Saturday, August 14, 2010

SAR #10226

Pleasing everyone is both impossible and boring.

Fuzzy Math:  The FDIC's 'insurance' fund was broke going into the start of the year. It raised $15.33 billion via 2010's prepaid assessments.  So far the 109 110 bank failures have eaten up $18.93 billion, leaving a $3.6 billion hole. And we're just over halfway through the year.

Smart Meters:  Some 65.5 million urban electricity meters on new buildings in Chinese cities have registered zero consumption in over six months. Suggests there are enough empty apartments in China to house 200 million people.  Bubble?  Fraud?  Put that curtain back right now!

What's Wrong?  In Texas a 20 year-old college student is facing life in prison for possession of half an ounce of marijuana.  Seems mild, compared to being stoned to death.

If, Then: NPR is reporting that illegal immigrants account for 1 in 12 US births.  The math just seems unlikely, even if a greater proportion of illegals are of childbearing age and come from cultures where having multiple children is more highly prized than in the US.

It's Come to This:  H.R.6010, entitled  “A Bill To prohibit the Extrajudicial Killing of United States Citizens, and for other purposes.” Seems a reasonable response to the Executive Branch's penchant for assassinating US citizens.  Leaves open the question about the random murder of non-citizens and the routine kidnapping and torture of  foreigners.

Superbug Is On the Way:  Researchers know that sooner or later a world-wide pandemic will come along, killing millions. H1N1 didn't do the job, but maybe NDM-1 will.  It's a bacteria resistant to even the last resort carbapenem anti-biotics.  And to add to its chances of being 'the one', it appears to be able to jump across different species of bacteria.

Eat Your More Spinach:  Austerity measures in Greece, Ireland and Spain have effectively lowered wages, sold off public assets, raised the retirement ages and gutted the social contract.  But the suffering has not worked as advertized and these economies are tanking.  Only thing to do is to lower wages, sell off some more public assets, ban retirement entirely and start confiscating gold fillings.  Some doctor, some cure.

On Tap:  About half the bottled water sold in the US is municipal tap water that has been filtered to some degree.  But not to the degree that would justify what you pay for it.

Quickening:   The pace of US foreclosures is accelerating, with over 325,000 foreclosure filings in July.  Lenders are repossessing houses quicker, which will lead to more empty houses on the market, driving down house prices and forcing more mortgages underwater.  Round and round she goes...

Fine Print:  MBIA wrote insurance on Vallejo, CA's municipal bonds. Vallejo went belly up and sought bankruptcy protection.  The bondholders turned to MBIA, who carefully explained that they were not responsible for paying the bondholders, the city of Vallejo was and could do so by increasing its vehicle registration fees.  After all, bond insurance was just to make investors feel good, not to actually insure the bonds.

The Owe in Owenership:  The Feds are beginning to wonder if having the citizenry owe more to the banks for a McMansion than they and their children will ever earn is actually a Good Idea.

Dollars/Doughnuts:  One of those 'everybody knows' is making the rounds – to the effect that US companies have record amounts of cash on hand.  Well, yes and no.  Yes they have a lot of cash on hand – on the positive side of the ledger.  But they have nearly as much debt 'on hand' on the negative side of the ledger, having borrowed as much as they can without any good use for it.

Once Upon A Time:  In a few years – no more than a couple of decades – the history of antibiotics will begin with those words, followed by incredible stories of infections defeated, lives saved.  It will tell how the miracle cure became so commonplace that it was used to keep chickens alive in crowded pens and let cows survive in unspeakable filth.  As the story draws to a close there will be pictures of school children 'washing' their hands 4-5-6 times a day with antibiotic soaps.  And the last few chapters will tell how antibiotics grew weaker and weaker until they were overcome by super-bacteria that reignited plagues around the world.


Dink said...

" After all, bond insurance was just to make investors feel good, not to actually insure the bonds."


EconomicDisconnect said...

The antibiotic story is scary, but true indeed.