aftermath

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Archive for September 21st, 2008

Birthday Bobbing

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Kelly just came home from work and walked in handing me a belated birthday gift, Early Dylan, an excellent collection of black-and-white photographs of young Bob. Thank you very much, Kelly!!

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - adrien

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Adrien

Drain Still Draining

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So while Ike cost us our power and Internet access and everything in between down here in Houston, the federal goverment was preoccupied with bailing out Wall Street.

And still, each and every day, on average $400 million lines up at the door to leave equities via pension plan investment reallocation strategies.

The government’s emergency fantastic departure from free market capital market does demonstrate in rather rash terms that yes, it is possible to temporarily encourage new money to come into the market at volumes sufficiently in excess of that $400 million daily drain, such that we have seen wild triple-digit jumps in the Dow, might even expect to see more of that to come for the next few days, maybe even ever so briefly longer. But the dramatic market jolt – almost more dramatic a destruction of sound economic principles as the terrorist acts of 9/11 were to true market value – likewise rather starkly demonstrates an important aspect of pension plans’ reallocation: how independent that strategy is on external events or factors. Let the market drop to historically undervalued levels, and the pension plans don’t switch to a buy-low strategy. Let some major financial firms go bankrupt, and the pension plans don’t accelerate their long-term reallocation moves. And likewise, push the federal government into a corner where it fights blindly with everything it has, and those pension plans don’t even blink. Tomorrow, if it’s an average day, pension plans will again be lined up to cash out about $400 million from the stock market, no matter how the federal government has tweaked its bailout plan over yet another wild roller coaster weekend, no matter what the stock market futures indicate, no matter how much money lines up for or against where pension plans are headed.

It’s an open drain that will remain open for at least another year, perhaps longer, before pension plans have reached the lower equity allocation levels they now target. The federal government might open a faucet with a flood of funny money every weekend or so, at least to try to save a little face until Election Day; but that pension plan drain still remains open throughout and beyond, uninfluenced, unstopped, persistent as ever.

And as long as it does, even a change in environment as disruptive as the federal government’s bailout plan will not alter the underlying weakness in a market predisposed to selling. And I still count on seeing a 4-digit Dow before the end of this year, perhaps as soon as we start feeling that hangover from this past week’s government-subsidized beerfest.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - calls & puts

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 8:05 pm

Posted in calls & puts

Most Precious Commodity

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Upwards of 1% of the country’s population is heading into their second week after Ike without electrical power; those who miss living in their mansions may not completely understand how far away from home that can make one feel. And although one can go for days, maybe even weeks after the storm, without so much as an MRE, clean water is more urgently and immediately needed for survival.

But if Ike has taught us anything about emergency supplies and distribution, it is that the most precious commodity, the commondity that is most in demand, the commodity least available, and the commodity for which distribution systems remain desperately inadequate is simply: information. Reliable, up-to-date information.

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Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 6:41 pm

Posted in whatev

Zen Tracks [24] Leonard Cohen: You Know Who I Am

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Zen Vision MYou Know Who I AmLeonard CohenSongs From A Room
[3:28] * * * *

Today Cohen turns 74, so I’ll turn to my Zen Vision:M to play one of the first Cohen songs I fell in love with.

Back during my final high school year and still in my first year of exploring music beyond the tight circle of classical and religious music, I stumbled upon Cohen when visiting my father’s new girlfriend’s family one weekend in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, several hours of driving north from where we lived in the southwest corner of the state. After I had long passed the point of paying my dues, I was pointed upstairs to look in on the girlfriend’s brother, who as it turned out was holed up with a few of his friends, the room saturated with weed smoke, mysterious darkness, and the thick sounds of Leonard’s gift of a golden voice singing Stranger Song. Love at first hearing, not even a moment’s hesitation. Within the next week I was in my favorite record store on a mission, which while not blessing me with The Songs of Leonard Cohen, did infect me with Songs From A Room. Every single song of which was quite quickly committed to memory, carrying me through many a turn through the almost 40 years since.

You know who I am,
you’ve stared at the sun,
well I am the one who loves
changing from nothing to one.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - zen

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 3:21 pm

Posted in vision:m

Post-Ike Supply and Demand

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South of the Beltway down the Gulf Freeway toward Galveston, you don’t get much busier than Bay Area Boulevard, especially on a Sunday afternoon when the mall and just about everything else is opening back up post-Ike.

Still, I had to blink twice to realize what I was not seeing past that tanker: gas pumps in operation with no lines of cars waiting to top up. Not a single solitary auto fuel customer!

I didn’t notice, but the presence of extra gas supplies along with the absence of any demand may have been related to the price of their gas. Too many gas stations around Houston seem to think they can walk a tightrope just shy of price gouging, still charging some 40-50 cents more than can easily be found, in some instances at a competing gas station just across the street.

Whereas just 3 days ago the south side of Houston was pedaling on fumes, that quickly we’re back to driving on plenty enough to be price-conscious.

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - houstonian

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Houstonian

Zoo Door Guard

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The zoo door is guarded against (almost) all escapees.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - monarda

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 12:09 pm

Posted in monarda