Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Decision 2024

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Now that the long-awaited Mueller investigation is done, the predictable camps have formed: one calling for impeachment, and another wanting to just put the entire matter to rest forever. In a few weeks, the latter camp will succeed.

But I think it is more worthwhile to look ahead – – far ahead – – to anticipate what might be next. A combination of history, politics, and financial markets blend together into some intriguing possibilities, and I would like to offer my own theory as to what the next six years may hold.

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Not Guilty

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This morning’s paper re-ignited my interest in the only family here in town caught up in the nationwide college admissions scandal. As many of you know, those nabbed in the scandal now fall into two camps: one of which is those, such as Felicity Huffman, who pled guilty, expressed contrition, and are awaiting their (reduced) punishment, and two, those like Lori Loughlin who have dug their 4″ heels in and are refusing to admit that half-million dollar bribes are perhaps not totally legit.

The folks here in Palo Alto are fairly small potatoes: the man is an oncologist (who faces the loss of his livelihood due to this mess) who allegedly paid $25,000 to have his apparently retarded son get an 1190 on the SAT by way of fraud. Here’s how the article begins:

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Old School Fake News

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It’s a quiet Sunday morning, and since there’s really nothing going on, I’d like to share with you a fun read in the form of an excerpt from the one history book I ever wrote, Panic, Prosperity, and Progress. It just goes to show that “fake news” is not an invention of the modern age, particularly when it comes to the financial markets:

Just as the value of the Greyback behaved as a proxy for the South’s war prospects, the value of gold reflected the military success (or setbacks) for the Union. Although financial markets were quite primitive at the time, necessity being the mother of invention led to the creation of “gold rooms” where spirited bidding would take place. A contemporary wrote of one such room, evoking the intensity of the scene that isn’t far removed from a modern-day account of a commodity exchange:

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Captain Moral!

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I’ve seen in the papers that the new movie Shazam is going very well. I’m sort of amused to hear this, and good for the moviemakers for doing something fun and campy. When I was a kid, Shazam was one of my favorite Saturday morning shows. (It later hooked up with Isis, sort of the girl’s equivalent of Shazam, to form the Shazam/Isis Hour).

The show focused on a kid named Billy in his late teens (who apparently only owned one shirt) and a old fella (who apparently only owned one jacket) whom he referred as “Mentor” (although he always said it sort of odd…….Men-Tor).

They roamed “the highways and byways of the land” in this big-ass, gas-guzzling recreational vehicle which was equipped with a red hemisphere that had lights on it. By putting his hand on the hemisphere, Billy could transport himself to be standing in front of a group of badly-animated Greek gods and seek their counsel.

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Behold the Data Panel

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I am absolutely thrilled to announce an improvement to SlopeCharts that I believe will be transformative: the Data Panel.

Now, on the surface, some of you may look at this thing and say: “So what?” Perhaps you aren’t as zealous about SlopeCharts as I am. But, I can assure you, it’s a big deal.

Those of you who have played with SlopeCharts even a little bit know that, to date, the leftmost portion of the product was dedicated to watch lists. That is still the case, but now we’ve transformed it into an area that can hold all kinds of information. Here’s a taste:

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Pendulum

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Allow me to start off what is intended as an economic musing by referring to a favorite comic of mine, Patton Oswalt. He has a fairly new bit in which he explains the Trump phenomenon as a totally understandable response to the Obama presidency.

The political pendulum in America, deep in the throes of the financial crisis, had swung so far that the United States elected its first black President, and a rather progressive one. After eight years of that, the “mirrored” response was to elect a political novice known principally as the billionaire star of a reality television show.

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