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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 09:47 AM   #41
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Okay, now I'm scared...I'm sharing an opinion with John Galt.

TH's remarks hit very close to home.

I am getting more and more cynical. U.S. government and big business (which are more and more the same lately) are out to control how and when we spend our money and how we live our lives. I have yet to hear a plausible and reasonable justification for invading Iraq, so I'm left to believe it's about money/oil/power. Meanwhile we've taken away order in the area and the next many years are likely to be very bloody for them no matter what we do now. Afghanistan has that same problem, but that invasion and mess were a necessary response to the 9/11 attacks.

Well, there I go with a rare political opinion. Back on topic, it does make me worry about our equity market. Actually several things make me worry. Before and after 9/11 I was 100% in stock funds and only changed a few months ago, and that was only to have an emergency cash cushion and debt payoff fund in case I got caught up in my company's staff reduction. After the work scare I went 80% stocks, 20% bonds and occasionally itch to go 60/40 but don't allow myself because it's a drastic change and I'm pretty sure the motivation is fear.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 10:31 AM   #42
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Re: Equities and terrorists

I shall continue to invest based on my AGE and take what the market gives me. I did that back when 'when stocks are dead' and Saddam and Osama were 'our guys'.

One can adjust ones portfolio based on concern's about the future -but I won't be the one to recommend it.

BTY - the best burger in the area is made by 'retired marines' - next to the take out counter there is a little sign:

"Be a Marine. Travel to exotic places, meet interesting people---And KILL Them."

Still like the burgers though.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 10:41 AM   #43
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Re: Equities and terrorists

The thing that saddens and frustrates me the most
is that neither the "right" nor the "left" seem interested
in solving problems. Both sides posture and pander
for their constituencies and let solvable problems fester.

As our friend Pogo once said "we have met the enemy
and he is us" Until we set aside partisan differences
and compromise for the common good we will continue
on the slippery slope toward the ash heap of history.

Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that we will come to
our senses at some point. As a nation, when the people understand the crisis, we respond. It has
always been so thus far.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 11:11 AM   #44
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Quote:
The thing that saddens and frustrates me the most
is that neither the "right" nor the "left" seem interested
in solving problems. *Both sides posture and pander
for their constituencies and let solvable problems fester.
The main focus of politicians is to stay in power. They do this today by lowering taxes, not cutting services and borrowing money to do it. Bush Sr. called it voodoo ecomomics and was beaten in the primary by Reagan.

To this day, people thought Reagan had a good economic program and so that is the path *Bush Jr. is currently following.

Not to hard to understand, If someone came along with some tough solutions to the country's problems they'd probably get less votes than Ralph Nader. This is political science 101.

Most people cannot balance their own budgets today much less understand someone that could balance the country's and then actually vote for him/her :P
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 11:56 AM   #45
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

You ER people tell everyone to ignore short term market moves. But throw hissy fits over 9/11 and Iraq. More people get killed every month in the USA from car crashes, not to even mention from firearms. On a national scale, both "events" are tiny blips. As for oil, the USA wasn't getting any oil from Iraq when Saddam was in charge, so anything and I mean anything that comes to us from there now is a bonus. But frankly, we receive oil from so many sources around the world that we are dependent on no one country for oil. When the price goes up, more countries begin to produce it. It's supply and demand.
This nation has not had to collectively sacrifice since WWII. And our homeland sacrificies even then were NOTHING compared to other countries suffering. It's hard for most people to view world events from a national perspective. And the press hypes it so you'll think it's important to your life so you'll watch their show more often so they can charge more for advertising.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 12:45 PM   #46
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Hello "guest". Pretty good post. I agree about the
media hyping everything from the mundane to the
ridiculous (making mountains out of molehills).
I am not sure you are right about firearms though.
It is my impressions that there are relatively few
firearms deaths, compared to other violent ways of
dying. I'll bet if you take the gangbangers out of the total
you would be surprised at how small the total really is.
Once again, mostly just left wing media hype.

John Galt
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 01:26 PM   #47
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

There's a big difference between being cynical and being critical. JG's 1984 comment is clearly cynical. But just because someone disagrees with the government's policies does not mean they're cynical. Speaking out against the government is much more 'American' than buying into the propaganda machine and going along with whatever they do.

re: 'foreign oil'
We need to reduce our dependency on oil period. In a free market economy, pumping a little more oil on North American soil will make little difference -- the Middle East will still be sitting on top of a gold mine. The US already produces a significant percentage of the oil we consume (about half). Around 1984 the US produced 2/3 of our needs. Check out the chart 'US Crude Oil Imports by Source'. Note the relatively small amount that comes from the Persian Gulf region.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/usa.html

But as far as reserves go, the situation is very different. The US has approximately 23B barrels (rank 11th). Iraq alone has 115B barrels! Saudi Arabia (4th) has 264B barrels in reserve. Even if we miraculously increased reserves by a factor of 10, the middle east would have a tremendous influence over international oil markets.

This is another example where the shallow debate never reaches the crux of the matter.


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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 05:28 PM   #48
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Re: Equities and terrorists

What we need is a "shoot the moon" project
a la JFK to develop a hydrogen based energy
economy.

I would vote for that and I bet most would.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-21-2004, 08:10 PM   #49
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Quote:
What we need is a "shoot the moon" project
a la JFK to develop a hydrogen based energy
economy.

I would vote for that and I bet most would.

Cheers,

Charlie
I keep hearing that hydrogen is more of an energy storage medium in practice than an energy source. The argument goes that there aren't vast deposits of hydrogen waiting to be tapped, but that it has to be electrolysized out of water or harvested from deep sea frozen hydrogen formations of some sort. And the energy used for electrolysis or deep sea excavating would be from today's energy sources.

On the other hand I guess at least the pollution and other associated problems could be localized to the hydrogen processing plants and clean fuel cells could be distributed for common use.

But wouldn't we still be burning lots of oil in the hydrogen 'production' (or maybe reduction) process?

Admittedly I haven't read deeply into it, so I may be misunderstanding something.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 01:06 AM   #50
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Re: Equities and terrorists

You have it right Jim.

There are no magic spells to fix this except to reduce usage drastically and squeeze every iota out of each and every alternative energy source.

There are no large "wells" of hydrogen, and producing it is very costly. Some methods are improving output and reducing costs but even with breakthroughs and "shoot the moons" we're probably decades away from cracking it, building the distribution systems, and replacing fleets of vehicles. I see a lot of good material from comedians though ending with the cry "Oh...the humanity!".

Solar is nice, but doesnt work well in the cooler climes and again is very expensive.

Wind is good, but there isnt enough of it. Canada does a good job with Hydro, but again, many areas simply cant make use of it at all. Nukes are nice, but to take on even a large percentage of our current coal and oil energy needs would produce an awful lot of other problems we'd have to deal with.

Anyone else see the news articles about reactors in Connecticut and (vermont or new hampshire?) losing a bunch of spent fuel rods? How the hell do you lose spent fuel rods?!?

Even with good hydrogen, fuel cells, biodiesel, etc, etc...We've got vehicles that will take 20 years to get them off the road. Planes can only work with certain fuel types that create enough energy vs weight vs volume.

A lot of problems to solve to get out from under the oil suppliers thumb...
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 06:09 AM   #51
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Of course, if there were drastically fewer people on this planet there would be plenty of oil for everyone. Take a look at a population chart sometime. It goes straight up like that private rocket plane did yesterday. That's the real cause of almost all our ills, from pollution to energy to fiscal crisis to even most wars. Imagine a modern world that had the population of 300 years ago (less than 1 billion I believe).
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 07:44 AM   #52
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Quote:
Of course, if there were drastically fewer people on this planet there would be plenty of oil for everyone.
Ah, finally a reasonable justifiction for the Iraq invasion. The ethnic cleansers had the right idea all along. Or perhaps we just have too much sex. (I'm glaring at John Galt and TH.) Of course this paragraph is completely sarcastic in a way that isn't really called for. Consider it comic relief, not an argument.

Quote:
Take a look at a population chart sometime. It goes straight up like that private rocket plane did yesterday. That's the real cause of almost all our ills, from pollution to energy to fiscal crisis to even most wars. Imagine a modern world that had the population of 300 years ago (less than 1 billion I believe).
I think I see what you're saying, but I'm wondering if the worlds "modern"ness was driven by population or was population driven by technology (how I'm defining "modern" here). Or if you mean "modern" by social changes, then I have to wonder about which caused which with respect to society and technology.

Much of today's daily life is based on economies of scale. If we had a magical kind agreeable way to roll back the world population to some ideal number with respect to energy consumption I doubt we could maintain the infrastructure to support the lifestyle of the modern world. We might all be farmers or nomads again.

More generally, I don't see how the U.S. can reduce energy consumption long-term and maintain the lifestyle we've achieved. Every now and then I check into ways to reduce my energy use, but outside of shrinking my car occasionally I can't find a way of reducing energy use without radically changing my lifestyle. U.S. urban and suburban infrastructure was built with personal powered transportation in mind; things could be improved some with better mass transportation but our cities really aren't laid out for it with possible exeptions for the top 3-5 population centers. Furthermore our buildings for the most part are built for either economy of money or aesthetic design with no regard for how to use the immediate environment to reduce energy use: use canned plans, pack 'em tight and crank the A/C or heat.

The only two resolutions I see to the energy issues are:

1: Radically change the lifestyle and redevelop major and minor population centers of the modern world.

2: Figure out how to expand into and obtain energy from space. It'll take a while longer to fill that up. Perhaps from space we can obtain and eject radioactive materials for reactors. Or maybe launch orbital solar collectors or mine asteroids/comets.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 07:57 AM   #53
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

This is not comic relief, just an opinion. I believe that
practically all problems with the environment
are caused by overpopulation of people. Mother nature
will take care of the planet without humans mucking
things up. In fact, I agree that people are mostly a
plague on the earth, being the only species to
deliberately try to improve what nature has done,
on a broad scale. Probably the only common ground
I have with the left wing tree-huggers.

John Galt
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 08:21 AM   #54
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Quote:
This is not comic relief, just an opinion. I believe that
practically all problems with the environment
are caused by overpopulation of people. Mother nature
will take care of the planet without humans mucking
things up. In fact, I agree that people are mostly a
plague on the earth, being the only species to
deliberately try to improve what nature has done,
on a broad scale. Probably the only common ground
I have with the left wing tree-huggers.

John Galt
I don't think it's fair to single humans out as the plague of the earth. Other species overpopulate from time to time and later die down because they consume all their resources. As humans our distinction is being seemingly the most succuessful overpopulator to date, but I can't help but wonder if our egos cloud our vision on that judgement, too.

Also, most species alter their environment. Again, humans are more successful than most with our opposable thumbs and technology. Until the relatively recent advent of the steam and combustion engine we used animal labor for altering the environment (mass farming, irrigation, mining, plant/forrest harvesting and associated transportation issues). It wouldn't surprise me to find that other species to try to "improve what mother nature has done," and if they don't it's only because they lack the ability.

I don't see humans as a plague, but I think we should note that other species who overpopulate suffer a starving reduction in population sooner or later and we should worry about the suffering we or our children could be in for if we don't plan carefully. Mother nature will survive; it's us I worry about.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 08:54 AM   #55
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Re. "Mother Nature will survive, it's us I worry about".
I hold the exact opposite view.

John Galt
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 09:19 AM   #56
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Quote:
Re. "Mother Nature will survive, it's us I worry about".
I hold the exact opposite view.

John Galt
I don't expect to change your opinion, but I'm in a babbling mood this week.

Mother nature on Earth has already survived ice ages and catastrophic mass extinction event asteroid impacts. I think our species' best chance of surviving just one such event is to colonize other planets/moons. (I'm not factoring this into my asset allocation decisions, though.) I don't think we're quite ready for that even on a small scale, so I'm just hoping the big space rocks keep missing and the oceans stay warm for at least a few hundred more years.

If we humans really got together and set out to destroy mother nature (she is harboring and developing biological weaponry after all) I figure we could take out most land and sea mammals, most avian life, a fair bit of the reptiles, much complex sea life living near the coasts and in the top couple hundred feet of sea, most of the trees and if we're lucky up to half of other green plant life. But that's all. Then we'd starve and all the insects, rats, the remaining sprouting plant life, very few lucky remnant survivors of species, the bacteria and deep sea life would reestablish a new healthy ecosystem in no time--probably a few years to a few decades.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 09:39 AM   #57
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Re: Equities and terrorists

I just realized my previous post demonstrates a strong scientific bias. From a different bias, Earth was created with all we humans will consume, and our ultimate future is already planned.

Either way, we control whether our destiny is agreeable or disagreeable.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 11:43 AM   #58
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Re: Equities and terrorists

...looks like oldcrowcall's question got hijacked a bit, but its great discussion nonetheless.

I think planning for such contingencies within an asset allocation framework is extremely difficult.

...and I also think we, as a planet, need to get our acts together and think about how our behaviors affect Mother Nature, and our fellow planet inhabitants.
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 11:50 AM   #59
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Re: Equities and terrorists

TH, I didn't say developing a hydrogen economy would
be easy or quick. Look at it this way ..... 2/3 of the
planet is water. If we can figure out how to convert
water to hydrogen and oxygen with a net energy
gain we will have it made. So what if it takes 30
years to make the transformation. The economic
impact would rival the invention of the wheel, steam
engine, telephone, transistor ...... you name it.

BTW, my vision of a hydrogen economy is really
electric power generation using generators run
on hydrogen. This requires a break-through on
converting water to hydrogen & oxygen gas. It
also requires a break-through on batteries for
electric cars. Given these two gifts, the rest is
mostly already in place (electric grid & highways),

I agree that while "shooting the moon" we need to
be reducing consumption and increasing the supply
of oil. I have posted before about my interest in
hybrid electric cars as a method of educing our oil needs. We could do this immediately as a short term
fix if the pols would encourage it.

Wind and solar power are options for some areas
but would not solve the problem generally.

Some will pee on my shoes for saying this but I think
nuclear power deserves another look. I am by no
means a nuclear engineer but I seem to recall reading
about new designs that can't melt down. My question
is why can't we design a small, "bullet proof" automated
reactor for mass production with pre approval by the AEC? I think building a lot of small reactors rather
than a few giants would be more efficient and give us
a good export item to boot.

I ramble and grow weary. Elect me president and
I promise to PO everybody.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Equities and terrorists
Old 06-22-2004, 12:16 PM   #60
 
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Re: Equities and terrorists

Quote:
More generally, I don't see how the U.S. can reduce energy consumption long-term and maintain the lifestyle we've achieved.
Changing our 'lifestyle' is probably a good thing. As most ERs can attest, popular definitions 'standard of living' are often misleading. For example, I think my standard of living improved when I quit the 50-60 hour per week job, sold the big house, and moved into a smaller place. Now, I'm sharing a 1000 sq ft home. It's plenty for me, and I'd rather spend the time doing things I enjoy, than working to keep up a large house. I'm using less energy, spending less money, and my standard of living is higher. I know, I'm preaching to the choir, but I think the same arguments hold for energy usage. We live in a culture that wastes large amounts of energy, without considering the consequences. One obvious example is people driving around in 300HP SUVs with 1-2 passengers in the city (or at 60 mph on the highway). My first modern car had 92 HP, and it was plenty. In addition to being wasteful, the SUV culture is detrimental to traffic safety.

Here are some east ways to reduce energy consumption
- drive fuel efficient cars and trucks.
- consider downsizing your house (I see many two person families living in 2500 sq ft houses)
- watch your use heat and AC, use timers to control
- telecommute
- use public transportation when available.
- consider a solar clothes dryer (clothes line. I've been doing this for 2 years. It doesn't take much time.)
- make appropriate use of windows and shades to keep your home cool/warm (this makes a huge difference here in Hawaii).
- insulate your home

We should also remove the subsidies that the oil industry receives to enable fair competition with renewable energy technologies. The entire cost of the Iraq and war on terror, and aid to Israel and Egypt, should be paid out of oil taxes.

The cost of solar energy is falling. Here in Hawaii, solar hot water systems are very popular.

When it's appropriate Americans can change their behavior very quickly. I remember when I was a kid people would litter and think nothing of it. They'd regularly throw garbage out the window of their car on the highway. Then came the 'crying indian', and pollution awareness changed considerably. The culture (lifestyle) changed, and in this regard, our 'standard of living ' improved.

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