“This site is dedicated to preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

Destroying the Middle Class to save the banks.




(Reuters) - Americans suffered a record decline in wealth between 2007 and 2010 as home values tumbled, according to a Federal Reserve report on Monday that underscored the severity of the recent recession.

The median family's net worth dropped 38.8 percent during the three-year period, the Fed said in its latest report on changes in U.S. Family Finances, derived from a survey of consumer finances. Fed economists told reporters that this was the biggest drop in net worth since the survey started in 1989.

The median net worth, which is the value of assets minus debt, plunged to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007. Net worth in 2010 was at levels last seen in 1992.

"Although declines in the values of financial assets or business were important factors for some families, the decreases in median net worth appear to have been driven most strongly by a broad collapse in house prices," the Fed said.

The survey's findings shine a harsh light on the devastation inflicted on the economy by the 2007-09 recession and could help to explain the frustratingly slow pace of the recovery.

The housing market's collapse was at the core of the recession, during which the economy contracted nearly 5.1 percent between the third quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, with the unemployment rate rising 4.5 percentage points to 9.5 percent.

"Housing was of greater importance than financial assets for the wealth position of most families," the Fed said.

The survey found that the decline in median net worth was large for families in groups where housing was a larger share of assets, such as families headed by someone 35 to 44 years old and families in the West region.

"A substantial part of the declines observed in net worth over the 2007-10 period can be associated with decreases in the level of unrealized capital gains on families' assets," the Fed said.

The share of total assets of all families attributable to unrealized capital gains from real estate, businesses, stocks, or mutual funds fell 11.6 percentage points to 24.5 percent in 2010, it said.

While the overall level of debt owed by families was unchanged, debt as a percentage of assets rose to 16.4 percent in 2010 from 14.8 percent in 2007 because the value of the underlying assets, especially housing, decreased faster.

The share of families carrying a credit card balance fell 6.7 percentage points to 39.4 percent in 2010. The median balance fell 16.1 percent to $2,600 in 2010 from $3,100 in 2007.

The proportion of families with debt payments greater than 40 percent of their income was nearly unchanged between 2007 and 2010.


(This story has been refiled to correct median net worth to $77,300 in 2010, not $77.3 trillion, and corrects to $126,000 in 2007, not $126 trillion in 3rd paragraph.)

169 comments:

  1. According to Rufus Research and Associates it was all George W. Bush's fault.

    Rufus IIMon Jun 11, 09:19:00 PM EDT

    It's all "Real Estate," Bob. And you know who crashed the real estate market.

    And, how was that "net worth" looking in 2009 after W, and boys drove the stock market down to 6600?

    Since then, the stock market has come all the way back, and real estate has leveled off.


    But it's all right now, in fact it's a gas, cause the market's all back, and estates are all cash.

    Never believe a thing you read from the Fed, or The Bernanke.

    Trust only The One, and The Rufus the Two, both who say the 'private sector is doing fine'.

    What else is there to say?

    Q.E.D.

    b

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    Replies
    1. I weep at the sight of Ruf packin' raw pork up Mt Parnassus for The One, who's now done.

      b

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    2. Po' ol' Ruf, packin' pork up there, summit of Parnassus, where only the gods dare to tread, and they have to fight for their positions, too.

      O packin' pork up Parnassus, and shine too, and Five Wives Vodka, ol' Ruf will try to have 'em thinking they are into more nectar and ambrosia immortal, whereas really he's there to try to cloud their judgement, and hence influence the elections here, because as the gods suppose we are disposed. But what Po' ol' Ruf don't know, Pallas Athena ain't easily deceived, nor like it much, when the attempt is made, and is fierce in her retribution.

      :(

      A shit kickin's acomin'.

      b

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  2. A guy walks into a bar with a monkey. The monkey grabbed some olives off the bar and ate them.
    Then he grabbed some sliced limes and ate them.
    He then jumped onto the pool table and grabbed one of the balls.
    To everyone's amazement, he stuck it in his mouth and somehow swallowed it whole.

    The bartender looked at the guy and said, "Did you see what your Monkey just did?"
    "No, what?"
    "He just ate the cue ball off my pool table...whole!"

    "Yeah, that doesn't surprise me," replied the guy, "he eats everything in sight, don't worry, I'll pay for the cue ball."
    The guy finished his drink, paid his bill, paid for the stuff the Monkey ate and left.

    Two weeks later the guy came back, and had his monkey with him. He ordered a drink and the monkey started running around the bar. The Monkey found a maraschino cherry on the bar. He grabbed it, stuck it up his butt, pulled it out, and then ate it.

    Then the monkey found a peanut, and again stuck it up his butt, pulled it out, and ate it. The bartender asked, "Did you see what your monkey just did?"
    "No, what?" replied the man.
    "Well, he stuck both a maraschino cherry and a peanut up his butt, pulled them out, and ate them!"

    "Yeah, that doesn't surprise me," replied the guy.
    "He will eat anything, but ever since he had to shit out that cue ball, he measures everything first."

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  3. In mid-January, sales managers in Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) (WFC)’s mortgage unit, the largest in the U.S., gathered at a hotel south of San Francisco dressed as cowboys, six shooters strapped to their hips.

    ...

    Wells Fargo’s first-quarter market share for all mortgages, including new homes and refinancings, equal to $130 billion, is the most on record and more than triple the closest competitor, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) (JPM), according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade journal. It’s up from 30.1 percent in the preceding three months and 13.3 percent in 2006.

    ...

    The rally was aimed at motivating salespeople to lend more for new-home purchases, national sales manager Greg Gwizdz said in a June 8 telephone interview. Wells Fargo doesn’t have a “stated market-share goal” and if its portion grows it’s “a result of customers choosing us,” he said.

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  4. The blessings of oil --

    “I would like to be able to know that my home, no matter what happens to my income or my life, is not going to be taken away from me because I can’t pay a tax,” said Susan Beehler, one in a group of North Dakotans who have pressed for an amendment to the state’s Constitution to end the property tax. They argue that the tax is unpredictable, inconsistent, counter to the concept of property ownership and needless in a state that, thanks in part to wildly successful oil drilling, finds itself in the rare circumstance of carrying budget reserves.

    "thanks in part to wildly successful oil drilling"

    Goddamn the wildcatters, goddamn 'big oil', them and their damn 'tax write-offs' and their damn 'subsidies'.

    North Dakota Considers Eliminating Property Taxes

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/us/north-dakota-voters-consider-ending-property-tax.html?_r=1&hp

    Drill, Baby, Drill


    b

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  5. Teaching the cops a little humility and the meaning of respect -

    Indiana First State to Allow Citizens to Shoot Law Enforcement Officers
    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Police officers in Indiana are upset over a new law allowing residents to use deadly force against public servants, including law enforcement officers, who unlawfully enter their homes. It was signed by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels in March.

    The first of its kind in the United States, the law was adopted after the state Supreme Court went too far in one of its rulings last year, according to supporters. The case in question involved a man who assaulted an officer during a domestic violence call. The court ruled that there was “no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.”

    The National Rifle Association lobbied for the new law, arguing that the court decision had legalized police to commit unjustified entries.

    Tim Downs, president of the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, which opposed the legislation, said the law could open the way for people who are under the influence or emotionally distressed to attack officers in their homes.

    “It’s just a recipe for disaster,” Downs told Bloomberg. “It just puts a bounty on our heads.”


    This is admittedly a close call. Good arguments on both sides.

    b

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  6. Here it comes:

    VENICE — Concerns grew on Monday that Italy could be the next victim of Europe’s financial infection, leading nervous investors to sell Italian stocks and bonds and damping euphoria over a weekend deal to bail out Spain’s banks.

    Italian officials privately expressed concern that the 100 billion euros, or $125 billion, that Europe pledged to Spanish banks might not stop the troubles from spreading.

    Italy’s main stock index was Europe’s worst performer on Monday, a day when United States stocks were also dragged down and investors flocked yet again to the safe harbor of American and German government bonds. Even the Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, a European technocrat who came to office after the euro crisis forced out Silvio Berlusconi last November, has begun to acknowledge the dangers posed to his country’s 1.56-trillion-euro economy ($1.95 trillion).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Europeans used to be good at some stuff. Leaving Europe is one. Put on a few passable wars, is another. Some noted explorers, good lit here and there. But it does seem they've got things all fucked up again.

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    2. Ripping off tourists is another talent.

      b

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  7. u homies just dont get it...

    da obama aint destroying da middle class for da banks...

    he's destroying the American dream and using the da banks to make it all seem that it's da banks.

    want to see whose really destroying who?

    look deeper...

    banks dont stand to win if da nation collapses.

    as for my "monkey" comments...

    that's all part of da plan...

    divide da groups.... set them agin oneanother....

    anyone have a sickle and hammer?

    ReplyDelete
  8. This was not in the plan:

    On Monday, Spanish bond yields rose to almost 6.5%, while ten-year Italian bond yields rose to 6.032%.

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  9. To Mr Rajoy, Spanish Premier, the Spanish aid is no more than "the opening of a line of credit for our financial system,” which because Spain has been such an exemplary to others in accepting austerity without complaint, has been offered more or less unconditionally. Mr Rajoy is in for a bit of a shock once he sees the fine print, but for him, the important thing is getting it across to his electorate that Spain is not being bailed out. Honor has to be seen to be maintained.

    Unfortunately, the reality is altogether different. This is not a direct line of credit to the Spanish banking system, but a sovereign loan which expands the national debt by getting on for 20%. The fact that all of it is going to be used to prop up the banking sector is no more than cosmetic for an underlying truth — that it is Spanish taxpayers who are left with the liability. Spain is being forced to borrow from Europe to bailout its banks because markets won't provide the money directly to Spain. The bailout money takes on the position of preferred creditor, it subordinates other bondholders, thereby making it even harder to raise money from the capital markets.

    Why is Italy slipping?

    Italy, becomes liable for some 17.9% of the cross guarantees, raising the absurd spectacle of Italy borrowing at 5% to lend to the Spanish banking system at 3%. Spain also has money involved in the Irish, Portuguese, and Greek bailouts. How do you spell “circle jerk?"

    Capital fled the Spanish banks at the rate of 66 billion last month, and so far this month already 36 billion has gone in just 12 days, averaging 3 billion a day. At this rate 100 billion will take just 33 days to flee. How much next time?

    It is over.

    Let the banks fail, let the circling sharks grab the remains of the false "assets" that represent the collateral for bad loans (or nationalize those assets in recognition of depositors' guarantees) and make the markets learn that the game has ended.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Astute post! I think, in the end, that is what need happen but the powers that be have been resisting it tooth and nail. Similarly they should have done something similar in the US '08 crisis but they've kicked the can down the road for now. I'm not convinced that the US has avoided making that decision forever though.

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    2. .

      While I agree with Jenny, I tend to disagree with Ash about 'they should have done something similar in the US '08'. They had little choice but to do what they did in '08. After Lehman, things moved too fast. Credit disappeared and with that the whole system was ready to go under. Major companies were in danger of going into default because they no longer had access to the short term loans they were using to pay payrolls, accounts payable, etc. In addition, the FED didn't have the authorizing legislation they do now.

      Neither, credit nor authorizing legislation is a problem now. Now, credit is not the issue here, demand for that credit is. Businesses are not using the credit because there is not enough growth in demand for their products. Individuals are not taking advantage of the credit because, having been burn't, they have become conservative and would rather pay down debt than take on more credit.

      The EU is a different cat. Their problems result from many of the same issues that precipitated the US crisis; however, they are constrained by their system from addressing the problems in the manner the US did. Each move they make now appears to be just one more cut in their death by a thousand cuts.

      As far as the US, I think if it came to that and we were forced into a scenario like Jenny suggests for the EU, we would be able to weather it much easier than if it had happened in '08. It wouldn't be pretty. There would be a lot more wealth lost, primarily on an institutional rather than idividual basis, but we would get through.

      Of course, I don't get paid to be an economist; and, I wouldn't want the job these days. I still believe it will take years to get us out of this mess. We have shot our wad with monetary policy. Fiscal policy because of political taint has been a disaster. And I wouldn't bet my retirement on the likes of Laffer or krugman.

      .

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    3. .

      It will take time and market forces to get us out of this. The government might help some in ameliorating the pain but it won't provide the solution.

      The fact that either party claims they have to ability to solve the current economic problems is silly.

      .

      Delete
  10. This from Patrick Buchanan: ...there were twice as many Americans working in manufacturing as in government in 1960, today the reverse is true. We have 22 million workers in government and 11 million in manufacturing. Amazing!

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    1. Pat forgot to count the robots we got working now.

      Taking all the jobs, the metallic bastards.

      b

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    2. ... and they need all those government workers to supervise.

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    3. Robot gets a fever, who ya gonna call? Me.

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  11. Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul, has now officially endorsed Obama, joining Rufus II, The American Communist Party, The New Black Panther Party, the Reverend Wright, the Reverend Sharpton, Bernadine and Bill Ayers, ex-patriot commentator/golfer/sailor/coupon clipper Ash and Marxine Waters.

    b

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  12. Focus remained on southern Europe as yields on Spanish and Italian 10-year government bonds were moving quickly higher, following dramatic moves upward the prior day. Those for Spain

    ES:10YR_ESP +2.21% rose 16 basis points to 6.68%,

    While those for Italy:

    IT:10YR_ITA +1.55% rose 12 basis points to 6.16%.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rufus prolly doesn't read BC, but here's something I saw there:

    I suppose that everyone has seen the Instapundit link to the hyper-deposit in western Russia. Back of the envelope calculations project 1,900,000,000,000 bbls recoverable in the deposit — if current fracking technical trends hold up.

    It’s not an elephant: it’s a herd of elephants.

    It also spells the death of the biogenic theory of oil deposits. The Russians theorize that crude oil is a consequence of non-biological geochemistry.

    Interesting, no?

    So much for Peak Oil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mentioned that in one of my unread/unlistened to posts. The Roosians sound to be all right, says I. No comment from Ruf.

      Got to expend some energy getting the stuff, but, hey, corn takes energy too.

      b

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  14. Some of the most costly oil comes from the tar sands of Canada, with its vast open-cast mines and energy-intensive production processes. According to investment bank Barclays Capital, new projects here need to earn as much as $90 a barrel just to break even. Saudi Arabia, the only country with meaningful spare production capacity, could have produced oil more cheaply a few years ago, but not now. It has increased public spending following the Arab Spring, and now needs $95 per barrel to balance its budget. These pressures, says Paul Horsnell, director of commodities research at Barclays, mean that oil prices are unlikely to fall below these levels unless the economy collapses. He forecasts $137 per barrel in 2015, and $185 in 2020.

    So if there is lots of oil down there but it is much more costly to produce, can we have as much as we want if we are prepared to pay for it? Well, that depends on what you judge to be enough and who you mean by “we”, says Steven Kopits, US managing director of energy consultants Douglas Westwood.

    The trouble is, high oil prices don’t just encourage oil companies to innovate, they also damage national economies – although some countries are more resilient than others. A penetrating analysis by Kopits found that historically the US goes into recession whenever it spends more than about 4.5 per cent of its GDP on oil. Today, that would equate to $90 a barrel. That level also holds for others in the OECD club of wealthy nations, says Kopits. But the evidence suggests that China is willing to pay more; it only cuts back on oil purchases when they account for more than 6 per cent of its GDP, equivalent to about $110 per barrel.

    The disparity, says Kopits, arises because Chinese society assigns more value to a barrel of oil. Gaining a barrel can transform the lives of Chinese people – allowing them to travel by car for the first time, for example. In the west, losing a barrel merely means trading in a gas-guzzler for a more fuel efficient model.

    LINK

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  15. Peakonomics: Kiss Your Boarding Pass Goodbye

    Peak oil used to be a debate in which geologists and economists threw bricks at each other but seldom talked. Like so many cross-disciplinary problems, each side believed only their own calling offered any useful insights. Geologists insisted that oil decline is immutable because the geology is in control; economists countered that a rising oil price changes everything and there could never be a shortage. But now, finally, a team of economists from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has incorporated peak oil analysis into an econometric model, and the results are not pretty.

    LINK

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  16. David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock, A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, Great. I guess that means gasoline will be going back to a dollar/gallon. Sweet. I can hardly wait.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In response to the russians and their abiotic oil, of course.

      Delete
  18. Why won't you accept my Michael Ruppert stuff?

    OMG - Deuce is Dick Cheney.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Destroying Lady Gaga -

    See Lady Gaga get clobbered by a pole below -

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/11/lady-gaga-justin-bieber-jennifer-lopez-more-concert-fails-video.html

    She's one tough Gaga. The Gaga's always were tough.

    b

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  20. Gagas.


    Chester Gaga for instance once was hit by 60 foot falling cedar tree never even noticed it.

    b

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  21. Speaking of claustrophic and creepy:

    Lanny Davis Unloads on Obama

    Davis didn’t mince words:

    “You have vicious people who are working for the president — not the president [himself] — who are saying that Corey Booker — one of the great supporters of President Obama’s policies — is ‘dead’ because he’s giving the president good advice, disagreeing with the Kool-Aid drinking people in the campaign who think the way to win the presidency is to trash the other guy rather than to defend your own guy’s record.”

    “[W]hy would they want to create enemies, or depict people as enemies, who are their friends?”



    The Blood Sport is getting out of hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's going to get worse.

      Losing 40% of your wealth does that to people.

      Delete
    2. They go way beyond "grouchy."

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    3. I read the title article before Deuce posted it and almost linked but then I thought "old news" or maybe forgotten news. I think the 40% is new, previously expressed as years or trillions of dollars. Lesson there in how to handle numbers for "fast and furious" public consumption.

      My anger level has stabilized. (My personal wiring can only handle so much for so long.) I was radioactive throughout most of 2009. The DJIA recovered to a reasonable level and I see slow growth, rather than RESET, for "some time."

      A fifth reason why I had to leave BC was the unresolvable debate over the "root cause" of the financial collapse: CRA (government) vs Wall St (bankers). I see that debate is still intact here as well. I believe I mentioned this before but Habu used to slam-bam his way in with facts and figures clearly demonstrating the role of Wall St but to no avail. I do not engage in that argument anymore. If Habu's numbers weren't enough, then ??

      Where was I? Oh yes. Today I am in a Zach Karabell frame of mind - looking for and fully expecting that we will put our heads together and Do Something. When I see signs that we are far from that, I start "showing a little snout" as Russell Crowe said in one of his movies (have to look it up.) Rollerball Derbies ain't gonna git er dun.

      Delete
    4. OMG, Max is Habu. They conspired and killed Allen.

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    5. I knowed there was somethin' I liked about her. :)


      I do miss "possumtater," though.

      Delete
  22. Who caused it? How they can absolve anyone is beyond me.

    I don't think we'll "get our heads together," but I think our wonderfully written Constitution will hold us together long enough to muddle through (but, this is going to be the "long, hard muddle" of all long, hard muddles - 'ceptin' the Great Depression, of course.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :)

      It was a blow-out party all right.

      My argument (and Habu's actually) was one of magnitude relating directly to out-of-control leverage. In the absence of bundling and the insurance on the little bundles of joy made quietly in the secondary markets, the housing bubble would have been a "normal" recession - maybe a decline of 20% or possibly 25%, certainly not 60%. The bankers clearly took it to the next level.

      And they will again. No matter what government policy direction we pursue.

      Same thing for EUrope right now. They need to find a way.

      Delete
    2. RE: getting our heads together

      According to Mat Bai (Here which I have linked before), Obama and his boyos were at the table but Boehner couldn't herd the Tea Party cats.

      Process, and the team who is committed to it, is one reason I am leaning towards Obama. Policy is the second reason. I'm not crazy about either as individuals, but it's really not a requirement for me.

      Delete
    3. I'm always astonished when people take politics "personal."

      Self-interest, now, I understand.

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    4. Self interest is another reason the health care debate is so interesting, and so polarizing.

      "The Commons," one might argue is another issue where the Republicans have positioned themselves on the wrong side, not only of history, but, again one might argue, on the wrong side of what is the right thing to do, although that is clearly a "socialist"-inspired concept.

      Regardless of the ideology, "The Commons" won't go away.

      Market-oriented solutions are dicey there (see Contingent Valuations.)

      Delete
    5. This is what amazes me. You'd think that this poll would have received more attention.

      NEW YORK (Reuters) - A large majority of Massachusetts residents are satisfied with the commonwealth's subsidized health plan, which has components similar to the Obama administration's federal plan, according to a poll released on Thursday.

      The poll by Market Decisions, a research and consulting group, found that 84 percent of residents are satisfied with the Massachusetts plan, which requires most adults to have health insurance. A similar requirement in President Barack Obama's health plan has been challenged by a group of states in the courts and the case is working its way through appeals.

      The poll of 696 people found that 31 percent of individuals had had a healthcare provider reject their insurance plan and 23 percent were told a doctor was not taking any new patients.
      The state health plan, launched under former Governor Mitt Romney, was given high marks for the range of services and the quality of care offered, according to the poll.

      The program, Commonwealth Care, is targeted at low-income individuals earning up to $32,676 a year; families of four can qualify with earnings of up to $66,168 a year.
      Premiums ranged from $10 to $151 a month, and only 17 percent of those surveyed said they had problems paying their medical bills.

      The survey also found that individuals enrolled in Commonwealth Care used the emergency room at about the same rate as all other residents.


      84 Percent?!?!? Aint't nothin' 84%!

      Delete
  23. I'm waiting for the student loan bubble to burst myself.

    b

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    Replies
    1. My wife went to visit a friend who is divorced and fired from her job and needing solace. This woman's ex is an interesting case of how to work the system. Took early retirement from Avista Utilities from some middle management position, and put in for employment at the Employment Agency. Smart move, there being no jobs, he is now collecting unemployment as well as his early retirement pension. Just bought himself a new car.

      b

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  24. Donald Trump is doing a ten minute weekly interview on Squawk Box, CNBC. Today he said that Jamie Dimon was set up by the many enemies he has made and that instead of treating this recent loss as a systemic failure of risk management he have treated it as a trade gone bad, moved on (with some quiet terminations.)

    He also said that the Saud's have lowered oil prices to help Obama get reelected and prices will rise post election.

    He's The Man.

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    Replies
    1. He da only man dat lost on casinos.

      b

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    2. He didn’t lose as badly as his creditors. I am on an Amtrak train and never took a train crossing Pennsylvania before. Very interesting. Thank you all for the subsidy on my ticket.

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    3. That's alright; we'd have been subsidizing had you driven, also. Or, if you'd flown. Transportation is subsidized. People might as well get over it. :)

      Delete
  25. Sometimes you just get lucky - not always deservedly so. See: Ford, who, through atrocious management, was forced to hock the whole company to borrow $23 Billion the year before the wheels came off.

    We are lucky in that our extravagant lifestyle has caused us to build up an amazing amount of "Low-Hanging Fruit" on which we can effect a lesser-grade survival for several years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The truth is we are not even close to hard times. When's the last time you saw a thin person thin from lack of food?

      b

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  26. The only contribution I have to the subject of this thread is to repeat what I have said and linked to before: The cost of EUrope breakup far exceeds the cost of whatever alternative they cobble together. I *believe* that is true but it's also a best guess on my part.

    It's the insurance issue that I raised awhile back - the $700 trillion "notional" exposure in CDS's that come due when markets (and indices) tank.

    Here is the Rudy Avizius article again that explains it quite well.

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  27. I read the other day that Philadelphia is the fattest city in the country.

    I would have guessed Huntington, West Virginia.

    b

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    Replies
    1. The private sector is doing just fine.

      b

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    2. Not a cottage cheesy fat dimpel’s difference between the two.

      Delete
  28. If nothing else you can always get a job as a suicide bomber -

    Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has reportedly begun posting Internet advertisements offering training for prospective suicide bombers to target US, Israeli, British and French targets. Ads have been posted on a number of jihadist forums and websites, asking for volunteers. “The aim of this training is to continue with our brothers who are seeking to carry out operations that make for great killing and slaughtering of the enemies of Islam,” the advertisement says. “It is a complete jihadist operation to be carried out by a single bomber.”

    from JihadWatch

    It's a growth industry, even in these hard times, and, best of all, new positions are opening up with regularity.

    I'm passing on it, going to the stables to shovel horse shit instead.

    b

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  29. Sure, go get kicked in the head by a horse. Same result, just none of the Glory.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My guess is, if Greece pulls out they'll just waller it around until it becomes a "currency trading loss," thus avoiding the triggering of CDS's, etc.

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    Replies
    1. "They" is the ISDA, which is comprised of ... bankers.

      A quick look at the curtain which they hide behind reveals one shadowy organization that represents the interests of these money masters, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association also known as ISDA. The officers and directors of this organization include some of the largest hedge funds and most of the major banks in the world including the largest banks in the United States. One of the purposes of the ISDA is determine if a “credit event” is actually a default. If a “credit event” is declared to be a default, then Credit Default Swap (CDS) contracts come into play.

      .....

      Remember earlier in this article I stated that one of the purposes of the ISDA is to determine if a “credit event” is actually a default? If a “credit event” is declared to be a default, then Credit Default Swap (CDS) contracts come into play. Think about this, the very same banks that would have to pay the claims by those who bought these contracts, are in the position of determining if a “credit event” is really a default. All the banks have to do is to NOT declare any default and they do not have to pay! If they did have to pay, and then the house of cards would collapse. The big banks would immediately be insolvent and the money masters live in fear of this.

      This lack of a declared default by the ISDA is exactly what brought down MF Global which was speculating heavily on European bonds. What ultimately happened was that an agreement was reached in Europe that that investors would have to take a write-down of 50% on Greek Bond debt. Now MF Global was leveraged anywhere from 40 to 1, to 80 to 1 depending on whose figures you believe. Let’s assume that MF Global was leveraged 40 to 1, this means that they could not even absorb a small 3% loss, so when the “haircut” of 50% was agreed to, MF Global was finished. It tried to stem its losses by criminally dipping into segregated client accounts, and we all know how that ended with clients losing their money.

      Casino Royale

      Delete
  31. Mickey Kaus on political polarization:

    Polarization, in this model, isn’t the byproduct of a fight over “allocating loss.” Instead, polarization is useful, in an almost evolutionary sense, because it can help resolve unresolved issues like incomplete health care coverage, or illegal immigration.**** Both are pressing problems. They need to be solved. Until they’re solved, elections will continue to be about them, at least in part. But they’re not going to get solved in the center. (Sorry, Fareed!) They’re much more likely to get solved–or at least resolved–when one side in a polarized contest wins, brutally defeating both its polarized opposition and the champions of mindless bipartisanship.

    Guess that settles it then. Lock and load.

    LINK

    ReplyDelete
  32. Gridlock

    Can our System Address America's Biggest Problems?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Is America Working?


    I have some sympathy for Obama. He got dealt a shit hand, but he didn't have the depth of vision or experience to play it. The same can be said for the Democrats.

    And the Republicans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He ran for President on his own free will. No one forced him. Hope and change, baby, hope and change.

      Delete
    2. That was my immediate reaction, also, GR. :)

      Delete
    3. True. Lingering radioactive decay from 2008.

      And I keep forgetting that they're adults.

      Delete
  34. "The American and European responses to their respective financial crises are studies in contrast. The Bush administration and the Federal Reserve took an “all-hands-on-deck” approach: not just saving A.I.G. and recapitalizing the banks, but buying billions of dollars worth of subprime mortgages that were poisoning the banking system, and guaranteeing virtually all bank debt. Say what you will about the moral hazard that comes with bailing out too-big-to-fail banks, the strategy worked. By announcing to the world that it would serve as the lender of last resort, the federal government prevented a banking collapse, and, quite possibly, a depression.

    ¶ In the euro zone, there is no lender of last resort. Germany, which has the money and the clout to play that role, refuses to. The European Central Bank is constrained by politics and its own narrow sense of mission. Just last week, it declined to lower interest rates — in no small part, said its president, Mario Draghi, because “I don’t think it would be right for monetary policy to fill other institutions’ lack of action.”

    ¶ Throughout the euro crisis, the response of Europe’s political leaders has been tepid, reluctant and unconvincing. They are willing to kick the can — and no more. The decision over the weekend to lend Spain $125 billion to shore up its tottering banking system is typical. For one thing, it’s unlikely to be enough. For another, it will do very little to improve Spain’s underlying problems — including 25 percent unemployment, an economy in steep decline and a growing federal deficit that may require its own bailout. You wonder why people are already speculating that Italy will be next? Because there is no investor confidence that the problem has been solved. Why would there be? It hasn’t been.

    ¶ One critical difference between America and the euro zone is that we have one government and they have 17. For all our fractious politics, in September 2008, our government’s financial officials spoke with one voice. In Europe, the politicians and finance ministers in each of the 17 countries that make up the euro zone have to deal with their own nations’ political dynamics.

    ¶ The Germans are sick of being asked to save what they see as the ne’er-do-well Greeks. The Greeks are just as sick of the austerity programs that the Germans have imposed on them. On Sunday, Greece will go to the polls and could well elect a government that will renege on the deals it cut to get bailouts and exit the euro zone. France’s new president, François Hollande, said during his campaign that he would reopen the fiscal treaty that European governments agreed to in March because it didn’t do enough to promote growth.

    ¶ And on and on. It is often said that Europe needs tighter political and fiscal integration to save the euro, but there is no political will for that, and likely never will be. Sovereign governments, it turns out, do not willingly cede their own sovereignty. If the euro zone is to be saved, Europe’s voters will have to save it. Everything they’ve done in the past year suggests that they would rather risk financial disaster than be wedded to countries with mores and politics very different from their own. The reason Europe lacks a lender of last resort is that its citizens don’t want one."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/opinion/nocera-how-not-to-solve-a-crisis.html?hp#h[]

    ReplyDelete
  35. There's a Wealth of Knowledge in the following paragraph -

    Household net worth peaked at $66 trillion before the recession hit in December 2007 and fell to $54 trillion in 2008, according to the Fed. It was $63 trillion in the first quarter this year, but that doesn't reflect the stock market's fall since.

    Fed Notes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem with the above article is that they jumped back and forth from "Total" Household Wealth to "Median" Household Wealth. You have to read carefully.

      But, here lieth the "Really, Really, Really Scary Part:"

      As recently as April, median household incomes, adjusted for inflation, were still 5.9% lower than in June 2009, when the recession ended, according to Sentier Research, and 8.3% lower than in late 2007.

      Incomes improved in late 2011 but have begun sliding again this year, said Gordon Green, co-founder of Sentier.

      The decline is larger and more persistent than in the recovery from the recession after 2000, when family incomes were restored within 18 months, Green said.

      "Incomes went down more during two years of this recovery than during the recession itself," he said. "I don't think we've seen anything like this."

      Delete
    2. The Fact of the matter is, This Recession Is Not Over for the average ("Median") family. This recession is a motherfucker.

      Delete
  36. All the more important for the political class to show some ... class and maturity.

    Times like this are a blank check for ideological extremism.

    Two words: Crazy G-y

    ReplyDelete
  37. Pennsylvania is a geologist’s dream.

    ReplyDelete
  38. [Roubini] said the euro zone had two choices: providing funding to facilitate an orderly exit by Greece or keep the Balkan country in the single currency by financing it in the same manner as West Germany supported the East after unification in 1990.

    In Roubini's opinion, the second option would be cheaper in the long term for the German taxpayer than allowing the euro zone to break up.

    LINK

    (Try to stay on topic Deuce.)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh, baby---now even PPP has Romney up in North Carolina 48 to 46.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/nc-poll-romney-48-obama-46_647137.html

    That means the spread there is probably more like 6 points.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Yep, all Romney has to do is carry 20% of the Blacks in NC, as he does in that poll, and he wins de state.

      20% ? Really ?

      Delete
  40. Idaho has big dream rivers.

    One of our rivers is called The River of No Return.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You get on that river, you're never coming back.

      So Crockett is in Aruba, or some other Caribbean paradise, and takes a break from chasing traffickers at a bar on the beach, and starts talking to the young bartender.

      "Where you from, kid?",says Sonny.

      "Miami" says the kid.

      "Summer job?"

      "Came down on spring break."

      How long you been here?" asks Sonny.

      "Nine years" says the kid, with a spaced out celestial smile on his face.


      It's kinda like that.

      b

      Delete
    2. So Noogie is getting married, gonna 'fly united'.

      Says we gonna live in the 'noogie sphere', which b takes it, is a takeoff on Teilhard's noosphere, where we will finally recognize our own divinity, as living one together.

      Miami Vice the early episodes were great, always packed with references of all kinds.

      b

      Delete
    3. This squirrel out here, who has gained I bet a half a pound, is starting to look like he came from Philadelphia.

      Squirrels will fight over sunflower seeds, peanuts, dried corn.

      I've seen it myself.

      Covetous little bastards.

      I an not going to put all the food in one pile only, from now on, but give them each their own table.

      b

      Delete
  41. Spike Lee says: "It aint just the racist whiteys that is unhappy with Mr. Obama,, black folk aint happy neither. Aint got no jobs, aint got no money."

    Yessirreebob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems to me that there are, basically, 4 distinct groups that are pissed off right now. They be:

      1) Racist Whiteys

      2) Racist Blackies

      3) Non-Racist Whiteys, and

      4) Non-Racist Blackies


      Oops, I forgot the Hispanies. :)

      Delete
    2. Everbody's pissed but the "hedgies."


      And, the Corn, and Alfalfa Farmers, of course.

      (They're too busy carrying their money to the bank to be pissed.) :)

      Delete
    3. Don't forget the Catholics, and the Jews, and the elderly expendable.


      b

      Delete
    4. Let's leave the "elderly expendable" outta this. :)

      Delete
  42. Things are getting serious when the drug gangs get into the horse racing business -- The short happy life of Villarreal.

    By then, Mr. Villarreal’s story had come to a fatal, fiery end. Not long after the 2010 victory at Ruidoso, he was detained by the Drug Enforcement Administration and reluctantly agreed to work as an informant. Five months later, his charred remains were found in a burnt-out car on the highway outside Nuevo Laredo.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/us/drug-money-from-mexico-makes-its-way-to-the-racetrack.html?_r=2&hp

    b

    ReplyDelete
  43. Facebook Inc. launched a public-relations blitz Tuesday to hit back at some of the criticisms that have surfaced over its business in recent weeks.

    Since filing for an initial public offering in February, the social network had been prohibited from making public comments under securities rules. That "quiet period" lifted on Tuesday, permitting executives to go on the offensive to justify the social network's business model in the wake of a botched stock debut.

    ReplyDelete
  44. President Obama’s gaffe in Friday’s press conference caught the attention of the media, the blogosphere, and the public in general. I thought it was a telling example of how bad this president is at communicating when he is off script, but there is a bigger story to tell.

    ...

    Instead, the problem is at the margins, which is where electoral politics is inevitably played. In 2008 the Democratic base was marginally more excited than it was in 2004, while the GOP base was marginally depressed.

    ...

    What would happen to the president if he pulls in only 43 percent of the independent vote? We can get an answer to that question by simulating the last four presidential elections.


    Problem With His Base

    ReplyDelete
  45. The submissions come as a 500,000-strong petition from the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) opposing same-sex marriage was presented at Downing Street.

    Mr Cameron, who has spoken out in favour of gay marriage, has come under fire from supporters of the proposals for allowing a free vote among Tory MPs to avoid a rebellion over the issue.

    But other Tory critics have said they view the proposal as a Liberal Democrat policy distracting the Government from bigger challenges.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Perhaps free-market capitalism will prove itself unsustainable in the long run. But I don’t think so.

    ...

    Top-down bureaucratization of the sort favored by the delegates who will be meeting in Rio moves societies back in the direction of natural states in which monopolies are secured and run by elites. Innovation would thus stall and the ability of people and societies to adapt rapidly to changing conditions, economic and ecological, via free markets and democratic politics, would falter.

    ...

    What well-meaning activists and U.N. bureaucrats are trying to do is centrally plan the world’s ecology. History suggests that that would work out about as well for humanity and the natural world as centrally-planned economies did.


    Sustainable Development

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The environmentalists may be pursuing a socialist agenda (some of them are, without question) but the argument remains, markets, free or otherwise, do not, some argue cannot, value "The Commons," whether it is universal health care or ecosystems, which immediately implies that objective cost-benefit analyses have an inherent deficiency.

      Wiki gives an OK summary of Contingent Valuation in its opening paragraph:

      Contingent valuation is a survey-based economic technique for the valuation of non-market resources, such as environmental preservation or the impact of contamination. While these resources do give people utility, certain aspects of them do not have a market price as they are not directly sold – for example, people receive benefit from a beautiful view of a mountain, but it would be tough to value using price-based models. Contingent valuation surveys are one technique which is used to measure these aspects. Contingent valuation is often referred to as a stated preference model, in contrast to a price-based revealed preference model. Both models are utility-based. Typically the survey asks how much money people would be willing to pay (or willing to accept) to maintain the existence of (or be compensated for the loss of) an environmental feature, such as biodiversity.

      The Commons is a problem that hasn't been solved yet.

      .....

      You know Sam, may I call you Sam without being overly familiar, you link to your sources on random occasions, not unlike Quirk's use of periods and line returns. Is it Conspiracy Code or a Mood thing?

      Delete
  47. On this day in 1942, Anne Frank was given a diary on her 13th birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Golf Observations by David Feherty:

    Describing VJ's prodigious practice regime - "VJ hits more balls than
    Elton John's chin."

    ReplyDelete
  49. Replies
    1. Good idea. Your chances of getting a job are much better in Flint.

      Detroit

      Unemployment rate: 19.9%

      Flint

      Unemployment rate: 18.9%

      b

      Delete
  50. 1) Racist Whiteys

    2) Racist Blackies

    3) Non-Racist Whiteys, and

    4) Non-Racist Blackies


    Once you go brown you never step down.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I wonder how our President finds the time to have so many celebrity dinners? He should theoretically be a very busy guy.

    Bank of America to spend $50 billion fighting global warming; got $45 billion from bailout. We don't need alternative energy, we need an alternative President.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hey Max,

    You can call me Sam, no problemo. I link when I feel my cut/paste doesn't adequately capture the essence of the article. Or that the entire article may be of interest to someone here.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Only Liberals could create an entitlement so bad that they have to fine you if you don't accept it.

    North Dakota Drills Its Way Out Of Property Taxes

    Toronto bans plastic bags. Cher forced to alter tour plans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you checked to see how much the donor states, including yours, is sending to N. Dakota every month you might not be so tickled to hear they're dropping what little they did provide for their own services.

      Delete
  54. Why does blogger eat my you tube links?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eats mine too. Been complaining about it for weeks.

      And not just youtube.

      b

      Delete
  55. A Guy Walks Into A Bar:

    h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdiILylaOps

    ReplyDelete
  56. Carville, who coined "It's the economy, stupid" says that Barack Obama will LOSE if he runs on the economy.

    Obama takes credit for personally killing OBL, then takes credit for 700 others. Serial killer Nobel Peace Prize winner.

    Jehovah Witness principal bans God Bless The USA, condemns honoring our country, but takes ALL paid national holidays.

    Black male unemployment is at the highest rate it has ever been since the U.S. government began collecting that stat...how's Obummer working out for ya, chumps?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Senator Tells Attorney General to Resign...

    ...testy hearing POLITICO: Dems want change in Obama's message...

    SPIKE LEE WORRIED ABOUT RE-ELECTION CHANCES...

    Not just 'racist people' unhappy...

    POLL: Rapidly losing support among blacks...

    White support cracks...

    Jewish support in NY drops 22% -- in month...


    Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet.

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only the ethanolics remain aboard.

      b

      Delete
    2. James Carville’s polling firm to Obama: Nobody believes that the economy’s recovering anymore

      Except Rufus.

      b

      Delete
    3. Can you read? I just spent half a day putting up numbers that show the economy is still in the shits.

      BUT, I do believe it would be much worse under the Republicans.

      Delete
    4. You said the stock market's recovered and real estate's leveled out. Can't you remember what you've said?

      b

      Delete
    5. The stock market is back to about where it was when the economy "crashed," not to where it was in Dec. '07 when the Recession started.

      And, I said real estate was leveling out (obviously at the fucking bottom.)

      Then I went on to publish Median Income Numbers that are atrocious - even showing that Median Income kept falling during the so-called recovery, and at 12:45 I wrote "The Fact of the matter is, This Recession Is Not Over for the average ("Median") family."

      Delete
    6. OK, got it.

      Obama's policies have failed, the private sector is not doing fine, housing is still a great buy though no one has any money, unemployment hasn't budged, and with 4 more years of Obama we're all out of business. I can agree with that.

      b

      Delete
    7. Make that 01;45

      And you might want to read 01:20 while you're at it.

      Delete
  58. Emerging economies rebounded quickly from the 2008-09 global financial crisis largely because of strong cushions in their government budgets and their control of inflation. While their budgets remain in far-better shape than those of high-income countries, emerging economies now have less room to boost government spending if a new crisis emerges.

    International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, who also said Tuesday that developing countries must prepare for a worsening in the economy, urged European officials to act quickly with "decisive steps to break free of the crisis."

    "Great uncertainty hangs over global prospects," she said. "Tensions are on the rise again and financial-stability risks have once more moved front and center."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reminds me of the line:

      They said Wall Street fell

      We were so poor we couldn't tell

      Song of the South

      Delete
  59. There’s a DVD that’s been sitting in its jewel box on my desk for a few years (I’ve been busy​—​no time to tidy up), and the other day, after reading through two brand-new books about Barack Obama, one admiring, the other ferociously disapproving, I snapped the cellophane at last and slid the disk into my computer drive.

    ...

    The Amateur, by a former New York Times magazine editor named Edward Klein, takes the first approach. Pure Obama-hatred was enough to shoot the book to the top of the Times bestseller list for the first three weeks after its release.

    ...

    If Klein makes Obama something he’s not by hating him more than he should, David Maraniss, a reporter for the Washington Post and a biographer of Bill Clinton and Vince Lombardi, takes the opposite approach. Klein is an Obama despiser, Maraniss is a big fan​—​big fan.


    Self-Made Man

    ReplyDelete
  60. For Sam -

    Owners of mines in Montana, Idaho propose merger


    June 08, 2012 10:07 am • Associated Press


    Two companies that own gold and silver mines in Montana and Idaho announced Friday that they intend to merge to form a company called U.S. Silver and Gold Inc.

    RX Gold owns the Drumlummon gold and silver mine northwest of Helena. U.S. Silver, which owns the Galena mine in northern Idaho, has announced plans to bring its Coeur d'Alene mine back into production.

    RX Gold spokesman Darryl James said that the merger is undergoing regulatory review and the companies hope that it will be finalized in July. Under the agreement, U.S. Silver shareholders will own 70 percent of the new company, while RX shareholders will own the remaining 30 percent.

    RX Gold has a market value of about $44 million. The market value of U.S. Silver was not available.

    Darren Blasuti, president and chief executive of RX Gold, will assume the same role for the combined company. U.S. Silver interim chief executive will assume the role of chairman of the new company's board of directors.

    "It's a business deal that made sense for both their long-range plans," James said. "The way to grow these smaller mining companies is to acquire these smaller assets It's not really more production, it's acquiring additional assets."

    After the Coeur mine is brought back into production, production from the three mines combined could exceed 5.3 million ounces of silver annually, the companies said.

    Shares of U.S. Silver were up more than 9 percent to $1.51 on the Toronto Stock Exchange through early afternoon trading. Shares of RX Gold and Silver were down by almost 24 percent to $0.26 on the TSX Venture Exchange.


    Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/business/article_ef5fab9f-aac1-54a4-8813-48c46994e59a.html#ixzz1xe3u312l


    Might be worth a look. Though maybe the price of silver, which is way out of whack with history, will collapse as soon as they get the Galena/Coeur d'Alene going again.

    You pays yo money, you take yo chances.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  61. Thanks, Bob. It's interesting but my mom (investment adviser/stock broker) taught me long ago not to play the mines. Too volatile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your mom is right. Nice to have a mom who knows stocks and investments I bet. You might ask her sometime what she thinks of this merger. I'd be interested in what she says.
      ......

      Romney can lose Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennslyvania, and Virginia and still just get there, 274/264.


      b

      Delete
  62. Florida's the interesting one. What with the state trying to ban dead people and illegals from voting and all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :)

      Well you shouldn't allow the dead to vote absentee I'm convinced of that.

      b

      Delete
  63. Sam, did I ever mention Hagedone put his palace across the lake from the Resort for sale at auction, with a minimum starting bid of $7 million? There were no bids.

    I haven't found anything about why he might have been doing that, and don't know what if anything is next. I thought it was kind of strange. He is retired now, sort of, and his son is running things, sort of, is all I know.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  64. No, you didn't mention. Hagadone's are the ones who ran my dad's buddy out of town for taking them on in the city council. My cousin in Priest Lake says you don't mess with them. They own Coeur d'Alene.

    I'm surprised it didn't sell. I was just reading an article recently about all the wealthy foreign investors snapping up good million dollar property deals in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Papa got a job with the TVA

    He bought a washing machine, and then a Chevrolet

    ReplyDelete
  66. Here's the problem,

    In 1934 the displaced farm worker had the skills to go to work for the TVA,

    but, today's permanently "laid off" don't have the skills to go to work for Microsoft, or Boeing.

    ReplyDelete
  67. And, basically, the only difference between today and 1934 is "this time we saved the banks." And, we have NAFTA, WTO, and various FTA's enshrined in law.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, of course, we have a "free-floating," fiat currency.

      Don't get me wrong, the Fed has to take a very large part of the responsibility for getting us into this mess, just as in the lead-up to 1929, but, this time, they have, and are using, the tools to keep us out of "fullfledged Depression."

      Delete
  68. A nice little synopsis on the causes of the Great Depression:

    Great Depression

    An interesting little footnote is that Japan actually prospered during the thirties. The Japanes Finance Minister "Immediately" jumped into a Keynesian approach, and started "deficit spending" like crazy. Our Fed was hindered by the gold standard, and couldn't do what Japan did. Smoot-Hawley, of course, finished us off.

    ReplyDelete
  69. .

    BY starting a criminal investigation of journalistic exposures of White House secrets, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is not merely threatening traditional press freedoms. He is trying to make it a crime to alert the public to secret presidential violations of the Constitution — greatly increasing the future risk of illegal executive action...


    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/opinion/dont-prosecute-leakers-who-defend-our-constitution.html?_r=1

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like something Julian Assange would say, doesn't it?

      Delete
    2. .

      It sure does.

      But then only a moron would deny it.

      .

      Delete
  70. rufus wrote:

    "Our Fed was hindered by the gold standard, and couldn't do what Japan did."

    A cautionary tale for those enamoured with going back to the gold standard - that and Europes experience with inflexible exchange rates (i.e. none).

    ReplyDelete
  71. .

    Just four years from now, China will pass a milestone. Its huge workforce will peak and start shrinking. This will make it more difficult for the world's second largest economy to continue the turbo-charged growth that has played a key role in the rise not just of China, but also its Asia-Pacific trade and investment partners like Japan. They depend heavily on exports to the Chinese market...


    ...Will this be China's future too? By far the most massive decline in young manpower, aged 15 to 29, is set to take place in China. The U.S. Census Bureau forecasts that in the next two decades this key working age group, which tends to be better educated and healthier than older employees, will fall by 100 million, or over 30 percent.

    The bureau predicts that China's population will peak in 2026, then age rapidly. Among major economies, only Japan has aged faster. However, Japan got rich before it grew old. This is something that China, with a per capita income of just $3,000, has yet to achieve. It may never be able to so if Chinese keep having few children and living longer...



    For those who predict that China will replace the US as the number one power in the world, it is interesting to note that although China's population will peak in 1026, in the US by about 2032 the baby boomers will be through the system yet working age population will continue to grow.

    Demographics. Demographics.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  72. Demand for Diesel, and Gasoline continue to run below year-ago levels, which in turn were down YOY from 2010.

    Diesel Demand Down 4.5% YOY

    Gasoline Demand Down 4.5% YOY

    ReplyDelete
  73. One of the toughest tasks police face: IDing the gun used to commit a crime. One way to potentially eliminate much of the problem: microstamping, in which a laser engraves a code on a portion of the gun that, when fired, can then imprint said series of numbers on shell casings. But bills requiring firearm makers to use microstamping are going nowhere fast, thanks to vehement opposition from gun makers and the NRA, among others, reports the New York Times. They argue that the technology is too pricy, doesn't work 100% of the time, can't be used on revolvers, and wouldn't likely make a difference in the world of illegally-obtained firearms, which are the ones most often used to commit crimes.

    In New York, the Remington Arms Company threatened to pull all business out of the state if a proposed bill passes; in California, a gun rights group extended a lapsing patent for the technique (a microstamping law signed by the governor in 2007 requires the technology not be bound by patents). But the method's developer, Todd Lizotte—a member of the NRA—actually wants the patents to lapse so microstamping can enter the public domain. He's not the only one. Says the Baltimore PD's commissioner, "It is one of these things in law enforcement that would just take us from the Stone Age to the jet age in an instant."

    LINK

    Hymmph.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Shoulda figured you'd be a grabber.

    Black powder power -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSOo-zY0_lc

    Look ma, no shell casings

    Course on can always steal the gun of someone you don't like, and use that.

    Cause them all sorts of headaches.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  75. Have Eric Holder run chipped gun into the depressed areas, what's the enabling of a few crimes when we get the bad guys?

    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sell 'em cheap, under cost, they will fly out of the ATF vans.

      b

      Delete
  76. There is nothing about me that you "shoulda figured." And there never will be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I shoulda figured you'd fell that way.

      b

      Delete
    2. I shoulda spelled feel feel not fell.

      b

      Delete
  77. After the recall, I shoulda figured Romney would roll ahead in Wisconsin, and he has -

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2012/election_2012_presidential_election/wisconsin/election_2012_wisconsin_president


    Wisconsin: Romney 47%, Obama 44%

    Rasmussen likely voters

    b

    ReplyDelete
  78. Senator Rand Paul wants bill to require government to get a warrant before law enforcement can use drones to watch Americans.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/232489-sen-paul-proposes-bill-protecting-americans-from-drone-surveillance

    Sounds like a good and necessary bill if restricted to private places. If you are walking/driving down a public way, that's something else again.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  79. Moody's Investors Service downgraded its rating on Spain to the brink of junk territory and placed its ratings on review for possible further downgrade, and it also put Cyprus two notches deeper into "junk" territory, as the latest flare-up in Europe's sovereign-debt problems continue to worsen.

    ReplyDelete
  80. The ironic thing about all this is that Barack Obama is now actually paying for mistakes that he made when people were praising him as the next FDR! Give a careful read to Sean Trende’s article from yesterday about what Obama could have done differently in 2009.

    ...

    So now, President Obama’s fate is really out of his hands. Instead, it comes down to three things: How much the economy grows over the next five months; what the Supreme Court does with Obamacare; and finally whether Mitt Romney can persuade Americans that he’d do a better job over the next four years.

    For all the power that the 44th president had a few years ago, he’s now little more than a spectator, waiting and watching like the rest of us to see what happens next.


    Obama's Dilemma

    ReplyDelete
  81. "The Gulf states are not going to hold back and unless something dramatic happens its going to be a long, bloody and very regretful summer."

    There has been a "shocking escalation" in unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary dentition and wanton destruction of homes by government forces and militias, Amnesty International says in a new report today based on visits to 23 towns and villages during April and May.

    ...

    "We aren't getting much details of what's been going on because communications have been cut since the army stormed the area," said Rafif Joejati, a spokeswoman for the Local Co-ordination Committees. "But when the regime says they've cleansed the area there are fears that the civilian population will have paid the price."

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  82. For all of the expertise and motivations behind the proposals to solve the eurozone crisis no one has yet suggested polices that have a proven track record of success. If the Greeks want to keep their generous welfare system and still be prosperous, Sweden offers the best example of how this can be achieved: Deregulate industries, cut red tape, introduce the profit motive into education and healthcare, and reform the banking sector.

    ...

    If Greeks find the political will to back austerity and market solutions they might yet restore some of the dignity foreign bureaucrats have dismantled. Unfortunately, it looks like hard-left parties will dominate in coming elections, with neo-fascist parties being well placed to act as coalition builders and key negotiators.

    Such results would further impede serious fiscal and institutional reforms.

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  83. On this day in 1966, the Supreme Court ruled police must inform criminal suspects of their constitutional rights before questioning them. The landmark decision was made in the Miranda v. Arizona case.

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  84. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given $10 million to the main political action committee supporting likely GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to people familiar with the matter, making it the single largest donation to the super PAC.

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  85. The most important news of 2012 won't be the Wisconsin recall, the European financial meltdown, or the possibility of Iranian nukes, says James Fallows at The Atlantic. It'll concern a sprawling new report in the journal Nature, which claims that Earth may very soon hit a tipping point that could trigger huge, disastrous planetary changes — bad news for Earth's occupants.

    ...

    The argument goes that humans have already converted roughly 43 percent of the planet's usable land area into farms, livestock ranches, and cities. As many studies have already suggested, when more than 50 percent of our natural landscape is lost, the ecological web that sustains humanity will collapse beyond repair.

    ...

    By sorting through piles and piles of data. The findings all point to the same conclusion: If humans continue to use up resources at the current rate, "there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life, including, for example, fisheries, agriculture, forest productions, and clean water," says Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley and the lead author of the paper.

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  86. Developers installed 85 percent more solar panels in the U.S. in the first quarter than a year earlier, led by strong growth in commercial projects and demand in New Jersey, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

    Total U.S. installations were 506 megawatts in the quarter and may reach 3,300 megawatts this year, about 11 percent of the 2012 global market, the Washington-based trade group said today in its quarterly market report.

    That will make the U.S. the fourth-largest solar market this year, and one of the few countries where growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, according to GTM Research, a Boston consulting company that prepared the report with SEIA. Falling prices are making solar energy an economical energy choice for U.S. homeowners and businesses.

    “The economics have improved dramatically, with companies realizing it’s a good hedge against rising energy prices,” Rhone Resch, chief executive officer of SEIA, said in an interview.

    Non-residential solar projects, which include commercial, government and non-profit companies, totaled 288.8 megawatts, up 77 percent from a year earlier, according to the report.

    New Jersey, the top solar state, added 174 megawatts in the quarter, 34 percent of all U.S. installations, including 122 megawatts of non-residential projects.

    California was the second-largest solar market with 148 megawatts installed. The top global markets this year will be Germany, Italy and China.


    Bloomberg

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  87. The owner of Greece's largest foreign-held bank is making plans to walk away from the bank if the country leaves the euro zone, the latest sign of growing international concern over the future of Europe's currency union.

    The contingency plan for Crédit Agricole SA, France's third-largest publicly traded bank, comes ahead of pivotal elections in Greece Sunday that could set the country on a path to leave the 17-nation currency bloc.

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  88. A man goes into a Florist and says, "I would like to buy a bunch of flowers for my wife".

    The florist looked at him and said, "Certainly Sir, what is it you're after?"

    The man replies, "a root".

    ReplyDelete
  89. BS In New Zealand

    Actually BS here stands for “benevolent sexism.” An article by two New Zealand psychologists has come my way that deserves to become a classic of social science.

    The title “Why are Benevolent Sexists Happier?” promised to warm my conservative heart, and it did​—​but not so much with approbation as with wonder at the whole enterprise of social science.

    The two psychologists are Matthew Hammond and Chris Sibley, the latter being the professor and senior author. Together they bear witness to the fact that science is a collective enterprise, not about individual glory.


    New Zealand

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