Having had a couple servings of the apple crisp, though, I woke up this morning feeling like nothing in the world was wrong at all, not even slightly. After two weeks of elevated anxiety, suddenly I find myself thinking, "My only real major problem right now is unemployment."
Further thought went about thus: "Wait, what about the 'no girlfriend' thing? Well, that's not really a problem, if you think about it. It sucks not to have one, but it's not critical, is it? Okay. What about the 'this house will get sold eventually and you'll have to pay rent or buy a new place' issue? Think about it: if you have a job this won't be a big problem, either."
I went down the list of worries, and concluded that either A) they're things that are either not actual problems, or are things that won't be problems for a while; or B) problems that can be solved through the simple expedient of working for a living.
* * *
Ms. Barnhardt is the person who described how "sha'ria-compliant" lending works; and this latest idiocy from the Boss Tweek Administration about Catholics and birth control reminded me of it. She said in her latest post:
Many savvy readers also picked up on the similarity between the "Obama Compromise" which pretends that insurance companies will provide contraception, sterilization and abortifacients for "free", and our recent discussion of "interest free" Sharia loans. Uh, yeah. That's because it is exactly the same thing, cut from EXACTLY the same cloth. Just as islam is nothing more than a political system which revolves around lies and lying, Marxism is exactly the same. The mindsets are EXACTLY the same. It is all about gaming the system through intrinsically, fundamentally and monumentally dishonest legalisms. In islam, you're not really paying interest - just a "markup". And you're not homosexual as long as you don't love the man or boy you're anally raping. And "allah" can't see you on Mondays and Thursdays because he is "busy", so do whatever you want. In Marxism, physical and service commodities are "rights", anyone who makes more than $100,000 per year is "rich" and "not paying their fair share", and Barack Obama isn't a crack-addled homosexual Indonesian national with a room-temperature I.Q. It's all about the BIG LIE.See, muslims aren't allowed to pay interest on loans; that's in islam. (No I don't understand why.)
Here's how it works when a muslim wants to get a mortgage: he goes to the bank with the settled price that he's going to pay for his house. Let's say that the house is going to cost $50,000. The banker goes to his amortization applet and computes what the loan would cost under the proper interest rate for that mortgage. Again, let's say that the total of all mortgage payments would end up being $75,000 with interest. The banker then divides that sum by the number of payments, and that's what the islamic guy pays each month on his mortgage.
There's no actual "interest" line-item on the mortgage, yet the bank is making money on the loan.
Yeah: as long as you don't call it interest, you can pay interest on a loan, because apparently allah is stupid or something?
No, I don't get it.
Anyway, Obama's idea for "free contraception" is exactly the same kind of thing. Catholic organizations aren't being forced to pay for contraception and abortions, oh no! See, the insurance companies are just giving the coverage to those organizations for free, right? And out of the goodness of their hearts, the Catholic organizations are paying more for their health insurance.
It's totally not that Catholics are paying the normal insurance rate of $X plus $Y for contraceptive and abortive services; no! The Catholics are paying $Z for health insurance that happens to include those contraceptive and abortive services at no extra charge!
Even though Z=X+Y.
No, I don't get that, either. I totally get what Obama and his cronies are trying to do, but I have to wonder how willfully blind you'd have to be to think that it's somehow a solution if you just pretend real hard that you're not doing exactly the thing proscribed by your religion.
Along with the rest of the mainstream media, Reuters is desperately trying to sell that line of total crap with this article headlined (at this writing) with "Insurers stuck with cost of Obama birth-control plan".
President Barack Obama's compromise on free birth control coverage left health insurers stuck with the bill, sparking worries over the precedent set by the new policy....except that it's not "free", not even in theory. The Catholics pay the same amount for their insurance as a non-Catholic would who was being charged for these so-called "reproductive services". The only difference is how the bill is worded.
Obama on Friday made insurers responsible for providing free birth control to employees of religious groups, aiming to placate outraged leaders of the Catholic church who oppose contraception and to defuse an election-year landmine.
Free birth control is mandated under Obama's 2010 healthcare law. The administration has exempted houses of worship from the rule, but requires the coverage be made available to employees of religiously affiliated organizations such as hospitals and universities.
Providing free birth control is not expected to hurt profits for the multibillion dollar insurance industry. But insurance companies questioned the principle of making them pay for coverage with no clear way to recoup the expense.
"We are concerned about the precedent this proposed rule would set," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's trade group. "As we learn more about how this rule would be operationalized, we will provide comments through the regulatory process."
The article tries to persuade us that Catholics won't be paying for those services, which fixes the problem and everything is fine! ...except that if their insurance premiums are the same as someone who is paying for those services, then it's nothing but tap-dancing, smoke, and mirrors.
And it's bleeding obvious to anyone with half a brain that doesn't have his eyes tightly shut. WE ARE NOT AS STUPID AS YOU'D LIKE TO THINK WE ARE.
* * *
Awfully sexist of them, ain't it? Boys are taken to see Red Tails; girls get to see Akeelah and the Bee. Why wouldn't girls want to see the exciting (if wooden and banal) action movie?
I love it when educators show their true colors. You know the girls were excluded because someone said, "Oh, girls aren't going like having to see a movie with airplanes and war!"
* * *
You can expect a big increase in your health insurance premiums under ObamaCare. Do tell. Mine have already gone up 25% since the thing was signed into law, and the provisions don't even begin to start kicking in until next year.
* * *
No we won't. There won't be $5 gas this year. Not in an election year where there's a Democrat incumbent in the White House.
"Anus," you say, "you just decried liberals who blamed high gas prices on George W. Bush, and now you're saying the same damn thing!"
No, I don't think Obama sets the price of gasoline. (Jury's still out on the "drinking bloody marys made with infant blood" though.)
But what I do think is that prominent Democrats can talk to high muckity-mucks in the oil industry: "Look here, friend. You're a Yalie, like me, and you're smart enough to figure this out yourself: we're trying to win this-here election, and if gas costs too much, it's going to be bad for us. Now. If'n you raise your prices too much, we'll just have to convene a hearing, and we'll be subpoenaing you and your buddies and all your P&Ls for the past three years. See?"
And the oil executives will reply: "That won't be necessary. I can help out a fellow Yalie, can't I? Hey, while we're at it, here's a totally unrelated campaign contribution."
CEOs of big corporations tend to be from the Ivy League, and those places do not turn out political conservatives.
If anything, this is probably an attempt to lampshade the 70% rise in gas prices that's taken place since Obama seized power. Expect that later this year we'll be hearing reports about how "gas prices have risen less than expected!" And then they can point to articles like this one which confidently predict $5 per gallon gas. (Even though every single year of the last 4 years has had a similar prediction, which failed to come to pass. Yeah.)
$4 per gallon? Probably...but again, if it can be spun in the context of "better than expected", it's not so bad for Boss Tweek, is it?
* * *
I can already see how this is going to work. Obama is planning to roll out a tax cut plan for corporations, but I know what the Democrats will do with it.
See: the issue is that medium-to-small businesses (particularly small ones) do not support Obama, because his entire term in office has been one gigantic erected middle finger aimed at them. So now he's attempting to cater to them, just a bit, in hopes of getting some of them--at least--on his side.
But if you have eyes to see with etc you know what will happen:
1) Obama proposes tax cuts.
2) GOP House of Representatives passes a package with them.
3) Democrat Senate stalls the tax cuts.
4) Obama blames "do-nothing Congress".
...this doesn't take any special intellect or foresight because THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HE'S BEEN DOING ALL ALONG. And then what?
5) After the election, the whole idea goes away.
* * *
I was wondering why the Dow was up, despite all the rioting and such in Greece over the weekend.
It's up because Greece's Parliament squeezed out an agreement.
Greek lawmakers on Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled nation from bankruptcy, after riots in Athens and other cities left stores looted and burned and more than 120 people hurt.Because Greece has agreed to make all the cuts it needs, the markets are happy.
The historic vote paves the way for Greece's European partners and the International Monetary Fund to release $170 billion (euro130 billion) in new rescue loans, without which Greece would default on its mountain of debt next month and likely leave the eurozone — a scenario that would further roil global markets.
The people of Greece aren't; and if they get unhappy enough--well.
Karl Denninger: "Don't be fooled folks, the Greek 'tragedy' is nothing more than arm-waving and the people of Greece have already voted on it--from the streets." (SIC--for once, no emphasis. He must be pacing himself.)
* * *
Unemployment is down and the economy is recovering! But gasoline use is down. Wait, what?
This looks like bad news.
Shipping rates are dead. Extra-worrisome:
a) Oversupply of vessels. While supply has increased an average of 12% pa 2008-2012, demand has been weakening -3% pa.2008 saw 15% of the shipping capacity of the world sitting unused. I'd like to know what that figure is now, since new ships continue to be built ("supply increased...12%" per year) and demand continues to fall. 25%? 30%? What?
b) Weaker demand from China, added to high levels of stockpiles all over the OECD, with lower iron ore demand after strong inventory build in December. Inventories stand at 5 year highs. Just the outlook of dire demand from aluminium smelters is a big worrying factor. Despite the cuts in capacity of Alcoa and Norsk Hydro, the outlook for aluminium production is weakening for 2012-2013.
And the second part--aluminum is used in everything. If the outlook for aluminum is falling it means bad news.
Don't believe me? Take a look through your house, garage, and yard, and count the number of things you see that have aluminum in them. I expect that you'll get to 10 before you've even left the room your computer is in, and if you get as far as the kitchen--never mind.
I make a quick sweep of my desk:
Label on diet Pepsi bottle: aluminized mylar.That's ten I identified without even having to leave my desk or look anywhere else in my room. I didn't count other computer parts, either, even though I have various USB drives and other bits and pieces laying around within 2 feet of me that all contain aluminum. Also, I didn't count the layer of aluminum foil used as shielding in most cable types including the Cat-5e network cables and the coaxial cables for the TV.
Tube of RTV that I really ought to put back in the garage now that my computer fan is fixed: aluminum.
Lid for scented candle: aluminum.
Video card plug convertors: aluminum.
Empty diet Mountan Dew can: aluminum.
Computer: contains hard drives with metal frames: aluminum.
Writeable CDs and DVDs: coated with a very thin layer of aluminum.
Flashlight: body made from aluminum.
Pre-moistened cleaning wipes for glasses, packaged in metalized plastic pouches: aluminum.
Various items coated with metalized paint: aluminum.
We use aluminum in just about everything. Why? Because it's cheap and easily workable. So if you see that demand for it is falling, you have to conclude that the economy really ain't doing so hot.
This also looks like bad news.
* * *
I made Aggrodarius yesterday: an undead warrior. He'll be a tank.
I would have preferred that he be a paladin; I like how they work. Oh well.
Right now he's level 3 and stuck inside the undead starting area. I'll do more with him when I have time.
* * *
The really amazing thing about yesterday: I had chicken stuff around 5 AM, perhaps; then the only thing I ate before dinnertime was a single Twinkie. Fourteen hours without food and not the slightest sign of hypoglycemia. I kept putting off eating, and the next thing I know it's 7 PM and I'm having a big bowl of goulash with a good hunk of Ginzo bread.
I wish I knew how I did that.