• on a comment on Should the left arm itself? over 4 years ago

    In colonial times, it took months to get an army here, and weeks for that army to get anywhere. Today, it takes 3 or 4 days to move a million men all the way around the world.

    Ignoring the fact that we are no longer the sleeping giant (we have no manufacturing left to speak of), we just cannot spin up an army fast enough to counter an invasion force.

  • on a comment on Should the left arm itself? over 4 years ago

    It is a necessary danger. The quickest way I can think of to invite war is to be perceived as conquerable. You really think the rest of the world wouldn't kill us to get our stuff? Believing so ignores all of human history.

  • on a comment on Should the left arm itself? over 4 years ago

    I actually prefer a bow to a rifle for this due to the difficulty. With a rifle, there are not nearly as many things you have to consider (your breathing, heart rate, and sights). For a bow, you have to take into account everything as you would with a rifle, but in addition, you have to control for muscle fatigue, wind, slight bends to the arrows, irregularities in the fletchings, the "break point" on the bow (most bows have a point in the draw where not as much pressure is required to keep the bow bent; this is where you do your aiming). With a bow, the process is much more instinctual than mechanical. With a rifle, anyone with an hour's training can become a proficient shot. With a bow, it takes much more experience to achieve the same level of proficiency.  

  • on a comment on Should the left arm itself? over 4 years ago

    No, but the danger should not be discounted. I've always said that if you are not nervous around a firearm, you are not treating it with enough respect. It's the primary reason I tend to avoid handguns - it's a lot easier to have an accident with a handgun than a rifle.

    Everything I said about firing a rifle is also true for archery. In fact, a fairly famous book was written about it. In both cases, a meditative state can be achieved through the process of blocking out everything except you, the weapon, and the target, and seeking to control yourself and the weapon to the point of supreme effectiveness. These techniques were orignally used by the samurai, in their quest to seek warrior perfection.

    This really has to be experienced, rather than described. If you have an open mind, I'd suggest finding someone who does target shooting, and have them take you to a range for instruction. You can even us a BB gun if that makes you more comfortable; works for them too. You will be surprised at how much discipline and control you need to hit your target (for example, the trigger on a weapon must be gently squeezed - if you just pull the trigger, you are going to miss.) Once you realize how much control you need, and seek to obtain it, you will find yourself in the zen state faster than you would expect.

  • on a comment on Should the left arm itself? over 4 years ago

    Firing a rifle is a zen experience. You sight the target downrange, and close one eye. You focus on lining up the sights with the target, and once you get used to it, everything else gets blocked out. You see nothing but the target and the sights. Then, you have to control your breathing and your heart rate. Every time your heart beats, the sights move over the target. Every time you breathe, the sights move. In the moments before you pull the trigger, time seems to slow down. You take a deep breath, and focus on calm. Slow your heart. You "bring the target to you" - you aren't firing a bullet, you are bringing the target to the bullet. You gently squeeze the trigger, and BANG! Time returns to normal. When you get good, you'll find that you put the bullet EXACTLY where you wanted it, within a couple of millimeters at 50 yards. When you do target shooting right, it is religion.

  • If I lost my job (which I have in the past, having been laid off during the dot.com bubble) it would cost $750 a month to put my family on COBRA. The maximum unemployment benfits I am entitled to is $250 a week. Do the math.

  • Because they didn't get wealthy by playing by the rules, mostly.

  • on a comment on "Heckuva job, Timmy..." over 5 years ago

    Again not my idea, not something I necessarily support, but:

    I've often found in my job that it really helps managers make painful decisions if you can convince them it was their idea. The idea of nationalization is gaining traction daily...perhaps that was the plan all along?

    I know, I know. The myth of Obama the miracle worker. You do have to admire how the guy has a knack for being perfectly positioned when his opponents self-destruct, though.

  • on a comment on "Heckuva job, Timmy..." over 5 years ago

    Hey, I said it wasn't my idea.

  • on a comment on "Heckuva job, Timmy..." over 5 years ago

    Why not just bailout the taxpayers directly then?

    Because the taxpayers aren't the ones with the problem. It does you know good to have money if you can't buy anything with it, and if these companies go south, the whole economy collapses.

    Besides, the market doesn't seem to respond to Geithners approach anyway.

    Actually, I'd argue that it has. Geithner's approach is a "hold the line" approach. It will not result in a quick tunraround, nor will it result in a cratering of the markets. Nationalizing the banking system has a statistically signifcant chance of sending the stock market into a tailspin from which it cannot recover - economic collapse. I see Geithner's approach as the "safe" way - the results are fairly predicatable. It will be grotesquely expensive, and will likely result in a "lost decade". But these risks are known. Other approaches have too much uncertainty.

  • I haven't been a fan of Jerome's blogging either, but on this one I'm going to have to side with him, if only from the perspective of history.

    No army in HISTORY has ever held Afghanistan. Ever. The Soviets couldn't do it. Napolean couldn't do it. Alexander couldn't do it.

    What exactly is the objective in Afghanistan anyway? Preventing the taliban from regaining power? Let me get this straight: we are going to go occupy a region that has been proven impossible to hold, full of guerillas that for the majority of the last thirty years have been practicing their skills at harassing an occupying power, whose population will sympathize with them the more we squeeze...I believe in Obama too, but tell me some good news about this decision, please. I just can't see any way this will end well.

  • on a comment on "Heckuva job, Timmy..." over 5 years ago

    Because there is another point of view that is not being presented here.

    Not saying it is right or wrong, or that I support it. But:

    The objections that I see on how Giethner is handling the economy are all very sound economically, but leave out one critical factor: psychology of the market. A large factor in how the global economy functions is what people believe is going to happen, regardless of what actually does happen. Left leaning economists are correct that the quickest way to make our banking system solvent again is to nationalize. But psychology of the market says that if you start taking banks into receivership, the money will flow out of financial stocks in a flood - because as banks start defaulting on their loans to one another, who knows which one will be next? Then, as the money flows out of the market, stock values will depress, forcing margin calls, which will trigger more selling.

    What I believe Geithner is trying to do is arrest this death spiral by the only means at his disposal. Yes, it isn't fair. Yes, the taxpayer is getting screwed. But the alternative is wiping out the retirement savings of the largest generation in American history right before they retire.

  • Why not? By elevating Rush, he backs the Republican leadership into a corner. They end up having to catre to Rush to placate their base, whil simulatneously alienating the people who actually get Republicans elected (the swing voters). Obama, if anything, should be putting Rush up on a pedestal. Invite the man to the White House.

  • And to your point of ignornace:

    My mother is a VP of a brokerage firm. My step-mother is a former limited partner of another. (Both in non-financial roles - heading up training departments - just so you don't get the wrong idea). I have worked for a brokerage firm for seven years, and am certified in brokerage operations. I understand the difference between a debt security and an equity security, and can go into some detail about the different types of each.

    Now. Please. Educate me from your superior position of experience.

  • No, I have no other examples. Because it has never happened. Sweden's banking sector is small and simple compared to ours. There is no example to look to; this has never happened before.

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