Aug 30, 2015

A rose by any other name...

...but do you think Obama would have changed the name of a mountain named for a liberal Democrat? My inuitition says "no."

Aug 29, 2015

Puss 'n' Boots language

A while back I used the word "lovely" in a conversation among two or three close friends. One of them took me gently to task for girly-girl talk. No big deal, but I was reminded of it this morning.

Once in a while I go through a breakfast ritual. Eggs just right, coffee with real cream and sugar, well-buttered toast, a pancake and maple syrup.  And a book, good book, just weighty enough to engage my facilities but not so idea-packed as to overstrain those facilities so early in the day.

Today: Meriwether Lewis is speaking through his journal. Entertaining as I do the the most confident hope of succeeding in a voyage which had formed a darling project of mind for the last ten years...


That sounds pretty puss 'n' bootsie, but considering the source, I'd be very reluctant to call the man on it. If there's a pantheon of tough guys in the American tradition, Lewis is in it.

(I use Puss 'n Boots as a substitute for you-know-what, a term midway along the scale of vulgarity and hence unsuitable for a family-oriented pessay. Wait. I mean essay.)

So, with the great  and brave explorer behind me,  I think I'll worry less about a drop or two of lilac water lacing my speech.

Don't you find that lovely?

Aug 26, 2015

Well, that didn't last long

The big rich became the poorer-yet in the last minutes of NYSE trading yesterday. My panel of experts blames it on the Chinese again. Until lunch time on Wall Street everything was giddy, then some spoil sport said he thought the Peking didn't invent new money fast enough. And down we go because still not liquid enough.

To make matters worse, no one was really biting the bait about Janet and the Feds cooling down on their (maybe) planned quarter-per cent rate hike next month. It was dangled from all the docks,  but her worm just floated there, ignored.

We're trying again this morning as the cheery stock thugs  bid the Dow up about 350 points. Who knows?

Actually, maybe Peter Schiff (he's one of Us) knows. I think that, informally over a nice martini, he would advise putting your investment money into blue steel and walnut.

Aug 25, 2015


...stop all that cheering and clapping. Such constant adulation makes me uncomfortable.


It's the headline for the AP lead story this morning. The Dow (futures) is up c. 600.

Aug 24, 2015

Chicken Little

I haven't fully digested the past four days of stock market Armageddon -- a fancy way of reporting that,  whatever I say,  I am not  at all confident that I know what the Hell I am talking about.

But I want to get something out early, before the markets open this morning so that, if I'm right,  I can claim vast powers of economic analysis.

It is this: The recent stock market losses come to about 10 per cent, (give or take because economics is the only discipline I can think of this morning where arithmetic is not an exact science). Ten per cent  amounts to an awful lot of money, enough to ulcerize most everyone, from the 1 per centers down to the poor slob who bet some rent money on the rosy Wall Street chatter of a few months ago.

My prediction: The panic will continue until the central banks announce, or strongly hint, that problem is simply liquidity, a problem they can easily solve by printing more money. My prognosticated time line runs from right now until the Gnomes of Everywhere have had several three-martini lunches.

When they do so, all the world will sigh, giggle, and start pouring all that fresh cash back into Amalgamated Phuckall, Inc.  and its corporate kin. APA will rise again, and the three-piece suiters  will resume strutting  and crowing about the conquests of their big swinging dicks.

So, that's just the latest of Jim's hard-money rants, right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

There's a guy named James Grant who is reputedly an expert on money and markets. Three months ago he weighed in on central banks, especially their mania for fiat trillions. The article is worth a read, but the nut is here, in a quotation going back a century and a half. Grant writes:

Walter Bagehot, a wonderful Victorian journalist who served in the 1860s and 70s as the editor of The Economist, once said that John Bull — the proverbial personification of Great Britain — can stand anything, but he can’t stand two percent. Meaning very low interest rates. Why? Because they instigate a lot of unwise speculation and a lot of misallocation of resources: people who find that money costs nothing to borrow do silly things with it. And when Bagehot said that, he meant positive two percent. In Denmark, for example, they now pay you to borrow and you pay them to save.

John Bull, Janet Yellin's Fed, the European banker/bureaucrats, the gnomes of Peking, the Bank of Japan. Do you doubt for a moment they're about to override the governor on their high-speed presses?  They'll call the resulting new bubble "wealth," and in a small way it will be, until next time.

Aug 22, 2015

Irritating the DHS

Here is Nancy Wilson, an extremely alluring woman who is of African-American heritage. She wears a nearly transparent cover over underthings designed for allure.  

This TMR presentation runs sadly afoul Department of Homeland Security rules for its agents' use of taxpayers' computers while on taxpayers' time. It appears to be obscene, racist, sexist, vulgar, and harmful (likely to harm DHS spooks' minds by generating impure thoughts, and we all know what that can lead to).

I also take malicious pleasure in posting it, thereby violating at least six of the 13 DHS guidelines in one tiny little post. Only seven to go. 


It is probably useful to note that she also sang at least as well as any other woman who ever lived.

Aug 20, 2015

My Cheatin 'Heart?

As to Ashley, I am innocent.

As to my public internet writing, I must be judged, I guess, against Department of Homeland Security rules. They permit their snoops to use the taxpayers' computer for "limited" personal browsing but forbid visiting sites...

 ...that are "obscene, hateful, harmful, malicious, hostile, threatening, abusive, vulgar, defamatory, profane, or racially, sexually, or ethnically objectionable."

Looks to me like  the TMR is 13 out of 13. A perfect score. Thank you mommiedotguv for all your inspiration.

Aug 14, 2015

Iowa Caucuses Interim Report

Iowa, where we decide who you get to vote for:

Clinton is still above 50 per cent, though barely. Bernie, the cutie version of Eugene V. Debs, is second, about 20 points behind. The other are seesawing. Including Jim Webb at 1 per cent, which is a damned shame if you ask me.

Explanation: Clinton leads because --  no matter what the evidence of her lies, crimes or near-crimes, --  the unwashed left has but one answer: "Why are you picking on this poor woman?"*  Bernie is doing pretty well because even here we have a mass which believes the fairies can  go to Washington and bring us back a free lunch.

In the GOP, Trump still leads but may be fading. Walker and the traditional GOPers trail him. Rand Paul, the semi-libertarian, has faded to 5 per cent or less.

Explanation:  Trump struts because the general electorate loves -- and often understands only  -- trash talk. Paul is down for several reasons, among them the diseased liberty movement here. It stems from sleaze bags, at least one them indicted, who helped operate his dad's race four years ago. Another reason is the general media focus on the dramatic moments (Gore in!? More secrets on Hillary's server? Joe Biden surges!).

But, in all, both fields are so packed than no poll number makes much sense as a predictor.  It is usually like that six months before the caucuses; the uncertainty is elevated by the population explosion of wannabes this time around.

They're almost all at the state fair this  week. And if you hope that at least half of them chomp a fatally tainted corn dog, you are guilty of unChristian thought.


*Credit  for phrasing  to BC.

Aug 11, 2015

The noble legacy of Ferguson, Missouri.

I missed it, dang it, and the current Ferguson news keeps reminding me of my cultural loss.  It happened this way:

Just 19 nights ago,  terrified in my more dependable truck with Texsun camper in the box,  I found myself  among the fleas of the giant unwashed armpit usually known  as the St. Louis, Missouri standard metropolitan statistical area. ("Fleas" is metaphorical, of course. The reference is to eight lanes of frantic 10 p.m. westbound traffic,  fleaing, so to speak, the area.)

I can handle such motorized riots and have for years, in fact, when my own bad judgment leads me to the world's great Gothams. But this was a little worse because a new trans-Mississippi bridge project had hurled me into a detour under the superhighway mixmaster, down into the bowels of the city.  Berlin in June of 1945, but with less charm and security. I locked the doors and blundered through the abandoned warehouses and grimy brick row houses, actually thankful that the street lights were burned out. Or turned off. Or shot out. I undoubtedly would have been more disheartened if I could actually have seen the cultural environment most famously documented by The National Lampoon  report on its 1983 vacation.

I re-entered the upper world in due course, hugging the right lane when possible. Shortly I spied one of those earthy white-on-brown exit signs our government erects to guide us to special attractions.  I always associate them with sylvan settings where I might see Yogi chuckling good-naturedly  as he totes off his latest pilfered pik-a-nik basket.

Wrong, this time, Jim.  It said , "Historic Downtown Ferguson."

I mourn having rejected the invitation. The only bright spot is that if I return to the area I can visit an even more historic Ferguson. I certainly hope I live long enough to accomplish this dream.

Aug 10, 2015

The Softer Side

A no-mow zone in the front yard for many years has become about 2,000 square feet of "evolving prairie" or something like that. This creates a lot of trees some consider junk,  mainly cottonwood and willow, but I like them.

You also get some impressive wildflowers when the weather is lush.  I love the kind of flowers I don't have to plant, water, weed, pick, or put in fussy-cute vases.

Aug 9, 2015


It's not easy to write seriously about this guy, especially if you think he is performing a useful role in American political discourse.

Limited but still worthwhile is Trump's  absolute rejection of the mealy-mouth sputterings of politicians willing to risk offending no one, tiny men and women terrified of riling some identifiable group. Black people. Women.  Fundie religionists. Humanists. Cat lovers. Art lovers. Gun lovers  -- probably descending downward to whatever internet group exists to mock  folks who eat hummus. None must have the tender hymen of virgin ears pierced.

He came into this campaign with the idea that millions are fed up with limp language of PC. His polling numbers tend to prove him correct.

But the poor, sad egomaniac's insight stops a world away from the notion that plain speech, blunt speech, is not the same as stupid and vile speech. For instance, he could have said of John McCain:

"From what we know this guy endured pain we can't imagine under Communist torture. For six long years he was, in fact, a military hero as most people define the term. It's too bad people confuse this with the kind of wisdom we need in a political leader, balh blah blah.

That was his point, exactly,  a valid argument on which Trump committed seppuku by expressing it as mockery, intentionally cruel sarcasm displaying a strong hint of envy.

Mexicans are rapists. 

Nonsense, of course.  But he could say,  the illegal immigrant population from Latin America includes a high proportion of thugs.  Even that will inflame passions, but it is a proposition which can be debated. It can be tested for truth. If found true it can be a base for policy. As Trump vomited it out, it is a flash-bang grenade tossed simply to make his 15 minutes last longer and longer and longer.

The coy reference to Ms. Kelly's vagina was probably the final cross-stroke in Trump's ritual suicide. Rag-on remarks have been around forever but, in my life experience, anyway, always taboo in any but the most testosterone laden gatherings, even in the years before our intellectual betters decided that that open debate should be forbidden except when framed in words which carry zero chance of offending some group or even some one.  (That's the way it is now ...trigger warning...  honest, Injun.)

A Trump with his mouth under even small control would have said something like: Ms. Kelly, I speak my mind without a lot of editing for mushy political correctness.  Maybe I go to far sometimes, but I think your question reflects a stupid approach to journalism. The campaign is about huge issues, and whether or not one candidate sometimes uses words too strong for you is not one of those issues. Grow up."  

The furor about stupid journalism and Kelly's alleged infantilism would have been almost as raucous,  but it would bear on things we need to think about, namely stupid journalism and  arrested-development teevee personalities.* It is far more important than her menstrual status.  Goodness, I'll bet the nation can avoid thinking about her cycle for months on end. If it can't, what the Hell. We might as well elect The Donald because we deserve no better.

*I do not necessarily accuse Megyn of those faults