Saturday, November 8, 2008

SAR #8313 / Weekender

Apparently Obama intends to change just

the players, not the play.

Usual Suspects: If it's not weddings in Afghanistan, it's civilians in Pakistan. Another "suspected" US missile killed 10 Pakistanis. Those that were not women and children were undoubtedly top al Qaeda operatives.

Down to the Sea: Over 20% of the world's Capesize (i.e. big) coal and ore hauling vessels sit idle; either there are no cargoes to haul or current rates are too low to let shipowners break even. Rates have dropped 98% in five months. "For the want of a nail...

Comparison: Unemployment numbers were awful again this month; another 240,000 jobs lost in October. Only 61.8% of adults are working; the lowest level in 15 years. Really scary, the percentage of adult men working is the lowest on record, going back to 1948. If you don't remember 1948, you have no idea how bad things are going to be.

Headline News: October's Budget Deficit Bigger than the Deficit for all of 2007!

Three In One Oil Grease: GM went through $6.9 billion in the last quarter and most likely will "approach the minimum amount necessary to operate" during the current quarter. Ford lost $3 billion. Chrysler will either merge with GM, Hyundai or the horizon, soon. They will all be made better if Mr. Paulson will just tell them they're loved. $50 billion will do for now - they're begging for $50 billion more from Europe to tide them over until Pelosi and Obama can really throw cash at them.

Hooked: While the slowing economy has lowered the price of gasoline, it has not discovered great reserves under Kansas. The US is as dependent as ever on imported oil, with all the financial and security threats that attend.

Change. Please: "The change the Obama administration needs to make first and foremost is to stop letting Israel lead us around by the foreign policy tool." That's Jeff Huber, go read him

Shifty Ecosystem: The last couple of decades have seen the most significant climate change since farmers started scratching around in the Fertile Crescent 5,000 years ago. Cornell oceanographer Charles Green reports that "the rate of warming we are seeing [now] is unprecedented in human history."

Another Surprise: Financial reporters have discovered that the unemployed don't pay their mortgages. Not eating causes hunger - you read it here first.

Here's Your TIP: Workers get a $80 billion tax break via their 401(k)s. Congressional Democrats are considering ending this system and instituting an mandatory system workers would have to contribute to. These funds would be put in special Treasury bonds similar to TIPS, paying 3% a year, adjusted for inflation. They got the idea from South America .

Here's an Idea: Instead of bailing out banks, insurance companies, auto manufacturers, three pizza parlors and a dog pound - instead of bailing out the system, why don't we bail out of the system and start anew?

Quicksands: Shell is delaying further investment in its Canadian oil-sands project. The high costs of mining the oil cannot be justified at today's prices.

Wrong Again: Alan Greenspan claims this is a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami” Actually, since dismantling the FDR regulatory safeguards began under Ronnie the Absent, meltdowns have happened every 10 - 15 years. The current US financial system is unstable. Without far-reaching reform and attentive regulation we can expect the bubble and burst cycle to continue.

Entitlements: Bloomberg has filed a Freedom of Information suit to force the FED to disclose the securities being accepted in the $1.5 trillion bailout of financial and other institutions. The suit is based on the quaint notion that taxpayers have a right to know.

Porn O'Graph: For the Double Entry Bookkeeping challenged, in banking assets = debt.

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