Luckily, We Have The Fed

Admittedly, I am more stupider than a lot of people when it comes to finances.  So someone please tell me how the stock market really works.  See, I thought the stock market reacted to what is going on in the economy.  I didn’t realize it was the economy.  

Apparently, I was wrong, because the Federal Reserve has announced an emergency rate drop to “fix” the stock market.

The Federal Reserve, confronted with a global stock sell-off fanned by increased fears of a recession, slashed a key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday and indicated further rate cuts were likely.

This move is not an instant fix,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics

“Fix” is actually the perfect word.  Markets can be “fixed” kind of like a fight or the World Series can be “fixed”. 

So let me get this straight.  We (individually and as a country) have borrowed too much money, which has us headed towards a recession.  The obvious solution?  Lower interest rates to banks, which allows them to lower interest rates to consumers, which allows them to borrow more money.  Makes sense right?  Right?

“You can’t borrow your way out of debt”–Dave Ramsey

So rest easy tonight, all of ye lower and middle income Americans.  Though the cost of milk, gasoline, and Coors Light doth drift higher whilst thou income remaineth the same, panic disturbs not the slumber of bankers, barons, and brokers.  So long as the DJIA remaineth propped by policy, politicians, and ponzi schemes, you need not be troubled by the frightful prospect of competing on a level playing field and moving forward.

Ah, what the hell!  You can just put it on your credit card, right?  Rates have never been lower!!!

Poker South Florida Style

The day after Christmas Bear Toe and I drove up to Dania from Miami to check out the Dania Jai Alai and Poker Palace (or whatever it is called). Our buddy BGE lives in Ft. Lauderdale, and he said this was the place to play. The poker room there is a decent size–probably 20 tables, but most of them weren’t used while we were there.

They run a tournament at 3:00 pm daily, and I signed up for that. It’s a $5 entry, winner take all. 2000 units, 50/100 blinds starting out, with increases every 15 minutes. While I was waiting for the tourney I sat down at a cash table–$1/$2 no limit hold ’em with $100 MAX buy-in . After about 10 minutes at that table, I wished I hadn’t bothered with the tournament.

It seems like there were two types of players there, pretty good and pretty bad, and the split was about half and half. I noticed when the tournament started that the pretty good guys at my table didn’t play in it, and the pretty bad guys did. I decided to just push all in every chance I got to possibly double up and get back to the cash table. There were 60 player in the tournament, and I wasn’t about to sit there for 3 hours for a chance at only $300, especially when there was easy money bleeding into the cash games from guys getting put out of the tourney. If I could pile up chips early, fine. If not, fine too. I think I was the 8th or 9th person put out. I think the wise locals show up just to pick off guys as they are put out of the tourney.

The rest of the day was pretty productive. My chip stack was swinging, but not too wildly and always trending up. As I built it, I’d open up a little and give guys action, hoping they’d stick around. By 10:30 I’d built it up to ~$700. Not bad for buying in at $100. My mistake was not leaving at that point. The poker room closed at 12:00, and people started getting really crazy as closing drew near. It worked out well for Bear Toe who won the final pot of the night (everyone involved pushed all-in) for about $500. I got caught with middle pair post flop countless times and was a little to liberal in giving other guys action.

I ended up leaving with $575 and a newly learned lesson courtesy of one of the pretty good players. It only cost me $65 for him to show me a big gaping hole in my game–pretty cheap!

Overall, a decent poker room. There wasn’t really any variety of games. A 7 card stud game was going on when we got there, but it ended and everything went to $1/$2 NL hold ’em. The dealers were fine on the whole. A couple were excellent, and one in particular was horrible. There were a couple of rules that some players had a problem with, but I didn’t think they were too out of line. For instance, if you show cards before the showdown your hand is automatically mucked. The service was not all that great, but I wasn’t there to drink and eat, so that wasn’t a big deal either.

I can’t wait to go back next year with a little knowledge going in!

More on Steroids and Baseball

After yesterday’s post, I’ve had a chance to read a little more and think about the issue. This is so obviously a free market issue to me. If baseball fans demand a clean up, we’ll have one. Frankly, I don’t think many of the baseball fans that are left really care one way or the other.

HungryMother brought up health issues in yesterday’s comments. Admittedly, a health issues exist, but are the health issues of baseball players a concern of Congress? Should Congress also step in and do something about the years shaved off of pro football players’ lives? Average life expectancy for football player is 55 years, and only 52 years for linemen, according to this article, and the NFL has arguably the most stringent drug policy of all the professional leagues in the U.S. Consider boxing and stock car racing.

Should Congress investigate every time someone’s chosen occupation is a risk to their life and health?

People make personal choices, some of which shorten their lives. Athletes are people too. Some choose to use steroids and risk their health and lives in doing so. Others choose to participate in a sport that takes years off their life by itself.  How much resolution to we really need in federal regulation and oversight?

Isn’t This Rich?

And by rich I mean the lobbies that are successful in getting governors to propose prison time and heavy fines for online gamblers and poker players in the same bill that makes the way for licensing for casinos.

Patrick’s casino legislation, which has been introduced at the State House but is not expected to get a hearing until next year, would license three casinos in three regions of the state. Casino developers would bid on the licenses, and Patrick expects they would attract 10-year licensing fees of $200 million to $300 million for each casino.

Oh, never mind. It’s the State that will get rich. My bad. Don’t you wish you could use the legal system to set up a monopoly for yourself and your buddies?

I don’t.

Thanks to Reason for pointing this one out.

10,000 Reasons Not To Have More Money

I came upon this story by way of Reason. I’m no fan of the ACLU, mostly because they are very selective about which civil liberties they choose to defend, but I have to be cheering for them in this case, where a truck driver was forced to turn over $23,700 for no other reason than he had an amount of cash greater than $10,000. No drugs, no drug paraphernalia, no probable cause.

DEA agents told Prieto he would receive a notice of federal proceedings to permanently forfeit the money within 30 days and that to get it back, he’d have to prove it was his and did not come from illegal drug sales.

Wasn’t the whole issue of search and seizure addressed a while back? At least that’s what I remember from my learnin’ in public schools.

The lawsuit said Prieto does not like banks and customarily carries his savings as cash.

That’s great and all, but the fact is, he doesn’t have to explain it. According to the Houston Chronicle article, he was actually nice enough to tell the police that he had the money and give them permission to search his vehicle. He could just as easily refused to allow them to search without any probable cause. That’s what I would do.

“The government took Mr. Prieto’s money as surely as if he had been robbed on a street corner at night,” Simonson said. “In fact, being robbed might have been better. At least then the police would have treated him as the victim of a crime instead of as a perpetrator.”

The scary part is, I’ve transported over $10k in cash (obtained legally, btw) on at least two occasions. Good thing I didn’t have a break light out. I’ll definitely be watching my back if my dreams of winning a big poker tournament ever come to fruition. It would suck to have it confiscated before I was able to pay the outrageous taxes on my winnings.

Webkinz–Who Knew?

It seems like the frenzy may not have fully hit Knoxville/East Tennessee yet, but I think a full blown Webkinz craze may be coming. It may actually already exist here, but I was unaware of it. I am admittedly out of touch with what is “cool” with young kids, and I have been for quite a while. I know of, but am not completely knowledgeable about Thomas the Train and Dora the Explorer, but I had never even heard of Webkinz until this weekend.

My sister in law and her kids, 10 and 7 years old, are visiting from Florida, and they were super excited the other day after they got home from Dollywood. Not because of the rides they rode, but because of the huge selection of Webkinz that were available for purchase there.

I got a quick rundown from them about Webkinz, and it actually sounds like a pretty cool idea. It is a pretty simple concept, and is completely viral in terms of web use and marketing.

First, you buy a Webkinz plush toy. This toy comes with a code that you enter online where you then adopt and name a virtual version of this “pet”. You get to build a room for your virtual pet, then participate in all sorts of activities online that allow you to build up virtual cash to buy more cool things for your pet.

If you are like me and had not heard of Webkinz before, look out. It seems to be the latest thing, and I actually get why.

Should Villa Collina Raise My Asking Price?

All I can say is that it is really nice to own a property that is right across the street from a $40M mansion. Hopefully this will be taken into account when I put my condo on the market this month. I can just hear my real estate agent now explaining what a bargain my place is compared to the other homes in the neighborhood.

Sorry. This house just doesn’t make sense in Knoxville. I mean, I LOVE living in Knoxville and East Tennessee, but if I ever live in a $40M home it will be on a beach in Hawaii, not on a dirty lake in Knoxville.

The big spider on the wall at Halloween is cool though. 😉