What happened to the 'hedge' in hedge funds?
Armageddon: When Moody's joins Fitch and S&P (and reality) and downgrades MBIA and Ambac, many financial firms will have to severely mark down the questionable paper that was 'supported' by monoline insurance. Estimates start at $600 billion.
He Said, They Said: US Defense Secretary Gates fired the top two US Air Force leaders following increased tension over funding priorities. Stay in line, keep your hands away from the windows, don't lose your nukes.
Endgame: Lehman Brothers has reportedly sought capital from foreign investors and from major US institutions. Lehman claims to have reduced its leverage to a 12:1 basis, but the NYTimes says 25:1 is more likely. If Lehman unloaded $100 in assets, how big a bath did it entail? How long before Ben and the boys arrange a deal? What are you doing this weekend?
Competition: Huber is at it again: "White House Press Secretary Dana Perino calling former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan “sad” is like McClellan calling Perino a “Bush administration whore.” They’re both right, but look who’s talking." There's more....
Oil Schmoil: Goldman Sachs, they of the $200 oil, suggest that a catastrophic water shortage could prove an even bigger threat to mankind this century than soaring food and oil prices.
Dealing From The Bottom: Rumors of a deal to let the US occupy permanent bases in Iraq are leaking out of Baghdad. Who thinks Iraqis will accept permanent bases, with US troops conducting operations, arresting 'terrorists', and in general acting for the Empire? Seems guaranteed to generate more opposition to the US presence, thus justify their staying longer. Ah...
Clean Coal: US utilities and coal companies want the government to spend $20 billion on technology to clean up coal emissions. More welfare. Wouldn't want those who will profit to actually pay for the damage they cause.
Let them eat ethanol: "Internationally we're looking at a 43% inflation rate in food this year," Ed Schafer, US secretary of Agriculture.
One Seize Fits All : While learning that US researchers tracked the location (and conversation?) of 100,000 individuals 'overseas' - which lest you know that NSA can do it within the USA, too - we also learn that Sweden is planning a scheme to expand the state's monitoring of all email and telephone traffic in and out of the country. That's how Cheney got started in the US.
Word Is: Huffington Post reports that some combat vets returning from Iraq claim that using "drop weapons" to cover up civilian deaths is 'a widespread practice.' On the job training.
Train Bus: Tell the family you will have to take the bus to Disneyland this summer. From Omaha. It's supply and demand. If you want the airline to supply a seat, they are going to demand twice, thrice, or more for the ticket. Example, a Philadelphia to San Diego round trip is now $780, up 228% from last year. So much for going to the Zoo.
Nuance: Legend Homes, one of Oregon's biggest housebuilders, has stopped paying its subcontractors after it lost bank financing. "We're not in danger of bankruptcy," said CEO David Oringdulph. Nope, they're just holding on to their money very, very tightly.
Field Of Dream: Thousands of wind turbines in the West Texas deserts are idle because there are not enough power lines to carry their output to the grid, which is happily carrying coal-based power. About as welcome as homesteaders, these windmills.