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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blogger DJ Goes Eclectic Tonight...

...with selections by Swing Out Sister, Wham, Kim Carnes, Divinyls, The Motels, The Tubes, 'Til Tuesday, Robert Palmer, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Greg Kihn, Elvis Costello, General Public, Missing Persons, Split Enz, Icile Works, Dan Hartman, Cutting Crew, Paul Young, Kajagoogoo, Talk Talk, Bryan Adams, Wang Chung, Dire Straits. Just click here to listen.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tonight, Blogger DJ's Having a '60's Folk-Rock Flashback...

...featuring the Mamas and Papas, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Fred Neil, and Donovan.

Check it out on You Tube.

Another City Journal article not to be missed...

is Allan Greenberg's scholarly and moving "With Meaning for All : The Lincoln Memorial in American consciousness ", lightly excerpted below.

It is an especially appropriate time to contemplate the significance of the memorial and the different political and cultural crosscurrents surrounding its design and construction. After all, we have not only just celebrated another Glorious Fourth, but also marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg's formal end.

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It is telling that the only reference to American slavery in the Lincoln Memorial was supplied by Lincoln himself. The Gettysburg Address, carved onto one of the side walls, mentions slavery only by implication. But in the Second Inaugural Address, delivered on March 4, 1865, and carved onto the opposite side wall, Lincoln stated:
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war.
He went further: “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.”

... Though Congress and the Lincoln Memorial Commission planned the memorial as a symbol of the enduring Union, black Americans and the civil rights movement reminded the nation of the unfinished business of the Civil War and, in fact, of the Constitutional Convention of 1787—to end slavery, attain racial justice, and provide full civil rights for African-Americans.

The memorial is thus a rare example of one that has grown in stature over time in terms of its symbolic significance. The architectural forms of a memorial do not change, but the meanings that they articulate may be intensified, expanded, and even altered by subsequent events. For that to occur, the memorial must not only be a conceptually powerful and fully realized work of art but also one that incorporates the complexity of the person and events commemorated. Without that encompassing quality, the forms will not take on fresh meaning over time but will instead remain static and limited in their frames of reference.

In the architecture of the Lincoln Memorial, there is not the slightest hint of military triumph or victory. The hand of peace extends to defeated brothers, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” The memorial is a moving and inspiring place to visit; it is also a disquieting one, for there remains a challenge, an ambient reminder of the nation’s still-unfinished business. Through the haze of memory that Lincoln’s words evoke, the smoke of battle lingers here, and the spirits of the soldiers buried across the river hover over all.

Now's not the time to be long Brazil...

...if we credit the analysis of blogger Emerging Money in his recent SEEKING ALPHA post, Brazil Down 28% In Just A Month - What's Going On ?", excerpted below.

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...President Dilma's popularity ratings are at lows (30%) while her team and party look to be very vulnerable in the 2014 November elections. All of this is weighing on the Brazilian real, which is 16% lower against the dollar in the current slide.

The real's slide is a function of the political uncertainty and the lack of clarity on what they intend to do with both monetary and fiscal policy.

Another major factor is one that hits investors closer to home with disappointing corporate governance and earnings...

The problem is that investors were sold companies that had levered balance sheets in a declining commodity market, with underlying assets that either were not as impressive as advertised, or flat out not worth the money they were sold for.

The housing sector was a place where everyone followed early pioneers like Sam Zell into the concept of the greatest middle class opportunity in emerging markets. The problem that has befallen investors is that most of the Brazilian homebuilders traded publicly became loss- leading, cash-burning, receivables-growing entitles with falling margins. Now a few of them may actually go to zero. And by the way, with all this bad credit going around, the banks look suddenly vulnerable.

Finally, after a 50%-plus move lower in the market since April 2011, you still don't have a market that is terribly cheap on multiples...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Need to disappear ?

Stuff you should put on your shopping list. Gun optional, of course.

I'm not talking Claude-Rains-Invisible Man style, here. I'm talking Matt-Damon-Bourne Identity-style.

So, if it's the latter, then you should definitely read, if not commit to memory, Mark Nestmann's piece in FINANCIAL SENSE, entitled,"When You Need to Disappear", excerpted below.

BTW, if you need to disappear Claude-Rains-style ?  Sorry, pal. Find yourself another blog.

* * *

Whistleblower Edward Snowden needs to disappear if he is to avoid kidnapping, assassination, extradition, or deportation to the United States. If you’re ever faced by a situation in which you need to disappear, right away, what would you do?

Perhaps someone is bent on revenge and has threatened to kill you. Perhaps you’re caught in an impossible personal or financial situation and you feel that “going underground” is the only way out. Or perhaps like Snowden, you find yourself an enemy of the state.

If you’re in such a situation, privacy may be a matter of life or death. You need to be prepared to act quickly, and when the time comes, not to hesitate.

When that time comes, first, throw away your cell phone. A cell phone may be bugged so that its location can be tracked even if the phone is switched off. When you turn it on, if the person after you has access to the cellular network—and it’s not difficult for a hacker to gain such access—your cell phone may betray your location.

Replace your existing cell phone with several anonymous prepaid cell phones, if you live in a country where you can buy one. You can still buy such phones in the United States. Buy phones with wi-fi cards so that you can connect to the Internet. Be prepared to throw away your anonymous cell phone—potentially, after just a single call. Also, purchase prepaid calling and prepaid Internet access. Pay in cash. Activate your phone at a pay phone—not with a phone connected to you in any way. Don’t give out your real phone number when you activate the phone.

Pack a suitcase with anything you need to exist for the next few months, including your new cell phone and a laptop configured with a virtual private network (VPN) like Cryptohippie ( Travel as lightly as you can.

Keep several thousand dollars in cash (or equivalent local currency) on hand at home, stored in a secure location. Don’t use an ATM unless you have no alternative. Using an ATM will reveal your location to your pursuers. If you must use an ATM, withdraw as much cash as you can, and don’t use an ATM again as long as you’re on the run. From that point forward, use cash only...