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2009 October 17 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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This And That

In addition to taking care of all the standard chores associated with cold snaps down here [lows in the 40s aren’t normal this time of year, and tonight and tomorrow will probably be records], watching Rick go nuts in the Pacific near Baja, and the fires down under in XXXX/Oz/Australia, I have been watching the fantasy world that constitutes media reporting on financial issues.

The big news this past week was the Dow going above 10K – big damn deal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an artifice supposedly based on the stock price of 30 widely held stocks. Only one of those 30 companies has been part of the Average since it was started, General Electric. The other 29 have been rotated at the whim of Dow Jones Inc., now part of Rupert Murdock Inc., and is now being shopped around so Rupert can get some cash flow.

When Alcoa and Intel, both current members of the “club”, reported seemingly good news, the number went up, and when BofA, also part of the clique, reported bad news, it went down. This says nothing about the actual health of the economy, only the stock prices of thirty companies. Most people who supposedly own stock, are actually invested through mutual funds. If stock prices move up too quickly, a lot of people who held on, rather than cashing out their 401(k)s, will drop stocks like a hot rock.

As Badtux explained at his place, the current “wunderkind” CEOs don’t know anything about the products they make, they only know how to sell stuff. The MBA CEO is interested in the stock market, not the market for their company’s products, so they do things that boost stock prices in the short term, but make their company less viable for the long term.

The Dow is a relic from an earlier era when we actually had “industrials” in the US that made things. If we don’t start investing in making things in this country again, and in the research and development necessary to make things people want to buy, it doesn’t matter how low prices are, no one will be able to pay them.

October 17, 2009   6 Comments

Australian Fire Update

FireThe ABC reports on the worsening fire conditions in Queensland:

About 100 homes are under threat in central Queensland where a large bushfire continues to burn out of control.

A fast-moving blaze is travelling in worsening conditions toward buildings on the fringe of Frenchville, near Mount Archer National Park on the outskirts of Rockhampton.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) officials say the fire is moving erratically, with structures likely to be burnt in addition to one home lost overnight.

Strong winds are hampering efforts by more than 100 firefighters to contain the blaze and helicopter water bombing continues.

South of there on the coast near Brooms Head in New South Wales they hope to be able to contain the most threatening fire today, as the weather conditions have been better than in the North.

Across the country the Broome fire in Western Australia isn’t a direct threat to people or property, but the fire has burned 260 miles² to date and they suspect it was deliberately set.

[For more information go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]

October 17, 2009   Comments Off on Australian Fire Update

Hurricane Rick – Category 5+

Hurricane RickPosition: 15.0 N 105.9 W [10 PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: West-Northwest [290°] near 14 mph [22 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 180 mph [285 kph].
Wind Gusts: 220 mph [355 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 155 miles [250 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 45 miles [75 km].
Minimum central pressure: 906 mb ↓.

It is 605 miles [975 km] South-Southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Rick is now second only to 1997 Hurricane Linda on the list of strongest eastern Pacific storms.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

October 17, 2009   Comments Off on Hurricane Rick – Category 5+