Sunday, December 16, 2007

SAR #7351

"If ignorance is bliss, I should be happier."

Sharks in the water: Direct-mail offers to consumers with the best credit have dropped by 13%, On the other hand, offers to consumers who are in danger of defaulting on their home loans have actually climbed by 41%. Sweets to the sweet.

Progress : Bali approved a "roadmap" for two years of talks to adopt a new treaty to succeed Kyoto. Under the deal, a successor pact will be agreed at a meeting in Copenhagen in late 2009. A roadmap. For two years of talks. About a new treaty. Replacing Koyoto - which no one has met. Big whoop.

Street Humor: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forecast continued declines in home prices, ultimately bottoming out 10 to 12% below their peak. In describing the trouble ahead they said that if home prices decline by 30 percent, as some expect, ‘We’re all going long on apples ... " Funny. Really funny.

Pogo Moment: We have met the mortgage problem, and they are us. Many of us are in the curious postion of owing more on our house than it's worth. Many more of us will arrive at the station soon. Upside-down they call it. Sure feels that way. Greenspan kept telling us to take another cookie, now here we are, stuck, hand in cookie jar.

Homework: Climate Scientists assure us that dangerous warming can be avoided only if greenhouse emissions are cut 25% to 40% below those of 1990 by 2020. In the next 12 years. Take a piece of paper and figure out how you can cut 25% of your gas, gasoline, electricity, plastic, food, and consumption of everything else. Today. Then cut that by another 25%. Tomorrow.

Closer Reading : The USGS reports the Laptev Sea Shelf beneath Russia's Arctic waters holds 9.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent in undiscovered resources. Terrific news; we're saved! But wait: That's barrels of oil equivalent. Not actual crude oil. And it's estimated oil. And what's this 'undiscovered resources'? My mother used to claim I had 'undiscovered talent.' But like oil in the Arctic, it sure has been hard to get at.

Echo: I'm tired of sounding like a 1940's German. Can't we drop the fascistic echo and call it the Department of National Security? We could rename NSA something more descriptive -Communications Intercept, or 'The Watchers.' But Homeland Security has got to go. This was the Indians homeland, and see how well that has turned out for them.

Size Matters: Real after-tax incomes jumped $180,000 for the top 1 percent in 2005 (it's gotten worse since then, but the CBO figures that historic data disturbs the peasantry less). Those in the middle got $400, the untouchable got about $200. It wasn't just last year: In the last 25 years, the top 1% have gotten a 228% raise. The middle, 21% - less than 1% a year. The bottom got a net 6% raise - after taxes and inflation. Trickle down. Just don't get it in your boot.

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