Thursday, April 22, 2010

SAR #10112

Just because you can't explain it doesn't mean it's not real.

Tourre's Syndrome:  There are seven more Goldman deals similar to Abacus for which AIG wrote credit default swaps, according to Neil Barofsky, TARP special inspector general, who went on to single out Blackrock for scrutiny.  Many others think there is a lot more fraud to be disclosed.

The Empire Stirkes Back:  The IMF is trying to assume the mantle as the world's financial regulator, with it's first act being to levy taxes on banks' balance sheets and bonuses.  Did I miss the election?

Creative Speaking Workshop:  Some say that Mitch McConnell and the No! Band cannot possibly block financial reform in the face of the public's overwhelming desire to hobble the beast.  But that ignores the right's ability to invent its own reality and to sell that invention to the public.  They will claim that blocking reform is the best thing to do because Wall Street is in favor of reform.  Don't try being rational, rationality is rationed.

Quoted:  “I think it's more likely we don't do well from here,” Professor Robert Shiller on the housing market.

Which Devil?  Bishop Paproacki, who blamed the devil for sexual abuse lawsuits (that's fine as long as the church gets blamed for the abuse) has been named Bishop of the Springfield, Illinois diocese.  Paproacki feels “The settlement or award of civil damages is punishing the wrong people, namely the average parishioner or donor whose financial contributions support the church.”   Huh?

Mirror Image:  For centuries European Empires roamed the world, snatching up whatever resources they wanted.  The the American Empire came along and bullied the world into selling it the resources it wanted. Now China is buying up needed resources – oil and land mostly. Someone should stop them!

Fine Distinction:  A fine essay on trust, the kind you can buy and the kind that's priceless.

Stirred, Not Shaken:  We were told, based on climate models based in turn on then current research, that while the Arctic ice would melt, and Greenland too, slowly, Antarctica was solid.  And a good thing too, for if the Antarctic ice were to melt, the seas would rise 200 or more feet.  Study of recently obtained ice cores has shown that even the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet has melted before.  At least three times, one of them quite abruptly.

Observation:  Enron came up with a foolproof business model – blatantly steal billions, knowing that when caught the company will pay a few million in fines and the executives get to keep their compensation.  Goldman Sachs watched and learned.

The Endless Summer:  Declining tax revenues are not only shortening the school year, school districts around the country estimate that some 300,000 teachers will find their jobs eliminated at the end of the current term.  Enjoy your vacation.

Connections:  Networks that are robust on their own become prone to catastrophic failure when interconnected with other networks.  Some are obvious – electrical systems, highways, water supplies, computer networks, financial systems.  And the volcanic disruption of air transport has pointed out the dependence of foods, medicines, businesses and the global village on the interconnected air transport networks.  The biggie: The globally interconnected communications systems.

School Daze: “ this country you either sit down, shut up and do what you’re told, or you get diagnosed and drugged.”


Anonymous said...

RE: Stirred, Not Shaken

Who was driving the cars and working the steel mill and putting the coal into the power plants.

Someone has to say it. Right?


TulsaTime said...

I remember reading something in the 70's about the core problem of representative government. It seems that as soon as the represented figure out they can 'vote' their level of benefits and taxation, then those trends take off in opposite directions.

In the long run, we are no better or smarter than bacteria. They will expand and grow until the petri dish is poisioned with waste and they all die. We have a bigger dish, but the result is going to be the same.

Anonymous said...

Tourre's Syndrome:...

Thus a new literary form is created, Hei(st) Ku:

A lyric verse form having three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of Financial Terrorism.

Sieur Fabrice Tourre,
Armed with MBA,
The man makes Gold hay.

Mon finance engineer
Fabric(at)es mon strosities
Hooray mal Tourre!

On to Olivier and JP Morgan!

Anonymous said...

I have never seen the math that shows a 200ft rise in sea level. I know the Antarctic ice volume is huge, but when you consider the surface area of the sphere of the earth (already two-thirds ocean surface) I just cannot believe it possible to rise 200 feet.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Anony 2.44

To repeat: Just because you can't explain it doesn't mean it's not real.

Do a serach at RealClimate, read Archer's The Long Thaw, Flanneryy's The Weather Makers, Hansen's Stoms of My Grandchildren, or just google "sea level + Antarctic ice".

kwark said...

RE: Creative Speaking Workshop: In regards to financial reform, I have a suspicion that we've already seen the "model" congress will follow; it was called "health care reform". It goes like this: 1) both sides of the isle spend lots of TV time denouncing the the other side for picking on the wrong bad guys/issues. 2) hold endless non-productive hearings where the "industry" reps gets to field puff-ball questions. 3) endlessly debate the issues the "industry" wants debated while ignoring the actual, fundamental issues. 4) Offer legislation that is so Machiavellian in it's complexity that few understand that it is actually a giant hand-out to the "industry". Viola

Freethinker said...

Well said, kwark.

Even if it were true that the hoi polloi wish to hobble the beast, it is irrelevant. Both the party of "No" and the looter sellouts on the other side have demonstrated only a commitment to crony capitalism. And our judiciary system offers more of the same.

Data on household savings, usage of credit, consumption patterns, and mortgage delinquencies indicate that many Americans don't seem far more interested in being on the winning side of "The Sting." Unfortunately, the losing side includes our descendants and the current commonweal.