I've watched a variety of Republican candidates for President as well as many others attack the job the Fed is doing, and attack Ben Bernake. And I really don't want to defend either - I think they are doing a lousy job and have punished savers and retirees at the benefit of the over-leveraged and private equity businesses.
However, fiscal policy has been a disaster for the last dozen years. Bush II had a terrible fiscal policy, and Obama has just made it worse. Congress has been hopelessly irresponsible. It seems to me that anyone who has served in Congress recently has no credibility criticizing the Fed.
All considered, the Fed has done a decent job considering how horrendous fiscal policy has been. Related articlesBernanke Speaks Dollar Listens (moneymanager.com)
Senator Lindsey Graham (and some other Republicans) was hammering President Obama for leaving Iraq. Senator: first, we are broke: we can't leave troops everywhere - we can't afford it.
Second, what are we worried about - a renewal of a shooting war between Iraq and Iran? Why would that be bad for American interests?
If it does, a pox on both their houses. Related articlesObama Announces Final US Pullout In Iraq (news.sky.com)
Just enjoyed an Arturo Fuente cigar. I'm not sure just what size it was - it was the longest cigar I've ever smoked. A double-Churchill? Anyway, I smoked it for two hours and there was still 7 inches left when I gave it up.
Not the finest Fuente I've ever smoked, but a second-best Fuente is better than most other makers' product. Nice smoke. Related articlesBasic Cigar Etiquette (suburbanmen.com)
Memo to Rick Perry, Rush Limbaugh, etc. Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme.
I'll admit that it has many of the earmarks of a Ponzi scheme - e.g. it is largely dependent upon new participants to fund the prior participants. However, Charles Ponzi didn't have the benefit of the ability to tax and print money. Our government has both.
Now, they may be paying us in fiat money worth only a fraction of today's dollar, but the ability to tax prevents SS from being a Ponzi scheme.
I read all the original Ian Fleming James Bond novels quite literally decades ago. I haven't read any of the subsequent books in the series by other authors. Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver has garnered a lot of publicity and, for some reason I can't really explain, I decided to give it a try.
This is not your father's, err, my James Bond. He has been transported to 2011. He actually has some sensitivity. And Mr. Deaver decided to create a back story: James actually had parents, with their own secrets. There are inter-agency conflicts between the various branches of the British spy network. But there is still the Q branch helping out with gadgets, now including tricked-out mobile phones, and Bond's service still is in the assassination business. In keeping with the late Mr. Fleming's original novels, the settings have a travelogue character about them, with this book jumping from the UK to the Middle East to South Africa. Deaver does a reasonable job describing the…