Archive for August, 2008

Some Scenery and Still a Beard

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2008 by a4synapse

If you’d like to get very depressed, slide on over to the Washington Post and their story on oil market speculators and their relationships with the nice folks who regulate markets here in the United States <a href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/20/AR2008082003898.html?hpid=topnews”>Washington Post<a/> Bear with me, this linking gizmo is still giving me fits. Then, when you’re lower than a snake’s belly, mosey on over to this: <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/21/opinion/21press.html”>New York Times</a>

There is a lot of money sloshing around the globe. Some of it is invested in enterprises designed to create a product/service/necessity (which generally means jobs/taxes). Some of it is sitting in investment funds which are chasing returns. I’d like to know if anyone truly has an idea of where the funds in this world are sitting and what uses it’s being put to (apologies to my English teachers). Much is said about lowering taxes on persons who supposedly do the prior thing with their funds because that makes life better for the non-investing class. Money that is chasing a return eventually benefits pensioners and university endowments…

The best headline I’ve seen this morning: “Positive Attitude Improves The Brian”.  I wonder what his wife is thinking.

Back to all the sloshing money… and I risk ‘simplistic’ here: tax cuts on persons earning more than $200,000 per annum led to more money in the hands of fewer persons who absolutely must have at least 8% per annum return on all that money which means there is too much money chasing too few returns.  Since the money is chasing the return, it is distorting markets (mostly comodities, currencies).  In the first story regarding oil futures, U.S. Government Regulators removed controls on these markets and relaxed oversight.  Next on the menu – runaway trading leads to oil at $147 per barrel (oil up, dollar down).  The non-investing class pays a higher percentage of its income for oil (and downmarket for food).  The investing class sees a higher return on its money.  It makes perfect sense.

No Scenery and a Beard

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2008 by a4synapse

Or was that a bard?  Bards and scenery go together.

Cheye Calvo, mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland (pop. 3,000) <a href=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/08/AR2008080802690.html”>Washington Post<a/>

arrived home (his mother-in-law was already at home), picked up the package that was on the front porch and placed it on a table in the his front hall.  His mother-in-law had told the deliveryperson to leave it there.  He goes upstairs to change his clothes for an event and while he’s in his shorts, he hears his mother-in-law scream, and then his front door is broken down, someone shoots his two black labs, comes up his stairs and drags him downstairs in his shorts and socks, handcuffs him and interrogates him and his mother-in-law near the bodies of his dogs.

Apparently, a dog in Arizona had identified the package as containing marijuana, so the Police Chief of Prince George’s County (Melvin C. High) elected to have the 32 lb. package complete its trip to the mayor’s doorstep (it was addressed to his wife).  He then assembled a SWAT team, deliberately did not inform the town constabulary, and had an agent bring the package to the door, where the aforemented mother-in-law told him to leave it.  They then watched the mayor (they did not know he was the mayor, and apparently never thought to find out anything pertinent about the target of their raid) take the package inside.  Then a group of armed men approached the house (were spotted by the mother-in-law) who screamed, which to these armed police-types meant that there would be an armed response from the house.  So they broke down the door (they thought they had a no-knock warrant), ran inside the house, shot the dogs and handcuffed the occupants.

The FBI is reviewing the raid.  High has told Calvo that he and his family have been cleared of any and all charges and expressed regret for the way events transpired, but did not apologize.

The police department has also said that it did not have a ‘no-knock’ warrant.  Sheriff Michael Jackson says he has not seen any evidence of wrongdoing by his department and is upset that Mayor Calvo has asked for and received an FBI review.

‘Jackson also expressed dismay at the civil rights review. “I’ve been here 19 years, and this agency has been in existence since 1696. The Office of the Sheriff of Prince George’s County has never been under a civil rights review or no one has ever called for the Department of Justice to come in,” he said. “There is no reason, there has been no reason, and as long as I’m here there will not be a reason for it.”‘

What has me really curious is that this was a minor story in the Post.  I saw it on CNN, and I think in one other place.

Words really fail me on this one.  An innocent person, going about his lawful business is assaulted in his home, after some utterly deficient police-work, lethal force is used (unjustified doesn’t begin to describe it), and the gentleman in charge sees no evidence of wrongdoing in his department, and won’t even apologize.  To me, the entire country should be just freaking out here, and there’s barely been a whisper.  I am mystified.  Maybe it’s because there was no video.

It’s August

Posted in Uncategorized on August 7, 2008 by a4synapse

Dogs make non-negotiable demands, even though they’re nice about it.  The best is that they must go out as soon as you’ve gotten conscious and clothed and before you get unconscious and in your jammies.  Tom and Sally (their names have been changed to protect the innocent) need to run; none of this just out the backdoor stuff; you’re looking at a half mile minimum and the weather be damned.  In fact, the cooler and wetter the better.  So a small, self-selected community rolls out the door at 7 AM, to peruse the wafting odors of the day.  In August, it’s piercingly clear that the dawn is creeping backwards and the shift is presaged by the grasshoppers that fly (name?) that are jumping out of the way all over the place.  A dog’s focus of interest is a doorway to a different reality.  Here, I suspect a coyote has left a small present: they’re both intensely interested, and there: a rabbit passes by regularly, but not in a while.  And now it’s time to beat you up, and nip you in the tender places.  I’m listening to birds this morning.  Juvenile blue jays are screeching to one another (they run around in gangs).  Goldfinches are doing the goldfinch mating/domesticity thing since they breed in August.  Chipping sparrows are running around in the short grass and gravel doing something that sounds a little like a chain running through a narrow opening.

I suspect markets will rise today in some barren echo of olympic enthusiasm (barring political unrest and/or a storm in a sensitive region).  As George H. W. Bush said (I think): ‘There’s something about August.’  I usually think of August and February in the same thought-park.  They are two months past the solstice and are on the trailing edge of change, but when I really begin to feel it.  August sends me into a panic.

On the other hand, the racing is lovely.  Babies and veterans at the Spa and Del Mar.  Aahhh.