Saturday, December 15, 2007

SAR #7350

Lemons: Stockton, California has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. It also has the RepoBus. Two of 'em. Realtor run, each hauls 18 hungry buyers around the city to look at the week's newly foreclosed bargains. Lemonade.

Without Comment: "While the Republicans were passing a resolution celebrating Christmas, the president was vetoing health care for children. There’s a little bit of irony going on around here." - Rep. McDermott (D-WA)

Pre-fab : The NIE says Iran gave up its secret nuclear weapons program in "the fall of 2003." Russia didn't begin constructing Iran's first reactor until September 2002. I don't know about Russian engineering, but in the US it takes a bit more than a few days to build a reactor. We haven't even got the water running in Baghdad yet. What kind of a nuclear weapons program could Iran have had 10 months later? The kind you draw on a napkin?

Could'a Had a V-8: A Japanese inventor has figured out how to light a Christmas tree using an electric eel. No one else has figured out why.

New Wine/Old Bottle: The Fed is using September 2006 valuations for CDOs used as collateral for bank loans. Accepting them at 85ȼ on the dollar instead of the 27ȼ or less they bring in the marketplace seems... generous? That is, if generous is spelled 'bailout'.

Illustrations: Perhaps the Republicans could get their insistence on "No new taxes" across better if they translated it into everyday terms: No new taxes means no new bridges, no repairs to the old ones, either. No new schools, nor repairs to the old ones. No fixing 75 year old dams. No inspection of food, protection of the environment. Better yet: No new roads. That'd get their attention. Probably not a lot of support, though.

Finding Elmo: Research shows that by 2050 the water surrounding 98% of the world's coral reefs will have become too acidic for the corals to grow. It will also pretty well doom shellfish and crustaceans. “If atmospheric carbon dioxide stabilizes at 550ppm, and even that would take concerted international effort, no existing coral reef will remain in such an environment.”

Just Saying No: Paper-shredding costs are up 600% under Bush/Cheney. But with little left to review, the cost of denying Freedom of Information Requests has declined precipitously. It's a simple two step action: send out the "Nope, we've not got that" letter, and refer the requester's identity to Heimland Sicherheit and the TSA no-fly list.

Innocent Fraud: Today's problems are bigger than the Fed, which is in fact not faster than a speeding bullet. Citibank is 2.5 times the Fed in assets and 4 times in equity. The Fed admits it can "not directly address balance sheet or capital constraints," (kiss the boo boo) nor can it "directly reduce the perceived risk in exposure to other financial counterparties" (make 'em play nice). It has far more authority as a regulator, but Republicans don't regulate... Market Forces, Ahoy!

Irreversible: Public utilities bought enough senators to dodge a requirement that 15% of electricity be from renewable sources, while the oil industry ducked a $13 billion tax increase for less than $16.4 million in bribes contributions. The people of the world could not come up with enough money to buy meaningful carbon emission reductions. Better luck next... Oh, that's right. There won't be a next time. Next time is already bought and paid for.

Bad News/Good News: Producer Prices jumped 3.2% in November. But not to worry: Prices excluding food and energy rose only 0.4%. Wow. The government seems pretty sure there is no inflation except for things whose prices are going up.

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