September 21, 2006

Chavez/Rangel/Pelosi/donkeys/grace

Chavez comes to NYC, calls Bush 'the Devil'.
Rep.Rangel (D) says 'You do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans..'
Rep. Pelosi (D) says 'Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations'.

Sanctimonious piffle! Chavez owes no allegiance to Bush or the US. Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter ...these guys may have an obligation to refrain from belittling their President when speaking abroad. Some hope. You know the thing I like about Bush, despite Miers, despite immigration. The man has grace.

Postcard from Hungary

In Budapest a couple of nights ago I was playing chess with a friend from Houston, sitting outside a tex-mex, when a few thousand rioters sauntered by our table. Hungarian rioting is rather genteel :

riot.jpg

Almost nothing happened. Budapest was calm. We were by the tv station and parliament, the epicentre of "Budapest burns".
The next day it was calm. It was a peaceful democratic demo with a teeny bit of action staged for photo-ops.
It brought home to me how much of the "News" is phony and amplified.

We also played chess in outdoor hot baths and moseyed around the banks of the Danube and a Totalitarian Sculpture Theme Park:
sculpture 2.jpg

The Totalitarian theme has potential for an OzymandiasWorld, with smashed, colossal, mossed over. stone limbs and heads; theme experiences to include show-trials and queueing for bogroll and soap.
sculpture.jpg

September 13, 2006

Harry Reid Fisks Winston Churchill

Oh, I wish I'd written this.

Economics

I'm asked by a friend who trades inflation for a bank what I think. So....

"Sell in September and go away.
I dunno. UK housing is just unaffordable. We'll have to emigrate to Poland. That's not a joke, it makes a lot of sense to base an office in E.Europe, eg the Baltic States. In Poland you can get cheap Ukrainian plumbers.

US housing is more efficient than in space restricted, bureaucratic UK, so I expect the price signals to work earlier (as they are) with consequently smoother markets and less knock-on to consumer confidence in general. The UK is hard to predict because just as English is the global 'lingua franca', so London has become world city and new capital immigration (eg from India and China) can propel UK asset prices further than history would suggest.

Commodities have peaked, absent much greater tension in the middle east or somewhere unexpected.

Inflation in general has stayed low despite the commodity boom, despite mid-east war, despite China and India. Reason is China and India (abundant cheap, skilled human assets) plus tech advance plus floating currencies to permit tensions in purchasing power parity and expectations to disssipate rapidly rather than by currency earthquakes.

So :

Commodities down
US housing down 25% ish, but no hard landing for economy.
UK housing is a big fat wobbling bubble which will probably both inflate and deflate bigtime with an eventual big fat splatty pop.
E. Europe pretty good.
France will improve for sure.
Germany still stuck. Talent gets out, but they're not really hungry.
China - no idea.
India will boom. Tremendous talent, finally, finally starting to liberalise.
Inflation overall not a bigtime problem.
Sterling steady - really it's a better reserve currency than Euro.
Dollar strong. Say it again - strong dollar. More hawkish fed, purchasing power parity, lower oil prices. President Romney will be more of a deficit hawk.

Politics in the UK is rancid. Cameron's an utter scumbag and Labour/the vast public sector/the BBC will try to capture Gordon Brown away from markets and the US. That might lead to 1970's type national gangrene for a while".

TV

On live British TV I watch soccer highlights and that's it. Maybe I became saturated with The Simpsons when Haloween seemed to come round every month. I should take another look. After all Homer is, well, Homeric
.
I watch a few US shows on DVD, often with a glass of whisky at 2 am seeing that 'alcohol is the cause of and solution to all of life's problems' - H.Simpson. Maybe it's a golden age for American comedy. By Series 2 the US version of The Office became richer and funnier than the original with delicious supporting roles and it's just poignant in places. I re-watched some of The Larry Sanders Show. It's like comedy heaven to me, up there with Fawlty Towers. But Arrested Development may be up there too. The LSS and AD have Jeffrey Tambor in common. Also in common is the brevity of these shows - all around 24 minutes or less. 'Brevity is the soul of wit' and the lack of it undoes many shows and movies. Desperate Housewives and The Sopranos are just too long, too padded. Curb Your Enthusiasm is very decent, but too linear on Larry David. The other characters are stifled, tho they have real potential. Also it's 5 minutes too long. Am I the only person who doesn't get "24"? My highly intelligent male American in-laws love it. I re-sample for 10 minutes and give up; the characters and plotting seem so lame. And where did "Duckman" go ?

I must plug CSPAN Book TV, an amazing free resource on the web. The Afterwords and In Depth Archives are rich,rich,rich..VD Hanson, Tammy Bruce, Newt Gingrich, Bernard Lewis, Charles Murray, C Hitchens and on and on. Long, uninterrrupted conversations with intelligent, articulate, alert minds. There are plenty of liberals too plus writers of the standing of Updike and Wolfe. An unexpected gem is the interview with Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin on his book "Shooter" about sniping in Iraq.

September 12, 2006

Fake But True

Some conservatives attack Bill Clinton and gang for attacking an ABC docudrama "The Path to 9/11"

I prefer an absolutist line on docudramas - "real people, real words."
Once you start down the "fake but true" road you go on thru Rathergate to the Ministry of Truth. That liberals lie is just another reason not to do it.

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