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    Daily Digest 1/18 – Foreclosures Stopped in Maryland, Lebanon Cbank Committed to Stability, Fossil Fuels On Demand

    by DailyDigest

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 4:00 PM

  • Ferguson On Whether The Financial Crisis Will Lead To America’s Decline
  • Cuomo Threatening Government Shutdown Over Budget
  • 10,000 GMAC Foreclosures Stopped in Maryland
  • Lebanon Cbank Committed To Stability
  • Confidence Among U.S. Homebuilders Stagnates on Lack of Credit for Buyers
  • A Brave New World Of Fossil Fuels On Demand
  • Scientists Warn California Could Be Struck By Winter ‘Superstorm’

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Economy

Ferguson On Whether The Financial Crisis Will Lead To America’s Decline (pinecarr)



Two weeks after we presented Niall Ferguson’s video lecture – “Empires On The Verge Of Chaos” to tremendous reader response and almost 30,000 views, we follow up with another must watch video presentation, this time highlighting the intellectual rigor of Ferguson, David Gergen and Mort Zuckerman. The topic once again is the Financial Crisis, and specifically how, why and whether it will lead to America’s decline. Of particular note is Ferguson’s spot on characterization of the primary deficiency in the so-called brains of economists, namely that they see patterns, equilibria and stable systems where there are absolutely none: i.e., in the complex (as in Lorenzian) world of economics.

Cuomo Threatening Government Shutdown Over Budget (pinecarr)



Cuomo relayed his readiness for such a high-stakes confrontation in conversations with key aides and state lawmakers during the past two weeks as he outlined general plans to cut the state payroll and impose billions of dollars in reductions on school districts and the Medicaid program in the fiscal year beginning April 1. “The choice this time for lawmakers is going to be Cuomo’s horrible budget or an even more horrible situation: an entire state shutdown,” said a source close to the situation.

10,000 GMAC Foreclosures Stopped in Maryland (phil)



In a major ruling Friday, a coalition of nonprofit defense lawyers and consumer protection advocates in Maryland successfully got over 10,000 foreclosure cases managed by GMAC Mortgage tossed out, because affidavits in the cases were signed by Jeffrey Stephan, the infamous GMAC “robo-signer” who attested to the authenticity of foreclosure documents without any knowledge about them, as well as signing other false statements. The University of Maryland Consumer Protection Clinic and Civil Justice, Inc., a nonprofit, filed the class action lawsuit, arguing that any case using Jeffrey Stephan as a signer was illegitimate and must be dismissed. In court Friday, GMAC agreed to dismiss every case in Maryland relying on a Stephan affidavit.

Lebanon Cbank Committed To Stability



Joseph Torbey, chairman of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, said the “banking sector is capable of containing … and overcoming the situation, wishing that the crisis is not prolonged as it would have a negative impact on the economy,” the statement said. Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Lebanon’s outlook to stable from positive on Tuesday, saying prospects of economic reform had been damaged by the government’s collapse.

Confidence Among U.S. Homebuilders Stagnates on Lack of Credit for Buyers



Developers Lennar Corp. and KB Home, which this month reported a fourth-quarter profit, are cutting costs as elevated unemployment limits demand and mounting foreclosures add to the supply of unsold properties. At the same time, sales are projected to recover from last year’s post tax-credit slump, helped by falling prices and low borrowing costs. “Housing remains very weak,” said Paul Dales, U.S. economist for Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto, who had forecast the index would hold at 16. “There’s still excess supply and demand is weak, and that’s going to be the case for a while. It’s no surprise builders aren’t doing a lot of building and their confidence is low.”

Energy

A Brave New World Of Fossil Fuels On Demand (walter)



Joule says it now has “a library” of fossil-fuel organisms at work in its Massachusetts labs, each engineered to produce a different fuel. It has “proven the process,” has produced ethanol (for example) at a rate equivalent to 10,000 U.S. gallons an acre a year. It anticipates that this yield could hit 25,000 gallons an acre a year when scaled for commercial production, equivalent to roughly 800 barrels of crude an acre a year.

Environment

Scientists Warn California Could Be Struck By Winter ‘Superstorm’ (joe)



A group of more than 100 scientists and experts say in a new report that California faces the risk of a massive “superstorm” that could flood a quarter of the state’s homes and cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage. Researchers point out that the potential scale of destruction in this storm scenario is four or five times the amount of damage that could be wrought by a major earthquake. It sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic action movie, but scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey warned federal and state emergency officials that California’s geological history shows such “superstorms” have happened in the past, and should be added to the long list of natural disasters to worry about in the Golden State.

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.”

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