19 January, 2006

Confederate Hero's Day

Today, if anyone asks you about "Chocolate City" or you hear some bleating "Urban" noise sold as music, smile at them and wish them a happy Confederate Hero's Day, and you hope their supper has them raising their glass in honor of birthday General Robert E. Lee- his one hundredth and ninety-ninth birthday today.


08 January, 2006

"But how are we going to change Mexico if we don't vote?"

Jan 5, 1:32 PM EST

Few Mexicans in U.S. Seek Absentee Ballots

Associated Press Writer

LYNWOOD, Calif. (AP) -- Luis del Angel Garcia perks up as the first person in an hour approaches his information booth to ask about voting in the Mexican presidential election in July.

But like millions of other Mexican citizens living in the United States, the man has no voter card and cannot return to Mexico to get one because he is in this country illegally. And without the card, he cannot apply for an absentee ballot.

That dynamic threatens to undermine the first-ever attempt by Mexico to let expatriates vote.

With a Jan. 15 deadline to apply for absentee ballots looming, just over 10,500 Mexicans in the United States - about two-tenths of 1 percent of those eligible - have filed the necessary paperwork.
I have a suggestion Mr. Garcia, return to Mexico and work on fixing your country in your country, as an absentee ballot will not help. If you are unsure where to attempt re-entry into your country, then I suggest that you try looking here and pick a spot to cross back over.

Others may have additional suggesstions...


05 January, 2006

"To my knowledge, it is the largest derivatives loss in history."

Barrick Gold, which is scheduled to become the largest gold mining company in the world by virtue of its merger with Placer Dome. On December 30, that merger was not consummated, so the figures I will discuss apply to Barrick without Placer, although also being a hedger, the addition of Placer to Barrick will only increase the numbers I quote.

Barrick Gold is the largest gold hedger in the world, holding a short hedge position of almost 13 million ounces. In the last quarter alone, because the price of gold increased by roughly $43, Barrick should record a mark-to-market loss of $560 million on its gold short hedge. The loss for the year and half-year comes to a cool billion dollars. This should increase the total outstanding loss on Barrick hedge book to just shy of $3 billion. With Placer added in, the loss has to be greater than $4 billion.

The almost $3 billion open gold loss on Barrick?s books is greater than their cumulative total profits for the entire existence of the company. To my knowledge, it is the largest derivatives loss in history. I ask you to think about that for a moment. The world was atwitter with the recent $200 million copper loss by China, as well as the $500 million oil loss and bankruptcy by China Aviation Fuel (Singapore) last year. Barrick is set to report a $560 million gold hedge loss for the quarter, $1 billion for six months and almost $3 billion in total, and the financial world looks the other way.

According to Yahoo, of the 20 analysts covering Barrick, 18 rate it as a hold, buy or strong buy and 2 as a sell (there were no strong sale ratings). This, for a company that is holding the largest open trading loss in history. Why is that?
Why indeed is that...


04 January, 2006

Mr. Sharkey went and took some pictures this past weekend.

Click on the image for the full size version.


"What have these people been smoking?"

Price Deflation: A Great Idea With Low Probability
by Gary North

The debate between those who predict price deflation and those who predict price inflation are debating over two closely related issues:
  1. The likelihood of rising U.S. Federal debt to continue to rise;
  2. The ability of the Federal Reserve System to continue to purchase as much of this rising debt as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decides is appropriate.
The debate is basically over the debt clock vs. the money supply statistics.

Some deflationists might argue that the debt question is much broader than Federal debt. It also includes private debt. In response, the inflationist argues that the source of the debt is irrelevant for monetary policy, since the FED can legally monetize any asset, including privately issued debt.

In the 30-year debate between those forecasters predicting more price inflation (99.99%) and those predicting price deflation (0.01%), three facts stand out:
  1. The deflationists have been incorrect every year.
  2. There is still a tiny niche market for newsletters predicting deflation, and approximately three editors have gotten rich by staking out this market.
  3. Those few subscribers who have actually invested for 30 years in terms of deflation have lost most of their wealth.
This niche newsletter market will continue. There is always a market for newsletters predicting the opposite of what most experts predict. Those same three editors will continue to live well and prosper until either death or Alzheimer's brings their publishing careers to a close.
Now, do you not feel screwed?


02 January, 2006

13 things that do not make sense

They list just thirteen, I could add many more, and I am sure you could as well- so how about it?

Give me "13 things that do not make sense," and I will post the best.