Monday, August 2, 2010

SAR #10214

“The ‘mouths of babes’ are not restricted to childrenMichael Yon.

Negative Nattering:  About $2.5 trillion of US homes are underwater – 20% of all households.  In that about half of US houses have no mortgage, that means about 40% of all mortgages are in negative territory.  The aggregate shortfall is $771 billion, with over 4 million folks owing 50% more on their houses than they are worth.  An explanation why these folks are still paying on their millstones would be appreciated.

Good News First:  The price of crude oil is expected to fall, because the economy is expected to fall even more.  Happy motoring.

Early and Often:   Various economists – 57 of 'em – predict the unemployment rate for July will be reported (later this week) as 9.6%, up slightly from June, mostly due to the rapid decrease in Census employment.  Caution – this is just the first bunch of guesses leading up to the actual, massaged data and these are economists talking.

Warm & Fuzzy:   BP, Exxon, and others have formed a joint venture to drill for oil and natural gas in the Beaufort Sea.   The Beaufort Sea?   Think Prudhoe Bay and the North Slippery Slope.

Turning Point:   “Greenspan Says Decline in U.S. Home Prices Might Bring Return of Recession”  Given his track record, now's the time to buy.

Script Revision:   Iraq says 535 people were killed and 1,043 wounded in July.  The US Army says only 222 were killed and less than 800 wounded. Who do you think has a better chance of counting the civilian dead and wounded?  Why?

First A, Then B:   Before we can fall back into a “double dip” recession, don't we have to get out of the first one?

Location, Location, Location: Unilever is putting GPS tags in its detergents in order to better track who their customers are, and where.  If it's worthwhile for a soap company to track their customers, how much effort will (and do) governments go through to monitor their citizens?

On Target:  Reports say that US forces in Afghanistan have begun to focus on killing insurgent leaders.  Petraeus is revising that chapter of his 'hearts and minds' manual.

Gather 'Round:  Enough countries have now signed the UN ban on cluster bombs to make it international law.  The US, the largest maker and seller (and user) of arms world-wide has refused to sign the ban, claiming it prefers to send AID missions to provide crutches for the limbless kids... a ban would hurt it's ability to defend various dictators the country.

Headline Only:  “Trucking industry confirms the economy is slowing down.” Who asked them to butt in?

Math Problem:  British scientists report that the surface of Greenland's ice sheet at their base camp lowered six meters in a month – as in melted away. How much is that in feet?

Good Question:  Why is that that even though we know there is no valid reason to continue our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can't come up with a good reason for ending them?  Who benefits, who profits?


Eric Hacker said...

Re: Location^3

Fortunately today it is still too expensive to embed GPS in all consumer goods. They are only doing fifty boxes as part of a prize giveaway. By the time Moore's law gets the cost of individual consumer item tracking down to cheap enough, I imagine that many of us readers will have found that we are no longer wanted by and participating in the corporate consumer economy.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Eric - Spoilsport. Yes, it's only 50 boxes. Yes, it's just a promotional gimmick. Yes, it's in Brazil, not the good old US of A. But the rather larger point is, they're doing it.

Next task, define "they".


Demetrius said...

I cannot resist using the Unilever one with a hat tip and referring to the fact they also market certain personal products. We have our own arguments with Unilever. Great work!

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Demetrius - Oh, wow. Now that's a scary thought...


aitrader said...

“When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.”

Ayn Rand

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

airtrader - Just because Ayn Rand said it doesn't automatically make it wrong...


Anonymous said...


Didn't see petty in my read of your makeup ck. Guess that makes you and Baz van Berkel (aka Ilargi) true soulmates.

Shame. Over and out.

OSR said...

"how much effort will (and do) governments go through to monitor their citizens?"

Not much,--the work is already done. Anybody with a cell phone is most definitely "on the grid."

OkieLawyer said...

Re: Good Question

Isn't Afghanistan where $1 trillion in rare earth elements (REE) located that we need for our technology?

You know, privatized profits and socialized losses, as usual.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Two things (at least) OkiLawyer - 1) the rare earths were known about long before anyone dreamed of an oil pipeline across Afghanistan and 2)where are the roads etc, the infrastructure and the peaceful workers to make trying to get those particular rare earths out of the ground at a profit a reasonable undertaking? The roads etc, etc...

Nope, that may be a passable excuse, but it is not a valid reason for us to be there.