Saturday, May 10, 2008

SAR #8131

"Data beats theories." - Mathew Simmons

Peter, Paul & the Other Guy: State and local sales tax revenue is falling, budget deficits blooming. And just in time here comes Bush borrowing money from the Chinese to give tax rebates to the citizenry so they can pay the newly imposed state fees and increased local taxes. Are we there yet?

Spin Cycle: The headline says "US Trade Deficit Narrows" Story says: US can't afford to buy much from China anymore. Nor from Japan or Germany or Honduras. And the weak dollar failed to do its trick too, as exports fell for the first time in over a year.

As Ever: Civilians caught up in fighting between security forces and Shi’ite militiamen in a Baghdad slum are running out of food, water and medicine and relief agencies are unable to bring in supplies. Along with Truth, the innocent suffer most from war.

Bears In The Woods: The FBI is investigating whether Condoleezza Rice, then Bush's national security advisor, timed some trips abroad to help her boss get re-elected. Trouble in River City, Gambling in Casablanca!

Goose/Gander: Follow along: Mortgage lender ResCap (a subsidiary of GMAC which is only 49% owned by GM) can't make its loan payments. GMAC hasa bought back some ResCap bonds at 50 cents on the dollar. Others are being offered 65 cents on the dollar for their bonds, or offered a chance to trade old bonds for new ones at 80 cents on the dollar. If ResCap is your lender, try this with your mortgage payment. Let us know how it turns out.

Energy II: It's not all oil, all the time. India reports that a third of its coal-fired power stations have less than a seven days supply of coal on hand.

Swap Meet: Target is selling $3.9 billion of its credit card reciveables to JPMorgan for $3.6 billion. Do you think JPMorgan will quickly lodge this bad paper with the Fed's TAF for good Treasuries? Do you think Target said thank you?

Plantation: China is adding farmland to the resources it is buying from abroad, especially land in Africa and South America, as it tries to assure food security for the future. Great, now it won't just be Cargill burning down the Amazon to grow soybeans.

Matter Of Faith: In 1948 it was forbidden to tell the truth about what Israel was doing to the Palestinians. Still is.

Aeschylus: Nearly all government statistics on the economy seem skewed, if not outright deceptive. CPI, GDP, Employment... They are all 'adjusted.' Yes, truth is the first casualty of war. Question is, who's the enemy here? [Thanks Yeves]

Usury: The recent increase in credit card debt has driven receivables to almost a trillion dollars. With late fees, fines, and 18% to 30% and higher interest rates, would you buy an asset-backed security if the asset doing the backing depended on Harold down at the Grab & Run actually making good on this debt? Well, it does.

Quoted: "Given that bank presidents have been consistently wrong about everything they've said about their losses until now, why on earth would anyone believe them?" Satyajit Das, who is pretty sure the credit crisis is not over, no matter how many bankers say so.

Porn O'Graph: Take a look at how sales of existing homes are doing.

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