Conjuring musings out of grief

Regular readers know my wife of 40 years died in January and that I am struggling to write again. All I can come up with these days is some fragments of thoughts on the news, so here goes. First, watching Rachel Madow trying to pin down a supporter of the Arizona immigration law on the blatant racism of members of his organization it occurred to me she missed a logical, unassailable argument against the cherished bigot’s belief that Latinos are stupid and will dummy down the average IQ because they are prolific breeders.

If you haven’t heard there is a just below the surface movement to assure that the United States is always dominated by so-called European- Americans, i.e. those white people who have proved how smart they are by using contraception to keep their families small. There is also the belief that goes robe and hood with this that because Latinos, particularly those hailing from Mexico, are working class, they are also lacking in intelligence.

You don’t have to go far back in our history to look at many other immigrant groups who came from the working class, farmers, shop keepers, laborers, even prisoners, and who had large families, and welcomed by the promise of the Statue of Liberty they came in great waves and they made America great.

Now to oil spills. I just read that there’s breaking news of another offshore oil rig overturning in the Gulf of Mexico’s coast U.S. waters. While this one apparently isn’t leaking President Obama has temporarily suspected new offshore oil drilling projects.According to Sam Stein (Huffington Post) Senator Bill Nelson (D, FL) says any bill that includes offshore drilling is “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

So, Sarah Palin groupies, what ever happened to “drill baby drill”?  I’m not the first to suggest that a better saying would be “spill, baby, spill”, in fact it seems to be all over the media. So to stretch my rhyming ability I’d say to all those who propose simple solutions to complex problems like the energy crisis, I’d say swill, baby, swill.

In the “ain’t there no justice in the world” department, here’s a New York Times story you may have missed. While there are rumblings that the Justice Department may actually bring criminal charges (you know, the kind that sent Bernie Madoff to prison) against corporate bigwigs in the financial industry, pity the former acting boss of the Luchese Mafia crime family.

Poor “Little Joe” DeFede did five years in prison and is now scraping by on an annual income for him and his wife of only $30,000 a year.

Does anyone believe any of this latest batch of financial criminals will suffer the fate of Madoff or Defede?

10 Responses to "Conjuring musings out of grief"

  1. woody188  April 30, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    You don’t have to go far back in our history to look at many other immigrant groups who came from the working class, farmers, shop keepers, laborers, even prisoners, and who had large families, and welcomed by the promise of the Statue of Liberty they came in great waves and they made America great.

    Assuming they entered via Ellis Island, they weren’t entering illegally, which is the difference. It’s not racism, it’s rule of law. Follow the rules or risk the consequences just like all us legal residents do everyday. The real question is, why do our politicians prefer people here illegally over the legal residents?

    Amazing co-incidence how those oil rigs just up and exploded and tipped over just after Obama opened the whole coast to energy exploration. I suppose that is on hold now? Maybe it was Arabs in a cave half way around the world.

    Ugh, I think if we all stop mentioning S.P. from Alaska that she might shut up and return there.

    I doubt anyone will go to jail for these financial crimes. They should throw the book at them.

  2. Bogofree  April 30, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Last week The Boston Herald highlighted over 400 newly minted citizens from quite a collection of countries including Mexico. They actually went through the process. Amazing! It can be done. The Arizona situation is representative of frustration with a federal government that has ignored this issue for decades. I don’t consider it racism but common sense.

    The recent oil rig disaster brings to mind all that shipping that was sunk during WW II. What happened to that oil?

  3. Hal Brown  May 1, 2010 at 6:19 am

    I didn’t write about the rule of law and the controversy about the Arizona legislation. I wrote about the underlying racism of some of those who support the law meant to crack down on those in the country illegally.

    Rachel Madow found examples of obvious racist statement by a few prominent members of a group fighting to keep the European – Americans the dominant political force here.

    I am not alleging that anywhere near the majority of those who support measures like the Arizona law have a hidden racist agenda. I am saying that some do, and the organizations who want the biggest tent possible for their cause are not disavowing their belief.

    A similar thing happened in my town when an Indian tribe wanted to build a casino here and a local group formed to oppose it. By far the anti-casino residents were against it for other reasons, but a very few wanted to keep the large number of working class families, many from the Far East, out of our town and schools.

    • Sherry  May 9, 2010 at 12:29 am

      Hal, I know it is popular to diss the drill baby drill crowd. Interesting that Goldman Sachs sold short on Gulf drilling one day before the disaster according to HuffPo.
      Yell all you want, but we can ill afford not to drill, baby drill. It would seem to me, that prior to drilling 50 miles offshore and a mile deep in the ocean, they would have the means to STOP a leak BEFORE drilling.
      Miner’s will continue to die in mining accidents. Some are preventable and some are not. We can’t stop mining.
      Green energy is great, but we are not there yet. Meanwhile, yell at the drillers all you like. We have to have them.
      As for the illegals, I am for enforcing the law. I don’t care if those illegals are from Europe, ME or Mexico.
      Are you aware the kidnap captial of the US is none other than Phoenix? The Mexican drug war has crossed our borders. An Arizona rancher was murdered on his own property by an illegal. It’s not about race, it’s about the law. The fed weren’t enforcing ti and AR had to do something. I don’t live there, but the majority of the population is in agreement.

  4. Sherry  May 9, 2010 at 12:31 am

    PS, how much would it take to have you stop giving ink to Sarah?
    As another poster noted, if you stop giving her ink, perhaps she will just go back to Alaska…..
    Just a thought. :)

  5. Bogofree  May 9, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I have a fund called GEX that is a “Green Fund” that specializes in alternative energy. All other funds I have had made substantial recoveries but this one has not. It has lost 53% and has shown no real signs of life. The reason is it is not profitable for alternative energy at this time but eventually it will be. Going “Green” sounds great but the reality is the technology is well behind the curve of other energy sources – for now.

    Sooner or later the non renewable resources will deplete and alternatives will be sought out and developed simply because of the profit motive driven by need. Until that time the reward out weighs the risk. We’ll have expanded drilling, increased coal fired plants (hello, China!), lax environmental controls and anything else necessary to maintain the flow of energy especially to expanding economies.

    On a personal note I have solar panels on my roof and have had them since 1982 and IMHO they do not justify the cost. Originally I wanted to install a windmill but the frustration of getting a clear statement from the Zoning Board and the expense made that an impossible path to follow. I had also looked into a heat pump but felt the technology was quite limited. Might be better today then almost 30 years ago. Specialized windows/doors for your house can easily set you back 15K. How many can actually afford to do that?

    • sherry  May 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm

      Bogo, regarding your solar panels. With power rates going up so much, they may pay for themselves sooner rather than later.
      Two questions if I may?
      What percentage of power does your solar power panels generate?
      Any problems with leaky roof due to the panels?
      I am considering a DIY version.
      My most recent estimate was 42K for a 1200 sf house. Hard to justify that since my power and gas alone is usually less than $100 a month.

      • Bogofree  May 9, 2010 at 9:21 pm

        Sherry ….I have a heating system that runs off hot water fired by gas. The panels were installed in 1982 for 5K and I have seen negligible changes in my costs over the years. My primary use for them is in the summer when I can shut down my hot water tank and run off my solar tank since in the summer heat is not needed. Problem is supply and temperature. Even in the summer the water temp is about 100 degrees and the temp will drop rapidly because of demand – dishwasher, clothes, baths. This is the first year without kids at home so maybe I’ll see some improvement? If I attempt to use the solar system in the fall-spring it just does not provide the needs for hot water let alone running the heating system. But, again, this technology is almost 30 years old.

        Every few years I get the system tuned for about $100. The panels are in great shape and the tank is fantastic. I have been through two water heaters since I had the solar tank.

        I have had no problems with roof leaks related to the panels.

        Seems like for you the return is not worth the expense unless you plan – like me – living to 356 years old and sucking every last dollar out of social security.

  6. Carl Nemo  May 10, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Hi Bogofree and Sherry,

    I thought I’d add my two sense concerning solar power. In nationwide studies it seems to make the most sense when it comes to “auxiliary heating” for heating household water, hot tubs, swimming pools etc., but not for the production of electricity without large outlays. So Bogo’s use is biased towards the most cost effective whereas generating your total electric needs are not. Whether you use sun, wind, or a local water fall on your land to generate the realtime source you still need to store the energy in battery banks, which require inverters for converting DC to AC, regulation, meters and keeping records along with the enjoyment for tinkering; ie., squirtin’ oil on the main-bearing so to speak. : )

    The secret to energy conservation and saving on the bottom line is super-insulating your home; ie., roof, walls and state of the art triple-glazed windows along with minimal air flow transfer between the inside and outside. This holds true whether in cold or hot climates. In theory if you insulate your home to such high levels you could heat your dwelling with a candle flame or cool it with block of ice in the summertime. The home should also have “airlock” type door entry systems where you do not gain entry by simply stepping through a swinging or sliding door, but through and entry room/porch area first. That’s why earth berm/underground houses with a southward exposure have minimal fluctuations in the mean temperature throughout the year.

    I thought I’d also supply you with a Point & Figure Chart of your GEX ETF Energy Trust.

    http://stockcharts.com/def/servlet/SC.pnf?c=GEX,P&listNum=

    These are my favorite charts because it takes all the market noise away from the instrument and shows a many year performance as a function of supply vs. demand of the issue. X’s represent demand with a diminished overhead supply while the O’s represent an oversupply of the stock with downard pressure on the price. The red lines represent overhead resistance to further price increases while the blue represents support for further declines. GEX’s downtrend has been synched with the late 2008 downdraft in the market linked to shenanigans in how mortgages were bundled and sold off to under-collateralized insurers such as AIG, FannieMae, GinnyMae et al.; ie., their ability to cover mortgage losses. The pattern shows a downtrend then into a trading range starting into the middle of 2009, but is still fighting overhead resistance and represents a downward triangle pattern which means more weakness in time. Although I’m not a financial adviser it seems this instrument will not recover to the levels at which you purchased it during the period of “irrational exuberance” exhibited prior the fourth quarter crash of ’08’. You should consider selling it and re-allocating the assets into a more favorable position. My favorite free charting service is http://www.StockCharts.com. It also offers excellent tutorials concerning market studies etc.

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Bogofree  May 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks, Carl….I am very familiar with stockcharts and GEX is one that went against the grain for me. When Sterns and Lehman’s both died I liquidated half of virtually all my positions but for some bizarre reason left GEX untouched and a select few untouched such as short funds and precious metals. As the markets rose I continued to buy back both tradition mutuals, ETFs and my favorite – bank and investment houses. Go with the bailout. My position in GEX is chump change so any loss just represents potential write offs.

    You are certainly correct on the solar units as it is really a secondary source for me. If I had installed that windmill back in ’82 the cost would have been 15K plus totally redoing my heating system. I probably would have attempted it but the cost factor and potential zoning issues scared me away.

Comments are closed.