Friday, September 26, 2008

Here's my brief take on the debate tonight.

Obama was not nearly as polished as I expected.

I agreed with McCain more than I expected.

The biggest thing for me was when McCain said that we need to cut our dependence on foreign energy by installing new nuclear reactors (amen!) and we need to cut our spending (double amen!).

Nuclear power is the best answer to our energy needs. Not our 30 year old reactor technology, but the new stuff that's been happening since our last reactor was approved in the 1970's. Pebble bed reactors are great. Let's do it. He said 45 reactors. Where do I sign?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So it looks like it's going to be another bloody day on Wall Street tomorrow. Washington Mutual just got seized by the feds and sold off to JP Morgan Chase for less than a penny on the dollar. This marks the second huge institution that JP has bought in the last six months.

WaMu is the largest bank failure ever in the US... only by about 10 times the previous record. WaMu had $310 billion (with a large B) in assets. The previous record was a bank with $40 billion (will a small b) in assets.

Hooray for uncertainty!

I noticed today that everywhere I looked I saw "stocks surge, stocks rocket upwards, stocks take off" but my companies stock continues to plummet as it continues to produce record earnings and record quarter after record quarter. It's now down almost 50% in the last year. Talk about throwing the good eggs out with the bad.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So I read an interesting article today about some changes that the Pittsburgh city schools are making. Because there are some many kids that are failing in the district, the district is changing the minimum grade that a child can receive from a 0% to a 50%. That means even if you get every question wrong, you're still graded as half right.

What a great idea! Not only can we encourage laziness in our kids, but we can finally get right down to it and reward poor performance. Hooray! We wouldn't want anyone to have to actually succeed. After all, don't we all just want to feel good about ourselves? Isn't that why we give kids trophies for finishing in last place?

Give me a freaking break. Where's the incentive for the kid that needs to bust his butt to get a D in a class? He can do absolutely nothing and get only 10% lower. What does this teach kids about real life? Does your boss tell you "hey, you haven't done anything this year, so we're only giving you half of your salary." I don't think so. I believe the answer is that you'd be out on the street faster than you can say "why won't anyone save me from my mediocrity?"

If kids earn failing grades, then fail them. It's pretty simple. Personal accountability.

Oh sorry. I forgot. That's a bad word now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

So the Indians are out of it and are playing their best baseball. That's somewhat expected.

The Browns had high expectations placed on them by some, and will be lucky to win 6 games. Their secondary is among the worst in the league, and they still cannot stop the run. The defense is really just horrible. Combine with with a suddenly horrible offense, and it doesn't look good.

ESPN continues to run stories about how they can't wait for LeBron to play in New York. Or Chicago. Or Los Angeles. Or Olympiakos. Or anywhere but Cleveland really. Even though he can't leave for at least 2 years. Will he leave then? Probably. But at least let us enjoy it for goodness sake.

Friday, September 19, 2008

So the government has once again intruded into the free market and has outlawed short selling of stocks. A short sale is when you borrow stocks that you don't actually own, sell them betting that the stock is going to go down, and then purchase them, hopefully at a lower price, in the future.

Well, you can rightly guess that all financial stocks were getting pounding by short sellers, and causing the price to go down down down. Now that it's banned, the prices are going up up up.

Doesn't anyone ever think for just one freaking minute that when the ban is finished on October 2nd that those very same stocks are going to plummet? It's going to be a blood bath that day. How short sided can people possibly be? The government has intruded for a few weeks of "normalcy" and has leveraged the future as payment.

Enjoy the gains now, because it's going to really be messy in October.
Are you kidding me? There was a poll released today that more people would rather watch a football game with Barack Obama than with John McCain, 50% - 47%. Don't these people have anything better to do with their time?

What's next? A poll showing that more men would rather have sex with Hillary Clinton than John McCain? Sadly, I think that actually is true...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is anyone else around here getting tired of all these government bailouts? First Bear Sterns, then Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now AIG. Here's an idea. We have a free market. Let the companies fail. When weak companies fail, better companies get stronger. That's how it works. Or rather, that's how it should work.

Instead, the government is taking my money and your money and giving it to companies who made bad decisions. Does that sound like something that you'd have the opportunity to to do? If you went bankrupt, would the banks be fighting amongst themselves to give you loans? I don't think so.

Let the companies fail. If it has to get worse before it gets better, then so be it. As it is, it's just staying bad with no end in sight. If the weak companies fall away, then it will get better.

It's time to take our collective medicine for all the bad choices made in the last 10 years. Buy a house with no money down? Only pay the interest in the loan? Sometimes don't even pay that much? What could go wrong? Everything! Just as anyone with any sense knew.

Monday, September 15, 2008

So it looks like my hurricane driven gas price increase was just one hurricane early. Although, this increase is also for no reason. The oil infrastructure is fine. Oil prices are tanking. The price of gasoline on the market was down by $.22 today. That means that gas prices at the station are roughly $.77 higher than the market price of gasoline.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And that's what it's like to be a Purdue fan... they get you to believe, and then they crush your spirit.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This really pisses me off. I'm reading an article about the Boeing strike and came across the following:
"Boeing blitzed the Seattle radio waves with ads making the case for the deal and urged workers to read the details about its offer on the company Web site. But such tactics, union leaders charged, amounted to improperly going over the heads of the union bargainers. The communications, they bristled, were nothing more than a bid to bargain directly with workers."
What, may I ask, is wrong with directly informing the workers? They're not lemmings -- well, they're not supposed to be anyway. In fact, however, that's exactly what they are and exactly what the union wants. The union doesn't want people that are capable of thinking for themselves. They want people to do what's good for the union and not necessarily good for the workers.

The union is so terrified that the workers will find out for themselves that the offer they received is far beyond what other companies would've offered. They're terrified that if the workers find out that it's not a right for them to work, it's a privilege, that they'll be concerned for their jobs -- as they should be in the current environment.

Reading about the bureaucratic mess that is the union at Boeing (and anywhere really) really makes me angry. Do you really need a whole bunch of people to sit around and wait for supplies to get their and then have those people take those supplies to other workers? Why can't the suppliers just take the materials directly where they need to go? Oh. That's right. They can -- or at least they should be able to -- but the union won't allow it because it's "unfair labor practices." Yeah. Really freaking unfair. Get off your fat union asses and do some real work for a change.

You do realize that no where else in the world will you get paid $34 per hour to hold a flashlight or drive a fork lift right? You do realize that any idiot without even a high school diploma would be extremely happy to do that job for less than half what they pay you.

I'm REALLY hoping that Boeing completely breaks the IAM. I'm talking like Ivan Drago. Crush them. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm leaving, on a jet plane. I do know when I'll be back again.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Baltimore. Lindsay will pick me up at the airport, and we'll be at her parents for the weekend. Then we come home on Sunday. Then next Friday we get to do it all over again, except we're driving out there with another couple to go to her high school reunion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hey, it's time for the weekly gas rant. Gasoline on the market was down $.12 per gallon yesterday. At the local stations here, it was up from $.15 per gallon to $.22 per gallon.

There's now a $.37 per gallon difference between what gas costs the station and what they are selling it for. How the heck does that get explained? Oh that's right. Supply and demand. Wrong.

Demand is down between 5-7% year over year. Oil is now $43 cheaper per barrel or approximately 30% cheaper than its all time high. Gas however is only down 9%. Well, at the stations it's only down 9%. On the market it's down 26%. Last time I checked, 9% wasn't even close to 26%. So it proves that gasoline prices have very little to do with supply and demand, but everything to do with perception.

Even though hurricane Ike is going to miss the important oil infrastructure of the gulf, the perception among the public is that "this is bad, now oil will go up." Well, in fact, oil on the market has gone done. To a cheat, perception is reality though. So because the perception among the public is that oil should go up, it goes up at the stations. Ignoring the fact that demand is way down. Ignoring the fact that it's far cheaper on the market than it has been. Ignoring reality.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In a show of just how amazing some of the things that NASA does, comes this story of the Phoenix Lander on Mars.

The Mars Phoenix Lander has been Twittering away its mission details since landing on Mars in May. But lately, you can see a sense of impending doom starting to creep in, slowly: "It's noon, Sol 81. I've spotted frost around my landing site in AM," tweeted Phoenix a few weeks ago. "Seasons are longer here...I'll be surrounded by ice & don't expect to survive til Spring," comes a few days later. But unlike other eerie autobiographical accounts of impending death, the wildly successful Mars Phoenix Lander has a trick up its sleeve for a potential reincarnation after the thaw.

"But as I've said before, I'm programmed with a 'Lazarus mode' so I'll call up to the Mars orbiters if I re-awaken in the Spring," said Phoenix last week, probably in response to tearful return Tweets lamenting his/her/its grim disposition. If its solar panels collect enough juice come springtime, the first auto-function will be to contact the Mars Orbiter above with the good news of its reincarnation.

The folks at NASA are proud to be operating Phoenix at all at this point, having said anything beyond the intended 90-day mission (now officially extended to 120 days after water was officially collected for the first time) is a gift to be savored.

--Courtesy of Gizmodo

Monday, September 8, 2008

I've been pretty busy this past week. I know that's no consolation to the people that don't read this blog.

I've also not really had anything that I've wanted to say.

That combines for no updates and no less-than-insightful comments.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 2 of the air show down, lots of sunburn on my neck and nose, but otherwise okay. Going today too, even though I don't really feel like it.