Sunday, May 11, 2008


The market will fix healthcare the same way it has fixed
housing, employment, energy and starvation.

Big Gulp: If we would stop putting 70,000 barrels a day into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that would increase gasoline supplies by about one-half of one percent. It would reduce the price of a barrel of crude $2, which is about how much crude went up every day this week.

The Real Surge: According to RAND Corporation studies of returning soldiers, Bush's Excellent Adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced at least 35,000 'recongnized' casualties, 320,000 brain injuries - mostly due to IEDs - and over 300,000 psychological casualties. And nearly 4,100 dead.

Touchy: The new Pakistani government has told the US that it doesn't appreciate having missiles lobbed at its citizenry. Ingrates.

If, But, Then: The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight - don't you love the name? - is Fannie and Freddie's Nanny. OFHEO's Director says a bailout of Fannie and Freddie will not be necessary unless housing prices drop another 10%. Housing prices are predicted to drop another 20%.

Mow the Lawn: Banks are discovering that homeowners not only paid mortgages, they also mowed the lawn. Now that they've stopped doing both, cities are insisting that banks mow the lawns. And pay the taxes, too.

Greed & Stupidity 101: NPR has a good introduction to how the global financial crisis was caused - turns out it was the Third World learning to invest their savings, and Wall Street figuring out how to steal them, and the banker down the street being too morally weak to resist joining in.

Goooooaaaal : In Baghdad the military, after 40 days of intense fighting, has told 16,000 Sadr City residents to leave their homes and go live in a couple of soccer fields. Or else. In Vietnam this was called the Strategic Hamlet program, and it didn't work there, either.

Half-way: The Economist says America may well be only halfway through the house-price bust, but others say the worst is over. McNamara used to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Great Black Hope: Clean Coal, brought to you by advertising and hope. The hope that someday 'Carbon Capture and Sequestration' (CCS) will let us burn coal without going to Hell ourselves. CSS is based on the untested idea of 'capturing' several billion tons of CO2 - every day - transporting it through a non-existent network larger than the world's oil industry to undetermined locations, where it would be hidden deep in the ground for all eternity. It's like spent uranium fuel, only thousands of times harder. Can you say "Yucca" ?

Note: For some reason the FDIC hasn't released a list of iffy banks since late 2006.

Assisted Suicide: The dollars we send to China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Japan etc. are more and more being used to buy not what we make, but what we have. After a while, we'll be the have-nots. Amitai Etzioni explains it better.

Grown Ups: A start-up hedge fund has raised $9 billion to invest in pornography. Seems appropriate.

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