Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mi Amigo's 10K Turkey Trot

As we have been doing for time immemorial, the Fullers ran the Thanksgiving Day 10K Turkey Trot. I haven't run this particular race for about 20 years so it was nice to once again run with a grown man dressed as a turkey (for the record, I beat him).

This year we had several new Fuller participants (Nick, Lisa, Rachael, and Maverick). The weather was perfect and the course fast (although a little too much headwind the last two miles).

So on to the race. I haven't run a 10K since high school. I haven't run fast in over a year. Let's just say that expectations were low, meaning I was hoping to come in under 45 minutes.

When the race first started, I was pretty tight. However, due to my desire to get out of the crowd and into some open space, I ran the first mile in 6:15. And I felt like I wanted to vomit in my ...

Actually, I didn't feel like vomiting. I felt like slowing down because my lungs and legs were asking me what I thought I was doing. I told them to shut up and that I only had another five.2 miles to go. I then settled into a nice pace that fluctuated by 20 seconds or so around 6:50 depending on whether I was going up the hill or running into a headwind. The last mile I felt ok and finished in 42:34 (6:52 pace).

Three minutes slower than my best, but I'll take it. I'm always thinking I'm losing speed. I don't think it's happening yet. Next year 2:59 is going to happen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Enough Ink?

Christopher Wood in The WSJ says (with a much larger megaphone) what I've been saying from the beginning. Inflation, deflation, print, print, print, print, print, spend, spend, spend, spend, spend, Zimbabwe.


So now that we understand that the government has no clue what to do, what do we think they are going to do next?

A week after telling us they were no longer going to be buyin up toxic assets, but instead would only be providing capital injections, the government has now decided to do both with Citi.

I think I'm going to start taking bets on what the government will do next.

Buy Citi: 4:1
Buy my house: 28:1
Buy my neighbor's house: 17:1
Buy GM: 6:1
Buy the state of California: 12:1

Any others?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My People

I gave a talk in sacrament meeting a month or so ago. I used a running metaphor and talked about how I inherited my desire and ability to run fast from my Mexican ancestors (my dad is an original marathoner). This unexpectedly drew a lot of laughs.

Being in Arizona again after almost a decade has caused me to remember how different it is living in a border state, especially with the immigration issue being such a hot button topic the past couple of years.

CFR takes a look at the increasing drug violence in Mexico.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Georgia Part II

Stratfor reports that up to 100,000 Russian passports to Ukrainians within the past two months in a country where dual citizenship is illegal.

Distractions are nice.


The potential sale of Citigroup was more than a mild shock.

Is nothing safe?

The Periphery

Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Iran, Russia, terrorism, global warming, PIRATES just aren't getting me fired up like they used to. Something about the threat of even higher unemployment has me focused (like a laser beam) on only the economy. I continue to read other topics, but mainly to distract me from the absolute horror of our economic situation.


Paul Krugman is worried about economic policy going on vacation during the transition of power.

The Wilderness

Editorials about the collapse of the Republican coalition are all beginning to sound alike, but they aren't getting old yet.

I say that as a Republican (for now) hoping.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Super Obama World

I didn't play this more than once. I promise.

Dow 6000

I told one of my brothers about two months ago to expect to see Dow 7500. I was too optimistic.

To cheer you up, I've brought you interactive joy (about a depressing topic, but it's INTERACTIVE!).


I love unsolicited advice. I'm sure President-elect Obama does as well (from The Financial Times - how to fix the economy (what else)).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Says to let the Big Three go into bankruptcy. No details on how the restructuring should be paid for, but hey, I'm sure he has an idea or two up there in that giant noggin of his.


The RGE Monitor reviews the 50% drop in commodity prices over the past six months.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The Chief Moonbat is pissed. "Elections have consequences." Post-partisanship be damned.

I'm viewing this development in a positive light.


I've been following the piracy story for a couple of years now for two reasons. One, I read an outstanding article in The Atlantic in 2003, titled "Anarchy at Sea" and two, once when I was reading CNN, I saw a story on Somali pirates and told Liz. She proceeded to imitate Captain Barbossa and the rest is history. I now regularly read about modern day pirates.

Chatham House recently came out with a new report on "Piracy in Somalia". Worth reading if you'd like a break from the doom and gloom present day life and want to read about how shipping $100M of oil ain't what it used to be.

A Knife's Edge

Stratfor comments on why the meeting of the G20 did NOT bring about a complete restructuring of the global financial system a la Bretton Woods.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A View From The Other Side

Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic on why he views the LDS Church's stance on homosexuality and gay marriage as a war.

I told Liz when Prop 8 passed that this was only the end of the beginning. My trip back to San Francisco last week only confirmed that this issue is going to be THE issue (religiously, culturally, and legally) for quite some time.

Here is a very good pro-Prop 8 blog I found when I was reading a post on Mormanity on how we should respond to the attacks on our faith.

Train Wreck

I don't know why I even bother reading Nouriel Roubini any more. Here are his latest 20 reasons why our economy really, really sucks and will for a long time.

Happy Monday!


I don't speak hieroglyphics. Could someone please tell me straight up what ya'll are gonna do?

Here's the formal press release from the weekend's G20 photo op.

Commentary on the meeting:

- From The Australian

- From The Christian Science Monitor

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Auto Bailout

Cato unsurprisingly says "No!" and "Hell no!"

The UAW, Detroit, the Big Three, and of course Obama say "Yes" and whimper, whimper "please".

This article in The WSJ on how GM is trying to set the terms of the bailout really blew me away. Yes, it's a good negotiating strategy to ask for the moon, simply hoping for a pebble or two, but I was hoping for a bit more humility.

There aren't any good answers. Encourage moral hazard by bailing out an industry that will only need another bailout if the economy doesn't turn around quickly or watch millions of real people lose their jobs. I have the feeling that the public will only accept a bailout where the terms are so in favor of the government (similar to the first AIG bailout) that it'd be tempting for the car makers to just declare Chapter 11 (followed quickly by Chapter 7). Or Obama could just do whatever he wants to do and everyone will love it.


I can't believe I haven't reviewed this place yet. I went there again last night and while I was sitting there enjoying my black raspberry concrete with cold fudge, it dawned on me that I had a hole in my local Yelp ratings.

I'd like to give this place five stars, just to drive my favorite Floridian more bananas than he already is, but alas, I cannot. It's very good and worth the 20 minute drive, but the service can be uneven and sometimes the custard is a little too melted. That being said, did I mention that I'll drive 20 minutes to go here and that I pass two Dairy Queens, one Baskin Robbins, and more of those tart yogurt places than I can count? So yes, it is creamy and delicious and very far from Florida.

Pro 44 Fly

Maybe we're just all (52% of the all) hoping after all. Peggy Noonan in The WSJ on how America is "Throwing Long" with Obama.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bretton Wo...

A preview and roadmap of this weekend's meeting of the G20 from the RGE Monitor. It's being billed as the next Bretton Woods (either II or III depending on how going off the gold standard in the early 70s is viewed). I don't care what they call it. I do care about a coordinated response from the 20 countries that account for ~90% of global GNP. Defusing the $600T derivatives time bomb would be nice too.

Good Is Bad

Am I not allowed to think anything is good at this point? Inflation, deflation, no investment, inflation again?

Thank you CFR for ruining my cup of creamy, delicious hot cocoa.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Paulson's remarks this morning.

I watched it live this morning before walking over to the office. Looks like we are changing course. Forget buying toxic assets. Boosting balance sheets and preventing foreclosures are the new priorities.

Wingnuts and Moonbats

Upon stumbling into my hotel room each evening, I always turn the television on. If nothing interesting is on and CNN is boring, I will flip back and forth between MSNBC (Olberman, Maddow) and Fox News (O'Reilly, H&C) purely for entertainment purposes. These talking heads are crack for their 100% partisan audiences. I don't trust anything they say, but they can sometimes get a chuckle or two out of me and that can be worth it in and of itself (particularly when Colmes looks like he is about to implode - a nightly event).

Last night was such a night. MSNBC, commercial break, Fox News, commercial break, back and forth. But, last night topped all previous nights in ridiculousness. Hannity called our current recession "The Obama Recession". He fumbled around trying to explain how the market is reacting to things that Obama might do, yada yada, but still. Really?

The sad thing is that somewhere out there, there are a lot of people who believe him.

Black Hole

I hope that the auto industry bailout comes with many, very tightly monitored strings attached. GM is the worst offender, but Chrysler and Ford are not far behind. Too many brands, too many unattractive cars, too fuel inefficient, too much cost.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


More on a pragmatic Obama in The New Yorker.


The U.S.'s changed stance on Iran since the Russia-Georgia War from Stratfor.

The idea of Bush paving the way and taking the hit from the right by opening relations with Iran before he leaves office slightly increases my respect for the man.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Too Big

Another gem. This time in the RGE Monitor.

“Every person in the (rich) United States has over the past 10 years or so borrowed about $4,000 from someone in the (poor) People’s Republic of China.”

In the end, the U.S. will be considered too big to fail. Holders of U.S. debt will suck it up and accept a much depreciated dollar fresh off the printing press and will thank us for repaying them.

And then turn around and buy rupees.

Sunday, November 09, 2008



Please read this article on reforming big government from The Claremont Institute. I rarely ask you to read something. It's more of a shotgun approach over here at VTOLing, but this is as good a summary of the conservative/progressive fiscal struggle as I have seen. You will be stunned by Chart A, Table A, and Table B. For some background on The Claremont Institute, click here.

This is where I hope Obama is headed. Pragmatic government. Lowering taxes, cutting waste, reforming entitlements, and truly fighting poverty for those who have nowhere else to turn.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Still Selling It

Rahm Emanuel is still selling pragmatism. It's what they ran on. They had better.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Favorite Links

The top 10 sites I visited 7 - 10 years ago:

Front Page Magazine
Xbox Forums
National Review
Red State
Obsidian Wings
Daily Kos
Andrew Sullivan
The Guardian
AZ Central

One of these kids is not like the other.


I can't stand being gone Monday through Friday. Thankfully it is rare, but this week was one of those five day travelling weeks. So I get to the airport early thinking I can catch the earlier flight. Full. A big thank you to all of the airlines for all of the flight cuts. Ok. I'll just take my normal flight. Uh-oh, what's that? It's delayed?? I'm going to be at the airport for three hours with the heartburn I have from lunch AND having to look forward to sitting in coach?? DON'T YOU KNOW I'M MVP GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, at least I have at least two years to look forward to. The Republicans have a dangerous game to play with the new President-elect. Filibuster and look like obstructionists in a time of extreme crisis or roll over? To be in those back rooms...


Now back to our regular fare of doom and gloom. Economists react to the latest jobs report in The WSJ.


Stratfor discusses the security threat to President-elect Obama.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


It continues to be beyond outrageous that Sarah Palin could have been our vice-president. From Fox News:

"The Enforcer"

Rolling Stone took a look at Obama's new chief of staff in 2005.

"He's got this big old pair of brass balls, and you can just hear 'em clanking when he walks down the halls of Congress".

The Polls

Were extremely accurage this time around as reported in The WSJ today. Poll aggregators such as Pollster, RealClearPolitics, and FiveThirtyEight were even moreso.

I'm happy that I wasn't completely wasting my time pouring over state and county data.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Obama's Challenge"

From Stratfor.

Looks like this is going to take more than 100 days.



The WSJ nicely summarizes and evaluates the last six weeks of each campaign.


Now that the election is over, you're going to hear the phrases Keynesian economics and fiscal stimulus repeated over and over. My favorite economist, Nouriel Roubini, has proposed a $400B stimulus package (that's borrowing $400B from our future incomes to put people to work today building roads, bridges, buildings to house giant bureacracies, etc). It's the classic deficit spending today to drive the recession away play. And usually it works. Something tells me this isn't a usual time.

Edmund Phelps (a Nobel winning economist from Columbia) isn't so sure in this piece in The Financial Times. Apparently Keynes himself wasn't so sure.

I'm not smart enough by any means to know what the answer is. However, looking at basic economic indicators and our projected fiscal situation over the next several years, I'm not sure that a $1T deficit is that great of an idea. It might be time for a new economic theory.

Progressive Pragmatism

Obama's speech was unifying, non-triumphalist, and a call to work. I mulled over the title of this entry for a few minutes. Progressive Pragmatism or Pragmatic Progressivism. The emphasis is important to me. Will Obama's emphasis be on doing what is best for the country, regardless of which label (progressive or conservative) is attached to a particular solution? Or will he emphasize progressive solutions that he thinks he will be able to actually implement?

Obama is a progressive. America has chosen a progressive path. I agree with much of the progressive agenda. I am also hopeful that labels begin to not mean as much as they have in the past and that we are entering an era in which pragmatism rules the day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What Now?

Two great pieces on what's next for America and for Conservatives.

David Brooks in the NYT


Ross Douthat in The Atlantic

How are we going to (using McCain's phrase) teach government to live on a budget when the demands on the welfare state are greater than they've ever been? How is the Republican Party going to remain relevant (if Palin and her anti-intellectualism and far right social conservatism are the future of the party, it's doomed)?

Here's hoping for intelligence and pragmatism for both America and the Republicans.

Auto Sales

Seeing as we have a resident auto industry expert, I'd like to hear from him first hand what is going on. Anecdotal, yes. Interesting and enlightening, also yes.

I thought about buying a car last month (with kid #3 on the way (and yes, that is my formal announcement), it seemed like we probably should get a car that could fit three car seats) and the dealers seemed a little too desperate. Why not wait a month and see how much more desperate they will get?

So my good friend, what say ye to this from the WSJ?

Monday, November 03, 2008

"Lunch is Free"

The quote John used on my equality post prodded me to poke around FARMS a bit. I found this gem from Hugh Nibley a couple of weeks ago and have been slowly digesting it. I think it nicely sums up the thoughts and feelings I've been having over the past couple of years regarding not only my own perception of work, money, poverty, and equality, but where my own priorities should be.

Money quotes:

"Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment."


"To serve the classes that are living on them, the poor, the laboring men and women are toiling, working their lives out to earn that which will keep a little life in them [lunch is what they get out of it, and no more]. Is this equality? No! What is going to be done? The Latter–day Saints will never accomplish their mission until this inequality shall cease on the earth."

If You

Do not vote tomorrow, then any political argument we have over the next four years, you automatically lose.

Anonymous (non-voter): "I think that we should take a closer look at the progressive tax system and entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security. I'm worried about the next generation and their ability to pay off the mounting debt."

Me (voter): "Well, you didn't vote, so STFU! The moon is made of cheese $#^$#&^%$%&^^*&^$%#$%@#!"

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Regardless of what you think about his policies, rhetoric, leadership style, etc, the man is a master politician. And that matters.

I read this piece on his political ascent in The New Yorker a few months ago.


A summary of just how bad October was from The RGE Monitor.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Piper

When are we going to pay him? Taxes will eventually need to be raised. The political will required to cut spending, especially non-discretionary spending (entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare) does not exist. The BE Press summarizes the two candidates' tax plans and asks when somebody is going to seriously address both sides of the fiscal question.

Maybe somebody has a magic recipe for double digit growth (any way for the American worker to live in dormitories?)