Week in review

Quote of the week

“The poetry of dynamic forces does not lend itself to easy explication. Thought exercise: Imagine the vector of a Chevy Trailblazer and a CSX coal train of four 3000-horsepower diesel engines hauling 88 loaded hopper cars four miles north of Chugwater, Wyoming. The Chevy driver left his meth lab, say, fourteen minutes earlier after piping up and doing three tequila shots. The lead engineer on the coal train, a sturdy fellow, five-feet-ten-inches and 270 pounds, having finished his supper of double deluxe nachos (with two meats and extra cheese) is entering a less than blissful realm of myocardial infarction. Meanwhile, a meteor the size of a basketball has passed into the troposphere on a trajectory to strike the planet Earth at precisely the point where the CSX line crosses state road no. 44. That there would be a snapshot of your US political economy.” – James Howard Kunstler

Reject the Welfare/Warfare State

by Ron Paul

“Real reductions in federal spending can be achieved only by getting to the meat of the federal budget, meaning expenditures in all areas. The annual budget soon will be $5 trillion unless Congress takes serious steps to reduce spending for entitlements, military, and debt service. Yet how many Tea Party candidates who campaigned on a platform of spending cuts talked about Social Security, Medicare, foreign wars, or bond debt?” more…

What Trips Gold Up?

by David Galland

“[W]e once again collectively tried to imagine what situation… what scheme… what government manipulation… might finally put a stake through the heart of gold.

“Setting the stage, I think it’s safe to assume that in order for the gold bull to decisively reverse direction, the following general conditions would have to be precedent in the economy:” more…

What the Earth Knows

by Robert B. Laughlin

“Any serious conversation about the planet’s climate and our energy future must begin, paradoxically, with a backward look at geologic time. The reason for this is that the way forward is fogged by misunderstandings about the earth. Experts are little help in the constant struggle in this conversation to separate myth from reality, because they have the same difficulty, and routinely demonstrate it by talking past each other. Respected scientists warn of imminent energy shortages as geologic fuel supplies run out. Wall Street executives dismiss their predictions as myths and call for more drilling. Environmentalists describe the destruction to the earth from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Economists ignore them and describe the danger to the earth of failing to burn coal, oil, and natural gas. Geology researchers report fresh findings about what the earth was like millions of years ago. Creationist researchers report fresh findings that the earth didn’t exist millions of years ago. The only way not to get lost in this awful swamp is to review the basics and decide for yourself what you believe and what you don’t.” more…


Other News

And now the numbers…

DOW Jones Industrials – 11,192.58 (-251.50/-2.20%)
S&P 500 – 1,199.21 (-26.64/-2.17%)
VIX – 20.61 (+2.35/12.87%)
CSI 300 (China) – 3,291.833 (-228.965/-6.50%)
BSE 500 (India) – 8,111.00 (-294.13/-3.50%)
MICEX (Russia) – 1,548.96 (+8.85/0.57%)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 70,367.148 (-2,239.43/-3.08%)
Nikkei 225 (Japan) – 9,724.81 (+98.82/1.03%)
RICI (Commodities) – 3,573.79 (-116.30/-3.15%)
Gold/oz – 1,365.50 (-32.20/-2.30%)
Silver/oz – 25.942 (-0.806/-3.01%)
Copper/lb – 389.80 (-5.05/-1.28%)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 86.34 (-1.77/-2.01%)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 709.50 (-19.25/-2.64%)
Corn/bu – 548.00 (-53.75/-8.93%)
Rough Rice (CBOT) – 14.07 (-0.91/-6.07%)
EUR-USD – 1.3691 (-0.0341/-2.43%)
USD-JPY – 82.525 (+1.265/1.56%)
USD-HKD – 7.7513 (+0.00/0.01%)
USD-BRL – 1.7222 (+0.0423/2.52%)
NZD-USD – 0.7733 (-0.0222/-2.79%)
3 Month Treasury – 0.12 (+0.01/9.09%)
2 Year Treasury – 0.50 (+0.13/35.14%)
10 Year Treasury – 2.79 (+0.26/10.28%)
30 Year Treasury – 4.29 (+0.17/4.13%)
3 Month LIBOR – 0.28 (-0.01/-3.45%)
U.S. Public Debt (official) – 13,719,547,683,746.50 (-3,891,984,693.70/-0.03%)
Baltic Dry Index (BDIY:IND) – 2,313.00 (-182.00/-7.29%)

Wow, another very busy week. Still recovering from the illness I got last week. It’s almost gone. The cough lingers though.

Weather has been great. Mid-60s. Feels like September. Was just outside though, gonna be cold tonight.

On the home front, Baby Girl is developing quite the vocabulary. Also learning how to open and close doors like a champ. She climbed up on the dish washer the other night, I took her off. Repeat, repeat, and then repeat again. Then I was just like, “well be up there”. Then she fell off. She bumped her head and cried. I picked her up, she pushed away from me. I set her down. She went back over to the dishwasher and climbed back up on it. She didn’t fall of a second time. She might have some of mom and dad’s stubbornness.

Meanwhile, the noise about Congressional earmarks has increased. The New York Times reports that Congress will vote to ban earmarks next week, and points out that Obama supports such a move. However, if you read a bit about earmarks, say over at Wikipedia, you will realize that earmarks are essentially synonymous with specifically defined appropriations.

What’s the contrast then? A blank check to the executive branch? If the Congress does not appropriate money for items that specifically deny the executive branch discretion over how the money is spent then the Congress is basically useless. A ban on the essential function of Congress, deciding how the Treasuries monies should be spent, would just further erode our Constitution and prevent our representatives from exercising an important check on executive power.

Don’t let the “pork barrel” arguments fool you. Earmarks represent an essential Constitutional issue.

Also, all of the little potatoes spending that gets pulled out and paraded around to support such a ban is almost laughable. Consider that mandatory spending (i.e. basically Medicare, Social Security, and interest on the debt) account for almost the entirety of tax receipts. On the other hand, the parts that are used to inflame the passions of the public are part of the 12% of the budget known as “discretionary spending”.

If the United States government is serious about cutting deficits then the overseas empire and entitlement programs must be addressed head on. An honest default on the national debt may be in order as well.

Anyway, that’s my two cents for tonight. Have a nice weekend!

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