Saturday, March 15, 2008

SAR #8076

The government keeps trying to fill the bathtub
while the drain is still open.

Noblesse Oblige: Lest you think Bear Stearns was disingenuous in saying that their insolvency was sudden, keep in mind that margin calls read pretty much like: "wire or bring cash by 2 pm or your security will be sold."

King Tut: The financial gurus keep talking about "the Great Unwinding" in the credit markets, rather like they are waiting to see whether, once the gauze is removed, we have a mummy or just another corpse.

The Same But Different: The US is in same boat as Thailand and Indonesia in 1997, during the "emerging markets" crisis, The main difference is that the dollar is the world's reserve currency - which means if we implode we do a great deal of collateral damage - and we have nukes.

Dowries: The Stearns/Morgan engagement follows closely on the heels of the shotgun wedding between Bank of America and Countrywide. Seems like the wedding season will be early this year. Don't worry about a gift; you're paying for the reception.

Gullibility Index: The government reported that the Consumer Price Index increased at "a core rate" of 2.3% . The report also showed energy prices dropped 0.5% as electricity, gasoline, and fuel oil prices fell. Read that back to me, slowly.

Central Heat: Five million people in the UK spend more than 10% of their income on energy. Over 50,000 Brits die each winter from cold-related illnesses such as bronchitis and strokes. We don't hear about people dying because of the cold in the US because it's just poor people.

Wondering: The National Forest Service has granted a British firm approval to mine for uranium in the Kaibab National Forest. That's the land around the south rim of the Grand Canyon, if you're trying to find it on a map. This is the first of five such projects scheduled for the area.

His Majesty: The EPA weakened its new smog requirements after being told at the last minute that President Bush liked ozone and the companies that produce it. Or vice versa.

Contagion: The Québec Pension Plan and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan are on the hook for some $33 billion in Asset Backed Commercial Paper that has lost 33% so far. Seems the Assets backed right out of sight.

Date Runner: EU leaders have agreed to plan on finishing planning what to do about climate change by the end of the year and plan on passing some laws about it next year. That's progress.

Mirror, Mirror: China, tired of hearing about Dafur and Tibet, pointed out that the United States invasion of Iraq "is the greatest humanitarian disaster of the modern world". Not true, but neither can look directly into the mirror without squinting.

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