Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SAR #8114

The future is here, it's just not widely distributed yet.

One Explanation: The judge ordered the 50 year old man to serve a 75 year sentence, the man said he'd do the best he could. Substitute the IMF and the oil industry, with the IMF demanding more oil and the industry saying they're doing the best they can.

Wild Blue: Defense Secretary Gates complains the US Air Force is not doing enough in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But we can't bomb them back to the stone age, they're mostly there now. Napalm, carpet bombing, now there's an idea....

Short and Shorter: Coal companies claim there will be serious electricity shortages in the US in 2 or 3 years unless more coal-fired power plants are built. Meanwhile, China is anticipating a 10 gigawatt shortfall this summer. Dr. Hansen is not amused.

Commuters: Literally billions of birds migrate between Europe and Africa every year, and every year fewer make the trip. More than half the 50 plus species have shown population declines of 30 to 50% of late. The usual suspects....

Too Logical: Blogger rcbowman has a novel suggestion for putting an end to all the nasty little (and big) wars in Africa: Stop sending them weapons. Dream on.

Go Team! Fighting broke out at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox priests, with pushing, shoving and the ever-popular striking with palm fronds. The Armenians are ahead, two palm fronds to zero. Best three out of five wins the Holier Than Thou Cup.

Road Map: Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK's second largest bank, has raised $8 billion by selling assets, cut its dividend sharply, and is selling $24 billion of new stock to rebuild capital lost to write-offs. The board said it has ``full confidence that the executive team will be able to lead RBS through the current challenging conditions''... and into bankruptcy court.

Shave: The Fed's rescue of Bear Stearns - by paying Morgan to take it - was a big deal. Probably a bigger deal than we know. Oswald Grubel, Credit Swiss' ex-CEO says 'We narrowly escaped a system collapse. This has never happened before.' Note he did not say it would not happen again.

Papa Bear: Yale's much respected Robert Shiller now predicts US housing prices, which have fallen about 15% so far, will far in excess of the Great Depression's 30%. Housing bubbles typically take 5 to 7 years from peak to bottom, which suggests that 2008 will see a very steep decline followed by about 4 years of further but slower declines.

Au Contraire! Keeping its record for inaccurate records, the government today claimed that US house prices rose 0.6% in the last three months and are only down 3.1% from the all time high. Who you gonna believe, the government or your own lying eyes?

Good News, Bad News, Worse News: Scientists report that current research into using solar power to replace petroleum and natural gas for transportation and electrical generation is extremely promising. But it will take 10 more years of intensive research to make it practical. We don't have the 10 years.

Voice of Experience: Wachovia, which wrote off $2 billion in bad mortgages, reports that “... the overarching assumption is that we're about halfway through the decline in housing prices with the trough expected to occur sometime around the middle of 2009.” No "bottom", no "turnaround" and no, not a good time to buy.

Conspiracy: In explaining the coordinated rise in commodity prices, some seek explanations in terms of a commodity 'bubble', others see low interest rates as the culprit, most seek a "macroeconomic explanation." How's this: Hubbert's Curve applies to all non-renewable resources, the more you use the less there is. Eventually what's left is worth more. That, and too damned many of the wrong people wanting to live Americans.

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