Fifty percent of the fossil fuel used in the history of man
has been burned since 1985. - Randy Udall
Tweed Ring: Many of the larger investment banks have offered been forced by state regulators to repay retail investors money lost in auction rate securities scams. Now Massachusetts (with NY's Cuomo in the wings) has turned to Fidelity and asked it to do the same. Fidelity was quick to point a finger back to those that underwrote the securities and conducted the auctions - the very folks who've already paid half a billion in fines.
Comfort: Even with all the buzz about the credit crunch, the FDIC's list of problem banks increased only 30% in the latest quarter. Then again, IndyMac ($32 billion in assets - third largest bank failure ever) went bye-bye without ever being a 'problem' child.
Ah, That Freedom: In a clever PR move, Denver police arrested an ABC News producer as he and a camera crew stood on a public sidewalk, taking pictures of various senators leaving a hotel. Police refused to tell ABC lawyers the charges against the producer; seven years into the Bush administration, they don't have to.
Time Bomb: While the US views the coming crash in Mexico's petroleum exports with concern, it might give some thought to what the loss of billions of dollars in income will do to the social structure and stability of its southern neighbor.
Social - ism: Friends, let's agree to bail out the banks again. Might as well, for the FDIC is getting set to tap the Treasury (that's you wallet) for a few billion. Or tens of billions. Probably less than $100 billion. Maybe a tad more. So far the collapse of 9 banks has driven the FDIC to the wall, there are a hundred or more to go. Don't worry; the money will be repaid.
Brass Toads: If you've ever wanted to start a little retail shop, now may be a good time. There'll be 144,000 store closures by December. You might be able to lease a really good spot in a dying mall.
Beeing There: In Germany, Bayer is facing charges that it knowingly polluted the environment with a pesticide which has killed millions of honeybees. In the US, the government continues to maintain that studies that prove the allegations are proprietary and will not be released.
Pudding: After 7 years of GOP tax cuts guaranteed to produce a rising tide of increasing wealth for all, the median income is lower than when Bush started making it better. More kids got left behind in poverty. The rich got richer. But this data was before the economy went to pot; maybe we need to cut taxes on the rich a bit more.
Put It On the List: An undramatic, nearly private, discussion of phosphate production rates and reserves has been going on for some time. Maybe we should read up a bit on it, for if we don't figure out ways to recycle phosphorus on this planet, we'll have to find somewhere else to grow our food.
Clarification: For the second time in as many days I've come across reference to a 'Nobel Economist'. There is no such animal. Never has been. The title is misused to give the impression that economics is a respectable science. It isn't. The highest award in economics sould be an Oscar.
Pants on Fire: The Saudis claim they have 260 billion barrels in reserve, T. Boone Pickens does not believe them.
Three Card Monte: Paying executives large bonuses by quietly issuing them options has long been general practice. Now that stock options are underwater at 40% of Fortune 500 companies - 10% of these options are more than 50% underwater - watch and see what compensation committees do with smoke and mirrors to keep funneling unearned income to CEOs.
Baby It's Coal Outside: Russia has instructed its coal exporters that coal must be supplied domestically before any can be exported. A shortage of rail cars makes it impossible to meet both the domestic and export delivery demands; internal use comes first.