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Friday, October 03, 2008


Autumn of Discontent

Rich Gets Richer

Great weather. There is no cause to rejoice about anything else. The bailout bill, packed with pork to appease special interest groups, cleared Congress with a good margin ( 263-171).

An example:

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- There can't have been a more ridiculous bit of legal fluff in recent memory. Yet there it is, in plain view, as part of the much-ballyhooed Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 that's been passed by the U.S. Senate. Namely, Section 503 -- "Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for children." The toy arrow provision, also dubbed the "William Tell amendment," was jointly introduced by Oregon's two U.S. senators: Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Gordon Smith, a Republican.

It's hard to know which is more depressing: The fact that this provision found its way into the "urgently needed legislation" at all, or the fact that the U.S. tax code is littered with this kind of stuff.

Those who opposed the bailout found themselves between the proverbial "rock and a hard place" with dire predictions about loss of jobs, retirement benefits, and credit squeeze if the rescue package was not approved. The Bush administration, which allowed the free-marketers to run amuck without any oversight -- one of the reasons for the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage finance sector -- shamelessly promoted bailout for corporate America. It was Saddam Hussein's WMD redux.

Passage of the bill didn't do anything for financial markets today.

The First Walk in Autumn


mellow autumn days
the sun hides a stash of gold
from the thieving clouds

© Beatrice V

One can hike up to the top Black Mountain (2800') from Monte Bello Open Space Preserve off Page Mill Road. Fairly easy to do. The other option is to take Rhus Ridge off Moody Road, Los Altos Hills, and, after a steep, almost a mile-long climb, follow the Black Mountain trail to the top, almost 10 miles round-trip from the parking lot. Arduous.

Last week JHL and I walked on the Black Mountain trail but not all the way to the top. We stopped for a picnic lunch, then went down to Adobe Creek (dry) and hiked back up Ewing Hill to Black Mountain Trail to return to the parking lot.

The leaves have not turned yet. In this area good displays of fall colors are not very common. It would be November before we see them.

Picnic in a dappled grove

© Musafir

Looking west

© Musafir

Clematis (Pipestem) I© Musafir

Clematis (Pipestem) II

© Musafir

Clematis (Pipestem) III
© Musafir

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