. They aren't race specific or gender specific and appeal to all Americans.

I think it was shameful how the GOP drummed out Michael Steele and replaced him with some milquetoast white dude with a funny name. I mean this Priebus guy needs to get fired because the GOP has become the "rich white-guy party" again on his watch. The "rich white-guy party" will never again win a national election because the electorate has changed forever. The swing states are mostly large urban areas with minorities living in them. You can't win an election without appealing to them.

5. It's the Economy Stupid

This should have been a slam-dunk election because Obama is an epic bumbler when it comes to the economy. Trillions wasted on stimulus that didn't stimulate anything. Then he tackled health care before jobs. We have more people on food stamps then ever before. We had 4 years of economic stagnation. Obama is just inept when it comes to the thing Americans are concerned about the most.

Then when it looked like Obama didn't care enough to even prepare for the 1st Debate you would figure that Romney had it. Instead he seemed to fumble it away right at the end. Obama looked presidential and FEMA looked heroic during Hurricane Sandy and that brief moment Romney could have won was over. Romney wanted to get rid of FEMA for the sake of fiscal austerity and that cost him.

Now people are blaming Christie for saying that Obama was a decent enough guy that helped his state. That was just the truth as Christie saw it. A disaster is when you need the government the most. I don't mind paying my taxes for FEMA as long as as "old Brownie" Michael Brown doesn't run it. A well run government that doesn't waste my money is preferable to an "every man for himself" one.

But in his zeal to cut everything Romney needed to think before he talked. I mean what better way can FEMAs $14 billion budget be better spent? I mean making cash-strapped states pay for their own disaster clean-up is asinine. They have balanced budgets so they cant afford $50 billion when they can barely keep the lights on. That is the states fault for wasting their money but the Feds need to backstop when a disaster strikes.

In any case fiscal austerity does not equate to any swing state votes. We would all like a smaller government but it needs to be cut in practical terms. That means not talk of cutting FEMA during a disaster or getting rid of Planned Parenthood unless there is a better use of the money out there. I guess the idea of making the government spend my money (and China's) better is what I would prefer to slash-and-burn cuts that Romney seemed to back. People seem to like the government that is in place so cutting it needs to be done slowly and with more thought.

The Market Speaks: Obama's Win costs 2.37% to the Downside

Well it is time to buy Medicaid Servicers like Centene (CNC) and Hospital Stocks like Tenet (THC) because Obamacare is are very real reality going forward. You might also see some companies saving a good bit of expense by dropping their insurance plans and making people buy from the "exchanges."

The only thing Obama better not mess with is the shale oil boom. If the EPA jumps all over fracking we will be back to begging Saudi Arabia for oil and having to fight wars in the Middle East every few years. Hopefully all this "green energy" talk I keep hearing means a move to Natural Gas as our fuel of choice for the next few decades.

The idea of an energy independent America is something that really needs to be explored. Imagine if we can get gas prices down and convert our power plants to Natural gas and nuclear. We would even be a net exporter of energy and reverse some of our trade imbalance. Finally, we would finally not need to be policing the Middle East very much at all. This is a good thing because we won't need to fight a war there anytime soon. But it will also be bad because without us snooping around the Jihadis are taking control from the kleptocracies. The next 9/11 might be launched out of Syria or Egypt.

Obama Wins! *Sigh*

Well Nate Silver was right and I was wrong. Obama won quite handily so we will have 4 more years of gridlock and economic stagnation to look forward to. In any case they better get us off the "fiscal cliff" before we see more damage done to the economy.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Fearless Prediction for the 2012 Presidential Election

I think this will be the final tally for tomorrows election:

311 Romney
227 Obama

I just see 311 and Romney giving an inauguration speech. I am probably wrong but I'll go ahead and make a prediction anyway. I'll post the real final tally tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Day of love for the Prophet" causes 19 deaths

I guess that is how you show love for Muhammed in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s government declared a “day of love for the Prophet” in a move that highlights the influence of religious parties in the country’s politics.

Islam needs to hurry up and have a reformation already. Rioting and murder to show you "love" the Prophet is just getting to stupid already. It also shows that the Muslim world hates Obama nearly as much as they hate W.

If the Redskins Beat Carolina on November 4th Obama Wins the Election

Now this is one strange statistic.

And that's how we got the Redskins Rule, a prediction that has a tradition of accuracy even better than Scholastic's survey. It goes like this:

If the Washington Redskins win their last home game before the election, the incumbent party retains the White House. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins.

This pattern has failed only once since 1940. The year the rule missed was 2000—and many devoted Democrats think Al Gore really won that election. (Perhaps the Redskins should have tied that year.)

So their last home game before the election is against Cam Newton and the Panthers. Judging from how they got spanked by the Giants Obama should probably win the election. Get ready for 4 more years of economic malaise and class warfare.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ruskis Reveal Huge Diamond Mine: Trillions of Carats?

Wow, the Russians have just become the worlds largest diamond producers overnight.

Russia has just declassified news that will shake world gem markets to their core: the discovery of a vast new diamond field containing "trillions of carats," enough to supply global markets for another 3,000 years.

The Soviets discovered the bonanza back in the 1970s beneath a 35-million-year-old, 62-mile diameter asteroid crater in eastern Siberia known as Popigai Astroblem.

It is interesting that they kept this a secret for 40 years like this. I guess all those people hording diamonds have just taken a finger to the eye. I would bet you that Putin is already assembling a suit of armor made out of Diamonds to wear at state events. Kind of like in Bards Tale the video game from the 80s. I remember that Diamond Plate was what I wanted to find for my warriors and paladins in that game.

At Least there are Some Decent People in the Muslim World

After all of the violence directed at Americans because of some obscure YouTube video at least we find some decent people in Libya.

Libyans tried to rescue Ambassador Chris Stevens, cheering "God is great" and rushing him to a hospital after they discovered him still clinging to life inside the U.S. Consulate, according to witnesses and a new video that emerged Monday from last week's attack in the city of Benghazi.

Hopefully, we have more of the people that tried to rescue Stevens than those who tried to kill him.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Obama Has time for Letterman but Not for Netanyahu

Well yet another finger in the eye of Israel by Obama.

"The President arrives in New York for the UN on Monday, September 24 and departs on Tuesday, September 25. The Prime Minister doesn't arrive in New York until later in the week," Vietor said.

"They're simply not in the city at the same time. But the President and PM are in frequent contact and the PM will meet with other senior officials, including Secretary Clinton, during his visit."

Which makes sense. I mean the President has a very hectic schedule. I mean he is meeting with this noted statesman on September 18th.

Still, Obama reportedly planned to appear on David Letterman on Sept. 18, the first day of the annual diplomatic gathering.

In other words Obama makes time for Letterman but doesn't have any time for the Prime Minister of one of our closest allies. It's not like a nuclear armed Iran or an imminent Israeli attack of Iranian nuclear sites might be in the offing or anything.

Sir John paid a personal visit to Benjamin Netanyahu to appeal to the leader to hold fire after he appeared to be impatient over the UK and US's approach towards Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his nuclear programme. 

Yesterday, Mr Netanyahu said the US did not have the "moral right" to stop Israel from taking action against Iran, where he is concerned by a number of nuclear sites.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Ginger Hammer Kicked in the Teeth: Vilma and Saints can Play

Well it seems Roger Goodell doesn't have infinite power after all.

"Consistent with the panel's decision, Commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the league's pay-for-performance/bounty rule," the NFL said in a statement. "Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend."

That three judge panel better not show up at an NFL stadium any time soon because I bet the Goodell is thirsting for their blood right about now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bet the West Coast team on Monday Nights for a 70% Chance of Winning: Its a Scientific Fact!

Wow now this is something that is very interesting that is backed up by some serious science.

The Stanford researchers dug through 25 years of Monday night NFL games and flagged every time a West Coast team played an East Coast team. Then, in an inspired move, they compared the final scores for each game with the point spread developed by bookmakers in Vegas. The results were stunning. The West Coast teams dominated their East Coast opponents no matter where they played. A West Coast team won 63 percent of the time, by an average of two touchdowns. The games were much closer when an East Coast team won, with an average margin of victory of only nine points. By picking the West Coast team every time, someone would have beaten the point spread 70 percent of the time. For gamblers in Las Vegas, the matchup was as good as found money.

Also these scientists adjusted for how good teams are as well. In other words they didn't just look at the awesome 49ers teams from the 80s smacking around the hapless Patriots from that era:

In a test to ensure that their findings weren't the result of West Coast teams simply being better during those years, the researchers expanded their scope and looked at every Monday Night Football game played during that twenty-five-year time span. They found that the overall winning percentages for West Coast and East Coast teams were essentially even when the teams were not playing a game against an opponent from the other coast. Nor were the results a reflection of home-field advantage. When an East Coast team traveled to another destination within its same time zone, it won 45 percent of the time. But if a team from the East Coast played somewhere in the Pacific time zone, its winning percentage shrunk to only 29 percent.

So betting against the team coming from the East Coast to the West Coast is very easy money. I wonder if you can check this information against the Sunday late game as well? If the results match up then you have a nice way to check if this information is true.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

That sound you hear is Israeli Fighter-Bombers: Iran Futher Along on a Nuke than Expected

Well I bet the White House will certainly want to sweep this information under the bed until after the election.

The White House refused to comment Thursday on a bombshell Israeli media report that President Barack Obama recently received an updated intelligence assessment that Iran has made surprising strides towards being able to build a nuclear weapon.

The Haaretz newspaper reported that Obama had received a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)—the consensus assessment of the American intelligence community—that "Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program." The daily cited unnamed "Western diplomats and Israeli officials."

That probably means they are pretty close to finishing the research needed to get the bomb. I'm not sure if the Israelis could set back the Iranian program by very long even if they bomb all the sites. However, if they can somehow make the Iranian government fall that might solve all their problems.

Its Official Libya Joins the Fraternity of Democracies

At long last you can say that Libya joins the US as a revolutionary country that turns into a (hopefully) peaceful Democracy.

In a late-night ceremony held under tight security in Tripoli, the National Transitional Council (NTC), political arm of the opposition forces that toppled Muammar Gaddafi a year ago, handed over to the national congress, elected in July.

NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil symbolically passed on the reins to the oldest member of the new 200-member assembly, Mohammed Ali Salim.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Game Changer to Fix the Euro?

This sounds like a very interesting idea that should be investigated. It might be better than the band-aids and can kicking that seems to be going on right now.

The proposal is based on a plan by the German Council of Experts. Each country puts all debt above the Maastricht ceiling of 60pc of GDP into the fund. Each would be responsible for its own debt but would be able to borrow through joint bonds, raising money on Germany’s credit card. 

The debt would be paid off over 20 years, with each state putting up foreign reserves, gold and other collateral to ensure compliance. It is the opposite of fiscal union: the eurozone would return to fiscal sovereignty and, since the liabilities would be fixed and the fund self-liquidating, it would comply with Germany’s constitution. 

In other words pool all the debt above a certain ceiling and stick it into one big sinking fund and monetize it using Germany's credit rating. Then you get a bunch of hard assets from each nation to collateralize the debt. I wonder if this means Spain would have to put up piles of gold and their airports and highways or something to hold against the debt in this fund?

It sounds like a weird kludge at first glance but I would love to see some eminent economists get out their green eye-shades out and pour over this idea. It's better than the whack-a-mole response that they are doing now.

It Seems BB&T is a Big GOP Money Spinner

While researching regional banks I came across some interesting information regarding BB&T.

The Times picked up the gauntlet this week, quoting the BB&T CEO Kelly King — a board member of the Financial Services Roundtable:
“If the president doesn’t become a little more balanced and centrist in his approach, then he will likely lose that support [of financial companies].”
Interestingly, according to campaign finance records, King has donated exclusively to Republican candidates, and BB&T’s PAC has historically weighted its contributions in favor of Republican candidates regardless of the party in control. It sounds like a guy who doesn’t even donate to Democrats is trying to shake them down for concessions on financial market reforms based on their desire for campaign contributions — and reporters are lapping it up.

You figure all big bankers would be pouting money into the GOP after Obama stabbed them in the back and started blaming them for nearly all of the nations ills. The "fat cat banker" meme has been the attack of choice by the White House for years. Only now do they understand that a "fat car banker" like CEO King provides the capital for the economy to run. If BB&T didn't crank out the loans to small businesses there would be almost no sustainable hiring in America.

Creator of the Financial Supermarket Calls for Banks to Be Broken Up: Good Idea!

I have to admit that Sandy Weill has a point when he says this:

“What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking, have banks be deposit takers, have banks make commercial loans and real estate loans, have banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not too big to fail,” Weill told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

He added: “If they want to hedge what they’re doing with their investments, let them do it in a way that’s going to be mark-to-market so they’re never going to be hit.”  

It might be a good idea to require large banks to spinoff their investment banking arms so that one side doesn't hurt the other when there is a crisis. So you have to solid, staid bank with its deposits and loans that pays a generous dividend. Then you have the go-go high risk, high reward of the investment bank that underwrites debt and trades commodities and such.

I think this would unlock quite a bit of value and go a long way to creating confidence that my money won't be used to bail out a bunch of huge banks. Right now I would only invest in regional banks because you can see they take in deposits and loan out the money for a certain rate of return. They pay a decent dividend and you won't have to worry about a Spanish bankruptcy damaging their balance sheet or even cause them to fail if you are long them. You can also read their 10Q without getting a headache or wondering what sort of assets aren't included in these figures.

Zynga Gets Hammered: Misses Pretty Badly

Well it seems that Farmville and Words with Friends is just not paying the bills anymore.

But what really dragged on Zynga's stock is the fact that the company lowered its outlook for 2012, saying it now expects bookings in the range of $1.15 billion to $1.225 billion, far short of the up to $1.5 billion Wall Street expected. 

Now the company’s projecting non-GAAP EPS for the year in the range of 4 to 9 cents, just a fraction the 26 cents that’s Wall Street’s consensus.  

This is guiding quite a bit lower to say the least. I wonder if this bodes ill for Facebooks earnings tomorrow? I just thinking the give the game away for free and use ads model might not be a good recipe for growth unless there are compelling things to spend money on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Apple Takes it in the Face: I think Everyone is Waiting for iPhone 5

I have to agree with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

Some consumers are believed to be holding off on purchases on the device ahead of the expected launch of the iPhone 5 this fall. Apple has never confirmed any plans or timing for a new iPhone device, though Oppenheimer said elsewhere on the call that a "fall transition" was also a big factor in the company's lower gross-margin forecast for the September period.

There seems to be no real reason to buy a Siri iPhone when the iPhone 5 should hopefully kick so much ass. Also the Apple TV is coming out pretty soon and will hopefully be great as well. I might go long Apple again if it drops a little more. This might be a good time to buy the stock at a discount.

Obama Still Leads Romney: I Think it is Because Mitt is Unlikable

Well it seems that Obama is still ahead of Romney 49 to 43.

Yet the countervailing weight holding down Romney is how voters perceive him personally. Some 35 percent of voters view the former Massachusetts governor favorably, while 40 percent view him unfavorably. That makes him the first presidential candidate viewed unfavorably by a plurality of voters in advance of his summer nominating convention since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Some of this is from him not submitting his tax returns. The idea of a rich dude hiding a bunch of money in a Cayman Island bank account is something Americans can stomach while they might be looking at a second recession. I mean most rich guys and celebs do all sorts of tricks to avoid taxes but Romney still should release those records. It would show that he has nothing to hide.

When I was first looking at Romney I figured that him being a rich plutocrat will hurt him in the long run. That is why I supported Herman Cain and Mike Huckabee because they could probably release 10 years of tax returns in an instant. Then you will have all these tax pros laughing at how they didn't take advantage of this loophole or that loophole to avoid paying taxes.

The whole idea of people gaming the tax system to pay less taxes is a joke. That is why comprehensive tax reform where they get rid of a ton of deductions and credits and things should be done soon. Simply everything, make sure everyone pays something, and cut rates across the board and Americans should rejoice. I still like Reagans tax idea. Three lines: What you made, percentage of what you made, what you pay. Write a check for the amount in line 3.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Idea for Penn State: Donate the Profits of the 2012 Season to Child Sex Abuse Victims

I think this would be a great way to heal what has happened at Penn State.

In the coming days, this is the statement I'd like to hear from school president Rodney Erickson: "We're playing football in 2012, but we're not playing for glory or money. Every dime of profit over expense will go to victims of child sexual abuse in the State College area. Every Penn State helmet will bear the child sexual abuse blue ribbon symbol. Every home game will have a moment of silence before kickoff in recognition and support of those who have suffered from our school's failure. If we earn a bowl bid, every member of the travel party – including administrators and coaches – will spend an eight-hour day at the bowl site interacting with abuse victims. 

Nick Saban has a similar idea as well.

''Maybe they ought to tax all the tickets that they sell on athletics and give the proceeds to some child abuse organization. Or something like that, rather than worrying about some punishment that is really going to have no positive affect on anything.''

The Alabama coach didn't go into details of how a tax would be implemented. He stressed his comments had to do more with philosophy than a real recommendation.

I think that would be a fairly positive outcome. Maybe permanently implement this tax as a way of giving back to the victims.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Democrats Willing to Plunge the US into Recession to Get back At the Rich

This is just the kind of small-minded approach that will damage our economy.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Monday announced that Democrats are willing to allow a slew of tax cuts and spending provisions to expire if Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy, potentially inching the country off a "fiscal cliff."

"If we can't get a good deal, a balanced deal, that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013, rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus," Murray, a budget committee member and former co-chair of the debt supercommittee, said at a Brookings Institution discussion of the "fiscal cliff."

In other words if they don't get their pound of flesh out of the wealthy they are going to make every American suffer. Of course the wealthy will not be impacted as much as the middle class because any downturn means huge layoffs just when the economy is trying to recover. What they need to do is comprehensive tax reform and then work on the "fiscal cliff" after that. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Condoleezza Rice at VeeP? Romney Will Win the Election in a Landslide

Condi would be a VP pick that would win him the election outright and he needs to seriously consider it.

The Drudge Report ran a blaring headline late Thursday night reporting that sources within Mitt Romney's presidential campaign say Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under President George W. Bush, is a "front-runner" for the running mate slot.

She has demurred at VP as early as last month but maybe they can convince her to run. Hell, a VP slot could make her President in 8 years if she chooses that route. She doesn't seem like a person that wants that office but she could certainly do the job if she wanted.

She is the multilingual and an actual intellectual unlike Obama who is a fake intellectual. She is one of the few Americans that can stare down Putin and speak to him in perfect Russian. She is an exciting figure for conservatives and would obliterate Biden in any debate. It would be like a grown woman and an 8 year old boy debating one another.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Obama's Biggest Mistake was "Not Telling a Good Enough Story?"

I would go with not knowing jack about creating a job or how businesses work and then not getting someone in there that can educate him. Instead he just said this mess:

"When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well," the president told CBS television in an interview, "the mistake of my first term - couple of years - was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right."

"And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times," Obama said in an excerpt of the exchange with Charlie Rose.

No you don't "tell them a story" which implies that you are telling them a fairy tale. Instead you simply instill in them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism through deeds and not style. You do this through something other than class warfare and setting fire to a trillion dollars of their money. Also blaming the guy that was there before you even after being in power for an entire term is also such a waste of time. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Facebook Kills off "Stalker" App After One Hour

I'm not quite sure if you can call this a "stalker" app since you would probably unfriend anyone that would actively stalk you. I guess this is similar to an old phone app for Nokia I think that allowed you to track your friends in real time.

A few days ago Facebook rolled out a little feature called 'Friends Nearby' that was, well, potentially a stalker's dream come true.

That might be why the social network decided to nix the feature just a few hours after its 'release.'

'Friends Nearby' allowed users to activate a feature on their Facebook app that would use your phone's GPS to determine your location and bring up people around your location. However, once the user exited the 'Friends Nearby' page, the location finder would turn off.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Turks turn on Syria; dubs them "Clear Threat"

I guess Turkey has chosen a side and it seems it is against the Assad regime.

Turkey branded its former ally Syria "a clear and imminent threat," on Tuesday as its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vented his fury over the downing of a Turkish fighter jet. 

In his most outspoken criticism of the Damascus regime, Erdogan vowed to retaliate against the "heinous act" and promised a change of military attitude to any Syrian officer approaching the common border.

I'm pretty sure this doesn't mean that 100s of Turkish tanks are massing at the Syrian border but Syria is running out of friends fast. It I was playing Turkey in the Grand Game I would get NATO involved and treat the shooting down of an un-armed F4 Phantom as an act of war and amass troops accordingly. 

Any other provocative acts and you start taking out their air defenses with the help of the US and NATO. Then you start to arm the rebels with heavy tanks and anti-tank missiles and wait for Assad to run for it. As always a democratic neighbor is the most peaceful and profitable in the long run.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not Having Insurance Can Kill You!

Well it seems that deaths from lack of insurance are rising for whatever reason.

More than 26,000 working-age adults die prematurely in the United States each year because they lack health insurance, according to a study published ahead of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law. 

The study, released on Wednesday by the consumer advocacy group Families USA, estimates that a record high of 26,100 people aged 25 to 64 died for lack of health coverage in 2010, up from 20,350 in 2005 and 18,000 in 2000. 

The total amount of uninsured is 50 million. So that is a .00052% chance of dying of this "no insurance illness" that Families USA talks about. That is about the same number who die of falling per year. So why doesn't the government just pony up the $3000 or so it will take to insure some of these people dying of lack of insurance? That would be about $78 million which would be a rounding error compared to the billions that are going to be wasted just for the IRS to collect fines from people that refuse to buy insurance.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Microsoft's Surface Tablet Looks Like Crap and is 2 Years Late to the Party

I just don't understand why they keep Ballmer around anyway. Again Microsoft is years late and are putting out a product that seems like an also-ran.

Microsoft usually begs for attention. On this day, it played the cool maestro. In fact, the company played the Apple (AAPL) role, using pomp, circumstance, and constructed anticipation to make us believe that something really fantastic would appear. Perhaps the whole thing worked: Something that did seem rather fantastic arrived at about 4:20 p.m. It was the Surface tablet—a computer that had all its software and hardware made by Microsoft. In that moment, Microsoft became not just a competitor to Apple but also a rival to such longtime PC manufacturing partners as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), and Acer (2353:TT).

I'm sorry the Surface tablet is not "fantastic" at least by my estimation. It pretty much looks like a slightly bigger IPad with a keyboard etched into its cover sleeve. It also seems to cost a few hundred more than the IPad.

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

So an Ultrabook-class PC costs about $800 to $1000 which is pretty damn steep when compared to the  $500 to $700 that an IPad costs. So you are pretty much paying $300 for a keyboard and Windows 8? Sounds about par for the course for Microsoft. Late to the party, too expensive, and it is pretty much a "me too" product. I suspect that the Surface will be thrown right on top of all the Zunes that are taking up space on store shelves.

I'm sorry it just looks kind of like a kids toy and not something that you would use for actual work. I just can't picture it as an "IPad Killer" no matter how I slice it. Maybe Microsoft should make that keyboard attachment compatible with the IPad. That way they can make some money before this thing goes the way of the Kin.

Asians Beat out Hispanics as Fastest Growing Immigrant Group

It seems that the rise of the Asians in America is going to change the electorate in quite a few ways.

The study, called "The Rise of Asian Americans" and released on Tuesday, reveals that Asian-Americans also have the highest income, are the best educated and are the fastest-growing racial group in America.

About 430,000 Asians—or 36 percent of all new immigrants—arrived in the United States in 2010, according to U.S. census data. About 370,000, or 31 percent, were Hispanic.

The same old identity politics will probably not work on this group as well as the Democrats would like. The issue of immigration is a non-starter with this group because many of them are not illegal. You can't hit them with the "rich aren't paying their fair share" crap that Obama keeps peddling because they would be the ones having their taxes hiked. Hmm it might be time for the GOP to put this group firmly inside of the party because they are a natural fit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spanish Banks Charged an Incredible 8.5% on their Bailout Loans

Wow that is almost double what someone will be paying for a 30 year fixed mortgage.

Spanish banks which receive public loans in the form of convertible shares as part of an up to 100 billion euros financial package will be charged an interest rate of at least 8.5 percent, a European Commission spokesman said on Tuesday.

Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Saturday that the Spanish bank restructuring fund (FROB) would inject the European loans into banks though convertible shares, also known as Cocos, or through equity.

I would hate to see what these Spanish banks would have to charge in loans in order to pay off this interest? Hell I wouldn't buy a car if I was charged an 8.5% rate. That is what you are charged if you have poor/no credit.

You would figure the EU would charge a lower rate than Spanish government debt so the banks can do some carry trades with the money. So the EU would charge like 4.5% and the banks then buy Spanish Government Bonds that pay 6.7%. They then pocket the difference in order to strengthen their earnings and prop up the Spanish Debt market. 

Oh well, I guess the EU technocrats in Berlin know what they are doing and I guess they would rather not throw any more good money after bad. It just smacks of ripping off these Spanish banks.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Obama Thinks Private Sector is "Doing Fine"

Wow talk about out of touch.

Mitt Romney and his GOP allies pounced on President Barack Obama's declaration Friday that the private sector is "doing fine," suggesting the president's comments are more proof that he's "out of touch" with the country's economic struggles.

Obama was making a point that more money should be funneled toward fire fighters and teachers and such but it still smacks of not knowing anything about creating jobs outside of the state house. In other words the private sector (which creates the vast majority of jobs) is okay so why should they get tax breaks or stimulus or anything of the sort. Maybe that is true in Obama-world where the government creates all the jobs and chooses the winners and losers.

Bobby Jindal said it best:

"The private sector is so foreign to him, he might need a passport to go visit the private sector," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in his speech. "He might need a translator."

Yeah, the public sector to Obama is Solyndra which is government money wasted on a company that creates a product that is just not cost competitive as the ones made by the Red Chinese. Sounds about right for a President that hasn't created a job that cost less than $1 million each.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Romney Calls Obama's Economic Failure a "Moral Failure"

Hmm this is an interesting way to attack Obama's failure to stimulate the economy.

Mitt Romney called President Barack Obama's handling of the economy a "moral failure of tragic proportions," suggesting he's failed the American people by enacting policies that have been "muddled, confused and simply ineffective."

He didn't mention all the White House finger pointing at nearly everyone except for themselves. Yes Obama "inherited a bad economy" but he had 3 years to fix the problem and they seem to be getting worse. Unemployment is still stuck at 8.2% with double that number underemployed.

Recent college grads have a 53% unemployment/underemployment rate. How was all that Hope N' Change that they voted for in the last election working out for them? They have entered the worst job market in recent memory. I hear that it is even hard for people fresh out of law school to find work.

Yet Obama blames bankers and Congress and a whole host of other people instead of just shouldering the blame for the bad economy. Then he needs to get the Department of Labor and Commerce to figure ways to create jobs without spending more government money.

I mean giving more money to the states so they don't have to furlough people is not actually creating any jobs. Also payroll tax cuts are nice but it still doesn't do much for most long-term unemployed. Some of the stuff seems like a good idea but the majority is just tax the rich and throw money down a hole.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

All Sorts of Different Views of the Transit of Venus

Now this is one information packed source on the different views on yesterdays transit of Venus. I wonder if in 2117 we will have some sort of satellites or something orbiting Venus. Maybe looking back on the earth from the other way?

Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun's atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate. SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.

On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event--the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. This event lasted approximately 6 hours and happens in pairs eight years apart, which are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not 
happen until 2117.

The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum. The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light. 304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Some Live Shots of the Transit of Venus

Well, if you don't want to stare directly into the sun then these sites will have to do.

With millions of expected viewers around the world, the Transit of Venus is today’s event to watch. The rare celestial show — the last to occur for more than a hundred years — will be starting just after 3 p.m. PDT. You can join one of the many of the Venus-watching parties across the country or make a simple and safe viewer to see the event from your own backyard.

But if the weather isn’t cooperating or nightfall has come too fast, you can check out some of the many options for watching the transit online. Here we are hosting the best live feeds of this historical event.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Research in Motions Savior: Android Blackberry!

I was reading this article on how RIM is pretty much stuck in 1997 when it was a huge deal.

Of course, RIM’s shortcomings were old news by that point. From June 2008 to June 2011, RIM Shareholders lost almost $70 billion, or 82 percent, as the company’s market capitalization dropped from $83 billion to $13.6 billion. The decline forced the company in July 2011 to cut 2,000 jobs, the biggest lay-off in its history, reducing the workforce by around 11 percent.

That is pretty sobering and there might be more pain to come. However an idea that I just thought about is Blackberry needs to abandon its OS altogether and bet the house on a Blackberry that works with the Android OS.

When I got my first Blackberry I mostly got it because it had a full keyboard and not some digital keyboard which are normally hard for me to type on. I then bought a Samsung smartphone that had a full keyboard that you can access by pushing up the screen part. The main reason I went from Blackberry to Samsung is that Blackberry Apps suck and their web browser was a joke. I will probably never buy another Blackberry that runs on a Blackberry OS. However I would probably buy a Blackberry that ran on Android and perhaps there are others out there like me.

So RIMs plan should be in two parts. First their email software can be sold as an Android app for use on non-Blackberry phones. Secondly on Blackberry phones they can have very close integration for email but have access to the Android Play store. So a Blackberry can still be used for work because you will have your corporate email and your micro-strategy app that runs on Android at the same time. This company would not have to worry about either developing their own piece of software just so people can keep their Blackberries.

What they save on programmers and development for a hypothetical Blackberry 11 phone O/S they can instead to make the Android Blackberry stand out from the Samsung and LG phones on the market. I can see corporate customers who have Blackberry servers in place wanting an updated email service that runs either on their IPhones or Android Phones or on a Blackberry dedicated phone. If that isn't currently possible in the code then they need to rewrite it instead of forging on with Blackberry 11.

In other words concentrate all of their programmers and developers toward making the Blackberry email app the best and most secure email app in the App Store/Android Play Store so that it becomes ubiquitous. Then the phone OS will be Googles problem and not RIMs. In this situation licensing costs will go up but other costs and user flight will go down. I think an Android Blackberry might be RIMs last gasp before they need to sell themselves off to Microsoft or something.

Obama Blows it Again: Polish Deathcamps?

Ugh, does he actually proof-read his speeches or does he just not have anyone checking things out before he pops off about them?

During an East Room ceremony honoring 13 Medal of Freedom recipients, Obama said that Karski "served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action."

The correct statement should have been a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland or simply used the actual account of what Karski did. Maybe by using his secret trip to Izbica which was a transit ghetto that shunted Jews to the Nazi death camps of Sobibor and Belzec Obama could have had a bit of a teach-able moment.

Instead he just shows that he isn't sophisticated enough to know that calling something a "Polish death camp" sounds like the Poles set the place up or something. They have a right to be outraged at such a thing and its good that the White House quickly apologized. In any case either Obama or his handlers need to double check things like this because they might not mean much to people in the US but it is a big deal to Poland.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Facebook Phone? Sounds Like a Dud in the Making

These guys seem to be grasping as straws trying to make something work.

Reports that Facebook aims to enter the smartphone field took off with a New York Times blog post Sundaythat cited unnamed company employees and software engineers Facebook has sought to hire. The post said Facebook "hopes to release its own phone by next year."

Facebook declined to comment.

I really hope they don't intend to get into the hardware business where they will be torn apart by Apple, Samsung, LG, etc. who have decades making hardware and have the channels and product development that Facebook couldn't hope to match. Or do they hope to directly compete against the IPhone OS and Android in the Phone OS market because they own 80% of the market share?

Both of those ideas sound like something Microsoft would do and simply amounts to chasing after giants for pennies. The other smart phone companies are so far ahead that it will take a nearly perfect product to wrench any market share out of them. This perfect product would have to come out of a company that has never done hardware before and has no experience writing a phone OS.

However, if it is some branded phone like the Samsung Facebook Galaxy or something then maybe they would have some sort of chance. I'm just not sure what this hypothetical phone can do that the Android Key Lime Pie or the IPhone 5 could not do better and more elegantly.

What will the selling point of this Facebook phone be? I hope it isn't just something like being able to automatically update your Facebook location using GPS or some other nonsense. If that is the case they should just give back whatever money they will waste on this phone to shareholders in the form of a special dividend or a stock buyback. The Facebook phone just sounds like such a Microsoft idea it isn't even funny.