Support your local food bank; you may soon need it.
Change: For years we've been told that “the Internet changes everything.” Now we see what they meant. For all the furor over the latest (and next) WikiLeaks release, is there much in there that was a surprise? Maybe the teaching point is that in the wired world it is not just the people who have lost their privacy. And maybe the world would be a bit better place if the crooks and thieves in high places couldn't hide behind secrecy, if democracies had to practice being democratic and everyone realize that it's not just Santa that is keeping a list.
ET Called Home? NASA has notified the press that on December 2nd at 2 p.m. EST they will make an announcement concerning an astrobiologic finding relating to the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. It will be broadcast on live TV. [This seems to be a valid news item.]
How's Housing? The latest Case-Shiller index shows house prices in the US declined 2.0% in the 3-month period ending in September. The index is off 29% from its peak. The recession ended 18 months ago, in case it slipped your mind.
Be Very Very Afraid: The president of the European Commission is warning that the European Community faces an “upsurge of populism, of extremes” fed by growing nationalism, xenophobia and the manipulation of the population with “fears and irrational arguments.”
He was especially concerned that the proletariat may revolt.
Good Hands: Climate experts testifying at the Cancún conference estimate that global warming/climate change will force about a billion people out of their homes. Can they get insurance?
Report Card: "Here are the numbers...we're broke," Howard Davidowitz declares, noting the U.S. government goes $5 billion deeper into debt every day and is facing $1 trillion-plus annual deficits for the next decade. "In other words, we're bankrupt."
Economic Problem Solving: Various economists, when asked about food shortages and an increasing population, reassure us that “since demand is growing, production will also have to increase.” Same for petroleum. Realistically, the only reasonable solution would be to aggressively stop population growth, but that would be immoral. Starvation, apparently, is not.
Asked and Answered: “Why didn't the Irish banks' bondholders take significant losses as part of the bailout?” Because a modest 20% haircut would endanger banks in France and elsewhere. The EU told Ireland that there would be no money, no bailout, if there were any haircuts to EU bondholders. Tiptoe away, quietly.
Pig/Poke: Fannie and Freddie, already having won $33 billion in buy-backs on about 40% of loans they didn't like, have run into a wall as the big banks now say that F&F liked the pig-in-the-poke when they bought it and it's too late now to complain (“unfairly reevaluating”) that the pig was not a virgin – or something like that. At issue is $13 billion more in shoddy mortgages, a figure that could increase to $180 billion.