Daily Digest

Daily Digest - Apr 11

Saturday, April 11, 2009, 10:56 AM
  • Fed Orders Banks Not to Release Stress Test Results
  • Lessons from the Past
  • Government Tries To Hold A Gun To The Head Of GM (GM) Creditors
  • Foreclosures in the pipe
  • Foreign currency swap lines for the Fed
  • Why did the Fed, the Bank of England, the ECB, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank announce a dubbel openslaande porte-brisée deur?
  • The Bernanke Revolution
  • Legacy Loans Program - Public Comments
  • The Alchemy of Finance
  • Budget Deficit Close to $1 Billion in First Six Months (Chart)
  • Same Store Sales (Chart)

Economy

Fed Orders Banks Not to Release Stress Test Results

From Bloomberg: Fed Said to Order Banks to Stay Mum on ‘Stress Test' Results (ht Justin)

The U.S. Federal Reserve has told Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other banks to keep mum on the results of "stress tests" that will gauge their ability to weather the recession ...

The Fed wants to ensure that the report cards don't leak during earnings conference calls scheduled for this month. ...

"If you allow banks to talk about it, people are just going to assume that the ones that don't comment about it failed," said Paul Miller, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets in Arlington, Virginia.

What ever happened to transparency? This suggests the results are very ugly for some banks.

Lessons from the Past

In today's world, it's probably fair to say that a lot of people are hungry for ideas on how to cope and stay afloat. Although some of the items listed in the following post from BillShrink's Shrinkage Is Good blog, "16 Depression Era Money Saving Tips," are somewhat self evident, I thought many visitors would find it to be a good source of inspiration.

We are often told that the current financial meltdown is the most serious since the Great Depression. And while that may be true, comparing today's times to such an awful and demoralizing crisis has the effect of scaring people, thereby making the situation worse. This is the wrong way to react to the situation. Rather than passively absorbing fear and uncertainty, we would do well to remember that some people managed to stay afloat during the Great Depression - and to learn how they did it. In that vein, here are 16 Depression-era money saving tips and how they can be utilized today.

Government Tries To Hold A Gun To The Head Of GM (GM) Creditors

he Treasury is using all of its muscle in The Motor City. Bondholders in GM (GM) and Chrysler think they may do better if the companies go bankrupt than if they take the paltry offer of equity-for-debt exchanges that will bring them a few cents on each dollar of their investments.

The government does not have much of a case, but that is not keeping it from trying to strong-arm a restructuring of the two auto firms.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "At Chrysler, the U.S. wants banks and investors who control its bank debt to give up about 85% of the nearly $7 billion they are owed. In bankruptcies, such senior secured lenders typically get most of their money back." The debtor program being discussed for GM is probably not much better.

Foreclosures in the pipe

The bottom line is that there is a massive wave of actual foreclosures that will hit beginning in April that can't be stopped without a national moratorium - this wave is so big I would not put it past them trying it.

Foreign currency swap lines for the Fed

Five central banks have agreed to currency swap lines that enable the Federal Reserve to provide foreign currencies to U.S. financial institutions.

Q: What does it mean?

A: So far the funding shortfall was thought to be largely a USD problem, the C.B.s are telling us loud and clear, it isn't.

The fed is opening lines that could help American banks funds foreign capital flight from the United States. This is disturbing.

Why did the Fed, the Bank of England, the ECB, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank announce a dubbel openslaande porte-brisée deur?

A swap is a swap is a swap. The arrangement between the Fed and the Bank of England provides the Fed with sterling and the Bank of England with US dollars. The swap arrangement with the ECB provides the Fed with euros and the ECB with US dollars. Etc. Etc. You don't have to make two announcements, one that the Fed is getting Swiss francs, euros, yen and sterling and one, a couple of months later, that the SNB, the ECB, the BoJ and the BoE are getting US dollars. So why the redundant announcement on April 6, 2009?

With the original swap arrangements, the rationale for the arrangements was clearly a US dollar scarcity among financial institutions outside the US. Even with the extension of the September 18, 2008 arrangements announced on February 3, 2009, US dollar scarcity outside the US was given as the reason by the Bank of England: "To address continued pressures in global U.S. dollar funding markets, the temporary reciprocal currency arrangements (swap lines) between the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been extended to October 30, 2009."

But on April 6, 2009, the statement by the Fed is not about the Fed supplying US dollars to foreign central banks to meet an excess demand for US dollars by banks outside the US. The statement is all about foreign central banks supplying the Fed with euros, sterling, yen and Swiss francs to accommodate a US thirst for these foreign currencies: "The Bank of England, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, and the Swiss National Bank are announcing swap arrangements that would enable the provision of foreign currency liquidity by the Federal Reserve to U.S. financial institutions. Should the need arise, euro, yen, sterling and Swiss francs would be provided to the Federal Reserve via these additional swap agreements with the relevant central banks. Central banks continue to work together and are taking steps as appropriate to foster stability in global financial markets."

It may well be that in a swap arrangement between central banks, one party is the supplicant and the other party the bestower of favours. When Iceland tried to arrange swap arrangements with the ECB and the Fed in the spring of 2008, there certainly was very little appetite for Icelandic kroner in the ECB and the Fed - so little in fact, that Iceland failed in its attempt to arrange the swaps.

Two things are very weird about the April 6, 2009 announcement. The first is that it was redundant. It provided no new information beyond the extension of the old swap arrangements of September 18, 2008, that had been announced on February 3, 2009. The February 3, 2009 announcement extended the swap arrangements to October 30, 2009. The April 6, 2009 announcement did not change that. And the April 6, 2009 announcement did not change the size of the swap materially (the Bank of England can probably draw up to $44 bn or so under the latest swap arrangement).

It is conceivable - the statements are worded quite clumsily - that the April 6, 2009 announcement is about swap arrangements additional to the swaps previously announced (on February 3, 2009). In that case, the size of the swap arrangements has effectively been doubled. The redundancy objection disappears, but the misleading framing objection continues to apply in spades. If this is indeed the case, my concerns (explained below) about the fate of the US dollars provided by the Fed in the original swaps are strengthened.

The second strange feature is that the April 6, 2009 statement by the Fed is misleading. It is clearly phrased to convey a sense of the Fed needing foreign exchange (euros, yen, Swiss francs and sterling) to provide this foreign currency liquidity to US financial institutions. That is rhubarb. The US dollar shortage abroad continues today in much the same way as on February 3, 2009 or on September 18, 2008. Financial institutions in the US can get foreign exchange liquidity quite readily from the US subsidiaries of Euro Area, British, Swiss and Japanese banks. They don't need the Fed for that.

On April 6, 2009 as on September 18, 2008, the non-US central banks were the beggars in the swap arrangements and the Fed the chooser. So why pretend that the opposite is the case? Why make a redundant and misleading announcement about the swap arrangements? The answer "beats me", comes to mind. So does: "a collective central bank screw-up". Finally there is the possible explanation that by re-framing an existing swap arrangements as the reflection of a Fed need for foreign exchange rather than as a non-US central bank need for US dollars, attention is diverted from foreign exchange shortages outside the US.

I can certainly make a quite convincing case that the UK is woefully short of foreign exchange reserves. At the end of March 2009, UK official foreign exchange reserveswere $49.3 bn gross and $28.3 bn net. The Bank of England's net foreign currency assets are negligible ($6 mn at the end of 2008)

Clearly, the UK swap facility with the Fed is large relative to the size of UK Government Foreign Currency Assets. Gross foreign exchange reserves exceed the size of the swap facility ($44 bn, say) by less than $5 bn and net foreign exchange reserves are more than $15 bn lower than the size of the swap facility.

Small net or gross foreign exchange reserves don't matter as long as the solvency of the government and the nation are beyond doubt, because in that case the authorities will always be able to borrow whatever foreign exchange reserves they require. This is arguably no longer the case anywhere. The massive prospective government deficits of the UK and the impressive size of the nation's short-term foreign currency-denominated liabilities are such that one can without too much effort visualise a scenario where both the government and the private sector are rationed out of the foreign exchange markets and debt markets. When a 'sudden stop' is a non-negligible risk, foreign exchange reserves matter. Ask the Asian and South American countries that went through the 1997-1998 crises.

Recently, interest in the Bank of England's US dollar repos has petered out, but at the beginning of the programme, amounts close to the $40 bn limit were taken up. If those US dollars were borrowed by banks like RBS and HBOS, both insolvent except for past, current and anticipated future government financial support, they may well have been lost. These banks (and other UK banks that are still standing more or less on their own two feet) had (and continue to have) very large US dollar exposures on which they made massive losses - well in excess of $40 bn. These banks also have few liquid foreign currency assets.

Assume one or more banks that borrowed US dollars from the Bank of England cannot pay them back. The Bank of England takes the collateral that secured these US dollar loans. Eligible collateral for these loans consists of those securities that are routinely eligible in the Bank's short-term repo open market operations and Standing Facilities, as published on the Bank's website, together with conventional US Treasury securities. Assume that little if any of the collateral offered for the US dollar loans from the Bank of England consisted of US Treasury securities. So the Bank gets a mitt full of sterling securities back in lieu of the US dollars it has lost. Nice, but not good enough. When the swap arrangements expires, the Bank of England has to repay the Fed in US dollars, not in sterling securities. So unless the swap arrangement is extended, or extended and expanded, the Bank of England would have to send the Fed an ‘Oops' note.

If the full swap line was lost ($40 bn), the UK would be completely out of (net) foreign exchange reserves - if we consolidate the foreign exchange assets and liabilities of the government and the US dollar swap exposure of the Bank of England. Not a good place to be. Of course, the beauty of swaps if that they are off-balance sheet items.

I haven't checked the details about the official foreign exchange reserves of Switzerland and the Euro Area nations, nor do I know much about the foreign exchange losses of Swiss and Eurozone banks, although I expect that these losses are vast. It is possible that the earlier use of the swap lines by the ECB and the SNB has also made a rather large dent in the net foreign exchange reserves of Switzerland and the Eurozone nations.

In any case, the Machiavallian interpretation of the redundant second announcement of the central bank swaps is that it was intended to divert attention from the dire condition of the official foreign exchange reserves of a number of European countries, especially the UK. Extending the duration of the swaps delays the moment that the loss of the US dollars will have to be recognised. If this was indeed the case, it is bound to fail. Markets can be stupid, but not that stupid. This will not reduce the risk that Reijkjavik-on-Thames will have to seek IMF assistance at some point.

The Bernanke Revolution

"From those relatively modest monetary and fiscal powers, the Federal Reserve has evolved into something that would be unrecognizable to its founders. Under the guise of economic expediency, the Fed has grabbed power, dramatically widening the areas of its responsibility. Since the 1990s, the Federal Reserve System, a private corporation registered in the State of Delaware, has behaved as though it were in charge of anything economic-moderating the swings of the business cycle, maintaining interest rates, supporting the value of depreciating assets, even intervening in the stock market.

Legacy Loans Program - Public Comments 

The FDIC and the Treasury recently announced that they will establish the Legacy Loans Program to remove troubled loans and other assets from banks. This program is necessary because uncertainty about the value of these assets makes it difficult for banks to raise capital and secure stable funding to support lending to households and businesses. All FDIC-insured depository institutions will be eligible to participate in the program.

The Alchemy of Finance

George Soros says the "formative experience" of spending his childhood in Nazi-occupied Hungary taught him "there are times where normal rules don't apply." That, in turn, helped him develop a framework of viewing financial markets that runs counter to the efficient market hypothesis, which had dominated economic circles prior to the current crisis. As detailed in his investing classic ‘The Alchemy of Finance' and revisited in his latest book ‘The Crash of 2008 and What It Means', Soros' theory of reflexivity is based on a two-way relationship between the markets and market participants. In sum:

Budget Deficit Close to $1 Billion in First Six Months (Chart)

Same Store Sales (Chart)

31 Comments

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

pyramid-of-misery.png

markf57's picture
markf57
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2008
Posts: 62
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

One of my banks in Colorado (New Frontier Bank) was shutdown by the FDIC yesterday. No other bank would take it over so the FDIC formed a bank to allow depositors 30 days to withdraw their funds.

It appears that this type of takeover has not happened since 1982. But I expect more will close like this in the future.

This bank has been in trouble for some time. They applied for TARP funds and were denied. Last week, the bank president said that if the government had given them $53m in TARP funds, they could have survived, now if the bank is seized it will cost between $500 - 700m.

In a twist of fate, the bank president was removed from office on 4/7. The bank was seized on 4/10.

that1guy's picture
that1guy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 11 2009
Posts: 333
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

The comments on the toxic loan program are awesome...

"So what I would like to suggest is that they quit fooling around and put Bernie Madoff in

charge of the whole shebang. Turn the

FED-Treasury over to Bernie. He knows what to do."

 

I have gotten through the first 7 or so all of which don't like it just as much as the rest of us....hahaha.

that1guy's picture
that1guy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 11 2009
Posts: 333
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Here is another one for you all...these comments are making for interesting reads...

 

"Thank you oh wise leaders of our Republic. Thank you for showing us how little

we matter. Thank you for reminding us that we are merely rabble whose

concerns can just be ignored or rationalized away.

Thank you for ruining our lives."

 

Seeing tons of comments like these makes somewhat hopeful, but in the same note it is also disheartening, It shows they are hearing how  horrible this is on all fronts and yet still don't care. I'm not surprised, but thats not my point...

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

If this first comment is an example of the education system in this country, it's no wonder we're in such trouble! This person claims to be a bankruptcy attorney with an MBA, yet his command of the English language leaves much to be desired. There are a number of errors and the second to last sentence is incomplete. It makes me shudder!

From: williamjenny [mailto:williamjenny@bellsouth.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 6:18 PM
To: LLPComments
Subject:
After reading the plan, it is my opinion that it is a handout to the corrupt bankers who put America into this position. It would be better off to send each American a check for $50,000 then to reward the crooks for making bad/illegal loans. It appears as if they taxpayers are taking at least 90% of the risk. Or, better yet, it is being transferred to them. I see people everyday who never should have been given loans. The amount of fraud has to be in the trillions. Therefore, instead of allowing the banks to go bankrupt, we are going to bid the assets up in value. You can already see the banks in buying the ALT A garbage in anticipation that they can sell this garbage back to the government for a profit. I practice bankruptcy law. I can tell you, people cannot take on anymore debt. So, trying to push on a string is not going to work. The taxpayers are going to be stuck with bad assets and the bankers, as usual, along with their political friends, will run off with the printed dollar bills.

It is mathematically impossible for this plan to work. It would be better to allow the good banks to buy the bad banks like we already do each Friday night. Fund the good banks to buy the bad banks, and fire the bad banks management, like Goldman Sacs, Bank of America, etc. Then, give big rebates to Americans to pay off their mortgages, this would flow DIRECTLY to the bottom line of the banks and make their loans whole.

Lastly, put the criminals from AIG and the other banks who created all this fraud and sold it to the world.

I will guarantee you this, the bailout buyout of bad loan plan will not work. Within 3 years, things will implode worse then they are now.

Good luck
W. Murphy ESQ MBA
Stuart, Florida.

While I'm on the subject, one of my pet peeves in these forums is the incorrect use of the words "lose" and "loose".

"lose" means you have lost something (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lose)

"loose" means something is not securely attached (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loose)

gyrogearloose's picture
gyrogearloose
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 480
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

 Fed Orders Banks Not to Release Stress Test Results

"Banks should stay silent because a focus on the tests would
be “a harmful distraction” from earnings, said Scott Talbott,
senior vice president for government affairs at the Financial
Services Roundtable in Washington.

“It is premature for banks to talk about the stress
tests,” Talbott said yesterday. “They aren’t finalized yet and
there is no framework to evaluate the results.”

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Sam, I wouldn't judge a person based on spelling or grammar. If you do you might spend an eternity just cleaning up my comments.

I know some English majors with MBA's and they don't have the common sense to look both ways before crossing a 4 lane highway. No joke. They may write well and appear smart - until they go to cross the street.

I think economics is a lot of common sense. I'm sure those rocket scientest who developed deravitives were all MBA's and intelligent - I think the quiestion in my mind is did they take a second to apply common sense to the equation. Same with Bernanke. Smart yes. Common sense? If debt is the problem then how is more debt going to fix it?

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

"
While I'm on the subject, one of my pet peeves in these forums is the incorrect use of the words "lose" and "loose"."

AND how about "their", "they're", "there", not to mention the abominable misuse of apostrophes..... 

Mike 

VeganD's picture
VeganD
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2008
Posts: 644
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Sam

I am not so good with the grammar thing myself (and I have an advanced degree too!) but I do agree with what the man seems to be saying :)

Don't you?

Respectfully and fondly yours

Denise

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Davos wrote:

Sam, I wouldn't judge a person based on spelling or grammar. If you do you might spend an eternity just cleaning up my comments.

I know some English majors with MBA's and they don't have the common sense to look both ways before crossing a 4 lane highway. No joke. They may write well and appear smart - until they go to cross the street.

I think economics is a lot of common sense. I'm sure those rocket scientest who developed deravitives were all MBA's and intelligent - I think the quiestion in my mind is did they take a second to apply common sense to the equation. Same with Bernanke. Smart yes. Common sense? If debt is the problem then how is more debt going to fix it?

Davos,

I have a lot of respect for you so please don't infer my comment was directed in any way, shape or form in your direction.

The "lose", "loose" error is one that seems to be appearing more and more lately and it seemed a good time, to me, to make mention of it. This comment was not directed at any one individual as I've seen this error crop up in any number of posts by any number of posters.

I try not to judge a person by their spelling or grammar if it is apparent that their post was typed in haste - as often appears to be the case in these forums - although it does smack somewhat of laziness IMHO. I always spell-check and "preview" my posts. It only takes a minute and I've caught some glaring grammatical errors that way. Mind you, much to my chagrin, some goofs still slip through from time-to-time. Embarassed

However, with spell-check so readily available to everyone, there seems, to me, no excuse for spelling errors.

As for grammatical errors, perhaps it's part of my personal makeup but I tend to lose interest in the subject if I find myself wading through painfully structured posts. Most people who post on this site seem to be pretty bright. Thus, it pains me when I find that their command of the language leaves much to be desired.

To me, it detracts from what they are trying to say because if you
can't spell and have no command of your native language, how can I have
any respect for what you are trying to say?

It also goes without saying (although I just did) that my comments do not apply to those whose first language is not English. I personally find the English language to be such a convoluted mess that I'm amazed that non-native speakers of English are able to learn it at all!

BTW, another irritant (besides Mike's very valid points) is "site", "cite", "sight". I'm appalled at the misuse of these words.

Finally, addressing your comments, I agree that a university degree does not confer either intelligence or common sense. Writing well will not help if your premise is flawed or your lack of intelligence comes shining through!

Those who are able to get their point across, and hold the interest of the reader, are those who write well, spell correctly, and have something important to convey.

And, with that, I shall descend from my high-horse!  Wink

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Denszcz wrote:

Sam

I am not so good with the grammar thing myself (and I have an advanced degree too!) but I do agree with what the man seems to be saying :)

Don't you?

Respectfully and fondly yours

Denise

Hi Denise,

I think I agree with some of what he is saying. However, due to his fractured English, I can't be entirely sure!

Without trying to appear too impudent, I only have a high-school diploma and two years of college, yet I consider that I have a fairly good command of the English language. Doesn't it bother you that, with an advanced degree, you are "...not so good with the grammar thing..."?

bobb dobbs's picture
bobb dobbs
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2008
Posts: 31
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

I'm having fun with those comments to the FDIC, too.

Here's one from Benjamin N. Dover III :

"I'm confident that I speak for most Americans when I note that the proposed PPIP

is grossly unfair to the banks, investors and asset managers. This sweetheart deal for

taxpayers would penalize banks for finding themselves in an unforeseeable

predicament for which they bear no responsibility."

Here's one of Ben's suggestions:

"2.  The Government would put up 100% of the capital plus 100-1 leverage in the form of
non-recourse financing funded by a combination of the FDIC fund for deposit protection
and the Social Security endowment.  (Medicare and Medicaid could also be asked to chip
in as necessary -- I see no reason why the poor and elderly should not pay their fair share
here)."  

He has more to say. Read it here: 

http://www.fdic.gov/llp/comments/llp108.pdf

It's alarming to imagine that the FDIC, Tim, and Bernanke will count his comment as being in favor of the PPIP but they might!

 

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

bobb dobbs wrote:

I'm having fun with those comments to the FDIC, too.

Here's one from Benjamin N. Dover III :

"I'm confident that I speak for most Americans when I note that the proposed PPIP

is grossly unfair to the banks, investors and asset managers. This sweetheart deal for

taxpayers would penalize banks for finding themselves in an unforeseeable

predicament for which they bear no responsibility."

Here's one of Ben's suggestions:

"2.  The Government would put up 100% of the capital plus 100-1 leverage in the form of
non-recourse financing funded by a combination of the FDIC fund for deposit protection
and the Social Security endowment.  (Medicare and Medicaid could also be asked to chip
in as necessary -- I see no reason why the poor and elderly should not pay their fair share
here)."  

He has more to say. Read it here: 

http://www.fdic.gov/llp/comments/llp108.pdf

It's alarming to imagine that the FDIC, Tim, and Bernanke will count his comment as being in favor of the PPIP but they might!

Now that was a well written letter!

Note that it was composed by "Ben N. Dover " (run the name together).

'Nuff said?  Wink

bobb dobbs's picture
bobb dobbs
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2008
Posts: 31
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

This article may shed some light on whats going on with the spelling/grammar errors and intelligence vs. common sense conversation. It seems obvious that humans have many qualities apportioned in  infinite combinations.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2009/04/137_42793.html

Rationality vs. Intelligence

The article is about judgement and decision making. It states,"For a variety of reasons, we have come to overvalue the kinds of thinking skills that intelligence tests measure and undervalue other important cognitive skills, such as the ability to think rationally."

I think some of us overvalue the ability to speak, write and spell correctly. I'm above average in those skills, as measured by IQ tests I took in my youth, and I can assure you that there is benefit in being so judged. The facts are, though, that ones IQ or grammatical abilities are only a tiny part of a person and it is short-sighted to either elevate or denigate anyone based on such a miniscule measure.

Everyone brings something to the party, no one brings everything.

 

 

bobb dobbs's picture
bobb dobbs
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2008
Posts: 31
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

HO HO!  Above average?

Then how come I spelled 'denigrate' wrong after proofing it twice?

"Look at your hand when you point at someone. There are three fingers pointing back at you!" - Eloy Valdez

 

 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/apr2009/schl-a10.shtml

Detroit to close another 23 schools this fall

By Shannon Jones
10 April 2009

Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager of the Detroit Public
Schools, followed through on threats to carry out drastic cuts, naming
23 schools targeted for closure. In a separate announcement, the school
finance chief said layoff notices are going out for 600 teachers.

An additional 30 schools will be closed in 2010. Michigan’s
Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, appointed Bobb in January,
giving him emergency powers to bypass the elected school board and
impose cuts needed to eliminate the district’s $305 million deficit.
The closures are expected to save $8 million annually, indicating that
further massive cuts, including teacher and staff layoffs will be
needed.

The announcement immediately drew angry responses from parents and
students throughout Detroit, the most impoverished big city in America.
Students in the district have already suffered decades of deteriorating
conditions in the public schools, which suffer from lack of adequate
supplies, overcrowded classrooms and general decay and neglect. As a
result, Detroit has a 75 percent dropout rate, the worst in the nation.

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Now here is some good news! I'll post it on tomorrow's blog as well, take care

 

New jobs, new trend (H/T Fred) 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

"I personally find the English language to be such a convoluted mess
that I'm amazed that non-native speakers of English are able to learn
it at all!"

You betcha....!  When we emigrated to Australia, the pronunciation of words left me totally bewildered...  like marmalade, which has three a's but which are all pronounced differently.  Why?  To the French, this bewildering, as an 'a' is always an 'a'!

BTW, spellcheck would not pick up using a word in the wrong context like lose and loose.  Both are spelled properly and would pass the test. 

Mike 

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Damnthematrix wrote:

"I personally find the English language to be such a convoluted mess
that I'm amazed that non-native speakers of English are able to learn
it at all!"

You betcha....!  When we emigrated to Australia, the pronunciation of words left me totally bewildered...  like marmalade, which has three a's but which are all pronounced differently.  Why?  To the French, this bewildering, as an 'a' is always an 'a'!

BTW, spellcheck would not pick up using a word in the wrong context like lose and loose.  Both are spelled properly and would pass the test. 

Mike 

Mike,

Spell check will never pick up grammatical errors (hence your issue with 'there' and 'their'). That's why proper grammar is as important as correct spelling. The combination of the two is what allows us to communicate our thoughts to the outside world in an intelligible manner.

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

bobb dobbs wrote:
The facts are, though, that ones IQ or grammatical abilities are only a tiny part of a person and it is short-sighted to either elevate or denigate anyone based on such a miniscule measure.

I don't denigrate anyone based strictly on grammatical abilities. I am, however, less inclined to follow their train of thought or pay attention to what they are trying to convey if reading what they wrote is painful to me.

If I am struggling past multiple spelling and grammatical errors, I usually give up and the information that I might have absorbed is lost because the author was not conscientious enough to make sure they used spelling and grammar correctly.

Microsoft Word has both spell check and grammar check so there's even less of an excuse for such problems to persist.

BTW, you misspelled 'minuscule' as well. Wink

RubberRims's picture
RubberRims
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 22 2008
Posts: 145
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

The Great Geithner Coverup, has anyone seen this yet. 

Economist William K. Black of the University of Missouri appeared in an interview on PBS last week with Bill Moyers. He pulls no punches in spelling out who is really responsible for our current economic disaster, and why our own Treasury Secretary is leading the charge to keep the truth covered up.

fujisan's picture
fujisan
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 5 2008
Posts: 296
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Zimbabwe shelves own currency for a year

Quote:

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will not use its own local currency for at least a year, a state newspaper reported on Sunday, while it tries to repair an economy which critics say was destroyed by President Robert Mugabe.

The southern African state has allowed the use of multiple foreign currencies since January to stem hyperinflation which had rocketed to over 230 million percent and left the Zimbabwe dollar almost worthless.

Chris should revise Ch 8: "Given the fact that over 3,801 paper currencies (and a few metallic ones) have been rendered worthless due to mismanagement"

DavidC's picture
DavidC
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 239
RubberRims & SamLinder Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

RubberRims,

The William K. Black interview should be shown on prime time TV!

Sam,

I'm with you on the grammar and spelling - if someone's native language isn't English, or if someone hasn't had a higher education, I have no problem with poorer spelling or grammatical usage, although in my experience quite often he or she makes more of an effort to be correct. I do have more of an issue with people who should know or who don't check. At the risk of putting our Chris on a pedestal (!), I only recall reading well presented, grammatically well structured and correctly spelt pieces. And it makes them easier to follow and to understand (yes, one CAN start a sentence with and!). We all make mistakes, even after prof - sic! - reading but we can try to be correct. On many of the job sites about applying for jobs, great store is made in ensuring that the CV and letter are spelt correctly.

Examples I've come across - 'mute' instead of 'moot' (wah!); all the 'your', 'you're','it's' 'its' examples.

Maybe getting the away from proper CC forum subjects but nonetheless a subject that always gets opinions!

DavidC

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2353
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Quote:
Examples I've come across - 'mute' instead of 'moot' (wah!); all the 'your', 'you're','it's' 'its' examples.

Hey, that's mine!
I don't know what "moot" means, so I refuse to use it.
Meanwhile, mute makes more sense.

It's like seperating the wheat from the shaft.
The Chaff is what is meant, but shaft actually makes sense too, and is a part of the same process.

Heh heh heh.

 

bobb dobbs's picture
bobb dobbs
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2008
Posts: 31
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

 

Sam Linder wrote:

"BTW, you misspelled 'minuscule' as well. Wink "

 

Hello Sam,

You gotcha me.Wink

So, I looked in my Webster's New World Dictionary under 'miniscule'. It's in there!......

as "erroneous sp. of minuscule". (Neither spelling is flagged by this site's spellchecker. Maybe I don't know how to use it.) 

I think I also should have put a 'thingy' in "ones IQ". Like this: "one's IQ".

bobb

DavidC's picture
DavidC
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 239
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Aaron,

You made me smile!

It may be moot as to whether I remain mute after your post, however one could moot that you refer to a dictionary...!

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

DavidC

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2353
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

Haha,

Totally misunderstood that phrase - thanks! Learnt something today!

Cheers,

Aaron

DavidC's picture
DavidC
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 239
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

bobb dobbs and Sam

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=50795&dict=CALD

miniscule
adjective
a
common spelling of minuscule that is not
correct. I guess it's derived from minute (as in very small, not unit of time!).

I'm going to stop now...!

DavidC

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

bobb, DavidC, Aaron:

For all my bluster, I confess that I'm guilty, at times, of some grammatical mistakes myself. Surprised

When I'm rapidly typing, my fingers often type "your" when I meant "you're". Even a rapid proof reading will miss that mistake.

Thus, "hoisted by me own petard", I agree with bobb's earlier comment - to wit:

"Look at your hand when you point at someone. There are three fingers pointing back at you!" - Eloy Valdez 

Wink

SteveR's picture
SteveR
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 4 2008
Posts: 71
Grammar

Sam,

In general, I'm with you on the whole grammar thing.  But by the same token, I am a member of a health-related forum where the most knowlegible and helpful guy (a co-moderator) has completely atrocious grammar.  In fact, I can recognize his posts just by his poor English skills, but the important part is that the content is spot-on and always helpful and generous.

eb_riesling's picture
eb_riesling
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 28 2008
Posts: 49
Re: Daily Digest - Apr 11

This site just took a step backward today.  In the past I always found this site to be informative and a beacon of insight to complex issues facing the world.  If we are to start focusing on grammar instead of the message then heaven help us all!

 

When reading misspelled or misused words all brains can and do perform a fast fourier analysis to compensate such that the intent of the message is preserved.  Not unlike what your brain does when you are listening to a digital signal (that has been truncated) and it is not until the person on the other end gives their name that your brain automatically fills in the missing spectrum and they sound as they should.

 In short, for all you grammar freaks, get over it and focus on the message!

 

E

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments