Thursday, July 30, 2009

SAR #9210

They know where you live.

Westminster Washington Dogs Show: The Blue Dogs and a handful of Republicans have delivered the health care reform that their constituents - the health insurers and the drug companies - wanted. The key was increased exemptions for small businesses and preventing the public insurance option from basing its reimbursements on Medicare rates - instead it would negotiate with providers the same as private insurers do now. In addition to the public option, states will be able to create non-profit health insurance co-ops.

What, Me Worry? Corporate insiders have recently been selling their companies' shares at a greater pace than at any time since the top of the bull market in the fall of 2007. They wouldn't be trading on insider knowledge, would they?

Same Old Song: Once again the Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than expected. Seems ice knows more about melting than the climate modelers do.

Jingleheimer-Smith: John Towery, going by the alias John Jacob, was a member of Fort Lewis' Force Protection Service when he was assigned to spy on civilians. Did Bush quietly over-ride Posse Comitatus? In the same vein, the US military is planning to "assist civilian authorities" by deploying troops within the US this fall under cover of an H1N1 outbreak emergency.

Paper or Plastic? Six in 10 Americans don't pay back their credit cards every month. Simply put, they spend more than they make. Patriots all.

Real Clunker: The government has already paid to have 4,000 25-year old clunkers crushed - costing us $17 million and probably not doing much for either the environment or the recovery. The goal is to get 250,000 clunkers off the road (or, alternatively, to sell 250,000 new clunkers). Are there really that many oldsters still on the road. Cars, I mean cars.

Just the Fats, Ma'am: Childhood obesity in the US has tripled in the last 25 years. Acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

Genuine Artificial: Starbucks’ wants you to support your local community coffee shop – as long as it is a Starbucks with a different name. It’s called “de-branding” – giving stores different names and pretending they're part of the neighborhood.

Redundancy: Arizona legislators, having looked in the mirror, have decided to sell the House and Senate buildings, too.

G'way Kid, Y'Bother Me: Subprime mortgage do not do mortgage modifications because it's not worth it to them. The government needs to use either a bigger stick or a bigger bribe.

Acrobatics: Honda's net income "tumbled" 96% in the first quarter. Might as well have been working without a net.

Bird in Hand... China is relaxing the one-child rule so there'll be enough kids around to support mom and dad in their old age. Did someone wave a Little Red Book and make a thousand rice fields bloom? This only makes sense if resources like energy and arable land are in unlimited supply, and they are not. Having more kids so they can starve along with the parents isn't inspiring social engineering.

Piecework: Would US health care be improved by paying doctors a flat salary or at least a set fee for their time? Would healthcare be more affordable if for-profit hospitals were abolished and community (or government! Gasp!) hospitals re-established? Perhaps what needs reform is the for-profit part and not the medicine part.

Porn O'Graph: The past is prologue...


Anonymous said...

RE: G'way Kid, Y'Bother Me

The elephant in the room here is that the banks CAN'T afford to reduce the principal on these loans or any underwater loan (which is the only real way to prevent foreclosure). To do so would force the banks to write down the value of their mortgage based reserves. So instead banks are using the "pretend and extend" model of valuing their assets. If Barney Franks got his way with cram downs than the entire banking system would need to write off a minimum of $1 trillion. And lo and behold! The banks would become insolvent (as if they're not) and we would be right back to the panic of 2007.


TulsaTime said...

Ewww.... a very sexy porn-o-graph today. You can almost hear the tick tick tick as we get closer to the tip over the edge. Then the free-fall and the screaming starts.

Have loved hearing the clunker details, higher prices and reduced availability for affordable automotives. Just what i expect from govt programs these days...didja see the bit about the p/e for s&p being 723? lookout below!!!


CKMichaelson said...

RBM - In addition to the write-down problem, it seems (just read about it) that the servicers make more in fees keeping the defaulted mortgage around and nursing it slowly to foreclosure. Much like the medical system in the US, the profit is in the process, not the cure.

And TT, did you do the math to see what an S&P PE of say 12X would be?


Anonymous said...

Redundancy: Arizona legislators, having looked in the mirror, have decided to sell the House and Senate buildings, too.

No problem, they can all meet in a whorehouse. One or two of those in AZ.

Anonymous said...


Saw that also. Heartless, if true. I believe that the fees are the smaller component here. Just people trying to keep the Titanic from sinking.


Bill said...

What's wrong with profit? It's hard to believe it’s come to this, but Yale Law professor Stephen Carter was so distressed by Democratic attacks on nefarious profit-seekers that he felt obliged to write a Washington Post op-ed this morning reminding America that profits are actually a good thing:

I love the graph and, without profits, the market will dive. I'm very concerned. The NY Times is a perfect example of what happens when profits disappear.

CKMichaelson said...

Bill - If you can't see a moral quandry in profiting from other's pain, do you find inflicing pain for profit acceptable, too?

Bill said...

Spoken like a true statist. Instead, we'll politicize the rationing. It will be perfect. What could go wrong with Peter Singer's disciples in charge?

But why stop there? Let's nationalize energy as well, since they're evil profiteers and heat and air conditioning are also rights.

Unless and until tort reform is included (which will never happen), healthcare reform is a joke.

fajensen said...

China is relaxing the one-child rule so there'll be enough kids around to support mom and dad in their old age

Or ... Soldiers!

One of the items that China has placed export restrictions on is Coke - According to T.L.Davis: "The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives" Coke is at the very bottom of synthesis of high-explosives from fossils and lots & lots of other chemical products.

I think that China is warming up with a "Humanitarian Intervention" in North Korea. The precedence was clearly set with NATO's breakup of Yugoslavia and the invasion of Iraq. It makes sense to test if the world is truly ready for for a spot of "free-for-all improvement".