Author Archives: leadingthenextinquisition

Cramer’s Insane

With These Cuts, We Can Get Back to Business
By Jim Cramer

About this article:
So what, gold? So what, dollar? Get this economy moving with the little inflation we have, ex oil and ex corn, and we are in great shape. I know the hawks will try to chop off this gain. I know I just missed 200 points in the Dow. But I have to tell you that things are now better. We need these rate cuts. We can’t sell a lot of homes — despite the fire sales — and we need the fixed-income world to get back to earth. We need people to lend. We need people to feel better. And now they will. This is the exact opposite of what the bears want. It is crushing them. Too bad.

No Jim, it isn’t crushing us. It is saddening to us. Unfortunately these cuts don’t actually fix anything, all it does is introduce more (virtually) free money into a system whose problem is that it has already lent out too much free money.

The bubble contracted a bit, but it’s still a bubble, and all that has happened is the Fed has traded pain for the banks into pain for the average hardworking American who is going to have to deal with massive inflation in the weeks/months/years to come as foreigners with trillions of dollars realize that it just doesn’t pay to keep buying (or retaining) a currency whose sole backer is so willing to water it down.

Good work Jim, keep the charade going. That’s your job.

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Filed under Cramer, Fed, U.S. Dollar

It’s Been Great Knowin’ Ya….

dji_vs_dollar_afterfedcut.gif

(Left: DJIA vs USD/EU)

–Fed cuts key loan rate by 50 basis points.

–Stock market surges as Wall Street realizes that the Fed is committed to bailing out all the idiots who jumped on the housing bandwagon and didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket.

–The rest of the world, who is holding our dollars, realizes that the Fed is committed to watering down their investments until they are worthless.

While I am quite ticked off that the Fed proved it’s just a whipping boy for Wall Street fat cats, this really doesn’t delay the pain that is coming fast. It’ll just make it that much more painful when it does come.

The message today was loud and clear: Don’t bother being a good saver. Don’t bother being fiscally responsible. Don’t bother with that whole ‘work hard’ to earn something attitude. Instead, go for the “free” money. Get in over your head and let the government (taxpayers) bail you out. Not because they want to, but because they have no choice.

What a gutless, pathetic excuse for a government we have.

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Filed under Fed, Inflation, U.S. Dollar

Regex in Visual Studio

If you’re a daily user of Visual Studio like i am, then you’ll appreciate this nice feature I recently actually figured out how to use: backreferences in regular expressions built within search and/or search & replace operations.

Let’s say I have the following code from a VB to C# conversion, that incorrectly uses method parentheses ( ) when it should be using index brackets [ ] .


if ((grid.Items(intCounter) is GridDataItem) &&grid.Items(intCounter).Display)
{
CheckBox chkSelectForAction = (CheckBox)grid.Items(intCounter).FindControl("chkVal");
if (chkSelectForAction.Checked & chkSelectForAction.Visible)
{
ReturnedList.Add(grid.DataKeyValues(grid.Items(intCounter).ItemIndex)("BindID"));
}
}

And now  let’s say this construct of “.Items(val)” is all over the place, and i want to change it to the correct “.Items[val]” construct.  The obvious problem is that for each match of “.Items(val)”  the inner value (val) may be completely different.

Here is where the power of regular expressions and backreferences helps us.

In the Visual Studio “Find & Replace” window, type the following into the “Find What:” box:

Items\({[^\)]+}\)

In the “Replace With: box, type:

Items\[\1\]

Now let’s explain.  In the first “find” regex, we tell it to find the literal “Items” then the character “(”  — using an escape character \( since we don’t mean to open a match expression.  Then we open the backreference block { }.  This tells VS that when a match is found, to store it in the first backreference (which is accessed via \1).  Then we tell it to find 1 or more of any character other than a closing parenthesis “)” — via [^\)] . This is so the regex doesn’t overrun the bounds of our indexer.  Then we close it up with closing the backreference block } and the ending parenthesis literal \).

Now, when each match of “Items(xxx)” is found, it will store xxx into the backreference of \1 (since there will be only one occurance of the “xxx” part in each match.

And in the same execution, it will fire the “Replace with” block, which accesses this backreference, replacing the entire match with Items[xxx].

And that’s it!  You can probably see how powerful this be when you consider global search and replace operations.  The only trick is to try out your new regex on a selection or single page prior to executing it within an entire project or solution (since you can’t “undo” that operation).

Happy regexing!

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Filed under .NET, ASP.NET, C#, Regular Expressions

Stock Chart Anomaly?

DJI Linear

This is Friday’s DJIA chart.  I just happened to notice it this weekend as I was poking around the Yahoo Finance area.

Now I’m no financial guru by any means.  I’m no day-trader and I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the machinations of the Wall Street elite.   However, even I look at this chart and wonder how the hell something as volatile and “chaotic” as the minute by minute fluctuations of the world’s largest stock market could produce a near linear growth for nearly 2 hours.

It seems to me that if trading were suspended during that time, one would expect to see a plateau of sorts.   But a perfectly linear progression of millions upon millions of stocks being bought and sold by literally millions upon millions of different people?  Bueller? Bueller? Anyone??

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Filed under General

1 Billion

If you haven’t realized it yet, we are in the beginning stages of a worldwide credit meltdown. Over the coming weeks, months and even years we will all feel the pain that collectively we’re all responsible for in living such overtly spoiled lives.

Using our homes as ATM machines. Buying cars we can’t afford. Buying homes we have no business owning (and nobody should have lent the money for in the first place) . These poor choices are coming back with a vengeance.

Fortunately for me, I live in a region of the country that has low population, the housing market is relatively stable and the growth therein has been relatively moderate. So the crash won’t be as hard for us locally. However, in all of this it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that with no credit, there will be no buyers in the mortgage arena. With no buyers, the inventories that already exist will start to get desperate. Add to that the people who are starting to get a little uneasy about that 5/25 ARM they refinanced under 2 years ago. 3 years doesn’t seem such a long time now, and with the highest home inventories seen since 1988 coupled with fewer and fewer buyers, it’s easy to see how lots of people are going to get screwed royally.

Be that as it may, in reading story after story about mortgage and banking institutions that are “in trouble” (to say the least), it’s interesting to note how often the figures being thrown around are in the B-as-in-BILLIONs. It’s easy to forget how much a billion dollars is for the average Joe, considering I will never in my life come anywhere near to a billion of anything, much less dollars.

So here’s a few mind warping statistics on exactly how much a billion is:

  • Starting the day you turn 30, walk around for 8 hours a day (every single day, no holidays!) handing out $600 bucks every single minute to strangers. Don’t stop until your 40th birthday. You just spent a billion.
  • Get a nice “six figure” job somewhere earning $100,000 a year. Now do that job for 10,000 years. You’ve just earned a billion bucks.
  • Put a quarter every 30 seconds in that mechanical horse outside the grocery store and ride it for 3,800 years. You just spent a billion.

I think you get the point.

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Filed under Housing Crash

Saying the Obvious

This is the state of our culture.  That we can see, but not say.  That we can recognize, but not explain.  That we innately know, and yet pretend to be lost.

Watch most professional sporting events and you’ll see it.  Flip to MTV (if you dare) and you’ll see it.  Spend even a small amount of time in a music store and you’ll hear it.  Hell, even NASCAR isn’t immune to it.  Baggy jeans, backwards hats, degrading women, glorifying drugs…..that is the state of popular black America.  Bill Cosby has been seeing it for too long.  And even a honky like me can see it.

So why is the fact that media darling Barack Obama isn’t currying favor with “black America” newsworthy?  What an utter shock that the modern black popular culture, which abhors education, scoffs at academics achievement and utterly despises those who dare to rise above the streets by means other than rap music or professional sports, would fail to “identify” with the likes of Mr. Obama.

For you see, the feigned outrage by such ilk as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over Obama’s (and everyone else’s, mind you) failure to work for “an urban agenda” is exactly the same feigned outrage over misguided white kids acting up on MLK day.   And I for one am sick and tired of having to pretend that the former is not blatant extortion and that the latter is all that surprising.

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Filed under Politics

National Will

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus let the Senate Armed Services Committee know this morning what any rational American has known for a long time; that in Iraq “the way ahead will be neither quick nor easy.”

Granted, my definition of ‘rational’ is slightly more complicated than what most would assume.  I think being rational means not opining on a subject unless you’ve done at least a cursory examination of the evidence.  Despite it’s rhetorical sound Iraq is a complex place, no matter how one might wish it wasn’t. 

The fact of the matter is that most Americans still don’t understand the difference is between Shi’a and Sunni, much less have they grasped even a smattering of the semantics involved in their relationship to each other.  For those that haven’t, try reading ex-CIA spook Robert Baer’s eye-opening book Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude (Amazon). 

What I don’t like from the conservative front on this issue is reflected nicely (or poorly as it were) in Michelle Malkin’s post today on this very topic.  Kudos to her for bringing it to our attention, however the fact that she thinks that “it is up the Commander-in-Chief to bolster national will moving forward” is in my mind utterly ridiculous and plays to this “I have an opinion but I have no idea what it means” mentality.  

We live in an age in which it is almost inexcusable for an American citizen not to be informed, of their own volition, on such critical matters.   It is further almost criminal for Americans to have to rely on someone else to bolster their senses of liberty and duty, regardless of the cost.

The sad fact of this Iraq debacle has nothing to do with our troops, they’ve excelled at every reasonable task given them, and even quite a few unreasonable ones.  Iraq is a problem because we as a people have chosen to forget why we went.  Sure, it’s easy to blame politicians for everything, but is that honest?  The support of the American public paved the way to oust Saddam and attempt a democratic state in the heart of the Middle East.  Now it should be we who are bolstering our weak and ineffectual politicians to continue on the path we directed them towards.

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Filed under Politics