November 19, 2013

Bits Bucket for November 19, 2013

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 01:33:44

Realtors are LIARS.

Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 01:40:15

It’s bedtime, dude! Give those poor realtors a rest until manyana.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 02:15:05

It’s bedtime, dude!

And while you sleep, the Realtors will creep.

Someone here needs to be awake to warn the public of the menace that is Realtors.

Comment by JingleMale
2013-11-19 05:53:20

Goon, you are the menace. You bore everyone and your redundancy disrespects Ben and the wonderful blog. Go away.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 05:59:41

Realtors Are Liars.

Comment by Amy Hoak
2013-11-19 06:25:42

Jingle Male, don’t worry, I’ll help you refute his redundant lies.

Comment by Lawrence Yun
2013-11-19 06:30:35

I got your back too, bro!

Comment by David Lereah
2013-11-19 06:46:26

All real estate is local, especially around Sacramento!

Comment by Gary Watts
2013-11-19 06:48:11

Sacramento’s real estate investment gains are in the bag.

Comment by Debt Donkey
2013-11-19 08:36:09

I’m underwater.

Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2013-11-19 08:41:27

This is so heartwarming! Its like a telethon for Realturds and all the stars have come out to help. Lets get those phone lines humming and those pledges rolling in folks- we’ve got 24 hours to help Jingle’s kids before prices fall any more.

Comment by Casey Serin
2013-11-19 09:27:52

Sacramento is the hottest real estate market in America, you can’t not make money in Sacramento.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-11-19 09:46:30

OK, I’ll admit it…I literally laughed out loud.

Comment by Debt Donkey
2013-11-19 10:01:39
Comment by Ricky Koolaaidosaky
2013-11-19 12:48:05

My Dad told me you cannot loose in Real Estate. Shave your dog and sell the fur!

Comment by Sam R. Walton
2013-11-19 14:50:49

My Dad is richer than your dad.

Comment by NH Hick
2013-11-19 06:11:12

“that ARE Realtwhores”

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Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 01:33:47

Why can’t the world love a bear? Our brains are typically far larger than bovines’ brains are.

Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 01:36:50

What makes me suspect that Carl Icahn just snapped up a bunch of put options?

12:22 pm
Icahn speaks at summit, hits stocks
by Victor Reklaits

Icahn has been speaking at a Reuters event. Here’s a tweet from a Reuters editor:

— Jennifer Ablan (@jennablan) November 18, 2013

12:25 pm
Icahn sees earnings “mirage”
by Victor Reklaitis
Add a Comment

More on what Icahn said:

— Jennifer Ablan (@jennablan) November 18, 2013

12:41 pm
Reactions to Icahn
by Victor Reklaitis
Add a Comment

Twitter reaction to the Icahn comments, including from this live blog’s very own Steve Goldstein:

I usually make massive asset allocation shifts based on the offhanded remarks of activist hedge fund managers so BRB.
— Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) November 18, 2013

Did @Carl_C_Icahn forget he’s supposed to talk FOR not against his book?
— Steve Goldstein (@MKTWgoldstein) November 18, 2013

Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 07:01:15

There are plenty of reasons out there to go into early hibernation this year.

Nov. 18, 2013, 9:36 a.m. EST
Why the euro zone won’t be any calmer in 2014
Commentary: Political paralysis, economic stagnation hinder progress
Stories You Might Like
Bitcoin drops to from $900 to $502 as swings widen
Bitcoin surges atop $900 before dropping 15%
European stocks fall from multiyear highs
By David Marsh, MarketWatch

After all the efforts to build up euro-area confidence during the last three years, as well as painful and effective policy corrections in the deficit countries, politicians, investors and voters might have expected to enter calmer waters next year.

In fact, the worst is not over.

The next 12 months will be the euro bloc’s year of maturity. Unfortunately, for reasons that are beyond anyone’s influence, a lot of things are happening at the wrong time.

Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 07:04:18

Home Depot, a bitcoin bender and ripe Japanese small caps
November 19, 2013, 6:34 AM
By Shawn Langlois

Add GMO and Carl Icahn to the list of asset-management heavyweights waving red flags on the stock market’s prospects. The former with a little more gusto than the latter.

While Icahn was suitably nebulous with his gloomy call for a “big drop,” Jeremy Grantham’s firm, with $110 billion in assets, dug in with specific numbers. Ben Inker, who penned one section of GMO’s quarterly letter, put the S&P’s fair value at almost 40% lower from where it stands now. He also said he’s looking for the stock market to lose 1.3% a year over the next seven years.

Combining the current P/E of over 19 for the S&P 500 and a return on sales about 42% over the historical average, we would get an estimate that the S&P 500 is approximately 75% overvalued,” Inker wrote.

All this negativity is enough to make a guy … go out and buy more stocks.

Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 07:07:46

Nov. 19, 2013, 8:59 a.m. EST
Dow 16,000 won’t last
Anthony Mirhaydari

Mirhaydari’s latest posts
As investors pile in, CEOs bail out
This market is overcooked
Why it’s time to sell

By Anthony Mirhaydari

Dow 16,000. There’s nothing like big round numbers to generate excitement and suspend disbelief.

Hitting this milestone was inevitable, of course, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has spent the last seven months knocking its head on resistance just under this level. It was back then that the Federal Reserve first warned that it could start tapering its ongoing $85 billion-a-month bond-purchase stimulus.

The stock market cooled its heels as the bond market freaked out, which in turn caused the Fed to go into a holding pattern. They are aware of just how fragile this market is — a market that is one of the few bright spots of this post-crisis economy (jobs, income, labor participation, national debt, and other real-world measures remain disappointing).

So the cheap money kept flowing, more than $500 billion over this time. It has lulled investors into a sense of complacent overconfidence that sets the stage for a correction taking us back under the 16,000 level, at least temporarily.


Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 07:09:19

Americans are too poor to buy soup any more.

Comment by Professor Bear
2013-11-19 07:10:23

Nov. 19, 2013, 7:55 a.m. EST
Campbell Soup earnings fall 30%; cuts year view
By MarketWatch

Campbell Soup Co.’s (CPB -5.53%) fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 30% as retailers reduced inventories, particularly hurting the U.S. soup business, and the company boosted spending to market new products in its U.S. soup and simple meals divisions.

Results missed expectations, and the company reduced its guidance for the new year.

“I’m disappointed in Campbell’s first-quarter performance,” Chief Executive Denise Morrison said. “While we anticipated a challenging first quarter, the impact from retailer inventory movements was greater than anticipated.”

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-11-19 07:57:57

Interesting i’ve been noticing a little more room in the supermarkets i go to . not as many displays in the aisle blocking traffic….meat shelf’s only 1/2 -3/4 full.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 09:41:50

The local Kroger in my little burg (AKA King Soopers) is well stocked. Lots of end caps, special displays, etc. Safeway also seems to be well stocked.

Comment by United States of Crooked Politicians and Bankers
2013-11-19 13:41:21

Who eats Campbell’s Soup besides old people? It’s fawking sodium water.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 04:28:05

I wish I was making this up, this is so Lucky Ducky it is almost beyond words.

Canton, OH Wal-Mart employees organize food drive for their fellow co-workers:

More on Canton from this old New York Times piece, the city the bubble passed by:

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 11:06:43

This is walmart’s corporate headquarters:

LOL, just LOL. All the money just goes into the trust funds of Sam’s redneck reptile heirs.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 11:10:23

“Downlow Joe / Liberace has entered the building”

**waves at RAL**

Comment by rms
2013-11-19 12:06:36

“All the money just goes into the trust funds of Sam’s redneck reptile heirs.”

+1 No point pissing it away on a highrise and doorman.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 12:14:57

It’s still pretty funny that Walmart’s corporate headquarters looks pretty much like one of their Walmart Supercenters. Apparently there are cubicles all over the place and relatively few people have their own office.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 12:28:24

when i worked for tarp bank several years ago, it was in a former shoe factory. this building was about a quarter mile long, and the carpets were color-coded at intervals so you’d know where you were going to locate your desk.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 12:39:09

Early in college I worked for a summer at GMAC Mortgage in Horsham PA, packaging up physical mortgage paperwork and logging it into MERS. (90%+ of the mortgages were in random CA, NV, and AZ counties no one had ever heard of.) The building was very large (single story), many large corridors with cubicle farms on either side. I had no idea WTF was really going on, it was 2002, I don’t think anyone knew what the big picture was. The great thing was that I could work so much quicker than the other employees doing my job, allowing me to disappear for 30 min here, an hour there, etc. There were thousands of employees and sky high turnover so no one noticed.

I wonder what % of those mortgages ended up as foreclosures.

Comment by HBB_Rocks
2013-11-19 12:41:22

It’s still pretty funny that Walmart’s corporate headquarters looks pretty much like one of their Walmart Supercenters.
It’s called branding. Did you think some place that billed themselves as a ‘low cost’ retail sales company would have a home office that looked like the Taj Mahal?

That creates internal mental conflict, and fosters distrust between hq and the field.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 13:45:48

It’s called branding. Did you think some place that billed themselves as a ‘low cost’ retail sales company would have a home office that looked like the Taj Mahal?


Plenty of companies that pay low wages have very nice headquarters locations. Walmart’s HQ looks like it is about to get overrun by a stampede once EBT benefits are put on cards.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-11-19 13:53:14

Plenty of companies that pay low wages have very nice headquarters locations.

True, but I think HBB_Rocks made a very good point, and maybe they’re smart enough to see it when other companies aren’t.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 14:17:00

I know manufacturers’ sales reps who have pitched/sold to Wal-Mart. It’s pretty bare bones, no conference rooms with leather chairs. More like folding tables under fluorescent lights.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 14:20:33

How many WalMart “associates” will ever get to see Galactic HQ? And will knowing that the accountants, finance and supply chain folks who work there have a shabby cubicle really make them feel better about their $9.70 wage?

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-11-19 14:35:04

I doubt it’s for the associates. It’s for the next layer up…

Comment by HBB_Rocks
2013-11-19 15:08:07

They are harvesting a mindset, and have to go all in or it frays at the seams. That’s why it’s a generally a deadend strategy and every business doesn’t do it.

Comment by United States of Crooked Politicians and Bankers
2013-11-19 13:47:45

And yet when there are talks of unions or other measures to try to help the situation it is met with venom, oftentimes from poor people in red states trained that unions are the boogeymen. I’ve never had a union job, but as this corporate rot continues I’m starting to support the idea of new unions to battle these corporate behemoths.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 05:25:42

Love your banker. Tithe to your banker. Support your banker as he goes about doing God’s work.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 05:34:41

‘tithe to your banker’

only tithe? that’s unacceptable. you should be giving at least 40 percent of your income as interest to your banker.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 06:23:41

…… and don’t forget to lick the boots like a compliant well trained donkey!

Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 06:32:07

Don’t forget the fee. A prudent banker wil not allow his boots to be licked without charging a fee.

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Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 06:25:20

Once again, the efficient parasite doesn’t kill the host.

Strip 40% off the host and the host might die, or (gasp) he might get wise and realize he is feeding a parasite. Better for the parasite to bleed the host slowly.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 06:30:24

Mr. Banker Sir,

Could it be you that is the reason the donkey population appears so emaciated?

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Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 06:35:44

No. I am not the reason I am just the means. The reason lies with the actions of the donkeys.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 06:38:30

Mr. Banker Sir,

Please proceed with this lesson.

What causes donkeys to do this? A mental deficiency?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 06:50:33

The donkeys were getting plenty fat for the slaughter. It would be an act of mercy for Mr. Banker to stop short at putting them on a diet.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 07:27:54

“What causes the donkeys to do this? A mental deficiency?”

More like an educational deficiency. If debt donkeys were smart then guys like me would starve.

What’s wonderful about our educational system is those that graduate from it think they are much smarter than what they actually are. This gives guys like me the edge; All I have to do to agree with them that they are smart, that they deserve to have everything that they want because, after all, they have earned it. After I get them to nodding their heads up and down a bit in agreement I simply place before them a printed piece of paper that has a dotted line at the bottom, hand them a pen and - amazingly - they then sign the dotted line and - presto! - they then belong to me.

Well, actually they themselves do not belong to me, only a chunk of what they will earn over many forthcoming years will belong to me. Which is better for me because if they belonged to me then I would have to spend money on them in taking care of them. But because they do not belong to me they - after I get mine - will have to somehow take care of themselves.

Comment by cactus
2013-11-19 09:51:36

Are you feeding donkeys MIR 162 corn?

China just rejected a ship load of it

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 06:25:30

Do you use your immunity for just financial matters or do you branch out into other fun activities?

Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 06:27:41

I’m thinking of opening up a research lab so I can legally torture small animals.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 06:52:21

Compared to whales, donkeys are quite tiny.

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Comment by Dianne Feinstein
2013-11-19 07:05:28

Mr. Banker Sir, we will provide government funding for this and assign some “real journalists” to give it positive publicity.

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Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 07:36:10

You, Dianne, along with the rest of the folks in Congress are my favorite employees.

Buying a congressperson is the best investment a banker can make.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2013-11-19 07:54:09

If this slowdown gets any worse I may have to lay off a few Congressmen.

Comment by tj
2013-11-19 07:57:38

that will get their attention!

Comment by Amy Hoak
2013-11-19 06:27:29


Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 06:02:40

CNBC: “Home Ownership Is For Suckers”

“The joke is on the naïve crowd who rushed to buy a home this summer as fears of missing the next great housing boom appeared.”

“It’s inevitable the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its bond-buying program sometime in the future. And, when it does, home buyers will be wishing they were never suckered into purchasing property.”


Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 06:34:39

From the article:
“Looking at the Fed’s balance sheet, you can ascertain the Fed has purchased the equivalent of 8.1 million units (homes), which is approximately 6.2 percent of the housing stock.

Once the Fed begins tapering its mortgage-bond holdings, guess what is going to happen to home prices? You’re correct if you say they are going lower.”

You’d have to be a Mango to buy now.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 07:08:09

85 billion a month to get this pig going back up and now it has turned negative once again. What is next? The heroin no longer gets them high. The steroid receptor sites are not responding. Ole John Henry’s heart can’t keep up with the steam hammer.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-11-19 07:51:25


time for the Chinese to send our dollars back to America and take those houses off our hands.

But the fed cant directly sell them, so i’ll bet they will “auction” them off to hedge funds and then they will let the chinese buy the hedge fund….or companies like …AMH..

Comment by Amy Hoak
2013-11-19 07:12:34

Who let CNBC off the leash? This is unacceptable!

Buying a home is the best investment you can ever make. Remember, they aren’t making any more land. And you should hurry too, because when interest rates start going up, home prices will go up too. Buy now or be priced out forever!

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-11-19 06:29:39

China recently announced the end of the “one child” policy. And now this:

‘Today…Secretary of State John Kerry declared the expiration of the nearly 200-year old lodestar of U.S. diplomacy in the Americas. “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over,” Mr. Kerry said in a speech at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C.’

‘That prompted some tepid applause’

Back in DC:

‘Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors; how much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn’t known. And it repeatedly falls prey to fraud and theft that can go undiscovered for years, often eventually detected by external law enforcement agencies.’

‘No one can even agree on how many of these accounting and business systems are in use. “There are thousands and thousands of systems,” former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England said in an interview. “I’m not sure anybody knows how many systems there are.”–business.html

This just in: the Pentagon has announced a $5 billion study on how to implement the new Kerry Doctrine, which will replace the Monroe Doctrine.

Comment by goon squad
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 06:42:51

As a consultant to BigGov, when you invoice them at the end of the month for taking them out to lunch, do you add 20% or 25% on your pay req for profit and overhead?

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 07:00:51

I am a W2 employee of the contractor, so I don’t invoice anything.

We have had vacancies among analyst staff since the contract began in 2012, so we are actually running well below the “burn rate” of labor hours (Downlow Joe knows what I’m talking about) but we consistently complete all deliverables for the government client.

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Comment by Jingle Male
2013-11-19 07:15:36

Does this prove you were overbilling for many years based on labor you didn’t need to complete the job?

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 07:15:52

And you can be fired if you don’t produce (theoretically) which is one big advantage over a regular fedgov employee.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 07:16:08

“I am a W2 employee of the contractor, so I don’t invoice anything.”

Someone in your org does.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 07:56:26

If the contract allows for 100,000 labor hours in a year, and the employees work 80,000 hours, only 80,000 hours are billed.

Yes, contractors can be fired (we fired one a few months ago for incompetence), we work subject to Colorado’s right-to-work laws.

The billing is done from contractor HQ back in Northern Virginia, conveniently located near the Pentagon.

I get to “train” one of my government colleagues this week, she has been here for about 10 years, I have been here less than a year and half. Except that we are not allowed to call it “training”, as contractors are not allowed to train or assign work to government employees.

Comment by cactus
2013-11-19 09:59:34

Except that we are not allowed to call it “training”, as contractors are not allowed to train or assign work to government employees.”

when I was in my twenties I used to run qualification tests in front of government inspectors who had no clue on what i was testing. The concept of Phase was impossible to explain to one guy in his 40’s although I tried mighty every day.

I was young I didn’t care. Now it would really piss me off to have that guy watching me test and asking so many lame questions.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 07:12:23

We need to institute the policy of 25 percent of the savings to those who report scams they know about and not the current BS whistleblower takes forever and maybe you’ll get something eventually type program. New federal agency: Department of Scam Rewards.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 08:23:35

“amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors”

Bet it could be a lot (alot) more than that. I work with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), mostly for requesting accounting system audits and approval of indirect rates. There is a two to five year backlog of audits at most of DCAA’s regional offices.

And regarding the “thousands and thousands” of accounting systems in use, that sounds about right. I only work with a handful of them, but if I have to do a contract closeout of a contract old enough that its accounting involved legacy systems, and that closeout requires deobligations, it is a mess and a half. Fortunately, they hire overpaid contractors like myself to navigate that mess.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 09:45:58

‘No one can even agree on how many of these accounting and business systems are in use. “There are thousands and thousands of systems,” former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England said in an interview. “I’m not sure anybody knows how many systems there are.”

Suddenly I had a vision of the closing scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the box the Ark is in is stored in a massive warehouse, where it will no doubt be lost and forgotten.

Comment by Army No Va
2013-11-19 10:21:36

Does this mean China has been invited to invade Mexico or South America and we don’t care? Or perhaps it is in exchange for picking up QE from the Fed?

Comment by michael
2013-11-19 12:35:51

wasn’t this douche pounding the war drums just a month or so ago…begging for a chance to go to syria?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 06:54:29

This just in: It’s a crash.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 06:57:34

Nov. 19, 2013, 8:41 a.m. EST
Bitcoin drops to from $900 to $502 as swings widen
By Barbara Kollmeyer

MADRID (MarketWatch) — Volatile trading for bitcoin continued Tuesday, with prices swinging between $900.98 at their high-water mark and $502.62 at the lower end. The most recent trade was at $647. Earlier, bitcoin swung between $900 and the $700 vicinity. Some positive comments about virtual currencies at a U.S. Senate hearing helped boost prices Monday. Read MarketWatch’s live blog of the event. Also check out, Five virtual currencies other than bitcoin… Earlier Tuesday in Europe, trading volume on Mt. Gox for bitcoin more than doubled from a day earlier.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-11-19 09:00:27

It’s a bubble without any underlying asset. This is historic.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 09:20:31

It’s a bubble without any underlying asset. This is historic.

The underlying asset is a cryptographic file and the computational power (and real-world power consumption) required to “mine” it.

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Comment by Blue Skye
2013-11-19 09:39:19

Ether is not an “underlying asset”. This is a bizarre mania.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 10:54:58

‘The underlying asset is a cryptographic file and the computational power (and real-world power consumption) required to “mine” it.’

In other words, the underlying asset is equally worthless as the shiny yellow metal, except that you can’t see it, weigh it, touch it, stare at it, count your coins made of it, or wear it as jewelry.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 11:35:45

In other words, the underlying asset is equally worthless as the shiny yellow metal, except that you can’t see it, weigh it, touch it, stare at it, count your coins made of it, or wear it as jewelry.

Not really. Gold has industrial uses. And unlike bitcoins, you can hide it and easily trade it.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 14:52:42

“Not really.”

You really missed my point, which is that bitcoin is actually quite a bit less useful than gold is.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 15:04:21

You really missed my point, which is that bitcoin is actually quite a bit less useful than gold is.

Really? Interesting. Can you pay for your takeout with gold? No.You can with bitcoin.

Can you send gold instantly to someone in another country, like say a family member who needed money? No. You can with bitcoin.

Bitcoin is digital, which means anywhere there is an internet connected device in the world, one can send and receive bitcoin. One can do this without interference from governments or fees from banks. How is that not useful?

How many merchants, online or otherwise, are adopting “pay by gold”? How many are adopting bitcoin?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 19:57:06


I didn’t mean to suggest bitcoin doesn’t have its advantages as a currency (by the commonly-accepted definition, not the tj non-definition). Rather just pointing out that its ephemeral nature makes it intrinsically worthless, aside from its currency properties.

Comment by tj
2013-11-19 20:10:00

not the tj non-definition

you mean not by the wacked out non-understanding, don’t you?

Comment by oxide
2013-11-19 10:28:07

The underlying asset of bit coin is the promise that there are (or will be) only a finite number of them created. Presumably, their value will always rise with time as the demand increases and the supply stays the same.

Bear, do you know that finite number, and have they reached it, or can they still “make” more?

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Comment by goon squad
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 10:57:35

They can always arbitrarily change the rules later on, or at least announce they did so — not sure any actual change is required…just telling the masses they did something should suffice, as there is no way to independently verify an imaginary quantity which only exists in the fundamental ether of cyberspace.

Or am I missing something?

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 11:26:11

The underlying asset of bit coin is the promise that there are (or will be) only a finite number of them created.

Wrong. As I stated, the process of “mining” bitcoins requires physical inputs like servers. Those servers require electrical power, cooling, etc. Additionally, as the cryptograhpic hashes become more complex, more processing power is required to mine effectively.

Absent of supply and demand, there is an underlying cost to “mine” bitcoins, just like there is an underlying cost to mine gold, pull a barrel of oil out of the ground, or build a house. As to the promise of a finite number created, that just serves as a method to limit supply… just like there is a finite amount of gold available to mine or oil to drill.

They can always arbitrarily change the rules later on, or at least announce they did so

No, they can’t. Bitcoin is an open source, decentralized implementation of a cryptocurrency. The number of available bitcoins is based on the reward for block mining. As the bitcoin wike states:

“Eventually the reward will go from 0.00000001 BTC to zero and no more bitcoins will be created.
The block reward calculation is done as a right bitwise shift of a 64-bit signed integer, which means it is divided by two and rounded down. The integer is equal to the value in BTC * 100,000,000 since internally in the reference client software, all Bitcoin balances and values are stored as unsigned integers.”

Scarcity is built into the cryptocurrency. A natural limit to the supply of bitcoins… at about 21 million, as the block reward shifts. Changing that would require a change in the implementation which I see as impossible as any individual change would invalidate that particular peer amongst the remaining peers.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-11-19 12:28:40

“Scarcity is built into the cryptocurrency.”

John Law would have had a heyday with this!

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 14:53:58

Scarcity is built into the cryptocurrency meme, as scarcity adds value. Just ask the hoarders who are holding homes off the U.S. residential market!

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 07:52:40

Nov. 19, 2013, 9:48 a.m. EST
Salesforce losses lead tech’s decline
By Rex Crum

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Tech stocks showed signs of weakness in early trading Tuesday, with Inc. (CRM -5.03%) among the decliners. Salesforce’s shares fell more than 4%, to $53.08 a share, after the business software company reported third-quarter results late Monday. Declines also came from Google Inc. (GOOG -0.34%), Yahoo Inc. (YHOO -0.62%) and Groupon Inc. (GRPN -4.11%). The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP -0.23%) fell 9 points to 3,929.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 09:21:38

Looks like the cloud is not making it rain for tech companies…

Comment by Blackhawk
2013-11-19 06:55:20

More Lies - Unemployment Numbers Fudged Before Election.

Seriously why would we trust anything this government tells us? Blackhawk doesn’t.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 07:20:41

Ooh the Nanny statists are scrambling cause their Messiah’s approval has dropped like a stone. Three years of lame duckery is time for a lot of shenanigans, executive orders and packing the government to the gills with your cronies.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 07:43:43

Do you remember how many on this board said that I was wearing a tinfoil hat by pointing out what was obvious, that the real economy did not match the statistic and that the household survey was the easiest to fake?

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-11-19 09:03:30

This is obvious to many. We’ve got a million more people not working for every year of this administration, and the unemployment rate still looks pretty good. Half of the “49%” are unemployed.

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Comment by Bluestar
2013-11-19 13:58:06

The real economy? Only if your still using outdated models like Keynesian or Supply-side economics. Under Behavioral economics unemployment and GDP statistics are secondary metrics. The more important numbers are risk levels, competition and consumer psychology. Take the interest rate for example, isn’t it clear that the FED cares more about inflation expectations than the actual underlying measured numbers?

Unemployment levels up to 13% are acceptable/tolerable just as long as they don’t cause widespread labor strikes. When you start getting large scale labor strikes the political system can fail and the whole thing comes crashing down.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 07:28:35

How I remember being raked over the coals when I pointed out that the unemployment numbers had to be manipulated before the 2012 election because the fall in unemployment would have to mean that 800,000 jobs were created in one month when we were averaging around 200,000 per month and there was no reason to suspect a jump. Rio was one the worse but since the average IQ in Brazil is 87 and Rio is about 5 points above that I am not surprised.

BTW, nice try Rio I read your posts after I shut down the computer. However, there is no way that Brazil would not be considered a low income country when its per capita income is lower than China’s per capita income. (Around 5700 vs. 6000) income, trying to compare legal minimum wages does not capture the data as well as the per capita income. Comparing prison wages is also a red herring since Brazil has a large number of people working in the sugar fields as virtual slaves and they are not getting the minimum wage and they are no different than prison labor. I have documented that on this board numerous times. Just like Obama, you lie and even after you get caught in one lie, you just make a new lie.

But under the rules for radicals, lies are a good thing if you are advancing the cause.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 07:39:35

You guys brutalized the LIEberal yesterday. Today the Mangoo Tranny is dazed and staggering on the streets of Rio. :mrgreen:

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 07:46:27

But that is his usual condition.

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Comment by jose canusi
2013-11-19 07:50:01

Just wait for the Olympics in Brazil, that oughta be a real gas.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 07:56:16

BTW, I probably will not be able to post for the next few hours so anticipating the response from Rio and a few others on this board who may try to claim that wealth is more concentrated in China than Brazil, here is this statistic:

If you look at the numbers you will see that there is more income inequality in Brazil than in China. They have a lower Gini score and the lower the score the less income inequality. Thus, just comparing the per capita income actually under estimates how much better China’s worker’s are paid than the worker slaves in Brazil. Despite this per capita income is the best measure if not a perfect measure. Brazil is an example of the Animal Farm novel in real life.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 13:44:36

Hmmm… according to the chart the US and Mexico have comparable GINIs, yet no one is sneaking into Mexico from the US to work.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 14:32:46

Because GINI just addresses the inequity of wealth not the level of wealth for the entire country. In a socialistic state that is pure but makes everyone destitute, it would still rank high on the GINI scale. Similarly, in a capitalistic society where even the poor have a decent standard of living compared to the rest of the world but some people are really rich you will have a lower reading than the destitute socialistic country. It often comes down to do you value equality more than ensuring the most productive society.

Comment by azdude02
2013-11-19 07:53:45

Housing gains are in the bag for 2014. After the superbowl its game on for equity.

I’m sad maria bartiromo’s sexyness will be gone at cnbc. Fox is getting all the babes.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 08:01:17

“game on for equity”

I’m counting on Peyton to personally throw about $100K of equity my way when we win the Souper Bowl.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-11-19 09:06:05

‘I’m counting on Peyton to personally throw about $100K of equity my way when we win the Souper Bowl.’


I picture Peyton hearing the pleas and going long, throwing a wad of cash, to underwater FBs as they stand in a dazed cargo cult stance ala Mean Joe Greene throwing the little boy his jersey in that Coke commercial:,_Catch!

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 09:50:31

I’m counting on Peyton to personally throw about $100K of equity my way when we win the Souper Bowl.

Didn’t you get the initial $10K installment after they beat the Chefs?

Comment by NH Hick
2013-11-19 11:05:15

Oh the horrors everyone is switching to “Faux” news. Maybe it’s because they are more concerned with reporting the truth. Not everyone in this country is a brain dead moron which the left assumes. Maybe NBC will hire Olberman and they could also hire Rosie to bring back their ratings, HA,HA,HA.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 13:52:24

That creates internal mental conflict, and fosters distrust between hq and the field.

If you want the truth you won’t get it from the corporate owned MSM, whether it be “liberal” or “conservative”.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 14:37:41

I actually watch Al Jazeera news more. More hard news and less commentary. But I agree that MSNBC is nothing but propaganda. They wouldn’t tell the truth if they were water boarded but they should try on Olberman anyway even if he is not on the network anymore.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 14:34:09

They do have to be careful, if they shorten the dresses any more they will be thrown off basic cable.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 15:34:22

That comment is for Fox news not Al Jazeera.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 08:34:58

“Mr. Girard believed that martial law, complete with gun confiscation, is imminent. Since it is impermissible for people to believe that government agents will carry out paramilitary raids to confiscate firearms, a paramilitary squad was sent to Girard’s home to confiscate his firearms.”

Black-Clad Einsatzgruppen Confiscate Guns in California

William Norman Grigg
Lew Rockwell Blog
November 19, 2013

Einsatzgruppen are special paramilitary task forces, the most notorious of which were the death squads deployed by Germany’s National Socialist regime. The contemporary American soyuz is lousy with einsatzgruppen, some of which — such as the Pima County, Arizona SWAT team, which murdered Jose Guerena in his Tucson home – behave in a fashion almost indistinguishable from their German antecedents.

Image: Seized Guns (Wikimedia Commons).
The State of California’s Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) has created aneinsatzgruppe dedicated exclusively to gun confiscation. Using gun registration lists, the APPS stormtroopers, “arriving in SUVs and dressed in black tactical uniforms … regularly sweep through California cities” to seize firearms from people the state has designated “prohibited persons,” reports the Fresno Bee. A criminal conviction is not necessary for enrollment on the civilian disarmament register; all that is necessary is an official finding by the state’s Welfare bureaucracy that the gun owner is “a danger to himself or others.”

The searches are conducted without warrants — unless the targeted individuals refuse to cooperate, in which case the raiders will “seek a warrant and lock down the house until they get results.” California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that will use a $24 million surplus from firearms purchase fees to hire 36 new jackboots for the squad.

So far, California is the only state to deploy a dedicated gun confiscation team — but it isn’t the only one to engage in pre-emptive civilian disarmament. In 1999, the Connecticut legislature enacted a measure permitting police to confiscate firearms from any individual believed to pose “a risk of imminent personal injury to himself … or to other individuals.” All that is necessary for the seizure to occur is a sworn complaint “by any state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney or by any two police officers to any judge of the Superior Court.” The confiscated firearms can be held for up to a year, without any criminal charges or civil action being taken against their owner. Thousands of firearms have been seized under that provision, which famously did not prevent the Sandy Hook Massacre.

In the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, police and prosecutors didn’t even bother pretending that they were enforcing a law permitting the pre-emptive disarmament of Gregory Girard, a resident of Manchester-by-the-Sea, after his estranged wife — who apparently is a temporally displaced subject of East Germany — called health and welfare officials to report that her husband held eccentric political views. Specifically, Mr. Girard believed that martial law, complete with gun confiscation, is imminent. Since it is impermissible for people to believe that government agents will carry out paramilitary raids to confiscate firearms, a paramilitary squad was sent to Girard’s home to confiscate his firearms.

California’s roving gun confiscation squad will be the template from which numerous anti-gun einsatzgruppen will be struck.

This article was posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 5:21 am

Tags: domestic news, gun rights, police state

Comment by Dianne Feinstein
2013-11-19 08:50:31

None of this is true, as it was not reported by “real journalists”.

And if it was true, it’s good news for my home state of California, as we work to disarm “prohibited persons” and make our streets safer, because it’s for the children.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-11-19 10:34:42

I’ve seen references to goofy Lew Rockwell writings a number of times on this blog. I’ve never read anything that he’s written, but I imagine that it wouldn’t be difficult to establish that he’s a crackpot.

Also, I like the way he mentions that these cops in California where black uniforms. Is there a better color for them to wear?

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 11:43:01

Also, I like the way he mentions that these cops in California where black uniforms. Is there a better color for them to wear?

Since when does law enforcement need to dress in black tactical gear, as if they were Navy SEALS or Army Delta Force commandos? Are they fighting in Falluja, Iraq?

Answer: They don’t. This is just more of the militarization of the police, otherwise known as jack-booted thuggery. And of course you didn’t even bother to key in on the constitutional rights violations right? They perform these raids without a warrant, and only try and get one after the fact.

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Comment by MightyMike
2013-11-19 15:19:22

If cops are entering houses without a warrant, that’s a serious issue. If they were wearing standard blue police uniforms, I don’t think that would be any better.

Comment by John Boehner
2013-11-19 14:03:20

Forget politics, what does it take to get a reach-around at a public restroom anymore?

Comment by Lyndsey Graham
2013-11-19 14:26:35

The undercover police are on to the toe tap, so don’t do that.

Tie your left shoe to give a reacharound, tie your left shoe to receive.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 15:23:40

Ask Lola.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 09:27:17

Molan Labe.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 10:07:29

Wisconsin Political Speech Raid

Subpoenas hit allies of Scott Walker as his re-election campaign looms.

Updated Nov. 18, 2013 3:49 p.m. ET

Americans learned in the IRS political targeting scandal that government enforcement power can be used to stifle political speech. Something similar may be unfolding in Wisconsin, where a special prosecutor is targeting conservative groups that participated in the battle over Governor Scott Walker’s union reforms.

In recent weeks, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders.

Copies of two subpoenas we’ve seen demand “all memoranda, email . . . correspondence, and communications” both internally and between the subpoena target and some 29 conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees. The groups include the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

One subpoena also demands “all records of income received, including fundraising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.” In other words, tell us who your donors are.

The probe began in the office of Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, though no one will publicly claim credit for appointing Mr. Schmitz, the special prosecutor. The investigation is taking place under Wisconsin’s John Doe law, which bars a subpoena’s targets from disclosing its contents to anyone but his attorneys. John Doe probes work much like a grand jury, allowing prosecutors to issue subpoenas and conduct searches, while the gag orders leave the targets facing the resources of the state with no way to publicly defend themselves.

That makes it hard to confirm any details. But one target who did confirm receiving a subpoena is Eric O’Keefe, who realizes the personal risk but wants the public to know what is going on. Mr. O’Keefe is director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which advocates lower taxes, limited government and other conservative priorities. He has worked in political and policy circles for three decades, including stints as national director of the Libertarian Party in 1980 and a director of the Cato Institute, and he helped to found the Center for Competitive Politics, which focuses on protecting political speech.

Mr. O’Keefe says he received his subpoena in early October. He adds that at least three of the targets had their homes raided at dawn, with law-enforcement officers turning over belongings to seize computers and files.

Mr. O’Keefe and other sources say they don’t know the genesis of the probe, and Mr. Schmitz declined comment. The first public reference appeared in an October 21 blog post by Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mr. Bice is well known for his Democratic sources.

The kitchen-sink subpoenas deserve skepticism considering their subject and targets. The disclosure of conservative political donors has become a preoccupation of the political left across the country. In the heat of the fight over Governor Walker’s reforms, unions urged boycotts of Walker contributors and published a list of Walker donors for boycotting.

The subpoena demand for the names of donors to nonprofit groups that aren’t legally required to disclose them is especially troubling. Readers may recall that the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent the tax-exempt applications of several conservative groups to the ProPublica news website in 2012.

The subpoenas don’t spell out a specific allegation, but the demands suggest the government may be pursuing a theory of illegal campaign coordination by independent groups during the recall elections. If prosecutors are pursuing a theory that independent conservative groups coordinated with candidate campaigns during the recall, their goal may be to transform the independent expenditures into candidate committees after the fact, requiring revision of campaign-finance disclosures and possible criminal charges.

Another reason for skepticism is the probe’s timing as Mr. Walker’s 2014 re-election campaign looms. This is the second such investigation against Mr. Walker in three and a half years, following one that began in the office of Milwaukee County Democratic District Attorney John Chisholm in spring 2010.

That probe examined whether staffers used government offices for political purposes while Mr. Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, but after three years turned up nothing on Mr. Walker and embarrassingly little else. The final charges included a case of an aide sending campaign emails on county time, two Walker aides stealing money, and charges of child enticement against the domestic partner of a former staffer.

Mr. Walker’s Democratic recall opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, nonetheless used the probe against the Governor, saying in a debate that “I have a police department that arrests felons, he has a practice of hiring them.” So it’s notable that the new batch of subpoenas began flying just days before Democrat Mary Burke announced her candidacy for Governor. District Attorneys are partisan elected officials in Wisconsin, and Mr. Landgraf works for Mr. Chisholm. Neither of them returned our call for comment.

The investigation’s focus on campaign-finance law also falls into the wheelhouse of the Government Accountability Board, Wisconsin’s political speech regulator. The GAB, which is made up of retired judges appointed by the Governor, has a history of pushing aggressive regulations of issue advertising. Mr. O’Keefe’s Wisconsin Club for Growth has fought in court with the GAB over regulating political speech.

A person who has seen one of the Wisconsin search warrants tells us that the warrants were executed based on the request of Dean Nickel, who filed an affidavit for probable cause. Mr. Nickel is a former head of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Public Integrity Unit and has worked as an investigator for the GAB. Mr. Nickel told us he is a contractor for the GAB but wouldn’t discuss the John Doe probe. GAB Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy declined to comment.

Perhaps the probe will turn up some nefarious activity that warrants this subpoena monsoon and home raids. But in the meantime the effect is to limit political speech by intimidating these groups from participating in the 2014 campaign. Stifling allies of Mr. Walker would be an enormous in-kind contribution to Democrats. Even if no charges are filed, the subpoenas will have served as a form of speech suppression.

Mr. O’Keefe told us that the flurry of subpoenas “froze my communications and frightened many allies and vendors of the pro-taxpayer political movement in Wisconsin and across the country.” Even if no one is ever convicted of a crime, he says, “the process is the punishment.” -

Comment by reedalberger
2013-11-19 13:00:25

This type of thing should scare the f..k out over everyone in this country.

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 13:50:17

“This type of thing should scare the f..k out over everyone in this country.”

It should but it doesn’t.

This type of thing gets filed under phony scandals.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 09:40:23

The Einsatzgruppen were tasked with exterminating Jews/Gypsies in the territories conquored by Nazi Germany.

To compare your local SWAT team to the guys who committed the war crime Babi Yar is stretching things way beyond credibility.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 09:44:48

Comparing your local SWAT team to the Einsatzgruppen, who summarily executed millions of Jews and political opponents of Nazi Germany doesn’t enhance this articles credibility, IMO.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 09:54:00

How about IDF hammering away at Palestinians?

Comment by MightyMike
2013-11-19 10:41:29

The occupation of Palestinian territories is a violation of international law. It is made possible by American support, in other words us. But why do you bring up in this context?

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Comment by Abraham Foxman
2013-11-19 10:42:08

Your name has been added to “the list”.

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Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 11:19:58

The US government should/could reign in the Israelis.

Because we don’t, either…..

-The US tacitly supports whatever the Israelis do (including whatever atrocities/violations of international law they commit), or,

-For whatever (tinfoil hat or not) reasons, the Israeli government has way too much influence on US policy.

Because of this, our name is Mudd in the Arab/Muslim world.

Fairness and common sense says we should be re-evaluating our total Middle East policy. We are supposed to be energy independent, and not dependent on Middle East oil, right?

I’m going to throw this one out there:

Iran should have nukes.

If for no other reason, it might give our government pause before they commit our country to more hare-brained nation building scheme.

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Comment by rms
2013-11-19 13:04:31

“Iran should have nukes.”

The best way to destroy Iran is with high fructose corn syrup, fast food franchises, pornography, the Kardashians, music, etc., and get rich doing it.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 13:24:13

What he said.

The future belongs to the young. If this country had a lick of sense, it would be making this country as “young-friendly” as possible.

What used to be great about the US was that you could get away from “tyranny”, be it Hitler or Stalin, or the tyranny of old people, and old ways of doing things.

Political and business isolation just plays into the status-quo die hards hands.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 11:33:55

Comparing your local SWAT team to the Einsatzgruppen, who summarily executed millions of Jews and political opponents of Nazi Germany doesn’t enhance this articles credibility, IMO.

Google Jose Guerena.

SWAT raid fatal drama is revealed in 911 call

This man was innocent. This man was an honored veteran. This man was killed in his home while ostensibly protecting his family under the natural rights afforded him and the constitution of the United States.

This type of bungled raid goes on every day with similar results. These jack-booted thugs are no different than the Nazis.

Molon Labe

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 12:35:24

For starters, the real Einsatztruppen wouldn’t have shot him 22 times. The would have just trucked him out to a ditch in the woods, and shot him (and everyone in the neighborhood) in the back of the head.

Of course, these are the same Einsatztruppen that initially gave George Zimmerman a pass. Funny how nobody in the NRA is getting their panties in a bunch over that.

I guess, as Harry Callahan said “There’s nothing wrong with shooting, as long as the right people get shot”. In this case, the “right people” being an unarmed black guy.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 14:40:31

In this case, the “right people” being an unarmed black guy.

Not to beat this dead horse any more, but that unarmed black guy was a thug with a criminal history who assaulted the wrong white guy. A jury of his peers found Zimmerman not guilty. The police didn’t want to charge Zimmerman in the first place, based on the evidence at hand, it was only after political pressure was put on them by the race baiters that Police eventually charged him.

So, as far as the NRA and every lawful gun-owner is concerned, justice was served.

As far as thugs go, here’s another one you may not have heard about. NYPD officer beaten-to a pulp

I guess this thug doesn’t deserve to be shot in your world, right? I mean, he’s unarmed…

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 08:39:41

“Why buy a house at these grossly inflated prices when you can rent it for half the cost of a mortgage, taxes, insurance and crushing maintenance costs?”


Buy later have housing has finally bottomed for 65% less.

Comment by Amy Hoak
2013-11-19 08:53:16

Renting is just throwing money away and paying your landlord’s mortgage.

When you buy a home, you buy a piece of the American Dream.

Comment by Debt Donkey
2013-11-19 08:58:03

I’m a sad donkey. I don’t have two dimes to rub together since I bought this @#$%ing house.

Comment by SNAP homowner
2013-11-19 16:11:54

i buyed these junker house for get rich buh the wader header go out and no heat now ether . can no use SNAP for house repar not sher how 2 pa for it an no mony for montly paymin.

Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-11-19 08:58:13

Any day now there will be a feature bigscreen movie about bitcoins, like FB had its ‘Social Network’ one:

TIL about the assassination market w/ bitcoins. Crowdfunding. Wow. Wait until other forms of democracy are for sale with bitcoins. This could get very interesting.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 10:02:50

Unlike facebook, few J6Ps even know what a bitcoin is.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 14:55:58

Twerking and selfie are IN. Bitcoin, future, and optimism are OUT.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 14:57:36

Justin Bieber, Rihanna, the Pope help make ‘selfie’ word of the year
November 19, 2013, 2:39 AM

If you haven’t heard the word “selfie” yet, consider yourself lucky.

Sorry to say, though, your luck’s about to run out, because the term was just named word of the year for 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries. It was a unanimous decision “with little if any argument,” beating out the equally objectionable “twerk” for the honor.

“Normally there will be some good-natured debate as one person might champion their particular choice over someone else’s,” the decision-makers said in a release. “But this time, everyone seemed to be in agreement almost from the start.”

They traced the word — a self-portrait usually taken with a camera phone — back to an Australian Internet forum in 2002, but it didn’t catch fire until this year. Since 2013 started, we’ve endured a 17,000% surge in its usage. While still not in the print version, “selfie” was added to Oxford Dictionaries Online in August.

And the excitement, post-announcement, was palpable.

Not Will Ferrell @itsWillyFerrell

Twerking and Selfie have officially been added to the dictionary, as a result, Future and Optimism have been removed.
9:30 PM - 18 Nov 2013

We can blame the meteoric rise on attention-seeking Instagramming celebrities like Justin Bieber and Rihanna, both of whom have mastered the craft.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 21:41:24

‘Selfie’ Becomes Word of the Year, Beats ‘Twerk’ and ‘Bitcoin’
By Vanilla Sharma
November 19, 2013 11:19 AM IST

The Oxford Dictionaries has announced the word “selfie” as its International Word of the Year, beating popular words like “twerk” and “bitcoin”.

“Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research program, which collects around 150 million words of current English in use each month, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of ’selfie’ in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as Word of the Year,” Today News quoted Judy Pearsall, Editorial Director of Oxford Dictionaries, as saying.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines selfie as: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 15:30:04

Actually, when Joe6Pack knows what bitcoin is and starts to crow about it as a speculative investment, you’ll know it’s time to sell your bitcoin.

FWIW, I work for a software company that offers cloud-based servers to the financial sector. I asked three people on my team, all techies, if they knew anything about bitcoin, and they said no. This thing has a long way to go still when even the average techie in a major tech hub doesn’t know about it, never mind mom and pop on Main Street…

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 15:35:27

Sorry, offers cloud-based services, not servers.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 15:36:45

My thirteen-year-old son, who explained bitcoin to my wife before I even knew what it was, has something on your techies.

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Comment by SNAP homowner
2013-11-19 17:03:31

NERDS!!! :)

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 19:59:30

Self-professed and proud of it…

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-11-19 21:08:36

“Any day now there will be a feature bigscreen movie about bitcoins, like FB had its ‘Social Network’ one: “

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Savings bonds bought in 2001 are up over 95%. The S&P 500 index gain an average annual 7.5% since November 2003. Gold went from around $400 to now $1278. Housing is up artificially since 2003.

It’s nice to be in three different asset classes while watching what could be a tulip deal going on. I’m not into “housing”

Mad because I have no bitcoin? Not really. Yes I could have put $13 into bitcoins in January and sold out but there are a lot of things that also go up well. My average price on my former company stock is under $6 and it’s now above $33. I have several thousand shares of it and it’s a hold. It has done well in its business acquisitions - they are money makers.

Comment by tj
2013-11-19 22:02:59

Bill, i think you’re smart to stay out of bitcoin, especially now. too many things could go wrong.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 09:11:31

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP.

Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.

The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.” - 8k -

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-11-19 11:26:46

Canamerica, or Americanada?

Why the United States and Canada should merge: Foreign Policy opinion

“By erasing the border, Canada would gain a military with a stake in protecting its resources from foreign incursions, and the investment capital and people to develop oil, natural gas and other mining projects in the country’s undeveloped north. The United States, for its part, would have access to an estimated 13 percent of the world’s remaining undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas. “The most obvious synergy,” she writes, “would be matching Canada’s undeveloped resource potential with America’s money, markets and workers.”"

Comment by rosie
2013-11-19 13:35:34

She’s an American who lives in Canada. She want’s to be more famous. Like Mayor Ford.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-11-19 13:39:02

I don’t see what’s in it for Canada. I don’t think they care about military “protection” and can probably get all the capital they need for energy exploration. Sounds like something an American would write (US citizen if you prefer).

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-11-19 13:53:58

I don’t think they care about military “protection”

Yeah, I actually extrapolated from that that it would be in “American” military interests to keep the Chinese out of Canada.

And referring to the US as “America,” as in the title of her book, is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 14:24:52

And referring to the US as “America,” as in the title of her book, is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

FWIW, in Latin America yanks are referred to a “norteamericanos”.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 13:46:14

But would we get socialized healthcare as part of the deal? ;-)

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 09:22:51

President Obama Trying to “Fast Track” the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a Trade Pact That Could Be Worse Than NAFTA

Published 1, September 28, 2013

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro

Know much about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? If you don’t, it’s not your fault. According to Zoë Carpenter (The Nation), Congress hasn’t heard much about TPP either. That’s because this so-called “free trade” agreement is being negotiated in “extreme” secrecy by representatives of twelve different countries—the United States, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Carpenter says that the Obama administration has ignored “repeated calls from legislators to make the process more transparent, while pressing to finalize the agreement this year.”

In his article titled Multinationals Are Plotting to Steamroll What’s Left of Our Democracy to Make Huge Profits, Dave Johnson says that the TPP negotiating process “has been rigged from the start.” While hundreds of representatives of corporate-interest groups have been providing their input— “representatives of labor, human rights, civil justice, consumer, environmental and other stakeholder groups have been kept away from the negotiating table.” Members of Congress have not seen the agreement yet. United States Senators “have been barred from seeing negotiation points or drafts.” The public has been denied any access to TPP negotiating texts. We the people—as well as our elected representatives—are being “kept in the dark” as to what is going on behind closed doors. Yet, “600 corporate advisers” have been involved in the negotiation process. Multi-national corporations like Monsanto and Walmart are helping to craft the agreement.

Most of the information that we have on the TPP trade agreement has come from “drafts leaked by participants dissatisfied with one provision or another.”

In May, Erika Eichelberger provided some information about TPP in her Mother Jones article titled The Biggest Secret Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of, Explained. She says that “trade experts” claim that trade deal negotiations are always conducted under a certain level of secrecy. This supposedly makes it “easier for countries to negotiate amongst themselves without too much noise from advocacy groups and others inside countries.” Bryan Riley, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said, “That is how trade deals have worked…if they are made public, all interested groups can start tearing things apart before it’s even done.”

Eichelberger argues that “there is precedent for releasing proposed trade deal information to the public.” She wrote: “A full draft text of the Free Trade Area of the Americas was released in 2001 during negotiations on that 34-nation pact; a draft text of the recently-completed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was released; and the World Trade Organization posts negotiating texts on its website.”

David Brodwin, a cofounder and board member of American Sustainable Business Council, claims that TPP is not merely a trade pact because it would protect legacy industries from competition and would strip governments of the means to manage their own economies. Brodwin says that TPP has been “positioned” as a simple trade agreement that would “harmonize tariffs and other trade rules and promote trade among the countries involved.” He says, however, that the pact has been described by critics as a “stealthy delivery mechanism for policies that could not survive public scrutiny” and one that could “severely curtail government authority at all levels.”

Writing for The Nation, Lori Wallach said that TPP had been “cleverly misbranded” as a trade agreement by “its corporate boosters.” According to Wallach, that’s why “it has cruised along under the radar” since George W. Bush “initiated negotiations in 2008.” Although the Obama administration “paused the talks” for a while in order to develop an “approach compatible with candidate Obama’s pledges to replace the old NAFTA-based trade model,” the negotiations were restarted where Bush had left off by late 2009.

Wallach suggests we think of TPP “as a stealthy delivery mechanism for policies that could not survive public scrutiny.” She notes that just two of the twenty-six chapters of the pact cover traditional trade matters. She says the other chapters “embody the most florid dreams of the 1 percent—grandiose new rights and privileges for corporations and permanent constraints on government regulation.” She says TPP includes investor safeguards that would “ease job offshoring and assert control over natural resources”—and adds that it would “severely limit the regulation of financial services, land use, food safety, natural resources, energy, tobacco, healthcare and more - 250k

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 10:01:25

I heard yesterday in a discussion that many HR departments use your email provider as a filter on whether or not you get past the gate.

What I basically read was that if you have an “old school” email provider like aol, yahoo or hotmail that you are obviously a dinosaur and should be shunned. Apparently if you are a young pretty thing, then you use obviously use GMail.

I mentioned that I didn’t care for an email provider that snoops and reads my email. The response I received was a collective set of rolled eyes. What a nation of sheep we have become. I guess that as long as there is a new Lexus in the garage, and we have the latest iToys, it’s all good.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-11-19 11:07:51

What a nation of sheep we have become. I guess that as long as there is a new Lexus in the garage, and we have the latest iToys, it’s all good.

AKA, The Matrix.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 09:23:40

Interesting personal story here-

The Mrs. and MIL ran into a long time acquaintance of theirs over last weekend. She had dropped out of sight since selling her house in CT. According to Mrs., this woman is in her 60’s, was always well dressed, looked well put together “all the time”. Not anymore… she’s was haggard, the guy she was with was equally as busted up and she said, “there is no way selling a house is going to finance retirement.” She didn’t get the details as to what her living arrangements were subsequent to selling the dump but I do remember how this broad was belaboring the fact that she had to whack the price every couple months for years just to find a buyer.

Lesson: Houses don’t fund “retirement”. They never have nor will they ever.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 10:47:59

Houses don’t fund “retirement”

Somebody should have taught that to the people in my office, the oldest one here is 73.

Comment by United States of Crooked Politicians and Bankers
2013-11-19 21:10:24

My aunt is selling her DC area 4 bedroom on 1/2 acre for $600k or something. It’s paid off. Not sure, but I’d assume that’ll go a ways in helping her retirement.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-20 05:51:02

It requires a buyer at that price first.

Comment by Dale
2013-11-19 10:27:06

Possible layoffs coming where I work. Curious what peoples views are regarding “lump sum” payout vs “monthly income” for retirement. Monthly income is based on 7% return on lump sum (I believe it is indexed to inflation every year as well). Company used to have medical benefits in retirement if you took the monthly income but are now pushing people onto exchanges so medical is gone. I used to think the medical made the monthly income attractive but now that it’s gone I am not sure. On the other hand where can one get 7% return with no risk.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-11-19 11:05:52

On the other hand where can one get 7% return with no risk.

Right now nowhere. Which would also make me suspicious about the actual level of risk of taking the “monthly income” option. It can not be zero as they would like you to think.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 11:34:01

The lump sum means you have some moderate control of the money.

The monthly income (defined benefit?) means you are at the mercy of the pukes running the fund. And if the company goes Chapter 11. Ask UAW workers, Detroit City employees how that’s working out for them.

I took a buyout offer on one of my pension plans last year. Figured I’d have to live until 80 (and this assumed I couldn’t get a return on the buy out) before the monthly payout beat the buyout offer. And being single, I get no benefit after I kick the bucket, vs. being able to pass money along to the kids.

As far as life expectancy/living to 80, my current retirement plan is a fatal stroke/heart attack, preferable on/before the next time I find myself unemployed. In an ideal world, it will happen when I’m the only guy in the shop, so the Vampires in the health care industry won’t get a chance to stick their fangs in my savings.

(When the SHTF, $40-50K in cash might mean the difference between the kid’s survival, and living under a bridge).

Comment by Dale
2013-11-19 11:43:18

I think it is “fairly safe” as it is basically an annuity that is set up for each employee. There is an “age” component to it as well and because I am “so young”(haha) HR has suggested delaying retirement date after separation date to get a larger payout later on. Based on family history, I could collect this for well over 30 years. I think the thirty year treasuries are at 3.75 and will likely go up in the future.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 12:44:26

“……delay retirement date after separation date”

Howz that going to work? How can you retire after “seperation”? (Just curious)

In my case, when my position was eliminated, they wanted to separate me 45 days before my “Vested” date, in which case I’d have been let go with no pension rights at all.

My particular circumstances, and their relatively employee-friendly HR policies kept me on the payroll until I was “vested”.

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Comment by Dale
2013-11-19 14:20:16

Apparently pension is calculated on 1)highest income 2)years service credit and 3)age. When you stop working (separation date) the service credit and income is frozen but your age keeps going up as long as you haven’t collected retirement. You can retire (start collecting income) at any time after the separation date and they work with your current age to calculate retirement income. So it will be more but I have not done the math yet. It seems a lot like the social security system.

Another question, should you assume HR is looking out for your interests (employee friendly) or are they pushing what is good for the company (who employs them)? I think I may have answered my own question.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 10:39:12

Establishment Proposes: “Have the Government Give Every Adult a Basic Income”

Mac Slavo
November 19, 2013

With government intervention now becoming the only viable solution being touted for everything from individual health care and the economy to our personal safety and how we educate our children, it would only make sense that officials in Washington also figure out a way to use their power of confiscation and redistribution to equalize the income playing field.

It’s no secret that 48 million Americans require nutritional assistance just to put food on the table, or that over 100 million of us are living in or at the very edge of poverty, or that nearly one in three of us is currently without any meaningful labor.

This is a major problem, and if we stay on our current trajectory those numbers are going to continue to rise. The American people are broke, and so are the businesses that employ them, which means that we’ll continue to shed jobs, decrease wages and further impoverish an already dwindling middle class.

Enter the idea of a Universal Basic Income, to be distributed by the Federal government on a monthly basis to every adult in America.

You read that right.

It’s a proposal being floated by members of the establishment media at The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Business Insider, and based on their research, would put a decisive end to poverty and income inequality in America.

According to the “experts,” this is how it would work:

A simple idea for eliminating poverty is garnering greater attention in recent weeks: automatically have the government give every adult a basic income.

It’s exactly how it sounds. The government would mail every American over the age of 21 a check each month. That’s it. Everyone is free to do what they like with it.

Giving each working-age American a basic income equal to the poverty linewould cost $2.14 trillion. For some comparison, U.S. GDP was almost $16 trillion in 2012 and the defense budget was $700 billion.

But a minimum income would also allow us to eliminate every government benefit as well. Get rid of SNAP, TANF, housing vouchers, the Earned Income tax credit and many others.

The clear [benefit] is that no American would live below the poverty line. The U.S. has been waging the War on Poverty for a generation now and still nearly 50 million Americans are below the line. This would end that war with a decisive victory.

First, the assumption being made here is that when you send every person in America a paycheck, they will then use that money to purchase food and the basic essentials they need for survival. They wouldn’t spend that money on new smart phones, or vacations, or home upgrades, or any of that stuff that drove our consumer-based society into a mountain of debt to begin with. Once the government starts doling out the checks, everyone is going to be responsible with their newly found wealth and use it on the things they really need.

Second, injecting $2.1 trillion dollars of cash into the U.S. economy on a yearly basis is only going to be positive for the consumer, right? Are we to assume that when more money is chasing the same amount of goods that the price of those goods will remain the same? That there will be no direct inflationary impact as consumers race to spend their monthly stipend on goods they couldn’t have bought before? Prices are already rising at a rate of nearly 10% a year. What do you think will happen when two trillion new dollars are introduced into the economy on an annual basis?

Third, and probably the most important aspect of all this is how, exactly, are we going to fund this?

To spread the wealth around we have one of two choices.

We can either increase taxes on working Americans to offset the payments going to those who make less than them, or we can borrow it from our creditors by raising our debt ceiling an additional $2.1 trillion on a yearly basis (on top of the existing increase requirements).

Raising taxes isn’t going to work simply because those who generate an income in this country just had their financial futures destroyed by the Patient Affordable Care Act, which promises to triple their monthly mandated health payments. They’ve got nothin’ left after mortgage, car payment, food, utilities and forced health insurance at the barrel of a gun.

Printing money, we suppose will work. For a short while, at least, until our foreign creditors realize there is absolutely no way our country can pay back the trillions of dollars we’re adding to our balance on a yearly basis.

Thus, in the end, we either go broke through taxation, rendering all of us to living on the edge of poverty or below it, or, the Federal Reserve will be forced to make up the difference by printing trillions upon trillions of dollars that will have the effect of rising prices for goods that people will no longer be able to afford, like food, electricity, and other essentials.

Both options lead to essentially the same result.

Margaret Thatcher once warned that socialism only works until you run out of other peoples’ money

We’re just about out.

Take a guess what happens next.

This article was posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 5:36 am

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 11:00:26

Giving people a basic income instead of a medley of programs would save administrative costs and it would reduce the total amount of support. Instead of someone getting a $1200 section 8 voucher + $200 EBT (food stamps) + $ xxx in other programs, you just give them, say, $800/month and let them decide how to spend it.

This removes the gov’t from picking “winners and losers” (supporting landlords and Big Agra, for example) and would eliminate much of the gaming of the system where people are perversely rewarded for taking time to figure out all the different benefits they can receive from this or that program.

I guess you could say — the government should stop ALL forms of assistance or cut it off after a fairly short period of time. This would clearly increase crime, particularly property crime that stymies business and personal investments. There is a point on the curve where the marginal benefit of handing someone a basic amount of money provides fare more value than having some/many of these people resort to petty crime or unrest. For example, adding 1 additional officer to each shift in a certain precinct runs several hundred thousand bucks a year when you include the health costs, the cost of the additional squad car, etc. Now imagine beefing up forces by 10% or 20% … of course, some reptiles will claim that police should only be paid like $30k or something and shouldn’t get squad cars, they should use their personal vehicles. My point is, to some extent it makes more sense to give Tyrone or Jethro $800/month rather than pay MUCH more to incarcerate him or pass the costs along to law abiding people by having them deal with more petty crime/theft/assaults.

It sucks that there are lazy people but it’s a fact of life that a grown-up adult living in the real world has to deal with. To the extent we can remove the government from actively managing these people and towards incentivizing them to want a real way out, it would be excellent. I would add that basic barebones drug rehab could probably be paid for by legalizing and taxing marijuana rather than spending billions each yr to fight the non-existant problem that is weed.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 11:40:47

And taxes on soda and alcohol. Especially alcohol, since most of the highway/domestic mayhem around here always seems to be “alcohol related”.

In fact, don’t call them taxes. Call them “user fees”. To offset some of the costs government incurs by their excessive use.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 11:43:28

And,if Jethro is incarcerated, his monthly “basic income” check can be collected to help pay for his “Extended Stay Gray Rock Hotel”.

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 12:16:56

Now, would the parents of the youths playing the ‘Knockout’ Game be eligible for a “basic income” check?

If so, could it be garnished to pay for the victims of the ‘Knockout’ Game? I guess you couldn’t do that because then the parents of the youths playing the ‘Knockout’ Game would be back under the poverty line.

I’ve got it!

Let’s pay the parents of the youths playing the ‘Knockout’ Game double, that way they can pay restitution and remain above the poverty line.

Alarming ‘Knockout’ Game Sweeping the Nation?

Police say roving bands of youths are reportedly preying on passersby with the aim of knocking them out with one punch—sometimes fatally.

By: Lynette Holloway
Posted: Nov. 17 2013 1:19 PM

Shot from surveillance video of “knockout” game

An alarming new “game” that has reportedly caused deaths in Syracuse, N.Y.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Hoboken, N.J., is sweeping the nation, according to CBSDC, as roving bands of youths prey on unsuspecting people walking the streets.

The so-called “knockout” game involves groups or individuals who randomly target strangers, with the ultimate goal of knocking them out with a single punch as they walk by, according to CBSDC, which cites a report from New York-based CBS 2. The report highlights troubling footage of teens participating in the attacks.

Forty-six-year-old Ralph Santiago of Hoboken, N.J., was a victim, found dead with his neck broken and head lodged between iron fence posts, according to Moments before his gruesome death, surveillance video shows Santiago walking in an alleyway in daylight, and just as he’s about to pass a group of teens, one lodges the fatal, knockout blow, CBSDC reports.


“For the fun of it,” one teen said in the video.

“They just want to see if you got enough strength to knock somebody out,” said another.

Read more at CBSDC. - 87k -

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 12:23:32

another reason not to wear headphones while walking around downtown and to pay attention to your surroundings.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 11:46:23

Wow… Statists and apologists all over the blog today.

We have everything from “everyone should be paid a salary by the government” to “raise taxes on things we consume” to “I don’t see a problem when police wear black tactical gear and look like they are Nazi stormtroopers about to invade Poland”.

Pathetic. Just waiting for Rio to start up with his BS about how the Obama administration didn’t lie and manipulate BLS labor data leading up to the election.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 12:31:39

After last nites brutalization, the only thing the cross-dressing Lola will be capable of doing is clicking his heels together while saying, “I’m a GovLover”.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 13:15:31

Of course, the die-hards of the Right see no contradiction in any of this.

Want a government-less society? Move to Somalia, Besides, there isn’t a dimes worth of difference between conservative Muslim crazys, and conservative Christian crazies, so you should fit right in.

But none of them will stand up for their principles, because they have the best of both worlds here…….Government policies that force people to have kids they don’t want/can’t afford, followed by policies where the same government throws the same kids under the buss after they are born.

My business is a fine example of the hypocritical thinking. None of these airplanes would be worth a damn without government bought and paid for infrastructure. But any time fuel taxes/user fees are broached, the owners have a big hissy fit, and start taking up the “benefits to society” operations of these airplanes generate.

Did you know that maintenance and parts sales on these airplanes are not taxed in most states? A classic “race to the bottom scenario”. One state figured they could rob Peter to pay Paul (Texas, as I recall) and exempted taxes on maintenance and parts sales. Now they are all doing it, to keep the business.

Yeah, I play the tax-dodging game, on the owners behalf. Saved the guy $100K+ in state sales taxes in 2012. Do I like it? No. Because I know the states are making up the shortfall by higher taxes on the peons.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 13:54:04

I might add that this sales tax exemptions typically only apply to aircraft ABOVE a certain gross weight. IOW, turboprops and business jets.

The J6P/ Piper Cherokee owner doesn’t get it

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 13:57:21

Even though some reptiles don’t want to believe it, giving a minimal gov’t benefit (I suggested 800/month, but whatever, it could be higher or lower) would cost far less than our current system.

Moreover, if you just stop giving any safety net benefits, you’re looking at skyrocketing crime, the costs of which would outweigh the taxes given to benefits. The fact is, very little of our taxes is spent on this, much more is spent on the military. And much more would be spent on police and jails if we had no safety net… state prison costs something like $50k/yr per inmate or more in most states. Federal prisons cost even more than that. Factor in parole officers, the court system, sheriffs, etc.

Another thought - maybe we can just stay home all day and night and protect our houses with our own guns. Then we won’t need the police at all. We also won’t be able to go out and enjoy life, but hey, it’s all about “saving money” and “having lower taxes”, no? Any suggestion that there are _reasonable_ trade offs is like kryptonite to a reptile.

Wake up guys, there are trade offs.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 14:50:59

I have a better way of saving money and reducing crime. When someone turns 18 years of old and has an IQ test result of 85 or less, we offer he or she $30,000 to be sterilized. This number gets reduced by $1,000 a year for males and $1500 per year for females to reflect fertility. Within 15 years you will see less crime and dependency. The reduced population will also lessen pressure on the environment. Also, it is the gift that keeps on giving since there will be no children to breed more children. Oliver Wendell Homes said it best, three generations of idiots is enough. Of course, unlike his decision, I want to keep this voluntary.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 14:52:55

he or she+ him or her.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 15:03:14

BTW, what makes anyone believe that if we give a gang banger $1000 a month he will not commit crimes so we will save on prison? Seems to me that the most likely result of this guaranteed minimum income is to encourage even more illegal immigration into this country by the least skilled and educated. Someone on this board a few days ago said that we should not discourage immigration into this country we should just make sure that no one gets benefits once they get here. While from an ivory tower I would agree that it is the benefits that are the problem, I do not see how we can ever keep them from using government to vote themselves access to other people’s money. This is just one more example of this and it is done in some countries.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 15:14:25

Another thought - maybe we can just stay home all day and night and protect our houses with our own guns. Then we won’t need the police at all. We also won’t be able to go out and enjoy life, but hey, it’s all about “saving money” and “having lower taxes”, no? Any suggestion that there are _reasonable_ trade offs is like kryptonite to a reptile.

It’s called owning and carrying guns, having a large dog or two, and an alarm system. Pretty much covers all the bases. You can leave your house at will, knowing that the alarm and dogs protect your property and the guns protect your family. Didn’t require any additional taxes or more handouts to the mouthbreathers. I guess those “self-help” solutions don’t lend themselves well to the progressive-statist narrative that only government solutions are valid and that requires more taxes.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 15:34:19

Want a government-less society? Move to Somalia

LOLZ. When have libertarians or the Tea Party ever said they want Somalia, or no government? Libertarians and Tea Party types aren’t anarchists. They want less government intrusion in their lives, not complete anarchy. Seems a bit of a stretch to compare wanting less government intrusion from the complete clusterf**k we have today to Somalia.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 15:37:42

You mean like they do in legit banana republics and dumps like Russia?

Sounds sweet. But not everyone wants to live like tea trash. This is a case where the European and Japanese models are clearly superior and the “do it yourself” is for idiotic 3rd world countries.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 16:04:54


Comment by MightyMike
2013-11-19 16:19:56

LOLZ. When have libertarians or the Tea Party ever said they want Somalia, or no government?

There’s a guy who participates on this blog who claims that taxation is theft. Presumably that means that he wants no taxes, and therefore no government.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-11-19 17:55:15

Oliver Wendell Homes said it best, three generations of idiots is enough. Of course, unlike his decision, I want to keep this voluntary.

I Googled up that three generations quote. It leads a Wikipedia article about a supreme court case Buck v. Bell. This is from the article:

Buck v. Bell 274 U.S. 200 (1927), is a decision of the United States Supreme Court, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in which the Court ruled that a state statute permitting compulsory sterilization of the unfit, including the intellectual disabled, “for the protection and health of the state” did not violate the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The decision was largely seen as an endorsement of negative eugenics—the attempt to improve the human race by eliminating “defectives” from the gene pool.

The ruling was written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. In support of his argument that the interest of the states in a “pure” gene pool outweighed the interest of individuals in their bodily integrity, he argued:

“ We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. ”

Holmes concluded his argument by declaring that “Three generations of imbeciles are enough”.

Gee, talk about a proponent of big government! You’re some piece of work, Dan.

Comment by mathguy
2013-11-19 18:15:01

There’s a guy who claims Hitler was a socialist. Presumably that means he wants no social programs, and therefore no naziism.

Hmm, see where that type of thinking breaks down?

Comment by MightyMike
2013-11-19 18:32:07

There’s a guy who claims Hitler was a socialist. Presumably that means he wants no social programs, and therefore no naziism.

You’re not making sense. First of all, the people who say that Hitler was a socialist are generally against social programs. If they say such a thing and are still in favor of some social programs, they must believe either a) that the existence of some social programs does not constitute socialism or b) that socialism is OK.

If someone says that taxation is theft, I assume that he thinks that theft is undesirable. Otherwise, what is the point of making such a statement? If taxation is theft and theft is undesirable, then taxation must also be undesirable.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-11-19 18:38:27

‘people who say that Hitler was a socialist’

Good grief, it was in the name of the party:

‘The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, commonly known in English as the Nazi Party, was a political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945. Its predecessor, the German Workers’ Party existed from 1919 to 1920. The term Nazi is German and stems from Nationalsozialist.’

‘Advocacy of a form of socialism by right-wing figures and movements in Germany became common during and after World War I, influencing Nazism.’

This is just more evidence that there is no left or right. Political opinion and history is too diverse to fit into two pigeon holes.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-11-19 19:01:12

I wasn’t addressing whether such an assertion about the Nazi Party was valid or not. I was responding to mathguy’s straw man argument. It occurred to me though that the North Korean government calls itself the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. If one looked into the way that North Korea operates, a lot of evidence could probably be found to show that North Korea is neither democratic or a republic. The lesson could be that we shouldn’t put much faith in the names that murderous dictator types give to parties or governments.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-11-19 21:10:44

Nazi Germany was certainly socialist. I don’t see what was right wing about them. But I don’t know what the heck right wing really means.

Comment by tj
2013-11-19 21:57:57

But I don’t know what the heck right wing really means.

Ben, you’re correct. there are many confusing definitions out there. right wing to me is conservatism, which is concerned with mostly fiscal responsibility, and strict adherence to the constitution. social issues are mostly a non issue. individual freedom. individual sovereignty.

here’s a site i’ve put up before but i don’t know if you’ve seen it, so i’ll put the address up again. if you answer the questions honestly, you’ll see where you fall on the political scale (left, right, authoritarian, liberty). no one has to know your score, but at least you’ll know how others would commonly see you politically, if they knew all your views.

Comment by measton
2013-11-19 12:00:57

This will certainly get inflation going. People will move their money out from under the mattress and invest. Think of the money saved in terms of administration. I’d rather these people had to perform some task for this money. Even if it was pedalling a bike to generate electricity or stacking blocks. This would reduce crime as peopel would be busy and would have enough money to keep their heads above water. Invest in slums as people will shed their section 8 house and move to the lowest priced home they can find so that they have extra spending money. Of course the kids would suffer as mom spends the money on tobacco and booze, although if mom had to spend 8 hours a day stacking blocks to get the money then junior might have to stay in school and might have a better influence.

The gov will have to do something to distribute money at some point the system is imploding as wealth is being more and more concentrated due to technology, slave labor, and tax and trade policies. Eventually the whales won’t have anything left to eat.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 13:53:00

This wouldn’t “get inflation going”. It would LOWER the amount paid to people who are on the government dole. And it would remove direct transfers from the government to landlords (sec. 8) and big agriculture (who make the processed foods much purchased with EBT).

Moreover, it would eliminate the various overlapping agencies involved in handing out money and regulating various programs.

Lastly - for those of you who want to have essentially no safety net/transfers, I assume you want to pay more for police, security, and incarceration? Because it costs us much, much more to put extra police on the streets and to incarcerate people. I think it’s safe to assume that higher rates of petty and property crime would drive up insurance rates and business costs (security guards) so that would be passed along as well.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2013-11-19 15:21:11

I do not know how you can say that spending more or less on social programs results in more or less crime since there is no empirical evidence of this. However, I think that if you look at people that are arrested you will find out that many are directly or indirectly benefitting from existing benefits. How many crack houses are run out of section 8 housing, for example? My way actually has some hope of actually reducing crime. Numerous studies have shown a link between abortion rates and a reduction in crimes. I want to target the group where abortion reduces the rate of crime. I think that there is no need to kill anyone including the unborn to get the beneficial result of reducing the group of people most likely to be involved in street crime i.e. low IQ, uneducated people.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-11-19 15:23:47

Lastly - for those of you who want to have essentially no safety net/transfers, I assume you want to pay more for police, security, and incarceration? Because it costs us much, much more to put extra police on the streets and to incarcerate people. I think it’s safe to assume that higher rates of petty and property crime would drive up insurance rates and business costs (security guards) so that would be passed along as well.

Was crime, especially violent crime, as prevalent before we had welfare, section 8, SNAP, disability, etc? What did people do 100 years ago, before we had all these handouts? Was it chaos in the streets? Did we incarcerate as many people per capita? Your argument is a straw-man and is false…

Statists gonna state…

Comment by measton
2013-11-19 11:41:55

The House Agriculture Committee added language to its version of the farm bill earlier this year that says a state cannot impose certain production standards on agricultural products sold in interstate commerce. The provision, authored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is aimed at a California law that will require all eggs sold in the state to come from hens that inhabit cages in which they can spread their wings — a major burden for egg producers in Iowa and other states who don’t use large cages and still want to sell eggs to the lucrative California market. The law goes into effect in 2015.

“Bottom line of it is no state should be allowed to regulate production in other states,” King said at a meeting of House-Senate negotiators last month.

But opponents say that depending on how the language is interpreted, the provision could lead to challenges of dozens of other state laws — including some aimed at food safety, fire safety and basic consumer protections.

So states rights go out the door when they conflict with BIG AG or BIG Business. The california law does not “regulate production in other states” unless those states want to sell eggs in California. So if a country practiced slavery I guess the US couldn’t regulate the practice of slavery in another country?

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 12:19:29

they should just make a machine that removes the birds’ wings after they hatch, then there would be no conflict with the california law.

Comment by Suite Joey Blue Eyes
2013-11-19 12:17:27

John Edwards is going back to practicing law. The comments on the NY Times article are pure venom.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-11-19 12:33:13


Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 12:36:58

he should have kept his d1ck in his pants. the dead wife sympathy vote would have given him a lock on 2016.

and regarding his ‘two americas’ ever been to where he grew up or travelled around non-urban central north carolina at all? it’s pretty bleak.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 12:17:29

Meanwhile, back in the Reddest of Red-States, “Privatise the profits, socialize the costs/risk” continues……

The stadium is/was privately held…..but according to some of the statements, the team is “profitable”, while the team/corporate ownership of the stadium won’t be “viable” for “another ten years”.

But don’t worry your pointy little head, you poor pitiful taxpayer. The local government is going to purchase it with the funds from “STAR Bonds”.

And what are STAR bonds? Bonds issued by KCK, whose revenue comes from the grossly inflated sales taxes charged on retail sales out at the “Legends”. IOW, those poor schmucks who come to KCK to shop at the “Legends” will pay it.

Of course, keeping the team in the stadium generates “economic benefit”……$5.5 million to be exact. Does this number include ticket sales?

If so, and this (worst case scenario) assumes that everyone who went to the stadium last year got in with a “cheap seat”, means that $2.4 million of the $5.5 mil came from ticket sales, and didn’t generate a dime of sales/income outside the stadium.

If people bought more expensive tickets, beer, hot dogs, jerseys, etc., and these sales are part of the $5.5, the numbers look even worse.

Of course, to Sam Brownback, our “No government is good government/ Koch-loving/cut taxes to zero and business will stampede here” governor thinks this plan is peachy.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 13:34:34

the tiny url doesn’t work for me … which team is this? Not the Chefs, Arrowhead is in KCM, right?

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 13:59:24

The KC “T-Bones”. Minor League team. I think they are Double A.

Check out the Fox affiliate in KC. Caught the tail end of it last night, but somehow somebody got paid $174,000 for recommending this course of action.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 14:15:48

Funny how taxing and spending is OK when it benefits certain groups.

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Comment by measton
2013-11-19 14:24:43

I read an article the other day about the army of volunteers who work for the NFL. That tells you everything. Companies want interns and volunteers to do the work with no pay and no benefits. Then they get teh luxury of going home and paying for the stadium via higher taxes. The elite and corporate America are largely exempt from these taxes or the represent a tiny share of their income. Day after day we here about how a large coporation won’t be paying any property taxes and some have even been paid for the taxes their employees pay to the state.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 14:28:25

The guy who used to coach my son’s soccer team “interned” for Kronke Inc., the owner of the Denver Nuggets, Avalanche, Rapids and some other minor league teams. He told me the same thing: lots of interns.

Comment by HBB_Rocks
2013-11-19 15:12:47

NFL cheerleaders are essentially volunteers. They get paid about $100 a game.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 12:34:42

Paul Joseph Watson

“If the lone gunman conspiracy theory is so watertight, as the establishment argues, then why, five decades after the event, are thousands of pages concerning the investigation into the assassination of JFK still classified?”

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 12:54:00

All you have to know can be satisfied with one visit to Dealey Plaza.

Any semi-competent deer hunter could make the same shot. Over iron sights, if he wanted to challenge himself a little bit. (20 years ago, when my eyesight was better, I could shoot 3-4 inch groups @ 100 yards with my M-1…….and I haven’t been “professionally/USMC” trained.

And how much do you think someone/a CIA whistleblower could get for ironclad proof? Millions? Yet in 50 years, no one has surfaced.

Of course, it could be a conspiracy involving 100K+ people in government and the media to keep it under wraps.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 12:55:29

The Kennedy conspiracy is a distraction, to keep people from investigating the REAL conspiracies.

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 13:12:04

“All you have to know can be satisfied with one visit to Dealey Plaza.”

Or you could listen to the doctors who worked on him that say the autopsy photos have been altered and the back of his head was gone and part of his brain fell out of the back of his head while they were working on him. Not to mention the bullet hole in his back that was changed in a drawing, but what the heck.

JFK - Removing the theory that was supported by the US … - YouTube - 126k -

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 13:43:26

52 min. to 59 min. interviews with doctors and nurse tell a different story than the official autopsy. The whole thing is pretty good.

But I do agree with you on this, they did a hell of a job covering it up for 50 years. Although a bunch of eye witnesses that were interviewd by the Feds did have fatal accidents from like 1964 - 1967.

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Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 13:45:29

Why is that a conspiracy? One look at the video will tell you the “back of his head was gone”

(BTW, that’s no clue that the shot came from the front. Bullets do strange things sometimes…….see multiple Youtube videos).

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Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 14:35:17

“Why is that a conspiracy?”

When an autopsy photo is altered to make it look like the front of the head was gone instead of the back, what would you call it if not a conspiracy? Federal art work?

November 6, 2013

With the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK approaching later this month, three-time Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone says that the Zapruder film was tampered with.

Appearing on Democracy Now, Stone said that the infamous Zupruder footage, which shows Kennedy being shot in the head from the front, was altered after it was seized by the CIA and the Secret Service.

“It was altered a bit I think – there’s a lot of evidence to that effect,” said Stone, who directed the 1991 blockbuster JFK.

In another interview with Huffington Post Live, Stone repeated the claim that the tape had been tampered with.

The Zapruder film wasn’t aired on network television until 1975, nearly 13 years after the assassination.

Although there were numerous eyewitnesses to the JFK assassination itself, many of them died under mysterious circumstances.

Between the winters of 1963 and 1967, 15 JFK assassination witnesses who’d been interviewed by the Warren Commission, Dallas Police, or the FBI died prematurely and in bizarre ways.

When an actuary calculated the odds of this occurring naturally, it came out at one hundred thousand trillion to one (100,000,000,000,000,000 to 1).

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 14:49:41

NIXON jokes about LBJ killing JFK - YouTube - 129k

Comment by phony scandals
2013-11-19 14:50:45

Nixon’s Dirty Trickster: LBJ Killed JFK | Interview with … - YouTube - 146k - Cached - Similar pages
Nov 4, 2013

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 20:49:14

Ask not what your country can do for you … Ask what you can do to get more free cheese from your country.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 20:59:34

Having been to Dealy Plaza and looked through Oswalds window, I agree. But who really cares who shot JFK? We have easily identifiable problems in this country and ready solutions that could be applied but are not being applied in areas such as housing, immigration, crime, government waste and inefficiency, education, etc.

Who cares about going down some rabbit hole to peel back the onion layers on something that happened 50 years ago? If Vishnu himself, and Shiva, came down and revealed everything about the JFK deal, it wouldn’t change that I still think that almost every politician is corrupt and the moneyed interests own the country and it’s governance.

Comment by goon squad
2013-11-19 12:48:42

this article is pretty anti-mustachian, states that 1 million not enough to retire on:

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-11-19 13:51:26

I agree. And at the same time, it’ll be tough to even end up with that much just doing normal 401(k) saving.

Comment by HBB_Rocks
2013-11-19 15:23:26

Interesting that he has an entire paragraph about income taxes but only one line about expenses, and unknowable future medical expenses at that.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-11-19 20:58:27

Yes. I agree. $1 million is NOT rich.

$5 million or $6 million, most of it in Roth IRAs (stocks only) and AA and higher municipal bonds and gold bullion and rebalanced, yes that is enough to keep you comfortable the rest of your life in an ocean view area in the US.

Comment by Housing Analyst
Comment by rms
2013-11-19 13:15:23

“An overleveraged donkey.”

+1 Wall street is betting on that donkey, and the taxpayers got their back.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-11-19 13:26:40

“Can I get a little more QE over here?…Anyone?…”

Comment by Puggs
2013-11-19 14:59:51

He Haw! There’s one of them in almost every So. Cal driveway.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-11-19 20:55:23

Hee Hee Hee!

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 13:41:43

Old paradigm = Boeing bets the farm on developing and building advanced aircraft, using their skilled engineers and work force. (B-17, B-707, B-747)

New paradigm = Boeing bets the farm on developing and building advanced aircraft, using contract engineers, and $12/hour, untrained, inexperienced work force.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-11-19 13:56:29

So Jetfixr, would you put your family on board a 787? It’s a cool jet, but do you think it’s safe, and I’m not talking the battery problems.

Comment by (Neo-) Jetfixr
2013-11-19 15:24:17

Don’t know.

What I hate is an obviously mismanaged project, where instead of hiring the right guys to make it work, twice as much money has been spent on PR types turning Chicken $##t into Chicken Soup.

Contrast…..Cessna Aircraft installed a lithium Ion battery initially in their new Citation 510, as optional equipment. When one of those caught fire, it was a simple matter of replacing them with NiCads. Although an AD was issued, it was handled, and nobody ever heard about the problem.

Boeing used the same tech in numerous applications, and had no back-up plan when the SHTF.

Highly recommended:

Comment by Albuquerquedan
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 20:14:13

If the Republicans had brains inside their craniums, they would have sat back and let the ACA roll out proceed without the acrimonious side show of a government shutdown.

Comment by Strawberrypicker
2013-11-19 20:47:05

I think you are flat out wrong about that. All that free press they were given from the liberal MSM cementing into the minds of the people that they believed it was bad, so bad that they were willing to shut down the government to stop the disaster from happening. Come November the Ds won’t be able to claim otherwise. They all went on very recent record supporting it.

I don’t think this was conscious on the part of the Rs, just a lucky windfall. But they are clearly on the side opposing it. Thanks MSM.

The shutdown is now a forgotten memory, except when it comes back around in January, they have way more leverage and are seen as being willing to pull the trigger.

It really is funny in light of the many posts on here just a few short weeks ago sounding the death knell for the R party. This is a big win for them and an even bigger win for the Tea Party wing of the Rs.

Look at how it is making Mango so loopy that his doctor has begun monitoring his blog time.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-11-19 21:30:41

‘they would have sat back and let the ACA roll out proceed’

There was actually a lot of discussion along these lines. But as rental watch pointed out, many of these people were elected in 2010 because they said they opposed Obamacare. What were they there for? Stand up and do something for once. How will it all work out, I don’t know. But I can see the motivation.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 20:02:51

Got bubble on steroids!?!?!?!?!?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 20:10:18

If the graph linked here were an EKG, the patient it belonged to would have died of a heart attack.

And if it were a seismograph, a nation’s coastline would lie in ruins, after inundation by a devastating tsunami.

What’s Next
Bitcoin: $500 to $900 and back … in a day!
By Hibah Yousuf @CNNMoneyInvest November 19, 2013: 1:01 PM ET

The price of the currency soared nearly from a little over $500 early Monday to an all-time high of $900.98. By Tuesday morning, it had plunged back down again to a level just above $500.

As investors, technophiles and lawmakers debate the legitimacy of Bitcoin, one thing’s for sure: the fledgling digital currency is on the roller coaster ride of a lifetime.

Within a 28-hour period stretching from Monday morning to early Tuesday, the price of the currency soared nearly 70%, from a little over $500 to an all-time high of $900.98 .. before plunging back down again to a level just above $500.

By midday Tuesday, Bitcoin was back above $700, a 50-fold increase since the beginning of the year, when a single Bitcoin was worth around $13.

The latest surge in Bitcoin has been fueled by investors, particularly those in China, betting on the future growth of the currency as a credible alternative.

Bitcoin was created anonymously in 2010 as an experimental form of money that exists only online. It is not managed by any central authority and is “mined” by solving complex math problems using powerful computers.

The algorithm behind the virtual currency caps the total number of Bitcoins at 21 million. Currently, there are almost 12 million Bitcoins in circulation, giving the currency a total market value of almost $8.5 billion.

Comment by Bill, just South of Irvine, CA
2013-11-19 20:53:44

Does anyone have a nice graph of Bitcoin versus Gold versus S&P 500 versus Case - Shiller index for 2013?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 21:44:59

If it doesn’t exist, that would be a cool graph to create. Let me know if you find the data and I will volunteer to cook up and post a graph.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 20:12:22

Now that JPMorgan has settled this case, they can resume normal too-big-to-fail high-risk gambling activities.

Investment Banking
November 19, 2013, 9:31 pm
JPMorgan Settlement Offers Look Into Mortgage Machine

JPMorgan Chase and the Justice Department reached a record $13 billion settlement on Tuesday, wrapping up a series of state and federal investigations that offer a rare glimpse into Wall Street’s mortgage machine before the financial crisis, when it churned out billions of dollars in securities that later imploded.

At the heart of the civil settlement, which materialized after months of wrangling, is a statement of facts negotiated with the government that provides details into how JPMorgan assembled mortgage securities sold from 2005 through 2008. While the bank did not admit any violations of law, its decision to approve the statement was one of a few critical concessions it made in order to strike the deal.

The statement shows that as JPMorgan packaged the residential mortgages into complex securities, the bank promised to alert investors to any flaws that might raise questions about the loans, according to the statement.

Investors relied on the bank to vet the underlying loans, which mortgage lenders across the country originated with varying degrees of quality. Still, investors were kept in the dark, the government’s statement found.

They were told, the statement of fact says, that the lenders originating the mortgages had “solid underwriting platforms” and that JPMorgan itself would provide another level of assurance by ensuring that the loans were independently scrutinized.

To do that, the bank hired Clayton Holdings and other third-party firms to examine the loans before they were packed into investments. Poring through the mortgages, the firms scoured them for potential red flags like borrowers who had vastly overstated their incomes or appraisals that inflated property values, the statement of fact shows.

But even when problems were found, JPMorgan sometimes ignored the warnings. According to the statement of facts, an analysis for JPMorgan performed from the first quarter of 2006 through the second quarter of 2007 on 23,668 loans found that 27 percent — about 6,238 loans — should have been categorized as “event 3,” meaning they did not meet underwriting standards. Still, JPMorgan ultimately decided to accept the loans anyway or altered their classification to a higher rating.

For JPMorgan and its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, the deal allows the bank to move past one of its biggest legal headaches. While the bank continues to face a criminal investigation into its role as Bernard L. Madoff’s bank and its decision to hire the sons and daughters of some of China’s ruling elite, executives cheered the culmination of the deal on Tuesday.

“We are pleased to have concluded this extensive agreement,” Mr. Dimon said in a statement.

Signaling the bank’s broader desire to resolve its mortgage-related woes, the $13 billion deal also comes just days after the bank struck a separate $4.5 billion deal with a group of investors over the sale of soured mortgage-backed securities.

Much of the $13 billion payout, roughly $7 billion, will go toward compensating those investors who were harmed. The largest beneficiary is the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which announced a separate $4 billion deal with JPMorgan last month. The agency oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the housing finance giants that scooped up billions of dollars in the mortgage securities that later imploded. Other beneficiaries will include the National Credit Union Administration and state attorneys general in California, New York and Illinois.

The settlement also includes a $2 billion fine to federal prosecutors in Sacramento, where the United States attorney, Benjamin Wagner, led an investigation into the bank’s mortgage practices. The final $4 billion will go to struggling homeowners in hard hit areas like Detroit and certain neighborhoods in New York where abandoned homes still dot the landscape.

Half of that relief will go to reducing the balance of mortgages in foreclosure-racked areas, offering a so-called forbearance plan to certain homeowners, briefly halting the collection of their mortgage payments. For the remaining $2 billion in relief, JPMorgan must reduce interest rates on existing loans and offer new loans to low-income home buyers. The bank also will receive a credit for demolishing abandoned homes to reduce urban blight.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 20:38:51

Did you dump your Treasurys yet?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-11-19 20:44:09

REUTERS SUMMIT-Goldman Sachs funds head sees Treasury yields 100 bps higher in 2014
By Chris Vellacott
LONDON Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:35am EST

Nov 18 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury yields could surge to nearly 4 percent next year once the Federal Reserve scales back asset purchases although that should not stifle economic recovery, Goldman Sachs Asset Management says.

We are a bit bearish on Treasuries … We would expect to see 10-year Treasuries probably to be about 100 bps higher a year from now,” Andrew Wilson, Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, told the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit in London on Monday.

Such an increase was “not priced in” to market consensus and exceeds levels in futures markets.

Ten-year yields, currently trading at around 2.7 percent , could even hit 4 percent, he said.

The Fed is buying bonds at a pace of $85 billion per month while promising to hold interest rates near zero, at least until unemployment hits a threshold of 6.5 percent, providing the outlook for inflation stays below 2.5 percent.

However, officials have signalled they would like to start scaling back asset purchases, also called quantitative easing, when this is warranted by stronger data on growth and hiring.

This has raised concerns of a knock-on impact on other markets around the world, particularly in some developing markets where asset price rises have been bolstered by extra liquidity provided by the U.S. stimulus programme.

Wilson, however, said that while retail investors appear to be pulling money out of emerging markets and repatriating it to take advantage of higher U.S. yields, institutional investors were putting money back in emerging markets that have close economic links to the United States such as Mexico that will benefit from U.S. economic recovery.

“What we’ve seen is institutional inflow into emerging markets. Six months ago institutional investors were very interested in emerging markets but were still wary,” he said.

There had been less interest in emerging markets exposed to languid European economies such as Turkey, he said.

Goldman Sachs’ asset management arm had seen institutional investors pour up to $4 billion into emerging markets fixed income funds in the last six months, according to Wilson, who is also co-head of fixed income at the asset manager.

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