Thursday, October 27, 2011

SAR #11298

Reality looks better in reproductions.

Let's Play Pretend: There's a make-believe rally underway in response to the make-believe settlement of all Euro problems. Not to be critical, but the agreement did not really raise any new money, continues to pretend that banks are voluntarily taking a 50% loss on Greek bonds and that this is not going to trigger the CDS monster, that the problem is confined to Greece and that Spain and Italy are going to be just fine, that _____ (fools to be named later) will pony up €800bn to pad out the EFSF, and that during the two or three months it'll take to make all this hopium real nothing else is going to fall off the cart. It could have been worse. And will be. “The deal does not, and was not intended to, have any effect on the core problems facing the eurozone.”

Qualifications: Sales of new houses were up 5.7% m/m in September, but down 0.9% y/y. However, the median price fell to $204,400 (down 3%) m/m, about at the low for the last decade. And the drop in median prices over the last three months was the worst ever.

Those Who Trespass Against Us: The ever clever Justice Department now wants to interpret the Freedom of Information Act as permitting the government to simply lie and say that the records do not exist when they do not want to release information to the public. And they never want to release information to the public. If the government tells such a lie, they cannot be sued because... the records do not exist – the government said so.

Watch What They Do, Not What They Say: Kuwait says it will generate at least 10% of its electricity from “sustainable sources” (solar, one would think) by 2020. They claim it's to free up the oil for export earnings, and not because they're running out of oil.

Thinking Caps: There are 37 million ex-students struggling to pay off their loans. About 1.6 million of them are expected to take advantage of Obama's new repayment plan that limits their payments to 10% of their income (down from the current 15% cap that only 450,000 are taking advantage of) and 'forgives' them the balance of their debt after 20 years of paying 10% of their income... These are ex-students, not – apparently – finance grads. Now they need to kill the bankruptcy immunity of student loan debts.

Presumption: Of all the pundits who claim to know what the #Occupiers want, or should want, the claim that they want democracy returned to the people, the end the corporatization of politics, and an end to unregulated crony capitalism seems closest to the actual sentiment on the streets. Not socialism, not capitalism, but a basic fairness.

You Are There They Are Here: For the first time, more than half the urban poor live in the suburbs, not in the city centers. Suburbs are now facing demands for social services they neither are equipped to provide nor pay for – after all,the whole point of moving to the suburbs was so you didn't have to pay for (or see) the underclass.

Punch Line: Lukoil, a privately owned Russian oil company, has started drilling for oil near the Iraqi port city of Basra. Did Cheney get a finder's fee?

Cleaning Up: Sanitation - specifically toilets that flush and do not contribute to the deterioration of the environment – is necessary for public health. Unfortunately the world does not have sufficient water resources to meet the needs of today's 7 billion, much less another 2 or 3 billion runny little bottoms.

99 Bottles of Beer... Here's another article – this time about China's one-child rule – that says that an ever expanding population and an ever expanding economy are essential if the good times are to continue. Who said the good times were going to continue? Or could?

1 comment:

kwark said...

CKM, Thanks again for filtering all this so I don't have to!
RE: "Qualifications" Interesting, just this evening I received an automated spam phone call telling me "It's a buyers market and now is a great time to buy with historically low mortgage rates, blah, blah." I'm more inclined to think that the realtors are hurting.