The Way Back.

20 Nov

After the Great Recession the economy is arrow pointed up again. We see some evidence of growth in the hardest hit sectors like housing and the resultant careful optimism on the part of the citizenry.

But that’s really all you can say. We know the recovery is weak, we are still in a vulnerable state. A double dip, or at least another period of mild correction, is a fifty fifty proposition.

Stop to consider, after the crash of ’29, the markets did not fully recover until the early fifties. We probably won’t fully recover from this latest calamity by 2016.

Political gridlock will not help. One of the political parties choosing to represent it’s political aims in the context of make believe thinking doesn’t help. And a populace that to a large extent has bought into a worldview that really doesn’t reflect global realities but instead is centered on a kind of foam finger “We’re No.1” pop culture perception really doesn’t help.

There may be cause for hope. The chasm between the US and the rest of the world in terms of economic development is not so great as it was when Richard Nixon visited China. At a time when the largest, most populace nation on earth was vitually a peasant economy, the biggest thing in the United States was the Pet Rock.

At five bucks a piece.            In 1970’s dollars.

Back to back bubble economies, two wars (they really do cost money, just like they always did) , the housing collapse and all the subsequent damage to the economy, most importantly the personal economies of all the families suddenly dumped out of the middle class and into poverty, you don’t have to go very far to find somebody who will agree with you that times are not good.

And that doesn’t help either because even when times are good, forty pecent of the people will tell you we’re in for big trouble just ahead.

Let’s just agree to one thing; we don’t need another bubble. Let’s agree that we need to find a new economic backbone. We need a reset. We need to retrain workers for the jobs of tommorw, of course, but what the hell are tomorrows job’s!

We’re a consumer based economy. How many robotic assembly green energy factory software developers and hardware technicians are we really going to need in the brave new world?

If history is any judge, not enough to keep up with population growth, and less of them to do more work every year. So what do we do? In a consumer based economy how do you create enough good paying jobs for people that are not career oriented, highly driven entrepeneurial spirits, but rather, ordinary people that whose lives are centered on their families?

 The folks that would rather spend weekends raising their kids than working six days and spending hours more in commute, hours more at home dealing with work creeping into homelife. Folks who just want to have a decent home, in a safe neighborhood, with a school for the kids that works like it should.

Let’s just agree to be honest about the future. We only need so many highly skilled, highly trained, cutting edge techno-futurist wonder workers in any new economy.

Regular people need regular jobs.

Unfortunately, regular jobs turned into jobs that pay squat somewhere along the way. Jobs that keep hard working people poor if they don’t get out of them.

It’s relatively simple, how it got this way. It’s the way wealth is disributed throughout the economy. And by that I don’t mean people sitting on bags of money, although a few do, but rather the structure of our economy that keeps so much money out of people’s pockets for no good reason.

Growing up, I remember how my friend’s dad might work in a men’s clothing store or a shoe store and provide a decent middle class life for his family.

So if this is a consumer economy, then why not look to the retail sector to provide those jobs again? Oh no, you can’t, you couldn’t, cost of goods would go through the roof! Think so. What if not.

What if not?

What if WalMart paid a minimum salary of 25K? Imagine the economic growth! Bear in mind, people who make 25K put most of that money right back into the economy. It’s entry level middle class.

But what would it cost?    Please read on;

http://www.demos.org/publication/retails-hidden-potential-how-raising-wages-would-benefit-workers-industry-and-overall-ec

The Church of Tubular Salvation

10 Nov

Being as it’s the weekend, I have some work, thank God. Or maybe more appropriately, I should thank the Beatles, Elvis and Chubby Checker. So not too much blogging will get done today. There are strings to change, guitars to polish and tubes to obsess over.

Tubes. Something the average 21st Century citizen of Liferaft Earth doesn’t encounter, like ever. Back in the day, but no more. Ya’ll are digital semiconductor solid state toroidal powered transformerless technology dependent, and so am I.

But I also need tubes. Tubes. Thermionic valves for the international audience.

I need tubes to make my music real. I can’t do it with simulations. I can’t do it with digital approximations, no matter how many times they are sampled per second.

Now, an audio engineer will tell you that it’s because of the pleasant sounding natural compression that a tube applies to a signal just before it distorts, but it’s much more than that.

It’s fractal. Like a tree. We’ve all noticed how if you cut off a small shoot from the branch of a tree and hold it up and look at it, it looks like a little tree. And if you cut a little shoot off that shoot and look at it under a magnifying glass, it looks like a littler tree, and so on.

Same with a tube. If you look at it’s signal on smaller and smaller scales, it will always be musical, it will always be a littler and littler tree down to the atomic level. (Till you hit the quantum level, then everything is all fucked up and nothing  works like it should which proves the immutable law that governs our existence;   Wherever you go, there you are.)

Audio engineers have done remarkable work, using fractals, to create models of tubes. Heirin after we will refer to these people as The Evil Usurpers (Sorry Democrats, taken.) And if you’re listening to a CD, if you’re in a recording studio or any other kind of wholesome environment, riding in your car even, the Evil Usurpers have won (how ironic)! Put me in a studio and blindfold me and I can’t tell the difference between a ’65 Blackface Twin and an iPad, but in a nightclub, totally different story.

In a nightclub, digital recreations just don’t cut it , you must use real tubes!

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s the ozone created by the glowing tubes combining with the fragrance molecules from the beer mixed with the pheromones produced by human sexual attraction that creates a 3 dimensional sonic canvas that more effectively carries the sound waves of rock and roll, and country, and heavy metal (but not jazz).

I don’t know, that’s one theory.

But I think it’s something much more spiritual. Something you can’t explain with that kind of scientic analysis. It is something spiritual, something that I know but I can’t describe.

There is only one analogy……swearing in church.

Swearing in church. If you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean. Something in the way it sounds and you know immediately……..

I won’t do that again.

Unpopped Kernels

10 Nov

Just a couple of things rattling around;

At some point I’m sure I’ll want to touch on one of my passions, which is football. Or should I say American football? While that sounds like some kind of lefty, europhile play for approval, I think it really does a much better job of describing the essence of the game to call it American football. I believe football is the great metaphor for our nation. It displays our most admired spiritual  charachteristics, demonstrates the marvel that is our brains and bodies.

American football epitomizes the virtue of sacrifice. On the professional level, it even mirrors our politics and the balance we try to strike between individual freedom and social collectivism.

But enough for now, I’ve got more meat for that bone, but we’ll get to it later on.

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“That juice isn’t worth the sqeeze.” A member of Mitt Romey’s GOTV effort told the media when asked what he thought of the Obama campaign’s college campus outreach in Ohio, which included live bands rockin’ it while buses loaded kids up to go vote!

“That juice isn’t worth the squeeze.”

I hope this anonymous campaign hack is haunted by this quote. Forever.

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Notice how every other new cable drama series theme song seems to be built around a swampy, throaty dobro slide guitar lick?

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Charles Krauthammer is bat shit crazy. He wrote in the Washington Post that his party’s problem isn’t opposing abortion even in the case of rape or the life of the mother, but rather talking about it…..indelicately. Just be a little more genteel when telling a woman that being raped was God’s plan for her life. Speak softly and don’t forget to put your hands in your lap and sink your shoulders so you look like you feel her pain.

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Tim Tebow was voted most overrated by his fellow players for the second time….this season!

Jesus, I mean Geez, that’s got to hurt!

Thing is Timmy is the perfect hybrid of a high motor, low skill H back, and a bad quarterback.

His success in the NFL reminds me of Tom Matte. Tom was a slow footed halfback whose only other fault was he was not that big. He was the Baltimore Colts emergency quarterback, and when injury struck and he was the only man left standing, he rallied his team and led them to a playoff for a berth in the NFL Championship game. He lost, but it was thrilling.

Timmys done that, also. And now the arc of his career is taking on that of Tom Matte. Only Tom Matte eventually got back on the field as the Colts utility back. I don’t think Tebow will see the field much unless it’s because of injury. And I don’t see any success there.

Tebow Time becomes Outta Time before you know it.

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I remember a kid in about the seventh or eighth grade telling us about his crazy cousins that had visited over the weekend. “They don’t believe in dinosaurs or cavemen. They said there’s no dinosaurs or cavemen in the Bible. If it’s not in the Bible, it didn’t happen!”

We all laughed, having learned about fossils in school. We were just kids, what did we know.

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Saw the photos of Paula Broadwell, the biographer and confidante of Gen. Dave Petraeus. The General’s wife is an accomplished woman named Holly.

I’d like to speak directly to her;   Ma’am, I saw the picture of the woman who slept with your husband and ruined his career, and I must say……….

………..Are You Blind!?! Did you see the woman travelling around with your husband? C’mon, nobody should trust their husband with a woman like that! It isn’t natural!

Ladies, if you’re suspect your husband may be sleeping with a woman but you don’t want to confront him cuz, ya know, you may be batshit, there is an easy test. You get the woman’s picture and look in her eyes.

If her eyes say “Of course, I’m fucking him!” then you know.

Don’t believe me, get out a celebrity magazine and look at the picture of any actress or model that’s been involed in a high profile affair.

See. Told you.

General Disarray

9 Nov

Hot on the story of the Genera David Petraeus sex scandal, as it rolls into Paula Broadwell, his biographer and close personal friend who is being investigated by the FBI for potential national security breaches. Holy crap, tall about hero to goat.

Although when you think about it, Dave Petraeus has kind of skated with a lot of props on Iraq, when nothing was really solved and the situation there deteriorates, and Afghanistan, where the “surge” just flat did not work. Counterinsurgency tactics don’t work there. Nothing works there.

Then off to CIA to preside over it’s assumption of many things that previously would have required DoD involvement, like drone strinking American citizens (albeit radicals that I would gladly cap myself….so far).

And Benghazi, which although the CIA will take it’s lumps, I don’t think is fair to put on them.

Holy Crap. King David goes down hard!

The Great Florida Yardsign War

9 Nov

It was a sight to behold! All over my SWFlorida hometown, Romney Ryan signs abounded. The Obama Biden signs were few and far between, like pitiful weeds in a luxurious garden of flowers.
I heard famous Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan comment about the landscape of my state upon returning to New York from a trip to Sarasota. (Peggy’s like 86, so she was probably in Sarasota visiting her mother.)
Mitt could not lose, you must believe it if you see it with your own eyes!
Your own eyes! Your own lyin’ eyes.
You begin to understand how on Tuesday night as the clock struck 9, normally his bedtime, Mitt Romney was gut punched by the realization of the unthinkable.
Something he was assured could not happen.
He was going to lose!
He was going to lose, and he was going to lose big. Barack Obama was going to become a historical figure, not just the first black President, but a President who had endured great travail at home and abroad, who’d taken on odds of reelection that weren’t beaten since FDR. Who’d put up with unprecedented disrespect, unprecedented obstruction, in a time of historically bad economic headwinds. He was going to lose to a man that he judged to be his inferior in every way. A man who had less wealth, none of the right friends, a man that had one less degree from Harvard, a man who didn’t ever have a place on Lake Winnepefuckingsaukee? And he was one of those people.
How could that be? The signs, hadn’t they seen the signs?
Apparently not. Because while Romney Ryan set about to win the yard sign war, Barack Obama set about to win the election.
Mitt took the field with Babe Ruth’s glove and Honus Wagner’s worldview, directed an offense designed by Knute Rockne, and got his heinie waxed.
Hint from Heloise; you can go down to Home Depot and buy some spraypaint in a can that works on plastic. Clean your Romney Ryan sign with mild detergent, and after drying spray white. It’s then ready to use the Jumbo Sharpie on…

Yard Sale. Where you sell the tired old stuff that takes up space to people that don’t know better.

The National Debt and the Holographic Principle

9 Nov

In America partisan politicos have faux freakouts on Fox, but in Europe people are literally taking to the streets.

In America it’s the debt, the debt, the debt!

A quick bit of history for those of you with better weed than me, four years ago, about the time Barack Obama was elected, the Republicans discovered there was a national crisis of debt.

Not credit card debt, which had been balooning at an alarming rate during the Bush years, a debt to savings disparity in American households that had been unseen since the Great Depression, but Public Debt.

The debt level of households they cared about not a bit, in fact they opposed efforts to protect consumers from being lured in over their heads (did you know the check cashing places, where poor people pay fifty bucks to cash a three hundred dollar tax refund, are owned by hedge funds?) but the public debt, the money borrowed by our government, that was a huge problem, overiding all other considerations and needs.

They make their case by pointing out that you have to balance your checkbook, and so must the government, at least it does if they are not the ones controlling the federal firehose of funds, aiming the flow down the gullets of their already bloated benefactors.

These are the Republicans, so we know this is all bullshit, but we need to unpack it to really come to grips with the truth about the national debt. OK, so you need to balance your checkbook. This is true. We know this, If you don’t the bank will hammer you with fees before you even knew you were overdrawn. That only leaves…-and so does the government. Well no, actually as we all know, they don’t. If they spend more than they have, they just kick it down the road. We don’t have that option. We can borrow money to meet our debts, but we can’t just pay the interest whenever we choose. We always have principle that has to come due at some point. There’s an end to your mortgage, an end to your deal with Visa.

So when does the government’s mortgage come due? No one knows. How can this be? How can the government do this?

Confidence. We can’t borrow ad infinitum because of a lack of confidence. Sooner or later, consumers stop consuming, wage earners quit earning, the rules just don’t allow citizens to issue bonds. How does the government continue to borrow? Because investers have confidence in the nation, they buy into the future of the nation.

So in case you’re worried about the future of the nation, buck up, Nancy, United States Treasuries are still head and shoulders above all else. Our nation remains the gold standard in the most important aspect of global investment……

Trust. Messed up as things seem. Who do you trust, world?

Answer; the USeffingA.

In Part 2 an explanation of why we don’t have a big enough deficit, and how this relates to the Holographic Principle.

Three Days Out

9 Nov

Been watching Fox News for a couple of days to see how the results of the election settle in. Three days out they seem to have settled on an analysis of their political situation; They have Obama cornered, right where they want him. Caught between the fiscal cliff and another vote on the debt ceiling. They believe his only viable option as leader of the free world, recently reaffirmed by a majority of voters in an election that was widely discussed and participated in…is to accept and implement the policies of the guy whose ass he just kicked.

Speaking of Mitt’s ass being kicked, let’s all just pause and savor that image for a moment…..ah. that felt good!

Mitt, this is for that troubled kid in prep school you bullied, that kid who you got your friends to pin down, that kid whose hair you cut with a scissors while he pleaded for your mercy and compassion. You’ve had a lifetime to take ownership for that act, not only in private, but in public, like some of your friends did as they tried to cope with the guilt over that terrible act of bullying.

You’ve never addressed it, and you never will because deep down you are still the same prep school prick you were then.

So they’ve got the President right where they want him? I can see there are more asses that will need kicked in 2014. No problem. That job will get done.

So far the Republicans appear to have learned anything. So hear’s my prediction, more or less; they won’t, not now, maybe not ever.

They say California is always five years ahead of the rest of the country…………

……………and for all intents California has no funtioning Republican Party. They can’t elect a dog catcher, as the old saw goes. By the way, if you live in a community that has the dog catcher position on your ballot, message me, I’d love to hear about your town.

So the House of Representatives has an approval rating somewhere south of the Taliban and north of herpes, and they have the President cornered? Cry me a river. Speaker Boner, I’d suggest padding your ass for what’s to come.