Monday, January 21, 2008

SAR #8022

Free Market Rule #1
The perpetrators are too powerful to go to jail.

Timing : From an e-mail by Paul McCulley, CEO of Pimco, "The authority on bonds": “Sometimes when you are ill, you make an appointment with your doctor; other times, you go straight to the emergency room. Now is an 'other' time. ... Time is of the essence. What needs to be done needs to be done. Now." To quote Calculated Risk, "Some people are really scared." Only some ?

Horses Not Zebras : Studies show major cause of fractures in old folks is falling. This is poorly recognized by doctors, perhaps because, unlike osteoporosis, it is not treatable with drugs. It's the sort of thing one just stumbles upon.

New News : Three oil tankers and a container carrying goods for NATO forces in southern Afghanistan were blown up in Chaman, a Pakistani border town. Two other fuel tankers were blown up in Sranan. Bet you didn't hear about that on PBS this morning.

Strategy : Until the last decade, drug makers tried to stay a step ahead of resistance developing in their targets by developing new antibiotics. But in the past decade major drug makers have dropped out of the field. New antibiotics in development have plummeted from 16 in 1987 to only 5 over the last five years. An antibiotic cures an infection in days. Treating the symptoms can take a lifetime. The economics of cure vs. treatment.

Potemkin Village : Since Bank of America agreed to buy out Countrywide for $6.55 a share, Countrywide's price has fallen to $4.96. Does that mean that 24% of the bloom is off the rose?

Fair and Balanced : Questioned about manipulating elections, restricting the press, firing judges, and letting religious militants run amok, Pakistani President Musharraf said Western Leaders must stop their ‘obsession’ with democracy and human rights in the country. Much as they have in their own.

Tractor Man ! It has been calculated by a number of credible sources that roughly 80% of retail price of food in the U.S. is the cost of fossil fuel inputs. And that's not counting the artificial flavors and coloring.

Waiting Lists : It's true that Canada has a waiting list for many elective procedures. So do we. When is the last time you tried to make an appointment with an endocrinologist or urologist and had less than a sixty day wait? That's if you have insurance. If you don't have insurance the wait is infinite.

Free Speech Museum : To remind future generations of the past, the administration is planning on making the area around the Capitol reflecting pool "free speech pit". Perhaps there will be re-enactments of historic gatherings and demonstrations on certain holidays. Attempts to actually use any 'quaint' First Amendment rights will continue to be suppressed.

Mining Topsoil : As grain prices keep going up, farmers plant more wheat and corn - and make more money. Now ethanol makers are bidding up the price of crop waste - corn stover and wheat straw - that used to be plowed under. Soil fertility will rapidly decrease, but we can always mine fertilizer elsewhere and truck it in, or make it from natural gas. For a while.

On Message : For years Bush has claimed that al Qaeda "hates us for our freedoms, for our prosperity." Bush has pretty well done in the first, now it looks like the markets are going to take care of the second. Expect peace to break out soon.

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