Sunday, January 27, 2008

SAR #8028

Supply and demand seems a rather harmless expression,
until demand is an angry mob in the streets.

Tweety Bird: In exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution, a company that evaluated loans for investment banks has agreed to provide documents and testimony to the NY Attorney General investigating fraud in the marketing of mortgage derivatives. Job security for lawyers.

Horse Manure: Farmers are finding fertilizers difficult to buy this spring. Factory farming requires petroleum for diesel fuel, natural gas for nitrogen fertilizers, and potassium, all of which are becoming scarce. The continuing shortage of natural gas in the US has driven urea / ammonium manufacturing overseas. Potassium is found in a very few places. Good thing food doesn't count in the CPI.

Don't Let Them Eat Cake: The idea of increasing food stamp spending as part of the recession rescue package was quickly killed. The GOP is knows poor people are obese and should not be offered even more food. They should eat less and join a health club.

Nuremberg : The White House wants to ditch the FISA system for a new law authorizing wholesale government monitoring of every American’s telephone and internet activities. They're already doing it, they just want to make it legal, retroactively. Their defense lawyers think it might help, later on.

Please Release Me, Let Me Go... Stories from places like California, Florida, and Ohio and from lenders like BofA, Wacovia, and First America tell of homeowners with no equity to lose, just their jacked-up payments, seeking foreclosure so they can buy a similar home for half the money. Feeling left out? Don't worry, by this time next year 20% of us will have the same opportunity.

Coming Soon: Closing elderly coal and nuclear plants, combined with a shortage of natural gas, will cause serious electrical shortages in Great Britain within 5 years. Zimbabwe and South Africa are patterns for the future. It's the new vacation: you stay home and the exotic experience of third world living is brought to your doorstep.

Redundant: Lowering the bar, a bit of slight of hand once reserved for children's games and presidential expectations, has spread to the world of business compensation. La-Z-Boy's stock has dropped 48% , the company lost $9.9 million, so the bonus targets were reduced so management would not go shoeless, their children hungry.

Buying the Rope: I know the '911' tax on phone bills (and on plane and train tickets, too) has nothing to do with Giuliani campaign, but tell me, does some of it go to pay for Bush's wiretapping us?

Bleu Cheese: A 31 year old trader supposedly defeated Societe Generale's control procedures for nearly a year, costing SG $7 billion. Analysts doubt a single trader could carry out such a scheme "without tacit agreement of the bank's management." It's not just the cheese that smells.

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