Rooting for the good guys is easier when there are good guys.
Write Your Congressman: The combined market capitalization of companies receiving TARP funds is $336 billion. We gave them $350 billion. Let's have them surrender the companies to the Treasury and call it even. Or even give them the other $350 billion in exchange. Either way, we the people should end up with whatever profits breaking them up and selling them off would bring.
Completion: _________ price declines are continuing in every market in the country, while accelerating notably in some. (a) Automobile (b) Stock (c) Housing (d) Senate seat
Want Not: With 931 million hungry and malnourished in the world, it's nice to know that each week a major Scottish grocer will be sending 42 tons of unsold food to be incinerated to heat homes.
Short Form: Roubini gave an interview in Zurich - US to lose a net 3 million jobs in 2009 if Obama's stimulus can provide 3 million new ones. The unemployment rate will peak above 9% sometime in 2010. You didn't miss anything.
Future Past : The data says that City and BofA are in the same condition Fannie and Freddie were last summer, just before they were nationalized. If A = C and B = A, pretty soon B = C and they'll be goners too.
I Know What I Like : Another 'tasting' showed that wine judges, faced with three glasses of the same wine out of the same bottle, come up with three different ratings. The more they drank the better the wine tasted, just like at my house.
Slowing Down: Rowan, a US drilling service company, has stopped construction on two jackup drilling rigs and canceled the start of another. Currently only 325 of the world's 381 jackups are busy.
Very Refined: Valero Energy is maintaining low levels of gasoline production because there is little or no profit in it at today's prices. If they cannot find buyers for the 15 refineries it cannot operate at a profit, they will be closed.
Included in the Cost: Environmentalists plan to save the world by producing more and more ethanol from sugar cane. Someone else will have to save the tens of thousands of peasants who wield machetes 12 hours a day, cutting down the cane at near-starvation wages.
Unchained: James Lovelock, the Gaia guy, says turning all agricultural waste into charcoal and burying it will Save the World. Maybe so, but it'll make an awful lot of critters on the decomposition end of things hungry. Wonder what sort of harm that'll cause.
Faster, Not Better: The most recent Case-Shiller home price index shows a re-acceleration in the fall of prices in all of the nation's housing markets. If you want a really scary glance at the future of house prices, read Ilargi's intro to Automatic Earth's Jan 27 entry.
Instructions Not Included: The chief of the UN's FAO says that global food production must double by 2050. How this is to be done, given increasing drought, 3 billion more folks, less land for agriculture, no money for investment and the indifference of the rich was not indicated.
$cale: As times get tough, more people undertake swaps and barter for goods and services. Countries, too, it seems.
Future Present: The EU has directed that fossil-fuel fed power stations must significantly lower emissions of sulfur dioxide and the nitrogen oxides. The UK is already facing a significant shortfall in electrical generation by 2015. Meeting these emission standards will require a 20% price hike and/or power shortages at peak times.
Porn O'Graph: That Shiller kid's been writing on the walls again.