Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SAR #8317

It all worked fine until it didn't.

Short Circuited: Circuit City isn't failing fast enough to prevent Best Buy from stumbling to an expected same-store sales decline nearing 15%. The company cites "seismic changes" in customer behavior: not buying stuff.

Smell Test: Reuters is reporting that unnamed diplomats are claiming that unidentified UN investigators are said to have found traces of uranium near a shed the Israelis bombed in Syria last spring. Which proves - Bush hopes - the UN must invade Syria before the sun sets. Or at least before Cheney has to give up his bunker.

Times Change: In September, asking for the $700 billion, Paulson promised transparency. What has become transparent is his mendacity. It's our money and we should know where it went and what we got for it.

Junk Yard Dog: Fitch Ratings has cut Romania's rating to junk status and put Mexico, Russia, South Africa and South Korea on notice, while Malaysia and Chile were slapped down a notch. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are also-rans. Somehow Pakistan was overlooked.

Slippery Slope: Google says it can track flu outbreaks by tracking those who enter flu related search terms. Drudge says Google passes this on to the CDC. Makes you wonder what else they track and pass on to the government.

Second Seconds: AIG's CEO says the new, much sweetened deal is "not fixed in concrete" and that AIG will be back to steal some more seek a better deal soon.

Profile: President-elect Barack Obama is a nice guy. That's one strike against him. He seems intelligent, thoughtful, well intentioned... Does he have any of the actual qualities required to run the American Empire?

Just Asking: What happens when the "full faith and credit" of the United States can be put in a thimble? Barron's asked. And answered. Note that the question was 'when'.

Danger, Will Robinson: "If climate disasters are to be averted, atmospheric CO2 must be reduced below the levels that already exist." The goal is less than 350 ppm. Today we're at 385 ppm and increasing by 2 ppm per year. "The only realistic way to sharply curtail CO2 emissions is phase out coal use."

New Chapter, Bankruptcy Code: Firms whose business model proves to be worthless and those who feel left out, can now file with the Fed to become Banks in lieu of going broke. American Express was just awarded bank status, and Circuit City's application is pending.

Less Is Less: Does the TP go on the dispenser a tad easier? It should, they're making the rolls just a bit smaller. Same price. As input prices rise, producers have to raise their prices, which offers some great opportunities to deceive. Check your cupboards. If you can't trust the packaging, should you trust the packager?

How Deep? From 2002 to 2006, Fannie Mae made $35 billion. In the last two years it lost $35 billion. So the biggest player in the mortgage market has not made a penny since 2000. And now it (and Freddie, together) has to take $40 billion a month in new 'underperforming mortgage bonds'. How deep will the hole be when the walls collapse?

Wishing on a Star: Starbucks, the ultimate unnecessary Yuppie pretense, saw its 4Q08 net income fall 96% from a year earlier. What's that say about the Yuppies? Brother can you spare a dime?

Porn O'Graph: Ups & Downs of the Money Supply.


Anonymous said...

Credit default swaps on the US?! Well, I guess it's obvious but totally new to me. Any more info on that intriguing situation?

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

anony - Just makes sense. The US is running routine deficits over #350 billion, plus a couple of hundred billion a year for wars and now some 2.5 trillion and counting on bail-outs - there is no way this will ever be paid back. I'd grab all the insurance I could. Either default or depreciation. ckm

Anonymous said...

Swaps on the empire. I'll stand
on line for that market.

TARP = improvisational theatre