Friday, March 13, 2009

"Cheap Populism"

This is a priceless moment for Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show", perhaps the most clever and humorous show on television. It was ultimately brought about by the video I posted in the sentence "Let Rome burn" on February 19. The video that shows the relationship between the two events is here.

A good journalistic overview of this
is featured in Business Week.

Since his duel with CNBC financial whiz Jim Cramer, Stewart has enjoyed a rise in popularity while Cramer has seen a drop in his ratings. People seem to appreciate it when a "Snake Oil Salesman" labels himself as such while they tend to steer clear of those who go on with pretending they are something they're not. But, as Stewart clearly points out, Cramer is not the problem, he's just a symptom of our times.

More stuff...

The NAACP says Blacks got screwed worse in the sub-prime mortgage crisis than whites. If this is true then racism is alive and well in America. If it isn't true, if instead the sub-prime mortgage crisis was a crisis of finance regardless of race then the NAACP is simply perpetuating a victimization without which it cannot define its existence. We'll have to see which is the case. It is more likely, I think, that all the "economically vulnerable" segments of the market were victims, including the young and the old. I'm sure plenty of Latinos and Asians suffered too. The discrimination was beyond race and attempts to limit it to a specific race are in themselves myopically racist. Then again, this is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. My God, can you have a more racist name for an organization?

On another note,
Mark Shields, who I admire, referred tonight to the frozen embryos to be used in stem cell research rightly authorized by President Obama this week as "these little beings". These embryos are not "beings" in any meaningful sense of the word. They are not, in fact, human. They certainly have the potential for humanity, they are the goo of what we can become but they are not aware, they are not expressive, they are not reactionary, they are not even, strictly speaking, alive. They are frozen.

There is no "being" about them and the use of such terms reveals a neanderthal morality. The controversy over these frozen embryos might as well be about whether Santa Claus exists or, as indicated the previous morality link, be about our concern for the safety of a fly - for a fly has more "being" than do these embryos. There is no basis for making this a moral issue. It is a fiction. Attempting to apply "being" to them is simply "human, all too human".

Finally, Richard Russell (among others) feels that there's a good case for a bear-market rally after stocks have remained oversold for weeks. Tonight he writes: "Every movement in the stock market, minor, secondary or primary, is eventually corrected. Corrections in bear markets tend to recoup one-third to two-thirds of the ground lost in the preceding down-leg.

"The bear market peak for the Dow occurred in October 2007 at 14164. The recent low was recorded on March 9 at Dow 6547. This represents a total loss of 7617 points. A one-third correction would take the Dow back to 9086. A two/thirds correction would take the Dow back to 11629. A 50% correction would take the Dow back to 10355.

"Of course, there's no law that says a correction must carry to any of the above 'targets.' The bear market will do what ever it has to to relieve its oversold condition and at the same time lure the greatest number of investors back into its folds."

Any of those target numbers would be nice. I've held on to those DIAs I bought back in January. Maybe I'll sell them for a profit after all. I might even buy some more if a short-term play presents itself. We'll have to wait and see.

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