Monday, January 14, 2008

SAR #8015

If this had been merely a subprime crisis,
it would be over now.

- Wolfgang Münchau

Wasted Money : Bush is running around the Middle East claiming he doesn't believe the considered judgment of the US Intelligence Community on Iran's nuclear program. Bush told the Israelis that he can’t control what the intelligence community says, but that the NIE’s conclusions don’t reflect his own views. Why do we keep sending all that money to Langley?

Suburbia : American Express says it sees a falloff in spending matching the rise in mortgage foreclosures. Except for gasoline and energy. “We built big houses in the suburbs, which need a lot of energy to stay warm and a car to go shopping, and we can’t change that quickly.” Well, we could let the house go and live in the car...

Going, Going : Antarctic ice loss is speeding up. Even while snow accumulates in the continents center, the edges are breaking off faster and faster. In 2006 it lost nearly 200 billion tons of ice, 75% more than 10 years before. "What?" asked Alfred, " Me worry?"

Later, Dude : Remember the $10 billion in financing for Chrysler the banks were unable to unload last year? After two valiant tries they now say they'll wait "until conditions improve." My dad used to say "When hell freezes over." Meant the same thing.

Infinity and Beyond : United Bank of Switzerland (UBS), with losses of $13 billion, admits it has no idea how much more it may lose. UBS could not rule out having to record further losse because it feels things it will get worse before they get better. UBS is seeking $12 billion from Singapore and the Saudis. Pig in a poke?

The Center Does Hold ! The majority of the American people (55%) think the war in Iraq is a mistake; 65% want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it; 86 % favor raising the minimum wage; 60% favor repealing Bush's tax cuts; 66% want to reduce the deficit by reducing Pentagon spending; 77% thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. These are not "liberal" ideas, these are what the majority of us want. Why isn't John Edwards already in office?

Depraved Indifference : Hugo has decided to stop shipping asphalt and will use it at home to improve Venezuelan infrastructure. About half of US asphalt comes from Venezuela. Bush would like to tar and feather him.

Planned Parenthood : In Kenya these days, thanks to the power shortages caused by $100 oil, a pregnant woman showing up at a clinic who does not have the required three candles with her. Without electricity and with no money to furnish candles themselves, clinics will not assist in deliveries unless the patient sheds a little light on the subject.

My, Your, Their Mail : National Intelligence Director McConnell is drawing up plans to monitor all Internet traffic all the time. Emails, webpages browsed, all of it. The New Yorker felt this was startling news. Hey, Folks: The government has been intercepting everything on the net for years, through interconnects provided by ATT & friends. Move along, nothing to see here.

Dr. Jekyll, I Presume Prime Minister Gordon Brown is backing a Good Idea that will anger a lot of people and probably... well, die a natural death. It is proposed that hospitals be allowed to take organs from the dead, consent being written into law. Thousands would be saved via timely transplants. The idea wouldn't get anywhere here, won't there, either.

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