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Are Pennsylvania Authorities Confused About Sex?

A week after the horrendous Penn State molestation scandal, which lasted at least ten years without attracting the interest of law enforcement, the authorities appear to be intent on showing they mean business.

CBS reports that 6 teenagers are being charged with the very serious felony of being in possession of child pornography after three girls each sexted photos of themselves to a teenage guy they knew.

Apparently the Police Academy needs to update its course material on sex crimes. Until then maybe the cops can go home and ask their kids to explain things.

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It’s Time Obama Considered Re-Branding

It’s hard to gain consensus when the political environment has made dialog impossible. Although philosophical issues are blamed for the impasse, I doubt Tea Party supporters, for example, really look into the issues that deeply. I maintain Language is the key to acheiving  consensus.

Their are certain buzz words which exude American Power and are almost certain to garner Right wing support. It’s about time that Obama started to use them.

“War” and other POWER words places everyone on notice that the program is:

  • a serious national commitment,
  • a matter of survival
  • likely to require resources, sacrifice and commitment
  • a matter of National pride
  • something you can’t oppose without being a traitor

The Right has used the word “war” and other Power words effectively for years, even when selling programs which themselves are terrible failures. The “War on Drugs” immediately comes to mind.

The Right is conditioned by now, to support any program which is a matter of American Power.

So here, in an effort to reopen political dialogue is the re-branded list of Democratic Programs:

  • The Disease Defense Initiative replaces Obamacare.
  • Critical Food and Agricultural Subsidy and Survival Certificates replace Food Stamps.
  • Special Forces for Strategic Smog Defense replaces the EPA.
  • The North American Saving Defense Command replaces the Consumer Protection Agency.
  • The War on Stupid supersedes Education funding programs.
Posted in America, Better Options, Frivolity, Politics | Leave a comment

Austerity: the Banker’s Solution; the People’s Problem

Austerity is the most oft-repeated word on the evening news.

It’s the vogue in Europe as Greece and Italy are taken over by economists. [After all, who better to call in to do the dirty work of imposing doom than practitioners of the dismal science.]

It’s not as if the technocrats must be in charge to develop a “plan”. In fact the problem has never been devising a plan to satisfy the Banks. The problem is to get people who have been suffering in near zero growth economies for years to accept further austerity, beyond that which has been self-imposed by the erosion of their personal wealth.

Certainly retirement ages can be raised, pensions can be re-jiggered, government spending can be cut, but that only deals with the Banker’s problem. Unless you happen to be a banker, that is not the “real” problem.

The real problem is that Greece and Italy [and Spain, Portugal, Ireland, maybe even France] financed their debt based upon growth rates more optimistic than they were able to achieve.

Fixing the growth rates would help the bankers, over time, and help the people as well.

But nobody is talking about fixing the growth rates. First, because it is difficult, and second, because the Bankers can’t wait.

The bankers can’t wait [or so they say] because they have not got enough capital to survive lengthy delays in repayment [what bankers call “workout”] of the imminent defaults.

The reason they don’t have enough capital can easily be the subject of a book, but it will suffice here to say that there are two ways to improve the performance of a financial institution seeking return on capital. Increase earnings;- reduce capital. Keeping extra capital around may be the prudent thing to do, but not if you are determined, at all costs, to have a greater return on capital than your competitors. The banks are not low on capital because they made a mistake. They are low on capital because they like it that way. It makes management look smart; at least until the chickens come home to roost.

As the chickens file into the roost the bankers are showing us how important it is to impose austerity by using economic terrorism. All they need do to raise the sovereign debt rates over the terror threshold of 7% is to offer some Italian bonds for sale from their portfolio and refrain from making any offers to buy at the going rates.

Consider it a shot across the bow, but however you look at it the Bankers can exercise control over the indicators of how bad, and immediate, the need is for austerity.

Think banks don’t coordinate bond trades?

Think again. In order to manage their investment profits from year to year banks have traditionally traded bonds at a loss in good years, and traded bonds at a gain in bad years. All without really losing or making an extra dime.

When rates fall, causing banks to earn less, they can sell bonds [which rise as rates fall] booking a gain on the sale. If rates rise causing banks to earn more, they can sell bonds, booking a loss on the sale.

But here is the clever part. On the very same day that J.P. Morgan sells bonds to HSBC to book a loss, it can buy back the same bonds from Citi at the new low price. By the end of the day’s trades J.P. Morgan’s portfolio hasn’t even changed, but it booked a loss to offset earnings and manage investment performance from year to year, to the delight of shareholders.

Meanwhile, back in Europe, the Bankers have succeeded in creating a sense of urgency to solve the banking problem, but have no interest in solving the slow growth problem which is really at the root of all the trouble.

The reason they do not intend to address the slow growth problem is simple.

While solving the banking problem means putting money in the hands of the bankers, solving the slow growth problem necessitates putting money in the hands of the people.

The exact opposite of austerity.

Is there a way to solve the immediate banking “crisis” and then get to work on stimulating the slow growth economies?

Yes. The Central Banks should raise the capital requirements of the european banks and be the investor of last resort for those which are unable to raise more capital. Then the Central Bank should take proportionate ownership, placing their economists on the Boards of Directors.

Suddenly, confronted by this new reality, many banks will find more capital and do everything in their power, to shore up their balance sheets. Including putting a halt to predatory bond trading.

Posted in Better Options, Economics & Finance, Politics, Scarce Facts | Leave a comment

Small Size, Big Sound – Part 2

There is not room or time to share all the smart engineering which went into the FoxL speaker we talked about a few days ago, but after days of almost continuous use under varying conditions I am ever more amazed.

The battery life, contrary to recent reviews, is about 8-12 hours at reasonable volume levels. The reviewer who found it to be 5 hours must have been driving it near full volume, which is something you are unlikely to do with a ‘near field’ speaker design.

To underscore the portability of the FoxL, I offer this shot of the speaker next to an iPod nano with a Sony Bluetooth adapter. The unobtrusive combination is able to provide great sound at room filling volume, no strings attached. The limitation is the drain on the nano’s tiny battery which provides about 2 hours, [independent of volume levels, of course.]

Using the connecting cable which comes with the FoxL you could eliminate the battery drain on the nano and listen many hours at the compromise of convenience.

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Hey, Paterno. Did you have to choose?

Must you choose between being a decent, responsible adult and being a winning football coach? I never really thought you did, until the shame of Penn State came to light.

Archive of Joe Paterno at 100th win of a record total of 409

Joe Paterno, apparently believed that choice was necessary, and he knows more about it than I. At 409 he won more victories than any other football coach in the FBS.

But Joe, you sure turned out to be a poor excuse for a human being.

Think it’s unfair that your whole life shall forever be undermined by your one poor decision?

Ironic but just.

In that way you are exactly like the young victims molested after you decided to abandon them.  Their lives too, are forever undermined by your bad decision.

How proud would be the Mikado. Your punishment fits your crime.

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A New Surprise in Loudspeakers?

There are not many loudspeakers which have the ability to surprise me. But now there is another to add to the short list.

In 1957 The Quad Electrostatic Speaker ESL-57 surprised the world with a fundamentally superior means of producing distortion free audio. To this day, Peter Walker and David Williamson’s original invention puts nearly every other loudspeaker to shame in terms of accuracy, and remains a favorite of audiophiles after 50 years. [Yes, Williamson is the guy who gave the world the Williamson Amplifier design which is the basis of virtually every low distortion tube audio amplifier ever built.]

In 1971 Marty Gertsten surprised a lot of people when he perfected Lincoln Walsh’s driver concept into the Ohm Acoustics Models A & F. Among the knowledgeable folks impressed by Marty’s work was Dr. Bose who confided his amazement to me while drawing on his unlit pipe, as the ‘F’ played Bill Withers in Marty’s booth at the Chicago Consumer Electronics Show.

Only it’s inability to withstand the long term stresses of operation through the years prevents The Ohm F from putting other, more recent speakers to shame. Unfortunately few, if any of the original Walsh drivers Marty built are still around.

Since then, Audio has been a series of subtle improvements and the world has moved away from the audiophile’s goal of “accuracy” towards the “sound-good” criterion which leads to speakers which make a big impression but can not be listened to for more than an hour or two without inducing ‘listener fatigue’.

But now there is a new surprise for those of us who shun boom and distortion in preference for accuracy, but need to be able to carry their sound source. The surprise is a true high quality speaker system, called the FoxL 2.2. Wow!

Where does all that hi class sound come from? 

The last time its inventor, Dr. Guenter changed audio was when he designed the [Braun] ADS L-200. The first serious small speaker is only 4 x 4 x 7 inches.

So he has the street cred when it comes to building High Quality into small speakers.

But FoxL takes Godehard Guenter’s talents to an unprecedented level of SMALL.

Just compare Dr. G’s new surprise in audio to the Radio Shack knock-offs of his L-200.

The new FoxL is only 10% the volume [size] of the miniature L-200. [5% if you use 2 L-200s for stereo].

The FoxL 2.2 fits in your shirt pocket and produces wonderful, wonderful sound from any Bluetooth device [depending upon good source material, of course]. Unlike the L-200 it also contains a powerful stereo amp. Otherwise, I guess, it would be smaller.

Dr. G., like very few before you, your FoxL speaker is a wonderful surprise. Thank you.

Want to know More? Look Here!

It’s $199 at Amazon, but make certain you get the Buetooth version, not the less costly, less useful non- Bluetooth unit.

Posted in America, Better Options, Music, progress, Tech Light | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Angela really, really, doesn’t get the Greeks

Angela is determined, and the birth of Economic Democracy now looks less certain. Rather than giving the Greek 99% a choice of whether or not to take further austerity measures upon themselves, the Central Bankers insist that they will decide.

Very short-sighted for at least 2 very big reasons.

First, the Greeks are not averse to demonstrating, striking, and rioting when authority rears its ugly head. Stopping the slow growing Greek economy dead in its tracks is NOT the way to get their debt paid down.

Secondly, but more important in the long run, Greece’s rescue is the prototype for Italy. Unlike Greece, however, which accounts for a tiny portion of Euro GDP, Italy is the third largest economy in Europe.

There is not enough money to bail out Italy when it starts to collapse under the weight of costly debt, as large, proportionately, as Greece’s.

Angela’s only hope is to find an orderly out for Greece and let them deal with their creditors in drachmas. Then she can start to focus upon Italy, which has been the real issue from the outset.

She can start by shoring up the capital of the banks which hold Italian debt, but only if they have arrived at a deal, on their own, with Greece.

But just in case she is forced to monetize the garbage debt by buying it with Euros, [to rescue depositors money] she should locate those infamous wheel-barrows German’s used 50 years ago to shop for a loaf of bread.

Yup, it sounds like a joke, but it’s not. It’s what happens when bankers fight off regulation and fail to impose adequate risk control measures themselves.

Now the world’s bankers are quite amazingly fighting for less regulation while simultaneously demanding government bailouts to save them from their bad decisions.

Is this what they mean by FREE MARKET? They are free to do as they please, and free to impose the consequences of their acts upon others.

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