“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Contraction in Europe and shrinking wages in US. Bad news.

I see that the geniuses in the US Senate succumbed to the banks and failed to force the banks to adjust existing mortgages to realistic housing prices.

The UAW is told that they have to be realistic and downsize their paychecks in light of the reality of the market. Unions and labor are to take a hair cut as have most investors and anyone with a 401K. Everyone must adjust to the new reality except the banking industry and the US Senate.

Europe is shrinking.

Employment and prices are falling, all of this in the apparent face of massive deficits. 

There is a need to re inflate. 

That requires disposable income in the hands of the American public. A radical and equitable solution would be to force drop every residential mortgage in the US to 3%, regardless of size, location, and term. That would affect a massive tax decrease and permit increased  spending. It would preserve capital as it would not be necessary to reduce the face value of mortgages.

It would stabilize pricing and slow falling wages. 

Give the break to consumers, taxpayers and workers. If some banks fail as a result, hard bread to them.


E.U. Says Europe Faces Deep Recession
NY Times
Published: May 4, 2009
Filed at 5:19 a.m. ET

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union says Europe faces a "deep and widespread recession" and that unemployment will rise sharply over the coming two years.

It says both the 27-nation EU and the 16 countries that use the euro currency will shrink 4 percent this year, way more than its previous forecasts.

It says some 8.5 million jobs will disappear in the EU in 2009 and 2010, more than wiping out the number of new jobs created in the last two years.

It predicts a subdued recovery next year but only if the banking sector and world trade start to recover.

The EU says Germany's economy will contract 5.5 percent this year, Britain and Italy will shrink by between 4 percent to 4.5 percent, while Spain and France will post a 3-percent drop.

Falling Wage Syndrome

Published: May 3, 2009

Wages are falling all across America.

Some of the wage cuts, like the givebacks by Chrysler workers, are the price of federal aid. Others, like the tentative agreement on a salary cut here at The Times, are the result of discussions between employers and their union employees. Still others reflect the brute fact of a weak labor market: workers don’t dare protest when their wages are cut, because they don’t think they can find other jobs.

Whatever the specifics, however, falling wages are a symptom of a sick economy. And they’re a symptom that can make the economy even sicker.

First things first: anecdotes about falling wages are proliferating, but how broad is the phenomenon? The answer is, very.

It’s true that many workers are still getting pay increases. But there are enough pay cuts out there that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of employing workers in the private sector rose only two-tenths of a percent in the first quarter of this year — the lowest increase on record. Since the job market is still getting worse, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if overall wages started falling later this year.

But why is that a bad thing? After all, many workers are accepting pay cuts in order to save jobs. What’s wrong with that?

The answer lies in one of those paradoxes that plague our economy right now. We’re suffering from the paradox of thrift: saving is a virtue, but when everyone tries to sharply increase saving at the same time, the effect is a depressed economy. We’re suffering from the paradox of deleveraging: reducing debt and cleaning up balance sheets is good, but when everyone tries to sell off assets and pay down debt at the same time, the result is a financial crisis.

And soon we may be facing the paradox of wages: workers at any one company can help save their jobs by accepting lower wages, but when employers across the economy cut wages at the same time, the result is higher unemployment.

Here’s how the paradox works. Suppose that workers at the XYZ Corporation accept a pay cut. That lets XYZ management cut prices, making its products more competitive. Sales rise, and more workers can keep their jobs. So you might think that wage cuts raise employment — which they do at the level of the individual employer.

But if everyone takes a pay cut, nobody gains a competitive advantage. So there’s no benefit to the economy from lower wages. Meanwhile, the fall in wages can worsen the economy’s problems on other fronts.

In particular, falling wages, and hence falling incomes, worsen the problem of excessive debt: your monthly mortgage payments don’t go down with your paycheck. America came into this crisis with household debt as a percentage of income at its highest level since the 1930s. Families are trying to work that debt down by saving more than they have in a decade — but as wages fall, they’re chasing a moving target. And the rising burden of debt will put downward pressure on consumer spending, keeping the economy depressed.

Things get even worse if businesses and consumers expect wages to fall further in the future. John Maynard Keynes put it clearly, more than 70 years ago: “The effect of an expectation that wages are going to sag by, say, 2 percent in the coming year will be roughly equivalent to the effect of a rise of 2 percent in the amount of interest payable for the same period.” And a rise in the effective interest rate is the last thing this economy needs.

Concern about falling wages isn’t just theory. Japan — where private-sector wages fell an average of more than 1 percent a year from 1997 to 2003 — is an object lesson in how wage deflation can contribute to economic stagnation.

So what should we conclude from the growing evidence of sagging wages in America? Mainly that stabilizing the economy isn’t enough: we need a real recovery.

There has been a lot of talk lately about green shoots and all that, and there are indeed indications that the economic plunge that began last fall may be leveling off. The National Bureau of Economic Research might even declare the recession over later this year.

But the unemployment rate is almost certainly still rising. And all signs point to a terrible job market for many months if not years to come — which is a recipe for continuing wage cuts, which will in turn keep the economy weak.

To break that vicious circle, we basically need more: more stimulus, more decisive action on the banks, more job creation.

Credit where credit is due: President Obama and his economic advisers seem to have steered the economy away from the abyss. But the risk that America will turn into Japan — that we’ll face years of deflation and stagnation — seems, if anything, to be rising.


  1. Wages had been stagnate, in real terms, throughout the Bush years.

    While Wall Street is still running DC.

    Little hoped for change has been realized, in that regard.

    With Wall Street tax cheats large and in-charge at the IRS, what knid of change could you really hope for?

    But as the WSJ opined, it'll be hard to sell bonds, if the the Chrsyler deal goes down like Team Obama proposes.

    It's going to be next to impossible to obtain a mortgage, in the future, if the Federals were to rewrite the terms of all thw current mortgage contracts, retroactively.

    Talk about taking command of the economy.

  2. It certainly would be the end of capitalism, as we've known it.

    If the Federals were to force an arbitrary rewrite of millions of contracts, across the Nation.

  3. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat chief executive, is on Monday due to outline plans to transform the global automotive landscape by spinning off Fiat’s core cars division, joining it with Chrysler and General Motors Europe, and creating a new publicly traded European car company.

    Mr Marchionne wants Italy’s largest industrial group to separate Fiat Auto from its other divisions, join them with Opel / Vauxhall, Saab, and GM’s other European operations, and Fiat’s stake in Chrysler to create a company with about €80bn ($106bn) of revenues and sales of 6m-7m vehicles a year – second to Toyota, more than Renault / Nissan or Ford Motor, or GM itself, and roughly as many as Volkswagen

    Il Duce still lives!!!
    Don't kill the Dream
    Keep your eyes on the prize

  4. Our brand of capitalism has been roughly akin to our free trade with China, a name devoid of meaning. Where is the capitalism when over half the mortgages were sold to two government corporations who securitized them and resold them to mostly foreign governments and banks and that entire exercise was necessary to subsidize US governmental spending and free trade deficits?

    Capitalism? Please.

  5. Mortgages are the backbone of our family trust, that you'd so gleefully nationalize their contractual terms, I find repugnent.

  6. That the Government entered the mortgage business in the first place, there in lies the key to the meltdown, the idea that more government intervention can solve it, not only counter intuitive, but oxymoronic, as well.

  7. When can we expect a contraction in government wages?


  8. You may find it repugnant, so let me offer a recap:

    The government is loaning money to banks at 0% interest. When the banks made the mortgages their costs of funds was probably above 5%.

    The banks took higher risks because the government was buying the mortgages.

    The government was buying the mortgages and selling them to investors, mostly other governments.

    The underlying asset value, as you have posted many times, continues to fall. The collateral is no longer there, just as it is no longer their for the debt holders of Chrysler and GM.

    When a secured lender has a loan that cannot be paid and collateral, that when liquidated, will not cover the principal, the lender has a problem.

    A bank lives or dies on leverage. A healthy bank can leverage debt on a 10:1 ratio of assets to capital. To a bank, loans are assets. If a bank takes a loan loss of $1,000,000, that comes out of their capital base. That means they have to shrink lending by $10,000,000.

    If a bank reduces interest charges to a client, but reduces it's cost of money by an equal amount, the bank is even. That is a good thing.

    The bank does not need to write down the loan. The capital of the bank is untouched.

    The government does not have to advance capital to the bank.

    The shareholders in the bank, 401k's, do not get their equity diluted if the banks do not have to raise additional capital.

    That to me is smart business. Which part offends your sense of propriety?

  9. Let us start at the beginning, the Government does not lend money to the banks, the Central Bank does, the Federal Reserve, which is not an agency of the Federal Government.
    It is a private institution, not a public one. First and foremost.

    The Government chartered another 2 private firms, Freddie and Fraudie, to purchase mortgages on the secondary market.
    Again not direct agencies of the Government, but private institutions.

    So your primary basis of argument, that it is the "Government" that is doing the primary lending as well as creating the secndary markets is flawed at best, totally inaccurate at worst.

    As the collateral value drops, it is the parties to the loan contract that renegotiate the terms, if the bank does not renegotiate, it is because it wants the collateral, that is no problem, for the bank.

    The value of the loan, is not based upon the collateral but upon the cash flow from that loan.

    If the entire income stream to the lender, not all of whom are banks, is set by the Government, retroactively, at 3%, then the lenders entire portfolio has to be reevaluated, downward. In cases where the lenders are carrying healthy loans ranging from 3.5% to 8%, much of the portfolio would have to be downgraded, accordingly.

    The value of the loss of cash flow, from the 90% of the loans that are still healthy would dilute the capital base more than taking the collateral in the few properties that actually reach foreclosure.

    Especially if the lender was actively trying to renegotiate, if avoiding forclosure was really in the best interest of all involved.

    So to avoid a 10% write off, you propose upwards of a 50% reduction in cashflow and the further dilution of capital that would entail.

  10. Buffet see massive inflation ahead. No news to the folks here. I always heard inflation hits the poor hardest. If true in this situation Obama will have harmed the very people he claims to champion.

    Buffet Sees Inflation-----

    Just had a visit with my family doc. He might be open to some of Obama's ideas if he could figure out what they were.

    He says, "WE NEED MORE DOCTORS".

    No news here. In our area we lost 4or 5 just recently, taking off for greener pastures. Leaving some people struggling to find a family physician.

    My guy says if some govt. plan included allocating more doctors to rural areas he might support that, New York City or Chicago having twice the number of docs as we do here for instance. He also thinks there is a lot of unnecessary doctoring going on, just to make money, how a federal plan would affect this is hard to tell, says he.

  11. Seems to me that rat's 1:36 ignores the influence of the Feds on Fannie and Freddie.

    They are in effect Federal agencies but operate in the darkness of private entities.

    The Feds created them, protected them, directed them and plundered them.

  12. More bravo sierra out of Europe:
    Van Gogh's ear was cut off by friend Gauguin with a swordThey have no proof...kinda like the model of the 35K year old euro man.

  13. Rising reserves of unused oil put strain on storageRecord inventories of crude oil are building up around the world threatening to swamp storage space and belying optimism in the markets about an imminent economic recovery.

  14. That was why, whit, I gave a discriptive range of
    flawed at best, totally inaccurate at worst.In regards Freddie and Fraudie, more so than the Federal Reserve.

    Even if those 2 are to be considered Federal Agencies, which they are not, it still does not follow that the Federal Government should rewrite the terms of every mortgage in the US, dropping the annual rate to 3%.

    Just because they mismanaged those mortgages that they are already involved with, through Freddie and Fraudie, does not obligate or authorize the Government to mismanage the rest of the economy. Curtailing and shredding ever more contract law in the process.

    Funny, in some instances the Bar mates applaud Federal lawlessness, then complain about it in others.

    No real ideological standards, just situational ethics.

  15. Create a civilian Doctors Corps, along the line of CCC.

    Have all the Doctors work for the Government, no need for private practices. Let the Federals allocate the work locations and renumeration for the Doctors.

    Makes more sense then having the Federals invalidate the terms of tens of millions of contracts across the continent.

  16. The financial savings would be huge.

  17. As would be the loss of personal freedom, but hey, it'd be for our own good.

    ObamaCare, ObamaCars, ObamaContracts

    The Federals will solve all our problems, in a way we all can profit from.

    The new Republicanism.

    Bush the Youngest says we must forget Reagan.

    Begs the question of whom we should remember, as being a real Republican?

  18. I have Van Gogh's ear here in Idaho, along with the skull of Descartes. My aunt collected stuff all her life, and these items were left to me.

    I am keeping these in reserve to sell, should the economy take a turn for the worse.

    The story she got on her trip to Europe when she bought the ear, which is quite shriveled, was that he cut if off himself in distress over some broad.

  19. Just because the ear is shriveled does not detract from its value, by the way.

  20. A little neatsfoot oil, bob, make it almost life-like, again.

    Restore the suppleness.

    Need to get Geronimo's skull back from that vipers nest of Russell Company financed debauchery, at Yale.

    A Systemic Regulator for Financial Markets

    Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation
    May 2009

    The central bank is the natural choice to serve as the systemic regulator for four reasons.

    First, the central bank has daily trading relationships with market participants as part of its core
    function of implementing monetary policy and is well placed to monitor market events and to flag
    looming problems in the financial system. No other public institution has comparable insight and access to the broad flows in the financial system.

    Second, the central bank’s mandate to preserve macroeconomic stability is well matched to the role of ensuring the stability of the financial system. Macroeconomic downturns are often tightly connected to the financial system, and similar analyses, drawing on the disciplines of macroeconomics and financial economics, can provide guidance for both types of oversight. As a result, macroeconomic policy and systemic regulation are tailor-made for each other.

    Third, central banks are among the most independent of government agencies. Successful systemic regulation requires a focus on the long run. Because they face relatively short reelection cycles, politicians tend to focus on the short run. Insulating the systemic regulator from day-to-day interference by politicians will help ensure a systemic regulator’s success. The respect and independence that central banks enjoy therefore make them natural candidates to be systemic regulators

    The Council on Foreign Relations.

    Another convergence of interests that is "always" merely coincidental, but forever steadfast in its' support of an ideology of centralizing power.

  22. Nicole Gelinas:

    Spendthrift Sunbelt States
    Arizona, Florida, and Nevada have run through the riches of their boom and are starting to look more like cash-strapped New York

  23. Obama to Secured Creditors: Drop Dead.

    By Bill Frezza:

    Are you following the disembowelment of Chrysler’s secured creditors with an eye not just toward what it means for the moribund car company but for what it could do to the very concept of secured debt? Has it dawned on you what the consequences will be if the President gets his way and consideration is given to creditors not according to contracts, rules, and established legal precedents but according to which group is most politically favored? And do you believe the President advanced the cause of economic recovery by publicly excoriating “speculators” who once hoped to profit by lending money against hard assets to an ailing company?

    Profit? There’s no profit to incentivize risk taking in this country, only sacrifice!

    Law? There’s no law to protect the politically unfavored in this country, only derision!

  24. Air Force The One flying low over New York City, buzzing around, that Came From On High--

    Obumble's a narcissistic liar.

    "I think it also shows a kind of arrogance to using toys" says Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson, Retired (one who can speak out) who used to be in charge of the 'nuclear football.'

  25. The President is certainly using the assets available to his office, bob, that's a fact.

    Perhaps the reason for the flight, to be a reminder of 9-11-01, and not a mistake, at all.

    Beginning with the idea of a crisis as being a thing to exploit, then the importance of not extenuating the memory of 9-11*01, elevates in percieved importance, within the White House.

  26. Republicans on the march!!!

    The formation of the National Council comes within days of another upstart GOP group -- known as Resurgent Republic -- comprised of a number of top elected officials and consultants within the party that is designed to provide data via polling and focus groups to guide a series of policy pronouncements.

    "This is a matter of trying to pull some of the finest minds in the country together to craft a creative and energetic new message," explained pollster Whit Ayres, one of the co-founders of the group. "The idea is to think forward not backward."

    These twin developments are a recognition by the establishment wing of the party that the Republican brand is in absolutely dire shape and could relegate the GOP to permanent minority status unless change comes -- and comes quickly.

    Self-identifying Republicans are at their lowest ebb in decades -- just 21 percent of Americans called themselves Republicans in the most recent Washington Post/ABC survey -- and independents continue to be more inclined to support Democrats.

    That same poll showed that social issues -- like gay marriage -- are of declining potency in a political context. Forty-nine percent of the sample said they supported the idea of gay people being allowed to marry while 46 percent opposed it, a drastic shift from a 2006 Post/ABC poll where opposition (58 percent) to gay marriage far outstripped support (36 percent) for the idea

    Republicans Redouble Re-Branding Efforts

  27. Things are poppin in Turkey, our NATO partner

    Forty-four people were reported to have been killed tonight when unidentified gunmen opened fire at a wedding reception in south-eastern Turkey.

    Ahmet Ferhat Ozen, the acting governor of Mardin province, told Reuters that the assailants had stormed a hall in the village of Sultankoy and attacked guests with automatic rifles and hand grenades.

    Local media said the families of both the bride and the groom included members of the state-sponsored militia, the Village Guard, which was set up to combat Kurdish separatist guerrillas in the area.

    Turkish soldiers and pro-government village guards have been fighting Kurdish guerrillas in the region for years. One Turkish television news channel, NTV, said the attack stemmed from a feud between rival groups of Village Guards.

    Ozen said many more people had been wounded, adding that the number of dead could rise. He also said that local paramilitary police had been dispatched to the village to hunt down the attackers.

  28. Looks like the days of the Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists, and other 'unnecessary' parties may be numbered--

    41. twobyfour:

    The Dear Leader 0 steps into a large pile of dung by saying there are two many political parties.

    [the url is blocking the post, so copying the article verbatim]

    WASHINGTON- In what experts are calling a “ground-breaking move,” President Obama Sunday called “lesser” political parties unnecessary, hinting that he may consider outlawing them.

    “There can only be so many points of views in our country,” the President said at a press conference on Sunday. “It is clear that parties such as the Socialist Party, Workers Party, or Libertarian Party will never represent a meaningful percent of the American public. They simply cannot contribute to the electoral process.

    “I hate to say it, but it may be easier and cheaper to remove these parties,” President Obama continued. “In a time of recession, we can benefit two-fold from removing these smaller parties. One, by ending these entities, it will be much cheaper to run elections and count votes. Two, we need political unity in a time like this, and lesser parties, such as the Constitution Party, only serve as divisive.

    “I will never say that we should get rid of these parties,” Obama said, “I just feel the need to outline the benefits that are possible.”

    This kind of talk should wake everyone up. Even Ash.

    Am taking 2X4's word he actually said this, as I have heard nothing about it.

  29. Jeb Bush: Moving beyond Reagan .

    Florida governor Jeb Bush says the way to pull the Republican Party out of the mud, said Joseph Curl in The Washington Times, is to set aside conservative "nostalgia" for the Reagan era

  30. Lawlessness in the name of security and unity, right up your asile, bob.

    It's the waterboarding of the body politic.

    For our own good, you know.

    It's a time for unity, in the face of adversity. For the good of the Country and our ignorant selves.

    You better go get fitted for your burka, bob.

  31. First they came for the Libertarians....

  32. U.S. Will Face a Taliban Force Unencumbered by Borders.

    For you, doug and tony.
    Now the Taliban are planning on their very own version of the Parrots' Beak.

    Anyway, from the NYTimes

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan — President Obama is pouring more than 20,000 new troops into Afghanistan this year for a fighting season that the United States military has called a make-or-break test of the allied campaign in Afghanistan.

    But if Taliban strategists have their way, those forces will face a stiff challenge, not least because of one distinct Taliban advantage: the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan barely exists for the Taliban, who are counting on the fact that American forces cannot reach them in their sanctuaries in Pakistan.

    One Pakistani logistics tactician for the Taliban, a 28-year-old from the country’s tribal areas, in interviews with The New York Times, described a Taliban strategy that relied on free movement over the border and in and around Pakistan, ready recruitment of Pakistani men and sustained cooperation of sympathetic Afghan villagers


  33. Like you said, bob, they're ignorant people that waste their votes.

    No need for them in a unified America.

    They're just divisive.

  34. Those small Party folk, why, they're just not "serious".

  35. There's a time and place to vote 3rd party. This year just wasn't one of them, in my view.

    Ban parties?

    Hell, no!

  36. Though I confess I'm not sure what you do when you have a party--say, a Sharia Party--that is against all our Founders held dear, wants to enslave women, and wants to exterminate the Jews too, along the way.

    Make Rat and Bob bow down to Mecca.

    Maybe there is something to be said for banning some parties.

  37. Well, bob, I've read the entire transcript of the news conference, and those words were not used, by Mr Obama.

    When googled, though, I found what may be the source of the false but accurate quote from Mr Obama.>Here at Jumping in Pools.

    To bad it's accurate but false, it'd be real red meat theme.

  38. If you’re lucky enough to live in Montana, take a moment to thank Joel Boniek.

    Boniek, a Republican state representative from the Livingston area, sponsored legislation exempting Montana-made guns from federal legislation. It was signed into law April 15.


    So wouldn’t it be nice for principled libertarians like Joel Boniek to be in numerous seats in every state legislature – and with a “L” next to their names?

    Well, then, make it happen. Get active with the Libertarian Party today!
    Joel Boniek

  39. Word began to flow out of Mexico the weekend before last of well over 150 deaths suspected to have been caused by a new strain of influenza commonly referred to as swine flu. Scientists who examined the flu announced that this was a new strain of Influenza A (H1N1) derived partly from swine flu, partly from human flu and partly from avian flu strains (although there is some question as to whether this remains true).


    To the medical mind, the word “pandemic” denotes a disease occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population. The term in no way addresses the underlying seriousness of the disease in the sense of its wider impact on society.


    The recent swine flu experience raises the question of how one would attempt to grapple with a genuine high-mortality pandemic with major consequences. The answer divides into two parts: how to control the spread, and how to deploy treatments.
    Geopolitics of Pandemics

  40. Thanks, Rat, scanning that press conference fast up and down I don't see any reference to political parties at all.

  41. What we're seeing is the Clinton style of government. Smile in our faces while sticking the knife in our backs.

    This is different from the Bush style were you got the knife in the belly. Good thing we got that "change", it makes a big difference!

    Yeah, right.
    Tax Us Some More

  42. Somali Pirates Update

    For what it's worth...

    I just got home from a cross country drive from the natural state.

    At one coffee stop I got in a chat with a biker rolling eastward. Cupping my ear and apologizing for my near deafness led to his admitting the same from being a marine engineer on leave from his ship...which led to my question of what he thought of the piracy situation. Following quotes are some of the conversation I can recall.

    "The whole thing could be solved easily with a team from Blackwater on each ship."

    Where have we heard that before?

    "It might cost a few $million, but why pay many more $millions to the Somalis instead of paying for some guards."

    "The Maersk-Sealand line, including the Maersk Alabama, are all armed. Most cargo ships are armed."

    "The decision to use weapons is the captain's prerogative."

    He related some sea tales told him by friends who'd sailed the troubled waters. One involved a dangling mooring line the boatmen tried to steal. A deck hand saw their boat pulling away dragging the line which they apparently thought was loose. The sailor secured it to a cleat, and waited for the slack to be pulled out, along with the transom of their boat.

  43. Shade of American Graffiti, at the 31 seconds from the end mark.

  44. Whit, the question we have to ask ourselves is, why are the richest/smartest outfits in the world continuing to store 100 Million Barrels ($5 Billion Dollars) on Tankers? They, already, have nice profits made, but they're Not budging.

    The big refineries have a good profit made on the oil in their inventory ($54.50 bbl, today) but They aren't budging. Gasoline is up to $1.58 gal, wholesale, today.

    Nobody's taking profits.

    This is an enormous gamble. Or is it?

  45. The Asia/Pacific offshore business offers a host of scenarios for oil and gas operators. Deep water, remote operations, oil and natural gas discoveries, NOCs, IOCs, independents, language barriers, huge distances, and more all overlaid with a triangle of demand reaching from China to Australia to India.


    AustraliaThe Delegate of the Joint Authority of the Offshore Area of the External Territory of Ashmore and Cartier islands has offered Nexus Energy a production license designated AC/L9 in relation to the Crux liquids project in the Browse basin, offshore Western Australia.


    New ZealandFirst oil has been achieved from Maari, New Zealand’s largest oil field, off Taranaki’s south coast. The field, operated by OMV New Zealand, is a joint venture with Todd Energy, Horizon Oil International, and Cue Taranaki.
    Asia/Pacific Region

  46. - ALTERED BOY - ...Good God, he's talking with parrots
    Painting his dreams in the sand
    Piling up beaucoup demerits
    Doing it just 'cause he can

    By Jove he's having a cocoa
    Evading those judgemental eyes
    Calmly walking his tight rope
    High above all the outcries

    But Peter Pan would understand
    His schemes and dreams and ploys
    Best keep an eye on his slight hand
    He such an altered boy

    The story goes
    he stumbled at the alter
    Now it seems he just blasphemes
    And dwells with dangers daughter

    Someone call the talking doctor
    Somebody get a SWAT team
    There he sits getting away with
    How dare him live out his dreams...

  47. Gunmen armed with automatic weapons and grenades attacked a wedding party in southeastern Turkey on Monday, killing at least 45 people.


    The guards stem from a controversial policy established in 1985 to set up a paramilitary force to protect villages against attacks by Kurdish rebels, patrol the rugged mountains and help fight the separatists.


    Interior Minister Besir Atalay said initial evidence did not point to terrorism, suggesting he was ruling out involvement of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
    Turkish Wedding

  48. Little warm light rain here, brings out the mosquitoes. Nailed one that came in the window, about six feet away, resting on the curtain.

    Linear, if you put the warhead face down on the floor, with the gun frame right by it, you can reach down one handed, load and lock, while using your other hand for some other task, like drinking coffee, or talking on the phone.

    No fuss, no muss, either.

  49. But if you are not using an extended string, the warhead might recoil back into your face after its flight outwards.

  50. ACORN Charged with Vote Fraud

    Monday, May 4, 2009 4:10 PM

    LAS VEGAS -- Nevada authorities are accusing the political advocacy group ACORN and two former employees of illegally paying canvassers to sign up new voters last year.

    Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed charges Monday alleging the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had policies requiring employees in Las Vegas to sign up 20 new voters per day or be fired.

    Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller and Masto say that's voter registration fraud, and it violates state law banning quotas for registering new voters.

    A criminal complaint filed in Las Vegas Justice Court accuses ACORN and two former employees of 39 low-level felonies.

    ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson in New York blames rogue former employees for the allegations. He says ACORN will fight the charges in court.

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. Sounds like I missed a discussion about your remote flyswatter:
    I forgot to buy some, please post where I can get it again.

  54. ...I'm with 'Rat and Warren Buffet, not to mention many others:

    Continued shredding of contract law, bankruptcy law, and more, is hugely damaging for all but those in charge of the politburo and their chosen beneficiaries.

  55. "He related some sea tales told him by friends who'd sailed the troubled waters. One involved a dangling mooring line the boatmen tried to steal. A deck hand saw their boat pulling away dragging the line which they apparently thought was loose. The sailor secured it to a cleat, and waited for the slack to be pulled out, along with the transom of their boat."
    Straight out of Cartoonville:
    What fun that would be!

  56. Rush On Jeb Bush, Romney: They "Hate" And "Despise" Palin.

    Discussing the Republican listening tour conducted by Former Governors Jeb Bush (FL) and Mitt Romney (MA), radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said they are "embarrassed" by Sarah Palin.

    Limbaugh said the underlying issue of these speaking engagements is that Bush and Romney "hate" and "despise" the Alaska Governor and former running-mate of John McCain. Limbaugh added they have "presidential perspirations" and called their tour an "early campaign event."

    Limbaugh defended Palin and heralded her as the "most prominent and articulate voice" for conservatism.

    Rush concluded this "need to praise" President Obama leaves him "wanting."

  57. Pig Fever found a payday, in Congress. $2bn USD, to prepare.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives will seek passage in coming weeks of $94.2 billion in emergency money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other programs, including $2 billion more to prepare for an influenza pandemic.

  58. Soon scores will have died.
    Then comes the dreaded
    Second Wave.