Feb 4, 2014

Less is a helluva a lot; zero is sublime

I propose a massive private fund-raising drive to build a marble monument to Bob Andrews. A big one, right smack in the middle of the National Mall.

The liberal New Jersey congressthing is retiring after nearly a quarter century eating high on the federal hog. In all that time he proposed 646 new federal laws.

None passed. Not one.

And if that doesn't make him the most useful slug in American political history I'll kiss your arse in the Capitol Rotunda and lend you money to hire Rachel Maddow for live teevee commentary.

Feb 3, 2014

Welcome, Janet!

Janet Yellin has just been sworn in as the chief of of the American mimeograph machine.  To celebrate, the American equity markets crashed again. (DJ IA down a couple hundred points.) The heaviest investors seem confused about how much free money she'll be printing for the banks to loan them for purposes of speculation.

Only a despicable hard-money crank would suggest a causal relationship between Janet's ascendancy to Ben's old seat  and the roiled markets.*  After all, she she was against the tapir before she was for it.

So far, the  tapir  isn't working too well despite the public relations efforts of the country's best-oiled spin machines.

It was supposed to push interest rates up a tad, not much, just enough to make  the  aforesaid cranks shut up about Wiemar. It is working the other way. Interest on government insecurities is still trickling down -- a few minutes ago the 10-year at 2.6 per cent and the 30 at a little over 3.5.

If you don't  follow numbers like that, no problem. Their meaning is simple.  Your bank will continue paying you effectively nothing on your CDs, large and small, for a while, anyway. In due course, though, we'll probably have to pull a Turkey where the Ankara version of  the Ben and Janet show has just been shoved into reverse and lending rates were tripled to 12 per cent for overnight loans.

(I won't be putting money into Turkish CDs, though, because one of the effects will be oh-crap price hikes. A respectable working stiff's hookah, no brass filigree, plain plastic tubing,  at 38 zillion lira?)

It's all confusing, but I suppose a guy should just think back to Ben Bernanke when he cut the Kwee from 85 billion to 75 billion thin-air FRCs per month. He was careful to promise the too-big-to-fails that it was all sort of a joke. Lend away, Boys and Girls.  Vee haf other vays of making all the marks -- wait, I mean dollars of course , ha-ha -- you'll ever need.


*When a writer is too chicken to predict whether the markets will go up or down,  he is permitted by long tradition to wimp out with "roiled."

Feb 2, 2014

Arctical Loopholing and Some Other Weekend Wrapup Reports

The Emmet County, Iowa, sportsman's club knows how to run a loophole, friendly, well organized, and well advertised. The guys even hang around the door offering to help you carry your stuff from vehicle to table.

It suffers only from the dominance of plastic fantastic, but that's a world wide issue, and there was still enough honest walnut and steel to keep a hard-core recalcitrant happy.

The Saturday crowd was large and oddly open-handed. I was forced to cancel my date with Miss Cougar (senior division)  last night due to exhaustion from counting Federal Reserve Cartoons,  not to mention palpating the newly adopted Mossberg  800A. (.308).

The overriding pleasure is the glow of having freed a few cubic feet of gun-room space via a massive conversion of  pure junk to FRCs.


While I was freezing, my daughter and her good man were on a ferry from Puerto Juarez to Isla Mujeres. It's her umpteenth trip. counting her first when she was a toddler and the island was our ultimate destination on a three-week roadie down the Mexican gulf coast. She posted a picture on arrival. Palms and white beach and cervasa and damned if I'm not going to invite myself along next time. Like all Irish-derived humans, she carries a load of guilt around, and I think I can exploit it for selfish purposes.


The winter of malice continues. The current 10 above and predicted 1 below are comparatively benign, but that worm hole through Canada is letting another freeze fart through, and the portent is a 1-below high on Wednesday, followed by minus- teens low.

Why the Hell doesn't the south side of the  jet stream stay up by Moose Jaw where it belongs? Kerry should stop horsing around in Iran and investigate. A strongly worded note to Toronto is the least we should demand.

Only a dork uses the term "enervating," but I'm tempted.

I'm placing my faith in the long range NWS guess that the pattern is changing and could bring actual above-freezing temperatures by a week from today. I used to draw to inside straights, too.

Feb 1, 2014

I'll go quietly officer

The drone from the Drug Enforcement Administration hovers outside my window.  It records my crime and transfers the evidence to a national drug-criminal database. With luck I can cop a plea.

The Ivory Tower is deciding that free-range coffee is an addictive drug. It demands discipline and suggests that everything ought to be labeled as to caffeine content.  Alert the FDA and, of course, copy the DEA.

Juliano (the expert)  says that in order to avoid any potentially serious withdrawal symptoms, people should limit their daily caffeine consumption to 400mg, two to three 8-ounce cups of coffee.

Can a law be far away?

A couple of things here:

--The "study" is 40 years late.  The noted academician James Michener reported the facts in 1974  in his doorstop Centennial. Most of you will recall his case study of the high-plains farm wife who went bugdoozy when the coffee ran out one wild and isolated winter.

--Personally, I could never befriend anyone who drinks from or serves in an 8-ounce cup.  Wimps and wusses have their place in the world,  but if I'm in a sewing mood and want a thimble, I won't ask you to fill it with Folgers first.

Oh, and before I pour my third (big) cup of the morning and take my leave, a suggestion. Call your broker. Dump Starbucks.