Tuesday, April 8, 2008

SAR #8100

Two Wrongs Make A Wrong.

Quickly: S&P doubled its estimate of house price declines from 11% to 20%, UPS cuts its earnings forecast by 12%, Port of Los Angeles reports imports are down 9%. Citi is writing down another $18 billion. Burlington Northern , the nation's top hauler of container rail freight, is parking miles of rail cars in Montana because there isn't enough freight to keep them rolling and the IMF says credit write-offs will reach $1 trillion. There's more, but it gets depression depressing.

Vocabulary: Define "global wage arbitrage." In Detroit it's known as unemployment.

Achilles' heel: If you think the Fed - our bank, the one we let Bernanke run - is going to save the day and bail everybody out, read the fine print. The Fed's holdings in Treasuries (the good stuff) is equal to only 3.5% of the US financial sector's debt. The pail's got a hole in it.

Sudden Death: NASA's Dr. James Hansen says the goal of holding atmospheric CO2 levels to 550 ppm should be reduced to 350ppm if “humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed”. Further, he says, "the target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster,” At 550ppm, the world would warm by 6C (11F). The good news is that we will soon run out of fossil fuels to burn, which will cut our emissions.

Fill in the Blank: ____________ faces a severe recession. faced with over-valued houses, mountains of unpayable personal debt and a rise in unemployment, it is set for a sharp and long lasting downturn. (a) Spain, (b) UK, (c) USA, (d) all of the above, (e) more than all of the above.

Glad Tidings: In an Easter weekend ad In Time and Forturen, sponsored by Shell, we were warned "The bad news is that no combination of technologies can plug the energy gap ... There will be a third, and last, global energy crisis. It will dwarf previous crises. Profound economic dislocation will result. The challenge for human civilization will be how we rebuild post-peak."

Tutu Much: In southern Pakistan, four eunuchs have become frustrated by having their dance performances curtailed by power outages. They threaten to go to the offices of the regional power authority and dance to show their displeasure.

One, Two, Three: The Federal Reserve Bank is the third central bank the United States has had. The first two also failed.

Read the Book: George Soros has mad a lot of money over the last 20 years, betting against the "flawed and dangerous" theory that markets are self-correcting. In his new book, Soros says this is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, mainly because regulators viewed the markets as never needing regulation. Send me the $29.95 I just saved you.

Iceland First: In an article on the IMF rescuing Iceland from the fiscal crisis that years of living beyond its means has caused, is the following sentence: "Some think that... the IMF might have to pump cash into the US economy. "

Quote: “We’ve got a real problem. We need to have more activist approaches. We need to be honest with the American public. We need more intervention. It probably will cost some money.” FDIC Chair Sheila Bair.

Survey: If you think your town and county will have a functional road system in 2012, raise your hand.

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