Saturday, May 30, 2009
Here is a video and photo montage from the bike tour around Kyushu. We had a fabulous time on the bikes in great weather. We got rained on during Wednesday but it didn't put a dampener on our enjoyment of the scenery, the riding, the onsens or the food. I'd like to thank Craig, Mary and Jon for organising everything. I can't wait for the next trip.
PowerPoint presentation produced by Craig.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
..so NOW he can state the blindingly obvious?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
A chart showing the percentage of US residential mortgages where payments are 30 days or more overdue. A delinquent spike - FT Alphaville
Remember that we are meant to believe that American consumers will go back to borrowing too much to keep the economy going and that these mortgages are issued by banks that passed the recent stress tests. I am skeptical. To say the least.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
So the car industry would be revitalized - at least a bit - and the environment would be aided. Here’s the hitch. Of the 9 or 10 most fuel-efficient vehicles being sold today - and presumably the beneficiaries of such a program - four are built by Toyota, two by Volkswagen, one by Honda, one by Smart (never heard of that? it’s a Swiss-designed, Mercedes-owned, French produced mini-car) and one by a US-based company: Ford. Some of the others might be made on US soil, I don’t know. But is this really what we wanted to do?"
He's just not that into you - Vincent Farrell
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
“Rumsfeld believed that all of the power from the military needed to migrate up to his level,” recalls one former senior commander who got along well with the SecDef. “But you can’t run an organization like the Department of Defense with everything going through the eye of the needle. It just doesn’t work. And it wasn’t just his inability to build a team below him. It was also his inability to play as a team player above him.”"
And He Shall Be Judged - GQ Feature
"We're in a complete mess and the consumer is smart enough to know it."
"If the consumer isn't petrified, he or she is a damn fool."
"The worst is yet to come with consumers and banks," he says. "This country is going into a 10-year decline. Living standards will never be the same."
"The bailout money is in the sewer and gone."
An extreme view, but he talks plainly and there are some nuggets of wisdom in there.
From the comments:
"It's purely wishful thinking to believe that the current administration has fixed this huge mess in less than six months. The bottom everyone is talking about is terminal velocity. Since the fall has stopped accelerating it feels like it's not going to hurt as much when you hit the ground."
Monday, May 18, 2009
"As I walked out of the settlement office with my loan papers, I couldn’t shake the sense of having just done something bad . . . but also kind of cool. I had just come up with almost a half-million dollars, and I had barely lifted a finger. It had been so easy and fast. Almost fun. I couldn’t help feeling like a high roller, a sophisticated player who could lay his hands on big money at a moment’s notice."
My Personal Credit Crisis- NY Times
A very sobering read. Tip of the iceberg?
Credit card debt and default will be the next 'hot' topic.. and it won't be good news.
“American Casino is a powerful and shocking look at the subprime lending scandal. If you want to understand how the US financial system failed and how mortgage companies ripped off the poor, see this film.” Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize-winning economist and writer
Friday, May 15, 2009
Lewis Hamilton 'driven to despair' by politics - timesonline.co.uk
Naive... but, like Hamilton, I am getting very disheartened by all the infighting and politic maneuvering.
James Allen's blog is the best way to keep up with F1.
"MPs caught up in the expenses scandal admitted that they could be dropped by their local parties. Others were said by colleagues to be ready to walk away. Some who have been unaffected declared that the attractions of life as an MP had disappeared."
"Authority drained away from Michael Martin, the Speaker, after the Liberal Democrats effectively withdrew their support and MPs prepared to table a no-confidence motion."
"In the Commons, MPs spoke openly of “throwing in the towel”. Those who haven’t been hit by disclosures said they were nevertheless getting abuse from voters. One senior Tory, who has already announced his resignation, said: “I’m glad I am going and wonder why I ever bothered to come here.”"
Parliament's darkest day: MPs suspended and Michael Martin at risk - timesonline.co.uk
Good bloody riddance.
Moscow-on-Thames - Economist.com
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Stream it via Google video and watch online. What they cover in Christianity is well documented elsewhere, but it's presented well. I am not a fan of the 9/11 conspiracy stuff, but there are questions to be answered particularly regarding the Pentagon video footage that has not been made public. The third part is compelling stuff and relates to the quotes I covered earlier in the week from John Adams et al.
This 'documentary' raises so many areas of discussion. Recommended viewing.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I love this 'Sheldon' cartoon strip.. dead good innit.
My TAC Masters Advanced Swim is going well. I need to work harder though, but the confidence to do that is coming along.
"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance." - James Madison
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson
The Founders Speak: Sound Money
"With the government involved no rules of the market apply. … And things that I never imagined that I would see in my lifetime you’re seeing in terms of government intervention. So shorts covered because they couldn’t play, shorts covered after they lost a lot of money because they couldn’t play, and then the long-only guys are grossly underinvested and so they see the rally and they’ve got to reweight and so it’s a crazy positive momentum based on no fundamental improvement. Zero fundamental improvement."
"Last year you had the market impact the economy and this year you’re going to have the economy impact the markets. So however manufactured these earnings are going to be you’re still going to have unemployment come in worse than expected, you’re still going to have consumer defaults worse than expected and you’re still going to have consumers not spend money … More people are going to lose their jobs and have less available credit lines to spend and that’s a ruse (?) that no great government momentum trade can really guard against."
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"Just how many borrowers are underwater is a matter of some dispute, with the answer depending in part on assumptions regarding home values and mortgage debt outstanding. Variations in home-price estimates can make a major difference in the number of borrowers who are underwater. In addition, borrowers who are already in the foreclosure process may be counted as being underwater if the title to their property hasn't changed hands."
House-Price Drops Leave More Underwater - Yahoo Finance via MR
It's not just the stock markets that have decoupled from reality as we enjoy the fragrant vapors of spring -- it's the entire conscious consensus of everybody holding the levers of power and opinion. To put it as simply as possible, we're still sleepwalking into the future." Decoupling from reality - Jim Kunstler
Enjoy the rally while it lasts - but expect to take a sucker punch - telegraph.co.uk
Monday, May 11, 2009
Gah.. mentioned everywhere now. Please stop.
I concur that there are "there are a few statistics that suggest that the speed at which economic disaster is coming at us is declining slightly. But few that suggest it has really been averted.
It's hard to see how it is possible for the green shoots popping up all over to be much more than blips in a downward trend.
It is also worth noting that this rally has little in common with the beginning of most real bull markets. Valuations never got really cheap and volumes still haven't picked up: in total, there isn't any more trading on the FTSE 100 now than there was before the most recent bottom was hit.
It has also been led very much by the junk - the banks, for example - rather than by anything new."
So I think this isn't a new reality but "a bear market rally doing what bear market rallies do best - being long enough and strong enough to scare the bears, draw them back in, and lose them their shirts." Merryn Somerset Webb: Nikkei knack
So, You Think This Is Another Great Bull Market - Henry Blodget
Friday, May 08, 2009
Today that number is more than 15,000 - an increase even more dramatic than that for bricklayers and masons.
These figures are supported by a sharp fall in road congestion and traffic at the UK's major ports.
The haulage business is a key indicator of economic buoyancy and its survival is vital to Britain's recovery from the recession." Recession 'hitting lorry numbers' - www.bbc.co.uk
We're relying on people, like these truck drivers, to spend and borrow - assuming they can find a lender - our way out of this economic downturn... erm... I don't think so. I think this gets worse before it gets better. Sorry.
"What if you had a personal Wi-Fi bubble, a private hot spot, that followed you everywhere you go? Incredibly, there is such a thing. It’s the Novatel MiFi 2200, available from Verizon starting in mid-May. It’s a little wisp of a thing, like a triple-thick credit card. It has one power button, one status light and a swappable battery that looks like the one in a cellphone. When you turn on your MiFi and wait 30 seconds, it provides a personal, portable, powerful, password-protected wireless hot spot." Wi-Fi to Go, No Cafe Needed - www.nytimes.com
"But surely, when it comes to combating teen pregnancy, the Palin family has done enough damage already. What worse message could you send to teenage girls than the one they delivered at the Republican convention: If your handsome but somewhat thuglike boyfriend gets you with child, he will clean up nicely, propose marriage, and show up at an important family event wearing a suit and holding your hand. At which point you will get a standing ovation." Bristol Palin's New Gig - www.nytimes.com
"One serving officer, who asked not to be named, added: "I guess with all the health and safety red tape surrounding the police service these days their days were always going to be numbered." Health and safety: police force sells motorbikes - www.telegraph.co.uk
"Ms Daniels says she loves the business she works in, but if she did enter the US Senate: “I think I would have to give it up.” Ms Daniels, one of the most successful porn actresses in the US, has already challenged Mr Vitter to a debate — “but I don’t think he has the balls to confront me” — and said she would be willing to wrestle him, something that Mr Vitter, with his track record, might secretly relish." Porn star Stormy Daniels challenges shamed Republican in Senate race - www.timesonline.co.uk
Interesting; useful; stupid; nanny state; US politix is great.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Numbers lovers say the rare occurrence is an excuse to celebrate.
"The previous stretch of six dates like this started with 1/3/1905 — 13 months after the Wright Brothers' flight," said Ron Gordon, the Redwood City teacher who enthusiastically promotes these numerical holidays, like Square Root Day on 3/3/09.
Happy Odd Day!
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
We just spent the last few days down at the beach hut in Shimoda.
Drove down Friday night in traffic that bizarrely got busier as we went on. Japan cut all expressway road tolls over the GW period to Y1000. Lots of people on the road and then parking up in the rest stops so that they could benefit from this 'offer' which started at midnight. Still even with the traffic we got down in a little under 3 and half hours which is pretty normal.
Weather was great, lots of sunshine but not too hot and humid. I love this time of the year down there. Milly seemed to enjoy eating al fresco on the deck as did we in the evenings after she had gone to bed. The Saturday and Sunday night bbqs lived up to the usual high standards and great fun was had by all. More fun than usual for Joli who over-imbibed a tad on Saturday, evidence of which was her signature 'legs don't work time to sit on the ground' manoeuver. No food no good.
We had decided to return on Monday night - GW goes on until Wednesday - and as usual it was a struggle not to just stay on. A little rain in the forecast helped. We collected Jo around 8pm and braved the traffic, arriving home in a little over 4hrs and 45mins. The traffic obsessed will make want they want of that time, but it wasn't too bad at all.
Now in Tokyo and hoping to get Milly into the TAC pool later tomorrow.