reality is only those delusions that we have in common...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

week ending Aug 1

Should Bernanke Be Reappointed? thoma and roubini say aye...
Should Bernanke be reappointed? - Marginal Revolution response

Bernanke's defense: "I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression"

Janet Yellen for Fed Chair?
Janet Yellen Channels Ronald Reagan: "Deficit's Don't Matter"

The Re-Election Campaign of Ben Bernanke - this article contain a dozen other links on this story...

Spitzer: Federal Reserve is ‘a Ponzi scheme, an inside job’

NYfed: The Economic Outlook and the Fed's Balance Sheet: The Issue of "How" versus "When"

Atlanta Fed blog on monetary policy: "The resulting empirical policy rule of thumb—a so-called Taylor rule—recommends lowering the funds rate by 1.3 percentage points if core inflation falls by one percentage point and by almost two percentage points if the unemployment rate rises by one percentage point."

Fed May Have to Keep Rates Near Zero for Years
More Confirmation of Steady Monetary Policy

A Fed Inflation Hawk Speaks: “I think we will probably have to begin raising rates sometime in the not-too-distant future”

Inflation: product of the Federal Reserve. none prior to 1913 chart

Bernanke May Have to Sacrifice Lending Powers or Independence - The financial-overhaul plan before Congress leaves the Federal Reserve in charge of lending to everyone from corporates to student loans....& do we really want Congress running monetary policy?

Bernanke Says About 25 Financial Firms Systemically Important

Beige Book: Less Bad Is the New Good

Fed’s Balance Sheet - 7/30/09 Update

nine govt agencies and departments rated in the July 10-12 Gallup Poll. (Fed lowest)

US GDP comes in at minus 1% - analysis by Edward Harrison of Credit Writedowns
- Been down so long it looks like up - Econbrowser
- GDP report: Stimulus has yet to really boost economy - CNN Money
- The Great Recession is Over! Long Live the Ordinary Recession . . .

TARP watchdog Barofsky Discovers The Bailout Was Based On A Big, Fat Lie...has he been living in a cave?

on Credit Default Swaps -again; i know you're tired of hearing about them...& this is a tedious article... "The current state of the Credit Default Swaps market represents a risk similar in quality to that of portfolio insurance just prior to the market crash of 1987." & here's links to another point-counterpoint on them...

Five Firms Hold 80% of Derivatives Risk, Fitch Report Finds - "Those five banks also account for more than 96% of the companies' exposure to credit derivatives" - the usual suspects
(First-quarter financials mark the first time comprehensive derivatives disclosure was mandated for all U.S. companies.)

How Firms Wooed a U.S. Agency With Billions to Invest - re BlackRock, Goldman and JPMorgan contracts with Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

Ratings Agencies, aka The Three Stooges, Get a Taste of Regulation

Inside Goldman Sachs longer than even i care to read...& a letter from the Fed: permission to gamble with government money...

also: Bashing Goldman Sachs Is Simply a Game for Fools "From the moment I left Yale and started working for Goldman Sachs, I’ve felt uneasy interacting with those who don’t..."
then Heidi Moore asks Will Everyone Please Shut Up About Goldman Sachs? to which Matt Taibbi responds...

Goldman Sachs (Almost) Uber Alles - nice graphic from a new Science article which uses transaction relationships to map the financial sector, showings its connections and centers.

Trouble At JPMorgan (bloodsucking beasts)

AIG shows signs of considerable weakness even after they got the biggest bailout in history
Is AIG’s Reinsurance Side a House of Cards, Too?
Capco: WTF? - another highly-secretive Vermont-based insurer inthe same business as AIG looks as though it’s massively insolvent...Its members include Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, smaller brokerage firms and Fidelity...

Cuomo Report: "there is no clear rhyme or reason to the way banks compensate and reward their employees" with details in a hard to read scribed pdf - the Washington Post stroy on the report: Bankers’ Bonuses Beat Earnings as Industry Imploded

Mandatory Bankruptcy? for Tier 1 financial holding companies within 90 days of being designated "critically undercapitalized." No exceptions.

PR and news under one Dow Jones roof "I discovered today that in addition to owning The Wall Street Journal,, Barron’s and Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones & Co. also has a public relations consulting business."

CNBC Viewership Down 28% - According to Nielsen, CNBC has lost 28% of viewers YoY

Top 10 Blogs for Making Sense of the Economy

But Now I Don't Know Why I Feel So Tongue-Tied
re: Andrew Sullivan's "fascinating piece on the evolution of the New York Times' willingness, or lack thereof, to use the term "torture" to describe, well, torture"

Oil: the Market is the Manipulation
Raw story: CFTC: Speculators caused 2008 oil price crisis
Fundamental Misconceptions in the Speculation Debate - counterpoint: everyone in the market is a speculator...

How Much Natural Gas Do We Have to Replace Gasoline? - The Oil Drum - "the good news is that the United States could be energy independent if the newly released natural gas reserve numbers are remotely accurate"

Identifying, Popping Bubbles: Evidence from Experiments - bubbles are bigger when cash relative to asset value is other words, rather than identifying and popping bubbles already on the rise, not blowing bubbles in the first place may be easier and more productive...

Is Wall Street Picking Our Pockets? a handful of traders peek at investors’ orders and, critics say, even subtly manipulate share prices. It is called high-frequency trading...
this article touched off a barrage of articles: one, two, three, four, five, six, how big is it and the following... High-frequency trading - Marginal Revolution - "I do not worry about high-frequency trading. Telegraphs and telephones also brought their own, earlier versions of high-frequency trading"
& here's yet another take on "shaving off the milliseconds" of trade execution...

FDIC prepares to eat more

Real Treasury Yields Highest In History fallacies of CPI - Mish

US 5yr Bond Auction Effectively FAILS = "The United States' Credit Card (issued by China and Japan) is being slowly cut off. "

‘Mistake’ on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Shape Future - Geithner

US saving rate & the dollar's future
lower dollar and higher US interest rates ahead...

no money velocity here...The total amount of loans held by 15 large U.S. banks shrank by 2.8% in the second quarter, and more than half of the loan volume in April and May came from refinancing mortgages and renewing credit to businesses...

IMF warns of soaring debt in major economies

Recession ends, depression begins - "Not as bad as The Great Depression, not as good as 1983, like Japan 1992 to 2009 but without the cheap manufactured goods"

The rich have never had it so good
According to government figures, 1-percenters' share of America's total income is the highest it's been since 1929, and their tax rates are the lowest they've faced in two decades...but it hasn't been a good recession for the rich...

Old Baby Boomers never die - they just stop spending
The US saving rate: before and after

Are Unemployment Statistics Meaningless? (economists debate)

Jobless Checks for Millions Delayed as States Struggle states are borrowing money to pay unemployment benefits.

City Aids Homeless With One-Way Tickets Home They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).

The New Joblessness
The U.S. economy is not only shedding jobs at a record rate; it is shedding more jobs than it is supposed to

The technical end of the recession is near, but does it matter? "Economists are notoriously bad investors for a good reason: subscribing to the scientific method of wait and see... the market is a forward looking system. The scientific method is a backward looking approach. "

those who couldnt see it coming see it going..."Most experts and commentators are of the view that the worst of the US recession may be over by year's end. My own prediction is for an illusory recovery of government-constructed economic indicators, but nothing more than that."

Recession's Over, Recovery Underway: but what about the dozen MIA's?
The Road Ahead For The Global Economy - Roubini

Q2 Contraction and the Recovery Act - w/ bar graph of 10 worst qtrly YoY declines in GDP

Public in favour of massive deficits

comic relief: can we grow our way out of deficits?

Subprime Sequel - Readers Digest
Mortgage fraud is skyrocketing—and the housing market won't rebound if it's tainted by sleaze.
Lifelines for Those ‘Underwater’ mortgage refis (NYT)
or not working?: Effort to Modify Mortgages Falters (WSJ)

Why are so many homeowners underwater on their mortgages? it's all about the refinances
Lucrative Fees May Deter Efforts to Alter Loans - "Even when borrowers stop paying, mortgage companies that service the loans collect fees out of the proceeds when homes are ultimately sold in foreclosure. So the longer borrowers remain delinquent, the greater the opportunities for these mortgage companies to extract revenue — fees for insurance, appraisals, title searches and legal services."

here's a blog with loads of data, charts & analysis on the mortgage crisis

"Shadow" inventory lurks over U.S. housing recovery "At this pace, it would take about four years to run through this amount of backlogged inventory"

Case-Shiller Numbers, home sales by metro area (July 2009 update)
are there Flaws in the Case Shiller Methodology?

7 Ways to (Finally) Fix Housing - (all govt intervention)

dead cat bounce in home sales not so good... and another spin ...
Is it the foreclosures, stupid?

Why Don’t Lenders Renegotiate More Home Mortgages (Boston Fed)

Paper Avalanche Buries Plan to Stem Foreclosures

Subprime mortgage companies warn on U.S. foreclosures "Matching costs of servicing to public policy is growing increasingly difficult"

Foreclosure chart of the day - "...the 1.5 million homes which have already been lost to foreclosure are just the tip of the iceberg compared to the 13 million total foreclosures expected over the five years from end-08 to 2014."

Foreclosure Rental Bill "the decision to allow homeowners to become long-term renters will be left with the bank"

Option ARM Defaults Shrink Recast Wave - The wave of “option” adjustable- rate mortgages recasting to higher payments will be smaller than “feared” because many borrowers will default before their bills change...

Postal Service Joins 'High Risk' List (w/ historical volume chart)

a sign of desperate times: Arizona legislators are considering selling the House and Senate buildings

California values prisoners over students - (SFGate) It costs $49,000 per year to keep a pothead behind bars in California. However, the state's contribution per student at the CSU is just $4,600... POLL: A record-low 14% of Californians believe the state is headed in the right direction.

Japan logs record deflation as demand slides - Reuters
Record jobless rate predicted - The Japan Times Online

CBO deals new blow to health plan...and CBO and IMAC from OMB

Paralysis by Analysis - "Put most simply, the CBO’s track record in predicting the effects of health legislation is abysmal."

Reform by Bean Counting - CBO: "Beltway version of Revenge of the Nerds"

Equity and Efficiency in Health Care Markets

Obama's Plan Isn't the Answer - For the 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, the Obama health plan is bad news. It means higher taxes, less health care and no protection if they lose their current insurance because of unemployment or early retirement.
(counterpoint: "I'd rather have five unelected commissioners, or five names drawn at random from the phone book, determine how I will be treated than have that determination made by an unelected insurance-company bureaucrat whose employer makes money by denying me care") and The Blue Dogs Have Been Bought by the Health Insurance Companies - as documented in this Washington Post article..

The Value of (Not Having) the Public Plan - How much is killing a public option worth to the big health insurers?

Stealth Nationalization - Government programs are saving insurance companies

Health Care Reform and the Unpopular T-Word - NYT

Hospital Savings -would US health care be improved by paying doctors a flat salary?

The 1975 supreme court decision that gave us physician-owned hospitals

Compromise: Bribepartisan Healthcare reform ?

The Baucus Bill's Bad Math - "Baucus's bill will cost less than $1 trillion, but it accomplishes that by shifting the burden to middle-income families"

Campaign Contributions From Health Insurance Industry

The Popularity of Government-Run Health Insurance national & international surveys

Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates for All Households

Pink Slips and Poor Health: The Toxicity of Job Insecurity

O’Reilly: Canadian Life Expectancy is Higher than American Because “We Have Ten Times as Many People" and then someone made this chart of his theory...

The Fool's Errand of Political Cover

It's Time to Scale Back the Security Mania - Washington Post op-ed

Ambassadorships for Sale

Obama Chooses Former Monsanto Lobbyist for Food Safety Post

White House transcript: Briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 7-13-09

Why Does Barack Obama Hate America? (Hint: Blame ACORN) re: Obama's comments on Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s arrest

Post-racial America? Dream on - UK Guardian

Disturbing poll on beliefs about Obama's birth

How We're Doing: A Composite Index of Global and National Trends (Brookings Institution 77-present)

New Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China by Clinton & Geithner (WSJ)
"Few global problems can be solved by either country alone."
with that intro, did you expect anything but: U.S., China Pledge to Sustain Stimulus, Rebalance World Growth ?

The Fault Lines in the U.S.-China Relationship

Three Pictures: China's Exchange Rate and Trade Balances - with 5 links to other stories on the dialog...

China only happens once the Economist - about and links to this VoxEU study: Did China’s engagement with the global economy de-industrialise other developing countries?

The Simple Math of “Staggering” Chinese Growth - Chinese non-export economy grew 23% in June; 3 times the rate of their GDP.
Michael Pettis: Falling US Consumption to Lower Chinese Growth to 5-7%

China: Bogus Boom? -AEI Outlook - "Chinese policymakers are experiencing difficulties in prompting total spending to match their ambitious growth targets, and so they have allowed a rapid surge of money and credit."

Many things that you know about China are wrong , which links to this piece, from this week's Economist

The problem with relying on the dollar to produce a real appreciation in China …definitive charts & analysis

Editorial: Reality Check for China's Monetary Policy Caijing

China’s Exit Strategy – Barrons

More public worrying about the Chinese stimulus

Chinese Real Estate Developers, Strapped for Cash, Resort to "Irregular" Tactics - defaults among developers are beginning to rise...they are resorting to faking sales to get bank loans to relieve their funding pressure.

About 90 per cent of China's billionaires are the children of high-ranking officials

EU imposes tariffs on China steel exports WSJ "a precedent-setting move that suggests the trading bloc is growing more protectionist in the face of the economic downturn"
and here's the take on that from a Chinese perspective...

China gains a foothold in Moldova

Indian Navy’s newest super ammo: Russia's Akula-II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine gets ready for action...India Daily "India will indigenously build more than 100 nuclear attack submarines in addition to more than 200 warships and under water submerged remote controlled objects for killer offensive actions"

World Looks at Obamerica With New Eyes (pew survey with table)
Europeans, sensibly, seem to find to be generally a good thing that the mightiest military power on earth is a basically congenial country with a commitment to similar values. But they don’t like reckless policies of world domination.

The History of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Earth

To what extent does human population growth impact climate change? - Scientific American

new U.S. releases unclassified images of Arctic ice - these images are supposed to be here, but i couldn't find them...

Greenland ice sheet melting faster than expected and could raise East Coast sea levels an extra 20 inches by 2100 — to more than 6 feet

Sub-Arctic timebomb: warming speeds CO2 release from soil

World will warm faster than predicted in next five years, study warns
New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El NiƱo southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming sceptics.
(i dont mean to be a heretic, with all you in warmer climes, but it couldn't come fast enough for me, typically snowed in for 5 months of the year by lake erie squalls)

Hotter weather fed growth of Incan empire – New Scientist

Will Krakatoa rock the world again? Last time, it killed thousands and changed the weather for five years, now it could be even deadlier... (i included this for the spectacular photos)

Seattle's case for taxing plastic bags. "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an island of litter twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean, is largely made up of plastic."

Swimming pools on foreclosed properties could harbor West Nile virus mosquitoes
Scientific American

Research shows rates of severe childhood obesity have tripled, putting many children at risk for diabetes and heart disease...

The recession is buffeting the world of shipping—with even rougher waters ahead

A Vibrant US Train Industry Would Employ More People Than Car Makers Do Now
Everyone knows America’s passenger train system is pathetic by international standards...

Physics for future Presidents - new course & textbook

Flipping Out Think a coin toss has a 50-50 chance? Think again. (w/ stock price randon walk analogy)

We prefer cockiness to expertise (think Jim Cramer) - New Scientist

IEEE Special Report - The Smart Grid

Moore's law & the "Doubling Times of Various Technological Performances" - who said i never do an optimistic posting?

Practicalities v. principles: the prime Beltway affliction - re: Michael Massing's lengthy analysis of online journalism and blogs for the newest issue of The New York Review of Books.

saga of AT&Ts mistake in blocking "anarchic, barely moderated, crude, irresponsible" website...
"Only hours after news of the ban, there was already a fake story up on CNN’s iReport site, saying that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had been found dead"

& just cause i found this amusing: Et tu, Mr. Destructo? "The official blog of notorious former African dictator Mobutu Sese Seko" (contributors include Alan Greenspan and Kim Jong Il)

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from...FAQ

and if all of these links aint enough for you, here's a blogger with another hundred or so, mostly re health care & the economy...

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