Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biden "guarantees" International Crisis

This may be one of "say it ain't so" Joe Biden's most significant slips of the tongue yet. Yesterday he let it slip that he believes that within six months of Obama's presumptive election the world will test us with an international crisis. He goes on to babble about the "little people" showing the way and ends trying to prop up the utter lack of experience his running mate possesses, but the important part was already out of the bag.

The rest of the world doesn't trust an Obama presidency. The rest of the world looks at an Obama presidency as an opportunity to exploit our new found weakness in leadership and judgement. The rest of the world looks to take advantage of an inept President Obama to further their totalitarian fantasies. I am honestly truly frightened of what an Obama presidency may bring to America and the world.

If you want a little more convincing, listen to these two clips from Glenn Beck's radio show Monday.
YouTube - Glenn Beck Radio - Biden "guarantees" International Crisis
YouTube - Glenn Beck Radio - Biden "guarantees" International Crisis 2
Glenn, as usual in my opinion, goes a little overboard on the fear and conspiracy, but the message remains valid.

Save the world this election. Vote republican.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hey, Sven, is that Windows Mobile on your iPhone?

Just happened across this little bit of iPhone hackery while investigating some other, more realistic hackery for those of us unwilling to pay $100 a month to AT&T...

A Norwegian programmer built a bootcamp-like program for the iPhone to let you choose between Windows Mobile and the regular iPhone OS.

Pretty nifty, but I have never really heard much good about Windows Mobile, so I'm not sure how many users will really jump on this one. I am impressed with someone hacking a non-Apple OS into a notoriously closed-system Apple device, though.

From Code Retard.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"One Froggy Evening"

One of my favorite little cartoons of yesteryear, Merrie Melodies' "One Froggy Evening" from 31 December, 1955. (I didn't realize it was that old!)

Thanks, Internet!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day, Dow Jones!

Holy cow, Dow! After last week's slow free-fall of the world wide markets, the 10%+ gains in Europe and Asia overnight seem to have kicked a little life back into the U.S. markets today.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up nearly 1,000 points (well, 936.42 or 11.08%) to close within sight of 10,000 again after its largest daily point gain ever. The S&P 500 soared 11.6%, the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 11.8% and the Russell 2000 jumped 9.2%. Who said that last week's dips were a buying opportunity? I won't make you guess; it was me.

But don't get too excited. As the Wall Street Journal reports today:

Despite Monday's massive rally, many Wall Street veterans remain on the lookout for a grinding period of weakness in the global economy and stocks in the months ahead.

"The danger here is that people will be lulled into the idea that a strong bull trend is now in place rather than the idea that the market is just bouncing off a short-term oversold condition," said Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners, a trading and research firm in Greenwich, Con.

They continue:

Doreen Mogavero, president and chief executive of the New York floor brokerage Mogavero Lee & Co., said she's still looking for a round of capitulation, or last-ditch selling to pave the way for a more sustained rally. While there were some hopes that Friday's intraday market low, including a nearly 700-point decline for the Dow, would mark such an event, she believes there wasn't enough volume behind the selling to confirm it as a true capitulation.

"At best, I think we're looking at a short-term bottom here," she said.

So basically, if you're one of those who couldn't stand the heat last week and jumped out of the frying pan, you may have really ended up in the fire after today's up-surge. But only time will tell where the real bottom is and when the real recovery will happen.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Less than Happy Anniversary


The stock market's collapse accelerated Thursday as bank lending remained stubbornly clogged and investors remained unwilling to hold anything except cash and government debt, no matter how tiny the returns for doing so.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined for a seventh straight day, plunging 678.91 points, or 7.3%, to 8579.19. Blue chips last dipped below the 9000 level five years ago. Thursday's fall was the Dow's third-worst all time in point terms and 11th worst in percentage terms. During its recent losing run, blue chips have fallen by a startling 20.9% and are down 39.4% from their record high, which was hit exactly one year ago. (WSJ, 9 Oct 2008)

All that basically sucks, but it doesn't look nearly as bad when you look at the (really) big picture...It doesn't look quite as bad.

Personally, even though my 401k is probably getting hammered in the rear right now, I've got long enough before I need to draw from it that this decline in prices is basically a buying opportunity. Not a pretty one, but even though my value has gone down, my buying power has increased significantly!

Also, crude oil prices fell to their lowest point in eleven months today, to under $87 a barrel, but gas prices at the pump haven't kept up the pace:

The last time oil sold for $87-per-barrel was October 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But current gas prices nationally and in Phoenix remain more than 60 cents higher than last October.

The national average stands at $3.40 per gallon, well above October 2007’s $2.77, according to AAA. Phoenix-area average prices stand at $3.27 per gallon compared to $2.65 a year ago. Current prices, however, are down from summer highs of more than $4 per gallon. (Phoenix Business Journal, 09 Oct 2008)

I don't know why that is, but I don't like it.

And further proof from the WSJ that the stock market operates purely on emotion and speculation, not hard data:

Strategist Jim Paulsen, of Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis, said the fear that has seized the market lately may be an unintended, self-fulfilling consequence of recent efforts in Washington to pass a $700 billion rescue of firms saddled with illiquid mortgage securities.

"To sell the bailout to the public, everyone from the President on down had to go out and tell people how bad everything was, that the world was coming to an end," said Mr. Paulsen. "Ever since, people's expectations about the economy have gotten worse and worse and worse, and their reaction to each new action to fix the problems has gotten worse and worse and worse."

Oh well. Remember, buying opportunity!

**In other news, I might have to figure out how to be Freddie Mac for Halloween. :D

Monday, October 06, 2008

Damn, Dow!

Well, Congress' $700 billion tax-payer-funded "rescue" of the U.S. credit markets doesn't seem to have had the desired instantaneous positive effects that some predicted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average took a swim below 10,000 points for the first time since October of 2004 and crossed into territory that it first broke back in April of 1999 (when I was a junior in high school!).

Luckily, today will not be remembered as the first close below 10,000 since 2004, because the Dow rallied at the close to at 10,000.34 points, down 303.85 points (2.94%) on the day.

But before everyone goes blaming President Bush and / or John McCain for this calamity, remember these two things: Barack Obama voted for this thing as well; and turning around the tight credit market is not like parking a VW Bug, it's more like U-turning an oil tanker - these things take time.

Update: D'oh! Apparently, in the time it took me to type this, some final numbers came in, and the DJIA did not, in fact, close above 10,000. It came to rest at 9,955.50, down 3.58% on the day. But at least I'm not alone - the Wall Street Journal had to change their website headline, too.