Friday, February 20, 2009

SAR #9051

In politics, now always trumps later.

Weakly Figures: The latest unemployment figures for initial claims was over 600,000 for the fourth week in a row. That's 2.5 million a month. But there's no way it could continue for months and months and months.... is there? My piece of the American dream is supposed to cost me no more than 30% of my income. So, what's three times nothing?

Out of Town Tryout: GM's Saab has filed for bankruptcy in Sweden.

Problem: Obama's plan makes the same assumption the quants did when they set up the Cuisinart: that house prices only go up. It was a bad assumption then and a worse one now.

Traffic Light: Chinook salmon returning to California rivers last year were at a record low. Tight restrictions on salmon fishing are expected again this year in hopes of re-establishing the breeding stock.

Down & Out: Tajikistan, caught in a massive energy shortfall, will now have the IMF's devastating help in 'restructuring' its economy. Tajikistan's parliament has given the US six months to leave its strategic airbase at Manas. Maybe they should just raise the rent, for the base is one of the main American supply routes into Afghanistan.

Question of the Day: Why is the government taking my money to preserve someone else’s property value? Why am I saving the banks shareholders?

A Number: CNN reports that wholesale inflation rose 0.8% last month - the biggest gain since last July - due to rising energy prices. BTW, 0.8% in one month is 9.6% annually.

Game, Set, Match: Whatever big slice of $1 trillion a year the Pentagon gets, it's wasted. The US commander in Afghanistan admits that the rag-tag Taliban pick-up squad has played the mighty imperial troopers to a stalemate and that another 17 thousand will make no difference.

No Snow Cones: The World Bank agrees with climate scientists that the Andean glaciers that are the main source of water for much of Peru will most likely melt away by 2030. This will seriously harm agriculture, energy (hydro) generation, and people. The report noted that the earth's surface temperatures will rise 2ºC by 2050 and most probably 4ºC by 2100. (Those are codewords for disaster.)

Needs Work: Lowe's 4Q09 profits dropped 60%, says it will "reduce expenses". Probably by investing in pink slips.

Strangers: Let's have some sympathy and a bailout for those of us that rent. Or that paid for our abodes. Or that are current on our payments because we didn't get greedy. Maybe renters should be taxed extra to help support stressed house buyers. Oh, right. They already are.

Pssst! Lost in the mortgage hullabaloo , Wednesday the Fed reported that US manufacturing output is falling at an annualized decline rate of 26%, with factory utilization at only 68%.

Very Reserved: Estimated coal reserves for the Gillette coalfield in Wyoming's Power River Basin have been lowered by 94%. It provides over 37% of the nation's coal and has a lifespan of only 20 more years. Appalachian coalfields are in decline and may last only another 15 years - they already have to blow away 20 tons of mountain to get one ton of coal. At this rate CO2 emissions may be a moot point.

Bernanke Day: After six more months of weakness the economy may have a period of anemic growth late in the year. Maybe Ben saw his shadow and the 0.4% rise in leading economic indicators for January portend spiring is on the way. In 2010.

Going Up: The flowering range of about 15% of plant species in Arizona's Santa Catalina Mountains has progressively moved higher up the mountains in the last 20 years as the global temperature rose.


Anonymous said...

you need oil to run a war.. and since the rest of the world is broke I would think these investments are cheap

With Cash to Spend, China Starts Investing Globally

Anonymous said...

Problem: Obama's plan makes the same assumption the quants did when they set up the Cuisinart: that house prices only go up. It was a bad assumption then and a worse one now.

Question of the Day: Why is the government taking my money to preserve someone else’s property value? Why am I saving the banks shareholders?

Obama's Simple Plans:

1. Keep control of Congress, 2010
2. Get reelected 2012
3. Keep control of Congress, 2014
4. Wifey elected 2016....

All economic and other decisions decided based on the above; country be damned. Political analysts call the shots not Economists.

Anonymous said...

OOPS! Another global warming goof.

CKMichaelson said...

Dear OOPSie - The article is not "a global warming goof", it has nothing to do with global warming at all. The article is about a problem in a NASA satellite's sensors which caused a small but growing error in measurement that lasted about 4 weeks and has been resolved. Additionally, the data from the NASA satellite was not the primary data source; the National Snow and Ice Data Center uses DoD satellites to get its ice data rather than the NASA satellite.

The article then is about double checking data leading to identification of a small glitch in a secondary data gathering system and correcting that error before it could contaminate the overall study. It is a story about the consecrative nature of scientists, who double check their data and seek multiple sources of information before coming to conclusions - unlike some anonymous folks.

Anonymous said...


I just get a kick exercising you on GW. I know it gets you going. I don't know if we're warming or cooling but, I have a suspicion that we'll blow ourselves up before it matters.

CKMichaelson said...

Glad to amuse. But if you really want to get me started tell me that there aren't about 4 billion too many people, that affordable and plentiful high-quality energy isn't an endangered species, or that trickle down economics works.

15limit said...

re the world bank's glacier forecast:

the glacier forecaster, according to the article, was an economist. this absolutely makes him an authority on climate. i must pay close attention to his predictions on climate.

CKMichaelson said...

15limit - Scientists say the galaciers are going to melt, that's within the realm of science. The economist says it will cause this and that to the water infrastructure which is essential to the economy supporting the lives of the people. This is more or less within the purported competence of economists. Economists pretend that what they do is a science. Scientists are not fooled.