* * *
"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you."
...I'm going to have to keep that in mind, because it's true. And one must remember the words Paul wrote to the Galatians: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
* * *
Expect more quantitative easing this September. QE3 will give the illusion of a booming economy just in time for the election--and Bernanke is up for reappointment in January. If the stock market cranks up again at election time more people are likely to vote Obama...and Bernanke is then more likely to retain his cushy office.
And fuck what it does to the little people, of course.
* * *
But the government's ledgers are a royal mess. Six major states--most of which are blue states, strangely enough--face immense budget shortfalls and there is no way to close the gap absent massive tax increases and the vacating of contracts.
Many argue that the recession "made the problem worse." This is a lie; the fact is that pension systems at the state level tend to claim 8% returns as "normal." This, however, means that they are counting on assets doubling every 9 years. To put this in perspective this argues that the assets will increase in price by a factor of 32 over 45 years; from 1-2 in 9, then 2-4 in 18, then 4-8 in 27, from 8-16 in 36, and from 16-32 in 45.Emphasis removed.
To be succinct this is a prediction that the DOW will stand at 400,000 (~32 times its present level of 13,000) 45 years from now. This is utter lunacy, yet it is the prediction upon which the entire pension mess is predicated.
This is, not to put too fine a point on it, a prrojection that the DJIA would have to stand at 400,000 ABSENT INFLATION 45 years from now, in order to sustain an 8% rate of return. Is that likely? Is it even possible?
According to the chart I can access, the DJIA has gone from about 800 to 13,000 in 36 years--with various ups and downs, as it's not a smooth curve--which represents a 16-fold increase. But in the same time, the value of the dollar has cratered. In 1976 a 16-oz Hershey bar cost a couple of bucks. Now, for the same price, you get 1/4 the chocolate.
In order for the Dow to have truly increased its value by sixteen since 1976, it would have to be sitting at 52,000 right now, because the dollar is worth 25% of what it was worth in 1976.
So no--it's not possible. The 8% rate of return is a magical number.
Related: Massachusetts--home of RomneyCare--can't figure out why medical costs are skyrocketing.
* * *
Military is doing exercises to train to quell insurrection. That's right here in the good old USA, I might add.
I don't know what to think of this, except that armed insurrection was purposely left open as an option by the founding fathers, because they knew that if the government turned into tyranny someone was going to have to wade in and fix it.
With the expectation that the sitting government would use military force to quell it. Further, this has been US doctrine since Lincoln was elected President; secession is not allowed.
We can debate the relative merits of that position vis-a-vis the intentions of the founders and the right to liberty, but we can't debate the fact that any attempt by a state (or states) to secede from the union will be met with force by the federal government.
...and if these guys don't think that secessionists can't win that war, they'd better think again. Plenty of wars have been won against combatants that hold a decisive advantage.
So I don't think this is as ominous as Ms. Barnhardt thinks it is.
Still--when you combine it with the rumors about detention facilities and the stories about Obama declaring a "national emergency" in executive orders that don't really pertain to internal US situations...well. It's hard not to be paranoid, and this President has done a lot of extra-Constitutional things in his tenure in office.
At this time in 1996 I was confident that Clinton--if defeated--would leave office gracefully. I don't have that same confidence now; now I think, of Obama leaving office if he's not re-elected, "He will...won't he?"
* * *
Why I can't find a job in 40,000 words or less.
If I were to get a job working for an industrial automation firm, I could be a master field engineer inside of a year. I have brains, I have talent, I understand machines; I've got a degree in electronics and can read blueprints and schematics. I'm good with my hands and I can fix all kinds of things, given the tools and parts. I learn fast and work hard. I'm a self-starting reliable worker who can work unsupervised without slacking, and I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs.
...and I can't find a job that uses these abilities, because I don't have any experience. So I'm looking for something--anything--and even contemplating a move into fast food rather than keep spending down my inheritance. And I can't get those jobs because I'm "overqualified" for them!
This wouldn't bother me all that much if I didn't know that employers are bitching about how they can't find good workers. What they mean is that they can't find an exact match for the price they're willing to pay.
So, someone like me who'd have to have his hand held for a few months, replacing spindles or servomotors and learning how to do more complex tasks as he goes, can't get a job with a company that services CNC machines even though I'd gladly accept whatever the minimum salary for such a job is. Or less, even.
* * *
Alan Caruba reviews the eroding credibility of the mainstream media, and focuses specifically on the degradation of ABC News' journalistic integrity.
* * *
I know, "journalistic integrity" has been an oxymoron for a long time.
* * *
Similar vein, Borepatch says that the media are responsible for the decline in public discourse, and it's a good read.
The Media in an earlier and less degraded age actually did act as a referee. While there was probably never a time when they weren't biased, there was at one time a basic expectation of standards. Harry Reid would have been pilloried by the media in the 1970s and 1980 for his "sumdood told me that Romney like totally didn't pay taxes" charge.And I have to agree with Borepatch. We can't let Democrats get away with this kind of snide insinuation without response, because the media isn't going to do squat about it. And so:
Quite frankly, when the media enforced basic standards, we did have a higher level of civility in the public discourse.
And then that all turned into 60 Minutes airing 30 year old Microsoft Word documents, and the baiting of Joe the Plumber, and the silence on the media's part towards Reid. The media have decayed to the point that they see no need to enforce minimum standards of decency on one side, while imposing absurd standards on the other side ("You don't support Obama? I wonder if it's because you're racist.").
I've been told that Harry Reid is a pederast.
* * *
If it's actually a neanderthal flute, that's damned interesting. I'm led to understand that there is some skepticism that the artifact in question is actually a flute, but I don't see how any animal could bite a bone and produce neatly-punched holes like the ones which appear in this one.
So some guy make a reconstruction of what the flute might have looked like when whole--and it plays music, and has a haunting sound to it.
The thing is, neanderthals are an awful lot like us cro-magnons. The state of anthropology has (and all the soft sciences have, in fact) been muddled with political correctness and lysenkoism, so it's hard to know what's accurate and what's some idiot's pet predjudice regarding the paleofeminist semiotomy of fishtank hatstand gerbil coffegrinder.
But we think we know that neanderthals and cro-magnons were able to--and did--interbreed even if there isn't a good explanation for why and how the neanderthals died out. Neanderthals may have continued to exist until as recently as 50,000 BC, even though we have examples of cro-magnon man from 100,000 BC (and possibly earlier).
("Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology." For example, climatology as practiced by the CRU is lysenkoist.)
Anyway, the Divje flute is 60,000 years old, which is easily within the window of neanderthal and cro-magnon overlap. (And the guy plays "Ode to Joy" on it. Wow.)
* * *
Tom Selleck tears an extra a new cornhole over gun safety. Never point a gun at a person unless you mean to shoot him. Ever.
Good for you, Tom! I knew I liked you!
(Via Midwest Chick.)
* * *
Kitties! 25 extra-cute images demonstrating that cats will lay down just about anywhere. Bonus cyoot points for #1.
* * *
If you are attempting any sex position more complicated than the basic four, expect this kind of thing to happen to you.
Today, while attempting the Italian Chandelier with my girlfriend, I heard a popping noise, and then had a sharp pain in my dick. Turns out I "broke" it. Instead of calling 911 immediately, my girlfriend remarked how my now black and blue penis looked like a Smurf. FMLIf you want to do rear entry ("doggy style") just do it that way. The description I read for this position makes it sound like you need an advanced degree in physics just to attempt it, and it doesn't sound to me as if there is any advantage to this one over the simple and safe rear entry one.
("Basic four": missionary, rear entry, side-by-side, woman-on-top. You can include their variations, such as "reverse cowgirl", if you must.)
Unless you're a porn star, do you really need to get fancy? Really?
Well, WTF. It's your dick, I guess.
* * *
The archive of Mangajin issues is not, after all, complete. It goes through issue 30, and there were more than that--I didn't start reading it before 1993 at the earliest, and probably it was closer to 1994 before I really started to get the magazine regularly.
...which means I still have to find and dig out my back issues if I want to reread them. Argh etc.
* * *
Low 80s for temps today, in contrast to the sticky heat we had last week. Looks like the dewpoint is in the upper 50s, which means I can open the bunker up tonight and cold-soak it.
I hope Og is bringing some of that nice cool Canadian air back with him, because we sure could use it.