Week in Review

Quote of the week

“[Obama’s] theme in State of the Union was the WTF – Winning the Future. And I thought okay, that acronym, spot on. There were a lot of WTF moments in that speech.” – Sarah Palin

2011 Index of Economic Freedom

by The Heritage Foundation

“Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.” more… [This is a extensive ranking and description of every country in the world with respect to its economic freedom. Good stuff.]

On Egypt

by David Galland

“For many years now, Egypt has been a ticking time bomb. It is a bomb packed with the incendiary elements of militant Islam and a large population of young people suffering from high unemployment as a result of a corrupt dictatorship weighing on the economy. Toss in one of the highest population densities in the world, with over 90% of the people of Egypt crowded together up against the banks of the Nile, and you have all the necessary fixin’s for trouble.” more… [Some good insight here.]

House Subcommittee Revives Mandatory Data Retention Debate…

by Richard Esguerra

“This morning, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on mandatory Internet data retention, once again reviving the debate over whether Congress should pass legislation to force ISPs and telecom providers to log information about how users communicate and use the Internet. The hearing, awash with rhetoric about targeting Internet crime and including an unexpected condemnation of EFF’s privacy advocacy, was purportedly an information- and fact-finding hearing to explore the issue of data retention and consider what Congress’ role should be. However, it’s already clear where the new House Judiciary Chairman, Representative Lamar Smith, stands on the issue: he introduced data retention legislation just last year and likely will do so again this year.” more…

Full Nature of Liberty and Governance

by Jim Vetter

“Just as we don’t look to Washington alone, so to should we not look solely to the US Constitution. It is not the all defining, all governing document. It only discusses how the Federal government is meant to operate. As our 9th and 10th amendments make clear, there is a whole other universe of governance and rights:” more… [A copy of the Michigan Constitution can be found here, and the New Mexico Constitution is here. I’ve been reading through the Michigan Constitution this week and think it has been time well spent.]

Gold, More Relevant Than Ever

by Charles Kadlek

“When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the White House Wednesday, President Obama made sure to raise the contentious issue of currency values and press the Chinese leader to allow the renminbi to rise against the dollar. Not least among the reasons given was China’s $226 billion trade surplus with the US.” more…


  • The Bain Report: News from Michigan and Beyond
  • Comics
  • Four more failed banks this week.
  • Amazon Best Sellers: #1 Preschool Basics by School Zone Publishing Company; #2 The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss; #3 Dot-to-Dot Numbers Activity Zone (Ages 4-6) by School Zone Publishing Company

And now the numbers…

DOW Jones Industrials – 11,823.70 (-48.14/-0.41%)
S&P 500 – 1,276.34 (-7.01/-0.55%)
VIX – 20.04 (+1.57/8.50%)
CSI 300 (China) – 3,036.735 (+53.279/1.79%)
BSE 500 (India) – 7,137.54 (-265.38/-3.58%)
MICEX (Russia) – 1,735.01 (-12.38/-0.71%)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 66,697.57 (-2,435.524/-3.52%)
Nikkei 225 (Japan) – 10,360.34 (+85.82/0.84%)
RICI (Commodities) – 3,947.75 (+25.12/0.64%)
Gold/oz – 1,341.70 (+0.70/0.05%)
Silver/oz – 27.919 (+0.492/1.79%)
Copper/lb – 437.30 (+6.40/1.49%)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 99.42 (+1.82/1.86%)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 825.75 (+1.25/0.15%)
Corn/bu – 644.00 (-13.25/-2.02%)
Rough Rice (CBOT) – 15.01 (+0.145/0.98%)
EUR-USD – 1.3611 (-0.001/-0.07%)
USD-JPY – 82.1188 (-0.4472/-0.54%)
USD-BRL – 1.6834 (+0.0057/0.34%)
USD-HKD – 7.791 (-0.0012/-0.02%)
NZD-USD – 0.7736 (+0.0145/1.91%)
3 Month Treasury – 0.14 (-0.01/-6.67%)
2 Year Treasury – 0.54 (-0.07/-11.48%)
10 Year Treasury – 3.32 (-0.08/-2.35%)
30 Year Treasury – 4.53 (-0.04/-0.88%)
3 Month LIBOR – 0.30 (UNCHG)
U.S. Public Debt (official) – 14,059,409,159,678.40 (+3,095,684,745.80/0.02%)
Baltic Dry Index (BDIY:IND) – 1,137.00 (-233.00/-17.01%)


So last week I offered  to share my  list of preparations with everyone, and a number of friends wrote me back and said they were interested. As I began to think about how I was going to do this I realized that it was going to be important to state what I was preparing for. That led me to another question: what is occurring today that makes those events probable?

So that’s where I began, with a review of the status quo. I began writing that the middle of this week and it has exploded. It has four sections, but the last three are just in outline form. The first section is already pretty large. It appears I have bitten off quite a task. I’m good for it though, but it may take me a couple of more weeks.

I will say one thing. A key event to prepare for is the 72-hour emergency. Have enough food, water, fuel, and other items on hand to survive a 72-hour shut down. This means no utilities, no access to grocery stores, etc. My family’s preparations for this are pretty solid.

We keep a couple extra propane canisters in our shed, and we can hook up our Mr. Heater, which runs on propane, to keep warm. The outside grill, which also runs on propane, has a burner and can be used for cooking. We store about 40 gallons of water, a fair amount of food, and other necessities.

Some things we could do better: 1) keeping at least a 1/2 tank of gas in all of the vehicles at all times; 2) owning a generator so that the stuff in our freezer would not spoil in the event of power loss; 3) owning a fireplace or wood stove. The big excuse for #2 is that our emergency is likely to come in the winter, and so food spoilage is not a high priority. As for #3, we rent. If we did not, there would almost surely be a wood stove in the house. As for #1, that’s just bad discipline.

This level of preparation is in my opinion minimal, and surprisingly easy to  achieve. Depending upon where you live having your power knocked out for up to a week is not unheard of, so there aren’t too many good excuses for not being ready.

I’d be interested to hear what others have done in this regard.

Shifting gears, there sure is lot of snow on the ground. Happily it’s not too cold though. And we have power! :)

I had started some honey wine the beginning of the year and that’s coming online now. Tasty, low alcohol content. It was a natural ferment (no added yeast) so maybe the low alcohol content was to be expected. This first attempt was definitely a success though. My next try will probably add yeast. I’ll have to find a recipe for that.

Anyway, that’s another bit on the preparation front. Learning how to make things yourself. It’s fun and practical! Plus there’s nothing like seeing a bubbling bottle in the corner.

On the home front all is well. Baby Girl is growing and generally well adjusted. Wonderful Wife has been sewing handbags for a while and has actually gotten pretty good at it. The last one she made, which was for a friend of hers, is quite good. We’re headed out to New Mexico toward the end of February and we’re really looking forward to that.

Okay, that’s it for this week. Have a great weekend!

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