Thursday, December 4, 2008

SAR #8339

Money is an accounting device we imagine is real.

Sudden Impact: How serious is the auto industry downturn? In November only 236,000 cars manufactured in the US were sold.

High and Dry: The Baltic Dry Index has now fallen 94% from its high. Global shipping is stopping. In our just-in-time world, if raw materials are not shipped, no finished goods will be shipped. How long until we get an Empty Shelves index?

Loophole: Last year for the nations of the world agreed to get together in December 2009 to negotiate on a set of ideas that could lead to a plan to reduce carbon emissions. Looks as though it may be delayed a bit and the details filled in later. Posthumously.

Balance Point: PIMCO's Bill Gross says the DOW will fall to 5,000 unless the Government does everything right. When's the last time the Government did "everything just right"? When's the last time Wall Street did anything right?

Blinders: US citizens are largely indifferent to the deaths caused by the US invasion of Iraq. More than 650,000, possibly over 1 million. Doesn't register. Just as we don't really think about babies in the third world dying of hunger. Lock the gate behind you.

Third Times a Charm: AIM - which needed over $100 billion from the taxpayer - now plans to re-negotiate their agreement with the Treasury. Again. Executives feel the terms (which left them running the place) were unfriendly to employees and shareholders.

Sailing Lesson: Moving water from one end of the boat to the other is not going to keep it from sinking.

Bush Whackers: The EPA caved in to administration wishes and has abolished the 1983 rule against coal companies dumping inconvenient mountaintops in local streams. Under Bush the EPA's rigid enforcement had limited the damage to just 535 miles of streams ruined in his first four years.

November Numbers: Nonfarm employment decreased 250,000 from October's level, which was 180,000 down from September. See the trend? Major US corporations announced over 180,000 layoffs in November. We've lost 1.5 million jobs this year. Just misplaced them...

Damned Destruction: The EIA Weekly Petroleum Data reports that over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 10.0 million barrels per day, 17 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year.

Watch Your Step: Scientists have found that global warming changes the molecular structure of organic matter in soil, speeding the release of CO2 to the atmosphere. Soils hold twice the amount of carbon as the atmosphere; a more rapid release will feedback more warmth that will lead to an even more rapid release of carbon. Melting permafrost raises the risk exponentially.

Lakeside Property: Folks keep reporting that they expect house prices to bounce back - some guess it'll take about six months. Yes, they know the economists say the decline won't bottom out until 2011 or so, but their house hasn't lost its value. They all live in Lake Woebegone.

Porn O'Graph: US debt as a percentage of GDP%.

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