Archive for January 2012

2012-01-31 Mad Money RSS Error

There is an error on the RSS feed for tonight’s episode of “Mad Money”.

The Dow ended the best January since 1997, closing down 21 points.  Cramer explains what’s working and what’s not.  Then, Jim explains the fabled golden cross.  Plus, Cramer puts on his ski gear to find out if PII is snowballign.  And, could D provide you with a natural solution?  Cramer gets the details.

Also, they gave the link for tonight’s “Fast Money”. What is up with that? WHERE’S CRAMER????

It looks like another Enterprise night.

Image from Memory Alpha, copyright owned by CBS,  presumed to be allowed under Fair Use.

Peak Oil Notes From James Kunstler

Barnett Shale DrillingOn 2006-04-18, I attended a lecture at DePaul by James Kunstler, an author and podcaster who has written on Peak Oil. I found out about it after I started attending the now-defunct Chicago Peak Oil Awareness Group.

I kept my notes. Each paragraph is a page from my notes. I have chosen to type them in as I wrote them, so some of the sentences will be a bit choppy.

Contributes to NYTimes Sunday magazine. Stocks up today, oil prices up too. Mostly: implications of peak oil. What are we going to do? Hubbert: Made predictions in the 1950s, said USA would peak in 1970s, was laughed at. 1973: Foreign countries take over. 1980s: OPEC loses leverage. Long Emergency: Includes climate change (like Katrina). Oil and insurance companies are rethinking Gulf of Mexico. We must make other arrangements. There will be no “hydrogen economy”. Alternative energies cannot run WalMart, Disney World and highways. “The Heroic suburbs”. Cheney said the American way of life is non-negotiable. This is a false message; things will be negotiated for us.

Some say suburbia is okay because people like it and people choose it. The question will not be what do we like but what is possible. Suburbia: cheap energy, cheap land. We put our wealth into a way of life with no future. Suburbia is “entropy made visible”. Dirty secret: basis of American economy is the housing bubble. The mortgage mill industry has replaced actual industry. We have put so much into this; the psychology of previous investment produces denial behavior. America’s leading religion: worship of unearned riches, getting something for nothing. Our society wishes for rescue remedies.

Gambling is reparations for American Indians. Technology != energy. Kunstler went to Google. Lots of games, snack stations, executives and engineers dressed like skateboarders. It was an infantile company. Pay attention to “tech == energy”. Airlines is the first industry that will go down. We will use what we can, but not the way that people think, perhaps on a neighborhood/district basis. We will live more locally. No more WalMart, or 300 mile Caesar salad. “Rocky Mountain Institute”: trying to produce a hybrid car. That promotes the idea that we can be a car-centric society. Social implications: Motoring will become less democratic. We must restore American railroad system. This would have the biggest effect. The infrastructure is there. Bolivia would be ashamed of our rails system.

We need a project to boost confidence. We should not be passive victims of history. Trains, barges and boats are more efficient than trucks. “The downscaling of America”. How we feed ourselves, trade, inhabit terrain. Globalism is transient, it needs cheap energy and world peace. We are seeing more friction between countries fighting for oil. China is much closer to Central Asia. Crop yields will go down. Crops will be grown for people. Kunstler does not know what the other arrangements will be. A lot of economic losers will be around. A lot of turbulence in the former middle class. Fascism: Americans will beg to be pushed around. You will be lucky if the feds answer the phone. Kuntsler thinks it will not be an orderly transition. It may get violent. Living standards will go down.

WalMart will be toast in 10 years. They are really very fragile, just a warehouse on wheels. “Bargain shopping”, but what is the bargain? Mega-city: Cities will contract, centers will densify, especially along waterfronts We will get more serious about boats. Buildings are being made to be heated with natural gas. Many Midwestern cities are contracting now. Buildings will be 5 floors and under. Cities will be gothic/medieval in scale. We will have electricity if we are lucky. Mechanics will be very necessary. Now we are in automobile slum. “The public realm” will come back. Knowing your history allows you to face the future with confidence. It gives you a hopeful present. We have places not worth caring about. Suburbia is not worthy of us.

He saw a bumper sticker on a Ford Expedition that said “War is not the answer.” If you drive an SUV, war IS the answer. Young people will be forced to be heroic. We are a nation of clowns. We will need to get serious. We used to be an earnest people, no wishing for the Powerball lottery. Public speaking will be an important skill. We need a serious discussion about nuclear. Heating houses will resolve themselves in 5 years. 1890s: 10% of the workforce was servants. Urban/rural distinction may become very sharp again. Suburbia muddled the distinction. In 25 years, electricity may not be around.

Many laws mandate suburban sprawl. Phoenix, Arizona will shrink a lot, due to energy and water. For Las Vegas, the excitement will be over. The problem with pushing biofuels is that assumes we will have an orderly transition. It may be disorderly. Marketing, PR may not be around much longer. Adults do not engage in wishful thinking. There is a failure of authority, and of the legitimacy of authority. College may be elitist again.

Image from Wikimedia


Vanilla Coke Zero Pro/Con List

Vanilla Coke ZeroVanilla Coke Zero is the best thing ever. I drink a lot of it. A lot. So much that I think I need to cut back.

Usually when you do something too often, YOU are the last person to realize you do it too often. So I REALLY need to cut back. Especially since I do not have a job right now.

Advatage of drinking: Tangy vanilla kick.

Disadvantages: I can spend a lot of money on it, there is the environmental impact of the cans, I go to the bathroom a lot, aluminum on the brain.

I hate to say that there are more disadvantages than advantages. I am trying to only drink six cans a day. Before I was drinking 12. That is way too much.

2012-01-30_08.25.04 Update:

Another advantage of buying Vanilla Coke Zero is I would be helping out a company that I have stock in.

Although it would be much better if you bought more Coca-Cola than me. So go buy some tangy Vanilla Coke Zero.

Image from Wikipedia, main product page on Coca-Cola site

More Old Notes

Here are some notes on different topics that I had lying around. I think I wrote them in the mid-2000’s.

Why do people think Rethuglicans are strong on defense? Iraq is a disaster. So is Afghanistan.

A lot of people seem to think that strong is just go hurt somebody. People are too concerned about looking tough. They do not care about being smart. Knowing ahead of invading that Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds do not get along would have been good.

Iraq is proving Sun T’zu: wars are not always won by whoever has the strongest army, but whoever has the most knowledge of the entire situation.

Some Rethuglicans call Carter naive. As opposed to who? Bush and Cheney? A president who works for peace or a president who starts wars he cannot finish.

(A lot of conservatives think they know “how the world works” simply because they think they know how the world works.)

Sister: pro-choice
but with same guy forever
Living with mom
if she is getting knocked up by a different guy every month, she has a lot of people fooled

I think for a lot of women it is about not wanting men controlling them. Why some women date assholes is another issue.

Activist judge: you don’t hear conservatives complaining about signing statements
Bush v Gore was activist judging. The whole court switched sides on federalism/state rights’ issues, and said that decision could not be used as a precedent.

Reagan should have been impeached for Iran/Contra
not only defying Congress, but giving arms to enemies of America, and then claiming to know nothing about it. Leadership is not just taking credit for the good stuff.

If he was really not involved, he would have thrown whoever did it in jail.

(see summary of 1980s here  from Immoral Minority  and another here)
A lot of Rethuglicans just regurgitate “Saddam is out of power.” But so what? Iran is stronger. USA is bleeding money. Iraqis are killing and torturing each other. But Rethugs love privatizing everything. So maybe that makes everything okay.

Maxwell’s House and the Good Old Days of Science

Maxwell's HouseI listen to a few of the podcasts that are part of Leo Laporte’s TWiT network. One that I went through is Maxwell’s House, which was discontinued.

One episode that I really liked was episode 63, A Review Of The U.S. Space Program. Ray Maxwell was an engineer and helped design and build a few of the rockets that were part of the Apollo program. It is a really good episode. Go listen to it.

In this episode, he talked briefly about the launch of Sputnik, and the effect it had on the USA. There was a big push for math and science. He said something that really struck me: There were no debates about evolution back then. I kind of wish I was around back then.

He and the host pined for the good old days of science. They thought that perhaps if there was another competing superpower that people would be more willing to support science. I wonder if many people in the USA today know that China has put a few people into space.

Viva science!!

Image from Maxwell’s House, part of the TWiT network

Stuff I Found

Stuff I found while cleaning my apartment:

  • old poetry
  • 2 dollar bill from 2003
  • 2 dollar bill from 1976 (they have not changed much)
  • south vietnamese 20 dong note
  • 1973 west german coin
  • pictures of my sister taken when she was a baby
  • A nickel that I used a few times as a guitar pick that flattened by putting it on a train track and letting a train run it over

2012-01-26 Dividend Update

Here are a few dividend updates.

I bought more shares of Emerson (EMR). I also bought some shares of ConocoPhillips (COP).

Eaton (ETN) announced that they will raise their dividend 12%.

I have started listening to the “Sound Investing” podcast from Merriman. One of the hosts has said a couple of times that companies are making dividends a lower priority, and that you should not invest looking for dividends. I generally agree with what they say, but I think that dividends are the way to go. I also think that companies that pay dividends are commited to paying them. Just tonight I saw the CEO of Eaton on “Mad Money”. He said that Eaton is commited to paying out increasing dividends year after year.

2012-01-25 Random Thoughts

I tweeted this thought to @PoliticsUSUSA after reading one of their articles on PoliticsUSA: One of the big deceptions of the Republican Party is that their policies make it easier to become rich. But they do not. Their policies make it nicer to be rich.

Another random thought: I wish fat people would realize that if they walked faster, then maybe, just maybe, they would not be so darn fat.

2012-01-24 Cramer RSS Typo and Link Error

There is a typo on the RSS feed entry for today’s episode of “Mad Money”:

The Dow closed down 33 points, still on pace for its biggest monthy gain since October.  Cramer examines AAPL’s bite into the competition and gives you the 5 best places to invest in 2012.  Then, do FPE and BMY have what it takes to resuscitate your portfolio?  And, Jim puts GOOG and MSFT in teh ring for a battle of the tech titans.  Plus, could KMP be a pipeline to profits?

There is also another huge error in the RSS feed: The file link was to yesterday’s file. I had to copy the link, edit it and use wget to get the file. I think a lot of people who use the RSS feed in iTunes are stuck with the old episode until the entry is fixed.

Update 2012-01-25_10.10.21:

It looks like the file link was updated, but the typo is still there. Perhaps Cramer or his staff actually read my tweet.

Cities On The Rise in 2012

I am always looking at articles that I come across about different cities in the USA to help me decide if I should stay in Chicago or leave for some other city.

Main Street came up with a list of 10 cities that they think will do well in 2012. For the most part I can agree with some of their findings. Some of the cities on the list are Chicago, Austin and Houston. So it is pretty interesting.

The positives for Austin are the usual: the University of Texas, state government, and increasing employment in the private sector. The positives for Houston are the energy sector and a more stable housing market.

The reason that Chicago will do well in 2012 is because the next G8 meeting will be here. So there will be a lot of spending on security and because of all of the people coming in for the meeting. So while that means Chicago will see an uptick in 2012, there is no long-term trend as we see for Austin and Houston.

Many of the other cities are also on the list because they are the sites of one-time events: the Super Bowl (Indianapolis), the Democratic nominating convention (Charlotte) and the Rescumlican convention (Tampa). So what happens to all these cities in 2013? Will they rise or decline? If I leave Chicago, it will not be a short-term change.