Saturday, December 31, 2011

Art Bell's hole

I rediscovered these recently. I can't remember who created them. Someone from alt.fan.art-bell. (If it was you please let me know!) I do know they fooled Art for an entire evening after this person faxed these "newspaper clippings" to him. I am pretty sure that Glen Quarnstrom (a newsgroup regular) passed away many years ago.


How to guarantee Barack Obama's reelection in one easy step

Step 1: Nominate Ron Paul.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Predictions: A year in failure.

A review of my 2011 guesses, which were even worse than my 2010 guesses:
Republicans fail at their attempts to repeal Obamacare. However, they are able to push through some minor tweaks.
50% fail. Nothing happened.
Barack Obama's team attempts a re-branding campaign. No public photos of Obama eating ice cream or playing golf will be seen in 2011. Arugula is out, replaced with steak and hamburgers. In 2011, Obama will project a macho image.
Complete fail. Obama spent most of the year on the golf course.
Republicans fail at their pledge to reign in the budget deficit, but the growth is slowed somewhat. Republicans will try to brag about this.
I don't know what the hell I was thinking. Fail.
A major hurricane will strike the Texas Gulf coast.
Fail. We got a major drought instead.
A prominent California blogger and his former wife will be arrested for mortgage fraud.
Haha! Fail. Stoopid's been quiet for over a year now.
Chevrolet will shock naysayers by ramping up production of the Volt due to strong demand.
My worst guess of all time. Epic fail.
An American will take the helm at Toyota.
Fail.
Bill Clinton collapses during a speaking engagement after having a stroke.
Nope.
Elton John settles in Las Vegas and becomes the house act at the Venetian.
Fail. I guess this every year (along with Led Zeppelin) and I still think it will happen.
Gold prices will continue to surge, peaking in April. It will end the year below $700.
Fail, but gold is breaking down now.
Shocking celebrity deaths: John Goodman and Prince.
Not.
Oil prices will skyrocket during the first quarter of 2011, then collapse to below $40/barrel.
Fail.
Hype about tablets comes to an end after Samsung and HP products flop. iPad sales flatten and market analysts discover that demand is limited to Apple's existing core of monied customers. The new Apple TV flops, while the new iPhone helps Apple regain top spot in the smartphone wars. Apple studies the idea of spinning off the media side of their business into a new company (iTunes, Inc.) that is less dependent upon Apple and more platform-agnostic.
I should just shut my pie hole.
A major US newspaper will shock the industry by announcing free home delivery.
Fail. But it is coming.
The Dead Kennedys get back together to re-work California Über Alles in honor of the new governor. They fail spectacularly as everyone realizes that the Dead Kennedys still suck and have no real talent and Jello Biafra is not as clever and astute as he thinks he is.
Fail. Fail. Fail.
Best Buy removes packaged software from its shelves.
I think this is a hit. I went to my local BB last week and didn't see any packaged software. Maybe that's different in your neck of the woods.
Amazon Kindle price breaks the $100 barrier, making the e-reader one of the biggest tech stories of 2011. Market analysts are stunned at the success and Amazon stock adjusts accordingly.
A hit on the price barrier, and the e-reader was undoubtedly a big success in 2011. Dunno about market analysts being stunned, though. So a qualified hit.
Disaster strikes the new high-speed rail system in China due to construction defects.
Nailed that sucker.
Hugo Chavez continues to consolidate his power and launches a series of military strikes against border areas in Columbia in order to gin up patriotic fervor.
Melonhead pretended to have cancer most of the year to gin up sympathy, so that's a fail. (Did I say Chavez is faking his illness? I am sorry for being so callous.)
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hires a fashion consultant to give him a more polished, less threatening appearance.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. He's still wearing the ugly grey dinner jacket.
War in the Korean Peninsula. Kim the Fat, in order to show everyone that he has balls of steel like his weird father, orders the shelling of a ROK village, resulting in a massive ROK response to targets within 10 km of the DMZ. North Korea opens fire on Seoul with artillery, but wholesale destruction of the city is avoided as US and ROK forces launch a stunning counter-attack and destroy over 10,000 pieces of artillery within 24 hours. North Korean officers flee back to Pyongyang, leaving behind 300,000 weary, starving soldiers, who promptly give up. A new cease-fire is called, resulting in a new DMZ that is 40 km north of the old one, giving Seoul a much better protective cushion.
Nope. Kim the Fat took power after his crazy father passed away. Some believe that Kim the Fat will be like a Korean Gorby. We'll see.
Many new jobs and new businesses will emerge in Florida to salvage the thousands of empty houses built in 2005-2007 that have been damaged due to heat and humidity. Houses will be so cheap in Florida that the glut will be cleared faster than expected thanks to the surge of government retirees from the Northeast and Midwest looking for a low-cost place to live due to their shrinking pension checks. In fact, even the most bearish of bears will realize that 2011 marks the first year of undeniable recovery, except in places like coastal California, Washington, Oregon and the DC area.
This is a maybe. I can't write this guess off. It is a fact that a number of the Housing Bubble people are talking about buying in places like Phoenix and southwest Florida.
Gut-wrenching economic times will visit Canada, Brazil and Australia, with housing prices down at least 20% by December. Housing will go on to crash another 40% in these countries over the following 2 years.
I was a year early. Smart people in the resource countries are starting to get The Fear.
It is discovered that China is essentially run by gangsters. This year the world will finally see the full scale of China's problems with malinvestment, and it will shock even those of us who try to keep up with events there.
Hit. Big hit.
Julian Assange will be charged in the US federal courts. Not for espionage, but with fraud. Investigators will discover that Assange has been going short against the companies he threatens to expose, particularly Bank of America. He is extradited to New York, no longer the hero that he once was.
Nope. Assange has pretty much vanished from the news.
Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland will say goodbye to the Euro.
Nope. But some think they are pretty close to saying goodbye.

Peak Oil is here and we are all doomed! Oh, wait.

Funny how these massive crude discoveries keep popping up, even though we are running out.
With relatively little fanfare on the international stage, Lundin Petroleum and Statoil (and partners) have just recently jointly discovered one of the largest oil fields ever found in the North Sea. The Aldous Major South - Avaldsnes discovery on the Utsira High structure is currently estimated to contain 1.7 to 3.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The astonishing thing about this discovery is that it has lain undiscovered in a mature oil province for so long providing ample encouragement for explorers to go on exploring.
Oil prices remain high because a) OPEC wants to create the idea of a shortfall to keep prices up, and b) central banks, including the Fed, pump "money" into the system and weaken our currency. There remains an enormous quantity of oil to be discovered and processed. (Whether or not we should use it is a different matter.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What's wrong with this paragraph?

From the Housing Bubble Blog:
The Associated Press. “Donna West could once name the homeowners on her affluent Las Vegas street. Then came the recession, the vacant homes, and the parade of anonymous renters. ‘To me, the recession hasn’t ended,’ said West, a 55-year-old retired state worker. ‘We have more foreclosures happening in my neighbourhood than a year ago.’”
Not one person on the blog picked up on it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lee County, Florida PD torture Ohio man to death

It seems incredible this isn't news.
From Fox 13 in Tampa comes the horrifying story of Nick Christie, a 62-year-old Ohio man who was detained by the Lee County Sheriff's Office for being publicly intoxicated. While Christie's wife asked that he be taken to the hospital, Lee County cops decided instead to strip Christie naked, tie him to a chair, cover his face, and then pepper spray him repeatedly, until he died.
They blasted him with pepper spray 10 times over 48 hours. I cannot see any reason to do this to a person who is already restrained. They tortured Christie to death. His death was ruled a homicide, yet to date not one person has been charged with a crime.

This is waterboarding with pepper spray. When is justice for this man and his family going to be served?

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who will be first to use the N Word with Ron Paul?

Ron Paul leads the polls in Iowa. Or doesn't. It depends upon the poll. What is interesting is that the other candidates have kept silent about Ron Paul's history. Ron Paul supporters claim that the newsletter issue isn't really an issue, that it's been debunked.

The truth is, the newsletter issue hasn't been debunked. Assuming Paul maintains his lead, heading into the Iowa Caucus it will become the big issue. The question is, who will be the first to use the N Word? As soon as one of the other candidates make an issue of the newsletters, the mainstream press will be forced to deal with it.

If I was to wager, I think it will be Gingrich. He has the most to lose by keeping silent, and he isn't likely to get the Paul voters anyway. If not Gingrich, Perry. There is no love lost between Perry and Paul.

Democrats want to keep the newsletter issue quiet. You won't hear a peep from them. They are playing smart and will have a campaign war chest of over $1 billion to broadcast endless television and radio ads showing "highlights" from the newsletters. President Obama would be reelected in a landslide of historic proportions if Ron Paul is the nominee.

(Today's secret Ron Paul code words: gold standard, neo-con, warmonger, zionist, empire)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why does Barack Obama hate the environment?

Perhaps someone reading this can clue me in. Why is Barack Obama against the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the US Gulf Coast? I am struggling to come up with a rational explanation.

We are told that buying Saudi oil supports terrorists. OK. But Canada is our friend, right next door, and is the country most similar to us. So the Keystone XL pipeline wouldn't support terrorists.

We are told that it's bad for the environment. But Canada is a sovereign country and China would like to buy this Canadian oil. If we don't buy this oil the Chinese will. To serve the Chinese market the pipeline would cross the rugged and beautiful Rocky Mountains, and the oil would be loaded on Chinese tankers. It would be a shame if one of these tankers ran aground, spewing thousands of tons of oil and killing all of the beautiful creatures that are found in the Pacific Northwest. Like the cute baby sea otters. Does Barack Obama have confidence in the Chinese record of environmental stewardship?

It seems to me that it would be far more ecologically sound to transport the oil 2500 miles via pipeline over the relatively flat Great Plains to existing US refineries instead of building a new pipeline across the Rockies and then loading it onto tankers for a 5,000 mile trip to China.

It's not like the Keystone XL would cross virgin land. The Great Plains are already crossed with thousands of miles of pipeline.
Then there are the jobs. Tens of thousands of highly-paid, sought-after jobs would be created right here in the US. Many millions of tax dollars would pour in to government coffers, paying salaries for many valuable state and local employees.

So someone, please. Clue me in. What am I missing? Why is Obama so against this? I really don't get it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Houston-Dallas in 90 minutes

Central Japan Railways, through a shell company in Houston, says they can build high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas by 2020. The key is they say they can do it without tax dollars.

I am skeptical, but if the Japanese want to spend their money building this I say bring it on. In fact, I also think it would be great if Europeans who say Americans are backward because we don't have high-speed rail would also put their money where their mouths are. If it's so great, if it's so profitable, please invest your money and build those rail lines.

I am not sure the economics quite pencil out though. Lone Star High Speed Rail says the tickets will be "about" $100. Houston to Dallas is approximately 225 miles. Let's see, figure 2 persons per car, a large car that gets a mediocre 25 miles per gallon, gas at $3.00/gallon, that's... $13.50/person, vs $100/person on rail. I think my remedial math is right on that. Plus at the other end of the rail line you'll have to arrange further transportation.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My breakfast taco

I'm a Texan. We have an interesting blend of Texas and Mexican cultures, which extends to food. I like a good taco with some egg and chorizo.

But I have been short on time in the morning lately. So I bought some frozen breakfast tacos. They look OK based on the package photo, even if they have more bland sausage than the Mexican chorizo that I like.
Like I said, looks OK. But here's what came out of my microwave after 40 seconds.
After seeing the photo, a friend said it looks like something he'd seen on a Pamper.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Political spectrum of the financial blogs

How I see things on the financial blogs I follow regularly. Sort of a follow-up to this. If you read these sites, feel free to disagree.
  • Red - Leans Left
  • Purple - Centrist
  • Blue - Leans Right
Calculated Risk
85% Red
10% Purple
5% Blue

Zero Hedge
10% Red
20% Rabid, foaming-at-the mouth insane (i.e., "George Washington" and readers of his posts)
70% Blue

Mish
30% Red
10% Purple
5% Crazy but loveable and harmless (i.e., Ben Franklin Was Right)
55% Blue

Housing Bubble Blog
50% Red
30% Purple
10% Idiotic, borderline retarded (i.e., Hwy50ina49Dodge, Eddie)
10% Blue

Ambrose Evans-Prichard (UK Telegraph)
10% Red
50% Purple
30% Blue
10% Chelyabinsk

The Oil Drum
90% Red
5% Purple
5% Blue
99% We're doomed like Dr. Smith