Fade to black.
Latest Myth: The Fed wants to assure us that paying less than face value but more than fair value for banks bad assets will bring the zombies back to life at no cost to the taxpayer. Doesn't make any sense. Let's try the right way
Spanish Steps: S&P views Ireland 'negatively', has warned Portugal on its debt and downgraded Spain's sovereign debt to AA+ putting it equal to Belgium. That's higher than the A- doled out to Greece last week and . How long before these downgrades - or a sovereign default - test the strength of the euro?
Fish in a Barrel: Lease a tanker, fill it with cheap oil, sell a forward contract on the oil and sail around in circles with a guaranteed profit. Sound easy? Sound too easy? How sure are you that the guy you sold it to is going to be around come March or June? Maybe you should think this over, Morgan Stanley did. Nice use of the bailout money.
Good Questions: Who wrote the computer programs that made it possible for Madoff to run a ten-year Ponzi scheme? How many of his staff had to know what was going on? how many of his kids? Where's the posse?
New Record Holder: In the last year, the Royal Bank of of Scotland managed to lose £28 billion, which is 2% of the UK GDP. Its balance sheet is nearly as large as the entire country's GDP. In two years RBS dropped from a £75 billion valuation to less than £4.5 billion while burning through a £32 billion infusion from the taxpayers. Makes Citigroup look solvent. In both cases their respective governments have no choice but to prop them up, trying to prevent total collapse. Wish them luck.
Default: As long as the US does not default on the bonds Social Security holds, Social Security is fully funded until 2049. Any cut in Social Security before then would entail the government reneging on its obligations. If so the bonds helb by Rubin, Paulson et all had better be the first to go. China's another story.
Mud in your Eye: Pollution in the skies over Europe have been reduced by half in the last 30 years, but its absence has led to more solar warming. As pollution levels fall - say by stopping the use of coal - will the drop in CO2 make up for solarization's increase global warming? No.
Instant Re-Pray: Goldman Sachs - the folks who predicted $200 a barrel last summer and $30 a barrel in December now anticipate "a swift and violent rebound” in energy prices in late 2009. I forecast an ongoing swift and violent round of new forecasts by folks who make money selling you ideas.
Usual Suspect: Soaring autism rates are "most likely" due to exposure to pesticides, household chemicals, and viruses. Changes in diagnosis and genetic causes, previously suspected, cannot account for the rapid and widespread increase in the condition. The suspect is of average height and weight and has no distinguishing marks.
Either/Or: If Citi is too big to fail, and it is, and too big to succeed without massive money infusions from the government, then let's just admit it has to be nationalized. Move along, nothing to see here.
Stimulating: The economy does not need a stimulus. It needs a burial. Instead of spending trillions on the institutions that got us here, the focus should be on transforming the American economy into a renewably powered series of local economies. The unfettered quest for perpetual growth to profit the few hasn't worked out too well.
Porn O'Graph: The heat is on.