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Daily Digest - March 9

Monday, March 9, 2009, 1:40 PM
  • SNL Geithner 1-800-Ideas?
  • Employment decline compared to Depression
  • Employment decline compared to Depression (Chart)
  • S&P 500 in the Great Depression, compared to the current recession (Chart)
  • Shorting to Zero, CDS, and Swords Falling 15 points a Day, Every Day...
  • Random Musings On The End Of The American Experiment (H/T CapeSurvivor)
  • vol·un·tar·y (vln-tr) 6. Law. Without legal obligation or consideration: a voluntary conveyance of property.
  • Marc Faber: "The feds poured the gasoline and lit the match. Now they've joined the fire department" 
  • Dr. Doom Forecasts Boom
  • For U.S. debt collectors, the dead are a healthy bet (H/T Zombie210)

Notes from the Montague Seminar

Monday, March 9, 2009, 8:50 AM

I am racing out the door to go give a pair of talks in Albany, but I thought I could spare the time to give a (very) brief summary of the talk we held in Montague MA yesterday.

First, it was standing room only.  150 people crammed into our local grange hall having come from as far away as 3 hours drive (some of whom I know through this board).  This is in stark contrast to the 30 people who showed up last year.  I was glad to see that roughly 20% of the crowd was from Montague as my goal was to begin the process of building groups here in my own town.  But I was also enormously pleased at the number of people coming from other communities that said they were going to take the Crash Course back to their towns and begin to build or find their own communities and groups.


Daily Digest - March 8

Sunday, March 8, 2009, 1:12 PM
  • The Biggest Asset Class You Never Heard Of 
  • World's biggest banks to meet in London: report
  • Trump venture folds, leaving buyers strapped
  • Stark's hottest job: Janitor
  • Geithner - Would Have Made a Good Diplomat
  • Fridson Says Junk Debt Is ‘Extraordinary Opportunity' (Update2)
  • H+ Magazine: HaCKinG tHe eConomy
  • FSN News Hour 1-3
  • A Look Inside the Numbers
  • Homeless man has website that tells his story and takes donations (H/T Zombie210)

The Looming Pension Disaster

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 11:35 AM

As I’ve been writing about in the Martenson Reports over time, including the last one, one of the next shoes to drop is going to be a pension disaster. This too will be more easily measured in trillions than billions.

I am expecting a public pension wreck based on “management” so flawed as to cross over into gross negligence or worse.

March 3 (Bloomberg) -- The Chicago Transit Authority retirement plan had a $1.5 billion hole in its stash of assets in 2007. At the height of a four-year bull market, it didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay its retirees through 2013, meaning it was underfunded to the tune of 62 percent.

The CTA, which manages the second-largest public transit system in the U.S., had to hope for a huge contribution from the Illinois state legislature. That wasn’t going to happen.

Then the authority found an answer.

“We’ve identified the problem and a solution,” said CTA Chairman Carole Brown on April 16, 2007. The agency decided to raise money from a bond sale.

So far so good, eh? I mean especially if you don’t think about it too hard. After all, the only way a scheme to borrow money to plug a fiscal hole can work is if you are earning more from investing that cash that you are paying out in interest. Makes sense right?

Your investment gains have to exceed your interest costs or the scheme becomes a sure-fire money loser.

Well, here’s the punch line:


Daily Digest - March 7

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 8:12 AM
  • Pictures: The credit crunch tent city which has returned to haunt America
  • Uh Oh, White House Seeks Economic Advice From Twitter
  • Twitter? Enough! - Lets ALL email them proper advice (Chris's Crash Course Link)
  • House Prices More To Fall? 1,600 Sq. Ft. $549,000.00 , See Today, Won't Last
  • The Reality is Worse (Hat Tip PhilV)
  • Bill Seeks to Let FDIC Borrow up to $500 Billion
  • Week #10 Bank Failure #17
  • Top U.S., European Banks Got $50 Billion in AIG Aid
  • Wholesale Shipments: Booze and Cigarettes (2 Charts on Page)
  • The Running of the Bears

Daily Digest - March 6

Friday, March 6, 2009, 12:04 PM
  • Comedy Central (3:00 blunders)
  • Chávez turns to Russians in gold venture
  • Country Default Risk Continues Its Rise
  • Country Default Risk Chart
  • Europe's banks face a $2 trillion dollar shortage
  • UK: BoE Cuts Rate to 0.5%, Begins Quantitative Easing
  • Ukraine's Tymoshenko warns of a new Iron Curtain
  • Venezuela's Chavez tightens state control of food amid rocketing inflation & food shortages
  • Stock doom and gold boom (H/T CP)
  • Citi Breaks the Buck
  • Warren Buffett Insights

We were hacked

Thursday, March 5, 2009, 6:12 PM

IMPORTANT UPDATE (3/6/09 6:13 a.m.):  Several people have inquired if their credit card information was at risk during this hacking event.  The answer is noWe do not (ever) store any credit card information at this site.  We use a gateway service for credit card transactions and do so specifically so that we do not have to worry about storing and defending such important information. 

Well, we were hacked.  Somehow someone got access to our files and went about trying to destroy the site.

The good news is that some in the IT community would call this a sign of progress.  We have arrived!  Even better, we noticed this very rapidly and caught it early, thereby limiting the damage.  Ron did a spectacular job of detection and repair.

The bad news is the site was out for four hours and we spent time, money, and energy doing something that, frankly, wasn't on any of our priority lists over here.

So, sorry for the outage; we've taken steps to patch the probable hole and we'll carry on from here.



Daily Digest - March 5

Thursday, March 5, 2009, 11:43 AM
  • Hanging On, or How to Get Through a Depression and Enjoy Life
  • FDIC's Bair Says Insurance Fund Could Be Insolvent This Year
  • Hidden Pension Fiasco May Foment Another $1 Trillion Bailout
  • Government Bailing Out Foreign Interests With Your Tax Dollars (AIG, C)
  • (Former AIG CEO) Greenberg Sues AIG for Securities Fraud (Sachs CEO at 7:30+/-, Goldman Got 100% Coverage, Governments Can't Run Companies10:50, They Have Trouble Running Themselves)
  • Auto "Sales"
  • More Than 8.3 Million U.S. Mortgages Are Under Water
  • Cramdowns
  • Obama's mortgage relief and housing plan
  • Second Liens Forgiven: Are You Kidding Me? (Hat Tip Lisa G)

Daily Digest - March 4

Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 11:28 AM
  • Europe on the Ropes
  • We need shock and awe policies to halt depression
  • ‘Tidal wave' of homeless students hits schools (Video on Page)
  • Laid-off professionals turn to "survival jobs"
  • The L Curve 1 in 3 Chance, Nouriel Roubini
  • Fleckenstein: Protect yourself from Financial Armageddon with gold
  • Country Vulnerability Scorecard
  • Switzerland threatened with bankruptcy
  • Vehicle Sales
  • Preview: Pending Home Sales Likely Resume Downward Trend
  • Construction Spending Continues to Fall
  • ISM Manufacturing (Jan vs. Feb)

Daily Digest - March 3

Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 11:17 AM
  • FSN 2nd Hour, Documentarian and Author Edward Griffin, "The Creature From Jekyll Island"
  • $3,600,000,000,000 Budget Govt. Plans to Spend .68 cents for Every 1 Household Earned $
  • How Big is the Budget: Part II
  • Ukraine Unrest - Customers Told No Cash is Available (Hat Tip Yoshhash)
  • 60 Minutes - 6:30 Minute Point - People In Glass Houses
  • (Global Perspective) Our Deficit is Larger Than 23 Countries GDP!
  • Gold vs. stock market, big picture
  • Dow industrials fall below 7,000; lowest since '97
  • Housing
  • Cities face 20% cuts in water use during crisis (Hat Tip Zombie210)
  • Bad Banks (Hat Tip GreenDoc)
  • Marc Faber's Current Outlook - "In Gold I Trust, But..." (Hat Tip Wendy T)