Friday, December 31, 2010

Markets in Everything: The Foam Weapon League

The Foam Weapon League is an alternative sports league that combines the best of live action role playing and martial arts, featuring male and female Warriors drawn from all walks of life, battling one-on-one in a combat circle using foam rubber weapons.

Like the WWE, each FWL Warrior has their own sci fi- or fantasy-inspired combat character name, as well as a distinctive costume to go along with it. Like a video game brought to life, Warriors wear whatever kind of makeup or costume they desire, and fight with the foam rubber armor and weapon of their choice.

Like the UFC, all FWL fights are 100% real and are not staged or choreographed in any way. FWL Warriors are real athletes who use real martial arts skills, but instead of grappling with or striking
opponents with hands and feet, they are only allowed to strike each other with approved foam rubber weapons.

In order to simulate a battle fought with real weapons, Warriors wear harnesses with bags of fake blood attached at strategic points on the body. The first Warrior to break two of his opponent's blood bags wins.

"Fake blood. Real fighting."

More Info:

We have Become a Nation of Wussies

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Walter E. Williams - What is a Right?

Instructional video for progressives, and other confused individuals.

Ed Rondthaler on English Spelling

Ed Rondthaler on English spelling from Bob Smartner on Vimeo.

Quote of the Day: Dennis Prager

What’s the difference between the voters in California and the passengers on the Titanic?

The obvious answer is that the poor souls on the doomed ship didn’t vote to hit the iceberg.

~ Dennis Prager

Grouch: For more on CA see California: The Venezuela of North America

What is Freedom Worth?

Prepare to be moved--

It is worth everything.

Legal Eagles

First, the complaint:

Then, the response:

I'm sure they teach this sophisticated legal maneuver at only the most prestigious law schools in the country.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quote of the Day: Paul Caron

This is the 14th year in a row the GAO has been unable to give a clean auditor’s opinion on the Government’s books!

One wonders why the 112th Congress does not try to extend Sarbanes-Oxley to Congress and treat members as “signing officers” for the U.S. Budget, subjecting them to liability for the GAO’s inability to opine on the Government’s financial statements.

~ Paul Caron

Grouch: Fat chance, but great idea.

Every Day Seems Like Christmas When You're in Congress

For Big Government and those with connections, Christmas is never over:

For the rest of us, it seems like Tax Freedom Day will never come.

Red Skeleton's Pledge of Allegiance

Red was always one of my favorite comedians growing up. Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of Congress officially recognizing The Pledge Of Allegiance. This is a classic Red moment, and I'm glad its been preserved on film so that it may be shared with each succeeding generation of kids in hopes they will not forget the promise of American Liberty and the meaning of individual responsibility.

Below is a transcript of Red Skelton on the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester
and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you.
If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?"
me, an individual, a committee of one.
dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.
my love and my devotion.
To the flag
our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever
she waves, there's respect because your loyalty has given
her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job!
that means that we have all come together.
individual communities that have united into 48 great states.
Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and
purpose; all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to
a common purpose, and that's love for country.
And to the republic
a state in which sovereign power is
invested in representatives chosen by the
people to govern. And government is the people
and it's from the people to the leaders, not from
the leaders to the people.
For which it stands, one nation
one nation, meaning "so
blessed by God"
incapable of being divided.
With liberty
which is freedom -- the right of power to live one's
own life without threats, fear or some sort of
And Justice
the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
For all
which means, boys and girls, it's as much your
country as it is mine.


Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country
and two words have been added to the pledge of Allegiance...
Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said
that is a prayer
and that would be eliminated from schools too?


The Cop and the Anthem (Classic Red)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Snow Removal: NYC Style

City workers destroy a Ford Explorer trying to free a snowbound front-loader in Brooklyn Heights, New York after the storm of 2010. The crazy thing here....the vehicle WAS....wait for it....A NYC Dept of Buildings city owned vehicle. The police were called, but never showed.

Top Charts of 2010

Key takeaways: It's all about about the spending, or "demand-side economics." The 112th Congress should have one priority and only one priority-- that is to reduce spending before they turn the US into a banana republic. There will never be enough tax revenue to support Congress' appetite for spending. Increasing tax revenue only fuels the spending fire.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Get Ready for Higher Energy Prices: EPA Moves to Unilaterally Impose Carbon Caps

Piers Corbin, routinely mocked by the global warming true believers, has been uncannily accurate with his weather predictions. In the video below he gives his assessment of the global warming "science," and put forth his prediction we are in the early stages of a cycle of global cooling.

Meanwhile back in the strange world of politics (where up is down and down is up), what could not be accomplished through legislation will now be implemented through regulation. Congresses failed attempts to pass the Cap and Tax bill have forced the administration to move to Plan B-- EPA mandates. The EPA said it would regulate fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries — which together emit nearly 40 percent of US greenhouse gases — starting in 2012.

"We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans and contributes to climate change," EPA chief Lisa Jackson said in a statement.

Of course, "climate change" is an interesting term now that "global warming" has become the butt of jokes. The climate does nothing but change every day, and has done so since the beginning of time, before man was even on the earth or discovered fire or fossil fuels. Now any weather fluctuations can be blamed on greenhouse gases and carbon emissions-- whether it is hot or cold or dry or wet, horror of all horrors, it's caused by climate change. We are already seeing this play out around the world, and nothing could be more ridiculous, or more revealing about just how little the global warming advocates really know about the climate.

But what's the real end game here? It is two-fold: 1) the government desperately wants to increase it's revenue through additional taxes and fees on energy, and 2) green energy sources are less efficient and more costly than fossil fuels, so to make green energy viable in the market the cost of traditional energy sources must at least double. The master planers must lead the people to the nirvana of renewable energy no matter what the costs.

If there ever was reason to significantly reduce funding to the EPA, this is it.  112th Congress, are you listening?

Quote of the Day: The Wall Street Journal -- Boone Pickens Gives Up On Wind Power

After 30 months, countless TV appearances, and $80 million spent on an extravagant PR campaign, T. Boone Pickens has finally admitted the obvious: The wind energy business isn't a very good one.
The Dallas-based entrepreneur, who has relentlessly promoted his "Pickens Plan" since July 4, 2008, announced earlier this month that he's abandoning the wind business to focus on natural gas.
Two years ago, natural gas prices were spiking and Mr. Pickens figured they'd stay high. He placed a $2 billion order for wind turbines with General Electric. Shortly afterward, he began selling the Pickens Plan. The United States, he claimed, is "the Saudi Arabia of wind," and wind energy is an essential part of the cure for the curse of imported oil.
Voters and politicians embraced the folksy billionaire's plan. Last year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he had joined "the Pickens church," and Al Gore said he wished that more business leaders would emulate Mr. Pickens and be willing to "throw themselves into the fight for the future of our country."
Alas, market forces ruined the Pickens Plan. Mr. Pickens should have shorted wind. Instead, he went long and now he's stuck holding a slew of turbines he can't use because low natural gas prices have made wind energy uneconomic in the U.S., despite federal subsidies that amount to $6.44 for every 1 million British thermal units (BTUs) produced by wind turbines. As the former corporate raider explained a few days ago, growth in the wind energy industry "just isn't gonna happen" if natural gas prices remain depressed.
In 2008, shortly after he launched his plan, Mr. Pickens said that for wind energy to be competitive, natural gas prices must be at least $9 per million BTUs. In March of this year, he was still hawking wind energy, but he'd lowered his price threshold, saying "The place where it works best is with natural gas at $7."

~ The Wall Street Journal, A Wind Power Boonedoggle by Robert Bryce
Grouch: Boone should have known better. He was dead on with his call that natural gas should be the fuel of the next 25 - 75 years while the technological challenges of alternative energy got solved to make it cost competitive in a free and open marketplace. It's unusual to see a veteran energy guy like Boone get sucker punched by the siren's call of wind power.

Quotes of the Day: Friedrich A. Hayek

Click to enlarge

A fan video that goes a little overboard:

Monday, December 27, 2010

California: The Venezuela of North America

Not only do politicians in California seem hell-bent on driving their state into bankruptcy, they also seem committed to incentivizing businesses to relocate to other states as fast as they can. But what will they do about their lavish unemployment programs when there are no workers left in the state to pay the bills?

Here is a brief list of California State Agencies that the taxpayers must fund salaries and pensions for:
  • California Academic Performance Index (API)
  • California Access for Infants and Mothers
  • California Acupuncture Board
  • California Administrative Office of the Courts
  • California Adoptions Branch
  • California African American Museum
  • California Agricultural Export Program
  • California Agricultural Labor Relations Board
  • California Agricultural Statistics Service
  • California Air Resources Board (CARB)
  • California Allocation Board
  • California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority
  • California Animal Health and Food Safety Services
  • California Anti-Terrorism Information Center
  • California Apprenticeship Council
  • California Arbitration Certification Program
  • California Architects Board
  • California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board
  • California Arts Council
  • California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
  • California Assembly Democratic Caucus
  • California Assembly Republican Caucus
  • California Athletic Commission
  • California Attorney General
  • California Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • California Bay-Delta Authority
  • California Bay-Delta Office
  • California Biodiversity Council
  • Califor nia Board for Geologists and Geophysicists
  • California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
  • California Board of Accountancy
  • California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Chiropractic Examiners
  • California Board of Equalization (BOE)
  • California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • California Board of Occupational Therapy
  • California Board of Optometry
  • California Board of Pharmacy
  • California Board of Podiatric Medicine
  • California Board of Prison Terms
  • California Board of Psychology
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Board of Trustees
  • California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
  • California Braille and Talking Book Library
  • California Building Standards Commission
  • California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education
  • California Bureau of Automotive Repair
  • California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair
  • California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation
  • California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine
  • California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
  • California Bureau of State Audits
  • California Business Agency
  • California Business Investment Services (CalBIS)
  • California Business Permit Information (CalGOLD)
  • California Business Portal
  • California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
  • California Cal Grants
  • California CalJOBS
  • California Cal-Learn Program
  • California CalVet Home Loan Program
  • California Career Resource Network
  • California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau
  • California Center for Analytical Chemistry
  • California Center for Distributed Learning
  • California Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California)
  • California Chancellors Office
  • California Charter Schools
  • California Children and Families Commission
  • California Children and Family Services Division
  • California Citizens Compensation Commission
  • California Civil Rights Bureau
  • California Coastal Commission
  • California Coastal Conservancy
  • California Code of Regulations
  • California Collaborative Projects with UC Davis
  • California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth
  • California Commission on Aging
  • California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation
  • California Commission on Judicial Performance
  • California Commission on State Mandates
  • California Commission on Status of Women
  • California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
  • California Commission on the Status of Women
  • California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries
  • California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, Junior Colleges
  • California Community Colleges Chancellors Office
  • California Complaint Mediation Program
  • California Conservation Corps
  • California Constitution Revision Commission
  • California Consumer Hotline
  • California Consumer Information Center
  • California Consumer Information
  • California Consumer Services Division
  • California Consumers and Families Agency
  • California Contractors State License Board
  • California Corrections Standards Authority
  • California Council for the Humanities
  • California Council on Criminal Justice
  • California Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • California Court Reporters Board
  • California Courts of Appeal
  • California Crime and Violence Prevention Center
  • California Criminal Justice Statistics Center
  • California Criminalist Institute Forensic Library
  • California CSGnet Network Management
  • California Cultural and Historical Endowment
  • California Cultural Resources Division
  • California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch
  • California Data Exchange Center
  • California Data Management Division
  • California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission
  • California Delta Protection Commission
  • California Democratic Caucus
  • California Demographic Research Unit
  • California Dental Auxiliaries
  • California Department of Aging
  • California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs
  • California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board
  • California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating)
  • California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS)
  • California Department of Community Services and Development
  • California Department of Conservation
  • California Department of Consumer Affairs
  • California Department of Corporations
  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • California Department of Developmental Services
  • California Department of Education
  • California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
  • California Department of Finance
  • California Department of Financial Institutions
  • California Department of Fish and Game
  • California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF)
  • California Department of General Services
  • California Department of General Services, Office of State Publishing
  • California Department of Health Care Services
  • California Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Californ ia Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)
  • California Department of Insurance
  • California Department of Justice Firearms Division
  • California Department of Justice Opinion Unit
  • California Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit
  • California Department of Justice
  • California Department of Managed Health Care
  • California Department of Mental Health
  • California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • California Department of Personnel Administration
  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • California Department of Public Health
  • California Department of Real Estate
  • California Department of Rehabilitation
  • California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch
  • California Department of Social Services
  • California Department of Technology Services Training Center (DTSTC)
  • California Department of Technology Services (DTS)
  • California Department of Toxic Substances Control
  • California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
  • California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets)
  • California Department of Water Resources
  • California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados
  • California Digital Library
  • California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program
  • California Division of Apprenticeship Standards
  • California Division of Codes and Standards
  • California Division of Communicable Disease Control
  • California Division of Engineering
  • California Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control
  • California Division of Gambling Control
  • California Division of Housing Policy Development
  • California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
  • California Division of Labor Statistics and Research
  • California Division of Land and Right of Way
  • California Division of Land Resource Protection
  • California Division of Law Enforcement General Library
  • California Division of Measurement Standards
  • California Division of Mines and Geology
  • California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)
  • California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources
  • California Division of Planning and Local Assistance
  • California Division of Recycling
  • California Division of Safety of Dams
  • California Division of the State Architect
  • California Division of Tourism
  • California Division of Workers Compensation Medical Unit
  • California Division of Workers Compensation
  • California Economic Assistance, Business and Community Resources
  • California Economic Strategy Panel
  • California Education and Training Agency
  • California Education Audit Appeals Panel
  • California Educational Facilities Authority
  • California Elections Division
  • California Electricity Oversight Board
  • California Emergency Management Agency
  • California Emergency Medical Services Authority
  • California Employment Development Department (EDD)
  • California Employment Information State Jobs
  • California Employment Training Panel
  • California Energy Commission
  • California Environment and Natural Resources Agency
  • California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA)
  • California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES)
  • California Executive Office
  • California Export Laboratory Services
  • California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo)
  • California Fair Political Practices Commission
  • California Fairs and Expositions Division
  • California Film Commission
  • California Fire and Resource Assessment Program
  • California Firearms Division
  • California Fiscal Services
  • California Fish and Game Commission
  • California Fisheries Program Branch
  • California Floodplain Management
  • California Foster Youth Help
  • California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)
  • California Fraud Division
  • California Gambling Control Commission
  • California Geographic Information Systems Council (GIS)
  • California Geological Survey
  • California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board
  • California Governors Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons
  • California Governors Mentoring Partnership
  • California Governors Office of Emergency Services
  • California Governors Office of Homeland Security
  • California Governors Office of Planning and Research
  • California Governors Office
  • California Grant and Enterprise Zone Programs HCD Loan
  • California Health and Human Services Agency
  • California Health and Safety Agency
  • California Healthy Families Program
  • California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau
  • California High-Speed Rail Authority
  • California Highway Patrol (CHP)
  • California History and Culture Agency
  • California Horse Racing Board
  • California Housing Finance Agency
  • California Indoor Air Quality Program
  • California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission
  • California Industrial Welfare Commission
  • California InFoPeople
  • California Information Center for the Environment
  • California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank)
  • California Inspection Services
  • California Institute for County Government
  • California Institute for Education Reform
  • California Integrated Waste Management Board
  • California Interagency Ecological Program
  • California Job Service
  • California Junta Estatal de Personal
  • California Labor and Employment Agency
  • California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
  • California Labor Market Information Division
  • California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN)
  • California Lands Commission
  • California Landscape Architects Technical Committee
  • California Latino Legislative Caucus
  • California Law Enforcement Branch
  • California Law Enforcement General Library
  • California Law Revision Commission
  • California Legislative Analyst's Office
  • California Legislative Black Caucus
  • California Legislative Counsel
  • California Legislative Division
  • California Legislative Information
  • California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus
  • California Legislature Internet Caucus
  • California Library De velopment Services
  • California License and Revenue Branch
  • California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program
  • California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board
  • California Maritime Academy
  • California Marketing Services
  • California Measurement Standards
  • California Medical Assistance Commission
  • California Medical Care Services
  • California Military Department
  • California Mining and Geology Board
  • California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts
  • California Museum Resource Center
  • California National Guard
  • California Native American Heritage Commission
  • California Natural Community Conservation Planning Program
  • California New Motor Vehicle Board
  • California Nursing Home Administrator Program
  • California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board
  • California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board
  • California Ocean Resources Management Program
  • California Office of Administrative Hearings
  • California Office of Administrative Law
  • California Office of AIDS
  • California Office of Binational Border Health
  • California Office of Child Abuse Prevention
  • California Office of Deaf Access
  • California Office of Emergency Services (OES)
  • California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
  • California Office of Fiscal Services
  • California Office of Fleet Administration
  • California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI)
  • California Office of Historic Preservation
  • California Office of Homeland Security
  • California Office of Human Resources
  • California Office of Legal Services
  • California Office of Legislation
  • California Office of Lieutenant Governor
  • California Office of Military and Aerospace Support
  • California Office of Mine Reclamation
  • California Office of Natural Resource Education
  • California Office of Privacy Protection
  • California Office of Public School Construction
  • California Office of Real Estate Appraisers
  • California Office of Risk and Insurance Management
  • California Office of Services to the Blind
  • California Office of Spill Prevention and Response
  • California Office of State Publishing (OSP)
  • California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development
  • California Office of Systems Integration
  • California Office of the Inspector General
  • California Office of the Ombudsman
  • California Office of the Patient Advocate
  • California Office of the President
  • California Office of the Secretary for Education
  • California Office of the State Fire Marshal
  • California Office of the State Public Defender
  • California Office of Traffic Safety
  • California Office of Vital Records
  • California Online Directory
  • California Operations Control Office
  • California Opinion Unit
  • California Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN)
  • California Park and Recreation Commission
  • California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)
  • California Performance Review (CPR)
  • California Permit Information for Business (CalGOLD)
  • California Physical Therapy Board
  • California Physician Assistant Committee
  • California Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services
  • California Policy and Evaluation Division
  • California Political Reform Division
  • California Pollution Control Financing Authority
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California Postsecondary Education Commission
  • California Prevention Services
  • California Primary Care and Family Health
  • California Prison Industry Authority
  • California Procurement Division
  • California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)
  • California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB)
  • California Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
  • California Real Estate Services Division
  • California Refugee Programs Branch
  • California Regional Water Quality Control Boards
  • California Registered Veterinary Technician Committee
  • California Registrar of Charitable Trusts
  • California Republican Caucus
  • California Research and Development Di vision
  • California Research Bureau
  • California Resources Agency
  • California Respiratory Care Board
  • California Rivers Assessment
  • California Rural Health Policy Council
  • California Safe Schools
  • California San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • California San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy
  • California San Joaquin River Conservancy
  • California School to Career
  • California Science Center
  • California Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • California Secretary of State Business Portal
  • California Secretary of State
  • California Seismic Safety Commission
  • California Self Insurance Plans (SIP)
  • California Senate Office of Research
  • California Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program
  • California Small Business Development Center Program
  • California Smart Growth Caucus
  • California Smog Check Information Center
  • California Spatial Information Library
  • California Special Education Division
  • California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board
  • California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR)
  • California Standards and Assessment Division
  • California State Administrative Manual (SAM)
  • California State Allocation Board
  • California State and Consumer Services Agency
  • California State Architect
  • California State Archives
  • California State Assembly
  • California State Association of Counties (CSAC)
  • California State Board of Education
  • California State Board of Food and Agriculture
  • California Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
  • California State Children's Trust Fun d
  • California State Compensation Insurance Fund
  • California State Contracts Register Program
  • California State Contracts Register
  • California State Controller
  • California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD)
  • California State Disability Insurance (SDI)
  • California State Fair (Cal Expo)
  • California State Jobs Employment Information
  • California State Lands Commission
  • California State Legislative Portal
  • California State Legislature
  • California State Library Catalog
  • California State Library Services Bureau
  • California State Library
  • California State Lottery
  • California State Mediation and Conciliation Service
  • California State Mining and Geology Board
  • California State Park and Recreation Commission
  • California State Parks
  • California State Personnel Board
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • California State Railroad Museum
  • California State Science Fair
  • California State Senate
  • California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)
  • California State Summer School for the Arts
  • California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS)
  • California State Treasurer
  • California State University Center for Distributed Learning
  • California State University, Bakersfield
  • California State University, Channel Islands
  • California State University, Chico
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, East Bay
  • California State University, Fresno
  • California State University, Fullerton
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • California State University, Northridge
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • California State University, San Marcos
  • California State University, Stanislaus
  • California State University (CSU)
  • California State Water Project Analysis Office
  • California State Water Project
  • California State Water Resources Control Board
  • California Structural Pest Control Board
  • California Student Aid Commission
  • California Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • California Superior Courts
  • California Tahoe Conservancy
  • California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists
  • California Tax Information Center
  • California Technology and Administration Branch Finance
  • California Telecommunications Division
  • California Telephone Medical Advice Services (TAMS)
  • California Transportation Commission
  • California Travel and Transportation Agency
  • California Unclaimed Property Program
  • California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
  • California Unemployment Insurance Program
  • California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission
  • California Veterans Board
  • California Veterans Memorial
  • California Veterinary Medical Board and Registered Veterinary Technician Examining Committee
  • California Veterinary Medical Board
  • California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
  • California Volunteers
  • California Voter Registration
  • California Water Commission
  • California Water Environment Association (COWPEA)
  • California Water Resources Control Board
  • California Welfare to Work Division
  • California Wetlands Information System
  • California Wildlife and Habitat Data Analysis Branch
  • California Wildlife Conservation Board
  • California Wildlife Programs Branch
  • California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
  • California Workers Compensation Appeals Board
  • California Workforce and Labor Development Agency
  • California Workforce Investment Board
  • California Youth Authority (CYA)
  • Central Valley Flood Protection Board
  • Center for California Studies
  • Colorado River Board of California
  • Counting California
  • Dental Board of California
  • Health Insurance Plan of California (PacAdvantage)
  • Humboldt State University
  • Jobs with the State of California
  • Judicial Council of California
  • Learn California
  • Library of California
  • Lieutenant Governors Commission for One California
  • Little Hoover Commission (on California State Government Organization and Economy)
  • Medical Board of California
  • Medi-Cal
  • Osteopathic Medical Board of California
  • Physical Therapy Board of California
  • Regents of the University of California
  • San Diego State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  • State Bar of California
  • Supreme Court of California
  • Teach California
  • University of California
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, Merced
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Veterans Home of California

My Take on Facebook

While I don't have quite the same feelings as the gentleman above about Facebook, he does have a point. Facebook is a tremendous time waster and leads to superficial social contact. With the movie The Social Network and Mark Zuckerberg being named Time's Person of the Year, Facebook has been all over the news of late. Stock has recently been sold that report values the company at close to $56B (way overpriced in my opinion). But I find little use for it in my personal life, and resent it's intrusion on my free time. I will be happy to never log into Facebook again as long as I live, and I won't miss a thing of any significance. I'm sick of reading travelogues of people's comings and goings.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for technological advancement and using the web as a source of learning. I believe all this recent publicity signals the height of Facebook's fortunes. My guess is that the next 10 years will show Facebook to be one of the AOLs of the world as their popularity declines and they are replaced by the next upstart with a revolutionary idea.

I'll close with a video referred by Suba@wealthinformatics:

A Random Walk Toward Asset Allocation

In a weekend interview in, Burton Malkiel discusses the new edition of  A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and shares his recommended asset allocation for baby boomers.
This interview contains some wonderful advice for beginning investors.  I found his outlook for the US economy and thought on international and emerging market allocation quite surprising.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Blackberry Isn't Working

Sunday Verse: The Grouch

Waiting for the Second Coming

The cattle are lowing
but there’s no baby in the manger. Christmas day
dawns cold and bright without a star to follow
or Wise Men who come trudging over the whitened

hills. All I see are the swaying backsides of Guernseys,
tails flicking flies out of habit. They waddle
like old ladies answering the call of church bells
weary from lugging oversized purses

filled with life’s necessary nothings.
They stare in wide-eyed astonishment
that I’ve left the warmth of the house, presents
unopened under the tree as the others snore

snugly in their beds. The sucking sound
of my rubber boots in the mud draws them
closer. I lead them one by one into the stalls,
smear antiseptic on the udders, attach

the metal fingers. Liquid rushes through tubing
as the gentle massage begins and the collection tank
fills. I listen to the vacuum motor’s whir,
unthinkingly replace one cow with another.

If there’s a Messiah born on this day,
surely he would be here, nestled dryly
in the loft, adored by his teenage parents,
who have fled their own Caesars and Herods,

I want to rise from this damp straw
that smells of shit, urine and sour milk
to behold the radiance of his face,
the peaceful reassurance that miracles await.

But I’m afraid all I’d find is two scared children
holding a screaming baby, the bloody
afterbirth matted in the hay, a beat-up
Volkswagen hidden behind a clump of evergreens,

and their eyes begging the blessing of my silence.
As the last udder is emptied, a halo
of light descends from the loft window
to circle my thorn-crowned head, and it is finished.

~ The Grouch

Friday, December 24, 2010

O Holy Night

A Behind the Scenes Look at Bergdorf Goodman’s 2010 Holiday Windows

A must see if you are ever in NYC around Christmas time:

A Christmas Story: 2010

Ever wonder how economic policies are impacting Santa and his elves?

The Boss: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ September 20, 1978.

This vintage footage is the young Springsteen who was known for giving incredible concerts.... as described at my alma mater:

Such was the case when a scrappy 25-year-old Bruce Springsteen rolled into Charlottesville on November 17, 1974, and the man later known as the Boss played with his E Street Band to a packed Mem Gym. Bruce had already won a respectable cult following with his first two albums and a reputation for turning concerts into near-religious experiences, so expectations among the 1,500 or so in the audience were high.

By all accounts, New Jersey's future favorite son did not disappoint. The audience reportedly was whipped into such a frenzy that it almost seemed as if, as the Cavalier Daily put it, Springsteen "performed with" the audience more than performing to them.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping for That Special Someone

Looking for a last minute present for that special someone and can't seem to find the exact right thing? Think about some carbon offset credits. What could more fulfilling than living a carbon-neutral life? Make it a green Holiday, and deck the halls with something other than holly and mistletoe.
More information can be found here.  

I can't wait to see the looks on the faces of my family and friends when they rip the paper off their presents to find a highly decorative and prestigious Carbon Offset Certificate.  Too bad it isn't signed by President Al Gore.  Maybe next year.  

How to Deal with a Christmas Zombie Apocalypse

What CARB Would Do to Santa's Sleigh

CARB stands for California Air Resources Board, another useless bureaucracy burdening CA citizens with ridiculous regulations (glad I don't live there).

A Nation of Desire

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why Everyone Else's Line Always Seems to Move Faster than Yours

Barring unforeseen delays, empty lanes and lanes with the fewest people (not the fewest items) will generally get you out of the store quickest. So why does it always seem like everyone else's line is moving faster than yours?

When things get hectic, judging which line will be fastest is more luck than anything else. Bill Hammack, also known as The Engineer Guy, uses research about 19th century telephone systems to explain checkout lines in the video above. The basic premise is this: at any given time, there may be a large rush to the cashiers and there won't be enough cashiers to fill the need, causing delays. A queue for each lane exacerbates this, while one unified line (as some stores, like Whole Foods, have come to adopt) will move much faster—up to three times faster for a line serving three cashiers.

They also note, just as importantly, that there's a high chance that at least one of the other lines will move faster than yours—so the "pick the fastest line" game we often play when checking out doesn't usually do us much good. The moral? Stop stressing, pick a line, and make sure you've planned out your busy holiday weekend so you aren't pressed for time. Also, if you know of stores that use the one, unified queue approach, shop there—you'll get through checkout a lot faster.

My main problem in checkout lines is that the person in front of me always seems to have an item whose price is missing from the system, necessitating a search throughout the store to track down price while everyone else in that line waits or attempts to requeue to the next line they think will be the fastest.

Quote of the Day: Ben Affleck

On Tuesday’s NPR Morning Edition, actor Ben Affleck was selling his new movie about corporate layoffs, Company Men, and anchorman Steve Inskeep carefully led the actor onto a soapbox to lecture about the immorality of American capitalism and financiers who do nothing but “move money back and forth”:

INSKEEP: There’s a line in Company Men that’s staying with me. Tommy Lee Jones is at a corporate conference table. Someone else at the conference table is discussing their plans to lay off a bunch of workers. And nearly all the workers being laid off are older, which could be construed as being wrong or illegal. Someone at the table says: “Oh, no. This is going to pass legal scrutiny.” And Jones responds: “I always thought we aimed for a little higher standard than that.”

AFFLECK: That speaks so perfectly to people’s feelings about our country. It’s like it’s just about getting by, or people can like let people go if they can get away with it, that there’s no deeper sense of right or wrong. The banks shouldn’t — people shouldn’t make such a giant profit off just moving money back and forth. And CEOs’ pay shouldn’t be 200 times the average worker. It used to be nine times.

Grouch: I have nothing against Ben Affleck for making $37M a year or a $154K a day or $321 per second on very little talent. More power to him. Wish I was so lucky. On the other hand, how can he live with himself knowing he makes 400 times more than the average Hollywood stagehand. I think it would only be fair if he spread the wealth around, and insist on every movie he makes that he gets paid exactly 9 times what the lowest paid stagehand makes. What do you think? Wouldn't that be just and moral? What's so special about talking and looking stupid in front of the camera anyway?

More Unintended Consequences

Some of this video is a bit over the top, but the point is clear.

A Mr. Bean Christmas

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Absolutely hilarious! Rowan Atkinson is a genius.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote of the Day: Mark Perry and Robert Dell

The banking crisis that began in August 2007 shocked markets and precipitated the Great Recession. To fully explain the banking crisis, one must account for its timing, severity, and global impact. For example, why didn’t a banking crisis erupt sooner—say, in the recession years of 1990-1991 or 2001-2002? What changed in recent years that led to business risk-taking capable of wrecking the U.S. housing market and the U.S. banking system and other banking systems throughout the world? Further, why were prudent credit practices reasonably maintained in credit card and commercial mortgage securitization in recent years, but wholly abandoned in residential mortgage securitization?

In answer to the questions about what specific factors explain the: causes and timing of the banking crisis and the extraordinary departure from historically sound underwriting and securitization standards for residential mortgages, we identify a potent mix of six major government policies that together rewarded short-sighted collective risk-taking and penalized long-term business leadership.

~ Mark Perry and Robert Dell, from How Government Failure Caused the Great Recession

The six reasons that Perry and Dell list in the article are:
  1. Bank misregulation, in particular the international Basel capital rules, including a U.S. adaptation to them—the 2001 Recourse Rule—and the outsourcing of risk assessment by regulators to government-sanctioned rating agencies incentivized (not merely “allowed”) the creation and highly-leveraged systemic accumulation of the highest yielding AAA- and AA-rated securities among banks globally.
  2. Continually increasing leverage—driven largely by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit policies and the political obsession with taking credit for increased homeownership—into the U.S. mortgage system. Reduced down payments and loosened underwriting standards were a matter of government policy throughout the housing boom.
  3. The enlargement of the riskier subprime and Alt-A mortgage markets by Fannie and Freddie through the abandonment of proven credit standards (e.g., dropping proof of income requirements) during the 2004-2007 period, and their combined accumulation of a $1.6 trillion portfolio of these loans to meet the affordable housing goals Congress mandated.
  4. The FDIC, Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and Congress undertook explicit or implicit creditor bailouts for large financial institutions starting in the 1980s (First Pennsylvania, Continental Illinois, the thrift industry, the Farm Credit System, etc.) and continuing to 2008 (Bear Stearns). These regulatory decisions led to an absence of creditor discipline of financial institution leverage and risk-taking (especially at Fannie and Freddie) and the “too big to fail” expectation of a government bailout.
  5. The increase in FDIC deposit insurance from $40,000 to $100,000 per account in 1980 combined with the unchecked expansion of coverage up to $50 million under the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service beginning in 2003. These regulatory errors of commission and omission reduced the incentives of business, institutional, and high net-worth depositors to monitor and discipline excessive bank leverage and risk-taking.
  6. Artificially low and sometimes negative real federal funds rates from 2001 to 2005—a result of expansionary Fed monetary policy—fueled the subprime and Alt-A mortgage boom and widened the asset-liability maturity gap for banks. Most subprime and Alt-A mortgages carried low initial rates made possible by low federal funds rates, which spurred borrower demand for these mortgages.

Grouch: I find it hard to argue against the conclusions of Perry and Dell.  The distortions the government caused in the mortgage markets through misguided, well-intentions policies are readily apparent to anyone taking an unbiased look at the recent financial crisis.  The Frank-Dodd financial reform bill has, in essence, planted the seeds for the next financial crisis by giving government an even bigger role.  What's needed instead: 1) the gradual dissolution of the GSEs Fannie and Freddie, and the ceasing of Congressional meddling in these organizations (I would prefer them to go out of business altogether), 2) a reduction in Federal Deposit insurance and the implicit creditor guarantee that banks will be bailed out of their bad behavior, 3) the elimination of regulator micro-management (which has failed miserably in the past) in favor of higher capital requirements, and 4) some kind of oversight of the Fed to prevent the setting of artificially low interest rates.

Leaving Excuseville

Excuseville is a town that I despise, but more and more people seem to be moving there everyday.  In fact, it has grown to be one of the largest cities in the world.  Not a day goes by when I don't read another article on the internet or in a magazine, or hear a news or radio broadcast that is not making an excuse for the failings of some individual or group of people to take responsibility for their own actions and their own lives.  It may make some people feel good that the general consensus is they've been excused from the consequences of their actions, but it doesn't change the fundamental situation.

Whether the devil made me do it, or it is encoded in my genes, or I'm the victim of poor parenting or an uncaring state that neglected my education, it is still my choice to overeat, overspend, smoke, drink, cheat on my wife, neglect my kids emotionally and financially, be selfish. No external influence makes me do things that I know to be wrong. The defect lies within, and it is not genetic. It is a matter of making choices with my life and accepting responsibility for those choices whether the outcome is good or bad.  No "poor me" or "it's someone else's fault" type of thinking flies with me anymore.  Maybe I'm just old and cranky, or I call it like it is because I'm not politically correct.

I left Excuseville years ago, and haven't looked back.  Yet, all I hear around me are victims and those who want to turn everyone into victims... from the TV news shows to radio to politicians to pop culture everyone is a victim.  I'm sick of it.  I checked out and tuned out.  Yes, it's sad to hear that 25% of those taking the army entrance exam can't solve this equation for x: 2x = 4.  It's sad that they failed to get a good education.  They'll pay for it the rest of their lives.  The resources were available to them, but they did not seize the opportunity.  They have no one to blame but the face in the mirror.  The sooner they realize this, the sooner they are on the train out of Excuseville and headed toward taking control over their lives, and shaping their own fate.

Meridith Whitney: Wave of Muni Defaults to Spur Layoffs and Social Unrest

Responding to the uproar over her "60 Minutes" interview broadcast on CBS Sunday night and highlighted earlier this week on this blog, Whitney defended her prediction that at least 50 to 100 cities and towns could default on their debt as states and the federal government cut back on financial support.

Many experts tied to the Muni Bond industry dispute her claims.

The big problem is that cash-strapped states will no longer be able to provide the financial support to municipalities as they have in the past," said Whitney, who is CEO and founder of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group.

"States clearly have been funding municipal governments—for now up to 40 percent of their total expenditures," she expounded.  "As the states become more compromised from a fiscal standpoint, that funding is going to end."

The federal government is unlikely to bail out the states either, added Whitney, because the cost—which she put at $1 trillion—would cause a political backlash. "Who in Nebraska's going to want to bail out someone in Florida?" she said.

She also sees parallels with the turmoil in Europe over austerity measures imposed there.  Is she correct that European style riots are headed to the US as benefits are cut and state workers laid off?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's Your Handicap?

Chris Connelly has the story of American Lake Veterans golf course and golfing legend Jack Nicklaus' affection for both the course and its veterans.

My favorite kinds of stories are where people overcome adversity to do what they love.

The Book of Wasteful Government Spending 2010

In case you’re filled with too much holiday cheer this Christmas season, the latest edition of Sen. Tom Coburn’s “Wastebook”, chronicling wasteful federal spending, is now available. The dollar amounts aren’t always shocking, but the blatant waste of taxpayers’ money is. The full report is below.

ULTIMATE FINAL-Wastebook2010December20final -

Personally, I think there is much more waste out there than Senator Coburn is uncovering and would like to see this project expanded significantly.

Some highlights include:
  • The city of Las Vegas has received a $5.2 million federal grant to build the Neon Boneyard Park and Museum, including $1.8 million in 2010. For over the last decade, Museum supporters have gathered and displayed over 150 old Las Vegas neon signs, such as the Golden Nugget and Silver Slipper casinos.
  • The National Science Foundation provided more than $200,000 to study why political candidates make vague statements.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spends $175 million every year to maintain hundreds of buildings it does not use, including a pink, octagonal monkey house in Dayton, Ohio.
  • In July, nearly half a million taxpayer dollars went to the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, where wine tasting and castle tours were among the events planned for the conference participants.
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) took the term "cold case" to a new level in 2010. The agency spent over $20,000 in taxpayer money "to unravel the anonymity of a 2,500-year-old mummy."
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent nearly $442,340 million to study the number of male prostitutes in Vietnam and their social setting.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded over $600,000 to the Minnesota Zoo to create a wolf "avatar" video game called "WolfQuest."
  • A $700,000 federal grant paid for researchers to examine "greenhouse gas emission from organic dairies, which are cause by cow burps, among other things."
Rather than do without these precious and vital goodies, why don't we just borrow huge amounts of money from the communist Chinese and hope our children and grandchildren can figure out a way to pay it back?

Monday, December 20, 2010

State Budgets: Day of Reckoning

This segment from 60 Minutes on state debt is a much watch for anyone concerned about their financial well-being. The house of cards is about to collapse now that the Federal stimulus money that was propping up the worst states is drying up. Will people like Chris Christie and Bob McDonald be recognized for making the tough decisions and not kicking the can down the road? Any bets on which state will be the first to go bankrupt? This is coming at the federal level as well. It is just a matter of when, and which party will look reality dead on in the eye.

But being ever the contrarian, especially when bad news makes the national media, I'm spotting a potential investment opportunity here. I'd stay away from basket cases like California (who symbolically voted to go bankrupt in the last election) Illinois, Nevada and Michigan, but I'd research the healthy, fiscal sound states for investment opportunities in their muni bonds. They will get drug down into the bargain basement as the weaklings begin to fail.

How's My Week Starting Off? ...... And So You Code.....

Barstool Economics Revisted

If only tax laws were this easy to understand:

The crazy chart from the comrades at Mother Jones he refers to can be found here. They seem to advocate an economic system in which the energetic and able pay for a nonproductive parasite class out of "fairness," since these non-productive people aren't as lucky or fortunate as the hard workers.

Cartoon of the Day: Bearing Fruit

That which you subsidize you get more of.

Computer Geek Humor

Java 4-ever

Lady Java

Click to Enlarge

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Verse: Louise Erdrich

The Strange People

The antelope are strange people ... they are beautiful to look at, and yet they are tricky. We do not trust them. They appear and disappear; they are like shadows on the plains. Because of their great beauty, young men sometimes follow the antelope and are lost forever. Even if those foolish ones find themselves and return, they are never again right in their heads.

~ Pretty Shield,
Medicine Woman of the Crows
transcribed and edited by
Frank Linderman (1932)

All night I am the doe, breathing
his name in a frozen field,
the small mist of the word
drifting always before me.

And again he has heard it
and I have gone burning
to meet him, the jacklight
fills my eyes with blue fire;
the heart in my chest
explodes like a hot stone.

Then slung like a sack
in the back of his pickup,
I wipe the death scum
from my mouth, sit up laughing
and shriek in my speeding grave.

Safely shut in the garage,
when he sharpens his knife
and thinks to have me, like that,
I come toward him,
a lean gray witch
through the bullets that enter and dissolve.

I sit in his house
drinking coffee till dawn
and leave as frost reddens on hubcaps,
crawling back into my shadowy body.
All day, asleep in clean grasses,
I dream of the one who could really wound me.
Not with weapons, not with a kiss, not with a look.
Not even with his goodness.

If a man was never to lie to me. Never lie me.
I swear I would never leave him.

~ Louise Erdrich

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From the UK Guardian: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting 'mythical' healthcare system

Via Wikileaks, we learn that Castro banned Michael Moore's 2007 "documentary," Sicko, because it painted such a "mythically" favourable picture of Cuba's healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a "popular backlash" according to US diplomats in Havana.

The article goes on to state: The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so "disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room".

Castro's government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it "knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them."

The entire article can be found here.

Grouch: I am beginning to find it extremely disturbing that the foreign press is more reliable and informative than the domestic press in reporting on political and economic conditions in the US.

Think You Know How to Ride a Bike?

Betcha can't do this.

The Cancun Climate Farce

It's hard work jetting off to luxurious resorts to listen to each other shout sanctimonious slogans and mindless claptrap, but oligarchical collectivists from the United Nations are willing to endure it for the sake of the polar bears:

Nanny of the Year!

And the winner of this year's coveted award is....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quote of the Day: Byron York

The watchdog groups -- Taxpayers for Common Sense,, and Taxpayers Against Earmarks -- counted total earmark requests in the 2011 budget. Those requests were made by lawmakers earlier this year, but Democratic leaders, afraid that their party's spending priorities might cost them at the polls, decided not to pass a budget before the Nov. 2 elections. Now, they have distilled those earmark requests -- thrown some out, combined others -- into the omnibus bill under consideration in the Senate. While it's loaded with spending, looking back at the original earmark requests tells us a lot about the spending inclinations of both parties.

In the 2011 House budget, the groups found that House Democrats requested 18,189 earmarks, which would cost the taxpayers a total of $51.7 billion, while House Republicans requested just 241 earmarks, for a total of $1 billion.

Where did those GOP earmark requests come from? Just four Republican lawmakers: South Carolina Rep. Henry Brown, who did not run for re-election this year; Louisiana Rep. Joseph Cao, who lost his bid for re-election; maverick Texas Rep. Ron Paul; and spending king Rep. Don Young of Alaska. The other Republican members of the House -- 174 of them -- requested a total of zero earmarks.

Talk to Republicans, and they'll say it would be nice if there were no earmark requests at all, but party leaders can't control everybody. "Brown's retiring, Cao's defeated, Paul is Paul and Young is Young," one GOP aide shrugs. Still, the bottom line is that the House GOP's nearly perfect renunciation of earmarks is striking. "For a voluntary moratorium, it was impressive that there were only four scofflaws," says Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The Senate is a different story. But even though some Republicans are still seeking earmarks, Democrats are by far the bigger spenders. The watchdog groups found that Democrats requested 15,133 earmarks for 2011, for a total of $54.9 billion, while Republicans requested 5,352 earmarks, for a total of $22 billion.

~ Byron York, writing in the San Francisco Examiner

Grouch: I seem to recall candidate Obama saying something like: "We need earmark reform, and when I'm President, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely." Clearly, this isn't happening. Of course, earmarks are just the tip of iceberg. Considering all the reckless spending and money printing with QEI & II, could the US be headed toward a jump in inflation to the high single digits or teens like back in the 1970's. Those who were born after 1980 have fortunately not experience this type of price environment before.

The Human Synthesizer

I would not recommend trying this at home.

Daito Manabe stimulates his facial muscles with small electric pulses, synced to music. Danito comments his experiments as following: 'yes. it is painful. but not as much as you think'

Bogle Speaks: On Wall Street Greed and ETFs

I agree with Jack Bogle to a certain extent. ETFs have become a rapid trading vehicle for individuals and institutions, which helps Wall Street create trading profits. However, I do think ETFs, if used properly, can be a great investment tool for the average investor. I am a buy and hold ETF investor. I only intended to sell my shares after I enter retirement as needed to fund the necessities of life and to have some fun traveling.

The Grouch's Favorite Free/Open Source Software Programs

The Grouch is all about open source software. You won't find any Microsoft proprietary code on my computers. In an effort to show others the way to GPL or free software bliss, I've listed my favorite programs.

  1. Linux - any Debian derivative will do for me.  My current favorite is Linux Mint 10 because of its elegant look and it takes care of most of the configuration challenges for the user, followed by Ubuntu.  I could get by with Fedora in a pinch, but I don't care for OpenSuse.
  2. MythTV - a DVR application.  Used to record TV shows in HD off of the antennae or cable.
  3. PS3 Streaming Media Player - used to stream recorded TV shows, ripped movies, and mp3s from the PC through a PS3 onto the TV screen.
  4. XBMC - Media Center software.
  5. GNUCash - for those who don't want to put their financial info on the web, GNUCash is like MS Money and a sophisticated accounting program rolled into one.
  6. Dropbox - file synching with a hard drive in the cloud. 
  7. VLC (Video Lan Client) - All purpose multimedia application.
  8. Handbrake - DVD ripping.
  9. DVD::rip - DVD ripping
  10. Arista - DVD ripping, and file encoding.
  11. Google Chrome - web browsing.
  12. Firefox - web browsing.
  13. Opera - web browsing.
  14. Google Earth 
  15. Transmission - bit torrent
  16. Vuze - bit torrent.
  17. Open Office - MS Office replacement.
  18. Skype - VoIP.
  19. Google Voice - VoIP
  20. Ekiga - VoIP.
  21. Pandora - free music delivery.
  22. Filezilla - FTP Client
  23. Virtual Box - virtual machine hosting software.
  24. Audacity - audio recording and editing.
  25. Thunderbird - email client.
  26. Pidgin - IM client
  27. Eclipse - software IDE
  28. GIMP - image manipulation program similar to photoshop
  29. Inkscape - vector drawing program and book cover design
  30. LaTex - typesetting program I use to format books
  31. Texmaker - LaTex editor
  32. Lyx - WYSIWYG LaTex editor
  33. Scribus - Desktop publishing and book cover design
  34. MPlayer - All purpose multimedia application.
  35. Calibre - ebook reader.