Sunday, August 26, 2012

New guidance on Trop Storm Isaac from NHC this AM:

more later in the day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac today...
Will it affect the Republican Convention?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Today's look at Trop Storm Isaac...currently not scheduled to go hurricane status until Sunday/Monday time frame...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trop Storm Isaac has formed in the the Caribean, might wanna keep an eye on it for a week or so...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Might wanna keep an eye on this little Invest over the next few may or may not become a Trop Storm down the line...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pure Americana

      At the core of the manifold paradoxes swirling around American governance is the harsh reality that we just can't keep running our shit the way it has evolved to run. Neither candidate for president is honest enough to spell this out and indeed both act as though easy work-arounds exist for sustaining the unsustainable. 
     In the case of Mr. Obama, it's paying limitless TBTF ransom money to overgrown banks to avoid the constant threats of collapse that they whisper in his ear - essentially a hostage racket. A policy of managed contraction is probably the only way to avoid unmanaged and uncontrollable collapse, and would include dismantling all the TBTF banks, but Mr. Obama won't acknowledge the imperative of contraction and the difficulties it represents. So he stands by hoping that Fed Chair Bernanke will keep shoveling ZIRP privileges, "twist' ops, bail-outs, and bond buying interventions to the "primary dealers" - a line-up of flimflams so abstruse that all the Paul Krugmen-type economists who ever lived might puzzle over them around the clock until the end of time and never unravel their inner workings.
     Mr. Romney subscribes to a set of fantasies out of the Chamber of Commerce playbook that all the familiar activities of status quo wealth generation could easily continue via the marvelous invisible hands of unfettered corporatism, if only the deadweight of government restrictions and the squandering of borrowed public "money" were swept away. His choice of running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, is meant to embody all those notions -- but more than that appeal to the inchoate mob of Tea Partiers who want to get the gubment's hands off their goshdarn medicare. Anyway, the net effect of Mr. Romney's business fantasies are so inadequate to the contractive forces underway that they would amount to pissing up the massive rope of history in a hurricane of events.
     So, as the election race sets up for its terminal lap, expect a completely incoherent debate over the fate of the nation from a couple of characters who personify all the hapless contradictions of the public they will be pandering to. Romney's story appeals to me a little more in its strange psychological dimensions; Obama's role as a living, breathing wish-fulfillment of the liberal imagination is too obvious in comparison.
     First there is the issue of Mitt's family. His Dad, George Romney, was among many avatars of big business (it used to be called) in its post-WW2 heyday, as CEO of American Motors, the car company that was a clownish fourth to the "big three" of that day (GM, Ford, and Chrysler). American Motors produced joke cars for losers, foremost the Rambler, featuring seats that folded down flat with the implied use as a rolling bedroom. George Romney got himself elected governor of Michigan at a time when the state was so flush with revenue it would have been impossible to misgovern - though he set up the conditions for a later spectacular collapse into the ash-heap of broken dreams it represents today. He battled Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1968 and became a laughingstock by claiming he had been "brainwashed" by US officials and generals into supporting the Vietnam War on a visit there in 1967. It was an unfortunate remark, coming only a few years after the release of a popular movie called The Manchurian Candidate, about a Red Chinese plot to use brainwashed Americans to subvert a US presidential election. Game over for George.
      So, in this age of creeping dynastic ambition, of Kennedys, Bushes, Browns, here we have another case of a son reenacting the family ambition. You'd think the American public would be getting a little sick of this routine, that is, if we were really the independent and "exceptional" people we pretend to be. But, alas, here you just get the worst natural human tendencies to institutionalize social hierarchy amplified by the idiotic celebrity culture of mass-media, pointing to the conclusion that we supposed lovers of "freedom" and "liberty" crave domination by hereditary rulers. The cheekiness of it all by such "regular guy" phonies like Mitt would be enough to provoke a real political upheaval in a nation less medicated than ours.
     Then there is the question of Mitt Romney's so-called faith, the preposterous fairy tale called Mormonism. Nobody in the news business today really wants to state plainly what a laughable package of childish incongruities this belief system is - though Adam Gopnik came close recently via a scholarly disquisition in a recent New Yorker that left out most of the comedy - because it is a cardinal rule of our anemic culture that any and all belief systems are equally valid. But the story of Mormon "prophet" Joseph Smith is so rich with inane occult hustling that the Coen Brothers would be hard pressed to satirize it. Of course, it is the perfect religion for a man who now vehemently denounces the very same health care reform policy that he championed a few years ago as governor of Massachusetts.
      Anyway, bear in mind that, whatever else is going on out there right now in the three-ring circus of presidential politics, events are in the driver's seat, not personalities, and the seeming quiescence of things on the late summer scene is an illusion that will soon dissipate. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Up in Sherman...

That Old Martial Spirit

     A great orgasm shuddered through the money world last week when Mario Draghi paused between scamorza con arugula tidbits to remark that the European Central Bank (ECB) would stop at nothing to keep the financial blood of Europe circulating. Of course you wonder how many pony glasses of Campari he knocked back before that whopper came out. The markets squirmed with glee. I suppose it feels good to have quantities of smoke blown up your ass.
     This is the last month of the Great Pretending over on that lovely continent of exquisitely preserved towns and the corniche winding down to the crashing green sea, and the lunch table under the grape arbor... I mean, compared to, say, the universal slum vista of tilt-up, strip-mall America along the deafening highways, with the wig shops, tattoo dens, pawn shacks, dollar stores, parking lot swap-meets, and supersized citizens waddling through the greasy 100-degree heat of a new climate regime. When things blow, as you may be sure they will, at least the Europeans will sink amid all that loveliness while the American experience will be more like getting flushed down a toilet.
     The more you reflect on the Draghi remark, the more you wonder whether absolutely anyone out there is paying attention to the fact that there is no money backing up these pledges of continued bailouts. All the major banks of Europe are functionally insolvent and all of the nations that charter the banks are structurally insolvent, and the economies that depend on the circulation of funds around this Euro organism really cannot escape some sort of cascading collapse. The big unknown element of the story is how angry and batshit crazy the citizens of all these countries will get when summer ends. I don't believe they will fight each other just now, but it is very likely that the lampposts of all these lovely towns and cities will be decorated with swinging corpses of bankers, ministers, and a choice selection of politicians while a fight over the table scraps of a 30-year-long debt banquet occupies the folks in the streets.
      Over on this side of the Atlantic, the question arises: where are the good guys? Why is there not one national political figure in the USA who has a comfortable relationship with truth? Perhaps the elimination of truth in our banking and governing affairs is so complete now that there is no truth left to have a relationship with. Or perhaps no American person of integrity believes in the system enough to defend it. Which raises the corollary question: where are the brave persons who would oppose this baleful culture of lies, swindles, and rackets?
    I never tire of reminding readers that life is tragic. Individuals and groups in societies make bad choices or fail to meet a challenge that history presents. When persons fail, events take over and lead all persons where events will. Hence, events will take over the election clown show between an errand boy and a horse's ass. The distracted, degenerate public of tattooed soccer moms and men wearing baby clothes have no idea how quickly the supermarket shelves can go empty. The banking system is headed over Niagara Falls and it will take all our comforts and conveniences with it as it goes over. 
      Generally people prefer order over chaos, so don't be too surprised if some general in the Pentagon reluctantly decides that there is no choice but to step in and become the government. This would be an awful and momentous thing in our history, but it is exactly what we've asked for with our pornographic politics of lying, grifting, swindling, and racketeering. What I describe, of course, is the flip-side of martial law. Once civilians declare it, things have a tendency to get martial real fast - meaning that the feckless and hesitant civilians who allowed the situation to develop get swept out of the way in favor of anyone who can get something done. And what will have to get done in short order is the reorganization of a banking system to get money flowing again and the reopening of supply lines for food and medicine in particular.
     This is not an outcome I promote, you understand, but it is the scenario that a foolish people in a depraved nation are sleepwalking into. Take away the pizza pockets and the Pepsi and anything can happen. We may even live to see Mitch McConnell roasted on a spit in some Kentucky parking lot.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Tropics are heating up a little...

Florence may not make it, but Ernesto looks to be a Cat 1 hurricane by the time it reaches the Yucatan...just something to keep an eye on...