Sunday, November 30, 2008

Men's Shoes

I have added two pages of Men's Shoes (89 listings) and a page of "About Shoes (36 listings)," which are blogs, information sites and videos about shoes. Since the shoe section is doing extremely well I'll be adding to it and refining it more than any other section. I expect that not only will I be adding to the "About Shoes" page I will be using it a lot too.

Just like last year, the Sunday after Black Friday is the best day of November and may well be the best day of the year. I am hoping that more people are shopping online this year.

The case for reparation payments to descendants of slaves.

Under most economic situations large cash payments to huge segments of lower income people would be highly disruptive and extremely inflationary, but our current and unique situation is not likely to repeat during our lifetimes and would be ideal for such payments.

Paying reparations to the descendants of former slaves would be a good way to effect an economic stimulus and get the reparations issue off the table. President-elect Obama did say he wanted to do something very big quickly as a stimulus and likely he and his team will.

I'd have some trouble seeing Michael Jordan and Oprah collecting reparations, but if there were a means test, say a net worth under 300,000, I'm all for reparations to slave descendants but it would have to be done quickly to be a stimulus package. It would also bailout the big three automakers and a lot better than just dumping $25B on them. Just throw a Chevy Ford or Chrysler into each reparations package.

Reparations payments unfortunately would precipitate the "mother of all inflationary spikes" and some recipients would claim the inflation was a conspiracy to rob them of their money. So I think including a new Big Three car as part of the deal would soften the blow of the inevitable inflation and incidentally bail out the big three. The inflation would also solve the mortgage crisis because all the homes now underwater would emerge, wet but above water.

The inflation spike wouldn't begin when payments are made though, it would begin much sooner. The moment they looked likely people and governments worldwide would immediately start dumping dollars so it would have to be sprung as a surprise so those getting the payments would get the greatest benefits. Double reparations should be offered to those who commit to three years in the military or Peace Corps.

However, springing a full-blown reparations plan on the nation without selling the idea first would be a very bad first move for Obama, he would immediately be perceived as governing as a black man and not a President of all the people. The reaction from the public would be worse than the initial reaction to Treasury Secretary Paulson’s $700 bln bailout for the banks. So it probably won’t happen, even though it would solve many problems, it would create others and perhaps bring out the worst in some people.

On a related subject that would be thrown into the reparations debate I have heard it said that blacks are not capable of racism or its corollary group-think because they do not control the means of production. This is nonsense and nothing but a carefully crafted fraud designed to keep blacks in the status of a perpetually victimized class. By establishing that various concepts like group-think and racism can only be practiced by one race and not the other it is possible to perpetuate a race-based privilege. That is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment ironically designed to protect blacks from such discrimination, but by establishing that there can be race based concepts even the election of an African American President cannot shake the idea that this group is oppressed.

Reparations would blow that argument off the table, but that is not likely a motivation Barak Obama would consider for the payments so that could not be used as an argument to sell the idea to the American public. Probably a hard sell even as an economic stimulus package, and selling the idea would raise awareness around the world that the value of the dollar would be diluted. Dilution would occur with any stimulus, and a Paul Volker type of clamping down on the money supply will occur rather quickly after a recovery begins in any case so reparations as a stimulus package would cause more problems for a new Obama Administration that their likely to want.

So, even though this may be a perfect moment for reparations in some respects it would cause huge political problems for the new President. Probably worse than the gays-in-the-military thing was for Clinton.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Honesty, Racial Politics, and the
"About Shoes" Page

I recently engaged in a discussion on the forum linked in this post's title. I want to archive my thoughts here and not there so I will synopsize and paraphrase the other participant's posts so as not to violate any copyrights or moral rights, but I am including their thoughts only in as much as they are needed to give credit where credit is due and provide coherence to my own words which I will also rewrite, but for the purpose of improvement, not copyright.

I have been editing and rewiting this material between running personal errands and doing my daily exercise and workout and it is turning into a larger task than I had anticipated . But I do plan to work more on this today as well as finishing up a new directory category, "About Shoes"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Housing bubbles

The failures that have occurred are partly the fault of those responsible for teaching history. Housing bubbles collapse with disastrous results often, this has been happening for a very long time. It happened in Southern California in 1990, I was there.

The current crisis is the most massive that has ever occurred but it is a well worn and familiar pattern to anyone who takes the trouble to read the history of land speculation and speculative bubbles in general. No one person or group of people engineered the crisis. Certainly many saw it occurring and allowed it to happen but most who were benefiting did not realize they were climbing out on a very dangerous limb.

Executives in the failed firms who made many millions over the past several years have strong ties to both political parties and will get away with their crimes with the possible exception of an unlucky scapegoat or two. Indeed they will not even be villified and in some cases will be called upon to perform heroic deeds to save us from our "plight." Which they knowingly caused. Trying to blame one person, party, or group is futile because so many were involved.

The accounting structures used to hide toxic assets before this crisis were very similar to those used in the Enron scandal so if you need to spill someone's blood (a metaphor) over this I suggest following the money. Where did it go?

If any crime in recent history deserves harsh punishment destroying the world economy should qualify.

Handcrafted Jewelry

I have found a large number of new (to me) Handcrafted Jewelry sites and will be incorporating these into my listings very soon. It's sad that I didn't find these sooner because so many are independant artists depending on Christmas sales.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama again

It was not an intellectual decision, if we had only their resumes before us and couldn't take the measure of the two men while they were before us thinking on their feet, McCain would have won. The strong desire for the more articulate and bright candidate is certainly a lingering effect of the embarrassment we have suffered with GWB for the last eight years.

If executive experience were the criterion guiding our decisions we'd have gone with Sarah Palin because she has more executive experience than all three others combined. Bill Clinton was right Obama was a roll of the dice, we rolled and won.

It was a decision from the heart, not the head. Risk taking is in our DNA, we're Americans. We or our ancestors risked everything to come here. Yes, even that strong wandering stock that walked here from Asia 10,000 years ago--it's the same American risk taking heritage. We shouldn't count our chickens before they hatch though, no matter how well Obama does we'll never know what "might have been..."

There is an interesting argument to be made comparing the acheivements of the descendents of slaves vs. African Americans who are not. e.g. Barak Obama and Colin Powell vs. Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas. Some say that the slave lineage carries a resentment that cannot be shaken on the left, only on the political right. Certainly immigrants from the Carribean and Africa seem to follow a different path from those descended from slaves. Who may say that I have no right to even discuss such things, it's a black thing, I just can't understand. Well no, I'm sorry. It's an American thing and I don't just have a right to discuss this I have a duty and responsibility to try to understand it.

About Shoes

After all those political posts I have to report on the progress I'm making with the site. I'm working on shoes again and the new progress won't be visible for a few days but I've found a lot of new listings. I'm thinking about three new pages, Mens Shoes, Boots and About Shoes. I need to have a separate page for shoe blogs and shoe information sites because these are crowding the regular listings.

I did create a job listings directory which is helpful for the times we're in but I thought of it because the Sample Cover Letter page is now getting a lot of traffic. No one has yet clicked through to Jobs from the Cover Letter Page but the Jobs pages have just entered the Google index yesterday and have begun getting traffic from there.

President-Elect Obama

Even though I voted for him I remained a bit apprehensive about what direction he might take once he was elected. I am much less fearful now having observed his earliest moves and having concluded that he appears vastly smarter than most of the people who voted for him. That's a refreshing change already. :) Had he persuaded me of that earlier I may have even campaigned for him.

The economic crisis will cause him to be more cautious than he would have to be if times were booming, but I suppose that's true for everyone. I'm still fearful of how deep the downturn may be and how long it may last. My own income is holding up well considering the circumstance but the poorest people in the world now face starvation and the ramifications of that concern me.

A bleeding heart concern for the suffering itself is in order but I'm even more concerned about how it affects geopolitics. The last depression caused a lot of people to follow iron-fisted dictators and we certainly have eager candidates for that role today. With Russian warships approaching the Carribean the Bidenian "test" may be at hand. Russia has much less to lose than China as a provocateur and I have no doubt that al qaida and their friends would love to have a role on the world stage to greet our incoming president. OTOH I've been wrong about these kinds of things before.

We do live in interesting times.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unread TOS dooms earth.

As I was reading the Google Checkout refund policy it occurred to me that it is unread or poorly understood credit agreements that have recently collapsed our economy and could eventually unravel our entire civilization because instability seems rampant.

I have always felt uneasy entering agreements that I have not fully understood and virtually all service agreements are too much for the average person to read or understand. The larger the company the more insidious this problem seems. I am very worried about our future.

Click here if you agree to these terms.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Moral Hazard and our Great Depression

During the 1997 Asian crisis no banks or companies were bailed out and the economic recession there cleared up in about two years.

That is a huge difference and the bailouts create what is known as a moral hazard. The people who actually caused the problem will not suffer and will have no reason to consider their bad acts a mistake.

There is profound corruption throughout the system in both political parties which is why none of the scoundrels are being punished or even singled out as culprits. In fact they are being rewarded with billions of dollars.

Those who caused the crisis are in the best position to profit from it. Only those who knew how bad the banks were in trouble had the nerve to short them (Goldman Sachs et al) and make billions more from the suffering of others.

So it's unlikely this will clear up in a mere two years as in Asia, the new US administration has many ties to the scandal and will thus not pursue the actual guilty parties but will try to blame others (guess who) and act the savior.

Blue skies Smiling at me, Nothing but blue skies Do I see... Irving Berlin 1927

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Very angry about the sub-prime crisis.

Frankly I am very angry that no one is being held to account for the sub-prime crisis. It has destroyed more wealth than all the Al qaida attacks combined, even if you include the future earnings of those killed.

McCain could have won the Presidency if he had made good use of his famous anger and promised to get to the bottom of this and put the scoundrels in jail.

Unfortunately that won't happen because the perpetrators are lawmakers and their contributors. The criminality runs deep through both parties and everyone just throws up their hands and leaves solving the problem to those who created it.

I don't know if you caught the full moon rise tonight but it was stunning here in the mountain desert.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I made this page for me.

"I made this page for me. If you can use it, cool. It's free, no ads, no bs." I added this line to the very bottom of the start page after making some improvements. It is getting a lot better since I've begun using it very regularly.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A new methodology

I have been working on this directory for almost seven years now and I have been slowly improving my methods and collecting and writing software that helps me do this. But the other day I had an epiphany and figured out how to use my existing applications to double my efficiency. Now it is still a lot of work categorizing and editing all these listings but I am thrilled that the directory will be getting significantly better soon.

I think Barak Obama should be President. The downside is that his economic policies will make us all a lot poorer, especially those who are already poor. But we really must get on with this national redemption from our history as slave holders and racists even if it is painful economically.

Mass starvation in the less developed areas of the world is inevitable anyway and a world-wide depression will speed this along sadly. Better to be done with it before there are many more people born into poverty, exponential population growth is unsustainable. Malthus was right, just had the timing wrong not seeing technology's role in deferring the inevitable. I do my part, but the coming disaster is beyond anyone's capacity to avert. Pollution and global warming may make things even worse.

That's why I'll be voting for Barak on Tuesday. Well that and then I can share in the good feelings that will sweep around the world for a while.