Monday, September 28, 2009

Kindle Bad for Classrooms?

I am the first to admit that the Kindle is a niche device - probably best for frequent travelers like me or commuters. So I am not surprised that the first feedback on the Kindle from colleges is poor.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Morning Headlines: Make My Coffee Irish, Please

FDIC Considers Borrowing From Treasury - This bailout has been expected for a while as the number of failed banks rises towards triple digits. How much of this "borrowing" you think the taxpayers will get back?

FHA Faces Cash Squeeze - And they're still lending like crazy, propping up what home sales there are right now. Cut off the FHA, cut off what housing stabalization there is. Expect a government bailout of this one too.

NYC unemployment hits 10.3% - Welcome to the double digit club, although it is not going to be that exclusive much longer.

"Option" mortgages to explode, officials warn - But, but, the housing market is stabilizing!

Hmmmmm....Baileys in the morning.....things look better now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All Is Well - Part 2

U.S. Household Consumption, % GDP

U.S. Debt (Household, Corporate and Government), % of GDP

Hat Tip: Zero Hedge

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

America’s Götterdämmerung

“Is it better to be living in a civilization’s ascendency or its descent?”

For you non-classical music fans out there, “Götterdämmerung” translates to Twilight of the Gods, Wagner’s famous opera. And I believe, and have felt it now for a while, that I am living in my civilization’s descent.

I look around me and see the signs all around, and I think most Americans realize it, even if it’s on a subconscious level. Something started going terribly wrong about forty years ago and took root, and the rot is now showing. Schools, universities, all our institutions exist to serve themselves and not the citizens that come to use them. We elected a man-child with no experience as executive, send corrupt politicians to congress for generations and send unqualified judges to the Supreme Court. The document that defines our nation is under constant attack with “rights” that aren’t mentioned added daily, and the rights that are written in steadily being taken away.

Perhaps these signs are just a reflection of the decay of the people who make up this country – Americans stuff their faces, are unable to save, run up debts they can’t pay for, and walk away blaming someone else for their ills. They now look to a mommy-government to right the wrongs of their own bad decisions, to take their responsibilities away and give them free support for all their needs.

If you think I am being harsh remember that I travel extensively and I see the difference overseas in Asia - the hard work, determination, drive to succeed, and the belief that a country must go out – like a person – and make its place in the world. While America hobbles itself with over-the-line environmental regulations, drilling bans and anti-business policies, countries like China are aggressively taking over natural resources through strategic acquisitions, partnerships and political ties to insure they have a sure and steady supply of things that make a country go.

I don’t so see other countries catching up so much as the U.S. committing cultural suicide.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Instruments of War SHOULD be on Currency

As I have written before, I used to be something of a currency collector. I am not into it much any more, but there was one item I never got that I always wanted - the 1918 $2 "battleship" Federal Reserve Bank Note. It's been a serious hole in my collection and I finally broke down and got one.

Imagine something like this going on currency today:

Today our currencies get politically correct historical footnotes like Sasquatch, or whatever her name is.
Obsolete currency has actually proven to be a good investment over the last decade. The above note has doubled in price over the last five years in nearly all grades. They are sort of like small works of art, and collectors can go with lower grades (the condition of the note) if they have a small budget. The note above is actually considered in pretty good shape.
I think as inflation hits the economy these old dollar bills will be worth a hell of a lot more than the new dollar bills in your pocket.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Not Quite a Near Death Experience

A true story:

A guy is driving his car late at night, falls asleep at the wheel. He is suddenly wrenched awake by his car going off the road. The last thing he remembers is seeing his car heading straight for a tree.

He comes to and finds himself surrounded in white. He hears a voice calling to him, telling him he is safe. He thinks he is dead, the voice from God.

He comes completely to and finds the white is the airbag deployed around him. The voice is the OnStar operator.

He was a little bit dissapointed, but walked away from the crash.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Avis DOES Try Harder

I arrive at the car rental counter on a routine business trip and Avis tells me that I have been "upgraded" from my standard econobox. I figured I would get a Town Car or some other land yacht. Instead I got a Solaris.

The question now is whether to go trolling for business or cruising for chicks.