THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: March 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

When Cartoons Go Non-Fiction ...

Thanks to Lew Rockwell for posting this political cartoon which handles nicely a key objection to the so-called War on Terror here.

(I saved you a click...)

Monday, March 09, 2009

IN MY LIFE - Jake Shimabukuro on Ukulele

Gosh. This is a gorgeous little performance by a ukulele superstar.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Continuity, Thy Name is Obama - Part 2

Good for The Daily Show. I suspect airing reports of this nature cause Mr. Stewart actual psychic angst, and for that reason I'm impressed with Jon and the crew there at TDS putting this sort of thing out in the early Obama administration.

Stay honest (as best you can), Jon.

UPDATE #1 - 2009/03/09 @ 9:00 a.m.

Saw this comment a "donpaluh" left on the "Mess O'Potamia" video at The Daily Show's website. It's indicative of the faith-based support enjoyed by the current administration.

"The difference between President Obama saying the troops will be there for support and training and President Bush saying it is simple: Obama's statement is sincere, and Bush's is a euphemism for continued combat forces."

I don't think he's right. I think he's drinking the Kool-Aid.

I wonder what will happen when some significant percentage of the folks who share this point of view realize they've been duped?

UPDATE #2 - 2009/03/11 @ 12:20 p.m.

Ron Paul has written a compelling article on this topic:


John Lennon couldn't have said it better himself.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Defend yourself and protect your family. Learn economics. Free market economics, that is. The "economics" preached by politicians and central bankers (other than Ron Paul) is toxic.

There is no tooth fairy.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

On Voting Machines, Markets - Part 2

Continuing this week's little series on revisiting various of my prior predictions about the world, today I'm looking back at this post I made in December 2005 (2005-12-22, to be precise) about the relative valuations of two publicly-traded companies: Google (ticker symbol = GOOG) and Berkshire Hathaway (ticker symbol = BRKA).

Back then, the stock market placed comparable values on Google and Berkshire Hathaway ($127 billion to $136 billion, respectively). Believing this circumstance to be highly improper, I wagered $10, agreeing to take all comers, that in 2012, Berkshire would be valued at least twice as high as Google.

Happily nobody took the bet. Today GOOG is still trading for less than BRKA, but both stocks have taken a real pounding. Right now BRKA has a market cap of around $113 billion (having lost 50% in the past six to eight months), and GOOG has a market cap of around $98 billion (having lost over 50% since it's absolute peak about in November 2007).

I hereby retract my offered wager. I may end up still being right, but I think now that seven years (from 2005 to 2012) was not a long enough period of time. I should've picked twenty or thirty years.

I think Berkshire's troubles would be over if only they required all their Dairy Queens to serve chocolate soft-serve. There's nothing better than a Butterfinger Blizzard with chocolate ice cream.

Monday, March 02, 2009

On Prognostications - Part 2

A little over a year ago (on 2008-01-18, to be exact), I wrote this blog entry about Robert Prechter's depressing volume "Conquer the Crash" (originally published in 2002). I noted that in "Conquer the Crash," Prechter predicted many Very Bad Things, including abysmal returns for investors in all asset classes other than cash (and short-term U.S. Treasuries).

I also noted that back then, the book had an sales rank of less than 87,000 (that is, there were more than 87,000 other books selling better at than Prechter's "Conquer the Crash."

And I opined that if the sales rank for "Conquer the Crash" ever advanced below 5,000, it would be time to buy U.S. stocks. I indicated that I thought such a development would be very bullish for U.S. equities from the point of view of a contrarian investor.

But I see that Prechter's "Conquer the Crash" has a current sales rank of 3,601, meaning two things: (1) there are now only 3,600 books selling better at than "Conquer the Crash" and (2) it's time to re-evaluate my chosen contrarian indicator (i.e., Prechter's book achieving that measure of popularity).

Check here for the updated ranking: Prechter's "CTC" @

(The rankings are updated at least hourly, I think, so don't be alarmed or annoyed at me if the book isn't ranked 3,601 if you go there to check.)

In any event, I now elect to modify the implications of my indicator. I now say that if Prechter's book is ever selling in the top 1000 books on, that will indicate that there have been some very, very bad things happen in investment markets around the world. I can't say with any confidence that it will be time to be U.S. stocks, though, because America's politicians have been actively destroying our capital markets for the past eleven or twelve months. (And obliterated capital markets are a bad thing for equity investors.)

I'm interested and surprised Prechter's book is up to 3,601 at I wish I had some idea what that means in terms of how many copies of it are actually being sold. Could it make a jump of that magnitude in the rankings on the sale of, say, six copies today?



P.S. By the way, me including the above picture of Ben Stein is decidedly NOT a recommendation that anyone pay attention to what Ben Stein has to say about investing. Much of his advice has been terrible ("buy-and-hold" establishment pap) for at least the last several years. He totally missed the meltdown and in fact actively denied that there were any problems to come in a showdown ("shoutdown"?) interview with Peter Schiff in 2006 or 2007. He also lost piles of money personally, and wrote about that on Yahoo (to his credit on that point).

Sunday, March 01, 2009

On Warren Buffett - The Man Can Set Goals

I like the way Warren Buffett described his goals in Berkshire Hathaway's 2008 annual report:

In good years and bad, Charlie [Munger] and I simply focus on four goals:
  1. maintaining Berkshire’s Gibraltar-like financial position, which features huge amounts of excess liquidity, near-term obligations that are modest, and dozens of sources of earnings and cash;
  2. widening the “moats” around our operating businesses that give them durable competitive advantages;
  3. acquiring and developing new and varied streams of earnings;
  4. expanding and nurturing the cadre of outstanding operating managers who, over the years, have delivered Berkshire exceptional results.

In this picture above, Mr. Buffett is probably thinking he's late for some advancing of his agenda as regards at least one of those four goals. He's got a reputation for being a pretty focused individual...

Anyway, I think I'll adapt these Berkshire/Buffett goals to my life, print it out and and tape it to the wall above my computer to help me stay on task.

That seems like a good idea (as far as setting business/financial goals is concerned, that is).