Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is Anything New Under the Sun ?

Not much since 1920, except for some new inventions.

I've been reading some classic modern American novels which my high school 40 years ago negligently or intentionally did not require. That fact makes me think my education in literature then was a bit of a fraud on the students, perhaps part of an indoctrination effort by the state Board of Education.

Here's why I think I (and every other student) was gypped. The classic American novels, Main Street, Babbitt and Winesburg, Ohio bring to light social controversies of the era of 1910-1920s of women's rights, social conformity and the nature of economic growth that were huge controversies in the 1960s, too. So as a student, I and many other young persons were deprived of solid classics of literature that might have helped one better understand and cope with those trends, that were repeating after 40-50 years. It's truly ridiculous that the novels of the first American winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature were not assigned reading for high school students.

Why ? I suppose the dominant ruling classes wanted to suppress those independent thoughts. That effort failed in the 1960s and 1970s, but it had succeeded before in the Depression and World War II postwar eras. I suppose I could have found them on my own, but I was too busy learning mathematics, physics, and western philosophy and cultures. The humanities were not interesting, I think, due to the horrible literature classes where I was forced to read crap like "A Separate Peace". Oh well, I'm making up for it now.

Is the Glass Half Full Again ?

FT: “German shoppers are showing surprising strength in adversity with consumer confidence in the eurozone’s largest economy hitting its highest level for more than a year, even as evidence mounts of a credit squeeze across continental Europe. ... The unexpectedly steep increase will strengthen expectations of a significant rebound in Europe’s largest economy in the second half of this year. Last week, the German Ifo business confidence index also rose strongly, hitting the highest level since October.”

Every morning lately it seems that European stocks are strong.

You Heard It Here First

WSJ: “The Commodity Futures Trading Commission plans to issue a report next month suggesting speculators played a significant role in driving wild swings in oil prices -- a reversal of an earlier CFTC position that augurs intensifying scrutiny on investors.

In a contentious report last year, the main U.S. futures-market regulator pinned oil-price swings primarily on supply and demand. But that analysis was based on "deeply flawed data," Bart Chilton, one of four CFTC commissioners, said in an interview Monday.

The CFTC's new review, due to be released in August, adds fuel to a growing debate over financial investors who bet on the direction of commodities prices by buying contracts tied to indexes. These speculators have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in contracts that were once dominated by producers and consumers who sought to hedge against oil-market volatility.”

The old Bushite libertarians running the CFTC and SEC were knaves or fools.

Another Half Measure From a Corrupt SEC

WSJ: “The Securities and Exchange Commission issued new rules to govern short-selling, promising investors fresh information about the volume and velocity of negative bets placed against companies. ... But it dropped a requirement that hedge funds disclose details of short positions to regulators. ... Sen. Ted Kaufman (D.-Del.), who has prodded the SEC to take additional steps, said in a statement that he was disappointed it didn't go further to restrict naked short selling. "Instead of proposing action today to deal with the problem, the SEC apparently is content to let potential solutions sit on the shelf for another two months," he said.”

Aw, Shucks

WSJ: "While regulators debate how to curb excessive speculation in commodities markets, exchanges are moving to impose limits on natural-gas trading, sparking outrage among traders. In the face of pending restrictions, natural-gas prices have swung wildly and trading volume has declined, highlighting the dilemma facing regulators: how to heighten oversight without introducing adverse consequences."


I sold BHP and UNP yesterday as further gains seems limited. I also exchanged some more US total stock market fund money for TIPS in Krypto Fund. Today I plan to buy some GLD with teh stock sale proceeds as my asset allocation model wishes it. Here's another dog biscuit for your fee, Krypto. Good doggie !

Word of the Day

"Planish" - verb, transitive
Planish means to flatten (sheet metal, coining metal, etc.) with a smooth faced hammer or between rollers.
Sentence: Social pressures planish much independent thinking.

Słowo Tygodnia

"Myśleć" - verb, imperfective, conjugation 2
Myśleć means to think.
Zdanie: Myślę, dlatego jestem.
Sentence: I think, therefore I am.


Bunkerman said...

To forestall any grousing, I favoer free, completely unfetterd trading by HUMANS with accounts under $100 million.

I favor strong restrictions on all computerized trading and all beefers.

After all, I am a populist libertarian. Freedom for the common man, restrictions and fetters for the rich & powerful.

mfl59 said...

You didn't enjoy A Separate Peace? interesting...Phineas would be disappointed

Bunkerman said...

Tale of Two Cities sucked, too.

Frosty said...

GLD buying today, no way...thought you would be crowing about a hs pattern or some such thing GLD

Bunkerman said...

I did buy a bit of GLD today for asset allocation, not atrade.

Didn't even look at the chart - it's LT chart is in my head & I know it's been on a plateau in the mid-low $900s for months.

Frosty said...

what about the nigga fund sitting in cash...you investing pigshark style now...or do we only buy the rips now.

Bunkerman said...

I'll put Obama Fund to work when I se something I like that can make a big profit.

Frosty said...

well that is very helpful bunky,spoken like a true friend of the common man...spare the rod spoil the servants that swarm the bunker grounds indeed...since spinny is on sexcation and not here to ask...did krypto piss in your crunch this morning? :)

Bunkerman said...

haha ... no, but I'm still cleaning guns, etc. from the Vermont trip & not thinking about investments.

Bunkerman said...

I'm also planning to experiment making some pemmican for the canoe trip in Canada.

Bunkerman said...

Made the pemmican ... I'll wait a day to eat some see if it turns out OK.

Mountain Bunker Man at work.

Frosty said...

moose, elk, or deer pemmican bunky... bone marrow perhaps, waste not want not indeed.

Bunkerman said...

well, not so clever ... using high quality beef jerky, dried fruit, nuts, then honey & peanut butter binder.

yes I know it needs rendered fat to be authentic, but for a start, this recipe seems OK.

I'll have it for breakfast or lunch tomorrow.

Bunkerman said...

I am taking some authentic hardtack along, too, for the coffee like a Civil War soldier (Union, of course)

Frosty said...

Bunky...don't know who has the wheel driving this market, perhaps your heros at GS, but they are speeding and if pulled over would blow over the legal limit.

honey & peanut butter binder...with ya there...sounds much better than rendered fat indeed

Bunkerman said...

beefers control the short term swings.

I think there is much big money on the sidelines waiting for some good news on jobs front.

But for me, the Obama risk is too much at these levels.

S&P 1000 should bring sellers in short term.

If Obama can be weakened - say by losing on health care - then maybe more buyers will come in.

Also if he gives up and re-appoints Battleship Ben, that would be abig plus.

For now, I wait and think of new ideas.

Bunkerman said...

cleaning one gun a day ...

Bunkerman said...

lol when I mentioned the rendered fat, I got a look of disgust from Mrs. B.

Bunkerman said...

I wrap the pemmican in palm sized lumps in wax paper; then put in a plastic bag. This should work well on the canoe trip, together with my MREs and hardtack .. and Al's fishing.