If you think one human won't kill another
to better his resource position,
you haven't been paying attention.
- Eric Blair
Auld Lang Syne : Countrywide, the largest mortgage lender in the US, made $6 million in subprime loans in December, down from $3.7 billion a year earlier.
Again? : Fed Chairman Bernanke pledged Thursday to slash interest rates to prevent housing and credit problems from plunging the country into a recession. That's exactly what Greenspan did, he slashed interest rates to prevent the Dot.Com bust from plunging the country into a recession. Are we battered wives who won't leave the bastard?
Bargain Plea : Jose Rodriguez, head of CIA's Clandestine Service who ordered the torture tapes destroyed, wants immunity for his testimony. Only two possibilities would justify such a request: either he did it unasked and without permission and wants to fall on a collapsible sword, or he can point the finger at 'higher ups'. If you are #2 in the CIA, I'd guess you can only pass the blame up to your boss, CIA director, his boss, the Intel Czar, or the Big Guy himself. Nobody else in the Chain of Command.
Ripples : AT&T is disconnecting a growing number of customer's phones - 468,000 in the last three months - due to non-payment. If you can't afford the house, you can't afford to keep a phone in it. If a house is foreclosed in the forest, is there anyone there to hear a phone?
Ready, Set, Fear : The GOP will do whatever it takes to scare people into believing that change means disaster. Never mind the mess they've made in the last 8 years, the beauty of scare tactics is that they work even when they are blatant lies. True, any real change will create losers as well as winners. But if you are not making over $300,000 a year, this time you could be a winner - if they don't scare you into voting against your best interest. 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!
Unraveling : Brazil is held up as having the biofuel solution to energy problems. But drought in Brazil is not only hurting sugarcane growth, rivers are so low Brazil that had to turn to its gas-fired power plants to replace much of the 80% of its electricity that normally comes from hydro plants. But Bolivia, which supplies 5-% of the natural gas to Brazil cannot meet the demand because they need it for themselves. For want of a nail...
Countdown : Mexico reached peak oil production in 2004, exporting 1.9 mbd. Today they export less than 1.7 mbd and will reach zero exports by 2014. No big surprise. The UK went from peak to zero in 7 years, Indonesia from peak to zero in 8 years. Don't look now, but Saudi Arabia reached peak in 2005. Nah, never happen.
Attractive Nuisance : Insurance companies are bracing for an increase in arson matching the increase in foreclosures. What ever happened to just walking away?
The Hits ! Considered the ultimate gift in a homeland security country: the iTaser, a weapon with its own MP3 player and earphones that can deliver a 50,000 volt electrical charge while you catch your favorite tunes. Later on, modifications will let Chertoff use it to apply the voltage to you if you wander off the reservation.
Not Quite The News : "The calculus of comparative advantage benefits China and other developing countries to the disadvantage of wealthier countries' workforces." That's Economist speak for: "He who works the cheapest gets the work." American living standards for standard Americans are sliding downhill, from Boston to Bombay.
Don't Bother : NASA's Jim Hansen says building a new coal-fired power plant is a waste of money because we will soon have to close all coal-burning power plants to save the earth.