Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can't Take Stuff Away from People

What's up with this whole debt limit thing huh?  Boy you sure can't get away from that story lately.  From my narrow view of things I feel like our politicians are running out of can kicking options.  They are being faced with a downgrade from two of the major ratings agencies (Moody's and S&P).  What this would mean is an increase in the government's cost of borrowing, which it does a lot.  This has the possibility of starting a snowball effect of us being in even more debt very quickly, which would merit a further downgrade which would again raise borrowing costs, and round and round we go.  This is sort of like what countries like Greece and Ireland are experiencing now.  The only difference being that they are tiny countries who can be easily bailed out as long as the bailer doesn't mind shoveling cash into a black hole.  There is nobody out there that I know of who is going to bail us out.  So Congress is faced with having to cut spending.  That has been the big catch phrase in Washington for quite a while now.  We have to cut spending.  Everybody agrees.  Congress agrees, the public agrees, the ratings agencies agree.  So what's the problem?  The problem is cutting something like a bridge to nowhere in Alaska wouldn't even qualify as a drop in the fiscal budget.  Accord to S&P they need to cut 4 trillion over the next 10 years.  That means hitting entitlements, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  I am going to tell you what the big problem is right now.  What it all boils down to is "You can't take stuff away from people".  That's it.  Remember that because I'm going to be repeating it in the future.  ok, so I guess you don't have to remember it.  Everybody wants the problem solved as long as it doesn't effect anything that has to do with them.  Congress knows this very well.  So they're screwed.  If they vote for a plan that calls for real major cuts then there will be rioting in the streets and Congress will either have to take it all back or stand firm and be voted out in November of 2012.  If Congress makes some kind of mickey mouse deal that claims to cut a certain amount over the long term but nothing to entitlements I predict the ratings agencies will not buy it and downgrade anyway.  A third and perhaps likely scenario is that Congress mickey mouses it and somehow pressures the ratings agencies to not downgrade which the stock market will love until it doesn't.  Raising the debt ceiling is nothing new.  With my rudimentary knowledge of the subject I'm sure the people involved have a better handle on this.  I am worried though.  Economists have said for a very long time that we are saddling our children and grandchildren with a tremendous amount of debt.  Personally, I'd like to get that paid off.

I feel weird today.  I got in early and went for a 6 mile run to the Marina.  It did not feel good.  I felt totally out of energy when I was at the 3 mile mark.  If I didn't know better I'd say I was sick.  I went to bed last night with some bad stomach cramps.  I think it may have been from a bad ice cream sandwich.  I always overdo it at dinner.

Marina Del Rey 7:40am

Monday, July 25, 2011

Move Week

Well this is it.  The last week I'm going to commute across 2 counties to get to work.  Last week in Chino Hills.  I'm trying not to get too sentimental about leaving the place I've lived in for 12 years.  I think a better commute will help me forget.  I'm also looking forward to being more involved in my family's lives instead of just being the guy who goes to work and then comes home to sleep.  I especially feel an obligation to get closer to Derek.  He is going to have a rough time at his age making a new start.  I already have lots of things I want to do with him.  Hopefully some of them he actually will want to do.  With the beach and Shoreline Village less than 3 miles away that opens up a whole bunch of possibilities.  I'm sure going to like having breakfast with my family every day.

Did a shoeless 4 miler this morning.  Felt pretty good.  Some speedster dude went flying by me on the boardwalk.  He must have been cruising at a 6 minute mile pace.  At a dead sprint I could probably hang with him for a quarter mile maybe.  That's ok though, I would hate to be faster than everybody else.  I would have nobody to catch and what fun is that.

Santa Monica Pier around 7:30am

Thursday, July 21, 2011


 I cautiously went on a 4 mile run this morning to the pier and back.  I decided to wear shoes this time.  I say cautious because I definitely had a bad feeling about the last run.  I think I was pushing it with the 6 mile runs without shoes.  I'm going to stick to 4 miles or less doing the shoeless thing for the next few months.  Fortunately, I made it through this morning with no pain at all.  Looks like I dodged one there.  One of the things that I've learned in the last few years is trying to run through pain is about the stupidest thing you can do.  All I've ever accomplished by doing that is compound injuries far beyond what they would have been.  Listen your body.

I dug a little deeper on the Cantor story that I wrote about previously and found out that he does indeed own some shares of a double short treasuries ETF, but only $15,000 worth.  I do not know the net worth of Mr. Cantor however it's a safe bet that that is not a large sum of money to him.  Probably the equivalent of $150 to me.  According to his spokeperson he has that position as a hedge against the treasuries that he does own in a retirement account.  Why one would need to hedge against a treasuries position in an account like that is lost on me.  That being said I think the story of Eric Cantor supposedly "betting against America" was a load of bs easily debunked by anyone willing to do 5 minutes of research.  Shame on you doomer/lefty media.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cantor Shorts T-Bills

I read a story this weekend about how Eric Cantor, one of the chief house negotiators regarding the debt ceiling has taken up a short position on T-Bills.  Specifically a double down ETF.  What that means is that if treasuries go down he makes double the percentage.  I certainly wouldn't give this story too much credibility at this point since the only place I've seen it is on sites like hoffington post, salon, or msnbc.  However, it is quite the accusation and while not illegal is certainly eyebrow raising.  It would be interesting if a reporter were to ask him if he did take out such a position and if so why.  That is basically betting against America.

Took a nice 6 mile run this morning wearing the minimalist shoes again.  I felt a familiar twinge in my achilles.  I think I'm going to dial it back next time.  I've hurt that tendon before and it took a month to get back.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Big Crane

I did a nice 4 miler to the pier this morning wearing those minimalist shoes again.  Let me be honest here.  I would never have bought those things.  I think they are overpriced and a bit silly looking.  It literally looks like you have a glove on your foot.  That being said, I think they are starting to grow on me.  I certainly would not want to run on the streets and sidewalks of Venice barefoot.  I did half the 4 miles on sand and half on pavement.  It felt great the whole way.  The barefoot advocates preach that running without shoes greatly reduces many common running injuries.  Hey I'm all for that.  I'm going to continue using these things.  Especially since my running shoes are literally falling apart.

The folks at the Google building have been busy.  Ever since we moved out they have had large work crews in there gutting the place.  This morning they had a massive crane that looked like it should fall over from being too tall.  They were lifting air conditioning units off a truck onto the roof.

See what I mean?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Crab Run

Today I pulled myself out of bed and got to work early.  I haven't gone on an early morning run since well before we left on our trip.  Also, I have had a heck of a time getting to work at a normal time lately.  On a few days last week I got in the door past 10am.  That doesn't look so good so I think I might start coming in a few days a week early again.  It felt great to get out on the beach.  I used the minimalist shoes that Michelle got me for Christmas for the first time out on the street.  They felt fine on cement and asphalt.  I would not want to run on these streets barefoot.  However as soon as I got on the sand I had to take them off.  It was overcast and cool this morning.  I did an easy and slow 6 miles to the Marina and back.  It was high tide this morning so I had to run in some soft sand which is a bit of a drag but it was ok.  I like running in the off season.  There is no pressure to keep to a marathon training schedule.  I'm just running to do it.

Speaking of running, I saw this today by accident.  Kathy, you're going to love this one: