Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday March 25, 2008...I'm tired

I'm tired, very tired -- maybe even sick and tired.

I'm tired of bad news. I'm tired of this stinking war. I'm tired of murders and robberies. I'm tired of rising gas prices and rising food costs and rising insurance and rising property taxes and rising medical costs. I'm tired of politicians pointing fingers and blaming everyone else. I'm tired of companies outsourcing their manufacturing and laying off people. I'm tired of poverty. I'm tired of pollution. I'm tired of lobbyists.

I guess that's enough to wear everyone out and leave us all tired of the same things we've all been tired of for decades.

It doesn't go away.

We never seem to solve the old problems as we're stirring up new ones. I bet if I went to sleep for 20 years, like Rip Van Winkle, I would wake up to find us still facing all the same problems as now. Where is the GOOD news? Why can't we tackle the problems one at a time and solve at least one problem? We shuffle and sidestep, but never face the problems head on and get them solved. President Johnson declared War On Poverty – nothing solved after 40 years. We declared a War On Drugs – nothing solved after decades. We have often declared War On Crime, but seem to have more and more. We have filled up the jails and built more, but we have never conquered the root problem. We declared War on Iraq, then changed it to War on terrorism, but never solved the problem. It could go on for years and years.

I've noticed that Switzerland never declared war on anyone or anything and seems to have been existing peacefully for centuries. Have we overlooked something there? Maybe if we let everyone else solve their own problems and concentrated at home on solving our own problems then we might stand a chance of solving at least one.
No more wars – not a bad idea.
No more poverty – not a bad idea.
No more uninsured people – not a bad idea.
Jobs for everyone – not a bad idea.

But then, that's just a thought from my tired old brain. Maybe a 20 year nap will solve everything.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday March 20, 2008...It sprung!

It's official, at 5:48 this morning Spring sprung forth is all its glory and now all of us Spring nuts can be turned loose upon the world. Let's try to keep the yelling and screaming to a minimum. Now we can fly kites and run happily through the meadow without being deemed idiots. It's been a long cold winter, but now it's over. Celebrate! Celebrate!

Of course, the basketball nuts already knew it was time to go nuts because of March madness with the NCAA. Now all the rest of us can go nuts as well.

It's almost time to start the spring cleaning and to air out the house (maybe it needs to get just a tad warmer). Now it's time to put away all the reds and blacks and bring out the pastels. Time for blue skies and sunshine with an occasional spring shower. Time for the grass to turn green and the trees to start budding.

I love Spring!

Let's go fly a kite!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday March 17, 2008...I think it's time to worry

Just in case you haven't kept up with the latest weekend news while wearing of the green on this day of shamrocks, here is some testy news which should worry all of us:

"It seems as if Bernanke & Co. are pulling out all the stops to avoid a serious financial market meltdown," Richard Yamarone, an economist at Argus Research, said Sunday evening.

Urgently moving to contain a deepening credit crisis, the Federal Reserve is trying to restore confidence in panicked financial markets by becoming a lender of last resort for Wall Street investment houses that on Monday can begin securing short-term emergency loans.

The central bank, in an extraordinarily rare weekend move, took the bold action Sunday in an attempt to calm the markets. It also approved a cut in its emergency lending rate to financial institutions to 3.25 percent from 3.50 percent, effective immediately.

The new lending facility — described as a cousin to the Fed's emergency lending "discount window" for banks — is geared to give major investment houses a source of short-term cash on a regular basis — if they need it.

That's important because those big investment houses have key roles in the financial system and if one fails or is having difficulty it could put the whole financial system in jeopardy, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. These big investment houses have complex relationships with many players in the system, including hedge funds, commercial banks and others.

The lending facility will be in place for at least six months and "may be extended as conditions warrant," the Fed said. The interest rate will be 3.25 percent and a range of collateral — including investment-grade mortgage backed securities — will be accepted to back the overnight loans.


The Fed on Sunday also approved the financing arrangement through which JPMorgan will acquire Bear Stearns for $236.2 million in a deal that represents a stunning collapse for one of the world's largest and most venerable investment houses. JPMorgan said the Fed will provide special financing for the deal. The central bank has agreed to fund up to $30 billion of Bear Stearns' less liquid assets, according to JPMorgan. (This was a financial investment firm with hundreds of billions of dollars passing through it's hands)

The Fed's actions are the latest in a recent string of innovative steps to deal with a worsening credit crisis that has unhinged Wall Street.

The action comes just two days before the central bank's scheduled meeting on Tuesday, where another big cut to a key interest rate that affects millions of people and businesses is expected to be ordered. That key rate is now at 3 percent and is expected to be cut by at least three-quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday.

Yet anxiety persisted. On world financial markets, Asian stocks plunged Monday after the JPMorgan and Fed announcements. Markets in Australia and New Zealand were also off and European stocks fell in early trading. The Bank of England moved Monday to inject an extra $10.1 billion into its financial system to provide relief.

Oil prices hit a record in Asian trading as the value of the dollar continued its free fall and U.S. stock index futures were down sharply, suggesting Wall Street would open lower after sinking Friday.


Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. John McCain vowed in meetings with Iraq's prime minister Monday that the U.S. would maintain a long-term military presence in Iraq until al-Qaida is defeated there.

Please note that al-Qaida wasn't in Iraq until we invaded it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday March 15, 2008...Springtime and mountains

Springtime weather brings me thoughts of other springtimes in the rockies.

My attempt at Haiku poetry:

Deep in the forest
High in the rocky mountains:
Breathe deep and relax.

The memories of
Colorado draw you back-
To another time.

Silent peaks with snow
Rushing streams with speckled rocks:
Mountain flowers grow.

Peace in the mountains lets your mind dispel worries about the travails of men.
It's nice to think about spring and mountains and forests and streams.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday March 14, 2007...Who's worried?

Friday March 14, 2008

For all of 2007, consumer inflation jumped by 4.1 percent, the biggest increase in 17 years. That big increase has raised concerns about stagflation, the malady that beset the economy in the 1970s when economic growth stagnated at the same time that inflationary pressures increased.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that he does not believe the country is at risk of another bout of stagflation.

Another stunner from Wall Street on Friday sent the dollar to a record low as a major U.S. banker, Bear Stearns Cos., acknowledged it was in dire financial straits.

The U.S. government and JPMorgan Chase & Co. bailed out Bear Stearns Cos. Friday, a last-ditch effort to save the investment bank after a week of denials that it was in trouble.

Bear Stearns lost half of its value within 30 minutes of the market open.

Bear Stearns has assets of 395 billion and liabilities of 383 billion dollars.

This week the dollar has repeatedly hit record lows against the euro, dropped below 100 yen for the first time in 12 years, and on Friday, the dollar fell below the Swiss franc for the first time ever.

The dollar is currently valued at 0.9996 francs on the Zurich exchange. In 1971, the U.S. dollar was worth four francs.

The dollar has been weighed down by worries about the outlook for the U.S. economy, which in turn have fed expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to lower interest rates.

Lower interest rates can jump-start a nation's economy, but can also weigh on its currency as traders transfer funds to countries where they can earn higher returns.
speculation that the world's major central banks will mount coordinated intervention to stabilize the rout of the dollar.

The global financial-services sector may end up writing down the fair value of such exposures by $285 billion, mainly from residential mortgage-backed securities and more complex vehicles known as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), S&P estimated.

Earlier this week the Federal Reserve said it would inject $200 billion into the troubled mortgage securities market.

"It is clear that the ultimate credit losses on the more than $1.2 trillion of subprime loans originally granted in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007 will be substantial," S&P said.

Gold futures soared to a record high of $1,009 an ounce Friday, as investors sought a safe haven following news of a bailout of troubled investment bank Bear Stearns.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday March 10, 2008...Miscalculation?

The Cost of War: Iraq Death Toll

Lives Lost in Iraq: at least 135,527

3,975 US Military, 175 British Military, 133 Other Country Coalition Forces

March 20, 2003 to March 9, 2008

May 1, 2003
President George Bush declares "Mission Accomplished"
138 US Military deaths at this point.


original anticipated cost of war in Iraq - $50 Billion dollars

Total direct cost of war in Iraq to date - $500 Billion dollars

In October 2007, the Congressional Budget Office projected that additional war costs for the next 10 years could range from $570 billion if troop levels fell to 30,000 by 2010, or $1.1 trillion if troop levels fell to 75,000 by about 2013. Under these scenarios, CBO projects that funding for Iraq, Afghanistan and the GWOT could reach from about $1.2 trillion to about $1.7 trillion for FY2001-FY2017.


What more can you say?

How much longer will this mistake go on?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saturday March 8, 2008...It's almost later than you think

This time tomorrow won't be this time at all. It will be THAT time.

Yes, it's that time again when we nonsensically try to fool ourselves into believing that it's sooner rather than later. Later in this same year, we will try to fool ourselves again into believing that it really isn't sooner but indeed later. Now in Oklahoma, they always knew that it was sooner. Here in Missouri, you have to show me that it's really sooner and that's pretty hard to do. Sooner or later, time will catch up to us all, if we wait long enough and quit trying to fool ourselves.

I wonder if the rest of the world goes along with this foolishness or if they know the real time all along.

Anyway, tomorrow will come sooner than you think. So, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday March 7, 2008...Political contributors

After watching a race car driver in an advertisement on television, dressed in his race suit with all the sponsor patches sewn on from head to toe, I thought that we should carry this idea into our politics.

What if politicians wore patches showing who paid for their campaigns? We could limit the patches to only those who paid over $100,000. Maybe the size of the patch would indicate the size of the contribution. We could tell then which politicians owe which contributors and how that influences their votes. We could even put decals on their cars so that as they drive around you could tell who is sponsoring your candidate. It would be truth in advertising and politics for a change.

What would especially be interesting to see the same patches on politicians from both parties showing the strength of some special interests. Maybe any correspondence from the various politicians should have their major contributors listed on the back so everyone would know who they owe special favors. Nobody seems to mind that race cars carry all those decals and that drivers suits and hats carry all that free advertising from the various sponsors and I'm sure that the public wouldn't mind seeing our politicians doing the same thing. Why hide the truth in smoke filled back rooms? Let's be honest and show who really controls our elected officials.

I'll bet that George's suit would have a lot of energy companies as main sponsors.
I'd like to know McCain's and Obama's and Hilary's sponsors too.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wednesday March 5, 2008...Spring isn't sprung quite yet

On occasion, it looks like spring with blue skies and sunshine. But spring isn't sprung quite yet. At least the snow is melting soon after falling. And the breeze isn't quite as chilling as it was. I even hear birds peeping while they're shivering. It won't be long now till the birds nest in the gutters and the squirrels dig up the yard looking for buried treasures. And soon the weeds will turn green and try to take over the world. Dandelions will raise their little yellow heads and raise their stalks as high as possible. The crab grass will creep ever so slowly over the yard. The frozen earth will turn to mud and spring will arrive with wind gusts and days of warmth hinting at summer days to follow. It makes you want to clean up the mower and wash the winter crud off the car.

But mother nature often springs forth with an ice storm or a nice wet snow about this time of the year, just when you didn't expect it. We'll see.