Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Hate Nepotists

Bragging set aside, the fact was that I graduated in the top 5 of my class.

Not top 5 percent.

Top 5 people. I was number 5.

And the reason I knew I was #5 was because it was the Carlson School and it was reasonably competitive. You could ID the people who kept posting good grades, knew their stuff in class and ergo were your "competition." Not that you didn't like them, you just knew who they were.

But there was one thing that I would like to (once again, setting bragging aside and merely pointing out the facts) point out that separated me from the rest and that was out of the 5 I was the only one to;

1. Pay for all of my college AND living expenses in its entirety with no debt
2. Work full time while going to school full time
3. Graduate 6 months early

The rest of them either had college at minimum heavily subsidized and not a one of the remaining 4 finished in anything less than 5 years and I doubt any of them worked beyond a token 15 hours a week.

Regardless, in my young 21 years of youth I thought, foolishly, that with this background I would be reasonably attractive to potential employers. That upon graduation, the least of my worries would be finding a job.

Ah, but there was one minor little factor I forgot to consider;

Nepotism and cronyism.

For up until that point I thought the Ambercrombie and Fitch wearing students who would say,

"It's not what you know, it's who you know"

were merely jocks who couldn't go pro and now were relegated to majoring in marketing or sales. Guys (and gals) who didn't have the ability to do calculus or math and therefore thought they'd get by in corporate America by kissing ass and brown-nosing. Foolish peers who were guaranteed to be in for a rude awakening when they got to the "real world" where obviously corporations would be able to weed them out, because SURELY corporate America appreciates production and efficiency and smarts over brown-nosing.

Sadly, they knew more than I ever did about business, no matter what my rank. For they were right, it's not what you know. It is who you know. All I knew was how to predict stock market bubbles and housing bubbles and Asian currency crises. All nothing compared to a good gopher and ass-kisser whose dad golfs with the VP of finance.

And so for the next year I watched my career go down in utter flames as I saw people with C averages landing $50,000 a year jobs at their "dad's firm" or suburban Sue getting a coveted analyst position at her "grandpa's firm." Even to this day when I teach class, I see college students all of 19 years old, pull up in a brand new Honda and have absolutely no worries about finding a job later in life because one is lined up for them. And if not, no worries, you can always go back and live with mommy and daddy back in the burbs.

The reason this is so angering is not that I personally didn't get the coveted analyst position at the local investment bank when I was 23, but that it is not a meritocracy. That the best people do not get the job. That the highest qualified do not get the promotion. It is the connected or the charlatans that do. And you can study your ass off and pioneer new lines of thought or come up with radical and crazy ways of doing things that could make a company millions, but if you're not somebody's nephew or somebody's niece, well, "Thank you for your interest in XYZ Corporation. Though you background is impressive we have decided to go with another candidate who's willing to suck our...ahem."

My whole point, is that while I am the most ardent capitalist and for everybody making billions in dough, the opportunity cost we suffer by letting the less-qualified candidates get positions of power or productivity costs us all. Imagine, for once, if all senators and congressmen who had college paid for, sudden disappeared and were replaced with people who did. Imagine if the ass-kissing CEO's of all the financial firms who more or less wiped out 25% of the equity in your homes were replaced instead with farmer Joe. The amount of pain we could have avoided (not to mention the sheer level of production we would have enjoyed) is unfathomable.

That being, though I am for lower taxes, when I see charts like this;

I start to wonder how much of that was truly earned by people who busted their asses off and created something new and something of worth, or were merely the Bush, Heinz-Kerry's, Pelosi's, Obama's, and Gore's of the world who never worked a day in their lives, never got their fingernails dirty and never shoveled sh!t for a living (which coincidentally was my first job - poo-shoveler). And then I start to opine about a "nepotism" tax where we tax people who get jobs over more-qualified people because of who their mommy is or something.

Learn About Detroit from Dr. Perry

Two interesting posts




Behind the Housing Crash - Slated for August 2008

Hi All,

To whet your appetites I figured I'd put the book cover up there since that is done so you can at least get a feel to see what it looks like. Looking at an August release date assuming all goes well converting the manuscript into an actual book.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We Want to Become Socialist

I'll try to make this quick and succinct as possible, but it is a thought or an epiphany I just had, so bear with me if it isn't too clear.

I listen to talk radio obviously and as of recent the tone of various talk show hosts, be they Rush Limbaugh, Jason Lewis, Mark Levine, and Michael Savage, etc., is one of frustration, almost defeatism or hopelessness. They see the likes of Nancy Pelosi do nothing short of lie to the face of the American people and blame high gas prices on the Republicans and Bush, while at the same time blocking any legislation that would lift the ban on drilling in ANWR or offshore, and worse still the American people believe her. They see the likes of Californian coo-koos passing legislation to ban fast food restaurants with goes against every bit of freedom and choice that is a founding principle of America. They see Bush sign the subprime slime deadbeat bank bailout which abandons any sense of responsibility. And probably the most depressing thing of all is Barack Obama, who literally stands for nothing, is most likely going to be our next (and first socialist) president.

And what I'd like to try to point out to them, and for those of you who are also frustrated with this, is that we seem to forget that this is ultimately a democracy. While we listen to talk radio, and we have empirical proof capitalism works, and we have history on our side and know, NOT "feel", but KNOW we are right, we have to understand that too high a percentage of Americans do not think this way. A critical mass (arguably the majority) of Americans no longer believe in freedom, self-reliance, capitalism, profit, manliness, competition, "nuclear" families, and everything else that is quintessentially American.

A perfect example happened right here in Minnesota. At one of our theme parks a group of teenage punks copped a feel of a 12 year old girl, which then sent her father into a rage, which then begat an unfair fight where these 8 punks then proceeded to beat him so severely he was sent to the hospital.

Now if it was 1945, people would have intervened and kicked the crap out of the 8 punks and given no thought to law suits or liability. But instead, people just sat there and watched and did nothing. Not because they didn't want to. Not because they didn't want to do the right thing. Not because they didn't want to do the American thing. But because a bunch of socialist lawyers have made it too risky to intervene and thus society, and Americanism, suffers.

Regardless, my whole point is that instead of banging our heads against the wall, and yelling pointlessly into the wind, we may have to admit that this is still a democracy for better or worse, and if the people want socialism, then the people will get socialism.

I like it no more than you. And I'm not saying that you still don't fight the good fight. But we have to realize that we can apply all the logic and empirical evidence we want to help support our case, but it will fall on deaf ears as socialism is not founded in reality. That's the only way socialism can work. That you convince enough sheeple they don't have to work to eat. They're poor not because they produce nothing, but because they are from disadvantaged group "x." Or some preppy Amercrombie and Fitch Harvard elitist fools people that he will bring them "hope and change" and everything will be chocolates and kittens thereafter.

People don't choose socialism because they think it will work, they choose it because they want it to work. And that, unfortunately my friends, is what the majority of what I will call "Pseudo-Americans" want today.

World's Largest Arms Exporters

About what I expected.

Added a Mug

Per a couple people's request I have added a mug to the Cafe Press site.

That being said, if what they say is true and Cafe Press is charging a $5 "economy" fee, I will be looking for alternatives to Cafe Press.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Captain's Pad O' Commerce

So I spend the better part of 7 months writing the book (due out in 3 weeks, please be patient) and it's kind of weird in that you are working, working, working and then all of the sudden, BOOM!


You wake up and your schedule is completely open. No writing, no editing, no chart-making. Nothing.

And it takes a little bit to adapt to. Reminds me a lot of college where I worked full time and went to school full time, but since my job was a college job, once I graduated, I couldn't have my college job anymore. Went from about 90 hours per week to 0 in one day.

Regardless, economists of the capitalist type get ancy laying around all day because the never ending urge to produce GDP calls. Relentlessly it calls, "Yoooouuuu must contribute to GDP!!! You must produce something of worth!!!!! You must create wealth and advance society."

So while I sit here and wait for the publisher to put the finishing touches on the book, I decided to embark on a little side project and put together those shirts I was always talking about;

The "I Contribute to GDP" shirts!

In any case, click here on this link to go to the Captain's Pad O' Commerce and if you are so inclined buy yourself one of these sharp shirts (and in part helping contribute to GDP yourself!) Also feel free to forward the link to anybody else that might be interested. Out of pure intellectual curiosity, I’d be interested to see just how far this thing might get forwarded… plus, now wouldn’t that be sweet if I became a millionaire over something like a shirt?

Regardless, there are two options; the text on the front of the shirt and the text on the back. I don't know why the text on the back shirt is more expensive than the front one, but I created both in case you are really adamant about having it on the back. And should you buy one, I promise all funds will go to the Captain's "Spending All My Money On Me Fund."

Does a more noble capitalistic cause exist?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Empirical Proof Why America is No Longer a Meritocracy and Why We Should Shoot the Lobbyists

Do you see what I see?

A Zimbabwean Economist

I found this picture hilarious from The Economist.

Don't know who he is, but you know he's at least an aspiring junior deputy economist.

And while we're on the topic, the highest denominated bills in the history of the world;

It still amazes me to this day as to how many adults do not understand why you just "can't print off more money." What a lot of people don't know, freemarketers and libertarians as well, is that if you can explain to people why you can't just "print off more money" you've already sent that soul on the road to become a capitalist.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Captain Capitalism and His Adventures in Snake Mountain!

Again, for effect, please click here first.

It was another one of those trips where I had set forth out to find various fossils (which I did - large clams from 500 ft above the river)

geologic formations and perhaps get a little mountain climbing in yesterday that so defines my obscure hobbies. This time I went to the scenic lake of Lake Pepin, merely a widening of the Mississippi river to the south and where on either side, Wisconsin or Minnesotan, there are cliffs that one can climb.

We had gotten out of a town called Maiden Rock where I saw this cliff or as I would come to refer to it as, Snake Mountain.

I didn't get more than 6 feet up before I heard a rather distinct and unique rattling. And in 2 seconds it dawned on me there was a rattlesnake very close.

I had always wanted to see a rattlesnake. On my many adventures into the Badlands, Black Hills, Wyoming and Nebraska I had hoped I would see one. But they're kind of like tornadoes. You'd like to see them, but not 12 inches away from you. And there he was; big, fat, coiled rattlesnake now sharing the same narrow ledge with me. I decided to call him "Pookey."

Much in an Indiana Jones way falling into the pit in Egypt with the cobra in front of him, I slowly slinked away doing my best not to disturb Pookey. I got back down the first ledge we had gone up, and thought, "boy, I've been waiting all this time to see a rattlesnake and I never got a picture. I should go back up, but a different way, with the camera to get a better picture than what we were getting from below."

So I went back up (but on a different route) with the camera and as I was getting on top of the ledge over Pookey, it occurred to me they may have a snake nest in the area. So I grabbed a stick and started batting away at my path that I would inevitably take to get a better picture of Pookey.

All was well, I managed to get directly above Pookey and then I heard a slithering noise. Sure enough all of 5 inches from where I walked was Pookey's bigger, fatter brother who opted not to rattle and let me know of his existence, slowing slithering away. His name was Philbert. I thought Philbert at first may be a normal non-deadly snake, but then he too started rattling.

It was at this point I determined my best option would be to get off Snake Mountain as quickly as possible. And now furiously batting away at a new route down the ledge to ensure there were no more snakes, I managed to get off the ledge without getting bitten or greeted by a third snake.

This has nothing to do with economics, but like the Clark award or something, there should be an award given to the most adventuresome economists under 40 who do the most to deconstruct the stereotype economists sit and tinker with numbers all day.

I'm Sure It's Just a Coinky Dink

But Obama is a socialist afterall, and bar the Hitler posters, I would say there are similarities in not only the posters, but the ideologies as well.

Does anybody hate Che as much as me while we're on the topic? How somebody who was a murderer and basically a deadbeat loser could attain such cult status from people who really don't know about the man but fall in love with his "rebel" like status? I mean Captain Jack Sparrow, now he was a rebel. Han Solo, he was a rebel. Ronald Reagan, he was a rebel. And rebels that fought for good and brought about a reduction in poverty only Che and his economically impotent socialist counterparts could only dream on.

Perhaps it shows the intellect of Obama supporters as there's a persistent occurrence of Che images in his campaign; they don't know what he stands for, just that he's "hot" and a glamorous "rebel." Young foolish puppy-love with no maturity, wisdom or adulthood going into their decision to choose who will be the leader of the free world...or at least the free world for now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Reason AlQaeda is Failing

Presumably the goal of childish little men running around the desert subscribing to a literalist interpretation of an archaic scribe to make themselves feel important was to bring down the mighty west, particularly, America. And while they did manage to kill 3,000 people in two fell swoops, the overall results are, frankly, not in their favor.

For while they had an immediate and initial success, over the next few years, all they managed to do was kill their fellow countrymen in a spate of suicide bombings.

I do not wish to hear from the BAF (blame America first crowd) because if 9-11 never happened, I doubt we would have gone into Iraq, but I do wish to point out that basically Al Qaeda has more or less caused the opposite effect they were intending because, well frankly, they're disgusting evil people that nobody, even Muslims in the Mideast, don't like. And particularly so, since it's primarily been Muslims in the Mideast getting killed by all the terrorist attacks, and three times as many as in America.

If anything, this is a call for moderate Muslims to start fighting back and cause a reformation within the Islamic faith. I have no skin in the game one way or another as I largely detest all religions, but if you're going to go and get yourselves killed over something, you might want to purge from your ranks the radical nutjobs blowing up your fellow countrymen in the process.

I would also like to point out that, despite what brainwashed, non-thinking liberals would say, these charts are empirical proof of George Bush's success and why history will treat him kindly. Even I don't like GW that much, but you cannot deny (though some will concoct conspiracy theories as to why they might) George Bush has succeeded on the war on terror.

How American's View Business

Everyone is entitled to everything, and if they don't get what they want, they go running to the government;

Friday, July 25, 2008

The US is Slowly Turning into Europe

There is Europe and then there is the US. The whole idea was that they were two distinctly different "cultures;" The US being the tough, rugged, individualistic, don't give me your freaking charity General Patton types who pull themselves out of poverty with sheer hard work and ingenuity. And Europe being more of the caring, compassionate type, who is willing to lend a hand (other people's hands, matter of fact) and institute a more socialist society. Not that they are rivals or enemies, but in the grand scheme of things, two neighbors with differing political views, that still like each other none the less and can get along. Additionally, having the option allows for true diversity and if the more entrepreneurial wanted to leave Europe to chase their dreams in the US, or those in the US wanted a cushy government job and never really wanted to build an empire, but just live a decent life in Europe, so be it.

But the two are merging and becoming more homogeneous than we think;

Even under George Bush, dictator, tyrant, puppy killer and one who talks in the theater, the trend in the US has been to increase spending. I know we all like to point to his tax cuts, but they're not real tax cuts as they haven't been accompanied by cuts in spending. This is merely postponing taxes into the future as all government spending must be paid for with taxes. Either today, or tomorrow, they must be paid. Ergo, spending is the real measure.

But Europe as well has been trending towards America, cutting their spending and abandoning their more socialist aims.

The result?

We (the west I mean) will all become boringly the same. The French will be less French. Americans will be less American, and therefore less warranted to pick on the French because we'll be more like them. And worse still there will be no more real "America." It will be socialism lite under Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. And, despite what lefter leaning types will claim, we will lose the one thing that has made America different and better than Europe and made us once the beacon for the massive emigration out of the old continent and the envy of the world; economic freedom.

You can come here, but you're going to face 40% tax rates.

You can build a company here, but we're going to tax your corporation first at 40% and then you at another 40%.

You can live here, but you're going to have to pay for all of our retired population who so poorly planned for their retirement, that they'll need another $10 trillion in subsidies to pay for their medical care.

Sadly, the US will become another European nation, not unique, not special and definitely not American. And the only countries that will be "American" will be the various smaller nations such as Bermuda, Switzerland, the Caymans and Hong Kong, and China which is trending rapidly to an old school style America.

War on Terror Almost Costing as Much as Sub Prime Dead Beats

$860 billion.

Almost as much as all the sub prime slime has cost us, but at least you can say with the Iraq war it was for a good cause.

Warning - All knee jerk pacifist rhetoric will be summarily ignored as we've heard your side for the past 8 years and I'm sure nothing new will be said.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Empirical Economic Proof Why the War on Drugs Has Failed

I can make no simpler nor convincing of an argument for the legalization of drugs that this;

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do You See What I See?

OK, let's see if you can tell where the REAL problem lies.

Is Ms. White's problem the big bad republicans and George Bush forced this horrible housing market upon her or....(fill in the blank)"_____________________________."

A Week of Oil Charts #5 - "The US Doesn't Have Enough Oil to Make a Difference"

B as in B

S as in S.

The US has lots of oil. Enough to fuel 65 million cars for 60 years arguably.

But we'll never know because the likes of Nancy Pelosi and her socialist brigade of democrats insist you me, poor people and rich all pay more for gas because it would ruin her pompous constituents' view of San Francisco Bay...errr...I mean "it's bad for the environment."

Never have American's handicapped themselves and retarded their progress for such stupid reasons.

McCain vs. Obama - Money Raised

I love it when I'm told the Republicans/Conservatives in this country have all the money.

If you think for a second Obama is some innocent, poor farm boy from Illinois with no connections and therefore no strings attached, you are a fool.

The Democrats Take Over the Fed

Like the judicial system, the democrats are attempting to take what should be unbiased, apolitical institutions and turn them into political footballs, namely the Federal Reserve. Having things such as an unbiased judicial system, not to mention central bank, is vital if you desire to have any semblance of an operating country. Alas nothing is sacred to the socialists in this country.

Of course, many thanks to the MSM to bringing this to our attention, NOT!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How Much of the Mortgage Market Does Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Account For?

A neato chart by the NYT. Even though they are communists, scratching their heads why their ad revenues are plummeting, I will give a hat tip to them for this splendid and fine chart;

ht to

A Week of Oil Charts #4 - You are Big Oil

Presumably according to leftist religion (I've decided to call it a religion because socialism cannot be proven to work and it's largely based on faith and hope and self-appointed leaders asking you to give them your money), "big oil" would be owned by a few ultra rich elitists. You know, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld each holding a 33% share with the tie breaking vote going to Hitler (who was resurrected by a secret CIA program to provide Bush guidance - it's true!).

However, that annoying pest to leftist religion known as "truth" paints a different picture.

Apparently we all own big oil. You do, your friends do, your mom does, even your grandpa. If you participate in pretty much any 401k, 403b and 457 plan, it's almost a guarantee you own a piece of big oil. And not just a small piece, a big piece. Matter of fact the whole damn thing.

This is another ramification people who like to bash big oil better start thinking about. If you want to tax them more, then that means their price will go down and you'll be hurting not only yourself, but the millions of other Americans who've invested in them indirectly via their retirement programs. And if you really do care about the elderly who are living on a fixed income, how about you not destroy the value of their underlying investments and leave them be. Additionally, dare I point it out, oil (and other commodity firms) are about the only stocks that have been doing well over the past year. Imagine how much less would be in your retirement account if you didn't invest in big oil.

Of course, this is called "logic" and "thinking things through" which is something the big oil conspiracy theorists cannot do. They can only "link" about one or two levels, a perfect example being corporations moving offshore.

You hate them.

You already tax them at 40%.

And you want to tax them more.

You demand they pay for everything.

And then you act surprised that they move offshore to Abu Dhabi or the Caymans or Ireland.

It's like beating your wife and being surprised she leaves you.

Alas, they cannot link the two together and therefore not only are corporations bad for making a profit (be they oil firms or otherwise) they're doubly bad for having the gall to move to a more business friendly environment.

Regardless, it's these kind of things, where there is a lapse or an inability to link the consequence with the action that triggered it, where I often opt not to debate socialists as it's pointless.

Al Qaeda and Taliban Deaths vs. US/UK/Allied Deaths

I've spent the last hour trying to find some kind of official figure. Does any junior deputy military economist happen to have these figures or know where I could find them?

The Banking Industry Needs Ronald Speirs

The parallels between this and the banking industry is unreal.

I wish it would be just as simple as going to the likes of Wachovia, UBS, Indy Mac, and the bevy of other blood letting banks out there and tell them, "I'm taking over."

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Week of Oil Charts #3 - How Big is Big Oil

"Big oil" is english for "I'm a freaking idiot."

When people use the phrase "big oil" and are referring to the likes of Exxon and BP, you can know, with immediacy that person doesn't know what they're talking about. And the reason, despite these corporations being multi-billion dollar firms, is that they're not really that big.

Not that big compared to the rest of the economy;

(I'd love to see I Pod profits to oil profits)

And not that big compared to the REAL big oil; nationalized oil firms in the Mideast.

Ergo, I think we should start a campaign to revoke the voting rights of people who use the term "big oil."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Starbucks Solution

Starbucks is closing 600 stores and so their customers are signing petitions now to keep them open.

1. Anybody want to point out the OBVIOUS freaking solution to this problem then?
2. This speaks volumes of the mentality of (predominantly) liberal thinking of the clientele that goes to Starbucks. The solution lays in protesting, not a free-market solution like BUYING MORE FREAKING COFFEE!!!!
3. The tone these people have as if this is some kind of major trauma or problem. There are times I wish we had another Great Depression to put these idiots' minds in perspective.
4. HOW MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS DO YOU HAVE AND HOW KITCHY-KOO IS YOUR LIFE YOU CALL UP STARBUCKS BECAUSE THEY CLOSED A BRANCH??? I just want to see their daily planners and one day in those planners;

9AM - Wake up
10AM - Go to Starbucks and talk to other locals who have a lifestyle that allows us to go to Starbucks and not have a real job like the people in "Friends."
11AM - Shop at the local whole/organic foods market.
Noon - Afternoon Starbucks serving as a pre-game show to "The View."
1PM - Watch "The View" and then go back to Starbucks to discuss with friends how insightful the people on The View are.
3PM - Return home to work on local community initiative to ban smoking in private homes. Then start new initiatives to not only ban smoking, but drinking and thinking and talking.
4PM - Whew, is it 4PM already? I need Starbucks!
5PM - Go home to change for an interpretive dance/play at the local theater put on by the local unemployed actors guild - thank god they serve Starbucks!
8PM - Time for my power-hip-hop-infused-pilates-yoga class!
9PM - Feed the cats
10PM - Decaf Starbucks!

I can only imagine what John Wayne and George Patton would think of America today.

A Week of Oil Charts #2

A troll once wrote in, "well how do you know that it's the value of the dollar that's affecting the price of oil."

And if you think about that question, it is one of those genuinely stupid questions out-come-based educated kids will ask, thinking there is no such thing as a stupid question. Because the question answers itself.

Yes, the value of the dollar or any currency will affect the price of things, especially if you're importing it. So to, again, advance our basic economic understanding of why gas prices are so high, one of the main reasons is the value of the dollar has dropped, thereby necessitating more dollars to buy that same barrel of oil compared to other currencies;

The interesting thing about this, is in addition to Nancy Pelosi and the democrats continuing to do their best to keep oil prices high, the left is also indirectly to blame for high oil prices in that what they do for careers does not help the value of the dollar.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Week of Oil Charts #1

I got an outstanding report send to me the other day which does a great job of showing why oil is so overvalued, why it isn't BIG OIL that's been driving up prices and is about the best way I can think of (aside from $4 per gallon gasoline) to convince those (primarily on the left) that it is plain, simple economics driving prices and not some BushCheneyHaliburton Bogey Man.

And I say this with a half conciliatory tone in that I want to in a very Dennis Prager type way to try to convince those otherwise instead of just berating them as "stupid effing liberals." That being said, if these charts don't convince you, then I have no problem berating you, simply because if you can't see this is why oil prices are so high, then you literally, quite LITERALLY are one of two things;

1. A moron
2. An operative who fully knows why gas prices are so high, but will feign otherwise because you have a political agenda and are not only being intellectually dishonest, but a hypocrite as well.

So here's the first chart, which I think some of us are already familiar with, other commodities have been going up as well;

This obviously points out that if you're going to blame "big oil" for manipulating prices, then you might as well blame "big wheat" "big aluminum" and "big copper." Prices of pretty much all commodities have been going up because of increasing demand from other countries around the world growing at a much faster pace than the US.

Again, if you are to be intellectually honest, then you should be just as pissed at big corn or big coal. You would also have to expand your conspiracy theory to make it so Bush and Cheney not only ran oil, but all these other commodities as well.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Awwwww, Poor Babies

This is a photo of oil traders in shock at the precipitous drop in oil prices.

The irony is they're upset because the price of oil DROPPED.

To hell with them.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Work

This sums it up.

Paid Maternity Leave

80 weeks off the ladies of Sweden get when they have a kid.

That's 560 days. A year and a half you get off from work, WITH PAY, for having a kid.

I'd be curious to see how many of them then spring for day care so they can go about and play for a year and a half and not really raise the kid. Or, since this is Sweden, have the government day care take care of the kid while they take a 16 month vacation.

Anybody from Sweden know if people do that? They get the 1.5 year maternity leave, but then send the kid to day care and loaf around for 16 months?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oil as a Percent of the Trade Deficit

Another interesting chart from The Economist.

Didn't realize oil was nearly half our trade deficit.

I Said an Alaskan Polar Bear Heater!

So one of my favorite movies is the original Nutty Professor. And probably the best scene is when Buddy Love goes in an orders an Alaskan Polar Bear Heater (which you will click on now).

This guy actually made one and tried it.

I too shall follow in the footsteps of Buddy Love and try one.

Thus concludes your obscure American trivia of the day.

Single Christian Groups

In my elder 20's I was recruited to play some basketball at this league for single Christian men. Only two problems;

1. Not Christian.

2. Kind of your run of the mill Irish/Jewish/American short white guy. I can dribble and pass, but my aim is nothing like Halo 3.

In any case, the presumed goal of the Christian's singles group was (I'm guessing) to meet other single Christian ladies. There was not one girl around, except for the janitor who was

Then I realized it was more of a polite way to get people interested in perhaps joining the church. And I'm inclined to agree. It was through comradery and fun that you would emphasize the positive aspects of Christianity (salvation, forgiveness, free wine on Sundays) and not the fire and brimstone and guilt and no smoochy smooch until married BS that you could recruit some people.

That being said, I think I will join the Church of Mindless Self-Indulgence. They have a better sales pitch.

The bachelor life is actually not too far off from this.

Everything BUT GDP Points to a Recession

Add another tidbit of data pointing to recession, but since it's not GDP, we technically cannot complain it's a recession yet. That being said, I found this chart interesting showing the trend since the 1960's where commodity prices have jumped (as measured by producer prices) a recession usually follows (denoted by those gray bars).

Don't worry, it will happen. Give it time.


Great, just great.

And who, I ask is going to pick up the tab?

Mandatory economics and personal financial management classes in the public schools NOW!

Oh, wait, that would kill the democratic party.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Housing as a Percent of GDP

Had a request asking how much housing accounts for the economy. Well here you go;

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Put Me in Command"

One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies is Captain Jack Sparrow;

"Put me in command."

And that is more or less what I would like to convey to all the shareholders out there of;

Merrill Lynch
JP Morgan
Fannie Mae
Freddie Mac
and any other financial firm that is now having to go to the taxpayer with a cup in their hand.

Put me in command. I would do better than any one of their Ivy League educated, blue bloods and for about 1/2 the price...then again, if I was CEO of all firms, 1/2 of the normal pay for all of them would still be billions, but I would guarantee you this new megalopolis of a firm would not lose even 1/2 of a billion.

Ah, but that is unheard of, an outsider not from the East coast heading up these dinosaur of firms now becoming parasites on the US taxpayer. So outlandish of an idea, so radical to put somebody under 40 who is not a grayhaired MBA putz who's more concerned about his commission than the overall health of the firm.

Ah, to hell with it, I'm erroneously assuming it's a meritocracy anyway.

That being said, I would be the Captain Jack Sparrow of the finance world.

Sub Prime Slime

It is known amongst my circles that I am indeed writing a book on the housing crash (and for those interested parties, yes it's off to the publisher). And whenst at parties this usually begets questions of me like;

"How much further does housing have to drop?" - Answer: 10-15%

"Are we in a recession?" - Answer: Not yet

"I hate Bush, he's to blame for all my problems, including the crash." - Answer: Don't worry, I hear Obama will make it all better.

But one of my favorite responses is when inevitably they ask me who to blame, and I say, "sub prime borrowers" the knee jerk "everybody's a winner" reaction is;

"Well the majority of sub prime borrowers still pay their loans on time."

This response is typically based in pity or defense for those who are deemed "sub prime" and ergo are of a lower economic class and therefore deserving of all benefits of the doubts and are above criticism. And while technically true, the majority of the sub prime borrowers do pay back their loans on time, it's not the vast majority.

Based on "vintage" as The Economist refers to it, sub prime borrowers pain the rest of us with default rates anywhere between 20-40%. It is absolutely inexcusable that not only roughly 1 in 4 people default on their loans, but that banks and mortgage lenders were so poor at analyzing the creditworthiness of these borrowers that 30% of their client base is defaulting.

Now the modern day psychology in America is that, by default, these people are victims. Oh, the poor sub prime borrower. Boo hoo, they are in default. They must have come upon hard times. We need to help them.

I, of course, being the evil, right wing fascist who smashes butterflies and doesn't wash after going to the bathroom, am of the more old school American psychology; let them sink. I am also so bold to call these people what they would have been called all of 30 years ago;


Give it time, this too will become politically incorrect word you will no longer be able to use.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Keep the Bad News Coming

For all you middle age, corrupt, scum bucket bankers out there who put your precious little commission ahead of the solvency of the banks you worked at, I have one thing to say;

Keep it coming.

The more collapses and crises, the better it is for the book and the easier it will be for the younger generation to usurp power from your corrupt asses.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm Not a Big PETA Guy

But I feel bad for the bunny.

Herman, my feral backyard, bachelor bunny, sends his sympathy.

You should too. Send Snarks your well wishes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why College Students Shouldn't Be Granted the Freedom of Speech

Brought up under the impression they’re all winners and told their excrement is platinum by their mothers, today’s college students find nothing wrong with dispensing their wise, sage-like wisdom to us schleps. Us morons, us simpletons who do not have the benefit of being so intelligent and enlightened as they. Us working stiffs who despite our age are not as wise as these 20 year old putzes.

And the reason I bring this up is because I have ran into another one of these geniuses our public schools has spit out of the assembly line, sent to the local community college, and now sent out into the real world where I get to listen to this idiot’s drivel.

However, there is one benefit about this, and that is when the topic turns to things like economics, politics and so forth, wherein I might be “slightly” more learned than the 19 year old emo kid, I find it amusing listening to them tell me “how the real world works” and “how the economy works.”

Now there was many things this latest sophomoric sage had to tell me; global warming, Obama is our saviour (did you know he’s for change?)and so forth, but one of them was that if we really cared about energy independence and the environment, we’d get rid of as much plastic as we possibly could.

This was an odd one to me, because I didn’t know that plastic was now enemy #1. So I asked him, “Aside from cutting holds in bottle holders so turtles don’t get caught in them, how is cutting back on plastic going to help lessen our dependence on foreign oil?”

“Well,” the future Albert Einstein said, “because we don’t just use oil for gas, we use it for making plastics as well. And if we all just cut back on the plastic we’d use, we’d be able to do a lot in terms of fighting high gas prices. Even if you recycle your grocery bags, it will help.”

My eyes now rolling, I contemplated asking him what percent of the oil we consumed ended up going into actual plastic, but thought this would short circuit his brain. I doubt he had the intellectual veracity to look it up, let alone develop this idea with independent thought, but instead had been fed a line of BS by his professor about how re-using plastic bags was going to crush OPEC and now, like the millions of college freshmen today, parrot this line of BS to parents, elders, strangers and economists who could actually verify such things.

Doing some quick eyeball math (and generously assuming ALL residuals go into plastics) 4.6% MAX goes into plastics.

What angers me most about this I cannot decide. Is it the fact such a large percent of our youth (and presumedly the “educated” ones at that) have such a lack of intellectual independence and a spine to think critically about such things and can therefore be fed such lines of BS? Is it this moron, and legions like him, are going to vote for Obama and therefore not only negate my vote, but force me to suffer the consequences of their ignorance? Or is it their arrogance in thinking somehow they’re actually wiser than people who have 10 years on them AND the ability to think for themselves? It may even be the slight depression I’m going through realizing this is the generation that’s going to “work up the wealth” to pay for my social security.

Plus, there’s a sense of hopelessness. This was at a bar, I don’t want to lecture somebody who is in under the impression he is the lecturer and I am the student at a bar. It’s pointless, he’s not going to listen. I am tired of being that one guy at the party when he was 23 that wasn’t a democrat or a pot-smoking liberal and having to defend myself, capitalism and America by a bunch of brainwashed dolts, and 10 years later, still having to do so. It gets tiring. It behooves the question, “When the hell are you guys going to grow up and start thinking for yourselves? When is curiosity or an intellectual honesty going to take hold of your thought process by which you kind of prove to yourself the sh!t you’ve been spewing since you were 18 is actually true or not? When are you going to turn off American Idol and the Barack Obama Fest on the MSM and pick up an issue of The Economist or the WSJ? Or is it going to take a massive recession and massive poverty on par with the Great Depression to kick your asses into giving a damn about the country’s finances and becoming good financial stewards of this democracy?”

And then, there they sit. Looking at me as some oddity, like a zoo animal.

“Ooo, I didn’t know we had a Republican in town. He’s so strange looking. Look at how he acts. I didn’t know capitalists drink beer. Interesting. Take a picture of it!”

Regardless, the price for this youthful ignorance that just doesn’t seem to want to go away with age is going to be incalculable. We are still a democracy. And for better or for worse, we will get the government we deserve, inevitably one that is not a democracy.

But at least we’ll be recycling plastic bags.

Food and Fuel

My friend John has a great saying;

"It's still a great country despite the liberals' efforts."

I always say, "Give it time."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Republicans Can Learn Something from This.. But They Won't

And that is no matter what you do, you will still be vilified as those evil, greedy, racist, sexist, puppy-kicking people, because you are Republicans. The Democrats want to be in power, and they don't care if you implement socialist policies, they'll still find something to criminalize you over.

Case in point, George Bush.

GW's ratings would be a lot higher if he didn't spend more money than any president in recent memory. He would have at least not alienated his base. Leftists hate Bush because, well, he's Bush, even though he spent more money on social programs than LBJ. Conservatives hate Bush because, he's not conservative.

So here's a lesson to McCain and any other Republican out there. Quit trying to be everything to everyone. You could advocate nationalized health care and the left will still try to find something wrong with you, even if they have to make it up (Bush caused Katrina anyone???). Be Republican, advocate lower taxes IN CONJUNCTION WITH CUTS IN SPENDING, be an adult and TELL the American people you WILL revamp social security whether they like it or not, because you are the father figure and you make the hard choices for this family known as America.

Of course you can keep on trying to win the favor of your children by bribing them with cake, but something about good parents are "parents" and not "best friends" comes to mind. Ah, heck, never mind, with the lot of Republicans running for office I have no hope for the future.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Who to Blame for the Housing Crash

So there was a news article I saw on Yahoo, "Who to blame for the economy." Apparently there's a web site that allows the "market" of people to play the blame game.

Now, the facts are this, these are the people to blame for the housing crash;

1. Sub prime borrowers
2. Greedy bankers, mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders, etc.
3. Incompetent banking management

That's it, I'm sorry, that's the real world and it is that simple; People who are financial deadbeats and those that were stupid enough to lend them the money in the first place.

Alas, you can sympathize with me and my hopelessness about battling ignorance when you read the "comments" section below which belies the true intelligence of the American public and makes "Jay Walking" with Jay Leno, not a staged event. Here are some samples;

BLAME, I blame all the large corporations who send all there manufacturing overseas and failure to take care of the consumers by providing jobs here in the states. Then we can also look at the war, the president, oil prices, housing, There is to many factors to blame just one thing.

Yahoo! Finance User - Monday July 07, 2008 10:39AM EDT

Bush is the number one economy killer...6 billion a month for a unwinable war!!! Oil Monger!

Yahoo! Finance User - Monday July 07, 2008 10:41AM EDT

aaron task & the media

Arthur M - Monday July 07, 2008 10:43AM EDT


tiago a - Monday July 07, 2008 10:47AM EDT

Alan Greenspan & MF of OPEC

evanbubbafoster - Monday July 07, 2008 10:48AM EDT

Congress and their ability to not care about anyone but themselves.

j s - Monday July 07, 2008 10:50AM EDT

Nancy (devil eyes) Pelosi and Borat Obamar

rlhoman - Monday July 07, 2008 10:51AM EDT

Alan Greenspan and his fellow bankers. Greed is king.

lade - Monday July 07, 2008 10:52AM EDT

Blame the mis led war. Country has spent over trillions on war instead of on its people. It is easy to blame outsourcing of manufacturing and service, where has the innovation been. Americal always innovated that is not true in today's day and age. May be someone needs to think of outsourcing innovation to other countries. We are still dependent on foreign oil. Back in 2001 there was a great push towards alternate energy, with the war euphoria, and the expectation that US will conquer Iraq the gas prices will drop to 50 cents. Well non of those happened and the reality is every one got affected.

invbanker81 - Monday July 07, 2008 10:52AM EDT

That's right, D.... The economy absolutely needs to be paying much more for the products that we buy so cheaply from China, India, and the likes. Maybe pay more for the computer that you are typing on. Just a thought...

stork2474 - Monday July 07, 2008 10:53AM EDT

Bush has killed the economy by wasting 1/2 Trillion dollars on a war that can't be won and never ends.

you - Monday July 07, 2008 10:53AM EDT


cherly.gerber - Monday July 07, 2008 10:54AM EDT

Yahoo! Finance User & Arthur M - Your clueless if believe Bush and the Republicans did this by themselfs, Name me a single issue tha you blame them for it and I'll show the Democratic blood all over it.

Rico - Monday July 07, 2008 10:54AM EDT

Cheney and his OPEC Cartel

bigdaddyreid - Monday July 07, 2008 10:55AM EDT

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Greed!

b2u_today - Monday July 07, 2008 10:55AM EDT

Greedy politicians and us fools who keep re-electing them.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Yep, That About Sums It Up


When I am king, I will mandate massive economic education programs. And one of the primary lessons will be


and sell high.

Thus my anger when I saw this chart;

People are making less contributions to their 401k and other retirement plans, as the stock market has gone down.

This runs contrary to logic. Stocks, as just like anything else, be it video games, food or gas, you want the lowest price possible; ie-with the stock market tanking, NOW is the time to be buying stocks, not pulling back.

Normally I would deliver a hand holding explanation as to why this is and the merits for it, but I'm becoming more and more defeatist as I see an increasingly level of insurmountable ignorance when it comes to personal financial management in this country, that I'm just going to leave it at that.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sadhill Cemetery

So I was watching The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It's one of those movies that kind of calms you down and let's you drift off to sleep. A lot like another one of Leone's movies called "Duck You Sucker" which is an awesome movie by the way, and if you want a movie I deem on par with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, it is one worth getting.

In anycase, usually, I can watch this movie and fall asleep. However, I got to thinking, "Where is that cemetery where the final scene is at?"

So I google around and I found it was not a real cemetery, but a constructed one for the movie. Located near Carazo, Spain.

It's one of those things that instead of visiting Paris and looking at the Eiffel Tower, I'd much rather check that place out. Matter of fact, I think it would be a must. It's one of those things where I wish I had a kid so the story could be told about how "Dad forced us to go visit Sadhill Cemetery" and then when people thought about it, they'd say, "well that's actually pretty cool. Our family went to France, but we never got to see the gravesite from The Good, the Bad and The Ugly. How unique and cool is that!" Here's what it looks like today;