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San Diego’s fourth-largest industry, tourism, looks as though it will take a hit in the current (fourth) quarter, and the pain will persist well into next year. This will hurt the ailing economy because the industry represents 11.4 percent of the county’s economic output and employs one out of nine workers. Tourism jobs expanded for a long stretch; in September, they were up 1.3 percent from the previous year, according to the California Employment Development Department. But September tourism jobs were down 1.8 percent from July.

The local visitor industry mainly attracts consumers, called leisure travelers, “and consumers are cutting back across the board, and that doesn’t speak well for tourism,” says Kelly Cunningham, economist for the San Diego Institute for Policy Research. San Diegans always used to brag that most visitors were consumers — unlike San Francisco, which depends so heavily on volatile business travel. That was supposed to give San Diego stability. But this is shaping up as a consumer recession. The three San Diego industries that are larger than tourism — manufacturing, military/defense, and tech research/services — are not as consumer-oriented.

In San Diego, both leisure and business travel are suddenly being hit. Cutbacks “are coming from all segments: leisure, corporate, commercial, conventions,” says Jack Giacomini, whose company operates the Crowne Plaza Hotel (formerly the Hanalei, in Mission Valley) and the Hawthorn Suites (also in Mission Valley). “The only segment that is not off too much is government. That seems to be holding up pretty well.” (However, state and local governments are in deep trouble, particularly in California, so that strength might not last.)

For the first 28 days of September, including Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend, San Diego hotel occupancy was down 6.4 percent, according to Smith Travel Research. Other recreational destinations were also down: Orange County was off 5.7 percent, Los Angeles 6.7, Orlando 9.2, and Oahu 9.5. “These are disturbing numbers,” says La Jolla–based hotel-industry guru Jerry Morrison. “I expect occupancies to drop for the rest of 2008 and into 2009. Remember that the lodging industry follows the economy,” and the freezing up of the financial system this fall is certain to pitch the national and local economies more deeply into recession, despite plans that would effectively nationalize financial industries worldwide. Businesses need short-term loans to meet payrolls and take care of ordinary expenses; when they can’t get those loans, these businesses have to cut back. Consumers are already cutting back, and they account for more than 70 percent of the U.S. and San Diego economies.

The San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau has statistics through August, and they show the overall industry up 3.9 percent year to date, but up only 1.1 percent in July. However, the number of total visitors was off 0.4 percent for the year through August, and attendance at attractions was down 0.5 percent.

August tourism was reasonably good, despite the job loss from July to August, but then the U.S. financial system went into the deep freeze. Explains Robert Rauch, local tourism expert, “The first eight months of 2008 were good.” But in August, the number of domestic visitors landing at San Diego International Airport was down 3.9 percent, and international visitors were down 12.8 percent. That was a tip-off of what was coming. “We’re aware of the challenges that face airlines,” says airport spokesman Steve Shultz. He is not willing to predict what the fourth quarter will bring, although “we are certainly aware of difficult economic times.”

Rauch thinks San Diego tourism will be down 6 percent in this year’s fourth quarter, “and 2009 is going to be soft. It won’t be better than 2008,” but there might not be a 6 percent fall for the full year. He owns the Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego/Del Mar and the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar at Torrey Pines. The former is enjoying 80 percent occupancy, and the latter, open only six months, is at 70 percent. “But we have to be very aggressive in marketing. We are spending more and working harder” to achieve those occupancy rates.

Rauch, who teaches hospitality at San Diego State University, says that as recently as last year, companies “used to book two to four weeks out. Now it’s two to four days out. In the last five weeks, in some cases, there has been a one-day notice on business travel.” The reason: “economic uncertainty.”

Skip Hull, vice president of CIC Research, specializes in travel statistics. He looks for a 4 to 6 percent drop in overnight visitation for the fourth quarter. “Next year does not look good — maybe a 2 to 4 percent drop on the year,” he says.

San Diego normally gets almost 70 percent of its tourists from the so-called drive market. People bring their cars here. In an economic downturn or a period of high gas prices, Californians and Arizonans cancel longer vacations and drive to San Diego. “We’ll get a little more in-state Southern California travel,” says Hull. San Diego gets 43 percent of its overnight visitors from California and 13 percent from Arizona, and both states are in tough recessions, notes Cunningham. “The person coming down from L.A. may be driving down for the day but not staying in hotels. The price of gas has come down, but that factor is being overwhelmed by the economic downturn,” says Alan Gin, economist at the University of San Diego. Gin agrees with the others: “Given the bad economic news we have had, I would expect tourism fallout — people are more gloomy.”

One big question is whether or not the hotels and motels will cut prices in this sinking environment. “At some point, the pricing would have to be affected,” says Hull. “Restaurants have already seen a drop in demand,” and some have dropped prices.

Rate-cutting “is what always happens,” says Morrison. “Today there are young, inexperienced managers who haven’t seen an economic downturn before. Nobody remembers the crises of the 1980s and the early 1990s. So the first thing they do is drop rates.”

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Comments

Anon92107 Oct. 22, 2008 @ 12:14 p.m.

Don, the fact is that everything wrong in San Diego today started with U-T Mayor Susan Golding, going out of control with U-T Mayors Murphy and Sanders as proven by the firestorms their failures in leadership caused to go out of control.

However the key fact is everything that is wrong in America today went out of control during the last eight years of GOP Bush White House, but their politics of hate go back to the Nixon White House.

Thus the U-T Rantitorials and judicial corruption against Aguirre, and the McCain-Palin campaign, have certified the most successful GOP Motto in American History:

Hate Politics and Corrupt Judges “R” Us

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Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2008 @ 6:32 p.m.

Response to post #1: I agree that the worst of San Diego's problems started with Golding. It was under Golding that the real estate developers took over City Hall and corruption billowed out of control. The developers' grip has never loosened. On the national scene, many woes started with Bush -- not only economic problems but ethical problems. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2008 @ 6:32 p.m.

Response to post #2: I doubt that will happen. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Oct. 23, 2008 @ 10:46 p.m.

By ufmbre

By fumber

Fumbler, how many accoutns have you registered????? It is hard enough reading just one of you stupid accounts, but now two??? Arggggggggghhhhh!!!!

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Anon92107 Oct. 24, 2008 @ 1:06 a.m.

Response to post #13: You’re right as always Don, the San Diego judicial system is a cesspool that has no drain.

Too bad larceny against taxpayers isn’t considered a crime by San Diego judges who are participating in the larceny or the jail would be full of politicians and judges like Sanders and Goldsmith and Dumanis who should be time-sharing one giant cell with Duke and Murphy at the Pt. Loma Sewage Treatment Plant.

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Anon92107 Oct. 23, 2008 @ 1:02 p.m.

Response to post #3:

The economy has been so overwhelmed by corruption of both political parties that the only thing we can do to begin recovery is to start putting judges in jail for selling out American justice and betraying American Democracy.

For San Diego, Murphy should be first in line to lead the way, it will be Murphy's first act of true leadership.

Up until now responsibility and accountability have been overruled by corruption and hate.

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Fred Williams Oct. 23, 2008 @ 1:59 p.m.

Tourism is not an ideal industry to rely on for a world-class economy.

We ought to be doubling-down on attracting more bio-tech, IT, and Telco firms to our perfect climate with great universities near the sea.

Instead, we have a sad history of subsidizing hotels and stadiums with taxpayer money. Neither of these produce anything of lasting value to our region.

Imagine being the host city of the next Google, or being the birthplace of yet another groundbreaking cure. Small innovative companies ought to be made welcome here in San Diego.

Perhaps all those vacant condo boxes towering over the bay can be converted to places suitable for small distributed businesses to headquarter.

Perhaps we'll eventually get mid-city transportation as a priority, connecting all the residences from Golden Hill to SDSU with downtown. We ought to be expanding residential public transit instead of cutting it. Trolleys once served these neighborhoods instead of mostly stopping at tourist attractions.

That's because the city founders knew that San Diego would only prosper if it actually produced things of lasting value. Overnight stays and sporting events are ephemeral options, not the kind of businesses to establish as our beacons of economic independence.

Please support candidates who won't be beholden to the tourism industry in the future. Our future as residents of San Diego depends on it.

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2008 @ 8:01 a.m.

Response to post #21: Fred, will you defend yourself against these charges? Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Oct. 23, 2008 @ 2:15 p.m.

Imagine being the host city of the next Google, or being the birthplace of yet another groundbreaking cure.

So true.

Qualcomm comes to mind, but there could be so many more.

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valueinvestingisdead Oct. 23, 2008 @ 3:06 p.m.

San Diego is really in trouble. Tourism is going to be awful for the next 3-5 years. The biowreck industry is reeling with no funding available. There are job losses in everything, even teachers. People aren't moving to San Diego anymore. The city is really in bad shape. California is going to sink into a Depression.

It is so sad what has happened to the U.S. This is not a great Country anymore. It is full of coruption and we have an organized slavery economy (mega corps) that benefit the few.

When 1% owns over 92% of everything, something is wrong.

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Russ Lewis Oct. 23, 2008 @ 5:35 p.m.

Never heard it said better. Have you, Fred?

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Fred Williams Oct. 23, 2008 @ 6:06 p.m.

Russl,

I concur. Fumber writes pure poetry. I'm so impressed that I've gone out and bought a whole new collection of lard cake scraping tools and baby wipes to celebrate.

If only I could budge my humongous carcass out of this recliner, I could waddle over to 7-11 for some jelly doughnuts. As you can see in my picture over at the Reader's Abnormal Heights blog, I'm so fat that if I wanted to haul ass I'd have to make two trips...

See the disgusting picture here:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/abnormal-heights/

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:33 p.m.

Response to post #5: Judges would have to be sentenced to jail by other judges. The odds against such are staggering. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:36 p.m.

Response to post #6: It's true that tourism wages are quite low. On the other hand, tourists go home. Those who buy homes from the all-powerful real estate development industry stay. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Oct. 23, 2008 @ 10:31 p.m.

And, fumber, what is a spooge?

We need to start putting some posters in Time Out for this nonsense.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=spooge

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2008 @ 8:05 a.m.

Response to post #22: All I can say is "Ugh!!" Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2008 @ 8:24 a.m.

Response to post #24: Scrambled letters for scrambled.....oh, never mind. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:38 p.m.

Response to post #7: Tech industries are good. They only account for 10 percent of jobs. Biotech only accounts for 2 percent. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:41 p.m.

Response to post #8: The upper 1 percent owns 42 percent of the financial assets (stocks, bonds, cash equivalents). It's not as high as you say, but 42 percent is outrageous. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:42 p.m.

Response to post #9: And, fumber, what is a spooge? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:44 p.m.

Responses to post #10: Which part has never been said better? Spooge? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:46 p.m.

Response to post #11: Is fumber reminiscent of James Joyce? Say, Joyce when he was not very good? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:48 p.m.

Response to post #12: In that picture, Fred is svelte. How do you reconcile that with your poetic observations, fumber? Best, Don Bauder

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ufmbre Oct. 23, 2008 @ 7:52 p.m.

spooge....the physical manifestation of what comes out of FRED WILLIAMS the humongous word hole...defined as..."a chunky liquid like paste that erupts from idiotic blow-hards named FRED WILLIAMS.

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JohnnyVegas Oct. 23, 2008 @ 10:41 p.m.

When 1% owns over 92% of everything, something is wrong.

Wow, this is actually quoted in David Cay Johnston's book "Perfectly Legal" and I just read this very statistic tonight. . . . . . The upper 1 percent owns 42 percent of the financial assets (stocks, bonds, cash equivalents). It's not as high as you say, but 42 percent is outrageous. Best, Don Bauder ======================================

I think the 92% covers all assets, including real estate. Johnstone says the top 1% owns 50% of financial assets, don't know how accurate these numbers are.

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Russ Lewis Oct. 24, 2008 @ 12:02 a.m.

Re "spooge": the word Fumbler's looking for is "splooge." It means projectile diarrhea. It can be an intransitive verb or a noun. (Had to explain that for Don.)

"Corpulent carcass..." I like that, Fred. Did you coin this superb verbal gem, or did Fumbler? It would actually make a great name for a rock group... "Brothers and sisters, I give you...Fred Williams and the Corpulent Carcasses!!!" Maybe Corpulent Carcass could be the name of a death-metal group, or maybe I'm just thinking of Cannibal Corpse.

Hey, Fumber! How about spreading some love my direction too? What's Fred got that I ain't got?

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2008 @ 8:07 a.m.

Response to post #23: I have Johnston's book. I admire his work. I will look for it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2008 @ 8:25 a.m.

Response to post #25: I am doing this before breakfast. It isn't pleasant. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2008 @ 8:27 a.m.

Response to post #26: And the prison guards' union would be even more powerful. Best, Don Bauder

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ufmbre Oct. 24, 2008 @ 7:56 p.m.

whose gonna gaurd all the panty-waste child molesting dope dealers the FRED WILLIAMS THE HUMONGOUS'S of the world would love to coddle and set free??.....you DON?...you RUSSL THE POTATO probe lover?....ANON MAN(WANTS TO BE A MAN)FACTOR 92107?? when FRED WILLIAMS THE SPOOGE SCRAPER picks up a baby wipe and clenses himself he has our prisons to thank for the fact he can do it in peace.

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Don Bauder Oct. 25, 2008 @ 6:50 a.m.

Response to post #33: Is Russl really a potato probe lover, whatever that is? Will you enlighten us, Russl? Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Oct. 25, 2008 @ 7:48 a.m.

Sorry Don, I wasn't able to respond immediately because I was out playing a gig with my new band, "Fred and the Corpulent Carcasses".

Fumber was there, of course, along with his mom who gave him a ride to the show. He danced about, awkwardly, and then drank one too many wheat grass shooters.

We were jamming on our second set, midway through our hit song "Baby Wipes and Jelly Doughnuts", when Fumber drunkenly climbed the stage. He jigged about, jumping and stumbling, and then dived into the crowd.

The crowd moved out of the way and he plopped onto the floor. His mother ran over and screamed at him for wetting himself again and embarrassing her in public, so the bouncers had to eject them both.

From the stage, since all the beautiful young women of San Diego were throwing their panties at me, it was difficult to see everything that happened, but I know the show really got going once Fumber was gone. We launched into the country classic "Million Gallon Man", then transitioned into an acoustic version of the dance number, "Fumber's Song", which ended with the rousing chorus:

"Fumber is Dumber, Yeah, Yeah!"

The whole audience sang along on that one. We got two encores, and were invited back to headline next week.

Looks like "Fred and the Corpulent Carcasses" are gonna be big.

It's all thanks to my good friend Fumber. Without his loving kindness and consistent support, we'd never have signed that record deal or gotten to be so famous and popular.

Thanks, Fumber!

Sincerely,

Fred Williams Lead Singer and Bassoonist "Fred and the Corpulent Carcasses"

P.s. Be sure to catch our new video: "McGrory and Golding's $3 Billion Love Baby" and "Jack hearts Todd", a longing ballad about how our local economy was wrecked by downtown insiders who contribute to Todd Gloria's campaign for City Council.

You can read all about it here:

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Don Bauder Oct. 25, 2008 @ 10:47 a.m.

Response to post #35: I can't wait to hear Fred and the Corpulent Carcasses do Moazart's bassoon concerto with Fred as soloist. If you can hire a top soprano and mezzo-soprano, I would love to hear the balcony scene from Wagner's Lohengrin, accompanied by Fred and the Corpulent Carcasses. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Oct. 25, 2008 @ 11 a.m.

Fred is one hell of an entertaining writer-much better than Fumbler's prose.

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Fred Williams Oct. 25, 2008 @ 11:16 a.m.

To all the fans of my writing and music, you can show your appreciation by making a campaign contribution to Stephen Whitburn.

He's running against an insider with tons of dirty money, and Stephen needs your help if we're going to turn San Diego around.

Go to www.stephenwhitburn.com and click "Contribute". It's that easy to make a big difference to San Diego's future.

Thanks,

Fred

P.s. If you make a donation over $100, I'll personally write up to 1,000 words on the subject of your choice, or write a song just for you. Simply post the date and amount of your contribution to the Whitburn campaign on my Reader Blog, "Abnormal Heights" to let me know that you are supporting Change in San Diego. Tell me what kind of writing you want, and I'll post it within 2 days.

Let's win this election.

Support Stephen Whitburn in Council District Three!

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Don Bauder Oct. 25, 2008 @ 3:05 p.m.

Response to post #37: Fred indeed is one hell of a great writer, and I will bet he is just as good on the bassoon. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 25, 2008 @ 3:08 p.m.

Response to post #38: Hooray for those battling dirty money. It's ubiquitous in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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historymatters Oct. 25, 2008 @ 6:19 p.m.

yay for Fred Williams!! He has been working hard to help save this city from the cesspool of corruption. Listen to the people that dont have millions of dollars to make off their endorsements. If you want the corruption to stop, DO NOT elect, Goldsmith, Boling or Gloria. Just look at the money--its all you need to know to vote in this election.

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Don Bauder Oct. 25, 2008 @ 8:43 p.m.

Response to post #41: Fred plays the bassoon, not a flute of any kind. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 25, 2008 @ 8:50 p.m.

Response to post #42: In San Diego, follow the money -- then go the other way on election day. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 25, 2008 @ 8:53 p.m.

Response to post #44: I don't know what a skinflute player is, but if Fred objects, he should say so here. I agree with historymatters: Fred is doing a great job in the community. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 26, 2008 @ 9:55 p.m.

Response to post #57: I think something is going to break; I hope it will be the backs of the bandits to whom you refer. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Oct. 26, 2008 @ 6:20 a.m.

Don, I researched the term "skin flute" online and learned a lot of interesting facts:

The original skin flutes were commonly made by carefully scraping the hide off woolly mammoths, shaving away the hair, and peeling the skin back to expose the soft spongy material underneath. Massaging this mammoth piece of skin would cause the blood to flow in, expanding it into a tube.

After the skin tube became stiff, ancient cave men and women would rub the shaft using their fingers, sometimes to such a degree that holes would appear.

It is unknown whether cave men or cave women were the first to attempt blowing on these skin tubes, but the result was a moaning, grunting or panting noise that they found pleasurable.

What came next is well documented by such ancient writers as Petronius, author of the Satyricon. Playing the skin flute emerged into a primary past-time for many as our societies evolved. Young men, even to this day, dream of having their skin flutes played by others.

There are videos available online of both women and men vigorously playing skin flutes, but the sound quality is often poor. As to whether any have simultaneously played the bassoon and a skin flute, I've only heard rumors that such things happen in Amsterdam in private shows for wealthy gentlemen.

I'm not very musical personally, so I rely on others to play my skin flute. When I convince another to do so for me, I just harmonize the best I can, enjoying the pleasure of playing together. I'm grateful whenever I get my skin flute played, and if you ever try it yourself you'll understand how much fun it is too.

Don, I hope this has been educational for you, and that someday soon you will discover the joys of playing with your skin flute. I've gotten years of enjoyment out of mine. You're never too young or too old to enjoy a good session of skin flute, and you might even find that your spouse wants to join in.

If you'd like me to send you links to those obscure and difficult to find online sites where they illustrate various individuals both playing skin flutes and having their skin flutes played, I'll send them to you in a private email.

I'm happy I can clear these things up for you Don, and provide you with a glimpse of the culture that you've never before seen since you've been so busy with economics and journalism over the years. I'm convinced if more people played with their skin flutes, the world would be a happier place.

Best,

Fred

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Don Bauder Oct. 26, 2008 @ 7:12 a.m.

Response to post #47: Another brilliant bit of explication from Fred Williams. Actually, one of my favorite works is Telemann's Divertimento for Fagott and Skinflute, No. 17, Opus 110. You should be able to solo in this work, because fagott is an old word for bassoon. All we need is a skilled skinflute player. Any ideas? Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Oct. 26, 2008 @ 8:51 a.m.

Don, I've not asked Fumber about his skills in playing any musical instruments, however I did notice at the concert that he has no rhythm whatsoever. He probably plays the skin flute herky-jerky, his brow all sweaty, cheeks puffed out and blowing hard. Worse, he might leave a sticky mess all over the floor when he's done.

I've heard from Democrats that George Bush is an accomplished skin flute player, and that he really blows big time. Senator Larry Craig, and the Reverend Ted Haggart are well known skin flute devotees who will even play with their instruments at the airport or in church.

There are more than a few skin flute players on our very own San Diego City Council. I've been at public meetings where they played in unison, only leaving out poor Donna Frye, who voted no to playing each other's skin flutes while San Diego is in such desperate economic straits.

Don, I'm glad to explicate in this manner for you, and would suggest that our tourism industry's coddling by city fathers is an example of skin flute players uniting in a chorus of grunts and groans. The citizens, however have been left limp and abused by this concerted tugging away of our revenues.

As a result, low paid service work performed in hotels has dominated us in perverse ways, and we are made to kneel down in subservience to the whims of business travelers. When the sugar-daddy tourists grow tired of our charms, we end up on our backs, lowering our standards, taking anything we can get, desperate to support our struggling families. We've become saggy, neglecting the basics that used to keep us attractive, doing anything to feed our debt addiction.

That's the kind of life we will lead if we keep dancing like children being led by trickster skin flute players.

So you can see that I don't really care much for skin flute music myself. I don't mind if someone wants to play mine, I'll let them borrow it, but I don't go around begging to play with others' because I'm not a professional politician, tourism booster, or sports subsidies shill.

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Don Bauder Oct. 26, 2008 @ 9:29 a.m.

Response to post #49: Fred, you may not go for skinflute music, but you must try. I have discovered another long-forgotten work: Theme and Variations on the Surprise in Hayden's Surprise Symphony, for Fagott and Skinflute, by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837), no. 17, opus 8. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Oct. 26, 2008 @ 10:37 a.m.

Don, I think you are misled:

http://www.geocities.com/mbfleur/Works_Catalog_of_Hummel.pdf

The Works Catalog of Hummel does not include what you have alleged...however it does list:

Op.101 Premium Overture in Bb 1824 2fl.2ob.2cl.2hor.2trp.2fag.2tromb.timp.str. *Pf. edition(Leipzig、c1826)

From which, as an accomplished reader of computer code, I can with full certainly tell you that Johnny "The Hummer" Hummel engaged in "Premium Overture" with two floozies, a pair of obstetricians, two closeted dudes along with each of their ho's, a pair of trespians, two faggotos (a musical instrument of the time), and two dancing "trom boys" who were probably timpling and striding, somewhere in Leipzig in 1824 and wrote it all down in his tell all autobiography "Poof Edition, or "I'm the Hummer, my life with Goethe", released 1826.

I submit to you, Mr. Bauder, that my sources are far superior to yours and contain greater detail, and hence ought to be relied upon both implicitly and exclusively in all matters under dispute anywhere.

Good day, sir.

Fred "Look It Up" Williams Chief of:

Bulwark Utilizing Linguistic Leads Synthesizing Harmonies Inspiring Thousands

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valueinvestingisdead Oct. 26, 2008 @ 3:04 p.m.

Reply to #16 - Read this Don,

While the middle class collapses, the richest people in this country have made out like bandits and have not had it so good since the 1920s. The top 0.1 percent now earn more money than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The wealthiest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion while Bush has been president. In the midst of all of this, Bush lowered taxes on the very rich so that they are paying lower income tax rates than teachers, police officers or nurses.

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Don Bauder Oct. 26, 2008 @ 4:45 p.m.

Response to post #51: Maybe the composer was Engelbert Humperdinck, not Hummel. My apologies for leading you on a wild goose chase. Humperdinck, of course, wrote a very good opera, Hansel und Gretel, but that was about it. I believe it was Hummel who wrote a concerto for an instrument called a baryton. It was a very clumsy instrument that didn't last long. Hummel's music hasn't lasted so long, either. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 26, 2008 @ 4:50 p.m.

Response to post #52: The distribution of wealth and income isn't as ugly as you say, in my belief, but it is plenty ugly. And look at the legacy. When Paulson first proposed the $700 billion bailout, he was truly shocked to learn that people were hostile to Wall St. We are at risk of plunging into a debt deflation similar to the 1930s. The justifiable hostility against the superrich might inhibit efforts to fight debt deflation. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 26, 2008 @ 9:45 p.m.

Response to post #55: Debt deflation is a situation in which the collateral used to secure a loan decreases sharply in value -- lower than the value of the loan. It is happening throughout the U.S. in real estate. It is happening in the derivatives market. And in stocks. And in commodities. They all soared in price because from 1983 on, debt was growing faster than the economy by about 3 percent a year. The values were inflated by the debt. Now, we have reached a practical limit on that debt, collaterals have collapsed, and we are going down. We could have a generalized debt deflation, as we had in the 1930s. Japan suffered a debt deflation beginning in 1989. The Japanese collateralized overpriced real estate to buy overpriced stocks, and vice versa. Pretty soon, the price of residential real estate got so high that people couldn't afford to live in Tokyo. The government and central bank had to raise interest rates to prick both bubbles. Japanese stocks today are about one-fourth their value of 1989. In the 1920s, U.S. assets ballooned because of pyramiding of debt-laden holding companies, similar to today's burgeoning of derivatives, (a quadrillion dollars worth), purchased with debt. These derivatives now put the world economy in peril. Best, Don Bauder. (P.S.: sleep well.)

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Fred Williams Oct. 26, 2008 @ 6:02 p.m.

Don, could you give us an explanation of debt deflation. Is that when you inflate the dollar to pay off dollar denominated debt?

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MarkScha Oct. 26, 2008 @ 6:15 p.m.

I'm shocked, shocked that there's crooks on Wall Street (yes, I've seen Casablanca a zillion times).

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JohnnyVegas Oct. 26, 2008 @ 6:49 p.m.

The distribution of wealth and income isn't as ugly as you say, in my belief, but it is plenty ugly.

I think it is very close to the numbers quoted, at least according to David Cay Johnston on "Free Lunch" and Perfectly Legal", in fact in "Perfectly Legal" Johnston states that the actual taxes paid on a dollar for dollar % is like 17% for the richest 1/10 of the top 1%, while for the poorest it is 18%. That says a lot. What else was iteresting in that book is that senior IRS agents going after large corporations and very wealthy individuals would get pressure to NOT audit them, and in some cases these agents would get fired. Now, if that is true we have more serious problms than I thought we did in law enforcement. But after seeing what Bushie did with the US Attorney's offices I guess I should not be surprised. Johnston talks a LOT about the "donor class" as being the only people who benefit from legislation and agency rule making today.

I think something is going to break soon. I think government employee largess is the final straw to break the backs of the poor and middle class.

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Don Bauder Oct. 26, 2008 @ 9:53 p.m.

Response to post #56: The crooks aren't just on Wall Street. CEOs of major corporations average $14 million a year in compensation and they rake it in whether their companies perform or not. Corporate accounting is often phony. Regulators can't be trusted; at the SEC, lawyers let big-time crooks off the hook, then join the crooks' law firms for $2 million a year. Politicians, business executives, financiers cannot be trusted. And on and on. Best, Don Bauder

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Justice4all Oct. 28, 2008 @ 10:37 a.m.

Why isnt there more news about the losses in government pensions during this stock market crisis? When these reports come out, the underfunded amounts will be even worse than before. They rely on actuaries, but I'm guessing those soothsayers didnt see this one coming.

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JohnnyVegas Oct. 29, 2008 @ 11:38 a.m.

Why isnt there more news about the losses in government pensions during this stock market crisis? When these reports come out, the underfunded amounts will be even worse than before. They rely on actuaries, but I'm guessing those soothsayers didnt see this one coming.

Here you go!

http://www.pensiontsunami.com/public.php

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Justice4all Oct. 29, 2008 @ 1:45 p.m.

Yes but not in "mainstream" media. Any shot of convincing Pat Shea to run for Mayor again?

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