Saturday, August 13, 2011


OFFME stands for The Order of the First Families of Maine. It is a historic and genealogic organization; many of these came to be in the past century.

 The OFFME ancestor list consists of people who were early into Maine. ‘Early’ is considered to be from 1604 to 1652 which makes them prior to the Virginia and Plymouth settlement efforts. The purpose of the group, which started in 2003, is, in part, “to honor those hard and enterprising early ancestors who concentrated their efforts, labor, and skills in building the enduring greatness" of the State of Maine.

Other goals are to “educate, preserve and increase of the history of Maine” and more.

OFFME, like its sister organizations, is partly under the umbrella of The Hereditary Society Community (HSC). There are many (over two hundred) organizations (chronological list) spanning from 1637 (Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts) to 2011 (Sons and Daughters of WWII Veterans). The purpose of the HSC is very well expressed (see this page). Too, in April, the HSC helps to coordinate meetings of all of these groups in Washington, D.C.


Virginia, 1607
Having recently spent some time delving into a few genealogical matters, the blogger sees how the relationship with history comes strongly to fore. As in, history is not a bunch of dry facts, nor is it only about the exploits of those who are written up on paper (or stone). There were several entrant avenues to this land. New England stands out for a variety of reasons.

For example, a group came into Maine early, overwintered, and actually built (from scratch) a sailing vessel that crossed the Atlantic a few times (see story of the Virginia). In many ways, that little colony's  venture was an incredible tale, yet it is not well-known.

Note: 'scratch' would need some discussion. No doubt, the sails, and other rigging, would have been brought over with the group. Too, tools would have been brought over, as well as necessary material, such as tar. Yet, building the vessel was not an easy task. Of course, by 100 years later, ship-building was an established industry in the region.


The HSC has a national focus, unlike the NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical society) and other regional groups. However, these groups have a common goal of continuing education, and sponsoring research, related to what makes America what is it (which ties to the efforts of people and their families). Too, that 'America' is the one which has become (note: did not say 'was') a shining beacon (nod to Winthrop) to the world.

So, the HSC, et al, very much intersect with the interests of the blogger.


04/15/2012 -- Today's edit took a different format since it clarifies a misconception and affords the opportunity to discuss important issues (on-going). Some of the earlier content remains while much was added. The original post was in August of last year and was incomplete, as is much of the stuff found on the web. This blog, though, has always tried to stay coherent, given the problems with completeness (discussion pending under the guise of computability). 

Modified: 04/15/2012

Friday, August 12, 2011

Accounting's failure

As we watch the markets bounce (volatility is up) around, some might think that it's possible to get a handle on this thing. Why?

Well, there are long periods with little volatility in which the trend has usually been up. Yet, not always, as we can have sideways movement. The chart covers 70 years of the DOW.

The blue line is the overall trend line from 1939 to yesterday. As such, it has little variability due to assumptions (note, accounting is full of special rules and assumptions that then imply choices -- it's not mathematics, folks), since it is a mere straight-line fit (however, all the largess of late is very visible).

Now, those with a certain view like this line. In fact, viewpoints that talk a 30K DOW use this line as their basis for argument. This viewpoint might argue that it has a lot of history behind it, but, as well, we need to consider what has happened the past 30 years that has influenced the rise (inflation, general economic growth, foreign investors, ..., largess).


In fact, we have a whole generation or two of financial planners who believe this line. Look at the FED's goals. They love equity, even though their moves sack the savers and those who are retired (QEs, low rate, other bits of largess - will they ever end?).

Now, consider the green line. It is as if weighting out extraneous issues, such as those related to the recent bubbles, would allow for a better fit. What it shows is that we ought to be hovering around 9K or so. How could that be?


One fact is that it would not be easy to see this happen given all of the loose money floating around. Or, to where would the money go?


One means for control is suspect from the beginning. Remember all of the arguments about accounting and special rules that you heard a couple of years ago? One of the more controversial (but correct) rules was relaxed, by order of Congress; hence, the surge of the DOW the past couple of years. Add to that the largess of the FED as a big factor.

Well, a recent report talks about an even worse problem (Pentagon can't put their thumb on trillions). The truth is that no one can do an accurate accounting (to be discussed) of any of these financial things in our modern, complex economic world. It's about time that we recognized that and took the proper action.


There are several things involved. Just like some European countries are restricting use of 'short' positions, we need to put a damper on derivatives, except for a playground where we can let these 'children' play to their hearts content.

Warren may call these things WMD, but he's making money on them, too. Warren, my challenge to you would be to put you money where your mouth is. Help me show how this whole bunch of supposed advanced techniques are bad, will always be, and need serious control. Too, take the vow of no derivatives (or only those of a type that can be shown to have necessity).


Analog: taking the vow of not being an idiot and texting (or anything of that ilk) while driving.


Secondly, we need to stop the markets every day and take an accounting. How would this look? Well, anyone know? I propose that we look at it seriously. You know, it'll go against the grain as the big money wants their 'black pools' and other questionable tools.

Thirdly, we will tame the stochastic beasts rather than en-flame them in an attempt for non-chaotic progress.


The goal is a sustainable economy. Too, moderation of the ca-pital-sino. All of this bears, and will get, more attention.


Finally, why pick on accounting as this problem is larger than that discipline? Well, you guys and gals, have you not been implicated in every bit of mischief that has come down the pike? Or, at least, has not one of your kind been involved?

Has there been a successful establishment of ethical practices? If so, let me know where I can see this. From where I sit, computation has just increased the avenues toward perdition. This is outside of your domain? True. Hey, IEs! What are you doing in this regard?


08/15/2011 -- Let's give Warren some credit.

Modified: 08/24/2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Economics and fairness

How many think that deals ought to be fair? Who is going to see that this is so?


What if playing on the edge never has consequences for those who are doing the playing? Of course, someone pays; that's the nature of near-zero.


In a case that's been going on from some time, the prosecution (elected and appointed) could not make anything stick to what seemed to be obvious shenanigans. Then, the accused, after being left off, pursued a claim that resulted in an eight-figure payout (for himself).

The news sources report that customers won't pay; no, it's coming out of monies set aside by the stock holders; yet, we know that the buck always goes down those who have the least power and the most to lose.


Message here. How did this state of affairs come about? That is, how would we explain the idiocy to old Rip? The main oops: ah, that old siren of 'markets' and their seductiveness.

Necessary, yes. But, from a long view (we can give Warren that).

All the gaming (including shorts, derivatives, etc.) is not necessary; in fact, it's the chief culprit of our troubles.


The chief enablers have been mis-used mathematics and computation.


10/10/2011 -- With the successful message coming out of the protests about Wall Street, evidently the number who cares is large.

08/12/2011 -- What about better 'accounting' of all this?

08/10/2011 -- One might ask: economics and legitimacy - weird stock market. Removes all arguments for the legitimacy/sustainability of this financial mechanism; that is, how ought this be done in a civilized, sane manner?

Modified: 10/10/2011