The difference between the US and a banana republic is the bananas.
Shovel Ready: The administration keeps repeating that it stands firmly behind the banking system.
Lies, Damned Lies and... "The U.S. government stands firmly behind the banking system..." even though it shouldn't. Yes, that much is obvious. "Currently, the major U.S. banking institutions have capital in excess of the amounts required to be considered well capitalized." But that part is more than a little disingenuous. It's from a joint statement by the Fed, FDIC, OCC, OTS, Treasury and three guys in the forestry service.
It's Official: Nouriel Rubini has confirmed that laissez-faire capitalism has failed.
Clean-up In Aisle 7: Asked to provide the addresses of its offices to the state of Utah, Premier Election Solutions - the Diebold subsidiary marketing electronic "election systems" - provided a list of 18 locations, 16 of which turned out to be Walmarts. Same in New York, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire.
Collapse, Explained: In 2007 it cost $1,400 to ship a container from China to Europe. Today you can do it for just the cost of the fuel.
Fear Itself: The"public fear of nationalization" is just something cooked up by (a) Bank of America's PR people, (b) Citi's PR flacks, or (c) a right-wing think tank. The reality is that the FDIC has been nationalizing, cleaning up and re-privatizing banks for decades - remember the S&L crisis? Relax, it'll be done in a way that makes the taxpayer take the losses and returns the profits to the oligarchs, like always.
Tea Leaves: A survey of 47 professional forecasters, none of whom predicted the housing bubble or the credit crash, has decided - by majority vote - that the economy will turn up this fall and return to health in 2010. Democracy in action.
The Difference Between Cars and Cash: AIG, which has already made more than $150 billion in taxpayer dollars disappear, will report a quarterly losses of $60 billion and tell Uncle to send the truck over. Why didn't the car companies give as much money to the politicians as Wall Street did? Then they could send over an SUV, too.
Travel Pay: AmEx will pay you $300 if you pay off your account and go away.
War in the Afternoon: Pakistan's army has ceased operations against Taliban militants in the northwestern regions, where earlier the government gave up and ceded governance to the Taliban and the Qran.
Steep Grade Ahead: Based on real estate transactions through the middle of December, it is expected that price declines for houses, condos and multi-family houses will continue in every market in the country.
Microsoft Recall Notice: "An inadvertent administrative error occurred that resulted in an overpayment in severance pay by Microsoft. We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you." They sent out 1,400 copies of the recall letter; response has been underwhelming.
Strategic Planning: Five months ago Congress directed the Pentagon to pay a $500-a-month bonus to soldiers forced to stay beyond the end of their enlistments. The military has not done so yet but reports they are working on a plan to accomplish this soon,
right after they get through with the post-invasion plan for Iraq.
Lovin' It: An on-duty employee shot while assisting a customer being assaulted in one of its stores has been denied workers' compensation by McDonald's because his "injuries did not arise out of or within the course and scope of his employment."
Stressed Test: A disaffected insider explains stress-testing the banks: “The whole intent of this process is to show that the banks have enough capital for even worse outcomes than we currently envision and to show there’s a program in place to give banks access to that capital if they need it.”