Early Edition: Despite reports that the ransom paid to Columbian rebels amounted to $20 million, US Ambassador Brownfield carefully insisted that the US government paid nothing for the release of the 15 hostages.
Stop Me If You've Heard This One: The latest report from the Labor Department's Bureau of Strange Statistics includes this: "Auto manufacturing and parts industries gained 5,600 jobs". Does GM really need that many outplacement officials?
Joe Friday: Freddie Mac is a US-government-sponsored-enterprise. It is second in size only to Fannie Mae in the mortgage finance business. Freddie's loan portfolio has deteriorated to the point it must raise $5.5 billion in additional capital. Last week Freddie Mac stock lost 25% of its value. Facts, ma'am, just the facts.
Shouting: LA foreclosures went from 4,000 in 2Q07 to 14,500 in 2Q08. So, we've bottomed out, right?
"...West Of The Rockies": The World Bank reports that the 75% increase in world food prices has been caused by biofuels, not by a rapid growth of income in the developing countries. The Bush administration claims that ethanol production has caused only 3% of the price rise.
If You Look At It That Way: If the BLS counted the number of 'marginally attached workers', and the number working part-time for economic reasons, the unemployment rate in June would be 9.9%. But why count the unemployed as unemployed when it just drives up the number of unemployed?
Ante Up: Poland turned down the latest US offer of 'assistance' in return for letting part of the US anti-missile shield be based on Polish soil. Poland said it remained open to
a larger bribe further talks.
Quoted: "The Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors." US Army Major General Anthony Taguba
New Wine, Old Bottle: Air France says the future of air travel is by rail.
Familiar Tune: Richie Capital Management's hedge fund has adopted the "you can't get your money back" feature, after turning $4 billion in investment into $2 billion. Richie explained that keeping the investors' money is the best move right now. For him, anyway.
Really? Republicans keep warning us that if we elect a Democratic president things will change.
Adjustment: Since Bush became president the US dollar has lost 41% of its value against the Euro. That makes the Dow today the equivalent of 6750 in 2001 dollars - when it stood at over 10,000. That makes oil the equivalent of $85 a barrel. Oil has not gone up, the dollar has gone down. Must be speculators.
For Want of a Nail : The anti-malaria campaign has been abandoned in parts of India because the municipalities can't afford fuel to operate the fogging machines.