Friday, May 8, 2009

SAR #9128

The American populace is not a source of inspiration.

Gullibility: Whenever I asked permission, Mother would ask "Why?" "Because all the other kids are... " was never an acceptable reason. 'Lemmings' and 'jumping in front of cars' featured in her next comment. Good thing I didn't have to ask her before I plunged all my money back into the market.

Preemtive Strike: Obama's health plan will deny you treatment that you need and make you wait weeks and months for whatever treatment they decide to let you have under the Democrats' list of acceptable treatments. That's what the GOP is saying. Maybe it's true, maybe not; it's hard to say because Obama hasn't even submitted a proposal to Congress yet.

Ethanol Is All Wet: Ethanol may do and be a lot of things, but one thing for sure - it is thirsty. It takes 50 gallons of water to produce enough ethanol to drive a single mile.

Weeding the Garden: The recovery is on the way, housing has bottomed and is rebounding, and there are two chickens in every pot. Except. Except there is a huge increase in jumbo mortgages entering foreclosure, a 10% loss rate on securitized jumbo mortgages, and a 43% decline in the sale/re-sale of homes valued over $1 million. Move along, folks, Ben said there's nothing but blue skies....

Re-Education Camp: The American consumer's behavior has undergone a fundamental and irreversible shift. So says P&G's former director of marketing.

Before and After : BMW reduced production sharply in the first quarter, which allowed it to report a smaller than expected loss. It's shares rose 6% on this 'good' news. It lost less than expected by producing fewer cars and this is seen as a cause for celebration. No test today, I'm feeling ill.

Self-Inflicted: Autism in California has undergone a 12-fold increase in the last 20 years. Sooner or later we'll find out it is caused by something we are putting into the air, water, food or plastics and that, as Pogo observed, the enemy is us.

Forest/Trees: Turns out they miscounted the trees and there is not enough "waste wood" in the forest to feed proposed biomass plants. Oops.

On Globalization: World trade fell 31% y/y in January. In the US, private credit market debt is 174% of GDP and US households have 39% more debt than income. US wages and salaries have dropped 5.7% y/y. Retail sales in Europe have fallen 4.2% y/y, while Great Britain has the worst fiscal outlook since WW II. Where's Candide when you need him?

Essay Assignment: Compare & contrast the Obama and Bush administrations in regard to Guantanamo, torture, abductions and secret prisons. 25 words or less.

The Impoverishment of a Generation​? If you are tired of 'green shoots', administration happy talk and the pablum parceled out by CNBC, WSJ and the Usual Suspects, try Spiegel Online. It's nice to find serious discussion in adult language, Deutsch or English.

Quickie: How much of those recently reported bank earnings are real? (a) None, (b) Very Little (c) Either 'a' or 'b'. (d) Yes.

Doomed, We're Doomed: After 25 years and $10 billion wasted, the government is giving up on the Yucca mountain nuclear waste storage site. This is a fine example of the complete and utter foolishness of expecting the federal government to actually do something useful about global warming.

Surprise: The Supremes have decided it is not a crime to be an undocumented worker, and the vast majority of undocumented workers are no more criminal than their employers.

Factoid: Among all the fertilizer being spread on the 'green shoots' by a 2.25% drop in the number of initial unemployment claims, let's remember that 631,000 jobs went away. There are now 6,271,000 folks with continuing claims for unemployment. That's 6 million families that cannot pay their bills, cannot pay the mortgage, cannot buy even a grossly discounted car.


Anonymous said...

RE: Essay Assignment


CKMichaelson said...

Well, Anony, now you've spoiled it for the rest. You are correct, but I'm going to take 5 points off for style. I was inclined more towards 'Identical' which has a bit more scholarly ring to it.

Eric Hacker said...

The Porn O'Graph link is bad.

For the essay I submit:


It is more scholarly because it is less likely to be understood by the average American consumer.

I appreciate your blog tremendously.

CKMichaelson said...

Eric - Okay, you get the A+ today.

OSR said...

Essay: Same old crap in a shinier package.

I think that the bogus part of the stress tests lies in the valuation of assets.

The Anecdotal Economist said...


Seamless Transition...

And RE: Factoid...

Let's not forget the other half; the other 6.2 million unemployed who don't/can't/aren't receiving any government assistance while out of work - they tend to spend even less than those receiving the pittance of unemployment benefits. Oh, and don't forget the other 2 million to 5 million people without jobs who aren't counted among the unemployed for whatever reason the government sees fit not to report the truth.

CKMichaelson said...

True, AE. Hey, why don't we count all the folks who are in jail? or in the army? Could a massive sweep of lazy no-goods lower the unemployment rate? Would forced conscription be a way of lowering the number...