Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Best Buying Opportunity in a Generation for Investors?

Edelman Financial Services CEO Ric Edelman on why there are such great opportunities for investors right now in the markets.

Grouch: My love/hate relationship continues with Ric Edelmann. I believe he is one of the better and more consistent people in the financial planning industry, but the personality is sometimes a little too much for me. I do agree with the premise of his comments.

Floating Cities: Future Havens of Happiness?

"The Seasteading Institute was founded in 2008 by activist, software engineer and political economic theorist Patri Friedman, grandson of Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, and technology entrepreneur, investor and Philanthropist Peter Thiel.

At The Seasteading Institute, we believe that experiments are the source of all progress: to find something better,you have to try something new. But right now, there is no open space for experimenting with new societies. That’s why we work to enable seasteading communities — floating cities — which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government. The most successful communities can then inspire change in governments around the world. We’re opening this new frontier because humanity needs better ways to live together to unlock our full potential."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The 535

The problem is obvious, yet no one wants to talk about it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Day Made of Glass 2

A Day Made of Glass 2 is Corning's expanded vision for the future of glass technologies. A Day Made Of Glass was originally a 5 minute video produced by Corning for an annual investor meeting. It went viral and garnered some 18 million pageviews in YouTube. A Day Made of Glass 2 is kind of a sequel to the original.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Doreen's Story: How the British Social Safety Net Saved Her from Lazy Cow Disease

Welcome to the dependency state, so absurd it becomes funny and oh so sad at the same time. The accent is pretty thick, so you may have to listen to it several times to pick up on the nuances.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why Conservatives Suck

The Zombie Apocalypse

Chuck Woolery assures us that Big Government is addressing the unfolding zombie apocalypse, and calms nerves by answering questions from concerned citizens:

For those still concerned and troubled, there's always the tax payer funded government website devoted to Zombie Preparedness. Hopefully, these preventative measures will keep the situation from escalating into a full scale invasion similar to what is happening in other parts of the world:

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Cyber War is On

To the government of the state of Israel. We are Anonymous. For too long we have tolerated your crimes against humanity and allowed your sins to go unpunished. Through the use of media deception and political bribery, you have amassed the sympathies of many. You claim to be democratic, yet in reality, this is far from the truth. In fact, your only goal is to better the lives of a select few while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses. We see through the propaganda that you circulate through the mainstream media and lobby through the political establishment.

Your Zionist bigotry has displaced and killed a great many. As the world weeps you laugh while planning your next attack. All of this is done under the veil of peace, but so long as your regime exists, peace shall be hindered. You label all who refuse to comply with your superstitious demands as anti-Semitic and have taken steps to ensure a nuclear holocaust. You are unworthy to exist in your current form and will therefore face the wrath of Anonymous. Your empire lacks legitimacy and because of this, you must govern behind a curtain of deceit. We will not allow you to attack a sovereign country based upon a campaign of lies. Your grip over humanity will weaken and man will be closer to freedom. But before this is accomplished, the people of this world will rise against you and renounce you and all your worth.

Our crusade against your reign of terror shall commence in three steps.

Step one will be initiated after the release of this video and will be comprised of systematically removing you from the internet. Step two will be later disclosed and is already in initiation; and, as for step three, well, think of this one as a present from Anonymous to you – we will not stop until the police state becomes a free state. We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget. Israeli government expect us.

It is not known whether Anonymous will actually follow through on the threat, as the collective has been known to abandon some plans, while misunderstanding others. Additionally, an operation is sometimes thwarted when it’s been discovered to be the scheming of a rogue Anon.

Save the Judge!

Word is out that Fox is cancelling Judge Napolitano’s show, Freedom Watch. Below is a link to politely ask Fox to retain the program:

Irena Briganti, Senior Vice President
Media Relations
Phone: 212-301-3608
Fax: 212-819-0816
E-Mail: irena.briganti@foxnews.com

Here is a clip from Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch program where he interviews Mises Institute founder Lew Rockwell and Jason Hornberger from The Future of Freedom Foundation on the lack of differences between the Republicans and Democrats. You won't find this kind of show anywhere else on cable or the networks.

Person to Person with Warren Buffett

Boomtown Girls

Boomtown Girls from Lucky Dog Filmworks on Vimeo.

There's an energy boom going on in America. It's not green energy. Those companies all go bust when the government subsidies dry up. It's natural gas and North Dakota oil. North Dakota will soon surpass Alaska and Texas to become the top oil producing state in the US. Boom times have hit the Northern Plains. The only thing that is missing now is a TV reality show about the oil fields. This trailer for “Boomtown Girls,” featuring five Williston sisters who work alongside men in the Oil Patch is being marketed to fill this void. The sisters – Kendel, LeAnna, Kelsey, Terrie and Heather – reflect about how their hometown has changed with the latest oil boom. We'll see if they end up on a reality TV channel in the near future.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

American Dependence

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. ~ Benjamin Franklin

The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government published today by the Heritage Foundation shows many disturbing trends. This Index tracks the growth in government dependence dating back to the early 1960s. Some of the most troubling trends are:

  • One in five Americans—the highest in the nation’s history—relies on the federal government for everything from housing, health care, and food stamps to college tuition and retirement assistance. That’s more than 67.3 million Americans who receive subsidies from Washington.
  • Government dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year, with the most assistance going toward housing, health and welfare, and retirement.
  • The federal government spent more taxpayer dollars than ever before in 2011 to subsidize Americans. The average individual who relies on Washington could receive benefits valued at $32,748, more than the nation’s average disposable personal income ($32,446).
  • At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes.
  • In the next 25 years, more than 77 million baby boomers will retire. They will begin collecting checks from Social Security, drawing benefits from Medicare, and relying on Medicaid for long-term care.
  • As of now, 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to individual assistance programs, up dramatically in just the past few years. However, research shows that private, community, and charitable aid helps individuals rise from their difficulties with better success than federal government handouts. Plus, local and private aid is often more effectively distributed.

As a corollary to the Heritage Foundation study, Stephen Moore poses a series of questions in the WSJ worth pondering concerning fairness:

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country's income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?

Is it fair that the three counties with America's highest median family income just happen to be located in the Washington, D.C., metro area?

Is it fair that soon almost half the federal budget will take income from young working people and redistribute it to old non-working people, even though those over age 65 are already among the wealthiest Americans?

Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industry—which provides at least 10 times as much energy—pays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is "subsidized"?

Is it fair that in 27 states workers can be compelled to join a union in order to keep their jobs?

~ Stephen Moore, from A Fairness Quiz for the President

Are You Unemployed? -- The Game Show

The BLS says the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3% last month. But how did they come up with that number with so many people still looking for work. This little game show cartoon gives you some idea on how the numbers are calculated.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Clint Eastwood Superbowl Commercial Parody

The Chrysler Mini-Van we use to haul the kids around in was made in Ontario...... not Ontario California, but Ontario Canada. Ciao.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Myth of Wage Stagnation

In this video mythbuster Don Boudreau takes former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich to task on his dubious use of statistics while dispeling the common narrative of 'wage stagnation.'

Additionally, on Cafe Hayek, Boudreaux writes:

In this presentation (ppt), I calculate how many hours each non-supervisory worker earning the average nominal hourly wage of such workers had to work in 1975 to buy a variety of ordinary goods, and how many hours each non-supervisory worker earning the average nominal hourly wage of such workers must work in 2011 to buy similar (or, really, in almost every case far superior) or comparable goods.

The dollar figure beside each photo from the 1975 Sears catalog is the 1975 price(s) of that product(s) adjusted, using the CPI, into 2011 dollars. (The photos of the various pages of the 1975 Sears catalog, BTW, were taken with the camera in my iPhone. Just FYI.)

Before starting this PowerPoint presentation, I showed this recent clip from Robert Reich – one of many, many instances of people insisting that ordinary Americans are no better off today (at least materially) than they were since just before the age of alleged laissez faire descended upon us circa 1980.

A video of the Sear's catalog presentation can be found here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Tale of the Slave

Found this Kafkaesque little parable and mind teaser on the ideas matter website.

"The Tale of the Slave"
from Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pp. 290-292.

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.
  1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master's whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
  2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
  3. The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
  4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
  5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
  6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.
  7. Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.
  8. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
  9. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
  10. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.
The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

Grouch: My answer is this story never ceased to be anything but the tale of a slave.