Daily Digest

Daily Digest - March 8

Monday, March 8, 2010, 11:47 AM
  • Gary Gorton On The Shadow Banking System Run, And The Interplay Of Shadow And Traditional Banking
  • FDIC Said to Encourage Pension Funds to Invest in Failed Banks
  • China Central Bank Chief: Yuan Policy To Change, But Not Yet
  • Sarkozy Says EU Must Back Greece Or Jeopardize Euro
  • Four U.S. Banks Shut Down As Failure Count This Year Reaches 26
  • IRS to Track Online Sellers' Payment Transactions Beginning Next Year
  • Program Will Pay Homeowners to Sell at a Loss
  • FSN News Hour - Matthew R. Simmons
  • Oil Prices Reach Post-Crisis High In UK, Euro Zone
  • Iran's Ace (or Deuce): Its Oil Reserves

Economy

Gary Gorton On The Shadow Banking System Run, And The Interplay Of Shadow And Traditional Banking (Davos)

Keep in mind that post the Lehman crisis, it only took 3 days before the money markets locked up and were in need of governmental guarantees, while the broader repo market was shut down within 48 hours. As retail investors tend to enjoy obtaining physical delivery of their asset (read FRNs), for institutions, the wave can turn at a heartbeat, and next time around the administration will likely not even have 12 hours before a complete financial, systemic, and irrevocable lock-down is in place.

FDIC Said to Encourage Pension Funds to Invest in Failed Banks (Nickbert)

U.S. regulators are encouraging public pension funds that control more than $2 trillion to inject capital directly into the banking system by buying failed lenders, said people briefed on the matter.

China Central Bank Chief: Yuan Policy To Change, But Not Yet (Nickbert)

The central banker described China's foreign-exchange policy as a special response designed to weather the aftermath of the global financial crisis. But Chinese officials also suggested that the yuan's appreciation may not begin anytime soon, particularly with China's trade surplus rapidly shrinking, as its imports rise while its exports remain sluggish.

Sarkozy Says EU Must Back Greece Or Jeopardize Euro (Christian W.)

EU leaders have so far refused to give financial aid to Greece and have ordered the government to cut its budget deficit, the EU’s highest, on its own. While Papandreou says steps taken this past week to slash the shortfall warrant more help from the EU, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said yesterday that his country is “not going to write a blank check.”

Four U.S. Banks Shut Down As Failure Count This Year Reaches 26 (Christian W.)

The FDIC was unable to find buyers for two banks - Centennial Bank in Ogden, Utah, and Waterfield Bank of Germantown, Maryland - according to statements posted on the agency’s Web site. In the largest of yesterday’s failures by assets, Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun American Bank was purchased by First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co.

IRS to Track Online Sellers' Payment Transactions Beginning Next Year (mhoop)

Internet sellers who don't report their sales will no longer be under the radar. Starting next year, any bank or other payment settlement company that processes credit cards, debit cards, and electronic payments such as PayPal will have to issue information returns telling the IRS what merchants receive. The new returns are Form 1099-K, Merchant Card and Third-Party Payments.

Program Will Pay Homeowners to Sell at a Loss (Ben Johnson)

In an effort to end the foreclosure crisis, the Obama administration has been trying to keep defaulting owners in their homes. Now it will take a new approach: paying some of them to leave.

This latest program, which will allow owners to sell for less than they owe and will give them a little cash to speed them on their way, is one of the administration’s most aggressive attempts to grapple with a problem that has defied solutions.

Energy

FSN News Hour - Hour 2 (Davos)

Matthew R. Simmons: Chairman, Simmons & Company International. Talks of offshore wind, water and fuel for cars - amazing listen!

mp3 / Windows / Realplayer

Oil Prices Reach Post-Crisis High In UK, Euro Zone (Christian W.)

Since October last year, the U.S. dollar price of oil has been moving within a trading range of roughly $70 to $80, though it has briefly risen slightly above that range. After the markets interpreted the employment report in a bullish way, it is again trading at somewhat above $80, $81.90 to be more precise when this is written.

Iran's Ace (or Deuce): Its Oil Reserves (Christian W.)

Diplomacy and energy are never far apart in the Persian Gulf. So, as American officials seek new international sanctions against Iran this week, it’s probably wise for them to remember how much the world’s global energy map has changed over the past decade.

Iran’s leaders certainly do, and they’ve been counting on their increased ties with Asian countries, especially China, as their trump card against efforts to hem in their nuclear program.

Please send article submissions to: [email protected]

19 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City was held up as a national example of bold thinking when it tried to integrate its schools by making them better than the suburban districts where many kids were moving. The result was one school with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and another with recording studios.

Now it's on the brink of bankruptcy and considering another bold move: closing nearly half its schools to stay afloat."

"MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Bankrupty filings in New Hampshire are steadily rising.

In February, there were 505 filings - the highest number since bankruptcy laws were changed in 2005. The number rose from January's 381 bankruptcy filings.

The Union Leader reports that the highest monthly total last year was 494 in July.

Bankruptcy lawyers say they are bracing for an even busier period over the next several months.

Sandra Kuhn of the FamilyLegal law firm in Concord says many people wait until they receive their federal tax refunds so that they can pay the filing and attorney fees in seeking bankruptcy protection."

"PRICHARD, Ala. (AP) - Retired workers for the city of Prichard are hoping a bankruptcy judge will force the Mobile County city to give them their retirement checks. The retired workers have not been paid for six months.

The Mobile Press-Register reported that the about 150 city retirees received their last checks in September. A month later, Prichard filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and halted payment to the retired workers."

"Previously, investors believed that state regulators might order American Assurance to stop paying outinsurance claims but would balk at placing the company in receivership. Under that scenario, the holdco would survive on dividends from the opco until at least 2011 that would be cut off immediately in a receivership scenario.The bankruptcy filing in February of Las Vegas Monorail Corporation (LVMC) and the prospect of proliferating municipal defaults forced fund managers to revisit those assumptions.Two investors who said that they placed a low probability on receivership in November indicated in interviews this week that they believe the chance of receivership has increased. Both sources cited fear of a municipal default epidemic and the opacity of Ambac’s finances as contributing factors.

“The logic is that the holdco wouldn’t survive a receivership at the opco,” said a buysider. "

"March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Dubai World, the state-owned holding company in talks to renegotiate about $26 billion of debt, will ask banks for permission to delay loan repayments when it presents a plan this month, said three bankers familiar with the negotiations."

"March 7 (Bloomberg) -- A default by Greece may have an “infectious effect” on countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy, forcing European governments to come to the rescue of their banks, Deutsche Bank chief economist Thomas Mayer told Deutschlandfunk radio station.

Any indication that creditors will have to make writedowns on a total of more than 520 billion euros ($709 billion) in claims against Greece would be “a real problem,” Mayer said, according to a transcript of the interview dated yesterday. The situation would be similar to what followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., he was quoted as saying."

"BEIJING — China's banks might face risks if finance arms set up by local governments to invest in real estate and infrastructure projects cannot repay heavy borrowing, a deputy central bank governor said Monday."

"Premier Wen Jiabao warned Friday that China's banks and public finance system face growing risks after a record surge in lending last year, when state-owned banks were told to step up credit to support Beijing's stimulus.

Chinese media say the financing arms of local governments have borrowed some 6 trillion yuan ($880 billion). An American researcher, Victor Shih of Northwestern University, estimates total local government borrowing in 2004-09 at 12 trillion ($1.6 trillion)."

"March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Equity mutual funds are burning through cash at the fastest rate in 18 years, leaving them with the smallest reserves since 2007 in a sign that gains for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may slow."

"March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Banks operating in the United Arab Emirates may have non-performing loans of as high as 15 percent of total lending, more than triple the level reported, according to UBS AG."

................9A) Gulf banks' non-performing loan peak 'still to come'

"The state's financial crisis may force New Jersey to raise the retirement age for state workers again and scale back pension benefits even for current government employees, state officials said last week.

Those were two of several dramatic proposals aired as officials began to fathom how to deal with the state's $11 billion deficit for the state budget that begins July 1.

The public discussions even included a moment when the state treasurer broached the idea of a bankruptcy filing for the state's pension systems, an idea he later said was a "rhetorical question" that is not legally possible."

"McDonnell proposal looks to remove about 500 service position employees

Thousands of state and local government employees face layoffs because of the severe budget cuts.

Just how many jobs will be lost should become clearer by Saturday when the General Assembly is scheduled to adopt a budget for the 2010-2012 biennium.

Since the recession began, the state’s general fund budget has been reduced by $7 billion. The assembly is wrestling with an additional $4 billion in cuts.

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposal to close the state’s funding shortfall referred to the elimination of about 500 jobs, including mostly direct-care and support positions at various state mental hospitals.

Those proposed cuts likely will be minimized. Both the House of Delegates and the state Senate propose keeping open the Commonwealth Center for Adolescents in Staunton, although an adolescent center in Marion would be closed.

But McDonnell’s proposal did not convey the larger job losses that will result from funding cuts to localities.

The direst layoff forecast comes from the Virginia Education Association, which represents teachers and other education employees. Robley Jones, lobbyist for the association, said 15,000 would lose their jobs under the Senate version of the budget, and 22,000 in the House version, which would cut public education more severely."

"A little-noticed law could soon result in smaller Social Security checks for hundreds of thousands of the elderly and disabled who owe the U.S. money from defaulted loans and other debts more than a decade old.

Social Security benefits are off-limits to creditors, such as credit-card companies and banks. But the U.S. can collect debts to federal agencies by "offsetting," or withholding Social Security and disability payments.

The Treasury currently withholds benefits of 3.1 million Social Security recipients to recover defaulted student-, farm- and small-business loans, unpaid income taxes, amounts veterans owe for health care, and other debts to the government.

Previously, the U.S. hasn't been able to withhold Social Security payments to recover most debts delinquent for more than ten years. "

"Fargo and other North Dakota school districts are closely watching the fate of the state teachers’ retirement fund.

It may shape up to be the state Legislature’s top issue in 2011.

Like retirement funds across the country, the state-run Teachers’ Fund for Retirement, or TFFR, took a hit from the market meltdown and massive investment losses.

The fund has an unfunded liability of nearly $600 million, said Fay Kopp, deputy executive director of the North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office. That means to fix it would require an infusion of $500 million to $600 million."

  • 14) Please don't miss this one posted in the Daily Digest (above)

FDIC Said to Encourage Pension Funds to Invest in Failed Banks (Nickbert)

U.S. regulators are encouraging public pension funds that control more than $2 trillion to inject capital directly into the banking system by buying failed lenders, said people briefed on the matter.

"BLOOMBERG

Saturday, Mar 06, 2010, Page 10

Almost 39 million Americans received food stamps in December, the most ever, as the jobless rate hovered near a 26-year high, the government said.

Recipients of the subsidies for food purchases climbed 23 percent from a year earlier and rose 2.1 percent from November, the US Department of Agriculture said on Thursday in a statement on its Web site. The number getting the benefit has set records for 13 straight months.

Food aid climbed as the national unemployment rate reached 10.1 percent in October, the ­highest since June 1983, and remained at 10 percent through December before easing to 9.7 percent in January.

An average of 40.5 million people will get food stamps each month in the year that began on Oct. 1, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said last week. The figure is projected to rise to 43.3 million next year."

(Try this one if the link above doesn't work)

  • 16) Headlines and other stories

Repo Business Picks Up In Tough Times (Texas)

‘On the Edge’ Banks Facing Writedowns After FDIC Loan Auctions

Mich. faces growing home mortgage default woes

Strategic defaults on homes on the rise (SF)

China to Nullify Loan Guarantees by Local Governments

Nevada lawmakers' reliance on temporary fixes creates $3 billion hole

Napa wines losing ground as loan defaults rise

Pension shortfall near $6000 for every Chicago resident or Public pension deficit soars in Illinois

Kuwait mulls $5.7 bln citizen debt bailout

Iran lawmakers attack govt budget plan, see soaring inflation

A new survey says 86 percent of Michigan's public school districts expect to have layoffs in the coming year

Homeowners to be paid to sell at a loss

Bank Failures on Pace This Year to Surpass 2009 Tally

Collision awaits as funds shrink for nursing homes (Oklahoma)

Social service agencies fear impact of state budget cuts (Missouri..after tax receipts dropped 14.6% from 2009)

$890 million in Washington state tax hikes get Senate OK

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Lessons Learned and Lessons Forgotten

Lessons Learned and Lessons Forgotten by Jim Richter

http://richterreport.com/content.php?id=301&menu_id=15&menu_item_id=0

John  Maynard Keynes once said that,"By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."

Mr. Keynes left out a very important corollary. He did not mention that, when a government steals from its citizens by debauching the currency, the government invariably turns on its citizens and blames them for the very crisis which the government has caused.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City was held up as a national example of bold thinking when it tried to integrate its schools by making them better than the suburban districts where many kids were moving. The result was one school with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and another with recording studios.

Now it's on the brink of bankruptcy and considering another bold move: closing nearly half its schools to stay afloat."

I'm all for giving kids everything. My private school had NO pool, but we took swimming lessons offered through the Red Cross and at camp. My public school had a pool, but some meets at other schools were at their YMCA's. Point: How much is too much?

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

Yep. I'm from Kansas.

How about giving them a really good education instead of 'prizes'

Our really smart politicians here in Kansas spent billions on the gentrification of  the 'downtown' area with arenas, shops, bars, and movie theatres instead of investing in a light rail system. Now that more and more people don't have the money for this over priced entertainment it will once again be a vandalized ghost town. When gas goes to $10.00 a gallon I wonder if anyone will lament the pass on light rail?

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8
Davos wrote:

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City was held up as a national example of bold thinking when it tried to integrate its schools by making them better than the suburban districts where many kids were moving. The result was one school with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and another with recording studios.

Now it's on the brink of bankruptcy and considering another bold move: closing nearly half its schools to stay afloat."

I'm all for giving kids everything. My private school had NO pool, but we took swimming lessons offered through the Red Cross and at camp. My public school had a pool, but some meets at other schools were at their YMCA's. Point: How much is too much?

I think we're about to have that question answered for us. The pendulum never stops swinging. And there is no predicting where it will stop until it gets there and begins to swing back. Problem is......we'll.....you already know the rest of the story. I'll save some keystrokes.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

Sax, you are a machine! Thanks.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

J.O. quote

 

How about giving them a really good education instead of 'prizes'

How true! People have lost their sensibility.

The Kansas City school article is a mind blower IMHO. I watched a news story on this that said 12% (2000) of the students were homeless! They reported it like it was not a shocking deal.

For me I see this as unimaginable that people in the USA are like this. What has happened to our society that people abandon what they should love & put above all else by human instinct.

More rot from with in.

Sax, you are a machine! Thanks.

+1

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

Thanks Davos & idoctor!

(Tech Ticker)

"The problem is that $5 trillion of so-called agency paper is not treated as if it is a debt of Uncle Sam for accounting purposes, says Richard Suttmeier, chief market strategist at Niagara International Capital and ValueEngine.com.

"Get it on the balance sheet - that's where it belongs," Suttmeier says. "Add it to the $14.2 trillion in [federal] debt and let's move on."

Another Time Bomb Ticking But $5 trillion is a lot of money - even by government standards -- and moving on may be the problem because of ongoing problems in the housing market, Suttmeier says. "There's a general concern on Main Street U.S.A. that ‘my neighbors are throwing in their keys, there's more for sale signs in my community...do I want to buy a new home, risking there's still downside risk to housing?' ""

"March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil will raise tariffs on 102 U.S. exports, including wheat, cars, boats and chewing gum, and break patents worth $238 million in a bid to force the U.S. to end subsidies to cotton producers.

Acting on a World Trade Organization ruling, Brazil will impose levies of 14 percent to 100 percent, according to a list published in the government’s Official Gazette. The sanctions, which take effect in 30 days, represent $591 million in trade with wheat goods the largest target, Carlos Marcio Cosendey, head of Foreign Ministry’s economic department told reporters. "

"Miami’s new city manager, Carlos Migoya, has fired the city’s budget director, Michael Boudreaux, who has come under fire for fund transfers to make up for budget shortfalls."

"Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado brought Migoya, a onetime regional president for Wachovia Corp., on board Feb. 22 to help address a budget shortfall and a thin financial reserve that might drive the city to bankruptcy.

Miami is heading into rough economic waters, facing a budget deficit of as much as $45 million, due, in part, to reductions in real estate taxes.

The city also is under the scrutiny of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is looking into its bond sales.

The city’s auditor recently raised questions about the use of millions of dollars in impact fees to help shore up the budget."

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

Overwhelmingly the news indicates that there is NO recovery - WHATSOEVER. In fact, the chorus playing Taps is getting louder.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

The Welfare Country we have become:

American reliance on government at all-time high....

The so-called "Great Recession" has left Americans depending on the government dole like never before.

Without record levels of welfare, unemployment and other government benefits as well as tax cuts last year, the income of U.S. households would have plunged by an astonishing $723 billion — more than four times the record $167 billion drop reported last month by the Commerce Department.

Moreover, for the first time since the Great Depression, Americans took more aid from the government than they paid in taxes.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/01/americans-reliance-on-government-at-all-time-high/

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8
Davos wrote:

Sax, you are a machine! Thanks.

+1

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8
idoctor wrote:

The Welfare Country we have become:

American reliance on government at all-time high....

The so-called "Great Recession" has left Americans depending on the government dole like never before.

Without record levels of welfare, unemployment and other government benefits as well as tax cuts last year, the income of U.S. households would have plunged by an astonishing $723 billion — more than four times the record $167 billion drop reported last month by the Commerce Department.

Moreover, for the first time since the Great Depression, Americans took more aid from the government than they paid in taxes.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/01/americans-reliance-on-government-at-all-time-high/

Good read. This piece Jim Quinn did I think dovetails with the Washington Times piece too.

Violence has again broken out on California University campuses. Only one problem. And this is the disturbing part. The people who frequent this site and attend Tea Parties are angry that the government is spending too much and selling our kids into slavery. Those who are doing the VIOLENT protesting are angry because they are no longer getting something for nothing. Those who are taking to the streets in Greece are no different than these California kids. Socialist Greece promised its people benefits that they couldn't possibly pay for. As soon as you try to take something away or make someone pay the going rate, they get angry. Socialist California is our Greece. Free education, free pensions, free love, no smog, no oil drilling, no increased property taxes. NOTHING IN THIS LIFE IS FREE. 

This is our future. Those who have been sucking off the teat of state will be angry when the UE payments, food stamps, Social Security checks, and free healthcare come to an abrupt end. They will riot and protest. They will burn our inner cities. Social chaos is a given. All caused by the welfare socialist state we have become.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

"Violence" is never easy to justify, and at first blush it's easy to look at those students' demands as pretty indulgent.  But before we get carried away, there are a few points I'd like to make.  First, setting a trash can on fire isn't exactly like burning the Isle Vista B of A.  From the looks of that clip, I'd call Quinn's reporting a little hysterical.  Second, students aren't getting "something for nothing."  Hopefully, they're getting an education for some hard work and enabling themselves to be productive members of a more prosperous society some day.  Any society that thinks it's doing good by shorting the educational opportunities of it's youth is getting a fool's bargain.  I'm not saying that governments aren't having to make some hard decisions, and we can all agree that students have to be ready to tighten their belts as much as anyone else.  But I'd hate to see what the country's future would look like if pompous asses like Jim Quinn were in charge.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8
green_achers wrote:

"Violence" is never easy to justify, and at first blush it's easy to look at those students' demands as pretty indulgent.  But before we get carried away, there are a few points I'd like to make.  First, setting a trash can on fire isn't exactly like burning the Isle Vista B of A.  From the looks of that clip, I'd call Quinn's reporting a little hysterical.  Second, students aren't getting "something for nothing."  Hopefully, they're getting an education for some hard work and enabling themselves to be productive members of a more prosperous society some day.  Any society that thinks it's doing good by shorting the educational opportunities of it's youth is getting a fool's bargain.  I'm not saying that governments aren't having to make some hard decisions, and we can all agree that students have to be ready to tighten their belts as much as anyone else.  But I'd hate to see what the country's future would look like if pompous asses like Jim Quinn were in charge.

With all due respect I'd point out that Quinn's article or lead intro to it points out that we should be upset, raging mad about our deficits and insane runaway spending. In Greece it is violent.

I don't disagree with what you are saying about schooling. I'd point out, rather quickly that educations wouldn't be akin to McMansion mortgages if not for student loans and too much credit.

Quinn is a comptroller if I'm not mistaken and at an Ivy League school. I don't think he is arguing against education. I think his point is people - for the most part - are upset over the wrong thing.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

Sahara Desert Solar Project Seeks Above-Market Price

By Jeremy van Loon

March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Siemens AG and Munich Re’s plan to develop solar-electricity generators in the Sahara Desert aims to win above-market prices for the energy they would export to Europe, the project chief said.

The Desertec Industrial Initiative will work with Morocco in the next month to arrange negotiations with the European Union to provide so-called feed-in tariffs for electricity produced by using large mirrors in the desert, Paul van Son, who heads the initiative, said today in an interview.

“We’re just at the beginning of this, and we’re putting together a work package with Morocco first,” he said in Berlin. “The difficult part is putting all the pieces together while dealing with so many different governments and structures.”

Feed-in rates, or above-market prices subsidized by consumers, are used in most EU countries as incentives for producing more electricity and heat from wind turbines, solar panels and wood pellets. Currently there are no such premium prices available for renewable energy exported from North Africa to the 27-member European bloc, van Son said.

Desertec is part of a plan to reduce Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas for power generation. The developers plan to use curved mirrors that focus sunlight to heat liquids and turn power turbines. The 400 billion euro ($546 billion) plan must also obtain backing from European and African governments as well as investors.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

More info about the "solution" that Matt Simons talks about here:

http://blogs.forbes.com/energysource/2010/02/10/peak-oil-solution-the-si...

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8
guardia wrote:

More info about the "solution" that Matt Simons talks about here:

http://blogs.forbes.com/energysource/2010/02/10/peak-oil-solution-the-si...

Thanks, I've been googling this and am amazed at how little info exists....

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Re: Daily Digest - March 8

But I'd hate to see what the country's future would look like if pompous asses like Jim Quinn were in charge.

 

Thanks for that green_achers.  The fact that we are all on this site means we see a lot eye to eye.  But to me, Quinn is just smart enough to be an astounding ignoramus.

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