Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back to Stop Loss

Stop Loss is the policy used by the army to extend soldiers combat duty. The important thing to point out here that this is beyond the time when that combat duty should have expired. In other words, their tour of duty is being extended involuntary. The main reason for this is of course the situation in Iraq.

The army said that it was going to stop doing this but now that is not the case. According to a story in USA Today:

The number of soldiers affected by stop loss peaked in 2005 at 15,758. Gates ordered stop loss to be minimized in January 2007. It fell to 8,540 in May 2007 but rose to about 12,000 in March and has stayed near that level. The troop buildup in Iraq and extension of Army tours from 12 to 15 months last year resulted in more stop-loss orders.

This is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start. It seems to me a simply question of fairness. The soldier has fulfilled his term of the enlist; the government should honor its side of the bargain as well. The strain this puts on troops must be incredible. I also can't see how this helps in retaining soldiers either.

The article continues:

If demand for U.S. combat troops stays constant through 2009, Moose said, the number of soldiers affected by stop loss will remain at about 12,000. "Stop loss is a function of how many units are preparing to deploy," he said. "We only use stop loss when we have to."

I really don't think the question is if. If not in Iraq then they will be needed in Afghanistan.

This is another legacy left to the country by the Bush administration. They simply did not plan the war well enough. The people who are suffering for it are our troops. And that is just wrong.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Poignantly Pertinent Political Podcast

Arthur and I are at it again with another podcast about the upcoming election. You can find it here.

We have a wide ranging discussion where we touch on Art's favorite news network Fox Noise I mean News and their interesting electoral college map. We also talk how things are shaping up at the Congressional level. We also give thanks that there's only one more week to go.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Final Training Session With Randy

Today was my final session with Randy my trainer. It was rather bitter sweet.

Nine months ago today I had my first training session with Randy. We did a fitness assessment so that's what we did today.

I posted some really impressive numbers here they are (you have to scroll down Blogger doesn't seem to like the table I used):

Shoulders43 inches 43.5 inches
Chest38 inches 37 inches
Waist37 inches 35.5 inches
Hips41 inches 40 inches
Thigh (R)19 inches 20 inches
Thigh (L)20 inches 21 inches
Bicep (L)12.5 inches 13 inches
Bicep (R)12.5 inches 13 inches

I will say again that you can now see muscles in my arms where there were none before. I'm wearing clothes that had been too big. My 36 inch waist jeans are now too big. My belts are running out of holes and not because my waist is too big.

My body fat went from 26.4% to 23.7%
My lean weight went from 128.8 to 131.4
My fat weight went from 46.2 to 40.8. I lost 5.4 pounds of fat from my body!

My cardiovascular endurance. Here's the test you're on a treadmill for 5 minutes at a speed of 4 miles an hour. My heart rate in January was 174. My heart rate today 151. That's a difference of 23 beats per minute. That means if I was on the tread mill for 30 minutes today my heart would beat 690 fewer times then would have 9 months ago. It shows the muscle, my heart, is getting stronger.

Muscular endurance. There are two exercises associated with this. How many sit ups in this case it was crunches could you do in a minute. In January I could do 35 which put me in the 49 percentile for my age. Today I did 51 which put me in the 65 percentile. Next test how many push ups in a minute. In January I did 19 push ups putting me in the 40 percentile. Today I did 53 push ups putting me in the 98 percentile.

The only thing I didn't improve greatly on was my flexibility. Randy said he should have worked harder on that. I said we both should have worked harder on it. I knew it was a problem going in and I should have been doing more about it between our sessions but didn't. So I can't fault Randy for that one at all.

If I do say so myself I rocked. I was very pleased with what I'd accomplished. Randy was too.

Once again a great big thanks goes out to Randy for pushing me every work out. I enjoyed each and every session. Sometimes I thought I was not going to make to the end but I did each time. Randy kept pushing me. I'm probably in the best shape of my life. And I don't think that's an overstatement. I know I haven't weighed this little in over ten years.

So I'm going to say thanks again to my friend Randy for all he helped me accomplished.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Randy, My Personal Trainer

As I've said before, Randy is the best personal trainer you could possible hope for.

The sad news is that tomorrow is my last session with Randy. He's going to be moving to Los Angeles at the end of the month.

I've made so much progress working with him it is amazing.

I'm reminded of how much progress I've made each workout we do. I do exercises that just a few months ago I would not have been able to complete. At the end of each workout, I'm still sore and worn out and drenched in sweat (as I should be), but I notice that my recovery time is getting better and better.

Here's a part of a post from My Personal Trainer Rocks this is when I had just started working with Randy:

I’ve been taking personal training sessions with Randy for a little over a month. I’ve never done the same workout routine with him twice. There are similar exercises in the routines but never the same routine from start to finish. The order of the exercises are not shuffled around so although the exercise are not done in the same order you’re still doing all the same exercises. That has never happened. At the end of most sessions, Randy will say now you might hurt tomorrow. My response is that I’ll hurt by the time I’m done with my shower. This is only a slight exaggeration. Usually I do hurt the next day. But I’ve noticed that the more I train the faster I recover from the last training session.

The results I've achieved with Randy, as I've said before, are fantastic. I actually have muscles in my arms that you can see. My coordination and balance have improved dramatically. My overall strength has increased and my stamina has increased as well. It's amazing what I've been able to accomplish in such a short time with Randy's help.

So I'm going to say it once again my personal trainer ROCKS.

Randy, thanks for all your help, encouragement and motivation.

Presidential Funny

I've had several friends send me a link to this site. It shows what it would be like if Palin was in the Oval Office. It is very funny and changes on a daily basis. You click on various items in the office and things happen when you do. You should let it run for a few minutes because there are some really funny things that happen. You can reach it by going here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Remember Iraq?!

Remember when Iraq was going to be the be all and end all of issues for this presidential election. It now seems almost like a quaint after thought.

Well it is still out there. And some rather important news has happened or perhaps better put not happened there.

The draft security agreement between Iraq and the U.S. has been delayed by the Iraqi cabinet. This agreement defines the role that American troops can play in the country once the UN mandate expires at the end of this year.

It seems that the presidential election here my be playing a role in the lack of the agreements passage. See this story in the Post:

"We cannot rule out the possibility that there are some groups that want to delay the issue until after the U.S. elections," prominent Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman told The Associated Press. "They think that it is better to deal or to reach a better understanding with the new administration and they are not in a hurry."

The problem with that is the new administration won't take office until January. The question needs to be asked, if the agreement is not approved by the time the mandate expires, what happens to US troops in Iraq during this time.

The story in the Post states:

Without an agreement, or an extension of the mandate, the U.S. military would probably suspend operations because there would be no legal basis for the mission.

How do you go about suspending the operations of some 150,000 or so American soldiers in Iraq? Doesn't this seem to open up the possibilities of all sorts of attacks against American troops? How would they respond if attacked? Now indeed this might be political posturing on the part of the Iraqis in hopes of getting a better deal. But one would hope that someone, somewhere in the Bush administration would be figuring out how to proceed if the worst should happen. And, considering how the Bush administration rarely if ever does consider the worst case, the importance of securing an agreement takes on even greater importance.

Look Where They are Campaigning

I learned that a long time ago when I was a volunteer for John Anderson's presidential campaign. The important thing is to look where the candidates are spending their time. Both candidates were in Colorado yesterday. That speaks volumes of where the campaign is.

Here's a little historical perspective on Colorado. Colorado went for the Democrats at the presidential level once in the past 40 years. The year it went Democrat was 1992 and the only reason was that Ross Perot was on the ballot.

So McCain is trying to shore up his base. Obama sees a chance to pick off another red state. This from a story in the Post:

The conservative forces backing McCain here are energized, and he counts on a get-out-the-vote operation that historically has ranked as one of the Republican Party's top three or four in the nation. But McCain faces an opponent who, with a huge financial war chest, an army of volunteer activists and an aggressive game plan, has put together a campaign that Democratic officials in the state say is superior to anything they have ever seen on their side.

The polls show that Obama is ahead in Colorado. Having a strong organization is very important. The Obama campaign has done this in state after state. Virginia is a good example. Obama is also helped in Virginia because of the Senate race where they Democrat is ahead by as much as 30% over the Republican.

McCain tried venturing into a blue state earlier this week. He made several stops in Pennsylvania. Most of the stories I read or heard on the news were surprised at this move because the poll numbers are not in McCain's favor there.

But, if McCain has any chance of winning, he has to turn a blue state red. Because Obama is having way too much success at turning red states blue or at least putting red states into play. By doing that Obama is forcing McCain to spend precious time and resources in states that should already been in the Republican column. The reason for Pennsylvania as put by one reporter was that the McCain campaign was running out of potential states where they had any chance of mounting a challenge to Obama.

So as we reach the final week of the campaign watch where the candidates are going. That speaks more about the state of the race that just about anything.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Ever Expanding Bailout

From the Post this morning:

The Treasury Department is dramatically expanding the scope of its bailout of the financial system with a plan to take ownership stakes in the nation's insurance companies, signaling new concerns about a sector of the economy whose troubles until now have been overshadowed by the banking industry, government and industry sources said.
This from a story in Friday's paper:

The troubled insurance giant American International Group already has consumed three-quarters of a federal $123 billion rescue loan, a little more than a month after the government stepped in to save the company from bankruptcy.
Our tax dollars at work. The government is trying everything possible to shore up a crumbling financial sector. Yet things are still in free fall. The question needs to be asked have we hit the bottom. And I might add, if we haven't hit bottom, is it not a scary thought where the bottom might actually be.

The reason for expanding the bail out to the insurance industry is:

Government officials worry that the collapse of a major insurer could further destabilize the financial system because of the crucial role the companies play in backstopping a wide range of financial transactions, although the direct impact on holders of car, life and other insurance policies would be modest, industry officials said.

I need to ask what in this day and age does "modest" mean. A modest drop in the Dow is 100 points. What would a "modest" impact on policy holders mean.

It looks to me more and more likely that the Treasury Department will be heading back to Congress to ask for a great deal more money. I think there needs to be some consideration at what point we say enough the government can do more. What happens if GM goes under, will the government step in and help them out.

Once again I've heard the word patience used. That it will take time for the programs the government are putting in place to take hold and do what they are supposed to do. I'm not sure how much more patience the US economy for that matter the world economy can take. I think not much.

Presidential Election Podcast

We're in the home stretch for the election. I know in some ways that seems impossible. How could it possible be over? Another perspective is oh why can't it be over. Well Arthur and I have another podcast about the state of the race. This was done earlier in the week. You can follow this link to listen to it.

We cover a broad range of topics. This being an election we start off with the polls and the state of the electoral college map. We comment on the perennial problem with voting and machines breaking down. Also the importance of people getting out and voting. We move on to the tone of the campaign. The “pro-American” comment and more including Sarah.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Gee Guess We Should Have Regulated

Alan Greenspan did something that few politicians and lately corporate CEOs have failed to do. He admitted he was wrong. That there should have been some regulation and oversight on the markets. Read more here from the Post.

I think this is a very telling part of his testimony:

"I made a mistake," Greenspan said, "in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms."

I think it is always a mistake to have an industry regulate itself.

That is not to say that government has to micromanage every move an industry or a company makes. It would destroy the ability of any industry or company to operate. But sometimes, as is human nature, people and institutions and industries get greedy. And that greed can feed on itself and then common sense goes out the window. This is when you need the government to step in and say no you can't do this. You can't create these arcane mortgage derivatives that almost no one understands.

Now, if the government had been less asleep at the switch, would we in better shape now than we are. That's a question that cannot be answered. But I think you can say maybe the alarm bells would have been sounded earlier and action could have been taken to cushion the blow at least somewhat. Now it seems that the whole world is heading for a recession.

Here's a sobering perspective on October 29, 2007 the Dow was at 13,595.10. Today the Dow closed at 8,378.95.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Republican Fool of the Week

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann stuck her foot way into her mouth.

Ms Bachman said that Obama may have anti-American views. That there are probably many members of Congress that have anti-American views. Also that that main stream media should do an expose on these members to show the American people exactly who these anti-Americans are.

Sunday she said:

I feel his views are concerning, and I'm calling on the media to investigate them. I'm not saying that his views are anti-American.

Except if you listen to the interview that's what she says about Obama over and over and over again. Go to you tube and search under the Reps. name and you'll find many versions of the interview. Here's an excerpt from it.

Now she is trying to back track saying:

Defending her TV comments Wednesday at the Rotary Club, Bachmann said that Obama "loves his country, just as everyone in this room does."

Except that's not what she said at all. This reminds me of Phil Gramm's comments earlier in the year about America being a nation of whiners. Then saying he meant America's leaders; except that's not what he said at all.

In turn about is fair play National Republicans have yanked TV advertising for her. Also the candidate she beat in the primary, Aubrey Immelman, is now launching a write in campaign.

In all not a very good few days for the Congresswoman but at least she's not anti-American.

Things I've learned from the McCain Campaign

I never knew this about myself. Here's what I've learned:

I'm a socialist.

I'm not patriotic.

I'm not a real American. In fact I'm anti-American.

This is part of Sarah Palin's comments at a campaign stop in North Carolina:

We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.

Today she said she didn't mean to imply some parts of America are more patriotic than others. But it does sort of sound like it. Or does it. Here's a fuller excerpt of what she said:

"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe" -- here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers -- "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."

She continued: "This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."

Now she starts out pretty well simply saying there are other areas outside of Washington, DC that have good qualities. But then well she goes a bit over the top with the idea of areas being the real America and pro-American.

But then again that seems to be the way the McCain campaign is going to try to win. By making it seem that some Americans aren't really American. This is the way John McCain will unite this country because he's a uniter not a divider.

No wait that's someone else line isn't it.

New iMac

I got my new iMac.

Actually it is a refurbished machine but is just like new. I will have pictures up soon.

It arrived on Monday and I took it home yesterday.

I did a podcast with Arthur so I didn't get to setting it up until after 9 last night. I have additional memory which I installed. I set it up and turned it on and nothing happened. I thought I was going to die. I read the instructions on what to do if this happens but nothing seemed to work.

It then occurred to me that maybe the memory had something to do with it. So I put the original memory back in and pressed the on button and hoped for the best. It started up. I'm going to call Apple today and ask what they think the problem might be. I just might not have seated the memory correctly.

Anyway it starts up. It is beautiful. There is a program that helps you transfer all your files and settings from your old computer. It worked like a dream.

So now I moving all the files I need to move off of the old hard drive and the external on to the new hard drive. Mostly I'm just getting things all in one place. This will free up a great deal of space on my external.

Oh technology is so wonderful when it works!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

McCain has become Bush

As hard as it is to believe McCain is actually worse than Bush.

What seems like a very long time ago, I had some respect for John McCain. No more. He's behind in the polls and will say and do anything to become president. So much for running a different campaign. So much for uniting the American people. So much for being for all the people. The only thing McCain hasn't said is he's a uniter not a divider. We had eight years of that and we can see how well that worked. A country even more divided.

The latest tactic is that some how Barak Obama is a socialist. That Obama will turn the IRS into a welfare agency. This "logic" put forth by the completely unqualified Sarah Palin.

Palin says that Obama's tax plan will give tax relief to 95% of Americas. But 40% of those people don't pay any taxes so Obama is advocating welfare. Not to be over cynical here but I have to assume invoking the word welfare is to make people think of oh I don't know the welfare cheats from the 80s and 90s who were mostly African Americans.

And helping out poor people, the group who's struggling the most in this economic downturn, is somehow completely wrong. But supporting the government buying up stakes in banks in this country, bailing out AIG, putting forth a bailout package well that's ok.

If McCain wants to talk about socialism, I suggest they take a good long hard look at what the current administration is doing. If anything is socialism, the actions of this government these past fews weeks would qualify as that.

This current line just shows how completely bankrupt McCain's campaign has become. Hopefully on election day McCain will be in for a very rude surprise.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do Endorsements Matter?

At one point in time, an endorsement by a major newspaper was considered a big plus in a campaign especially in a presidential campaigns.

That can also be said for important political figures. Their endorsements were eagerly sought. Like Obama sough Ted Kennedy's. Or maybe someone like Colin Powell.

I'm not sure what Powell will bring to the table. Another voice in support of Obama. A person who raised some very legitimate questions about Sarah Palin:

She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired. But at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Sen. McCain made.
This is from his interview on Meet the Press yesterday.

Something I agree with whole heartedly. Palin is simply not up to the task and her ideas and agenda should she become president would be truly frightening.

Now on to the papers. The Washington Post endorsed Obama on Friday. It too brought up Palin's and it being part of the reason to support Obama:

The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president.

It is a very long editorial you can read for yourself here.

They close with this:

But Mr. Obama's temperament is unlike anything we've seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.

In the long run the hey day of endorsements has probably passed. But I can't help think that the more positive things that are said about Obama from many different sources the greater the changes people will listen and vote for him.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Early Morning Laugh

Well I'd wanted to sleep in late this morning which for me would be like 8:30 or so. But right around 8 my cell phone rings. I'm wondering who'd be calling me this early on a Sunday morning. The next thing I think is something wrong. No it turns out it was a wrong number. And well to tell the truth I was awake anyway.

What I found interesting is I said hello and the person just started talking. In fact I find that this happens a great deal with cell phone calls. People say hello and just start talking. Because of my number I get wrong numbers from time to time. The number is more like one a business would have then a personal number. But it is interesting that people just start talking and then there is this slow realization that they've got the wrong number.

So I'm up a little earlier than planned so I thought I'd post something to bring a smile (click on the image to make it larger) and then I'm heading off to the gym.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Surfing the Net and Tax Cuts

Here's something I just happened upon while reading some comments on a blog, which lead me to the blog of the person who made the comment, which lead me to a list of blogs that person reads, which lead me to this widget on that blog.

Did you follow that?

How accurate it is I don't know but it is rather interesting.

Smart Cars

All of a sudden I'm seeing Smart Cars all over DC. I'd say in the past two weeks or so I've seen 3 to 4 of them each week. While in the past I can't even remember seeing one. I saw plenty of them when I was in London.

I'm curious as to why all of sudden they are all over the place. Did they suddenly arrive in show rooms? It's almost like a big shipment came in.

And they are really small. Not all that practical when you want to buy many things. There just isn't all that much room in them. If you were using them as a second car or as a car to commute to work in, then they'd work out just fine. Parking is at a premium in DC. But you could park just about anywhere. You could fit just about anywhere.

The car is 8.8 feet long. 5.1 feet tall and 5.1 feet wide. Seems there are three dealerships right in the DC area and one in Annapolis.

It gets 33 city/41 highway which is pretty good but seems to me for the price y0u could get the same mileage and have a little larger car.

They are weird to see driving down the road and one things for sure they may be really small but they are very hard to miss.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Political Podcast

My friend Arthur and I did another political podcast. We did right after the last debate. You can hear by following this link.

We talk about the state of the race. Who we think "won" the debate. The attacks going back and forth. The tone of the campaign. Then some general thoughts on the way the economy is going and the impact it is having on the race.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Final Debate

I have to same I'm glad they are over. I thought we heard a lot of the same things we heard in early debates.

I watched most of this one. About the first 45 minutes and then about the last 15. I have to say on the day the market dropped 700 plus points I thought we get something more than what we got. I think McCain was way too strident and Obama was a little too laid back.

I think McCain had one of the best lines of the night:

I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. I'm going to give a new direction to this economy in this country.

But in many many ways McCain is exactly like Bush. Extend the tax cuts to the rich. More breaks for big business.

Obama countered well:

When President Bush came into office, we had a budget surplus and the national debt was a little over $5 trillion. It has doubled over the last eight years. And we are now looking at a deficit of well over half a trillion dollars. So one of the things that I think we have to recognize is pursuing the same kinds of policies that we pursued over the last eight years is not going to bring down the deficit. And, frankly, Senator McCain voted for four out of five of President Bush's budgets. We've got to take this in a new direction, that's what I propose as president.

Once again in the instant polls, Obama won. McCain did better, but once again his tone was just not right. I don't understand why he can't go on the attack and not be well for lack of a better word so snarky, so condescending toward Obama. I just don't see how McCain thinks this is going to win him votes.

McCain made some points on taxes but Obama kept repeating he's giving a tax cut to 95% of Americans. Only those people making over $250,000 would see their taxes rise. McCain's response was why would you raise anyone's taxes which I have to say I found a weak counter argument.

And the plumber guy wow did I get tired of him fast.

The bottom line was stated by one of the commentators last night. McCain needed to convince someone who was voting for Obama to change his mind and vote for McCain. The commentator said he didn't see that happen. I have to agree.

The one thing the candidates cannot control is the stock market. If it continues to do this roller coaster with huge losses and huge gains, I don't see how this helps McCain. I think it can only make Obama stronger.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Presidential Election

So slowly but surely Obama is moving ahead of McCain. That's very good news if the election were held today but the election is in three weeks and a great deal can happen between now and then. Still I'm cautiously optimistic.

The main stream media continues to show national polls that put Obama ahead. In one Obama had like 53% to McCain's 39%. I know I'm not always all that good at math but somehow that doesn't add up to 100%. I guess the remaining 8% are undecided. I'm guessing at that because in all the stories on the poll that little fact isn't mentioned.

In the much more important electoral college race, Obama is way ahead. If you go to Real Clear Politics, they have a map of the US on their main page. It shows Obama ahead in electoral votes. It divides states into red, blue and gray. Then further refines things by showing states that are solid for each candidate and those leaning toward each candidate. The gray states are true toss up states. You can find the map here.

It is interesting that in the past few days McCain/Palin have been in Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana. These are normally red states so it shows they are in places that should have already been in their column.

Once again I'm optimistic but . . .

Finally, I stumbled on an interesting video about Palin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bob Costas at National Press Club, Part II

A very fun, informative and enjoyable evening listen to Marvin Kalb interviewing Bob Costas. Costas has just an amazing recall of baseball. In fact they discussed baseball for the first half of the interview. The second half was devoted to the Olympics.

The baseball discussion touched on steroids and how that has tainted many of the records that were broken during, for lack of a better phrase, the steroid era.

The Olympics touched on the amount of money NBC paid for the Olympics. Its attempts to control access to the coverage and the coverage about the political situation in China.

It was very informative.

After the formal show, the audience got to ask questions. One of them was especially amusing. The guy said he was a die hard Cubs fan which is the reason he was able to make to the program (the Cubs lost in three straight to the Dodgers). The guy asked Costas about Sam Zell, the owner of the Cubs. Rumors have it that Zell might sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field. Costas said Zell would have hell to pay if did that. Part of the mystique of the Cubs or the Red Sox is the stadiums in which they play. So there is all the history going against the renaming of Wrigley.

He made a great statement about baseball which he admits is his favorite sport. He talked about the seventh game of the World Series which he broadcast several years back. He said it all comes down to the guy on the pitcher's mound and the guy behind home plate. In that way baseball is a much more timeless sport than most others. Costas said if Rip Vanwinkle woke up he could still understand what was going on in the game.

Costas also commented on public funded stadiums. He thought the fans and tax payers should have more say on the pricing of tickets so that average people could actually go to games. He added that many long time season ticket holders were being priced out of tickets.

One of the questions he was asked was who he'd vote for to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He said he couldn't vote because you have to be an actual baseball writer to be part of the Hall. Costas did say he would probably not vote for guys like Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. There use of performance enhancing drugs did indeed help them. He added that he would probably vote for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds because they were above and beyond just about everyone before they were using steroids.

Here is Costas surrounded by people all wanting a picture or autograph. He said he to one of the assistants for the show he'd stay until everyone was done. Very classy indeed.

Bob Costas at National Press Club

I go to see Bob Costas last night at the National Press Club interviewed by Marvin Kalb. It was a very interesting discussion. Costas knows an incredible amount about baseball and he demonstrated that last night. After the talk I got his autograph and asked him what was the most surprising moment of the Olympics. He said Usain Bolt winning the 100 meters.

I'll go into more details about the night and post more pictures in a later post.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This is a continuation of the incredible day we had on Friday. The first three pictures are the fountains at the National Gallery of Art's sculpture garden.

These last three pictures are of the spectacular The Spirit of Haida Gwaii by Bill Reid at the Canadian embassy. You can read more about the Spirit of Haida Gwaii by following this link.

Washington at Night

We went touring the monuments after having a wonderful dinner at Colonel Brooks Tavern.

The above pictures were taken at the FDR Memorial.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Down Only 128

On Most any other day the stock market going down by 128 points would be a pretty big deal. In light of recent sessions it seems well sort of quaint. Only 128 points. Well that's hardly anything compared to what it went down other days this week.

It's too bad the market isn't closed for Columbus Day. I guess the bloodletting will start again on Monday. Perhaps the meetings over the weekend with the G-7 heads will bring something new to the table or at least some sort of greater global strategy to deal with what is going on.

President Bush spoke to the nation again this morning:

President Bush today urged financial markets and the broader American public to remain calm in the face of the global financial meltdown, saying that "we'll get through this together."

This uncertainty has led to anxiety among our people," Bush said during a statement delivered in the White House Rose Garden. "And that is understandable. But anxiety can feed anxiety, and that can make it hard to see all that is being done to solve the problem."

"This is an anxious time," Bush said. "But the American people can be confident in our future."

One of the financial commentators on CNBC said the last thing that was needed was for President Bush to come out and spout more meaningless platitudes. The main problem with Bush is that his credibility is completely shot. He really can't move the majority of people one way or the other any more.

One thing to note is that a barrel of oil is trading around $77.00. At any other time that would be good news. But right now the fact that gasoline prices are coming down isn't much consolation because no one has any money to buy gas with.

So I guess the thing to do this weekend is forget all about what's happening until Monday dawns and the market starts dropping again. Maybe it will less than 100 points on Monday. Maybe.

Economic Crash!?

So is this what an economic crash look like?

I thought this quarter's statement of my mutual funds and 401k were a disaster. I can hardly wait to see what next quarter brings.

The headline in the Post is Fears of Recession Deepen Rout. I think we have to say that the recession is here. It is just a matter of time before we feel it and how long will it last.

It is interesting to me that the media is focusing on the drops in stock markets across the world. The other story not being followed all that much is LIBOR which I talked about earlier. From the Post story:

While the stock market was the most visible sign of the distress, a more significant one may have been a rise in interest rates for short-term lending among banks. The spike came despite Wednesday's cut in the target interest rate of the world's major central banks, suggesting that banks are more fearful than ever of lending to each other.

How high is the rate:

The three-month London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, hit 4.75% Thursday - its highest level since December 28. Libor stood at 2.81% one month ago.

For more on this story follow this link.

That tells the story of at least part of the reason we are in this mess. If this rate doesn't come down, we could look at even further losses.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ed and Jennifer Arrive

Ed and Jennifer arrived yesterday. It sounds like they had good flights out. The plane arrived on time and so did their luggage. They had some concern about that. We took a cab to my place and dropped off their stuff. After a brief rest we headed out to see the sights.

American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery

We went to the American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery. Both are open until 7:00. They have a wide range of exhibits as these pictures will show. After that we met up with a friend of Ed and Jennifer's and went to a Tapas restaurant called Jaleo. The food was very good.