Prague Twin

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Republicans in a Dead Heat

After briefly passing Giuliani for the lead, the market has turned it's back on McCain who is now fourth out of the four significant Republican candidates (was it the Guatemalan comment?).

Giuliani is back in the lead but precariously so garnering only 26 cents on a $1 contract. Romney and Thompson are in a dead heat, both at about 23.5 cents, and McCain is now bringing up the rear at about 18 cents.

The Democratic race is boring. Mrs. Clinton continues to be way ahead of the only serious contender. I'm sorry, but I just spent a weekend with a friend of mine from Kansas. He is not prejudiced, but speaking for his neighbors, Mr. Obama is not going to win the Kansas primary. We've come a long way, but in my opinion Mr. Obama has about as much chance of winning the primary (much less the general) as I do.

So for entertainment purposes, it is all about the Republican primary.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive

Read IT yourself and be the judge.

(h/t Romunov)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Czech Library

Here you see the winning design for the new Czech National Library. It has caused a bit of a stir amongst Prague residents, many of whom are vehemently opposed to anything that looks like it was created after 1900. Most recently, Czech architects have defended the design.

I'm curious. What do you all think?

Beautiful? Ugly? Amazing? Horrendous?

Personally, I kind of like it, but I'm not sure if it fits in Prague.

UPDATE: Here is a good areal view of the location. (Scroll down a bit)


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Funny Thing

As Romney's chances to get the Republican nomination wax....

The Republican's chances to win the election wane....


School is Fun, but Demanding

Reality-based Educator asks, "Hey PT, how is school?" Well, as the title of the post suggests, I'm enjoying it quite a bit, but it is taking an awful lot of my time. I've finished ethics, but I still have to do the project and take the exam. We are also half-way through the financial accounting course, which is very demanding.

The class is amazing. From 21 students, we have 9 nationalities represented. Several people have quite high positions in very large companies. Everyone is working together and helping each other. It is quite different from my undergraduate studies. Taking notes on a laptop rules!!!

In the meantime, I snuck out to Amsterdam for a friend of mine's bachelor party. He just finished 2 years as a foreign correspondent in Iraq for USA today. As you can probably guess, I picked his brain extensively and he has given me permission to quote him here on this blog. That will be my next post of substance.

Stay tuned (now and then).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

River Blindness

Onchocerciasis, or "River Blindness" as it is sometimes called, is a horrible disease caused by a parasite. If affects mostly poor people in sub-Sahara Africa.

Merck, of Vioxx infamy, discovered a drug that had the potential to treat this disease back in 1978. However, they were faced with the dilemma that it would cost about $100 million just to develop the drug which they would probably never recover. They decided to develop it anyway. By 1987, they had successfully developed the drug. No government or NGO would help them with production costs or even distribution, so they decided to produce it for free and distribute it themselves.

Here is a recent update on the progress of their program.

Being generally pessimistic about large corporations, and especially pharmaceutical companies, I was quite surprised to learn of this in my business ethics class.

Way to go Merck. I'll give credit when it's due.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

McCain Train Takes the Lead!!!!

The numbers speak for themselves.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Drudge Trumps Debate

McCain surges.

Giuliani fades.

Matt Drudge is now officially more influential than a nationally televised debate.

I am aghast.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Speed Blogging

In a unanimous decision, the Federal Reserve has decided to keep rates on hold. This is exactly what I expected and continue to see for the near future. It gets kind of boring to say over and over again, but quite simply, despite slowing growth largely attributable to the housing market and the manufacturing sector (chiefly the automotive sector) inflation pressures will prevent the Fed from cutting rates any time in the near future. The absolute earliest chance is now the August meeting, but I figure that it is likely that rates will stay on hold until at least September, and I'm not ruling out a hike by the end of the year.

The statement was slightly more hawkish than the last, but largely the same. Wall street is experiencing some ripples, but nothing drastic.

At least not yet.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Time For Change

Well, I've just taken the big plunge. I've signed a contract with a prestigious university for a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) program. It is a condensed program designed for those of us who work, but they say that it will still take me about 20 hours per week to get through it. That is every week for the next 14 months.

My first class is Financial Accounting, and the book is dense to say the least. I have to get through 4 chapters by Friday.

I'm guessing that this endeavor is going to seriously cut into my blogging time. I'm going to try to get posts up now and then, but I fear the consistency of my blogging is bound to suffer. What's worse is that my consistency of visiting all of your sites is probably going to suffer even more.

Perhaps it won't suffer as much as I think, but I feel it is better to put out the disclaimer ahead of time just in case.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Insane Conservatives (The Final Chapter)

Hopefully this will be the final chapter in the ongoing saga. (Part 1, Part 2)

I seem to have finally got the last word in. So in the interests in full disclosure, here are the last three communications...


I've tried time and time again to find the information that you claim you have given me. I will suspend disbelief one last time and assume that I have failed to find it, but as far as I can tell, my answer[sic] has never been answered. If it has, I respectfully request that you direct me to the place where you have answered my question and provided the source document that backs up Paul's claim.

Here, you can see our email exchange. It looks quite strange: almost as if I've left something out. If I have, please direct me to the missing information. If you cannot, I can only assume that you suffer from delusions.

Still waiting for the source document,


p.s. read the comments.


Michael, once again. I didn’t write the article which is a fact you seem to ignore. Read the disclaimer at the bottom of every page.

The missing information is you are trying to hold me accountable for a claim I didn’t make.

When you don’t tell your audience this it is the blind leading the blind. I am sure your readers will be quite disappointed to find out you have misled them. Actually, probably not.

The truth is you made a claim that you didn’t keep. You said I wrote an article and as soon as I backed up my claims you would apologize. I wrote back and said I didn’t write the article you needed to ask the author. So, I’m still waiting on your apology.

You trying to hold me accountable for another work is ridiculous. Do you support everything written on every liberal blog?

It is sad that you don’t have better logic.




I'm well aware that you didn't write the article. I've never said that you did. I've only requested that you, as the editor, help me source a claim made on your website. Your disclaimer only shows that you are irresponsible. As I've stated many times, Paul's email does not appear on the website. I've asked you to put me in touch with him, which you have not.

You have repeatedly stated in your emails that I have been given the information which I have requested. This, of course, is completely untrue. You have not given me the information I've requested, nor has Paul, nor has anyone else.

I most certainly don't support everything written on liberal blogs. I only support and back up what is written on mine.

You should try it some time.

As to the practice of logic, it is you who suffers. If A then B. If I get the information I request, then I will post an apology.

If no A, then no B.

That is where we stand.




Yep, that is where we stand. No more responses from Nathan. I'd say game, set, match, except my email seems to have contracted some sort of dysfunction.

I'm sure it is unrelated.

Friday, May 04, 2007


You got questions?

The Brookings Institution has answers.


Extremely Rare Sports Post

It has been a long, hard slog being a Warriors fan. But today, I have to say, it has been worth it. Last night, the Warriors eliminated the Dallas Mavericks becoming only the third 8th seed team to advance to the second round in NBA history.

Dallas with its 67-15 (by far the best in the NBA) was widely expected to win the title this year behind its leader Dirk Nowitzki who is generally considered the top MVP candidate.

After 13 years without a post-season, the Warriors made the playoffs on the last game of the season after winning 11 of their last 15 games and five strait down the stretch. The key moment in the season was when coach Don Nelson engineered a huge trade which brought Stephen Jackson and Al Harington to the Warriors and sent Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy to Indiana.

Indiana finished well out of the playoff hunt in the much weaker Eastern conference.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Illogical Exuberance

I talk a lot about the tendency for traders to engage in illogical exuberance. Traders will push the price of stock up for any number of reasons that often have little to do with fundamentals and logic. Prices go up based on speculation, but then when the speculators are proven wrong, prices don't go down. Last year we saw the Dow climb over and over again on poor data out of the U.S. Why? Poor data increases the chances that the Fed will reduce interest rates. Has the Fed reduced interest rates? No. Have the markets come back down to the levels we saw before the poor data led traders to believe the Fed would reduce interest rates?

Of course not.

Yesterday's rally in the Dow is a perfect case in point. The dow gained over 75 points hitting a new record high. Here is a clip from my daily report courtesy of

For the 17th time this year the Dow closed in record territory. However, for the first time in weeks, the blue-chip index's gains weren't the direct result of solid earnings reports from some of its components but rather anticipation of an earnings surprise from General Motors (GM 32.49 +1.19) tomorrow morning. The latter paced the way among the 28 Dow stocks posting gains and was just one of many components that helped Consumer Discretionary (+0.9%) provide some notable leadership to the upside.

Oh, there was a surprse. You bet there was. It just wasn't the one that was anticipated.

Much worse than anyone expected.:

The Detroit giant handed in a profit of $62 million, or 11 cents a share, down from $602 million, or $1.06 a share, a year earlier. The latest results include charges that totaled $32 million, or 6 cents a share, largely related to restructuring actions in Europe and Asia Pacific.

Adjusted to exclude those items, the Dow component posted earnings of $94 million, or 17 cents a share, in the latest quarter.

Revenue slid to $43.91 billion from $52.38 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had called for a profit of 87 cents a share in the March period on revenue of $40.88 billion.

General Motors is down just over 3% despite their pathetic performance. The Dow is up about 10 points.

Global warming

(Figure 1: Fluctuations in temperature (blue) and in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (red) over the past 400,000 years as inferred from Antarctic ice-core records. The vertical red bar is the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past two centuries and before 2006.)

With all the pundits on both side throwing around numbers and claims (unsubstatiated), I prefer to look at the raw data. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Keep burying your head in the sand doubters.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Future

This car is absolutely amazing. An electric car that does 0 to 60 in four seconds?! Why haven't I heard about this? Here is the official website. Also, Vanity Fair has a good article on the history of the Tesla Roadster.

Now the only question is where do we get the juice?


Other ideas?

Also, since I live on the fourth (fifth to you Americans) floor of an apartment building, how exactly am I supposed to plug mine in? Just thinking out loud here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

International Worker's Day

Today is International Worker's Day, or more simply, May Day. It is a holiday nearly everywhere in the world except in the United States, Canada, and South Africa. This is particularly strange since its origins are in the United States and the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago.

I've found a couple of good links on the history and significance of May Day (1, 2). Here is a good quote from the latter of the two links...

Truly, history has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism. When we remember that people were shot so we could have the 8-hour day; if we acknowledge that homes with families in them were burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend; when we recall 8-year old victims of industrial accidents who marched in the streets protesting working conditions and child labor only to be beat down by the police and company thugs, we understand that our current condition cannot be taken for granted - people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we'll end up fighting for those same gains all over again. This is why we celebrate May Day.

Also my post from last year has some decent points.

No big protests this year? I wonder why?

Postscript: Big protests all over. Just much less coverage by the mainstream media this year.

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