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Bullwinkle Assassinated September 29, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Politics.
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Thanks to Tom Eldridge

The Great “Entitled To Ownership” Society September 28, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, philosophy & politics.
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Japan had their inflated Real Estate bubble in the 90s. Remember when the on-the-books value of their land’s country was priced higher than all of our land east of the Mississippi? Their big mistake, which their economy has never recovered from with zero growth that even 0% interest rates couldn’t jump start it was they never had an RTC. We blew out all of the bad Savings and Loans paper and our economy recovered. A lot of people got rich on those holdings when Real Estate recovered. The Japanese Banks never wanted to admit their losses and “lose face”, which is a big deal in their culture.

The problem this time is that the good and bad loans have been bundled together. The “Mark to Market” change in Nov. of 2007 was a huge SEC and Financial Board mistake. It allowed the current credit swap default market to explode to 70 Trillion dollars world-wide. The only way to value these toxic securities is not mark-to-market but by discounted cash flow. In other words if 10% of the bundle isn’t paying on their mortgage than value the paper by the remaining income stream and years left to maturity.

The Faustian bargain that started all of this was when the Banks wanted permission to roll-back post-depression regulations, such as banking across State lines, selling insurance, etc. In return, Congress forced lenders to agree to stop red-lining poor neighborhoods. Now everyone wants to encourage home ownership, but the problem started when, under congressional pressure, the highly politicized, bastardized Public/Private Mortgage behemoth Fannie and Freddie lowered standards. Read Wikipedia the history of the CRA legislation that promoted this activity.  As a result, other Lenders had to drop their standards to be able to compete in the lucrative home loan business. We are now reaping the results of that race to the bottom. An ex-Miami Mortgage broker, told me how he was coached by the lenders not only what they wanted to hear but also what they didn’t want to know about. The lenders just wanted to look the other way. As long as property values kept going up their Ponzi scheme worked.

Here is a video, edited by Republicans, from a 2004 House hearing; convened to receive a report on Fannie Mae by the Office of Federal Housing Oversight that was trying to warn the Congress about “safety and soundness issues”. It became “kill the messenger”. 

Video – In a Gale Crashing Through 40′ Seas September 28, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Video.
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Here’s a peek to see what it’s like in the middle of a raging storm, courtesy of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Western Pacific. To put in perspective, the Kitty Hawk is more than 1,000 feet long and the deck is about 70 feet above the ocean surface. Her cruising speed is 30 knots (34.5 MPH) and she’s probably going about 20 knots in this video. I’m sure they wished they moved that helicopter farther back off the deck before those seas hit.

Winds: 40-50 knots. Seas: 35-45 feet.

What kind of surf would this storm send us? After significant swell decay within the first 1000 miles and a slower rate of decay after 2000 miles from the storm fetch. For most surf spots:

Estimated Surf 1000 miles away: 15-30 foot+ faces
Estimated Surf 2000 miles away: 12-20 foot faces
Estimated Surf 4000 miles away: 8-12 foot faces
Estimated Surf 5000 miles away: 6-10 foot faces

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.701469&w=425&h=350&fv=%26file%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fmedia1.surfline.com%2F2008%2F09_sep%2Fheavy_seas_forecasters_640.flv%E2%84%91%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.surfline.com%2Fforecasters%2Fblog%2Fboat.jpg%26backcolor%3D000033%26frontcolor%3D336699%26lightcolor%3Dff9900%26stretching%3Dfill]

more about “Video of USS Kitty Hawk Encountering …“, posted with vodpod
Click on this Surfline link for more. Thanks Randy Marks for the link.

It’s All a Conspiracy! September 27, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in News, philosophy & politics.
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Paranoid distrust in response to disbelief – emotions trump understanding. Democracy needs an informed citizenry to survive. What happens when so many thrive on gossip and conspiracy theories as their News?

How Florida Could Screw Up The Election Again September 26, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Politics.
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Back in 2002, Congress passed something called the Help America Vote Act, which was supposed to prevent eligible voters from being turned away at the polls because of unresolved paperwork issues. Under the act, these voters are entitled to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day, and their status is later investigated to determine whether their votes should be counted.

Sounds voter friendly. But a lot of things can go wrong with a provisional ballot, especially in Florida. (more…)

Extinct May Not Be Forever September 23, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff.
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Efforts to restore populations of the giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands have been among the world’s most visible and successful conservation programs. But the work came too late for several of the 15 generally recognized Galápagos species.

Or did it? Extensive DNA research on museum specimens and existing tortoise populations suggests there is the potential to restore Geochelone elephantopus, which lived on the island of Floreana.

Observatory – A Tortoise May Be Bred Back Into Being – NYTimes.com

Ike Pictures September 20, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos.
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Click on this link from Randy Marks for a 28 picture slide show.

The short – but eventful – life of Ike – The Big Picture – Boston.com

Buffett’s time bomb goes off on Wall Street September 19, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Economy & Business.
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Buffett’s time bomb goes off on Wall Street | U.S. | Reuters
When historians write about the current crisis, much of the blame will go to the slump in the housing and mortgage markets, which triggered the losses, layoffs and liquidations sweeping the financial industry.

But credit default swaps — complex derivatives originally designed to protect banks from deadbeat borrowers — are adding to the turmoil.

Five years ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett called them a “time bomb” and “financial weapons of mass destruction” and directed the insurance arm of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to exit the business. (more…)

Are We Born Conservative Or Liberal? September 19, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Politics.
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The participants with traditional conservative views — supportive of the Iraq war, death penalty, immigration reform and The Patriot Act — had strong physical reactions to the threatening images of spiders and calm reactions to the non-threatening images of bunnies and happy children.

Those with more liberal views — low support of Iraq war and higher support of gay marriage, gun control and abortion rights — showed no differences in reaction when viewing the threatening and non-threatening images. They appeared to physically react to the same to an image of a bowl of fruit and one of an open war wound.

Fascinated by the clear differences in the results, Rice University researchers believe this study, while small, is proof that our political views, in part, are genetically instilled in us.

“We estimate your biological makeup has a 30 to 40 percent role in how you will vote,” says Alford. “The other portion is how and where you were raised as well as environmental factors” Paging Dr. Gupta: – Blogs from CNN.com

Totally Insane Skateboard Downhill September 16, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Sports, Video.
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[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.690638&w=425&h=350&fv=clip_id%3D1654340%26server%3Dvimeo.com%26autoplay%3D0%26fullscreen%3D1%26md5%3D0%26show_portrait%3D0%26show_title%3D0%26show_byline%3D0%26context%3D%26context_id%3D%26force_embed%3D0%26multimoog%3D%26color%3D00ADEF]

It is worth the wait to go through the credits and foreplay to ride along with these 2 daredevils screaming down a California mountain on skateboards for 10 minutes, just wearing powder blue suits and a helmet.

more about “Adam Kimmel presents: Claremont HD on…“, posted with vodpod

The New World Disorder September 13, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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The world’s bullies are throwing their weight around. But history isn’t on their side.

Our world is both safer and more dangerous. It is safer because the self-interest of the great powers is very much tied to the overall prosperity of the global economy, limiting their desire to rock the boat. But it is more dangerous because capitalist autocrats can grow much richer and therefore more powerful than their communist counterparts. And if economic rationality does not trump political passion (as has often been the case in the past), the whole system’s interdependence means that everyone will suffer.

We should also not let the speculations about an authoritarian resurgence distract us from a critical issue that will truly shape the next era in world politics: whether gains in economic productivity will keep up with global demand for such basic commodities as oil, food and water. If they do not, we will enter a much more zero-sum, Malthusian world in which one country’s gain will be another country’s loss. A peaceful, democratic global order will be much more difficult to achieve under these circumstances: Growth will depend more on raw power and accidents of geography than on good institutions. And rising global inflation suggests that we have already moved a good way toward such a world. They Can Only Go So Far – washingtonpost.com

Wanna Buy Me Love? September 12, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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Marrying for love is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, marriages were arranged affairs, aligning families for economic or political purposes or simply pooling the resources of those scraping by.

Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union. So much of what we want — or don’t want — out of life boils down to dollars and cents, whether it’s how hard we choose to work, how much we consume or how much we save. For some people, it’s working 80-hour weeks to finance a third home and country club membership; for others, it means cutting back on office hours to spend more time with the family.

“A lot of the debates people have about money are code for how we want to live our lives,” said Betsey Stevenson, assistant professor of business and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who researches the economics of marriage and divorce. “A lot of the choices we make in how we want to live our lives involve how we spend our money.”

The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Matters – NYTimes.com.

Shoes That The Fashionable Lady Wears To The Next Hurricane September 10, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Lifestyle.
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Thanks to Janie Edwards in Palm Beach

Who Buys What Around The World? September 10, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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Interacative Map

If you live in Greece, Italy or Egypt, you’ll probably choose textiles over technology. Greeks spend almost 13 times more money on clothing as they do on electronics.

“Italians and other Europeans love fashion; the greatest designs in the world come from those regions,” said Todd D. Slater, a retail analyst for Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

If you live in Australia or Taiwan, you might be more tempted by a new laptop computer or flat-screen television. Australians spend only 1.4 times more cash on clothes than they do on consumer electronics. Click on the picture for a cool interactive map that shows their comparative wealth and spending on Consumer Goods around the world economy. Link to the original article below.

Metrics – Guccis or Gadgets? – NYTimes.com

Exotic Cars Turn Women On September 8, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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Science Proves Exotic Cars Turn Women On | Autopia from Wired.com

The study was commissioned by the ultra-exclusive British insurer Hiscox (we swear we’re not making this up), which was curious to know how people respond to high-end luxury cars. “We knew owners of luxury cars felt a connection with the sound of their vehicles,” says Steve Langan, managing director of the insurance company. “We have now scientifically proven the physical attraction people feel when it comes to cars.”

To test the theory that high-performance cars get people hot, Moxon had 40 men and women listen to recordings of the three Italian exotics and a Volkswagen Polo. Everyone had significantly more testosterone after hearing the exotics, and all of the women were turned on by the Maserati. The guys, on the other hand, were drawn to the Lamborghini.Click on the wired.com link to see & hear the cars. Click on the picture below to read about the world’s most expensive car the Maserati One-77

How Restaurants Cook the Books September 2, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Food, Science & Technology.
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With Software, Till Tampering Is Hard to Find – NYTimes.com
Thanks to a software program called a zapper, even technologically illiterate restaurant and store owners can siphon cash from computer cash registers and cheat tax officials.

One of the first reported zapper cases in the United States was Stew Leonard’s dairy, whose owner was convicted in 1993 of skimming $17 million over 10 years. The theft was uncovered after Mr. Leonard tried to board a plane to St. Martin with an unreported $50,000.

(more…)

Happiness is Kinky Sex? September 1, 2008

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Bondage lovers normal, maybe even happier | NEWS.com.au
AN unusual sex survey has found that Australians who enjoy bondage and discipline are not damaged or dangerous, and might even be happier than those who practise “normal” sex. (more…)

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