Saturday, April 17, 2010

SAR #10107/Weekender

Madness is contagious.

Skunks Have Stripes:  Goldman is being charged with fraud. The market dropped a hundred points, pretending this was news.

Gift Horse's Mouth:  JPMorgan 'earned' $3.3 billion in the last quarter, some of it coming from Uncle Sam paying them to borrow money.  Right. We paid JPM 0.05% to use $271.9 billion of our money – mostly by lending it back to us.  Nice work if you can get it.  We're standing at the other end of the horse.

Partly Cloudy:  Mitch McConnell pretends to believe we  “must put an end to taxpayer funded bailouts for Wall Street banks.”  Time for an up-or-down vote, put up or shut up, Senator.

Diagnosis:  The health care reform law insists that at least 80% of every premium dollar go to medical costs.  So the insurance industry got right to work, reclassifying administrative costs as medical costs.  WellPoint, for example, "has already 'reclassified' more than half a billion dollars of administrative expenses as medical expenses."  A full recovery is expected.

Party Game:  Define “Bank”.

Beef, It's What's For Dinner:  Scientists examining bones left behind at the Donner party's winter campsite discovered no evidence of human remains among the bones of cattle horses, deer and dogs.  Another one bites the dust.

Lemonade, 2¢ A Glass:  BofA claims a $3.2 billion quarterly profit, mainly because it set aside $3.6 billion less for potential losses this quarter than last, even as the bank's net charge-offs grew by $2.4 billion to $10.8 billion for the quarter.  Bonuses all 'round!

Asked and Answered:  Is the consumer back?  Yes, but god knows how he got here, what she's using for money, and why nobody is paying sales taxes.

Leftovers:  Saudi Arabia’ growth in demand for petroleum products is the world’s second largest, accounting for 11.7% of the world's increased demand this year.  We get to bid on their leftovers.

Dismal Science:  In order to pretend that economics was a science, economists started using lots of numbers.  Eventually colleges got embarrassed and decided to teach some real math to economics students. But the curriculum was already overloaded, so something had to go. Economic history got jettisoned, which explains most of what has happened recently.

Seconded:  Present-day America and the People's Republic of China are both run by a small financial and political elite in largely inherited positions.  Who's your daddy?

Knee Jerk:  Scientists in New Zealand have been given permission to put human genes into goats, sheep and cows for the next 20 years, to see if the animals will produce human proteins in their milk.  The object is to make pharmaceuticals.  I've read Oryx and Crake, and I'm worried.

Why?  The Library of Congress is going to digitally archive your “tweets” for posterity, between the speeches of Abraham Lincoln and the novels of Herman Melville.

Something Else:  Phosphorus is critical in our food supply, both as a fertilizer and as a mineral in our diets.  For plants it is as necessary as water. It is mined.  And it is running out.  Projections range from 2034 to the 2070's, but all involved agree, when it's gone we are going to be in big trouble.  Go ahead, have another kid.

Porn O'Graph: Democratic Capitalism.


kwark said...

RE: Seconded: So George II wasn't "elected" the first time because of his speaking skills or breadth of experience? But seriously, the debate in our household is this: is the current sorry state of our so-called democracy fundamentally different than it was at its founding? Seems like the biggest change is the ascendancy of the corporatocracy.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

kwark - Adjusted for the size and reach, I don't think the corporatocracy has ascended at all, the rich - then and now - arranged things for their benefit while dressing their primacy in platitudes. 'Twas the rich shipowners and landed gentry then. They don't so much own ships anymore.


Anonymous said...

Knee Jerk:....

It is worse than you think.

Bayer, with its NAZI connections, recently lost a GMO lawsuit and has admitted that
"GMO contamination is out of control"

GMO is the tip of the Iceberg. Biotech and nanotech have the capability of destroying the Biosphere. If you go to the Long Now Foundation,

there are a number of debates/talks regarding BioNano and the attitudes of Techites sound very similar to those of Defenders of Financial Non-Regulation. Look where that got us!!!!!! Laboratories to work with this dangerous and relatively non-regulated field are proliferating like hedge funds. As BioNano becomes cheaper and cheaper to work with, it becomes more and more available to cranks, nuts, sociopaths and incompetent and greedy "scientists". Many now have the capacity to work with this stuff relatively cheaply in the comfort of their own homes.

Meanwhile, MSM and Gongress snooze unable even to advocate or provide an honest, trustworthy financial system. More than the lousy dollar is toast! For those truly thinking about the Future, "Science does not solve all" , it may actually destroy all.

Anonymous said...

RE: Knee Jerk

It kinda makes me twitch a little too.


kwark said...


True, but my point is that back at the inception of this country, the landed gentry were real people, not judicially created pseudo-people. I'm with Kunstler on corporations - they're sociopathic constructs that wreak havoc with the portion of the economy that supports real people.