Thur. Jan. 3, 2019 – I forgot we’re in a shutdown….

45F and drizzle. Another dreary day.

A small reminder to give thanks for a roof over my head, indoor plumbing, and central heat…

Hmmm, apple is down almost 10% on some probably honest remarks (that the rumors had been talking about for a while now), construction layoffs are high, Tesla down as it admits it’s having trouble making and selling cars, Ford and GM have previously cut outlooks, luxury real estate is way down (why sell at huge discounts unless you need the money or see bigger opportunity elsewhere?), a whole bunch of the smartest guys in the room have seen their hedge funds crash, and a whole lot of other portents are becoming undeniable. The economy is crashing, at least the money side of it, and the money is what makes it all work. These guys are NOT gonna sit idly by. I don’t see T doing any motorcades any time soon, and he better keep the family close too.

and CHINA landed a rover on the moon!

n

(Remember Jerry’s comment, man will live in space- but there’s no guarantee they’ll be speaking English.)

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55 Responses to Thur. Jan. 3, 2019 – I forgot we’re in a shutdown….

  1. Harold Combs says:

    Overcast and 36f at commute time this morning in the Bluff City.
    We have had LOTS of rain over the last week and the ground in completely saturated. I can’t walk across the lawn to get the post without sinking into the soggy grass. Forecast is more rain off and on for the next few days. At least it isn’t ice.

  2. Harold Combs says:

    CHINA landed a rover on the moon!
    And SpaceX will be sending an Israeli moon lander up in the next month or two
    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/12/spacex-will-launch-israeli-lunar-lander-february-2019.html
    Here’s (almost) everything you need to know about Israel’s Moon lander
    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/spaceil-lander-feature.html

  3. Greg Norton says:

    Hmmm, apple is down almost 10% on some probably honest remarks

    The entry level iPhone is $749 without trade in, and Apple turned its back on IT pros with their entire computer line, desktop and laptop. The problems are fixable, but Apple may not be interested until the crowds at the stores thin out a bit.

    (The new Austin Apple store opened looking like that Star Trek episode where the population on the planet got out of control to the point where no one could sit or lie down. Just keep moving.)

    I’m not selling my stock unless Tim Cook loses his mind and hands over the cash pile to Musk to p*ss away. At that point, I’d join one of the shareholder class actions since the cash is ours, entrusted to Cook to deploy strategically in the supply chain, not waste on lotus eater fantasies bailing out TSLA shareholders.

    The Tesla investors need to find their big people pants real fast or get out now.

  4. DadCooks says:

    Last night as I was listening to my “Flash Briefing” on one of my Amazon Echos:

    FOX news played a sound bite from the meeting Trump had with Congressional Leadership. Pelosi and Schumer monopolized the “non-discussion” basically saying that there was no way that the Demoncrats were going to talk, discuss, or negotiate any part of the Budget so as to stop the Budget Impass, Trump could basically “eat shit”. Trump could not get a word in edge-wise.

    Then NPR’s turn; they did not play any audio from the meeting or from Redumblicans, only Pelosi and Schumer in front of a press pool microphone going on and on how Trump was set in his ways and would not talk, discuss, or negotiate with the Demoncrats.

    See the big contrast, what was actually said in the meeting and then how Pelosi and Schumer completely turned the facts around.

    It pains me to have to listen to FOX and NPR so that I can hear how dysfunctional our Gooberment really is and how poorly informed 90%+ of the public is.

    As an aside, do some reading about the “Third Estate”; going from the 1789 pamphlet through history to today.

  5. CowboySlim says:

    I have Charter, Spectrum cable service and will be missing the fights on the Jerry Springer show. Guess it’s off to Netflix to stream WWE.

  6. Greg Norton says:

    It pains me to have to listen to FOX and NPR so that I can hear how dysfunctional our Gooberment really is and how poorly informed 90%+ of the public is.

    SNAP cards going empty will be a big problem for all the pols. Figure another week of games and then everyone will want a deal.

  7. MrAtoz says:

    As noted here and around the web, after two weeks of goobermint shutdown, we are still alive. Why do we need all those pukes in DC, again?

  8. Nick Flandrey says:

    The glory days of the WWE!

    n

  9. Ray Thompson says:

    For awhile it was the WWF until the World Wildlife Foundation complained that people would get confused.

  10. Greg Norton says:

    Celebrity deaths come in threes. On deck today: Daryl Dragon, “Mean” Gene … and Super Dave.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obituaries/la-me-bob-einstein-obit-20190102-story,amp.html

  11. Greg Norton says:

    The glory days of the WWE!

    Prior to that, “Championship Wrestling From Florida” with Gordon Solee.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFa2WfZtP0

  12. Nick Flandrey says:

    Well, what do y0u know about that….

    I asked about ooma and took the preliminary steps yesterday. Today, while randomly clicking on keywords (on the right —>) I find some discussion of ooma in the comments of an unrelated post.

    So I’m going to start the porting process and sign up for their premier service. it’s still way cheaper than Vonage, and my Vonage adapter seems to have died anyway.

    I’d be fine with no land line style phone at all, but I want something non-cellular for visiting grandparents and the kids to call 911 on if needed.

    n

  13. Harold Combs says:

    RE: Vonage

    I had Vonage since 2002 when I lived in New Zealand and needed a US phone #. I used the same adapter when I returned to the US and set up a UK phone # as well. That was the part of Vonage I liked best, the ability to set up local #s in various countries. But my traveling days are over and I no longer needed international local service. However the nail in the coffin was when Comcast / Xfinity began blocking some protocols used by Vonage adaptors. I would get a ring then be unable to hear the party on the other end. It started with calls from 405 area code and moved to 901 and others. Realizing that since I relied on Comcast / Xfinity for my IP service I had no choice so I quit Vonage and moved my numbers to Comcast / Xfinity on the theory they wouldn’t block their own IP phone service. So far so good I guess. And the upside is I get caller ID on the TV so I can be forewarned if it’s the in-laws calling.

  14. CowboySlim says:

    WRT WWE, most don’t realize that boxing, UFC, etc., are also a fraud.

    Maybe Charter can fill in with streaming Roller Derby.

  15. dkreck says:

    A Fraud?! I’m shocked.

  16. dkreck says:

    Several years ago I moved my office lines to Phone Power and shortly after that moved the house number to Vonage, both from ATT. They seem to work equally well. PP is about $10 cheaper than Vonage but both are more than half less than what I was paying AT&T. The only thing missing is a working line in power failures but cell usually covers that.

  17. Ray Thompson says:

    Realizing that since I relied on Comcast / Xfinity for my IP service

    You may also want to consider moving your cell phone to Xfinity Wireless. I did several months ago transferring a couple of iPhones from Verizon. Service has been good. Best part is my bill dropped from $95.00 a month to $17.00 a month for both phones. We don’t use a lot of data so it was a good option. Xfinity uses Verizon towers so my service effectively stayed the same but much lower cost.

  18. Nick Flandrey says:

    Given the scandals, most pro sports have the fix in at least some of the time.

    When was the last time a World Series went the minimum number of games? When everyone involved gets paid big bonuses for each game, who’s in a hurry to end it?

    n

  19. paul says:

    I do not have Comcast available here. My phone is on Straight Talk. On Verizon towers with this phone. $45 plus taxes and yippe I get 10 useless GB of full speed data. I can’t tether the phone. Which would be very handy when my ISP is down. I have no interest in watching TV on a 5″ diagonal screen other than once a year at the laundromat. So…. I use about 600 MB a month and perhaps 90% of that is the various apps updating their ads.

    Straight Talk has a $35/2GB plan. Which after taxes will save about $13/month. I just haven’t felt like dealing with the Philippine call center.

  20. lynn says:

    SNAP cards going empty will be a big problem for all the pols. Figure another week of games and then everyone will want a deal.

    Aren’t SNAP and WIC funded through the Department of Agriculture ? That budget already passed both houses and Trump signed it.
    https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap

  21. paul says:

    Nick, I have not a clue.

  22. Greg Norton says:

    Aren’t SNAP and WIC funded through the Department of Agriculture ? That budget already passed both houses and Trump signed it.

    I’ve seen at least one story discussing the temporary workaround for SNAP money in the shutdown. Apparently, the money runs out at the end of January.

    When we left Vantucky, roughly a quarter of the Portland metro was on SNAP. Things could get pretty lively if those cards stop working.

  23. lynn says:

    I got stranded again by my Expedition at HEB last night with battery problems. Had a guy give me a jump using a notebook battery jump starter of up to 700 amps. So I bought one of those at Autozone this morning for $60 plus tax. It may say that it is not good for large V8s but it worked fine for mine last night.
    https://www.autozone.com/miscellaneous-non-automotive/battery-booster-jump-starter-pack/duralast-700-amp-jump-starter-with-inflator/720568_0_0

    So this morning, I charged the Expedition battery for while. No charge needed. So I installed the positive battery terminal clamp that I bought at Autozone last Monday. I had to cut the engine wiring harness clamp off and drill a hole through it. But now every thing is bolted together using both of the stripped wire posts for the three wires directly connected to the positive battery post. I have five starts on the new system so far will no troubles whatsoever.
    https://www.autozone.com/batteries-starting-and-charging/battery-terminal/duralast-battery-acc-battery-terminal/95963_533321_23849

  24. Greg Norton says:

    Umm, seriously guys, if this ain’t it, what would be?

    Apple could fix its problems tomorrow by announcing a new $350 iPhone SE.

    I think they’re deliberately shedding a big chunk of market to return to being something of an exclusive brand. Angela Ahrendts can’t be happy that the Apple stores look like Greyhound terminals as of late.

    And Wall Street still has patience with Bezos and Musk.

    Maybe a GE bankruptcy filing, while not truly significant, would be enough symbolism to push things over the edge.

  25. lynn says:

    Umm, seriously guys, if this ain’t it, what would be?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-03/bloodbath-stocks-crater-amid-perfect-storm-apple-and-growth-fears

    China’s economy is in the ditch, Trump’s tariffs have been wildly successful. Everyone with large amounts of sales in China, for example Apple, is going in the ditch. China is desperately looking for a way to get out of the hole that they are in. I expect to see more and more concessions on their part to Trump over the near future.

    The new sales person that I hired in December was working sales for a Hong Kong company. The 25% tariff devastated their pricing schedules and made them cost more than their German and Indian competitors. So, he left, given the opportunity.

  26. lynn says:

    Over The Hedge: Fitbit pulse of nine
    https://www.gocomics.com/overthehedge/2019/01/03

    Heh.

  27. Nick Flandrey says:

    @lynn, I bought the jump pack that costco had on sale last month for my wife as a Christmas present. It can be used to recharge USB devices too. I may get another as preps… It’s hard to believe that something that small can do the job, but hey, lithium.

    Of course, anyone who knows about energy density should be terrified of those packs, but especially the super cheap chinese ones.

    n

  28. lynn says:

    Of course, anyone who knows about energy density should be terrified of those packs, but especially the super cheap chinese ones.

    Is there any other type available ?

  29. lynn says:

    and CHINA landed a rover on the moon!

    On the FAR side of the moon where they are apparently wanting to build a moon base in a couple of years.
    https://newatlas.com/china-lander-change4-moon-far-side/57858/

  30. lynn says:

    “Confused Pelosi botches Speaker speech: ‘I think I skipped a couple of pages. I’m not sure.’”
    http://www.theamericanmirror.com/confused-pelosi-botches-speaker-speech-i-think-i-skipped-a-couple-of-pages-im-not-sure/

    Looks like Pelosi’s anti-Alzheimer meds are not working very well.

    Hat tip to:
    https://drudgereport.com/

  31. Nick Flandrey says:

    @lynn, you can still get the traditional jump box with sealed gel lead acid batteries, but they are bigger and heavier.

    Lithium battery packs from cheap anonymous makers terrify me. I really don’t want to die in a house fire because some chinaman decided you don’t really need to monitor cell temps during charging…..

    n

  32. paul says:

    OMG!!!! You said “chinaman “. Raycist!!! Ah… I’d have just said “chink”. Less to type. More Raycist!!!

    🙂

    I was given a Stanley Simple Start a couple of years ago. It’s yet to be opened. May never be opened. Tho maybe out in the boat shed for starting tractors….

  33. Greg Norton says:

    On the FAR side of the moon where they are apparently wanting to build a moon base in a couple of years.

    Where the Nazi’s built their base in “Iron Sky”. 🙂

  34. MrAtoz says:

    I have this jump start lithium battery:

    NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

    A little pricey. I’ve jumped about 10 cars with this puppy including MrsAtoz’s Battlewagon. I recharge it via USB just fine overnight.

  35. CowboySlim says:

    When was the last time a World Series went the minimum number of games? When everyone involved gets paid big bonuses for each game, who’s in a hurry to end it?

    When was the last time a boxer with a losing record was on TV? Where can you see two with losing records fight?

    At least with stick and ball sports, the losses and wins match in the standings.

  36. ech says:

    When was the last time a World Series went the minimum number of games? When everyone involved gets paid big bonuses for each game, who’s in a hurry to end it?

    2012 was finished in 4 games.

    The players get no additional money for a longer series, just to prevent the stalling you mention. The pool is based off of the ticket sales for the minimum number of games required at each round.

  37. Nick Flandrey says:

    @ech, I’m not much for sportsball, I guess I was thinking of football?

    n

    and the players may not benefit directly but certainly the network does

  38. ech says:

    I guess I was thinking of football?

    The NFL is single elimination. The players on teams that get a first round bye get paid as if they played a wild card game so there is no incentive to throw games to play in the wild card round. In addition, all the revenues from the playoff games go to the league and are split with the players in the games and with the pension fund for old-timers. The hosting teams get a payment for hosting the game and keep parking and concessions revenues – which are considerable, but a lot less than the gate revenues.

    The NHL and NBA players are paid based on minimum game series no matter how long they go, same as baseball.

  39. lynn says:

    @lynn, you can still get the traditional jump box with sealed gel lead acid batteries, but they are bigger and heavier.

    Based on the size of this:
    https://www.autozone.com/miscellaneous-non-automotive/battery-booster-jump-starter-pack/duralast-700-amp-jump-starter-with-inflator/720568_0_0

    Versus this:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016UG6PWE/?tag=ttgnet-20

    I suspect that my Duralast jump starter is a sealed lead acid battery instead of a lithium battery. It can still cause an awesome fire should it get a dead short. As you said, Of course, anyone who knows about energy density should be terrified of those packs, but especially the super cheap chinese ones.

  40. Nick Flandrey says:

    Huh, learned something new. Read thru the description of how the baseball post season money works. What a mess. It doesn’t mention the TV money at all though. Surely there is additional TV money?

    I wonder how long the current rules have been in place? I have distinct memory of them getting bonus money per game. I haven’t really paid much attention though in the last 2 decades.

    I take it back, they’re not lazy sandbaggers.

    n

  41. Greg Norton says:

    Huh, learned something new. Read thru the description of how the baseball post season money works. What a mess. It doesn’t mention the TV money at all though. Surely there is additional TV money?

    Major League Baseball doesn’t have TV revenue sharing like the NFL. Revenue from broadcasts largely depends on the the kind of regional deals teams can negotiate.

    As a result, large media market teams like The Yankees will always end up with the Derek Jeters, and smaller media market teams like Tampa’s are non-stop relocation targets due to competitiveness issues.

  42. Ray Thompson says:

    I wonder how long the current rules have been in place? I have distinct memory of them getting bonus money per game.

    My memory is the bonus money on winning the division, conference, then national championship. Football is a one and done deal so no advantage. Games like hockey, baseball, etc. where the winner is best of 3, 5 or 7 I don’t think the number of games matter.

    I guess you can now call me one of the leaches of society. I only paid $64.00 in federal tax withholding this year. Yet somehow I am getting almost $500.00 refund. Seems I am eligible for the earned income tax credit. How I don’t know. I do have to contribute to an IRA this year to keep my income below the 300% of poverty level to keep from getting burned on the healthcare stuff. Turns out if I did not have the job at the church I would not be able to contribute to an IRA. Apparently IRA contributions cannot exceed your earned income.

    I would like to file early to avoid having someone file a fraudulent return on my behalf. Not possible because some of the TurboTax forms will not be ready until late January. And some of the documents I need from my investment firm will not be made available until the end of February. The January 31 deadline for W-2’s etc. does not apply to many financial documents.

  43. Nick Flandrey says:

    I usually have to wait until March or April for a specific form from a tax shelter partnership. I’m rarely ready before then anyway….
    n

  44. mediumwave says:

    New Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Goes off on Trump: ‘We’re Going to Impeach the Motherf*cker!’

    Now that our educated elites are cursing like longshoremen, what curse words are left for the longshoremen?

  45. brad says:

    “having someone file a fraudulent return on my behalf”

    There ought to be zero risk to you, if this happens. Two people file returns on the same SSN, some tax agent has to figure out which one is legit. At that point, surely they process the legitimate return normally, while handing the fraudulent one over to the police?

    Of course, we’re talking about the IRS here, so I presume that naive view of things is wrong. What does, actually happen?

    My wife has always handled our Swiss taxes, which specifically means that she pays a tax consultant for them. My wife like here, but I find her rates outrageous. And she charges for stuff that she shouldn’t – for example, she apparently charged for the hours a new employee had to put in, learning our situation. Seems to me that problems caused by personnel turnover are for her to deal with.

    I’ve not said anything until now, both in the interest of marital harmony and because our taxes have been complicated. Now that the business is gone (officially ending this year), I’ve said I’ll take over the taxes as of next year. That will be…interesting. The Swiss system is no less complicated than the US system, and I’ll be started basically from zero. For practice, I plan to do the this year’s taxes (which will still be messy) in parallel with the consultant, to see what the differences are…

  46. Greg Norton says:

    Now that our educated elites are cursing like longshoremen, what curse words are left for the longshoremen?

    Educated? Higher education became a racket supporting Doh-bamacare with the nationalization of student loans. If the new Congresscritters have a degree, I doubt it is worth much.

    My guess is that the new Majority will flame out within six months and head home for 2020 disillusioned. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Stretch booted out of the Speaker’s chair with Trump’s reelection.

    2020 will be ugly.

  47. Nick Flandrey says:

    2019 is gonna be ugly.

    n

  48. Ray Thompson says:

    Of course, we’re talking about the IRS here, so I presume that naive view of things is wrong. What does, actually happen?

    You have to go to an IRS office, prove it is you, and show a copy of the return. You also have to bring bank records with account numbers showing that you never deposited the check or got an electronic refund. You then have to wait about six to eight months while the IRS scratches their heads and finally gets you your true refund. Your account with the IRS is marked and future returns require PIN numbers and other versification. Your SSN is marked as being used fraudulently which requires you block your credit reports.

    Meanwhile the person that absconded with the money is generally OK. The IRS will do little to pursue the individual as most likely the person is from another country. Had someone here open a bank account, files the fraudulent return electronically, when the money arrives empties the bank account, then closes the account. The IDs used to open the account are faked.

  49. brad says:

    Gotta love hypocrisy: I enjoyed reading that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez called for Congress to skip their salaries during shutdowns. Now that she’s in Congress, when asked about that, she was too busy to discuss it with the press.

    On the other end of the age spectrum: What is it, that keeps elderly politicians in their offices into their seventies and beyond? I understand that the interests they represent want them to continue – when you have a spigot firmly in the pork barrel, the last thing you want is a change of guard. But purely from a human point of view: don’t these people get tired? Don’t they see that, past a certain point, they are just being used? Remember Strom Thurmond, in office until his late 90s? He became little more than a puppet, propped up from behind by others.

    Whatever I think of Pelosi’s politics, or Hillary’s, both are clearly in this same category. Both are suffering from serious health conditions that impair their ability to do their jobs. Both should retire. Whoever keeps pushing into continue is, frankly, pretty damned heartless.

  50. Ray Thompson says:

    The Swiss system is no less complicated than the US system, and I’ll be started basically from zero.

    Fortunately I am able to use TurboTax and have been for the last 30 years. This relieves the tedium of all the calculations and filling in all the forms. The only difficulty is making certain that the proper deductions are claimed and all the documents that are received are properly entered without typos.

    My return, when printed out, consists of almost 80 pages of paper. My return is more complicated than many, not as complicated as some. I am also able to file electronically which generally gets my refund in less than a week as the refund is deposited electronically.

    What amazes me is that H&R Block is able to process so many returns that are simple and extract $100-$250 from people for doing so. A couple of W-2s, maybe some interest and that’s it. Most don’t have enough deductions to itemize. Tax software companies have online systems that will file for free and are easily navigated.

    But people use H&R Block (and other services) for three reasons. 1: they are afraid of the IRS. 2: they get an instant refund from the tax company paying a significant amount for this quick cash. Basically a loan from H&R Block who gets the refund instead. Charging people $100.00 to loan them $1,000.00 to get a refund a week early is just stupid on the part of the people. And that brings me to reason number 3: the people are incredibly ignorant about money.

  51. Ray Thompson says:

    Both should retire. Whoever keeps pushing into continue is, frankly, pretty damned heartless.

    No one is pushing them. Their EGOS are what are keeping them in office. Somewhere in their aged brains they feel that without them the country would soon perish. They have been made to feel important their entire life and thus cannot abandon that feeling. They think they work for the people the represent. However they have been corrupted by donations and special interests. The free trips to “fact find” paid for by special interests. The internal knowledge that allows them to benefit from stock market ups and downs. The travel in private jets, chauffeured automobiles, healthcare that is top notch and basically free. Those are all hard to abandon.

  52. nightraker says:

    Their EGOS are what are keeping them in office

    And the personal and familial enrichment. I’ve seen estimates of net worth between 12-40 million dollars for the Obamas. Pretty good for folks who never had a real, productive job ever. Typical of the governing class everywhere.

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