Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Left--$500 Oil

From Richard Fernandez


Events are unfolding, but they have not yet run their course; things are still continuing to cascade.  If the unrest spreads to the point where the Suez and regional oil fall into anti-Western hands, the consequences would be incalculable.  The scale of the left’s folly: their insistence on drilling moratoriums, opposition to nuclear power, support of  negotiations with dictators at all costs, calls for unilateral disarmament, addiction to debt and their barely disguised virulent anti-Semitism should be too manifest to deny.


Because it will hit them where it hurts, in the lifestyle they somehow thought came from some permanent Western prosperity that was beyond the power of their fecklessness to destroy. It will be interesting to see if anyone can fill up their cars with carbon credits when oil the tankers stop coming or when black gold is marked at $500 a barrel. It is even possible that within a relatively short time the only government left friendly to Washington in the Middle East may be Iraq. There is some irony in that, but it is unlikely to be appreciated.

The Left is always correct and when it is not, they will simply rewrite history. “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” As the former Eastern Europeans  said when they read Orwell, “how did he know? How did he know?”



Saturday, January 29, 2011

What is that Internet Thingy?


Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric 1994

Uprising in Egypt

From Gloria Center

There is no good policy for the United States regarding the uprising in Egypt but the Obama Administration may be adopting something close to the worst option. This is its first real international crisis. And it seems to be adopting a policy that, while somewhat balanced, is pushing the Egyptian regime out of power. The situation could not be more dangerous and might be the biggest disaster for the region and Western interests since the Iranian revolution three decades ago.

Experts and news media seem to be overwhelmingly optimistic, just as they generally were in Iran's case. Wishful thinking is to some extent replacing serious analysis. Indeed, the alternative outcome is barely presented: This could lead to an Islamist Egypt, if not now in several years.
My wife is Cuban and I compared Egypt to Cuba. Cubans did not like Batista and got Castro. Egypt does not like Mubarak and will get the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama failed to support the recent demonstrations  in Iran,  the democratic take over in Honduras and this may prove to be his biggest failure in his current presidency, the fall of Mubarak.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Life Gets Better

I remember talking to my mentor in AA long ago. I told him I don't know how life can get better.

Financially, technology wise, and my new girlfriend, who later became my wife, I just thought my life could never be this good.

Through listening to Dennis Prager about happiness, I have worked at being a happier person. Dennis says that it's the happy that make the world a better place. And I believe in my Dennis. I have become a happier person, and I hope to become happier the more I exercise those happy muscles. I like smiling.

Yesterday, in my wanderings through LA, of course when you see people, 99.99% are not smiling. Many are just in their everyday mode, and we don't walk around with a smile on our face. I guess we'd all look like a bunch of idiots. But on a fair number of people, when I looked at their faces, I could see a lot of sadness.

The easiest way to be happy is through gratitude. So what is there to be thankful for? Most everything. The mundane like the concrete sidewalk I walk on, the beautiful flowers that adorn my path, to that great ball in the sky that makes all life possible. Everything around me is something to be thankful for.

The line between wealth and poverty is a fine line. From being in debt to being debt free. I am completely debt free, and I learn skills that teaches me that it is not spending money that will make me happy. It's almost as if those in debt have an attitude of screw it, I already owe so much money, it won't matter if I spend money on an expensive meal. Whereas being debt free, I realize my money is my own, and I have the power to choose how I spend my dollars, or if I even want to spend dollars.


When I think about the rich, greed is the farthest thing from their minds. Most rich people's greatest desire is to make the world a better place for their fellow man. Would I want to go into a restaurant and eat and be the only one, while everyone else is on the street begging for scraps? Or would I like everyone else to be in the restaurant enjoying good food and drink along with me?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Los Angeles

Ayn Rand--"The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendour that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach".

I thought of Ayn Rand's quote today as I strolled through Los Angeles. What a wonderful town. Hands down, my favorite street is Broadway. What must it have been like in its heyday. Pictures you will see of different auditoriums are all on Broadway. Broadway is like Disneyland, except you don't have to pay $75 to get in. You have people that keep the sidewalks clean, and the sidewalks are wide (I think 18'). There's so much to see and do, and overall, if it's daytime, it's safe.

I enjoy riding my bike and saying hi to people. Some are indifferent, others light up. It might be a small connection, but even so, it brings me joy, and I hope I bring joy. In the video, you'll get to meet Steve, my new friend. A heroin addict for 38 years, who now teaches kids about living a life without drugs.

A woman speaking only Spanish asked me for directions. I actually helped her out. Not only did I know where she wanted to go, I was able to explain to her in her native language.

Along with LA's theatre district, garment district, and jewelry district, LA also has a homeless district. Some of these homeless are so out there, they're feral. I saw one old man with nothing but tattered clothes. I don't know how his sox even held together. I thought about buying him some socks. And then I wondered, if he gets these new socks, how long would it be before he's robbed. I can't imagine how difficult life must be for this old man.

And then I thought, wouldn't is be nice if I could take just one homeless person out to lunch, maybe give him a few bucks? Just to talk to him/her and spend a short time with him.

How about this for a great reality show: An average joe talks to a homeless person, brings him home, let's him take a nice warm bath, buys him clothes, a hot meal, and let's him spend the night. No judgment, just give this person one night of bliss. Get to know him. And have different people around the country do this, let it get edited and make a reality show. And then follow-up on the person in a year. And some of the proceeds from the show given to help the homeless.

I don't know what it is, but I love Los Angeles. I love the food, the people, the whole vibe. It makes me come alive.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How To Quit Golf--Will Robins

Brene Brown--Vulnerability

Brene Brown speaking at TED about the power of vulnerability

Mish Shedlock--Vallejo Bankruptcy

Unsecured creditors will receive 5 cents to 20 cents on the dollar for their claims under a reorganization plan Vallejo, Calif., filed Tuesday in federal court.

The plan to exit bankruptcy outlines the reorganization of debt the city owes its largest creditors, Union Bank and National Public Finance Guarantee. It also sets aside a pool of $6 million to pay unsecured creditors about 5% to 20% of their claims over two years, according to court documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District in Sacramento.

“The city regrets that it cannot pay a higher percentage,” Vallejo officials said in the court filings. “The city lacks the revenues to do so while maintaining an adequate level of municipal services, such as the provision of fire and police protection and the repairing of the city’s streets.”


For more--And there's a whole lot more

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ugly Living Forever

From BBC


Dr Sandberg believes we could be living on hard drives along with our digital possessions in the not too distant future, which would allow us to shed the trouble of owning a body.

The concept is called "mind uploading", and it suggests that when our bodies age and begin to fail like a worn or snapped record, we may be able to continue living consciously inside a computer as our own virtual substitutes.

"It's the idea that we can copy or transfer the information inside the brain into a form that can be run on the computer," said Dr Sandberg.

He added: "That would mean that your consciousness or a combination of that would continue in the computer."

Dr Sandberg says although it's just a theory now, researchers and engineers are working on super computers that could one day handle a map of all the networks of neurons and synapses in our brains - and that map could produce human consciousness outside of the body.

He says if a complete map of our brains was uploaded to a computer and a conscious, digital replica of ourselves was created, we could, in theory, continue to live forever on a hard drive along with our MP3s and e-books.

When asked, Mr Yurista says mind uploading sounds like a very hard concept to grasp but admits getting rid of one's body and living inside a computer "truly sounds like the ultimate form of minimalism"


Friday, January 14, 2011

Michael and Perry

On Watching Commercials

I was at my father in laws house watching the LA Dodgers. After watching so many commercials, I felt kind of dirty and depressed. I hadn't seen so many commercials in one sitting in a long time.


At our house we have Tivo. With Tivo as most know, you record the programs you want to watch and then as you're watching the program, you can bypass the commercials. We've been doing this for so long, it has become second nature. Also, we don't get a newspaper, we get our news from the internet. Again, bypassing most commercials or advertisements.


In a time where media is clamoring for attention, technology is allowing us to be free of looking. I like that. Except the Super Bowl, that's usually more fun looking at the commercials than watching the game.

Get Ready For Lots Of Housing


2010 saw a record number of bank repossessions, over a million, even with a big drop in volume toward the end of the year, thanks to the robo-signing scandal and ensuing foreclosure freezes.

"Early indications in January were that this robo-signing related delay will be over by the end of first quarter if not sooner," says RealtyTrac's Rick Sharga. "I think we're going to see a significant spike in foreclosure activity early in 2011, and that will contribute in part to 2011 being a record year."

Sharga estimates as many as a quarter of a million foreclosures that should have happened in 2010 will now be pushed into the 2011 numbers, and added to an already huge supply of bank owned properties. The four biggest banks already have close to $7 billion worth of foreclosed properties (REO) on their books, and Fannie and Freddie have about $24 billion collectively. While REO sales make up about one third of all sales in the current market, there is an estimated 3 year supply.


Former LA Mayor Richard Riordan

This is from ReasonTV

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What I Believe--The MSM

The big media, main stream media, i.e. NBC, CBS, ABC, New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post and all their ilk, have a leftest agenda.


They do not care for America or the constitution of the United States. You get that? They do not care about America or its most famous document.


There is something evil and insidious about this movement. We need to be vigilant. This is no small matter. This is not political posturing.


Truth is upside down. What's good is bad, what's up is down. Read George Orwell "1984".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pachelbel--Canon In D Major

Craigslist--A Cool Little Secret

I love Craigslist. I've used it to advertise my business, to get rid of stuff I don't use, and to buy what I want. Here's something that I just found out I could do.


Let's say that I'm looking for a motorized bicycle, but I'm not happy with the current selection or there is no selection. At the bottom right of the page is an icon that I can click on so that whenever someone posts in Craigslist what I'm looking for, it will go to my reader. If you don't know what a reader is, go to Google and search for reader. I have Google reader and it's one of the best services I enjoy on the internet.


Here's another little secret: Click on the Icon to let you know when anyone posts something "free" in Craigslist. You'll get a lot of hits everyday, but there just might be that one gem that makes it worthwhile looking through all that free stuff. Plus they tell you their location, so you can judge whether it's even worth the trip.

Travel World, Don't Stay In Hotel


What a great website. This is what makes the internet so fantastic.

Best Drink In The World

My father-in-law supplies the guava and oranges from his yard. Costco, the bananas and strawberries. That's all there is to one of the most healthy, refreshing great tasting drinks in the world.

Miguelito's recipe: Oranges, guava, banana and strawberries. Place in blender for 49.37 seconds. Not any longer, you will burn the drink with the blades of the blender--too short and Miguelito's deliciousness does not properly arouse the tongue's taste buds.

A Special Place In Heaven

Christina Taylor Green, the youngest victim of Saturday's shootings, was born on Sept. 11, 2001 - a date of bloodshed that shaped her tragically brief life, the girl's heartbroken mother said Sunday morning.

"It [9/11] was very, very special to her," weeping mom Roxanna Green told Fox News in a phone interview, less than 24 hours after her 9-year-old daughter was slain....

More from Wizbang


I wish I could have taken the bullet for this precious little girl. If I feel this way, I'm sure most of the country does too. I'm so sorry sweet girl, and to her parents I'm deeply sorry.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Media Double Standard

This is an important read clearly showing the MSMs double standard when it comes to reporting the news.


From Newsbusters:


The colossal double standard revealed in the past 24 hours at CNN is a microcosm of the larger media reaction to the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords yesterday. In short, the reporters jumping at the chance to use the shooting to score points against conservatives

Read more:

Traffic Tickets In California

This was a traffic ticket I recently received. Speeding and running a red light. Of course everyone who gets a ticket is innocent, and I'm  no exception.

But honestly folks, this was a bogus ticket. I won't go into detail, but I was so upset, that I set this for trial. And to set this for trial, doesn't mean just sending in the bail money. I had to drive all the way to the courthouse, wait in line, then drive all the way back home. It took 4 hours.

I showed up for my court date, and there were literally over a hundred people fighting their tickets. The cops filled the jury box, and were lined along the wall.

My name was called, "here". Then the officer's name was called--no answer. Case dismissed.

Here's what I think is happening, and tell me if this fits your observation: A lot more traffic stops are taking place.

And you're not being let off with a friendly warning, a ticket will be written. But take it to court. First, you have nothing to lose, secondly, cops aren't allowed all this overtime, so many are not showing up for these traffic ticket court trials.

It used to be the economic cycle was that we produce, and then consume. Now the economic cycle is get bullshit tickets, fund the police jobs and  their retirements. They're fearful of losing their cushy retirements, look more for frivolous tickets in the future. It's certainly not about "Protect and Serve" but let's strong arm Joe Hardworking Citizen.

BTW, the fine for my ticket was over $500. And then I received a letter from the courthouse telling me to disregard the fine-- prices were going up.

Los Angeles Metro

I enjoy hopping on the LA Metro and just going. Where, I don't know. But it's fun to see the sights, hear the sounds and taste the foods. LA really is a great city. An all day boarding pass is $6. That includes all the trains and buses in the LA area. You can't beat that price.

Yesterday, I started at the Norwalk station, just off the 605 freeway. Parking is free. From there I took the metro to the Pico station. I wanted to walk around the Convention Center and Staples Center, they're adjacent to each other.

Then I walked down Pico to the garment district. It's a bit unusual in that while I'm walking on Pico, I'm the only one around that is walking. Then once I cross this one street, in which I now enter the garment district, it suddenly becomes bustling with thousands of people.

In the garment district I walk down Santee Alley. Think Avenue De Revolution in Tijuana on steroids.

From there, I strolled down Broadway, through the Jewelry District, hop back on the metro to Union station. Union station is an interesting stop. The subway lets you off underground. Then go up one flight of stairs and there seems to be literally a hundred different portals taking you to different destinations. But go one more flight of stairs, and you reach the Gold line, which again gives you a completely different view. It's hard to believe in one minute I'm completely underground, the next I'm where all the trains go, and then I'm on the Gold line looking out over the city. The Gold line metro will take you to East LA in one direction, and Pasadena the other.

So I'm at the Gold rail station waiting for the subway. Which way will I go? Depends who comes first. That's the fun of taking the subway, having no plans and just letting the day unfold as you choose. The subway that came first was bound for Pasadena. I asked what would be the best stop to see the sights. I was told "Memorial Park station". Perfect. I got off, walked to Colorado Ave, and in a few minutes I'm walking Old Town Pasadena.

From there, I got back on and went to East LA. I got off at Mariachi Square. I heard that the mariachis are hanging out waiting for gigs. Sure enough, as I exit the station, there's a bunch of mariachis in their garb hanging around.

Getting a bit tired, I hopped back on the metro, stopping at Macy's for some Chinese food. Time to go home. But I got to talking with one passenger and missed my stop. I told him, "See, because you were talking to me, I missed my stop". He said, "Don't go blaming you missing your stop on me".

It was a good day.

Magic Moment

Magic moment--I had one last night.

Have you ever heard of the song "Magic Moments" by Perry Como? It's a happy song. If you want to be happy, listen to this song.


Why can't music by happy these days?  Because being happy is not cool, one has to have angst. Angst is to have an intense feeling of oppression, anxiety and inner turmoil. Because one lives in a nice home, has a nice car, good friends and school, it is normal to experience angst while growing up. I mean, who wouldn't have angst when one compares oneself to those living in third world countries?


Kurt Cobain seemed to capture this angst in his music. No longer is music used to uplift the human spirit, but because we're now real, getting in touch with ourselves, we see how messed up the world is, and now our job is to be filled with angst. And of course, we have lovely rap music--"Today was a good day, didn't have to use my AK"--how sweet.


Last night my wife, her friend and I are walking around downtown Brea, enjoying each other's company. As we're walking, my wife and her friend are in front of me. There is this cute little girl in the store looking out. The clothing store is colossus with its floor to ceiling windows, the little girl is almost as a doll looking out.  My wife sees her, smiles and waves. Then as I pass by, she makes eye contact with me, smiles, then raises her hand to say "hi". I wave too, as I returned a heartfelt smile to this beautiful little girl.


That was my magic moment.



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dennis Prager: Home Of The Brave?

Below is a post about safety/risk. I confess, I've become more risk averse as time has passed. I remember when Sports Bars first became popular. I thought "I can't go there, I don't want to play sports, I just want a beer".

I also remember a State of the Union Address by Bill Clinton. I was amazed at how often he mentioned being safe and government's role was the safety of each person.

Below, Dennis Prager poignantly discusses what has happened to our country as the years have passed:

I have a sad confession to make. Whenever I hear or sing the national anthem, I no longer fully believe its ending -- "o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." We have many freedom-loving and brave Americans -- just think of those in the armed forces. But overall, risk has been banned as Americans seek to be immunized against pain.

Needless to say, the liberal Philadelphia Inquirer supported the decision to cancel the football game. And so did some of my callers who think of themselves as conservative. But all those self-identified conservative callers who supported the decision were, I noted on air, under the age of 40.

I explained to them that they have grown up in a different America than I did. The idea of telling an American that a pro football game is canceled because he might drive in bad weather strikes a conservative over 40 as demeaning. But the young have been raised without monkey bars, dodge ball or seesaws, lest they fall and hurt themselves; without "Merry Christmas," lest it offend; protected by parents and schools from experiencing the pain of a loss in sports; being told they are wonderful when they are not; and otherwise weakening them to the point where it seems perfectly natural to cancel a football game because fans may drive in bad weather.

For more:


Weight Loss Tip To Die For

As we drove away, I could see one spiney young man chase after us.  He was unique, because he was on all fours and moved like a spider.  It was as if he was determined to leap on the roof of our car and extract one last coin from my wallet.  His look was of great determination, but he couldn’t keep up so I dropped some coins out the window.  The car’s rear wheels scrambled up a dirt cloud and that’s the last I saw of him.  But, I was wrong.  I see him always.


More from Financial Samurai

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Obamacare Ends Construction

Under the headline, "Construction Stops at Physician Hospitals," Politico reports today that "Physician Hospitals of America says that construction had to stop at 45 hospitals nationwide or they would not be able to bill Medicare for treatments." Stopping construction at doctor-owned hospitals might not seem like the best way to boost the economy or to promote greater access and choice in health care, but that exactly what Obamacare is doing.

For more: