"There's what you believe and then there's reality."
A Present:Billy Joel's "Christmas in Fallujah" performed by Chris Dillon, is now a YouTube favorite. Joel says it's based on letters from the troops. Not the best musical adventure he's written, but a tough and in your face set of lyrics. and he wanted a young guy about the age of many of the soldiers in Iraq to sing it. Net proceeds to Home for Our Troops. Bruce Springsteen's new anti-war album, "Magic," is better musically and subtler lyrically
As Found: An AT&T engineer claims that "within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning its spying on Americans. In early 2001, AT&T sought to create a phone center that would give NSA "all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through" a New Jersey network hub. His lawyer says they have documents to back up the claim. NSA has also been collecting phone records of Americans who call Latin America. Our government spys on us more than the KGB did on Russians and maintains more extensive dossiers on us than the Stazi did in East Germany.
Repeat After Me: Sub-prime loans. Sub-prime borrowers. Sub-prime, sub-prime. Everything is sub-primes fault. Except the Boston Fed which attributes the "dramatic rise in foreclosures to a decline in house prices." Simply explained, the Fed sees that homeowners who see their equity disappear and their debt increase daily have no reason to keep making payments. Those who made no down payments are first; they are not only.
Take an Umbrella: Greenspan has now come to believe that there is a 50% chance that there will be a recession next year. Merrill Lynch says Alan's wrong; their odds are 100%, based on the formula they used to predict the last two recessions. Even if Merrill is right, we ought to call it Greenspan II.
Doom Tourism: Visit the Antarctic. Go polar bear viewing. Scuba the Great Barrier Reef. Tramp thru the Amazon. Helicopter up to some glaciers and look around. Airboat the Everglades. Take a shower in Atlanta. Time to do these things is now, before... The scarcest resource we have is time. Quick, waste it.
Magic Act: Next year, as the drought season begins, Los Angeles' Elysian and Silver Lake Reservoirs will have been shut down and drained to cleanse them of a cancer-causing chemical contamination. The closure will last through the beginning of next year's drought season. After which they will refill them how?
Mouths of Babes : The IEA forecasts world oil supply and demand will be 116 million barrels a day by 2030, up from 85 mbd now. CEO of French oil giant Total, says that a supply level of even 100 is "optimistic. It is my view. It is not the industry view..." ConocoPhilips' CEO said "I don't think we are ever going to see the supply going over 100 million barrels a day... Where is that going to come from?"
Stay Tuned: Dr. Hansen asserts we have passed several serious tipping points and reminds us that time does not end in 2100; there will be a 2101. The seas will continue to swell for centuries from thermal expansion and meltwater from ice caps and glaciers; the oceans will turn more acidic; coral reefs will become lifeless expanses; floods and storms will increase; and millions of people will be short of the water they need. This is the "good" result if we achieve an 85% reduction in emissions by 2050. Dr. Hansen assures us this is no longer achievable. Feliz Navidad.
Signing statements Bush has committed a "signing statement" saying he won't abide by a new law that limits his ability to transfer funds approved for one purpose to a different program - like war with Iran. It is best to take Bush at his word when it comes to disregarding the Constitution.
Season's Greetings: H&R Block's Option One Mortgage Co. says that only $20 million of the $70 million in home loans they have already approved will actually be funded before Option One goes belly up. Buyers whose loans are being un-funded are being notified via Christmas Cards.
Psst. Pass this Along: Americans mostly believe we are all in this together, that government should be there to help us - with health care, retirement, product safety... We know we all do better when we all do better. We want the politics of us, of all. It's not a question of equal opportunity - we know that's impossible. But fairness in the outcomes can certainly be promoted. Anybody seen Huey P. ?