Daily Digest

Daily Digest - May 16

Sunday, May 16, 2010, 9:50 AM
  • E.U. Has Greece, U.S. Has California; Will We Learn Perils Of Moral Hazard?
  • Building Is Booming in a City of Empty Houses
  • Email From Canada: It's Different Up Here - It Really Is!
  • Learning From Greece
  • Central Bank chief: euro crisis is worst since the second world war
  • Gulf oil spill: Lessons from Alaska
  • NPR: Is The Planet Facing A Mass Extinction?


E.U. Has Greece, U.S. Has California; Will We Learn Perils Of Moral Hazard? (Truthsavvy)

How much time will elapse until California becomes America's Greece? If the EU thinks it necessary to bail out one of Europe's most profligate state economies, will the U.S. face the same perceived necessity with one of our wayward state governments? What will happen if the Federal Reserve supports government aid to California like the European Central Bank did for Greece? Will worker relief overshadow taxpayer outrage?

Building Is Booming in a City of Empty Houses (joemanc)

Home prices in Las Vegas are down by 60 percent from 2006 in one of the steepest descents in modern times. There are 9,517 spanking new houses sitting empty. An additional 5,600 homes were repossessed by lenders in the first three months of this year and could soon be for sale. Yet builders here are putting up 1,100 homes, and they are frantically buying lots for even more.

Email From Canada: It's Different Up Here - It Really Is! (mhoop)

Canadian banks can and do directly pass every garbage loan to the Canadian Central Bank. In the US, Fannie and Freddie (in spite of their numerous faults), were actually among the more sane players in avoiding subprime slime.

Canada's policy avoided the bank failures we saw in the US, but at the expense of bloating the central bank balance sheet with garbage. That policy will work until it doesn't.

Learning From Greece (sammy)

Until recently, being a member of the euro zone seemed like a good thing for Greece, bringing with it cheap loans and large inflows of capital. But those capital inflows also led to inflation — and when the music stopped, Greece found itself with costs and prices way out of line with Europe’s big economies. Over time, Greek prices will have to come back down. And that means that unlike postwar America, which inflated away part of its debt, Greece will see its debt burden worsened by deflation.

Central Bank Chief: Euro Crisis Is Worst Since The Second World War (Nickbert)

In an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel, Trichet compared the situation just over a week ago – when markets went into freefall – with the start of the credit crunch. "The markets stopped functioning – it was almost like the situation after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008." He added that Europe is "undoubtedly in the worst situation since the second world war, perhaps even since the first. We have experienced, and are experiencing, really dramatic times."


Gulf Oil Spill: Lessons From Alaska (Nickbert)

Speaking on a cell phone from his fishing boat in Cordova, Alaska, John Platt, 49, said with every TV newscast, the spill sounds more like what happened off his own coast 21 years ago. "It's a total replay. I've heard BP say, 'Tell us your legitimate claim and we'll make it right,' " Platt said. "It's almost exactly what Exxon said to us."

NPR: Is The Planet Facing A Mass Extinction? (Jeff B.)

Plants and animals must adapt or go extinct as the climate changes. Paul Raeburn and guests talk about new research on populations of frogs and lizards, and discuss ways that conservation strategies may have to change as habitats shift towards the poles or creep up mountain slopes.

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gregroberts's picture
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The Terrorism Industry This is pretty much how it works

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Re: Daily Digest - May 16

Just as an aside to the Mish article on Canadien debt and housing bubbles - my Aussie friend recently visited. He's a landlord himself so I figured I'd ask him how the Australian real estate market is doing. His reply: Homes in Sydney are being priced for 800K and there are multiple offers at 900K.

Yup, sounds like a housing bubble to me! Frown

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Re: Daily Digest - May 16

NPR: Is The Planet Facing A Mass Extinction? (Jeff B.)

Plants and animals must adapt or go extinct as the climate changes. Paul Raeburn and guests talk about new research on populations of frogs and lizards, and discuss ways that conservation strategies may have to change as habitats shift towards the poles or creep up mountain slopes.

Dr. SINERVO: So what happens is that climate warming has been kind of ramping up, and over the last three decades or so it's gone up by about two or three degrees C, and this is in maximum air temperatures at a very particular time of the year.

It's not averaged across the year. It's actually only in the spring, and so those two or three months in the spring where climate warming has hit these animals the hardest has actually pushed them into the red zone, and they're starting to collapse all over the world.


The reporting of science in the U.S. has become so biased that it is very difficult for ordinary citizens to tell truth from fiction. Dr. Sinervo may be a wonderful biologist, but neither he nor NPR should take any pride in the pronouncements above. We are supposed to believe that global warming of two or three degrees C occurs selectively in the mountains of Mexico in the spring. We are also supposed to believe that species have already been adversely affected by changes of temperature of less than one degree C. Give me a break. Unless the temperature is already very near its upper or lower lethal temperature, there is not an ectotherm on earth that that would be unable to adapt to a one degree C change.

It is true that mankind is wreaking havoc on the natural environment, but we should be astute enough and honest enough to call it pollution and ecological destruction rather than climate change. Political attempts to do something about "climate change" are nothing more than a reach for more money from taxpayers and more control over them.


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You should have stopped me at the dinner roll

Dinner at the White House - a parable
by Richard Gleaves

Once upon a time, I was invited to the White House for a private dinner with the President. I am a respected businessman, with a factory that produces memory chips for computers and portable electronics. There was some talk that my industry was being scrutinized by the administration, but I paid it no mind. I live in a free country. There's nothing that the government can do to me if I've broken no laws. My wealth was earned honestly, and an invitation to dinner with an American President is an honor.

I checked my coat, was greeted by the Chief of Staff, and joined the President in a yellow dining room. We sat across from each other at a table draped in white linen. The Great Seal was embossed on the china. Uniformed staff served our dinner.

The meal was served, and I was startled when my waiter suddenly reached out, plucked a dinner roll off my plate, and began nibbling it as he walked back to the kitchen.

"Sorry about that," said the President. "Andrew is very hungry."

"I don't appreciate..." I began, but as I looked into the calm brown eyes across from me, I felt immediately guilty and petty. It was just a dinner roll. "Of course," I concluded, and reached for my glass. Before I could, however, another waiter reached forward, took the glass away and swallowed the wine in a single gulp.

"And his brother Eric is very thirsty." said the President.

I didn't say anything. The President is testing my compassion, I thought. I will play along. I don't want to seem unkind.

My plate was whisked away before I had tasted a bite.

"Eric's children are also quite hungry."

With a lurch, I crashed to the floor. My chair had been pulled out from under me. I stood, brushing myself off angrily, and watched as it was carried from the room.

"And their grandmother can't stand for long."

I excused myself, smiling outwardly, but inside feeling like a fool. Obviously I had been invited to the White House to be sport for some game. I reached for my coat, to find that it had been taken. I turned back to the President.

"Their grandfather doesn't like the cold."

I wanted to shout- that was my coat! But again, I looked at the placid smiling face of my host and decided I was being a poor sport. I spread my hands helplessly and chuckled. Then I felt my hip pocket and realized my wallet was gone. I excused myself and walked to a phone on an elegant side table. I learned shortly that my credit cards had been maxed out, my bank accounts emptied, my retirement and equity portfolios had vanished, and my wife had been thrown out of our home. Apparently, the waiters and their families were moving in. The President hadn't moved or spoken as I learned all this, but finally I lowered the phone into its cradle and turned to face him.

"Andrew's whole family has made bad financial decisions. They haven't planned for retirement, and they need a house. They recently defaulted on a subprime mortgage. I told them they could have your home. They need it more than you do."

My hands were shaking. I felt faint. I stumbled back to the table and knelt on the floor. The President cheerfully cut his meat, ate his steak and drank his wine. I lowered my eyes and stared at the small grey circles on the tablecloth that were water drops.

"By the way," He added, "I have just signed an Executive Order nationalizing your factories. I'm firing you as head of your business. I'll be operating the firm now for the benefit of all mankind. There's a whole bunch of Erics and Andrews out there and they can't come to you for jobs groveling like beggars."

I looked up. The President dropped his spoon into the empty ramekin which had been his creme brulee. He drained the last drops of his wine. As the table was cleared, he lit a cigarette and leaned back in his chair. He stared at me. I clung to the edge of the table as if were a ledge and I were a man hanging over an abyss. I thought of the years behind me, of the life I had lived. The life I had earned with a lifetime of work, risk and struggle. Why was I punished? How had I allowed it to be taken? What game had I played and lost? I looked across the table and noticed with some surprise that there was no game board between us.

What had I done wrong?

As if answering the unspoken thought, the President suddenly cocked his head, locked his empty eyes to mine, and bared a million teeth, chuckling wryly as he folded his hands.

"You should have stopped me at the dinner roll," he said.

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Re: You should have stopped me at the dinner roll

Great way to make a very very timely point, gregroberts.  Maybe "You should have stopped me at the dinner roll." can be used as a campaign slogan somehow.  Think "Maybe you should have stopped me at Czechoslovakia." 

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Re: Daily Digest - May 16

EU Officials Face Trichet’s ‘Quantum Leap’ Call as Euro Slides


“We are sovereign states with elected parliaments and democratic governments,” Baroin said in an interview in the Journal du Dimanche published yesterday. Although having a European auditor review European budgets was conceivable, it would be an “after-the fact control, not an a priori censure,” he added.


guardia's picture
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Re: The Terrorism Industry This is pretty much how it ...

Wohw greg, that's some quite funny video you found there Laughing

Too bad Jack Bauer wasn't around :)


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