Saturday, May 30, 2009

SAR #9150/Weekender

"Liberty is not the power of doing what we like,

but the right to do what we ought."

Lord Acton

Click Your Heels: US GDP fell 5.7% in the latest quarter, a slight bit better than the previously reported 6.1%. Do you think Noah cared whether it rained 6 inches or only 5 3/4 on any given day?

Chicken/Egg? "Dollar falls to 5-month low" and "Oil rises to new six-month high."

If Nominated... David Petraeus, Bush's favorite general and current head of US Central Command, admits that under Bush, the US "violated the Geneva Conventions." This will not endear him to the Limbaugh/Cheney wing of the GOP.

Tightrope: Energy prices are prompting inflation concerns - as is the Treasury, flooding the market with bonds. The resulting rise in long term rates - especially mortgage rates - has enormous negative consequences for the housing market and thus for any hope for a recovery.

Details: The US complains that the Chinese are manipulating the value of the yuan. The clever orientals are doing this by buying US Treasuries. So the US wants they should stop?

On Being Prepared: Buy printers, ink & paper; inflation protection.

Fine Print: The headlines blather that the Arctic may hold twice the oil previously found there. Sounds like a big deal until you note that "previously" (USGS) was 90 billion barrels and this time the estimate is 40 to 160 bn bbls. So the Arctic may hold less than half that previously claimed. If they are ever actually found. But that doesn't sell the papers. Nothing does, anymore.

Keep off the Grass: Forget the headlines. Forget green shoots. New houses sold at a SAAR of 352,000 - 34% below April 2008. All the rest of the comparisons are lost in statistical noise.

Here Comes CMBS: S&P suggests that 25%, 60%, and 90% of the very best of the 2005, 06, and 07 vintage Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) will be downgraded to "less than wonderful." Geithner is getting a plan ready.

Danger of Inflation? Who you gonna believe, Paul Krugman or your lying eyes?

Boogeyman: The wingnuts are out to save your freedoms. Not by repealing the Patriot Act, which is a good idea whose time will never come, but by warning you that the EPA will be regulating your life from now on. And it's all the Sierra Club's fault. Strict controls on emissions, higher electric rates, bans on driving you car to Wal-Mart. Mandatory use of paper, not plastic. Fear all change!

True Or False: "A sufficiently-determined central bank can repeal the laws of mathematics!"

Star Wars: The Pentagon is unilaterally invading cyberspace and setting up a new military command for both offensive and defensive computer warfare. The innocent have nothing to fear.

Sideshow: Good News: The subprime crisis may be over. Bad News: The mortgage crisis is not. Foreclosures break another record! Charts, graphs, free popcorn!

Advise and Consent: "Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she (Sotomayor) is menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate," Liddy said. "That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then." Newt says that Sotomayor is such a threat to America that her nomination should not come to a vote in the Senate. Rush, as head of the wing-nut faction of the GOP, confines himself to calling Judge Sotomayor "a racist."

Pelican: Much like the bird with the big beak, US consumers may be confident but that doesn't mean they can actually swallow any more debt.

Early Worm: Getting a head start on the hurricane season - official start is June 1st - National Hurricane Center reported that it is currently tracking its first storm -- an unnamed tropical depression -- for 2009. Way off Cape Cod and headed northeast.

Blow Hards: A variety of government programs and subsidies to the renewable energy programs are succeding - at least in Texas - to the point that there's too much power being generated and it's driving down the price of electricity. Darn.

Mortgage Insurance: Perhaps things could be better if the government worked for the people and not for the Usual Suspects. Like in Marinaleda, Spain.

Greed, Incorporated: The Treasury's PPIP is designed to subsidize private investors to get them to buy toxic assets from the banks. The banks say they are private investors and want the taxpayers to subsidize their buying their own 'legacy loans' from themselves.

Porn O'Graph: Bad moon rising.

No comments: