Friday brought news that GDP only fell 1% in the second quarter, better than the never wrong estimates of -1.5%. Naturally this was seen as just aces, and all was rosy and fine. Zero Hedge has the best take down on the whole thing, and I would point you there. Final summation excerpt:
"..It is a sorry state where the only thing that is propping the world's greatest economy are promises of improvement and confidence games via the traditional media, with hopes of propping up a stock market which has long since ceased to be an indication of economic reality. The convergence between the S&P and the underlying fundamentals is, unfortunately for the administration, inevitable, especially since the government has now single-handedly taken over a key portion of major GDP output industries. Numerous empirical studies, especially from communist block countries, demonstrate just how "effective" the government is, when it decides to get directly involved in running a substantial portion of the economy."
Clunker Cash Really Annoys Me
I thought I was about as disgusted as possible when the whole "mortgage modification" process started up. That level of sickness may have been surpassed by the "Cash for Clunkers" program which for some reason has really irked me to no end. A few random thoughts on this program:
-How desperate is the US government to be seen as doing something to help the economy? I mean in an hour they pass a 2 page proposal to restock the program after funding was projected to run out.
-How many cars and buyers really qualify for this? The $4500 is only good if your car is worth less than that, as you get no additional trade in value?
-A side angle I have not seen covered is that seeing that the government is behind this program 100% it is quite probable that banks will rush to make these car loans. Why do you ask? Because when anywhere from 10-30% of these car loans go bad the banks that made them can get the US government to pay them full price because it was their idea in the first place! Think of it as a pre-existing backstop.
Further reading on this topic can be found;
The Automatic Earth
"Its a good idea, but it's wrong"
Mish Shedlock win the "headline of truth award" with:
Free Money Runs Out, Congress Authorizes More
Saturday Night Entertainment
Some items for your amusement for the weekend.
Recently at a lunch meeting with a good friend of this blogger, I was asked what I would like to do with my life, career, etc. While I imagine I will work in biotech for some time, I was really unprepared for the question. Since then I have tried to think about that more.
I love science, but I have been doing it for some time. I am somewhat limited on the upside because i would need higher degrees to get much further in my field, and I have zero interest in going to school again.
I think being an analyst for stock and market research would be great fun. I would be perfectly suited for pharmaceutical/biotech analysis. My attachment and study of the precious metals may be a good area too. I would never want to manage other people's money however! I am quite good enough at losing my own, no need to help others lose theirs!
When I think about it being a writer would be great. A have a story I have wanted to write since I was in 4th or 5th grade after I drew a sketch of a design I had thought up. The sketch is long lost, but the idea behind it is very wild (to me) and over time I have thought up a whole story around it. It has always been called "the device" in my mind. Life is so busy, I never get to follow through.
Anyways, at the concert last night I was struck by how moved I was by live music. I have not seen a live show in over 8 years! While I was listening to the music, the following words just popped into my head and I wanted to get them down someplace before I forget them. Please bear with my as I submit for your critique a small writing sample:
The detail that struck out to me was how very different the drums sound in an open air arena. The sound cannot be matched through the channels of vinyl, tape, CD, or ipod. With every beat the drums came to life, a life of their own. Pumped through mega watt amplifiers, the stretched skin percussion pieces called out a sharp and declarative tone. I closed my eyes and could almost hear an undertow of joy as the drums were set loose upon the air, no longer muted and silenced by a recording that was played back. I even could sense a twinge of anger, anger at being restrained and having their message filtered. No, the drums were awake tonight, and they had plenty to say.
No longer just a sound on a track, the guitar is a muse that must be handled to produce magic. I could hear the hands of the player moving over the neck, I could hear the fingers tapping the frets. Touch a guitar just right, and it may respond with affection. And Respond it did. As each chord was played and sent aloft, it was as if the notes themselves wanted to stay and hear more. I looked skyward and for a moment I could see the aura of the chords as they floated up, but not out. The formed a sort of tapestry for the sounds played just moments before. It seemed as if they wanted an encore unto themselves. I clapped even harder to try and lend them some support.
Remember to be nice, I am very sensitive! And no I was not on any illegal substances!
An extended music section is now in order.
Here is the very song that inspired the written section above. Enjoy Depeche Mode and Personal Jesus:
Loyal reader Watchtower requested a song by Queen, Under Pressure, and even provided a link to a wonderful live performance of said song. Only truly great bands/performers can boast that their live shows are as good as or better than the studio albums. Queen, led by Freddie Mercury, clearly makes the cut. Makes my job easy, enjoy:
From the department of "I had no idea who sings this" I love the song Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot but I had no idea who the performer was:
I have featured Bett Midler's classic tune The Rose here before, but I did find a live performance of it that is no less moving and beautiful:
Another band I have seen live and can vouch for their great skill is Radiohead. Please enjoy a live version of Karma Police Super Sweet!:
You may have noticed the all live version theme, lets keep it up with L.A. Guns and Over the Edge, as song I have very recently begun to love:
I will close the show with one of the greatest live show bands ever, Iron Maiden. Few crowd energies can match a Maiden show. They will usually open with Aces High, and so we will close with their open:
Have a good night.