Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Of course, if you're ignorant, you're easier to manipulate

Speaking at Hampton University in Virginia, the president raised alarms when he said "information becomes a distraction, a diversion" that is putting "pressure on our country and on our democracy."

The president suggested less is more when it comes to absorbing news content and urged graduates to take a skeptical eye toward news from blogs, cable television and radio as well as modern gadgets like iPods and PlayStations.

We couldn't have you getting your news from sources we find difficult to influence, now could we?

A Black Swan comes home to roost

(Via the Drudge Report)

Longish and somewhat difficult to understand if you don't have some familiarity with how stock markets work, this is still a good explanation of how last week's stock market plunge wasn't anyone's fault. The market was poised for a disaster, and one little trade set of the chain reaction that led to a 1000 point drop in the Dow.

If you think we couldn't have a Black Swan event in something like the power grid, our political system or any of the other complex systems that surround us, you just haven't been paying attention. They will happen--will you be ready to ride it out?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Old Guys Rule

They most surely do.

Capt. Crackberry warns...

...iPads and iPods are evil, because they strain "American Democracy". He's not too fond of bloggers either.

What a tool we elected to the highest office in the land. I wonder what history will make of this in a hundred years?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Frightening

If you're a good capitalist, then this article from CNBC ought to scare you right down to your undies. A couple of key quotes:

"Clearly the (U.S.) Securities and Exchange Commission needs to act," Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, told CBS television.

"They need to step up very quickly and let us know what happened here and what steps need to be taken."

Yeah, that free market thing, we don't like it when it works against our best political interests.

"We now see ... wolfpack behaviors, and if we will not stop these packs, even if it is self-inflicted weakness, they will tear the weaker countries apart," Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg told reporters in Brussels before the EU meeting.

God forbid that it becomes so obvious that the PIIGS are collapsing that even the most dim-witted holder of a 401(k) can see that it's time to bail. Why, we can't have traders actually doing their jobs and moving investor money away from the source of the current problem.

I'm not rooting for an economic collapse (well, not exactly), but it's becoming harder by the day to see a scenario in which we avoid avoid one of fairly large magnitude.

You know the drill. Beans, bullets,band-aids. Tools, supplies of all sorts and pay off your debts. Get in shape physically, mentally and financially. If you don't own it free and clear, it ain't yours. So on and so forth. Good advice 100 years ago, good advice a decade ago and really good advice now.

Taking the long way home

The Federal Reserve on Sunday opened a program to ship U.S. dollars to Europe in a move to head off a broader financial crisis on the continent.

Other central banks, including the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank, are also involved in the effort. The Federal Reserve said the Bank of Japan will soon consider a similar program.

The Fed said the action is being taken in "response to the reemergence of strains" in financial markets in Europe.

Wouldn't it be easier for the Europeans to go directly to the Chinese, rather then through a middle man?