What exactly does the majority in Iraq want? If public opinion in Iraq resembles public opinion in other Muslim countries, it’s not pretty. It obviously varies from country to country, but overall it looks like a politician who wanted to win elections in the Muslim world would be pro-terrorist. It's a little harder to figure out the practical importance of the extreme anti-Semitism. If these countries contained significant numbers of Jews, democracy would almost certainly approve their expulsion or worse. As things stand, we can expect strong opposition to normal trading or diplomatic relations with Israel, and countries adjacent to Israel might attack Israel.It is obvious to anybody with a bit of knowledge of the Arab street that any aggression (from accusing anyone of being an Israeli spy to unprovoked surprise attack) would be wildly popular. Any antiforeign policy, any redistribution of wealth, any public morality policy would be favored by the masses.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
The two Bear Stearns funds, specialising in structured credit, borrowed $US20 billion to bet on risky bonds, though this has been cut by more than half. They targeted the lowest tranche of sub-prime mortgage debt, which can yield as much as 20 per cent but is highly vulnerable to rising default rates (Falkenstein adds: "I've read elsewhere it was a 1% edge, levered 10 times, but the point is similar" If I understand him, there was a difference of rate paid and rate received minus expenses = 1% and the fund did that 10 or 20 times for each dollar. When the bonds bought did not pay the + 1% interest, they were standing with a debt 20 times the money actually managed by the fund. It seems a very risky strategy to me).
* refineries do not change their production from one day to the next
* the operation of refineries has little effect on crude demand
* the market is reacting to change, always by rising the price
* more exactly, the market is reacting to news of change, always with higher price
* the market is an idiot, rising prices to any news
* the market is an idiot computer program, rising prices to any news
G-d help us.
Friday, June 29, 2007
crude prices climbed above $70 for the first time since September yesterday after an Energy Department report showed that U.S. gasoline supplies fell last week as refinery operations rose.
One of the side effects of privatization of the water supply in Israel is that the new for-profit organizations that are taking took over the water infrastructure are cutting the service to public institutions. Traditionally, schools and synagogues never were billed for their water supply, mainly for political reasons but also because they used almost no water. Now, the head of Kever Benjamin's Water Organization (pic left) decided to cut the supply to the shtetl's 80 houses of prayer. Ipso facto, 72 of them promised to pay retroactively the debt they never knew they had and their service was restored, but eight were left waterless. The Talmud establishes that those of the priestly tribe, the cohanim, must wash their hands before entering the temple. And we are in summer, in the Middle East, and the temperature in Kever Benjamin reaches 40 degrees Celsius, synagogues have no air conditioning, the faithful are thirsty while praying and studying the Talmud all day, they digest the Shabbat meal and the result is a place smelling like a latrine. The Talmud explicitly forbids praying in a place with bad odor, thus Kever Benjamin's poorest communities are left to pray on the street.
Some troublemaker could send a public question to the City's Rabbi: Is Kever Benjamin's water kosher? It may well be that the Water Organization needs a kashrut supervisor, paid by the organization and observing if the water workers and managers are observant Jews as they have to be if the water is to be drunk by the faithful.
I just finished designing the infrastructure for a synagogue in a moshav (cooperative village) near Jerusalem. I had to do it twice, as the faithful changed the site and also wanted more changes. It is said that a camel is a race horse designed by a committee, so this synagogue is a barnlike unoperable structure. The people didn't want to tackle upcoming issues like fire protection, air conditioning, the mikweh (ritual bath) and other previsible problems. I always liked a Jerusalem soft white stone covered patio רחבה before the temple, where people prays in hot summer evenings, or carries out open air ceremonies like the blessing of the new moon. Of course these people didnt want a clean white stone pavement before the entrance but a muddy garden that will never be properly maintained. I could spend some time to look up in the Talmud and in books of synagogue archeology how the ancients solved these problems, what are the ritual water and sewage requirements of Jewish holy building, to do something original and special, but I am just not in the mood in this project.
Longstanding discount prices have encouraged gasoline consumption in Iran, where many people believe that the vast oil resources make cheap gasoline a basic right."There is no reason why we should pay the same price as people outside Iran do. We have all this oil beneath our feet and have to wait for hours in line to get our ration." This is good news for Israel, bad for my oil put speculation.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Balak knew that the strength as well the weakness of the would be Israelites was their illusion that they were fighting G-d's war, and therefore they were immune to human weapons and defeat. To instill a shadow of doubt in their souls and maybe even collapse their autistic self-righteous assurance, he hired the most famous sorcerer available: Bilam. Go and curse them, put the fear of death in their hearts. Everyone in the Middle East knew that there was no resisting to Bilam's magic, people cursed by him was panicked by terrible night monsters, they were felled by violent trembling and hide in the darkest corner of their huts. Bilam demanded very high fees for his exclusive services, and the Bible describes the negotiations between Bilak and Balam till they settled on half-a-million-dollar worth of silver shekalim. In his mind, Bilam had this easy job finished with no difficulty, in the eyes of his mind he had already seen those miserable escaped slaves turning back to where they came and begging the Pharaoh to renegotiate their servitude.
But all his acting and cursing did nothing to the Israelites. He ordered the Africans to shout and jump like souls possessed by the devil, and himself declamed the most powerful curses of his repertoire, promising terrible fates to them, to their children and to their G-d.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Like all good teachers, Eric Falkenstein blogging on Mahalanobis seems to be talking about me (aka "some idiot"). Imagining in my mind the B&S equation and so on I can see there is a symmetry problem, but I have no time to think. Thinking is hard work and I am lazy and want to finish the water design promised to this morning to my friend E. Solomon. (*) And my out-of-money put option on Brent crude rised 15% today on TASE, as the crude's price is now under 70$ a barrel. He writes: "But also I was amused because Nassim Taleb likes to assert that people's preferences towards negative skew implies these assets have negative returns: the positive daily payoff is preferred to one that only makes money once a year, or once every 10 years. I think unlike the academics, Taleb comes at this as a trader, who has seen lots of traders make money day after day, and give it all up in a final blow out. His experience is colored by survivorship bias, where all too often some idiot is in a sense selling insurance, raking in daily money, and then when he has to pay off, realizes he doesn't have sufficient capital. This is often in the form of selling out of the money options, buying bonds (a long bond position is symmetrical to a short out-of-the-money put option on the equity)."
(*) Yeah, anybody can see how hard you are working on that urgent Abulafia project.
Alles gut, but why the Klimt? Was, you dont like Klimt?
Hajos Alfred born Guttmann Arnold won his first world champion title winning an open sea swimming competition at the first modern Olympic games in Athens, and as typical Hungarian Jew, protested against the Austro-Hungarian Empire's hymn because he considered himself Hungarian. Of course he was betrayed, like all Jews, by his Hungarian compatriots and delivered to the Nazis to be poison gassed and cremated. He survived and worked in Hungary as design engineer and built several important structures till his death in 1955.
Hajós Alfréd mint Guttmann Arnoldként született egy budapesti zsidó családba, gyerekkorában apja a Dunába fulladt, ezután kezdett komolyan az úszással foglalkozni. 18 évesen, az 1896-ban az Athénban rendezett első újkori olimpián (már Hajós Alfréd néven) megnyerte a 100 méteres úszóversenyt 1 perc 22 másodperccel (egyébként jóval később, 1 percen belül elsőként a magyar származású, Tarzanként közismert Johnny Weismüller teljesítette ezt a távot). Akkoriban nem voltak úszásnemek, mindenki úgy úszott ahogy akart. Hajós a matróz úszással nyert, ami a mai gyorsúszás elődje volt. A győztesek érdekes módon ezüstérmet kaptak, a másodikok bronzérmet, a harmadikok semmit. Az úszóversenyt az Athén közelében lévő Zea öböl hullámos vizében rendezték, az indulók egy gőzös fedélzetéről ugrottak a vízbe. Hajós az 1200 méteres távot is megnyerte, az 500 méteresre az időbeosztás miatt nem ért oda. Mikor felhangzott a győztesnek szóló osztrák himnusz, Hajós leállíttatta azt, és kikövetelte a magyar himnusz eljátszását. Később bajnoki érmeket szerzett gátfutásban, síkfutásban és diszkoszvetésben is, de ez még mindig nem volt elég. Rövidesen a BTC focistája lett, és 1902-ben már a magyar válogatottban játszott. Egy év múlva már csapatkapitány lett, és 1904-ben ugyan abbahagyta az aktív sportolást, de előbb játékvezetőként, később a válogatott szövetségi kapitányaként folytatta tevékenységét. Végül az MLSZ (Magyar Labdarúgó Szövetség) elnökének választották. Ekkor már neves sportújságírónak is számított, számos cikke jelent meg lapokban, és az akkor népszerű Sport Világ című lap az ő szerkesztésében jelent meg. Mivel végzettsége építészmérnök volt, a tervezésben is jeleskedett. Legismertebb munkája a margitszigeti Sportuszoda épülete, de számos egyéb épület mellett ő tervezte a debreceni Arany Bika szállót, a debreceni színházat, a győri versenyuszodát, a Megyeri úti sporttelepet, és a pünkösdfürdői strandot. Sőt, 1924-ben Lauber Dezsővel közösen álmodták meg az Ideális stadion tervét, amivel a párizsi olimpia művészeti versenyén második díjat nyertek. Bár a zsidóüldözés őt sem kímélte, túlélte a második világháborút, és 1955-ben bekövetkezett haláláig aktívan dolgozott a Mezőgazdasági Tervező Iroda munkatársaként.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
A rather unflattering picture of the Saudi man is given in the clip
#1465 - Saudi Women's Rights Activist Wajiha Al-Huweidar: For Saudi Women, Every Day Is a Battle Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) - 5/26/2007 - 00:04:25 rescued by MEMRI. She says Saudi men are spoiled, they have assured employment and income, they have never had to compete for anything and are dead afraid of having to measure themselves against foreigners and women. They never had the experience of having a dream and striving to achieve it. An enviable life, but also soft and decadent. Ms Wajiha is very impressive. Her expression on the pic is sooooooo typically Arab female. She IS authentic.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Now, Ashkenazim Jews are in general one standard deviation more intelligent than the average run of the mill population, so Jew with Jew is able to cooperate and undertaking complicated enterprises that require complex coordination. From the outside, this certainly can be interpreted as a cabal, a conspiracy. Therefore, commercial cooperation appears like a conspiracy to steal the goy's goodies. The goodies in question generally pass into the hands of the Jews, but it is not a conspiracy in the any sense. Every time I wanted to do something and needed a partner, I found it easier to work with clever Jews and felt unsure with goyim. Japanese and Chinese people are very able to work in harmony and build enormous civil engineering projects, and Germans have a knack for forming well-oiled hierarchical fighting teams (it is a fact that they are world football champions as well in most team sports). Other peoples, like the Arabs and the Africans, have difficulties to work or fight together.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Infrastructure projects to meet the needs of growing populations constitutes a second way of getting rid of the inflow of petrodollars. Gulf countries have plans to spend USD 1,500 billion on infrastructure over the next five years. Most of the money will be misspent. For example, the six Gulf countries have all decided to invest in the development of financial districts.
Petrodollars allow rulers to avoid reforms and buy social peace. This spending leads to revolution.
Inflation is the final challenge. Petrodollars cause liquidity that feeds inflation. In Iran, inflation is running at between 15% and 20% a year.
Now, if I were a mosquito, how could I suck up a drop from this mighty flow of petrodollars?
Upward price pressure was dented in the middle of the week by a huge rise of 6.9m barrels in US crude stocks to a nine-year high. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ insistence that oil supplies remain adequate was bolstered by the jump in crude stocks but analysts warn the market is actually tightening significantly.
Mike Wittner, global head of energy market research at Calyon said: “The most likely scenario is that Saudi and Opec crude production will not see a large increase until October,” The tightening supply/demand balance has led Calyon to revise its oil price forecasts higher with Brent expected to average $69.33 in the third quarter and $65.50 in the fourth quarter.
Summary: On November 11th., it may be all right. Not sure, because 70 - 65.5=4.5 $ = 18.50 shekel, and I paid 23.00 shekel. I shall lose 4,500 shekel (1,100 $ plus interest and risk premium). If I bought the option today, I would have paid 15 shekel and the prospective payoff would be 18.5 - 15 = 3.5 shekel, a 23% profit. B&S value is 16.8 shekel.
Friday, June 22, 2007
First, they are old and poorly maintained. It is almost impossible to build a new refinery in the USA. The permitting process (Aha!) is onerous. A group in Arizona is trying to build a new refinery, and it took them 7 years just to get the permit. If they proceed and build the refinery, it will have taken 14 years from the time they started the process.
Second, refining is a very risky and low return business. The poor returns of the 1980s and 1990s have caused companies to neglect refining investment, culminating in BP’s Texas City disaster. Reduced investment has brought about a lack of qualified engineering, procurement and construction staff. The tightness of US refining capacity at this time is not because companies are unwilling to invest in more capacity, it is that they are unable. Refineries are complex.
Third, the impact of years of stringent environmental regulations. New regulations may redirect capital that might have gone into expanding refining facilities. They increase the costs of producing the fuel. Additional processing requirements, as in the case of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) and gasoline - reduces product yield. And additional equipment will increase the complexity of the refinery. The more complex, the less reliable. From 1994 to 2003, the refining industry spent $47.4 billion, not to build new refineries, but to bring existing ones into compliance with ever new and stringent environmental rules.
Summing up, the refining bottleneck will not be solved easily. Gasoline will be scarce this summer. The consumer will get used to pay more. No good for me.
The business, called The Artist 17, was started in the year 2000 and its building completed in 2005. All these seven years they have been running after the pakidim submitting plan after plan and maintaining meeting after meeting. They did everything to play according to the rules and even before buying the site they submitted several alternatives to the pakidim, till they decided on Abarbanel street 88 place. The document submitted to the Tribunal details the endless mmetings, demands for changes and new conditions by the City, how they were advised to submit for an industrial (workshop) permit and later to change to a discotheque. After completing all the requests, their solicitude has not been approved and they are now facing judicial action for illegal business activities. The lawyers maintain the City is unfair, its demands are not reasonable, the refusal of the permit is an excessive punishment, and it contravenes their right to conduct a legal business activity. In Hebrew, חוסר מידתיות, דרישות בלתי סבירותת פגחעה בחופש העיסוק
Thursday, June 21, 2007
This morning we attended a bar mitzva in Kever Benjamin's Conservative Synagogue, the largest in Israel. The boy's father was absent (relations are not good) and no blood relative was present, except a tall Haredi dressed in black. I liked the slow pace (the Orthodox ceremony has so much material that has to be read that it is always under pressure, accelerated, with the prayers read super fast), I liked the American rabbi who clearly explained each step - what he was doing and what we were going to do -; I liked the clarity of the prayers, which were in modern understandable Hebrew and not in meaningless Archaic Aramaic; I liked the parth when the bar mitzva boy had to take the collection box and make a round collecting money (familiarizing him with an important part of being a Jewish adult). I didn't like women with talitot and kipot, I didn't like the repeated assurances of loyalty to the country and its rulers and armed forces, I didn't like the emaciated and/or obese neurotic middle aged American women in the public.
The decoration is simple, modest and nice. There is only one vitrage donated by Reb Edelstein from the USA, originally from Szekszard, Hungary, with a story telling the deportation of the whole community to Auschwitz and its destruction. The aron ha kodesh contains the Torah scrolls but also a large shofar, a ram's horn. It is not habitually considered a sacred object. Everything is very American, clean and friendly. All in all, they add much value to Kever Benjamin.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Jacqueline Passey. She is against motherhood. I don't like that woman.
On no point there is a sharper difference between (believing) Jews and goyim, the nations. Our Prophets passionately hated the abominable Canaanite ritual of passing children through fire, that is, killing them as a sacrifice to their god Baal. Our Prophets destroyed the tophatot the ceremonial altars where the Canaanites killed their offspring. Near Jerusalem, in the Hinnon Creek, there was a such a tophet, in Gay (Valley, in Hebrew) of Hinnom, i.e. Gehenna - Hell. Phoenicians and Carthaginians were Canaanites, and in the ruins of Tzur and Carthage there are large cemeteries with thousands of clay vessels containing churned baby bones. Baal's priest put the child on the extended, slightly sloping arms of the bronze or gold Baal statue, and the helpless child slowly slipped into the fire. There was strong drumming to hide the child's desperate crying. Evil, evil, evil.
Greeks were no better. Greeks of the Antiquity felt nothing toward their children and if they did not like them or did not want to bother with bringing them up, they threw them down a precipice. Not only Sparta but all Greek cities had their designated killing rocks. When the pagans first met Jews, they were amazed that they raised all their children. Augustine called Judaism the cult of the flesh, while Christianism was the religion of the spirit. I think there is something in that, Judaism does not encourage living for the world of the spirit.
The feeling was awaken by Bryan Caplan's note on The Economist's blog. Bryan has family and takes up a pro-children position. He searches for economic reasons to have children, even if the profession of economy maintains that children reduce happiness. Happiness is the new God of Economy. Bryan feels so uneasy defending pro-child ideas that he offers a balancing link to Jacqueline Passey's post: "Yes, I think my mother would have been better off if she hadn't had children." This bad woman writes: "Raising happy, healthy (physically and mentally), responsible children is a more-than-full-time job – even more so in places like the US, where the public education system and most of popular culture are actively working against you to make your children unhappy, unhealthy, and irresponsible instead – and someone has to be willing to give up their life for 15-20 years to do that job. Maybe there are women out there that have so little going for them otherwise that the opportunity cost of giving up their life isn’t that much. But my mother could have done so much more with her life – and instead she wasted it by doing a not-so-great job raising kids. Yes, I think she’ll be pissed when she reads this, but I have the right to write about my life." There is good and evil, and she is no good.
Analysts were split on whether crude-oil supplies rose or fell last week.I am hopeful.
We are finishing the second semester and I took the students to visit three water-related facilities. It is a very hot summer day and the sewage pumping station had a strong smell and a Yamani student fainted. The grandmothers of two of the girls suddenly called that they are dead, so the girls had to leave for the respective funerals. The ten hardy souls that reached the last site had the privilege of a closed meeting in the wonderful air conditioned meeting room of Raanana Municipal WWTP, with colored shaded windows looking to the emerald green fields of Moshav Batzrah irrigated with recycled water. I gave them a round about of possible exam questions, and which of my exercises are an absolute must to receive a pass note. Many are already working as civil engineers.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
While Israel is physically outside Gaza, it still completely controls our lives, all aspects of our lives: health, education, economy and freedom of movement. Life under occupation is degrading to human dignity. It has deprived us of our freedom, and only free people can make peace. It is most peculiar that we are forced to deal with the patterns of life under occupation as normal, well-established facts.I am copying and pasting this from the blog of a Palestinian doctor in Gaza. We have left Gaza completely two years ago and since the Oslo agreements a generation ago, we have been trying to disentangle ourselves from their lives and put the largest distance possible from their physical personas. But they are still obsessed with us. We control... How on Earth we control their health? their education? their economy? Their freedom of movement? Children under 15 in Gaza have never met nor seen an Israeli. Still she says she is living under occupation? Are we phantoms in her sick mind that she feels controlled, occupied, unable to take free decisions?
I would understand that feeling of being unable to escape the fascination of the Israelis if instead the old hag she is, it had been a Palestinian boy. The pic shows one of our fashion models. Conquering. Occupying. Controlling. Enslaving. Impossible to escape the power rays emitted by certain parts of her body.
Yesterday I was urgently invited to visit a large office building near Tel Aviv. The west wing had strong sewage and chemical odor, the bosses had to send the secretaries and the office people home because working was impossible. They were desperate, they just had completed a large scale rebuilding and the impossible odors had not disappeared. Interrogated, they were unable to say if it came in from open windows, from the air conditions, or what. I spent two hours examining the building and my conclusions are clear and I am writing my report. I found, for example, two closets with no air conduits. I found the air conditioners water outlet connected into the sewage pipes, with no siphons (uppe left pic). I found a large obtrusion of the main sewage line (upper right)!! I found they had built two vertical air conduits to 2 m and they ended in front of windows (lower left)!! I found they had tried to solve the problem and installed a 6" ventilation pipe - the pipe was 1,5 m tall, exactly at the nose level (lower right) !! Air conditioners were dirty, the filters were full of solid dirt. Oh, boy, did I solve the problem !! But it is evident that someone before me had worked on the problem and made them spend lots of money and did not solve the problem. It may end in a confrontation with the unknown tradesman and end in a suit. I have to be careful, these people is very tricky.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Oil consumption in the 30 OECD countries fell last year for the first time in over two decades. Global demand destruction is pervasive. Over the last three years, global oil demand is only up 2.4%, despite the strongest global growth in almost three decades, while global supplies have increased 5.0%. Worldwide oil inventories are poised to begin increasing at an accelerated rate. There is a very fine line in the crude oil market between perceptions of "significantly supply constrained" and "massive oversupply." One of the main reasons OPEC has been slow to actually meet their pledged cuts has been the fear of losing market share to non-OPEC countries. OPEC actually needs lower prices to prevent any further long-term demand destruction. Oil is priced at elevated levels on record speculation by investment funds, not the fundamentals. The Amaranth Advisors hedge fund blow-up last year was a prime example of the extent to which many investment funds have been speculating on ever higher energy prices through futures contracts, thus driving the price of the underlying commodity to absurd levels for consumers and businesses. This is considered “paper demand”, which is not real demand for the underlying commodity. Global crude oil storage capacity utilization is running around 98%. Falling demand in emerging markets, an explosion in alternatives, rising global spare production capacity, increasing global refining capacity, a firmer U.S. dollar, less demand for gas guzzling vehicles, accelerating non-OPEC production, a reversal of the "contango" in the futures market, a smaller risk premium and essentially full global storage should provide the catalysts for oil to fall to $40 per barrel to $45 per barrel later this year. Gary fully expects oil to test $20 per barrel to $25 per barrel within the next three years as the historic investment fund speculation in the commodity reverses course.מהפה שלך לאלוהים
Sunday, June 17, 2007
A la tarde Goyo me informó, aunque insuficientemente, a mi entender.
La tropa sería de quinientas cabezas y saldría de allí dos días para el sur, hacia otro campo de Don Leandro.
-¿Y quiénes son los reseros?
-Va de capataz Valerio, y de piones, Horacio, Don Segundo, Pedro Barrales y yo, a no ser que mandés otra cosa.
Don Segundo fue más parco aún en sus explicaciones, y yo no sabía por entonces a qué se debía ese silencio despreciativo que usan los que se van cuando hablan con los que quedan en las casas.
-¿Podré dir yo?
-Si te manda el patrón.
-¿Y si no me manda?
Don Segundo me miró de arriba abajo y sus ojos se detuvieron a la altura de mis tobillos.
-¿Qué es lo que busca? -pregunté fastidiado por su insistencia.
-¿Ande la tiene?
-Creiba que te la habías puesto.
Un momento tardé en darme cuenta de su decir. Cuando comprendí hice lo posible por reírme, aunque me sintiera burlado con justicia.
-No es que me haiga maniao, Don, pero tengo miedo qu'el patrón se me siente.
-Cuando yo tenía tu edad, le hacía el gusto al cuerpo sin pedir licencia a naides.
Don Segundo Sombra by Ricardo Guiraldes is the most influential book I ever read. It is the story of a bastard boy who attaches himself to Don Segundo, a respected itirenant gaucho of the pampas. Above, Don Segundo is contracted as peon in a party to drive 500 cattle to another estancia. The boy wants to go with him, but is afraid. Don Segundo looks him up and down, till uneasy, asks: "What are you looking for?" The manea (fetters). Gauchos show off by speaking in riddles. "At your age, I never asked permission from anybody."
The pic shows an uplift hot air current creating convection clouds. Birds rise effortlessly on these invisible vertical currents. I have these currents in the markets and I am lifted to the clouds.
100.21 סה"כ תיק בש"ח
The above means that I (almost) doubled my original capital during the last two years (almost, because I shall pay 15% tax on profits when I sell). I made 400% on ICI, Israel Chemicals, a subsidiary of POT, a Canadian fertilizer company. POT's leader is a commercial genius and he organized a monopoly that forced the Chinese to pay through their nose. POT split recently and is still rising. I made some 100% with Makhteshim Agan, a pesticide company; I made 100% in six months with Israel Corporation, the Ofer (Herskovitch) Brothers's company; 80% with Anter Holdings financial house, and so on. My big disappointment is Teva Pharmaceuticals, it has stagnated in the last 2 - 3 years. I lost money on Tower Semiconductors, but I had sold most of it with some profit. I am losing 25% on my Brent Crude Futures Put Options, but it was expected as it is expected that Brent crude's price will collapse next August. The conclusion is that the most profitable use of my time is to think and manage my investments. Pity that my best neurons are gone and my IQ and my memory are faint shadows of what they used to be.
Oil prices are being driven higher by a general dip in US petrol (gasoline in America) supplies, as Ed Crooks wrote yesterday. This is one of those counter-intuitive abnormalities that makes energy fun or frustrating, depending on your disposition. But it's true, even though you may be hesitant to believe Abdalla Salem El-Badri, Opec's secretary-general, because he has reason to want to downplay any blame attributable to the cartel, which has recently restricted its oil output to push prices up. See the AP story here. Instead, believe US refiners who are privately admitting to having trouble performing their regular scheduled maintenance on time, and for that matter on budget. What is interesting is the reason: The general lack of parts and labour in a market of high demand that is making it more difficult to do everything from drilling new wells to retooling refineries. Now if only someone would come up with a better explanation than 'psychology' as to why refining less crude into petrol should drive crude prices up, rather than down. If you do, please do send us a comment.I certainly shall. And hope that Brent prices, as foretold by Gary, will collapse after August.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
The most famous of the cynics was Diogenes (412-323), a student of Antisthenes (pic). He saw himself as a citizen of the world (a “cosmopolitan”), and lived in a discarded clay jar. There is a famous story that has Alexander the Great finding him sleeping in the sun and announcing “I am Alexander the great king!” Diogenes replied “I am Diogenes the dog!” Alexander asked if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes just asked him to move out of the sun.
In 1980, the Iranian revolutionaries were convinced that a satanic CIA was conspiring from the American Embassy in Teheran to overthrow the new regime. The idea had some basis since the CIA had toppled governments in the past. They would have been surprised to know that under Carter, an idealistic do-gooder, the CIA had only four agents in Teheran and these didnt speak Farsi. But misguided students invaded the Embassy and jailed its personnel, thinking they were saving the Revolution. Carter hated the undemocratic Shah Reza Pahlavi, a ludicrous operetta Emperor, and romanced the revolution that displaced him, thus his reaction was to conquer the heart of the Ayatollah Khomeini with shows of true love. During 154 days he showered the Ayatollah with love letters and emissaries of good will. The Ayatollah had other things in his mind: “We will destroy you all, even if we ourselves die in the process.” Later, he would go so far as explicitly to reject the primacy of national interests. “We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah,” he declared in a speech in 1980 in Qom. “For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.” Ahmedinijad, a 23 years old revolutionary, was listening and learning.
Friday, June 15, 2007
George Waddell Snedecor was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He studied mathematics and physics at the Universities of Alabama and Michigan and became a professor of mathematics at Iowa State University. While there, he offered the first statistics course and began a famous collaboration with Henry A. Wallace, then editor of Wallace's Farmer in Des Moines, but later vice-president of the United States. They were interested in agricultural research, organized a seminar to study multiple regression, and did pioneering work in the use of punch cards and punch card machines. Jointly, they published Correlation and Machine Calculation in 1925, established a Mathematical Statistical Service in 1927, and the now famous Iowa Statistical Laboratory in 1933. In 1931, Snedecor had invited Ronald A Fisher (Biography 13.1) to Ames and this meeting set in motion developments that produced many of the techniques that are discussed in this chapter. Among the visible signs of this development was the founding, at Iowa State, of the first Department of Statistics in the United States, Snedecor's presidency of the American Statistical Association, and the publication by Snedecor of two famous works: Calculation and Interpretation of Analysis of Variance and Covariance (1934) and my love, Statistical Methods (1937). Snedecor is a variant of the Dutch Snedekker. The Snedekers are all descendants of Jan Gerritsz Snedeker and Annetje Ruys, who immigrated to New Amsterdam before 1640. Jan was a German, born in Oldenburg, who lived for several years in Amsterdam before emigrating to New Netherland. Annetje was born in Roermond, Limburg Province, the Netherlands. They had only one son, Gerrit Janse Snedeker, to carry on the family name. After living in New Amsterdam for a number of years, Jan Snedeker received a patent from Peter Stuyvesant in what was then Midwout (later Flatbush, New York), and he and his family took up residence there probably between 1651 and 1655. He later served as schepen (magistrate), and was, along with Jan Stryker and Johannes Megapolensis, pastor of the Reformed church in New Amsterdam, commissioned by Stuyvesant to oversee the construction of the first Reformed Dutch church there. A bona fide Math genius, but definitely not of my tribe.
China's 17% annual growth in industrial product is unsustainable. The world's money is flowing into China. The massive industrial overcapacity that they are building will kill manufacture all over the world, and in the first slowdown, it will drive prices down and create strong anti-inflationary forces. And political tensions. In the 16th Century all the silver mined from Potosi ended in China, killing Spanish industry. By the 17th Century the silver was gone but the English hit on the drug smuggling countertrade concept. In the nineteen thirties, the Chinese and Japanese export drive destroyed Manchester's textile and tool industries, causing widespread unemployment and misery. The situation solved itself thanks to the Manchurian war and then WWII. Can world economy absorb Chinese exports at this rate? According to Marxist theory (no, not THAT Marx of the pic), the result will be war that (1) will create demand for industrial products, and (2) will destroy manufacturing capacity, restoring world economic equilibrium. Somehow, however, there is full employment in America and Europe. Manufacturing is less important these days. America's main industry is finance, education, scientific research and innovation (patents and intellectual property).
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Israeli Police Chief Danino said that the Police uncovered more cases of public corruption in the past year than in any preceding year and indictments are expected at 11 of Israel’s 63 regional planning and building boards. That means that many city and regional engineers posts will be vacated, that more plans will be required and the bureaucratic procedures to receive building permits will become even more lenghty. Leviev is on the record that the average permit requires ten years.
The Voice of Palestine informs that "Palestinian citizens in Al-Nasr and Sheikh Redwan suburbs in Gaza city broke into the streets amidst waves of overwhelming jubilance prevailing in the suburbs after Qassam Brigades fighters took control of the Makoosi towers Wednesday. The towers were previously controlled by elements of the mutiny trend under the command of Fatah spokesman in Gaza Strip Maher Mikdad, who is widely believed to be one of the mutineers’ leaders. It was used as dens to torture and murder Palestinian citizens. The sources added that leaders of the mutineers were searching for a way to escape and evade being captured by the QB fighters. The sources also asserted that a number of leaders of the PA presidential guards were contacting QB leaders to assure them safety. According to leaders of the PA PG, mutiny leader Sameeh Al-Madhoun threatened to kill them if they refused to participate in torching homes of innocent Palestinian citizens west of Gaza city.
Moreover, the sources revealed a deep rift between Nabil Tammos, one of Dahalan’s close associates, and Sami Abu Samahdana on who is to lead the “suspicious” Fatah executive force. However, reports suggested that Tammos was isolated and fled to Egypt."
Interesting. The "Israeli street" is ignoring Gaza. In the Bank, the usual circle of speculators was concentrated on Tower Semiconductors (it was dropping). I mentioned Gaza, and an ancient Teimani speculator said: I dont care about them. We had them there for a very long time." Then the Teimani gentleman explained to me his system of selling and buying the same security. When the stock was going down, he sells it and buys it back cheaper, so when it goes up, his profit is larger. I must be losing neurons because I didnt understand the advantages of his system.
Al-Ikhwan (The Muslim Brotherhood Movement) has branches in over 70 countries all over the world. The movement is flexible enough to allow working under the "Ikhwan" name, under other names, or working according to every country's circumstances. However, all Ikhwan groups, in all countries are characterized by the following with respect to their method:
1- Following the Salaf: Rejecting any action or principle which contradicts the Quran or Sunna, and inviting people to nothing but them both.
2- Establishing the Sunna: Working -as much as possible- to spread the Sunna in every aspect of life.
3- Increasing the Iman: By concentrating on the purity of hearts, loving Muslims in the sake of Allah, and remembrance (plus being away of any Sufi mistakes).
4- Political Activism: By putting political programs for "Islamising" government in different countries (after realistic studies), and establishing these programs through convenient ways which do not conflict with Islam.
5- Stressing Physical Health: By forming sports clubs and committing members to regular exercises.
6- Enriching Scientific Study: By enhancing the knowledge of members and others about Islam. Members with "Shari'a" major have special study programs.
7- Establishing a Sound Economic Infrastructure: By supporting and/or sponsoring any Islamic project and facing its "fiqh" problems. By the way, the ONLY accepted source of money to the Ikhwan is its members' OWN money.
8- Fostering Social ties: By maintaining brotherhood links among the members of the Islamic society.
Al-Ikhwan believe that ruling a government should be the step which follows preparing the society for accepting the Islamic laws. The Ikhwan don't demand the rule for themselves; they welcome any leader who wants to establish a TRUE Islamic government to have all the Ikhwanic support and help.
The Ikhwan were the main motivators behind setting up experiments in Islamic financing on a nationally and internationally viable scale. The theory and practical requirements needed to set up an Islamic banking system came from amongst the ranks of the Ikhwan. From the earliest years, establishing an Islamic Economic system was a priority for the Ikhwan. Hassan al-Banna, Sayed Qutb, Yusuf al-Qaradhawi and numerous other scholars laid down some of the groundwork for practical theories of Islamic finance. Further specialized writers such as provided the practical basis for Islamic Financial Institutions, a number of which were developed in Muslim countries. So this is what is behind Islamic finance? The calligraphy above is Bismillah - In the Name of God.
Except the Hebrew papers, the world is ignoring the creation of an Islamic Brotherhood entity in Gaza. Fatah, the secular (originally socialist, now aburguesado) Palestinian movement, is giving up Gaza as ungovernable. The intended Palestinian state has split into two separate entities even before its creation: one is in the road towards regional integration and prosperity, the other is Islamic, violent and isolated. Egypt, deadly afraid of Muslim Brotherhood contamination, has closed its border with Gaza. Israel's government is undergoing a political rearrengement, and no decisions will be taken till Ehud Barak takes over the Ministry of Defense. The neo-pagan secular world, like the Roman Empire under Titus, does not care to understand and instinctively dislikes religious fanatism. They will let them ferment in their own juice till they rot. In other words, till all the BOD in this sludge is consumed and it becomes odorless and inert.
The pic shows Hassan Al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
In this case, the unknown Gazan Jedrik has started a chain of events that will cause the destruction of Gaza as we know it today. Hamas, in a suicidal mania, has been killing United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff, which has caused the evacuation of its expatriate staff and suspending most of its activities, including the distribution of food to the 30 - 50 percent of the Gaza Strip residents who rely on international food aid.
Other acts of irrational sadism, like firing into a peaceful demonstration asking for "peace", throwing individuals from high buildings, indiscriminate mass killings of children and other non-combatants, have the apparent purpose of causing a reaction by the "world". Gaza's Jedrik has decided to provoke the outside world to put an end to Gaza's suffering, no matter if it means the sacrifice of a part or all the population. The greater the massacre, she calculates, faster and surer the reaction.
But the process may end differently. The world may become tired and indifferent, and let them suffer indefinitely in their Dosadi planet. Making Dosadi dangerous and a de facto forbidden zone for foreigners, the world may forget Dosadi. In which way may Gaza endanger the rest of the world? The only power Gaza had over the world was its moral claim of hunger and misery, a moral capital that the current bestiality is fast consuming. Maybe the hypothetical danger of ideological epidemic, that an extremist hamasnik Gaza may become a focus of world fanaticism and jihad, is feared by Europe and the USA. But that reaction of the Islam is nothing new, and the West easily dealt with it in the last 500 years. The Mahdi in Sudan comes to my mind. A disciplined English regiment stood in front of thousands of ululating fanatics, and soon the Mahdi's harem was being fought over the Egyptian auxiliary forces.
Battle flag of the Mahdi's forces. The Arabic inscription reads: "Oh Allah! Oh Merciful! Oh Compassionate! Oh Living! Oh Unchanging! Oh Lord of Majesty and Liberality! There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah. Mohammed the Mahdi is the Successor of the Prophet of Allah. Upon him be Blessings and Peace of Allah!.