STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

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Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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“Thinking doesn’t pay. Just makes you discontented with what you see around you.”

Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

I wish I didn’t think when I travel to NYC. It only makes me discontented. My last article about New York City – Uneasy in NYC – produced a lot of commentary pro and con about New York. That two day trip last October was more eventful as we met world renowned financial mind David Stockman. When my son got notice he had to leave for Penn State this weekend to start his job as an RA (saving his old man $6,800 in rent), we decided to do something fun before he left. The choice was a one day sightseeing excursion to the Big Apple.

My wife plotted out the day and the boys and I just went along for the ride. The plan was to drive to the Hamilton Station and catch a NJ Transit train to Penn Station. We got up early and were on the road by 8:10. We should have been able to easily make the 9:22 express. Everything was going smoothly until we were ten miles from the station on Route 1. First there was an accident, then one car overheated in the left lane, then another car overheated in the left lane. We picked a day with a heat index of 100 degrees to go to New York.

We didn’t make the 9:22 express. We got the last spot in the parking lot about a quarter mile from the station. We made the 10:00 local. I expected a 50 year old piece of crap train with standing room only to pull into the station, but to my pleasant surprise a brand new double decker train with dozens of open seats pulled in. Life was good again. We got a four seat combo and settled in for our 1 hour and 15 minute trek to Penn Station. The family were pecking away on their iGadget phones while I started reading my tattered copy of Running Man, bought at the used book store – Hooked on Books – in Wildwood a few weeks ago.

It looked good for a 11:15 arrival until the engineer came over the loud speaker (which sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown) and announced that a train had stalled in the tunnel and we’d be delayed for 30 minutes. The concept of on-time is meaningless in our paradise of crumbling infrastructure. As you get closer to New York, the decay comes into clear view. Dilapidated vacant factories covered in graffiti dot the landscape along the tracks. The disappearance of our manufacturing base is clearly evident. Instead of producing capital goods we produce financial derivatives, debt and despair. As you approach the tunnel into New York you see the Empire State building and off in the distance the new Liberty Tower, where you once saw the Twin Towers.

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The Big Red Barn

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Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by Hardscrabble Farmer

 

“By the big red barn in the great green field there was a pink pig who was learning to squeal…”

Margaret Wise Brown

How many times have I read that line to my children over the years? A thousand? More? When they lay me to rest one day I imagine someone will quote that book in memory of me because it has had such an impact on the way our lives have turned out; a children’s book short enough to read in a few minutes that never gets old and holds so much promise, such hopefulness and tender sentiment. Morning, noon, evening, night- the endless cycle of our lives that roots us to time and place.

“…while the moon sailed high, in the dark night sky.”

“Read it again, Daddy, read it again!”

“By the big red barn, in the great green field…”

My friend, the one who always brings me in on the oddest and most difficult jobs as a means of building on our common interests, asked me if I would help him with a project. There was a barn, he said, a big one and the owner had contracted with him to replace the roof with a brand new steel one, just like the kind he helped me install on my barns. I accepted, of course, because it was a two man job we both had experience with and because in his request was the implied reference to other work we’d done on my farm and that this one was another of our twisted paybacks where every new job was a further means of balancing the ledger.

So I worked out the schedule with my wife, blocking off a few weeks in high Summer after the hay was in, but before the late harvest and when our chances of nice weather- interspersed with severe thunderstorms and damaging winds- would be most likely. The owner of the property would see to the materials, we would provide the workmanship and in the end there would be one less roof to install in the world at least for the next fifty years or so.

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ANOTHER ONE LEAVES THE NEST

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Posted on 2nd August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

I’ll be off-line for the rest of the day as we take Jimmy up to Penn State to start his college years. We’ll be down to one at home now. Avalon will be shedding tears later today as she leaves her baby.

Take the day off from doom and relax. I’ll be doing an 8 hour round trip on the PA Turnpike.


 

American (Predatory) Capitalism Explained In 130 Seconds

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Posted on 2nd August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Tyler Durden's picture

Now, more than ever, with Greece and Ukraine front and center, understanding how corporations take control of countries, and how capitalism drives the expansion of the Military Industrial Complex is crucial: “we have created a mutant form of predatory capitalism which has created an extremely unstable, unsustainable, unjust and very very dangerous world.”

 

Source: http://www.studiojoho.com/


SUNDAY FUNNIES

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Posted on 2nd August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Steve Breen

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QUOTES OF THE DAY

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Posted on 2nd August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“In the task of that redemption the most effective agents will be men who have substituted some new illusions for the abandoned ones. The most important of these illusions is that the collective life of mankind can achieve perfect justice. It is a very valuable illusion for the moment; for justice cannot be approximated if the hope of its perfect realization does not generate a sublime madness in the soul.

Nothing but such madness will do battle with malignant power and ‘spiritual wickedness in high places.’ The illusion is dangerous because it encourages terrible fanaticisms. It must therefor e be brought under the control of reason. One can only hope that reason will not destroy it before its work is done.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

John F. Kennedy


10 RULES OF AN IRISH PUB IN DUBLIN

8 comments

Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Lonely Libertarian


CRONY CAPITALISM – AMERICAN STYLE

5 comments

Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Jesse

“For decades the American financial system was stable and safe. But then something changed. The financial industry turned it’s back on society, corrupted our political system and plunged the world economy into crisis. At enormous cost, we’ve avoided disaster and are recovering.

But the men and institutions that caused the crisis are still in power and that needs to change. They will tell us that we need them and that what they do is too complicated for us to understand. They will tell us it won’t happen again. They will spend billions fighting reform. It won’t be easy.

But some things are worth fighting for.”

Inside Job


 

No Joy in Mudville*: Shale Gas Stalls, LNG Export Dead On Arrival

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Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Something unusual happened while we were focused on the global oil-price collapse–the increase in U.S. shale gas production stalled (Figure 1).

U.S. Shale Gas Prod 30 July 2015
Figure 1. U.S. shale gas production.  Source:  EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Total shale gas production for June was basically flat compared with May–down 900 mcf/d or -0.1% (Table 1).

Shale Gas Prod Change Table 30 July 2015
Table 1. Shale gas production change table.  Source:  EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Marcellus and Utica production increased very slightly over May, 1.1 and 1.5 mmcf/d, respectively. The Woodford was up 400 mcf/d and “other” shale increased 300 mcf/d. Production in the few plays that increased totaled 3.3 mmcf/d or one fair gas well’s daily production.

The rest of the shale gas plays declined.  The earliest big shale gas plays–the Barnett, Fayetteville and Haynesville–were down 25%, 14% and 48% from their respective peak production levels for a total decline of -4.8 bcf/d since January 2012.

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TBP-New York City Sh*tfest

41 comments

Posted on 1st August 2015 by Stucky in Economy

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Eight years …. about time I meet some of you STMs before I die.

Testing the waters …. and best chance of making it happen is to plan early.

Noo Yawk City — one day. No major sightseeing.  Just a place to meet; drink, eat, and shoot the shit.  Maybe get into a fistfight (a small one).  TBP boys, girls, … even spouses.

Let’s start with two basics;  1) Who’s in?  2) Best time?

1. I’m in.

2. Autumn sounds good … gives everyone time to plan, plus it’s pretty. Any time in October?

WORLD’S SHITTIEST SHITHOLES

20 comments

Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The World’s Most Polluted Cities Are In India

from Niall McCarthy

When asked about the most polluted cities worldwide, most people usually name larger Chinese cities as being the worst air quality culprits. However, according to research published by the World Economic Forum, Delhi is actually twice as polluted as Beijing. The level of PM 2.5 (micrograms per cubic meter) in Delhi is six times above the recommended World Health Organisation maximum.

In fact, out of the world’s 15 worst cities, ten are in India while a further three are in Pakistan. Despite the fact that air pollution has become a massive social and environmental issue in China, no Chinese cities are present in the World Economic Forum’s list of the top-15 worst offenders.

This chart shows PM 2.5 (micrograms per cubic meter) in the most polluted cities worldwide in 2014.

Infographic: The World's Most Polluted Cities Are In India | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista


The Folly Of The ECI

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Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Karl Denninger

You have to chuckle at the roughly 10-point ramp in the S&P, commensurate with a roughly 1% dump in the dollar and more than 3% move south in 10 year Treasury yields that corresponded with this release today.

Compensation costs for civilian workers was little changed at 0.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending June 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) was also little changed at 0.2 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) was little changed at 0.1 percent. (See chart 1 and tables 1, 2, and 3.)

That’s the weakest increase in a long time, beating even the low points reached in 2008 and early 2009!

The reason for the rampjob was that the market seems to think this means The Fed won’t raise rates in September.

However, I believe they’re wrong for several reasons, the most-important of which being that The Fed’s actions have almost-nothing to do with trying to “prevent or control inflation.”  Instead they have to do with the fact that they have and are blowing a monstrous credit bubble that is filtering through to both higher-end housing (but leaving middle-class and lower-income housing untouched!and corporate buybacks and M&A activity.

It is not going into productive investment.

Further, The Fed has effectively no tools available if and when the inevitable business downturn comes.

The most-destructive component of what has occurred is in fact in the corporate action / buyback arena along with the outrageous amount of federal borrowing that has taken place.  The States, for their part, appear to be cognizant of what’s going on — or they’re (properly) frightened out of their wits by the impending detonation of all of their pension and health care obligations for retirees as a direct consequence of these low rates.

In short Bernanke’s thesis has been disproved; you can’t lift the economy with these monetary actions.  At best you can blow a bigger bubble, which may give the illusion of prosperity for some but the broader public doesn’t get any of the participation from it, and they get all of the downside.

Look out below.


THANK GOD CECIL IS DEAD

6 comments

Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Lonely Libertarian


Why Your Brokerage Account Isn’t as Safe as You Think It Is

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Posted on 1st August 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Why Your Brokerage Account Isn’t as Safe as You Think It Is

By E.B. Tucker

Imagine logging into your brokerage account tomorrow and finding out that it’s frozen.

Not just your account… every customer account at your brokerage is frozen.

You can’t buy stocks. You can’t sell stocks. You can’t move money out of the account.

Your account rep insists the money is still there. It’s just not available now. He doesn’t know when it will be.

When you demand to transfer $25,000 cash out of the account, he says, “I’m sorry… the system won’t let me.”

You ask to speak to his boss. She can’t help, either.

This situation sounds absurd to most Americans. There’s no way a major broker could freeze your accounts, right?

Wrong. It happened in 2011 to 38,000 people…

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