Saturday, November 22, 2008

SAR #8327 / Weekender

"I believe the banking system has been stabilized. No one is asking themselves anymore, is there some major institution that might fail, and that we would not be able to do anything about it. "

Henry 'Pinocchio' Paulson, November 17, 2008

Believe It or Don't: The US seeks $300 billion from sheiks as "financial aid" to help prevent its economy from sliding into a painful recession.

Quiz: There is a "fact" wandering around that needs to be euthanized: The average GM worker is not paid "more than $70 an hour." Not even close. It's $28 bucks an hour plus health and such, and the union is taking over the health plan in 2009

Grains and Losses: Farmers in Texas are putting next year's winter wheat in, spending about $6 a bushel for fertilizer, fuel, and seed, to produce a crop that will get them about $5 a bushel. A bigger truck won't help.

Check's in the Mail: Argentina is going to seize some $30 billion in pension funds and continue to collect the $5 billion in annual contributions from workers. The government said it is doing this to protect Argentina's savers. We're from the government and we're here to help.

Pick A Number: Goldman Sachs sees unemployment at 6.8% for November, going to 9% by 4Q09, with GDP in 4Q08 declining at a 5% annual rate. These are the most realistic pessimistic to come out of Wall Street.

Dominoes in a Dark Room: Before we tip GM into bankruptcy, maybe we should turn on the lights and see how many dominoes it's going to take with it.

You Heard It There First: On CNBC Friday morning, guest Hugh Hendry of Eclectia Asset Management said that all financial institutions in the country will be owned by the US government within a year, with shareholders getting nothing because the taxpayers will be "paying this for a long, long time."

Grid, Locked: In 2003, after North America suffered an extraordinary power blackout, the nation's power companies guaranteed bigger, longer blackouts unless more supplies were brought on line and massive improvements to the grid were not funded. Credit crunch... blah, blah, blah. You know the rest. Batteries, put batteries on the list, Martha.

Carbon is Forever: It's not just diamonds. Carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is durable. Some of it may last only a century or so, but 25% will last "essentially forever." Second hand smoke.

Revisionism in Action: In a speech on November 20th, Mr. Paulson claimed that "By pro-actively addressing the problems we saw coming..." He topped himself with: "I believe we have taken the necessary steps to prevent a financial collapse."

Appropriate Panic: Don't worry about the stock market; you've already lost your shirt. Worry about the credit markets - the one that Bernanke and Paulson have been fixing. Many corporate bonds are now paying over 20% - even for AAA companies. Deflation is the problem, it is ugly, and it is soon to be a four-alarmer.

Porn O'Graph: Where the Jobs went, and when.

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