Posted at 7:35 AM on June 3, 2009
by Bob Collins
Don't bother looking for the retirement calculators All Things Considered host Robert Siegel promoted. They're not there. But if you have a strong stomach and many years to go before retirement, you can find one here, here, and here.
MPR has calculators of a different sort that are coming back in vogue. The price of a gallon of gas shot up to $2.69 in the Twin Cities yesterday. The gas price calculators are here.
The Saudi leader is expected to press Obama to take action on Middle East peace...
What exactly does the Saudi leader have in mind? The story never said. But let's talk about Saudi Arabia for a second. A must-read is Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby's interview with Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian sociologist and the founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo.
Yes, there are vested interests in keeping the Palestinian conflict going. So if Obama's speech will really be a breakthrough for peace, it will also be a stepping-stone to genuine democratization. Peace will take away the excuse that the authoritarian regimes use to justify their own hold on power.
WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON
Midmorning - First hour: The perils of a global economy and the possibility of economic collapse in China. Second hour: Innovation and change.
Midday - Political analysts Tom Horner and Todd Rapp kick around life after Gov. Pawlenty. Homework assignment before the show: Read Smart Politics' assessment of Jim Ramstad as a player in the race.
Talk of the Nation - What's all this talk about something involving Norm Coleman and Al Franken? NPR political guru Ken Rudin discusses the Minnesota Senate race in the first hour. In the second hour: The edible history of humanity.
All Things Considered - Tracking the Minnesota politicians who want to be bigger fish in the pond. With the collapse of GM, what happens to all the Corvette clubs? YouTube tries to make itself Internet MTV.
Great discoveries in science (continued).
Scientists at Aberystwyth University in the UK "have found that male great tits in 20 UK towns and cities sang at a higher pitch to be heard above the man-made noise."
According to the BBC, researchers have also found that the city birds don't understand rural birds very well.
Fill in your own joke.(3 Comments)
A little more fallout from All Things Considered host Robert Siegel's interview last evening with Wharton's Jeremy Siegel, in which Siegel (the Wharton Siegel) urged people to get into the stock market.
"Even in December of 1930, where you were 50 percent down from that all-time high in 1929, your five-year return was more than seven percent after inflation. The world looks different once you're down as much as we have been down," he said.
The Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat blog isn't buying it. "After the crash 1929, the Dow didn't return to its high of that year until 1954," it said.
The Motley Fool carried a Siegel quote worth considering:
Mr. Jeremy "Wizard of Wharton" Siegel apparently agrees, saying in a recent interview: "You are now investing when stocks are down 50% from their peak. ... Once you're down 50% from the peak there are almost no bad outcomes going ahead 10 years."
I'm not an equity market expert; I'm just a guy with a fraction of the retirement account I used to have. But the Siegel-on-Siegel interview suggests to me the American media is ready to make the same old mistake again -- using economists as predictors.
Economists make good analysts of what's happened, but for the most part they make lousy predictors of what's going to happen.
Take Siegel, for example.
July 4, 2005 - "I think stocks return is going to be somewhere between, say, 7, 9 percent per year over the next five years. I think real estate is high, and I don`t think real estate is going to compete with stocks, either." In fact, there was a link between real estate and the stock market that Siegel failed to recognize or acknowledge.
August 10, 2007 - "There are good values out there in equities -- especially in financial stocks -- and you will be rewarded in the long run if you start dollar cost-averaging now." At the time he recommended General Electric, Citigroup, and Bank of America.
October 17, 2008 - "I think these prices will be viewed as extremely cheap even a year from now. People will wish they'd had the guts to go in." The Dow is 247 points lower at midday today than it was then.(5 Comments)
There's no mention of any Minnesota sites -- at least by name -- in the "highly confidential" list of civilian nuclear sites and programs that was accidentally posted on the Internet this week. It has since been removed.
"The disclosure of information related to nuclear facilities suggests that the current system does not provide adequate review and safeguards," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in calling for an investigation.
Many of the nuclear sites listed are not identified by location, but by a "code," the key to which was not in the documents.
The only site in the Upper Midwest listed was a notice that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expected Powertech Uranium Corporation to submit an application for a new processing plant to be located in Custer and Fall River counties in South Dakota. The plant would be used for the encrichment of nuclear material.1 Comments)