Monday, May 30, 2011

SAR #11150

'Consistent with' is not the same as 'caused by'.

600 Pound Gorilla: This weekend the MSM and the blogsphere were full of dueling experts predicting this or that resolution of the Greek drama. Most try to squeeze it into a comedy simply because the tragic outcome is unpalatable. Either the IMF will or will not... Either the European Union does or it does not... Either the Greeks will or will not... Either Germany will or will not... Either the bankers take a 50% haircut, or they don't... Phooey. The Greeks cannot repay their debts, thus they will not. Either Germany comes to the rescue, holding its nose, or it does not. Either the Greek citizenry revolt, or the German taxpayers do. Or both.

Match Point: Afghan President Karzai has told the US it has had its “last warning” and must stop killing civilians, especially “murdering children”. It is unclear how such an unprecedented step would set back General Petraeus' counterinsurgency operations.

Inscrutable: TEPCO officials admit that the remains of the Fukushima nuclear power plants are not ready for the high winds and heavy rains of Typhoon Songda. They are already very sorry for the additional devastation.

Post-Grad Internship: The Saudi troops that crushed pro-democracy demonstrators in Bahrain had been trained by the British. It is unclear if the rape of female Bahraini doctors guilty of treating injured protesters was part of the training.

15 Minutes: After being ignored for 25 years, Gil Scott-Heron is suddenly the great American protest poet (move over Bob Dylan). “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is cynical enough to serve as an appropriate commemoration of his life and art.

Funny Money: Through Fannie and Freddie and FHA, the US government makes or insures 95% of all home loans. If they did not, 30-year mortgages would not exist – in today's economy what bank would take the chance that a borrower would have a job next month, much next year and the years after? Maybe there might be 10 or 15 year loans, with 25% down. Maybe. So all this talk about doing away with Fannie and Freddie is just that, talk. Almost makes you question the American myth of home ownership. Almost.

Let's Do the Math: Your family has two cars that get 20 mpg and you drive each 12,000 miles a year. Last year you spent about $265 a month on gasoline. This year it's $369 a month. That's $1,200 more a year you are not going to spend on foolishness like food, clothing and healthcare.

Swept Away: Rainfall in the Yangtze river basin is 60% below average so far this year. If the basin does not receive significant rainfall by June 10th, the massive Three Gorges Dam will lose its ability to relieve the effects of the debilitating drought on 34 million Chinese. Built primarily to produce hydroelectric power, that function is already being reduced to provide water downstream.
Investment Principle: Investors in China should not worry about such things as civil war, epidemics, panics, depressions, all of that. But drought, now that's serious.

Choir, Preaching To: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities review of the Ryan budget showed that privatizing Medicare would push a larger share of health care costs directly onto patients, and that those costs would be dramatically higher because the individual would not have the bargaining power that Medicare has.

Spring, Sprung: Yemen is circling the drain, with tribal clashes, kidnapping, people in the streets and what is purportedly 200 Al-Qaeda gunmen taking over the town of Zinjibar. Some suggest the gunmen were government-sponsored thugs hired to give the democracy movement a bad name, but surely the 30-year dictatorial reign of our ally President Abullah Saleh would not be so devious.

Porn O'Graph: Ah, there's the rub.

1 comment:

OSR said...

Funny $$$: Almost? Where I'm out rent parity has been achieved and in some dumb cases exceeded. If this trend continues, I won't be living in my first home, I'll be renting it out.