Archive for the 'General' Category

1, 2, 3

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

It’s an old song, but the lyrics today are different. Italy and Iran are numbers 1 and 2. And number 3 is CGTN. A good portion of the reason the markets are crazy is that so many people know what the new Chairman Mao has been up to.


Monday, March 16th, 2020

So the market is down 3000 points and we took 2 E175’s to and from important meetings, and they were about 5% full of paying customers. Maybe we can remember how to link to newspaper articles soon and again, but maybe we’re just too tired from all the excitement…

10 minutes in that other universe

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

We tuned in on that other universe on our jog, and discovered that the election in the fall will be cancelled by the USA’s version of Xi Jinping. You learn something new every day…


Saturday, March 14th, 2020

That’s the total Corona Corona today. We’ll check back in a week and see what the numbers are. We expect the numbers to be small; if not, we’ve transformed…

Reading, etc.

Friday, March 13th, 2020

(a) 1619 v. 1776; (b) 1957 achoo – we had all those viruses; (c) up 1958; (d) how did Orange Man get to be so lucky versus Xi: having Corona Corona alert him to fixing the unsafe amounts of critical imports from China. That’s it for now, thanks.

Now we know

Thursday, March 12th, 2020


A Chinese government spokesman has tried to blame the US army for the deadly coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization this week. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian claimed Thursday that the US military might have brought the COVID-19 virus to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak emerged in December. “When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Zhao tweeted in English in one of a series of tweets critical of the US. The comments appear to be retaliation in a war of words with Washington. Chinese government officials bristled when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus,” and decried when President Trump called it a “foreign virus” that started “in China.” The contagious illness has now infected more than 125,000 people in at least 118 countries

So now we know that, in whatever fashion, China’s government is the source of the nasty Wuhan virus. Sometimes state controlled media can actually be helpful, and you can turn off the TV.


Thursday, March 12th, 2020

WSJ: “Stocks Plunge 10% in Dow’s Worst Day Since 1987. For the day, the Dow industrials shed 2,352.6 points, or 10% to 21,200.62. The S&P 500 sank 260.74 points, or 9.5%, to 2,480.64. And the Nasdaq Composite slid 750.25 points, or 9.4% to 7,201.80.

Companies most exposed to the coronavirus outbreak were particularly hard hit, and airline and cruise shares helped lead the tumble. United Airlines Holdings dropped 25%, Delta Air Lines fell 21%, and Spirit Airlines tumbled 33%. Royal Caribbean Cruises plummeted 32%. On Thursday, Princess Cruises canceled all voyages for the next two months after two of its ships suffered coronavirus outbreaks.

But few parts of the market were immune. All 11 sectors of the S&P 500 tumbled, with losses led by the real estate and industrial sectors. Even companies that investors thought would reap the benefits of the virus tumbled. Clorox ended the day down 6.3%. Gilead Sciences, which has started testing a virus treatment, fell 6.1%. all three major indexes are down more than 16% for the week.”

We have no idea what is going on, but this is very odd.

What’s going on?

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Travel from Europe to US banned? Meanwhile China is apparently getting back to work. Some things here do not add up. Something is very wrong with 2 views of the world 180 degrees apart. Any ideas? – let us know.


Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

WSJ: “The Dow closed at 23553.22, down 20.3% from its record of 29,551.42 reached Feb. 12.” Better call Joe, he’ll know what to do with that brain of his.

Back to Wuhan

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020


Xi Jinping visited the quarantined city of Wuhan on Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus was identified there, reflecting confidence that the epidemic’s spread has been largely contained within China. Mr. Xi’s visit, which came as Italian authorities locked down the entire country and governments from the U.S. to Iran scrambled to contain the fast-spreading virus, follows weeks in which China reported a steady decline in new infections.

In an unannounced trip, Mr. Xi arrived in the stricken metropolis of 11 million people to visit front-line medical workers, military personnel and community workers, state media said. Wuhan, the center of the epidemic and capital of Hubei, has been locked down since late January as part of unprecedented measures curbing movement for hundreds of millions of people across China.

Mr. Xi stopped by a local hospital and residential community, where he praised Hubei and Wuhan for achieving “important interim results” in containing the coronavirus and voiced optimism that victory was near at hand. Even so, he urged continued vigilance and all-out efforts to defeat the epidemic, describing the task as “arduous and onerous.”

Our advice: stay young and outside of Iran if possible.

Earth to stock market

Monday, March 9th, 2020

A 24% decrease in the price of oil in one day, back to where it was a half-century ago, is bullish and not a reason for the stock market to lose 2013.76 points.

Possible good news?

Sunday, March 8th, 2020


As Chinese authorities voiced confidence they were containing the country’s coronavirus outbreak, the official Xinhua News Agency meticulously chronicled President Xi Jinping’s personal battle against the epidemic — from visiting front-line medical workers to fielding calls from foreign leaders.

In a glowing article published this past week, the state-run media organization concluded that Mr. Xi’s dedication proved he has a “pure heart like a newborn’s that always puts the people as his number one priority.”

Officials and the government-controlled press have kicked into high gear to shower praise on Mr. Xi, portraying him as a decisive leader who rescued his country from a public-health catastrophe and bought time for the rest of the world to prepare defenses against the highly contagious new pathogen.

There could be lots of reasons for this coverage; the best perhaps is that Xi’s people have determined that the worst of Corona Corona is behind them. Bonus: in other news, someone has gotten a new voter.

A question

Saturday, March 7th, 2020


YAROSLAVL, Russia — The mayor of Burlington, Vt., wrote to a Soviet counterpart in a provincial city that he wanted the United States and the Soviet Union to “live together as friends.”

Unbeknown to him, his desire for friendship meshed with the efforts of Soviet officials in Moscow to “reveal American imperialism as the main source of the danger of war.”

That mayor was Bernie Sanders, and the story of his 1988 trip to the Soviet Union has been told before. But many of the details of Mr. Sanders’s Cold War diplomacy before and after that visit — and the Soviet effort to exploit Mr. Sanders’s antiwar agenda for their own propaganda purposes — have largely remained out of sight.

The New York Times examined 89 pages of letters, telegrams and internal Soviet government documents revealing in far greater detail the extent of Mr. Sanders’s personal effort to establish ties between his city and a country many Americans then still considered an enemy despite the reforms being initiated at the time under Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet general secretary.

They also show how the Kremlin viewed these sister city relationships as vehicles to sway American public opinion about the Soviet Union.

“One of the most useful channels, in practice, for actively carrying out information-propaganda efforts has proved to be sister-city contact,” a Soviet Foreign Ministry document provided to Yaroslavl officials said…

The Times requested the file from the archive on Thursday of last week. Archive employees said the documents had to first be checked for personal information, and they made the file available on Tuesday. 6 pages were hidden from view because, the archivists said, they contained personal information…

In December 1987, the records show, Mr. Sanders spoke by phone with Yuri Menshikov, the secretary of the Soviet sister-city organization in Moscow. In a follow-up letter later that month, Mr. Sanders said he had received word that Yaroslavl would be an ideal partner. He proposed leading a Burlington delegation to Yaroslavl to lay the foundation for a sister-city relationship.

He suggested arriving on May 9 — the day that the Soviet Union celebrated its victory over Nazi Germany — and said he was especially interested in discussing economic development, the police, winter street cleaning, libraries, and plumbing and sewer systems.

“We are living through an amazing time, and I believe I am lucky to play a role in such a time,” Mr. Sanders wrote, according to a Russian version of his letter…

“It is my strong belief that if our planet is going to survive, and if we are going to be able to convert the hundreds of billions of dollars that both the United States and the Soviet Union are now wasting on weapons of destruction into areas of productive human development, there is going to have to be a significant increase in citizen-to-citizen contact,” Mr. Sanders wrote.

Very interesting reading, and this is a small part of the NYT piece. Our question is this: did you know that May 9 was the date that the USSR celebrated defeating the Nazis, and if so, when did you learn it?

First there was Guam

Friday, March 6th, 2020

capsizing, now there’s arithmetic.

$63-116 billion in revenue lost in one industry, maybe

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

“The International Air Transport Association (IATA) updated its analysis of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency on the global air transport industry. IATA now sees 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of between $63 billion (in a scenario where COVID-19 is contained in current markets with over 100 cases as of 2 March) and $113 billion (in a scenario with a broader spreading of COVID-19). No estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations. IATA’s previous analysis (issued on 20 February 2020) put lost revenues at $29.3 billion based on a scenario that would see the impact of COVID-19 largely confined to markets associated with China. Since that time, the virus has spread to over 80 countries and forward bookings have been severely impacted on routes beyond China.”

Yawn. Gosh, the hysteria sounds like Russia! Ukraine! – and so forth, again and again. The flu kills 450,000 or so annually and we’re supposed to be hysterical about this new thing that has killed 3000? We’re reminded of writing a draft of a novel in the mid 80’s with classmate E.J. Dionne. The idea was that terrorism events were orchestrated by clever bankers who knew which stocks to short at 12:01 on the terror clock. Hmmm, not a bad idea… Bonus Fun Bits: (a) Reiner and Brooks still having fun. (b) Cashill back to discovering stuff.

Odd Numbers

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

(a) US airlines stocks have fallen 43% from their peaks of a couple of years ago; (b) HNA, which we’ve written on, is getting chopped up into pieces; (c) Bloomie has gone bye-bye in 100 days after spending $0.5 billion (huh?); (d) The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers index’s 40.3 reading in February was the lowest since the survey began in April 2004. (e) Most interesting are these numbers which show that Trump got 1.3MM votes in the Texas primary, exactly the same as all the D’s, and perhaps Biden should ask his sis what the meaning of that is.

All in all, we’re quite encouraged.

16,000 what?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Oh the pain!

More heavy thinking from Niall Ferguson on Marx, Engels, etc.

2 rising tides

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

(1) via WSJ: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1,294 points, or 5.1%, to 26706, after briefly trading in the red in the morning. It was the largest point gain for the blue-chip index on record. The S&P 500 gained 4.6% and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.5%.

(2) The establishment (Obama?) coalesces against Bernie.


Sunday, March 1st, 2020

It takes Bernie 25 minutes or so to get to the two existential crises for his fans: global warming and making grass legal. Bonus fun: AOC and MIT.


Saturday, February 29th, 2020

(a) Muzzle; (b) 38% and Corona Corona; (c) really funny CPAC; (d) Abu-Jamal; (e) Gramsci. That’s way more than enough for now. Bonus: who is running the R campaign in Minnesota?