Daily Digest

Daily Digest 5/14 - Uncertain Leadership Strains Financial Overhaul, Almost Reaching Grid Parity, Peak Coal This Year?

Saturday, May 14, 2011, 9:49 AM
  • Iceland's Big Economic Thaw
  • Japan’s Most Important Banker Sees Only Bubbles
  • Uncertain Leadership Strains Financial Overhaul
  • China-U.S. Defense Hotline Shows Gulf Between Nations
  • Rising Food and Gas Costs Push Up Consumer Prices
  • Peak Coal This Year?
  • Almost Reaching Grid Parity
  • Nuclear Meltdown At Fukushima Plant
  • Japanese Reactor Damage Is Worse Than Expected

Learn how to protect your wealth against the Three E forces using our 'What Should I Do?' guide


Iceland's Big Economic Thaw (jdargis)

During the boom years, Iceland became a nation obsessed with banking. “Everyone was working for the banks — from the physicists to the philosophers,” one Icelander told me. I met two women in their mid-20s who said that when they graduated from college, virtually all of their classmates were jockeying to get into finance, and for a brief spell, they both became bankers. I asked one of the women, who trained to be an engineer, if she ever paused to consider whether she really wanted to be a banker. “It was just the coolest,” she recalled giddily. “Everybody was like, Yeah, give me a high-five!”

Japan’s Most Important Banker Sees Only Bubbles (es2)

With his nation’s economy contracting under disaster damage of as much as 25 trillion yen ($310 billion), Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa is signaling that his biggest worry is inflation.

Uncertain Leadership Strains Financial Overhaul (jdargis)

“I look back on my last five years and all the tough decisions I had to make, and if I’d been in an acting capacity, it would have been very inhibiting to me in making some of the tough decisions I had to do,” Sheila C. Bair, who in early June will complete her term as chairwoman of the F.D.I.C., told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

China-U.S. Defense Hotline Shows Gulf Between Nations (jdargis)

The hotline was rarely used even in a period marked by two naval confrontations in 2009, friction over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and U.S. overtures to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. One of the four calls was from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to congratulate his newly promoted Chinese counterpart in April 2008.

Rising Food and Gas Costs Push Up Consumer Prices (jdargis)

Excluding volatile food and energy, which account for about 20 percent of the CPI, the index increased 0.2 percent in April and has risen 1.3 percent over the past 12 months. That's still below the level the Federal Reserve considers a healthy pace of inflation.


Peak Coal This Year? (damnthematrix)

The study, led by Tad Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and published in the August issue of Energy, predicts that by mid-century, the world's coal mining will supply only half as much energy as today.

Almost Reaching Grid Parity (guardia)

We will reach grid parity earlier than thought, which means that the cost of generating solar power will be equal or less than the cost of using power from the current electric power grid. According to the latest predictions, grid parity, which was calculated to occur sometime around the year 2022, is going to happen 10 years earlier! And according to Fuji Keizai, Japan will be the first country to reach grid parity in 2012.

Nuclear Meltdown At Fukushima Plant (kelvinator)

Engineers from the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) entered the No.1 reactor at the end of last week for the first time and saw the top five feet or so of the core's 13ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down. Previously, Tepco believed that the core of the reactor was submerged in enough water to keep it stable and that only 55 per cent of the core had been damaged.

Japanese Reactor Damage Is Worse Than Expected (jdargis)

The company, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, was able to better assess the reactor on Thursday because workers had recently been able to get close enough to fix a water gauge. It showed that the water level in the reactor was much lower than expected despite the infusion of tons of water since a devastating earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant’s crucial cooling systems.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


saxplayer00o1's picture
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Trustees: Medicare money will be exhausted by 2024

"Highlighting the financial peril confronting Medicare, the federal government predicted Friday that the program’s largest trust fund would run out of money in 2024, five years earlier than projected last year.

Medicare’s deteriorating condition contrasts with Social Security, whose funds will not be exhausted until 2036, according to an annual report by trustees who oversee the two mammoth entitlement programs.

The faltering Medicare finances — driven in part by the sluggish economy — are expected to intensify pressure on both parties in Washington to move forcefully to shore up the health plan that covers care for more than 47 million elderly and disabled Americans."

.................................New report warns Social Security, Medicare could run out of money even earlier than feared

"Baby boomers better not bank on Social Security benefits getting them through their golden years.

Same goes for Medicare - both programs will run out of money sooner than expected, said a government report released Friday.

The trustees that run the funds for both programs said Social Security will be depleted by 2036, a year earlier than projected."

............................Trustees: Worsening picture for benefit programs

...........................U.S. says Medicare to exhaust funds sooner

Other news:

"Based on preliminary budget figures, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department could lose three-fourths of its patrol division. The District Attorney's Office might have to lay off half its prosecutors."

70 California state parks fall to budget ax‎

Sheriff's Department Facing 800 Job Cuts (Riverside) and Riverside deputies facing hundreds of layoffs

 CCS Proposes Cutting 259 Positions To Combat Loss In State Aid (Columbus)

Berlin calls on Greece to restructure debt

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Providence officials warn city may not be able to pay its bills


Gang unit, Santa Maria jail cut as pension costs increase by $20 mil

Budget cuts impact preschools in Tulare County

San Jose’s Proposed Budget Cuts Service Back to 1980s Levels and SJ mayor wants to declare public safety emergency (" could conceivably find itself on the brink of bankruptcy")

Budget Cuts Imperil Aid in Foreclosure Cases (NY)

Providence officials warn city may not be able to pay its bills on time

OC job cuts swell past 1,700

Sacramento area school districts send out 1,200 final teacher layoff notices


"May 14 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said a default arising from failing to raise the debt limit could cause "irrevocable damage" to the economy, risk a "double-dip" recession and increase unemployment."

.....................Bernanke: Congress must raise debt limit to avoid potential crisis‎


...................Looks like we all need to join in and support Geithner and Bernanke in raising the debt ceiling. After all

they are only there to serve us. Just raise the debt limit and all of us sheep will be fine.

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Eric Sprott

Eric Sprott

IMF Director Is Arrested in NY For an Alleged Sexual Attack http://www.cnbc.com/id/43035747

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was taken off an Air France plane at Kennedy International Airport just minutes before it was to take off for Paris on Saturday and arrested in the sexual attack of a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, the authorities said.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62, who was widely expected to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency, was apprehended by detectives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the first class section of the jetliner, and immediately turned over to detectives from the Midtown South Precinct, which covers the part of Manhattan where the hotel is, officials said.

“He is in N.Y.P.D. custody, being questioned in connection with sexual assault of a hotel chambermaid earlier this afternoon,” Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the New York Police Department’s chief spokesman, said Saturday evening.

A spokeswoman for the office of the Manhattan district attorney said that Mr. Strauss-Kahn had not yet been, “formally charged,” in the case, and that he was not expected to be arraigned before a judge until later in the evening.

The apprehension came at about 4:40 p.m., when two detectives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey suddenly boarded Air France Flight 23, as the plane idled on the tarmac, said John P. L. Kelly, a spokesman for the agency.

“It was 10 minutes before its scheduled departure,” said Mr. Kelly. “They were just about to close the doors.” Mr. Kelly said Mr. Strauss-Kahn was traveling alone and was not handcuffed during the apprehension.

“He complied with the detectives’ directions,” Mr. Kelly said.

The Port Authority officers were acting on information from the Police Department, whose detectives had been investigating the assault of a female employee of the Sofitel New York, at 45 West 44th Street, in the heart of the theater district.

Mr. Strauss-Khan, a former French finance minister, had been expected to declare his candidacy soon after three and a half years as the leader of the fund, which is based in Washington, where he was considered by many to have done a good job in a very difficult period of global economic strain, when the bank itself has become vital to the smooth running of the world and the European economy.

His time at the bank was tarnished in 2008 by an affair with a Hungarian economist who was a subordinate there.

The fund decided to stand by him despite concluding that he had shown poor judgment in conducting the affair.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn issued an apology to employees at the bank and his wife, Anne Sinclair, an American-born French television journalist.

In his statement then, Mr. Strauss-Kahn said, “I am grateful that the board has confirmed that there was no abuse of authority on my part, but I accept that this incident represents a serious error of judgment.”

The economist, Piroska Nagy, left the fund as part of a buyout of nearly 600 employees instituted by Mr. Strauss-Kahn to cut costs.

In the New York case, Mr. Browne said that it was about 1 p.m. on Saturday when the chambermaid, a 32-year-old woman, entered to clean Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s room.

“He came out of the bathroom, fully naked and attempted to sexually assault her,” Mr. Browne said.

bobn's picture
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The "Trust Funds" are empty NOW and always have been!

The  SS "Trust Fund" contains nothing but non-negotiable IOUs from .gov.

So, there are only 3 options: payments must be cut, debt must be sold, or taxes must increase.


This is the *exact* same state as if the Trust Funds did not exist.


Why do we even discuss the Trust Funds?  It's all BS.


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So, there are only 3

So, there are only 3 options: payments must be cut, debt must be sold, or taxes must increase.


I vote for Option 4. Print money to honor the promise entitlements. Raising taxes won't work because 1. Middle class is already tapped out (debt saturation), 2. Rich will just move operations offshore and continue to move business off-shore where labor is cheap and where growth exists.

Politicans that try to cut entitlements will be voted out of office as voters recieveing entitlement or about to recieve them will metaphorically tar-and-feather politicians that try to take entitlements away. Consider that few retirees/soon-to-be-retirees have any significant retirment savings. They have bet the farm on entitlements getting them through retirment. Those that do have some retirement savings are at a disadvantage since inflation (rising food/energy/medicial care) is robbing them blind and need entitlements to fall back on.

Of course printing money will crush the dollar., but its the only logical option.


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Two Other Reactors Suffer Serious Damage

"TOKYO—Substantial damage to the fuel cores at two other reactors of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex has taken place, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday, further complicating the already daunting task of bringing the reactors to a safe shutdown while avoiding the release of high levels of radioactivity.

The revelation followed an acknowledgement on Thursday that a similar meltdown of the core took place at Unit No. 1. The operator, known as Tepco, said that unit lost its reactor core 16 hours after the plant was struck by a magnitude-9 earthquake and a giant tsunami on the afternoon of March 11.

Workers also found that the No. 1 Unit's reactor building is flooded in the basement, reinforcing the suspicion that the containment vessel is damaged and leaking highly radioactive water.

The revelations are likely to force an overhaul of the six-to-nine-month blueprint for bringing the reactors to a safe shutdown stage and end the release of radioactive materials. The original plan, announced in mid-April, was due to be revised May 17.

The pressure vessel, a cylindrical steel container that holds nuclear fuel, "is likely to be damaged and leaking water at Units Nos. 2-3," said Junichi Matsumoto, Tepco spokesman on nuclear issues, in a news briefing Sunday"

.............Evacuation begins from widened no-go zone near Fukushima plant

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