Monday, November 10
Abnormal Characters, end of day, November 10, 2003.
Stephen Roach admits that he has been wrong, and says that it's time to ask "deeper strategic questions" about the "key building blocks of my
own macro framework" (a.k.a. the Recurring Roachisms). But then he proceeds to repeat them all once again, without question.
"... it's a real stretch to argue that hiring has now reached the critical mass that sparks cumulative cyclical increases in the
real economy ... I do not believe that three months of anemic hiring herald the restoration of the time-honored relationship
between aggregate demand and employment ... household sector debt stands in excess of 80% of GDP ... despite extraordinarily
low interest rates, household debt-service-to-income ratios currently stand at around 14% ... record 5.1% current account deficit ...
private sector's net saving rate [an] anemic 4% rate ... the persistent imbalances of a lopsided global economy ...
current-account, dollar and interest rate risks continue to build that could well jeopardize the macro climate in the not-so-distant
future ... a saving-short, overly-indebted, post-bubble US economy."
I much prefer Guy Clark's version of his song L.A. Freeway to the one Jerry Jeff Walker recorded. LLP doesn't like either version
and has declared them both to be "too rednecky." But honey, you married a redneck.
You can watch Quentin Hardy on C-SPAN (40 mins. RealMedia)
answer questions about his recent article in Forbes on the marijuana industry: Inside Dope.
"Small growers ... bring in $2,000 a kilo at the low end, with net margins of 55% to 90%, depending on quality, depreciation and
labor costs ... In Seattle a kilo of top-quality pot sells for $8,800, and by the time it hits Los Angeles it runs up to $13,200.
High-grade cannabis then sells at smaller weights, eventually burning up at $600 to $800 per 30 grams."
The most interesting bit I thought was the rating system for pot, which sounds not unlike bond ratings. Just what credentials do
these bud analysts hold anyway?
"Dealers grade buds like bonds, starting at BB, worth just $1,800 a kilo because of its chemical taste and black ash when burnt.
A-quality cannabis tends to be well-grown outdoor product, at $2,900 because of its somewhat loose buds. AAA ... is characterized by
tight clusters of flowers, a pleasant smell of eucalyptus and enough drug-rich resin to coat the sides of a plastic bag. Even on
a carefully grown plant only 50% of the buds are the right size and shape for AAA."
The S&P 600 Smallcap Index closed at a new all-time high last week.
The Traders' Masterclass series of books edited by Donald Mack:
"The Traders' Masterclass series brings to the market a set of classic texts from the 'golden age' of technical analysis -- timeless
trading wisdom, laying the foundations on which a growing body of investment literature has been built."
I think I've listed them all; if I missed one, please drop me a line to let me know.
The Chairman has completed the Consumer Expenditure Survey for September if you're interested in perusing the intimate details of our spending.
Om Malik wrote a little note on micropublishing
yesterday, and Glenn Fleishman of Wi-Fi Networking News made these comments:
"The funding for the sites isn't coming from subscribers: it's coming from affiliate programs and advertising. So we have the
motivation of bringing more bodies in, but we're not selling services directly to our readers. Our readers support us just by
Apparently they're domino-mad in Jamaica:
"I look at me dominoes, I don't see the crowd. I just focus on me dominoes, concentrate on me game. I been born to play domino."
Bill Clinton isn't a dummy:
"In an interdependent world, we can't kill, jail or occupy every potential adversary. We have to build a world with
more partners and fewer enemies ... we have to find a way to share the future with them and we've got to share the
responsibilities and the benefits."
Wise words from Russell Sands:
"Trend following is statistically valid in the sense that everybody has tested it for years and years, and it works. I acknowledge that
the market trends maybe
20 percent of the time and chops back and forth in consolidation 80 percent of the time ... we don't know when the market's going to
trend and when it's not. In fact, we don't know what the market's going to do at all. We can't predict anything it does. We don't
believe in predictions. Instead, we react to the market."
Here's a little example of why I love WebWasher. Click on the screenshots below to see the
un-webwashed and webwashed versions of the NetEase homepage. The Chinese sites have an especially awful look before being scrubbed
clean: they're full of blinking, bouncing, flashing ads. Don't surf the web without WebWasher!
The Great Unwashed Website
Washed Squeaky Clean
And here's the International Herald Tribune (one of the nicest newspaper sites on
the Internet) both before and after being webwashed. I haven't seen an ad banner in years (or a pop-up ad since I got Google's toolbar).
The Great Unwashed Website
Washed Squeaky Clean
More from Bernard Lewis's book, What Went Wrong?
"A whole series of Islamic radical and militant movements, loosely and inaccurately designated as 'fundamentalist,' share the objective
of undoing the secularizing reforms of the last century, abolishing the imported codes of law and the social customs that came with them,
and returning to the Holy Law of Islam and an Islamic political order."
"... their primary enemies, and the most immediate object of their campaigns and attacks, are the native secularizers -- those who have
tried to weaken or modify the Islamic basis of the state by introducing secular schools and universities, secular laws and courts, and thus
excluding Islam and its professional exponents from the two major areas of education and justice."
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