Friday, February 29, 2008

SAR #8060

Why bother with trials if you can hold someone forever?

Truants: A delinquency report card: 34 % of Subprime loans are 30+ days delinquent, Alt-A mortgages 18%, Prime jumbo loans 18%, Home Equity loans 12%. The dog ate their homework.

Bargain: People sit around Starbucks drinking coffee at $55 a gallon, complaining about the profit Exxon makes at $3.10 a gallon. There is more profit in the bottled water at the Grab&Run.

Fixer-Upper: Some of the rough edge need smoothing if we are to move towards a sustainable alternate energy supply. Calm winds in West Texas during a sudden increase in demand triggered an electric emergency leading to a cut in service to some large customers. 'Calm winds' is a curious phrase.

Peter/Paul: South Korea is increasing its import of Saudi oil by 50% starting next month. OPEC says it isn't increasing production. The report did not say what country is reducing its oil use by 50%.

Menu: There's another flurry of articles out today about the world's increasingly thin backstock of grains. Some cite the increased price fuels and fertilizers, some the diversion of 1/3 of the US corn crop to ethanol, some cite climate change and severe weather patterns. Whatever the cause, it's a growing problem.

Tweedledee: Turkey has announced that its 'incursion' into Iraq will "last as long as necessary. There is no need for us to stay there after we finish (off) the terrorist infrastructure… We have no intention to interfere in (Iraqi) domestic politics, no intention to occupy any area.” Sounds vaguely familiar...

Wet Noodle: Chief Justice Roberts wants to know "what can a corporation do to protect itself against punitive-damages awards such as this?” Seems unreasonable that Exxon should actually pay $2.5 billion in damages for destroying Alaskan coastline, wildlife and fisheries. That sort of fine would eat into most of Exxon's profits over the next three weeks.

Pogo: The USAF is denying airmen access to websites having the word "blog" in their name or address. The Air Force explains that it is not censuring the internet, but rather protecting troops from sites that are not "established, reliable sources of information."

Chalkboard: Pennsylvania will stop making student loans next month. The interest rates they must pay on their "auction rate" bonds is so high that the interest charged students will no longer cover the cost the state pays to get the money. The state was able to figure out that loaning out money for less than it costs you is not a Good Idea.

Errata: Left off yesterday's list of new financial terms was "structured finance collateralized debt obligations" (SFCDOs), which have exposure to "residential mortgage-backed securities "(RMBS). Any inconvenience is regretted.

Commons Courtesy: Comcast Corp. admitted yesterday that it paid people to attend a Congressional hearing, hoping to deprive supporters of net neutrality an opportunity to be present. Comcast and other Big Net companies want charge more for preferential access to the internet by both users and sites. It seems overkill for a corporation to buy seat warmers on the panel and in the audience.

Truth or Dare: There are now over 900,000 names on Homeland Security's list of potential terrorists, which includes thousands of names belonging to US consumers citizens it suspects of being domestic terrorists . Question: If you file a Freedom of Information request to see if you are on the list, will you be on the list?

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