Economics is politics with a smattering of education.
All GM All The Time: GM stock was weird last week, trading over $1 even though it was obvious that bankruptcy for the company and worthlessness for the stock would show up over the weekend. But Monday some 300 million shares traded at the 80 - 87 cent range. Why? GM is bankrupt. They owe $173 billion and claim to have $82 billion in assets. The creditors will take a bath, the workers will take a bath. Why are people lining up and paying good money to take a bath?
Export/Import: Japan had a trade deficit last year. First time in 28 years.
General Discovers Manhood, Morality: General Ricardo Sanchez, former Bush lap-dog and commander of troops in Iraq now realizes that "During my time in Iraq there was not one instance of actionable intelligence that came out of these interrogation techniques...this was an institutional failure, a personal failure on the part of many." He says if the US does not convene a truth commission to examine its use of torture, the country is "doomed to repeat it."
Another Problem: Mortgage modifications won't work as long as the would-be homeowner is barely qualified to be a renter. Estimates are that 75% of the relative handful of modifications done under "Making Home Affordable" will re-default.
Chiirty Begins At Home: "AIG is trying to seize a $490 million charitable endowment -- and claw back $27 million it already awarded to New York charities -- to pay executive bonuses.
To Infinity and Beyond: GM is hiring Al Koch and 60 of his henchmen from AlixPartners to restructure the company. AlixPartners is a consultancy that helps companies find the cheapest place to make their products - China, Bangladesh, Mexico, Detroit...
Enough Said: "Banks Preparing 'Renewed Push' Against Derivatives Regulation"
Go Long: A investment fund allied with Nassim "Black Swan" Taleb is betting heavily on hyperinflation. They're also shorting Treasuries. I'm still long single-malts.
Obama's Change: Half the military force in Central Command's area are now mercs, both in Iraq (up 23% under Obama) and Afghanistan (up 29%). At this rate the US will have to use actual soldiers in Pakistan and North Korea. The Pentagon predicts "similar dependence on contractors in future.” Gives a new meaning to the term "brining the troops home."
Words and Deeds: Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Operation Rescue's Randall Terry are simply aghast that someone took their calls to kill Dr. George Tiller seriously. But face it, killing your opponents is not particularly new to religious fanatics. Curious though, that during Clinton's 8 yrs, 6 abortion related murders and 17 attempts occurred . Then suddenly, for Bush's 8 years there were none. Christians are again killing folks for breaking their rules. Odd, in that the only time Jesus got mad was at the bankers.
Take Your Vegetables: Now you can grab a pill containing lycopene that will give you the same benefit as eating tomatoes, without having to eat tomatoes. Leaves more room for French fries.
Porn O'Graph: Sheila dropped her hockey stick.