Monday, September 29, 2008

Is your voice heard?

Dear Mr. Gaal:



Thank you for contacting me about our country's financial crisis and the proposed recovery legislation. Today the House defeated this legislation, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, by a vote of 205 to 228, despite my support.



Like you, I do not have any interest in "bailing out" Wall Street firms and business leaders who have speculated recklessly, endangered our country's consumers and homebuyers, and resisted regulation that would protect the public interest. My concern is for Main Street - for the people depending on a sound economy and the availability of credit to buy a house or car, to run their business and meet payroll, and to save for college and retirement.



Like it or not, we are all in this together, and the entire economy is threatened as we teeter on the edge of a 1929-style meltdown. Today Wachovia Bank, a North Carolina mainstay, collapsed. But this goes much deeper than bank failures. Last week, the City of Raleigh could not find a buyer for a $300 million bond, and Wake County cancelled its planned $472 million bond issue for school construction, Wake Tech, libraries, and open space acquisition. Both have AAA bond ratings.



Although President Bush lacks the credibility to be of much help, I take the dire warnings of economic analysts very seriously, particularly in light of everything that has happened in the last few weeks. But I could not support Secretary Paulson's request for a blank check for $700 billion to purchase mortgage-backed securities and stabilize the markets.



I thus became part of the intensive discussions over the last ten days to rewrite the Treasury plan in several critical respects. The legislation which came before us today would:



o Provide strict independent oversight and accountability for all activities undertaken by the US Treasury

o Release the $700 billion in installments, with multiple reviews along the way

o Make certain that the entire $700 billion is recaptured by the Treasury and thus by the American taxpayer, by requiring that taxpayers share in any profits resulting from the government's help and providing for assessment of the financial industry for any remaining losses

o Forbid "golden parachutes" and limit other compensation for executives of participating financial institutions.

o Require the government to work with participating institutions and loan servicers to help deserving homeowners negotiate reasonable repayment terms and stay in their homes



The defeat of the bill prolongs and perhaps deepens the crisis. Coordinating with the Senate, the House will need to return within days to try again. Perhaps the economic situation will then lead some members to reconsider. Perhaps the bill can be changed in ways that attract a majority; I certainly have a list of improvements I would like to see. But considering the members who voted "no," I will want to scrutinize carefully any changes designed to attract them.



I am committed over the next few days to continue working to avert financial collapse and get the best possible deal for America's taxpayers and homeowners. I welcome and share your concern about this situation and will be glad to hear from you at any time.


Sincerely,

DAVID PRICE

Member of Congress

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Deflocked

"Hi Marty,

I stumbled across your site while looking for Raleigh-area blogs, and I thought I'd take a stab at emailing you. I thought your "Paulson orders US to eat babies" post was hilarious. And I'm pretty impressed with all of your training. I've been meaning to start working out again to get my body back to something that's more affiliated with the male anatomy. I just became a new Dad last year, so I've been graciously absorbing all of my daughter's baby fat. Anyway, I'm also emailing you because I had this really weird favor to ask you...

I'm a writer and a cartoonist, and I have this newly-syndicated comic called "DeFlocked", which currently appears in newspapers all across the country. Your daily paper - The Raleigh News & Observer - is thinking of adding a couple new strips to the paper, and I'm being considered for one of the slots. I was really hoping to get some local support for my work, but the problem is, I literally know NOBODY out your way.

If you had a minute, would you mind checking out my strip at www.deflocked.com, and, if you like my sense of humor, maybe go here and vote for DeFlocked: http://share.triangle.com/comicsvote (You can vote for up to four new strips, but it's ok to vote only for DeFlocked). It would only take a second, and it would truly help me out in a big way. They also let you vote up to 5 times from the same computer.

And one more thing - this is kind of urgent, because the voting ends late Monday night, Sept. 29. So, if you were into posting this or passing this along to all your friends/fam/co-workers, that would be huge. I'm up against some stiff competition, so I have to get the grassroots growing quickly. My strip has been slowly building a national following (even got an endorsement from Larry David!), but I'm still just a newbie and I honestly could use all the help I can get.

Anyway, thanks for considering all this, Marty, and I wish you continued success with your training and coaching business.

Have a great week, and I'll talk to you soon.

Best,
Jeff Corriveau
www.deflocked.com"

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fat, drunk, and stupid...


"...Is no way to go through life, son." said the sage Dean Wormer to the ill-advised Flounder. But it can get you through a 10 mile running race in non-record breaking time.

I'm still carrying a few extra pounds of non-performing flesh and they add up at roughly 2 sec per pound per mile. Also had few beers at the Flying Saucer last night, then we got to sleep at a decent hour.

I dialed in at 7:30 mile pace and held it there for the Anna's angel 10 miler in Research Triangle Park. The course was pleasant enough, rolling hills and little traffic. Didn't feel bad but I am revisiting my marathon goal time after today. A Boston Q time for my age group (M35-39) would be 3:15.59, which works out to 7:28 per mile pace.

Today I held 7:29 per mile pace for 10 miles. You can do the math. I have 2 months till the marathon in Philly. I am going to shoot for 3:20 or 3:25 and enjoy myself.

Bri had a good run, taking first for the women in the 5k and setting a new course record!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

let the good times roll

It is funny how a few years and dollars can change a person's perspective on things. Talking to a couple of my younger buddies over the past few days, they are not particularly worried about the going-ons in the economy. They still trust the system. I sure don't. I've written my senators and congressman about the bailout(s). It is robbery. They may as well come into your house and take the cash from your pocket at gunpoint, or raid your kids 403(b), if you're lucky enough to have one. If I had lots of dough I would move a chunk of it overseas.

They want to throw $600 billion into the wind, but won't invest the same in national health care? That's 10 grand a person if my math is correct.

Back to burying my head in the sand.

Been planning our 2009 spring break training camp. Going to be in St Pete Beach. Renting a plush house for a week. Will finish with the Gasparilla running weekend. Want to join us?

Swam 3,400 yards the past two evenings with our masters group. Getting some swim form back before the 5k on October 4. Should be fun.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Paulson to order consumption of babies


Secretary of the Treasury Henry (Hank) Paulson, today issued the unprecedented order that all US taxpayers must eat their young.

"It's a win-win situation," said Paulson, biting down on what looked to be a steak. "By reducing the number of mouths we have to feed, there will be more food for those of us strong enough to remain. It's a classic case of supply and demand." He paused to nudge President Bush, sitting at his side. "Besides, I can do whatever I want, right, little buddy?"

Paulson eye's then turned bright red, fire spat from his mouth, and he flame broiled our reporter.

Non-taxpayers, which comprise more than 50% of the US population, are exempt from the order, since they are mindless cannon fodder, anyway.

"It doesn't make much sense to me," said Sara Solomon, a secretary of Des Moines, Iowa, sitting on a park bench during her lunch break. "I mean, I can understand it if he says we should try to save our money, and live closer to work so we don't use as much gas, and stuff like that, but he wants me to eat my babies? I mean, that just seems wrong."



Dan Jones, of Atlanta, Georgia, agreed. "I ain't eating my kids, or anyone else's kids, regardless what this knucklehead in Washington says. In fact, I think I'm done paying taxes and going to church, too." He scratched his head. "Between you'n me, I'm stocking up on supplies'n ammo and heading to the woods with my family."

Ben Bernanke, spotted on his front lawn in a bathrobe and wearing a dazed look while he retrieved the morning paper, had this to say. "Uh, well, as you can see, I didn't exactly sign up for this sort of stuff, you know? I mean, I used to believe in the American dream. But now that dream has become a nightmare, and I'm sort of caught in the middle of it."



Bernanke began to tremble and put his head in his hands. "Why couldn't I have just been a 5th grade math teacher, like I always wanted to be?"

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weekend in Wrightsville Beach

We had a great time over at the beach. On Saturday, I got in a 2 hour run while Bri raced in the Wilmington tri. She did well and took 4th in a competitive field. Then we lounged around, drank beer, told stories, and had fun. I forgot my laptop AC adapter and so couldn't do much work, which was a good thing. Got in a couple surf sessions as well.

On Sunday we went for another run, then I spun around the island on the bike. Got home and 7pm and plowed through some scheduling for my athletes.

At this moment I'm listening to a webinar from Mike Morgan, who believes Paulson is the devil, we're about to enter a depression, and you should be shorting or using put options on selective financials and REITs. For small fry like us he is advising to get your IRA/401k into treasuries, and expects to see Dow 8000 before we see Dow 12000.

Interesting times.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Weekend update


We're headed down to Wrightsville Beach for the weekend. Tomorrow Bri will race alongside 1,300 other folks in the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon. I'll be out getting my long run in and cheering. We get to spend the rest of the weekend chillin' like a villian with bob dylan' at my bro-in-law's brother's beach pad. Phat. I'll get some easy riding in on Sunday and hopefully there will be waves worth surfing. Other than that, relax and enjoy.

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today's stock trades



Today in my fictional stock market account, I was a moron. I held onto my Wachovia shorts, and got hammered by good news and happy talk of mergers and hand holding. I also held onto Ultrashort financials and lost most of yesterday's gains. I didn't buy gold earlier this week so have no happy news there. Goldman Sachs shorts are my only good move at the moment. My uranium mining stock is a stinker, having lost 70% of it's value over the past few months. BRK as my fictional core holding would be good if it was 1992.

In fake real dollar terms, I was up to 110,000 yesterday, and today am down to 95,000. Those are fake dollars, I am not really trading out of Bri's retirement fund.

But in the real world today, since I didn't cash out everything in our retirement funds, I was a genius and made nearly 4%. Amazing.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good news

In other news, life goes on and we've got to enjoy the moments we're given. So, a few more positive notes:

Starting tonight I will be running regularly at 6PM on Wednesday nights from Inside Out Sports for a friendly group run. The route will start as a 5k through Preston at a conversational pace, if the group grows we can add miles and/or include some tempo running.

The TAC-OSB Master's team is doing well and growing. The addition of evening practice times has brought in a bunch of new faces and the morning crew is solid. Next week I am going to extend the morning practice times on Monday and Wednesday to 1 hour 15 instead of one hour. Our current practice schedule is:

Monday Wednesday Friday 6-7 AM
Monday Tuesday Thursday 730-845 PM

Fees are $50 per month or $6.25 per drop in.

I'm planning to run the Anna's Angels 10 miler in Durham on Sunday, September 28.

And now, here are some cool pics of our vacation in St Pete with my sis, bro-in-law, niece, Dad, and his wife Lilian.

Little 10 month old Cate likes the beach:


Dinner with the gang at Snapper's:


Group hug on the beach:



I like the beach but could have used my sunglasses!

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I own AIG, and Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae, and so do you!

There are about 140 million individual US taxpayers in the US (despite a population of 300+ million). The non-taxpayers are exempt for one reason or another. So all of us taxpayers are now theoretically equity owners of American Insurance Group, Fannie & Freddie. The $85 billion dollar 'cash injection' into AIG works out to be $607 per taxpayer.

So here's my rhetorical question - in a few years when things calm down, and these companies are broken up and re-privatized, do you think I'll get 10 common stock shares (and the accompanying dividend stream) worth $60 from the new CEO of AIG?

Me neither. But he'll get a $10 million signing bonus.

Everything need to pop and revalue rather than this slow death march to the same inevitable conclusion.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Black Monday 2008



Today in my fictional stock market game I was a genius. I sold a few things short in the AM and had made 10% by the close of the market. Sort of expect more of the same tomorrow and the rest of the week. Panic and mayhem. In the real world my retirement account is taking a pounding. It is amazing to watch these institutions go floating by in the river of woe. This is why you should always hedge your bets in the real world. Of course I wish I'd sold everything in our 401ks, gone short on some ETFs, and then cashed out at night. But I didn't. If you have any play money I'd sell all the financials short and ride them down. It is going to be UGLY! When government officials start addressing the nation about keeping cool, you can bet it will be UGLY!

My prediction for the rest of the week is that almost everything will go down another 3-5%. Google will go up since they keep taking my (and everyone else's) ad money and transaction fees. GLD may also be on the way back up after dipping to the low 70s.

I swam almost 4k tonight, which makes 3 days in a row of swimming, which totally kicks ass.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

whew!

Whew. That sums up how I'm feeling tonight after all of our antics over the weekend. Had a nice swim on a gorgeous Saturday morning in Wrightsville Beach for the Pier 2 Pier swim. I got out with the lead pack and hung on...for about three minutes. :P then realized that I needed to slow down or roll over and go belly up. Found a nice rhythm and finished in about 40 minutes flat, which put me 6.5 minutes behind the men's winner, a fella named Chas Peterson, who swims for UNC Chapel Hill and apparently was 13th at the Olympic trials for the 10k open water swim. So, OK.

To translate that into running terms, you could say that the winner is a guy who can run a 28 minute 10k, so as a training race he might run 29 or 30 - being 6 minutes behind that time is still a respectable 35 or 36 minute 10k run. Not bad, right? I will optionally neglect to mention the dozens of teenage girls who also soundly whipped me out there. It was fun either way, saw a bunch of folks we know, and I got 3rd in the M35-39 age group.

Drove home, packed up, picked up Bri, and then we headed off to VA Beach. Visited the Final Kick Sports shop to pick up our packets for the Sandman Triathlon; it is a nice tri-shop with shoes, wetsuits, bikes, and all the other stuff.

Had dinner with one of my athletes and then we headed to Sis-in-law's house to crash.

Back up early, off to the beach to do the Sandman Tri. I wound up having a good race - 3rd in the swim, moved to the front on the bike and held the lead until the end when Brad Pigage caught me; held 2nd until mile 2 when another fella passed me - almost finished 3rd but a strong runner came from way down and put 30 seconds into me in the last half-mile. My swim was good, bike was better than expected - run was about where I thought (painful, uncomfortable, belly flab flabbing about) but the heat really zapped me. Also think the run was a little long. Wound up being 5th overall (an ager beat me by 3 secs) which makes me happy after having a less than competitive 2008 season.

And more importantly, I beat Bri in the 1st annual showdown or throwdown competition. She was 1.5 minutes faster on the run, and won the women's division, but she didn't beat me. :) Just kidding honey, great job.

That's it - coach tomorrow AM, swim tomorrow PM. I may look into doing one more local tri since I feel good.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weekend update

This weekend I'm pulling an old maneuver, back-to-back races. In the old days I might have won one of them and been top five in the other; now I'm just looking to finish both without having a stroke. But seriously folks...

The Pier 2 Pier swim on Saturday is 1.7 miles at Wrightsville Beach,NC. Conditions should be relatively mild. I haven't done an all out swim race since 2006 so we'll see how it pans out. We're allowed to use swim skins like the PointZero3, which I will. Not much surf predicted so I probably won't take my board down.

On Sunday Bri and I are having a bloody battle royale (with cheese) at the Sandman Triathlon in Virginia Beach, VA. I am going to hammer the swim and bike and then try not to lose too much ground to her on the run. There are some fast guys racing so chances of me being in the money are minimal. Cash purse is $300-$200-$100. Running a 20 minute 5k doesn't hold up against dudes who're running 16-17. Maybe next year. Bri will be gunning for some rent money. Baby's dadda needs food.

Have yourself a good weekend!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

US Treasury to bail out Cuba


In a surprise news release destined to foreshadow the upheaval in the markets for months to come, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson announced that the Treasury would be injecting up to $500 billion into the isolated communist state of Cuba. The small island country was recently ravaged by consecutive hurricanes.

"We've used Cuba as a strategic red herring for many years. To allow Cuba to fail now would deprive of us an important ideological and imaginary enemy, right there on our own shores," said Paulson yesterday. "Without Cuba to bash as an example of the failure of Neo-Marxist communism, we would have to turn our eyes to Haiti, or the Dominican Republic," he paused, "and they really don't work within the confines of our military rhetoric."



Cuba, which for years has barely hung onto a diminishing balance sheet due to forced liquidation of assets, like Model T Fords, cigars, grumpy old guys, and floating car boats, had not been seeking bankruptcy protection, or any other form of help from the US. Cuba's net worth is estimated at 100 billion (US), less than five times the amount the US Treasury is seeking to inject. However, by taking out various loans from Venezuela, China, and Russia, all close Cuban allies, it has a book to loan value of seventy-four. A standard acceptable book to loan value of a bank in the United States is ten. The US itself has a book to loan value of about one gazillion.



"Die, American pigs!" wrote Raul Castro, in response to repeated email inquiries. Fidel Castro was regrettably unavailable for comment.

The capital injection will begin as soon as the Treasury can ramp up dollar bill production using unskilled immigrant labor. The cash will be delivered to Cuban nationals in Miami for distribution through their network of relatives who live in underground caves outside Havana.


"It's a short term, necessary evil," said Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve. "I mean, what's more American than owning your own home, watching the New York Yankees play baseball on a flat screen TV in your living room, and hating Cuba?"

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Monday, September 8, 2008

St Pete relaxation

We had a good time in St Pete this past weekend. On Friday I got a par on a par 3 145 yard hole. After a series of dismal tees, I put one right on the green and putted for birdie. Almost made it but it ran around the lip. Lots of fun. Total score was 140 something. YeaarrrghhhH!!

Ran around the beach and swam with Bri. Went gambling on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. Lost 20 bucks on the ponies and won about 20 on poker. Raked in a few hands but gave some back with shoddy play. The guy next to me played every hand and was just giving his money away. Sad to see but that is life. If we were all winners it would be called winning, not gambling.

In other news, I put together a decent DVD to send to the clinic attendees from the last Powerstroke clinic. It came out pretty good, which is a good sign for the real deal in the works.

In other news, here is a picture of a happy clown.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

St Pete Beach!



We are here in St Pete Beach for my Dad's 74th bday weekend. Gonna go golf tomorrow and then I dunno after that. Will be working throughout the day as usual. I would tell you more but then I'd have to write something interesting.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Video editing, guitar hero, and evening masters

Our first master's evening practice went well, about 13 people showed up which is great for the first night. Bri coached and I swam for this one.

Bri is hooked on guitar hero. I would love to post some videos of that but she's banned me from entertaining you with vids/pictures of her rocking out with the Wii guitar. It is awesome.

I am getting into the video editing stuff. Quickly discovered that iMovie 08 does not compare to Final Cut Express 4 for video editing purposes, I was losing a ton of video quality in the process of importing/exporting in iMovie. If any of you have tips on that stuff I will take it.

Swam 3k tonight, which totally rocks.