Monday, June 20, 2011

SAR #11171

Greed will find a way; greed always finds a way.

Unanimity, More or Less: Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and US Defense Secretary Gates agree that there are ongoing peace talks with the Taliban. Gates, however, said that the plan is not to have any “significant results” from the talks until December, and that US troop drawdowns will depend on the political situation in the US and have little to do with the progress of the ten year old war.

Best Question: What if the Greeks don't want to be rescued? The Greeks are growing fed up with austerity and are “very unwilling” to suffer even more for foreign bondholders. Maybe they'll figure out they owe the banks so much that it is the banks' problem, not theirs. EU politicians are worried about how their voters will respond to any more bailouts for the Greeks, and how their voters will respond to the far nastier results of not saving the Greeks.

The Full Monty: “A new regulation prohibiting US residents from trading over the counter precious metals, including gold and silver, will go into effect on Friday, July 15, 2011.” It may be a free market, it sure ain't a free country.

Fukushima Mon Amour: A flare-up of radiation halted an attempt to clean up some of the radioactive water at the destroyed nuclear power station within hours of the start. Engineers have not figured out how to handle the 100,000 tons (and growing daily) of radioactive water left from cooling the reactors. Concentrations of radioactivity are being found far from the evacuation zone, more radiation has been released than previously admitted, and – worst of all – there is no known way to scoop up and contain (for a few tens of thousand years) the cores that have melted down.

RSVP: The second test of the 14-foot unmanned X-51 Wave Rider drone ended in a crash off the California Coast after it was launched from a B-52 bomber. The aircraft is designed “to give the Pentagon a new way to deliver a military strike anywhere around the globe within minutes.” Which implies a sky full of pregnant B-52's with baby Wave Riders ready to descend on wedding parties anywhere, anytime.

Pay Me Now, Pay Me Later: On the theory that preventive medicine is cheaper than paying for the results, TEPCO is asking Japanese life insurance companies to provide money to help bring their crippled nuclear power plants under control and thus lower the danger of reducing the life expectancy of their policyholders.

Fun With Numbers: The Labor Department reports that while food prices have risen 4% since December and energy costs are up 19%, real disposable income has remained unchanged. Things cost more & you haven't had a raise; this is news?

Simpleton Math: New York has 213,000 houses “in severe default or foreclosure.” Over the last six months there have been an average of 286 foreclosures completed. At that rate it will take just over 62 years just to clear up the backlog. Facts may be facts, but methinks there's something wrong with this data – or the situation.

Self-Interest? AARP, the insurance company that primarily targets old folks, has taken up the call for reducing Social Security benefits. The AARP board had made the decision earlier, but are announcing it now under cover of “fiscal responsibility.” This is a business decision, aimed at future profits from an expanded market for their retirement products.

Yellow Brick Green Back Road: We erred in reporting earlier that $6 billion of the $20 billion in cash the Bush administration piled on pallets and shipped off to Baghdad with no accountability had been stolen disappeared. Reports now suggest that at least $18 of the $20 billion went AWOL. Repeated audits have been unable to find any trace of the money. It is, however, dwarfed by the $1 trillion the US has pissed away so far on the Bush/Obama Most Excellent Adventure.

Wrong On So Many Levels: A Jerusalem rabbinical court has condemned a dog to be stoned to death because it is the reincarnation of a lawyer who insulted the court 20 years ago. The proper term for 'stoning' is 'lapidation'. The proper term for the court is 'bonkers'.


Anonymous said...

The Full Monty:

You might have misunderstood this one. The regulation is targeted at entities using significant leverage to buy future contracts that don't have any pinning to the underlying commodity. In other words they are trying to close down their commodity market "bucket shops".a


CKMichaelson said...

Doesn't the journey begin with a first step? I'd be more in favor of a transaction tax that permited the gambling but put a socially beneficial cost on it. Same with computer trading of stocks and such. A transaction tax to encourage investment instead of speculation. But outlawing the urge to speculate/gamble isn't really going to work.

You should be able to speculate on how many goldfish fit in a shoe, as long as you are not using my shoe or Martha's goldfish. Regulation, not prohibition.


I'm Not POTUS said...

You can solve a lot of problems with a tax rate that dinged you 99% for holding trades less than a second and run the rate down on a log scale to the capital gain rate at 1 year holding.

If they raise a stink about that then you know it is just a parlor game and not an investment system.

Drewbert said...

I like!