Thursday, April 28, 2016


Over the next long period of time (Motley Fool* picks 50 yrs, John Bogle** picks 10 yrs) the real return on the stock markets  is likely to be something like 5% (Bogle) to 5.5% (Motley Fool)

At the end of 1965, the Shiller CAPE stood at 23.6, and today it stands at 24.3. The historical average is 16.7.
So, using just this one measurement, stocks are about as expensive today as they were 50 years ago. If the next 50 years show returns in the same ballpark as the past 50 -- and they are working off roughly the same valuation starting point -- then investors will do acceptably if they're expecting returns in the area of 5.5% over that time period.
Amid earnings season Bogle warns that the market may see five percent investment return, well below the norms over the next decade, but "it's better than nothing and certainly no reason to get out of the market," he said.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


As I live in North Carolina, the topic of bathroom and locker room use by transsexuals is current and keeps coming up on TV because of a law called HB2.*  Mississippi too has passed a bathroom and locker room law.

Estimates of what percentage of Americans are transsexuals range widely from 0.1% (1 in a thousand) to 0.5% (1 in 200).  It seems possibly that you may not even encounter a transsexual in your lifetime.

In the North Carolina law, transsexuals are to use the bathroom and locker room of their birth gender.  Well I think that as to bathrooms you probably wouldn't know the person going into the stall was for the women's restroom was a male unless he/she was wearing a beard or maybe if you struck up a conversation with them.  Ditto for a women transsexual going into the men's restroom.

Locker rooms are something else, of course, except for those transsexuals who have had a complete sex change operation,** whether it is from male to female or female to male as they both would have the same, um, equipment or lack thereof.  That is the man actually is a woman who has had a complete hysterectomy and a women actually looks like a man complete with a penis.***  Apparently they can even have sex.  I suspect that you wouldn't even know, at least from a casual look.  These people certainly belong in their new sex restroom and locker rooms.  Uterine transplantation is even in experimental phases.  Apparently there are some health insurance plans that cover such operations.

Another thing is that in most places, women now wear trousers and many sport a mannish haircut.  A lot of such women could maybe "pass" in the male restroom without a sex change operation.  I think that male transsexuals who still have their, um, equipment steer clear of women's locker rooms.  There is no problem with their wearing trousers and sport a mannish haircut and still identify themselves as a woman.

With this post, my interest in the topic is finished.


Thursday, April 21, 2016


Well, jobless claims continue to decrease with the latest week estimated to be below 250,000. * Although jobs seem to be plentiful, apparently the wages workers are getting leave them mad-as-heck.**

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting its lowest level since 1973, suggesting the labor market continued to gain momentum despite weak economic growth.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 247,000 for the week ended April 16, the lowest reading since November 1973, the Labor Department said on Thursday.*
Jobless claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with healthy labor market conditions, for 59 weeks, the longest stretch since 1973.*
The economy has been constrained by a strong dollar and weak global demand, which have undermined exports. Lower oil prices are also a drag, as they have eroded the profits of energy firms and prompted them to slash spending on capital projects.*
The four-week average of the so-called continuing claims decreased 10,750 to 2.17 million, also the lowest reading since November 2000.*

I guess I won't give a weekly blow by blow of the jobs picture, but will tune in now and then.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016


An eclectic blog (November, 2009, through December, 2015) with sections on Biography, Commentary (General, Economics and Investing), Fiction, Health Care, Oil and Gas, Politics, Photographs, and Poetry (Children's Poems, General, Health, and Space Poems) and (new) Poems By Others:  As of the end of 2015, the blog contains 540 items with 120 published in 2015, a few greater than last year's 111.

The Reunite Gondwanaland and Table Of Contents has the most page views with 430.  Close behind in the new Poems By Others Section, Ogden Nash's poem Fossils with 428  [] as the blog bears down on 37,000 page views.

Of my own posts, there is the first 300 page viewer from 2014, The Break Even Price of Fracking Oil [] with 300 page views.

Four other items have at least 200 page views: You Are So Lucky (Biographical) [] with 230 (Which deals with my first three days in Japan in 1965); The Tea Cup Seimograph [] with 215 (It was no doubt popular because of the Great Japanese Earthquake of 2011.);  Muammar Qaddafi And Me (Biographical) [] with 212 (No doubt popular because of the overthrow of the Libyan dictator Qaddafi); and My Maternal Grandmother (Biographical) []  with 209 page views;

More than 10 posts have at least 100 page views.  The highest of these is Trump Or Cruz? [] with 177 page views; closely followed by Working Underground: My Rational Self and My Emotional Self with  170 page views [].  Two other posts from 2015  that topped 100 page views are:Who Buys Isis Oil with 140 []; and 13 Things That Doen't Make Sense (Book Review) - Part I  [] with 101.

Each piece I have written is like a child and I love them all, but it is common that some children are loved more than others. My personal favorites are Effectiveness Of Taxes [] with fewer than 100 page views and Basics of Bureaucracy [] with 114. In the former, I point out why decreasing taxes on individuals is an inefficient way to stimulate the economy. I liked this so much that I refer to it in three other pieces. Alas the reading public did not agree as to its great value. In the latter that was written many years ago, I give some real rules of dealing with bureaucrats in a humorous fashion.

Let me give two Honorable Mentions. I wouldn't say this is a favorite of mine, but it can be important to some, i.e. Preferred Stock Investing with 131 hits []. I have invested for about 60 years, but never got involved in preferred stocks until the last decade. I would also like to mention one poem Upon the Second Anniversary Of Apollo 11, the first landing on the Moon []. Normally a couplet or more just pops into my mind and I construct a poem around it. The second anniversary of Apollo Eleven, however, was little noticed which I thought was terrible so this was the first time I sat down to compose a poem from scratch. 

Also on poems, my favorite couplet that I have ever written is in  So How About An Asteroid (Poem) [], with 80 page views: Who could possibly be annoyed/ About the study of an asteroid.  My favorite stanza is from  On Age 82 (Poem) [] with 133: 

I do not text
And do not tweet
I'm 82 years old
Feeling kind of beat.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


The degree that Republicans like to control what goes on in our bedrooms seems to know no bounds and even would be sort of funny if they weren't so serious.  The late Supreme Court Justice Scalia, for example, bemoaned the disappearance of laws that made masturbation illegal. * Sometime candidate for President and former Senator Rick Santorum bemoaned the repeal of a Connecticut law that barred married people from using contraceptives in their bedrooms.* Now Senator and Presidential candidate Ted Cruz supported a bill banning the use of dildos.**  (Incidentally, the reference works if you can highlight it and copy it into the address bar.)  He claimed it was like hiring a prostitute.  Fortunately his case was thrown out by a Federal appeals court.

I probably could find more examples if I tried, but these are enough.  We actually have and had such people in the highest levels of our government.


Monday, April 18, 2016


I'm kind of baffled because on the one hand, jobs are increasing, layoffs are declining and voluntary quitting is increasing.  It would seem like the jobs picture is pretty good.  Then one hears about how unhappy workers are.*

For one thing, it seems to have something to do with education.  If you have a bachelor's degree you are probably in the same boat you were back in 2001 (see Figure).  If you have less than that, you haven't done well in recent years, but if you have an advanced degree, you are doing well.  One sees articles that say getting a degree isn't worth it, but that is baloney.  If you have less than a Bachelor's degree, however, it seems like maybe you shouldn't have bothered with higher education.

For another thing, there is a real decline in manufacturing jobs whereas jobs in education and health are rapidly increasing.  Next comes professional and business services.  Jobs in retail trade have been essentially flat in this century, but leisure and hospitality jobs continue to increase.**

One of the more glaring examples of how strong pessimism has become is Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index. The measure gauges the difference between respondents who say the economy is improving or declining. The most recent results are not good.

Fully 59 percent say the economy is "getting worse" against just 37 percent who say it is "getting better." That gap of 22 percentage points is the worst since August, according to Gallup, which polled 3,542 adults. The index carries a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.**

(Click on Figure to Enlarge.*


Friday, April 15, 2016


I ran across this item the other day on controlling abortions through vasectomies.  Somehow I think it won't be adopted:
You just never know what you’ll find while frolicking on Facebook. Last weekend I noticed a typed anonymous blurb circulating and getting lots of likes/shares. Finally, I took a few seconds to read it:

“Since straight men ages 15-29 are most likely to impregnate women accidentally, I’m sure the GOP could get behind mandatory vasectomies for them staring at 15. Reversal is usually highly successful, and could be allowed at age 30, or earlier with wife’s permission. Both procedures are cheaper and easier than childbirth in terms of time, materials, and discomfort. More reliable business for doctors, the event industry could get behind it, and churches won’t complain. Win-Win-Snip-Snip.” -Writer Unknown*