City Slickers

Photo above: City Slickers III. Wind River area, Wyoming. Son Matt, Brother Dave, Son John Paul, Me J.P.

Small Talk

SMALL TALK: View the story of the air rifle that doubled the size of the United States. Fantastic bit of 2nd Amendment history re: Lewis and Clark.

See at:
www.network54.com

Spot Gold

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lost Balloonist


Lost Balloonist
 
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below.  She shouted to him,
 
"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
 
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.
 
She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican. "I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
 
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct.  But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost.  Frankly, you've not been much help to me."
 
The man smiled and responded, "You must be an Obama-Democrat." "I am," replied the balloonist.  "How did you know?"
 
"Well," said the man, "you don't know where the hell you are -- or where the hell you are going.  You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Dumbell Nebula

The Dumbell Nebula, known as M-27 (NGC 6853) was discovered by Charles Messier in 1754. It is located in our galaxy some 1360 LY distant. It is categorized as a planetary nebula, and is the result of an exploding central star.  It is a favorite of backyard astronomers everywhere, since it is easy to find and easy to image. Every image I have seen, including my own, seems to represent a different color scheme, probably due to the preferences of the person taking the image and the subsequent processing. I took the following image on the 30th of October 2011, and probably over processed the raw data, but it is pleasing to me.

Technical stuff:   Meade LX200GPS 10" with Meade DSI Pro II and Antares .5 focal reducer, at f/5 focal ratio. Unguided 42 second exposures (70 Lum, 25 each R, G, B filters). Saved and stacked in Envisage as Fits, liberated by NASA Fits liberator, and processed in Photo Shop 7. Seeing was good, transparency was excellent.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Galaxy Far, Far Away

M-74 (Messier 74)(NGC 628) In Pisces. R.A. 01 36 41.8  Dec +15 47 01. Grand Design Spiral with an estimated 100 billion stars. About 32 Million Light Years distant.

October 29, 2011.  LX200 GPS, Meade DSI Pro II, Anteres f/5 focal reducer. Urban setting with neighborhood light pollution. Seeing good. Transparency excellent. 100 frames at 1minute each, unguided. Envisage capture. Fits, capture every composite image, Drizzle 640, Gain 100% Offset 85%, auto contrast, dark subtracted. Processed in Envisage Drizzle standard. Stacked image opened in NASA Fits Liberator, then final processing in Photoshop 7. Selective sharpening with High Pass Filter Mask.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When Men Were Men


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Are We Better Off Now?

After two years of Obama ...
Here's your change!

January 2009
TODAY
% chg
Source
Avg.. Retail price/gallon gas in U.S.
$1.83
$3.44
84%
1
Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)
$43..48
$99..02
127.7%
2
Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)
$38..74
$91..38
135.9%
2
Gold: London (per troy oz.)
$853.25
$1,369.50
60.5%
2
Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL
$3.56
$6.33
78.1%
2
Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL
$9.66
$13..75
42.3%
2
Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. Fob
$13..37
$35..39
164.7%
2
Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall
7.6%
9.4%
23.7%
3
Unemployment rate, blacks
12.6%
15.8%
25.4%
3
Number of unemployed
11,616,000
14,485,000
24.7%
3
Number of fed. Employees
2,779,000
2,840,000
2.2%
3
Real median household income
$50,112
$49,777
-0.7%
4
Number of food stamp recipients 
31,983,716
43,200,878
35.1%
5
Number of unemployment benefit recipients 
7,526,598
9,193,838
22.2%
6
Number of long-term unemployed
2,600,000
6,400,000
146.2%
3
Poverty rate, individuals
13.2%
14.3%
8.3%
4
People in poverty in U.S.
39,800,000
43,600,000
9.5%
4
U.S.. Rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings
5
9
n/a
10
Present Situation Index
29.9
23.5
-21.4%
11
Failed banks
140
164
17.1%
12
U.S.. Dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate
89.76
82.03
-8.6%
2
U.S.. Money supply, M1, in billions
1,575.1
1,865.7
18.4%
13
U.S.. Money supply, M2, in billions
8,310.9
8,852.3
6.5%
13
National debt, in trillions
$10..627
$14..052
32.2%
14

Just take this last item: In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history.  Over 27 times as fast. Metaphorically speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane.   27 times faster, it would be doing 1,755 MPH!
Sources:
(1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) 
Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. Of Labor; 
(7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; (9) 
RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; 
(13) 
Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury

THE PRESIDENCY
SOME WILL APPRECIATE THIS AND SOME WILL NOT.

HOWEVER, ALL OF IT IS TRUE.  

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in 24 months -- so you'll have one year and ten months to come up with an answer.


Friday, June 3, 2011

End Game

For the dozen or so persons who have actually read this blog, perhaps you have noticed I have been absent for some time. A huge attack of ennui has overtaken me, fueled by the daily affirmation of impending economic disaster, brought about by a quacksalver President who is hell bent on destroying this country. He and his ilk have brought us to the point of no return, so no sense spending anymore time jawing about it, just plain time to hunker down and ride out the consequences

JP.




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why I Don't Support U.S. Bailouts

The real title is "Why I Don't Support Europe's Bailouts" by Timo Soini, chairman of Finland's True Finn party. All you have to do is replace U.S. at every reference to the E.U., and it makes complete sense to our own situation. Please go to here to read this short, excellent article.

The title of this blog could also have been, "Gold and Silver Plummet--Doomsayers Exposed."  Oh, I forgot, that was last week. There were major articles in the financial pages deriding the gold and silver buyers as nut jobs getting a deserved shellacking for daring to not trust the dollar. Then a funny thing happened on Monday--gold and silver started to regain strength as buyers came back into the market. Last week's sharp decline seems to have been a combination of: 1. Institutional manipulation (massive naked shorting) and 2. Warren Buffet saw what was coming and dumped his large holdings in silver in order to take profits.

But you just can't make the problem of the weakness of our fiscal policies go away, no matter how much money you print. Soini's article says it way better than I ever could imagine. Please read it, and you will have a better understanding of why gold and silver are charging back.

JP

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Long Con



Some years ago, there was a classic movie with Paul Newman entitled "The Sting." It was the story about a master con man running what is known as the "long con", an elaborate scheme designed to relieve  suckers from their money. Well folks, we have just witnessed one of the great political cons in history, and the master con man, Barrack H. Obama II has just pulled it off. We are left with our mouths gaping open in amazement and grudging admiration. Take a step back for a minute and examine how this con worked.

Obama and his handlers were well aware of the fact that they could produce the long form birth certificate at any time of their choosing. The fact that for years they resisted all efforts by the "birthers" to produce the document can lead to only one conclusion: it was to their political advantage not to. It was like Perry Mason holding back the exculpatory bit of evidence until the very last minute, springing the evidence on the hapless numbnuts prosecutor and winning the case with a flourish. In Obama's case, he coyly played the birthers for all it was worth, even insinuating several times that the document may not exist at all. By his refusal to produce the document, fighting it tooth and nail through many court cases, he built up the appearance that he was hiding something, stoking even more crazy theories by the birthers, who by association were Tea Party crackpots cum Republican conservatives. So Obama and his handlers milked the con until Trump stirred up too much public doubt in Obama's birthright. Time to cash in. The long form certificate is produced, and the birthers/Tea Party/conservatives/Republicans/Trump are all left standing around with egg running down their collective faces. A masterful stroke. A masterful con.

Unless, of course, it took them that long to manufacture an acceptable forgery.

JP

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Warning! Things Are Not Looking Good

They say that forewarned is to be forearmed. I should have written the following, but this guy nails it better than I could ever imagine If there is any doubt that the dollar is collapsing right before our very eyes, the following article dispels that notion. And, it gives us a dark look into what awaits us, and a lot sooner than you might think.

"Over the Abyss"  Click Here

JP

Saturday, April 23, 2011

MSM Wakes Up


The Main Stream Media (MSM)  finally woke up to the fact that the United States is in deep economic trouble. When the alarms raised on the editorial pages begin to migrate to the reporting pages, there has been a major awakening to an emerging crisis. This morning’s Wall Street Journal of April 23 is a case in point. (Yes, the Wall Street Journal is a huge component of the  MSM as the most widely read newspaper in the U.S.).

The front page article titled “Dollar’s Decline Speeds Up, With Risks For U.S.” reports on the absolute decline of the dollar of over 40% of its value in the six year period before the crisis of 2008, and this week fell to its lowest level since August 2008. The lead paragraph in the article states: “The U.S. dollar’s downward slide is accelerating as low interest rates, inflation concerns and the massive federal budget  deficit undermine the currency. “ One of the conclusions drawn in the article is that “While the weaker currency is helping to drive the recovery, it has also contributed to palpable public worries about inflation and the diminished standing of the U.S. on a global stage.” The article ends by tying the dollar’s weakness to the rise of gold to over $1500 this past week. 

In the Business and Finance section of the paper, there is a page one article on the unbelievable rise in the price of silver, up over 160% in the past year.  Although the reporter’s main thrust of the article is the fact that silver investors may be in for a big fall, he acknowledges indirectly that there is a “panic” to buy the metal. What is left unsaid is the fact that the “panic” has been created by those loosing faith in our fiat dollar.
In the same section, on page B5 the article “Battered Dollar Gets A Holiday Reprieve” leads with: “After the dollar was caught in a downdraft most of this week on U.S. monetary and fiscal policy deficiencies, the maligned currency got a respite Friday and could gain from a market correction early next week.” Note the core reason cited for the dollar’s weakness was U.S. monetary and fiscal policy deficiencies.
Gold and silver achieved new highs in the past week. There is one simple reason for the rush to hard metals—a growing unease that the world’s financial system is failing, and in particular the inability or unwillingness of the U.S. to put its fiscal house in order. Our country has become so polarized that few believe that we can pull ourselves back from the brink of financial disaster. 

The MSM is always late to the party. The fact that they collectively have arrived at the point where the blogosphere was six months ago is moot. The MSM is good at reporting what happened yesterday, and when they start reporting that the sky is falling, it is too late. The sky has already fallen. 

JP

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kabuki Theater

Yesterday’s Kabuki Theater illustrates just how difficult it is going to be to change the dynamic in Washington from one of feckless spending to one that can pull us back from the brink of economic disaster. As long as the liberal Democrats control the Senate and the White House, a chance for real reform has a snowball’s chance in Hell. Examine closely how the high theater played out--when faced with a superior argument (we have to quit spending so much) the liberal Democrats resorted to lies, distortions, and demography. They always do, because for them ideology always trumps principle. If anyone thinks that Paul Ryan’s prescription for prosperity will find traction because it makes sense, think again. The howls of contrived anguish over a couple measly cuts in a trillion and a half dollar budget deficit should give you a clue as to how the un-principled, ideological-driven, yellow-bellied destroyers of our great country will react when real change is offered. The only way that dynamic will change is by retaking the Senate and the White House in 2012. By then it may be too late.

Yesterday oil settled at over $112 a barrel. Won’t be long until that translates into $4.00 a gallon at the pump. There are two factors that explain why oil is heading north, and both can be laid directly at the feet of the current administration. First, the ideologically driven Democrats fervently believe that higher prices at the pump will eventually cause the American public to give up their love for a nice ride and begin driving Smart Cars and bicycles to work. Thus, the deliberate efforts to throttle oil production here in the United States has the effect of increasing our dependence on foreign supplies. More importantly, the deliberate devaluation of the U.S. dollar by the current administration directly results in increasing oil prices. The dollar hit a new low the other day. At the same time, oil is spiking. The relationship is not symbolic. Know this--the price of oil reflects the value of the dollar. It is simple arithmetic, and has nothing to do with supply, demand, wars, uprisings and any number of mumbo-jumbo reasons for oil to spike. Oil is going up because the dollar is going down. And Bernake and Geitner and Obama are doing it on purpose, because the only way out of our massive debt is through devaluation. They call it “quantitative easing”.  I call it the road to disaster.

JP