Saturday, July 19, 2008

Taxpayers can bear no more

UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, apparently has hit his limit on obfuscation and outright lying (unlike Bernanke and Sec. of Treasury Paulson).

19 July 2008, UK Times Online:
In his gloomiest assessment yet of the state of the British economy, Alistair Darling gave warning that the downturn was far more profound than he had thought and could last for years rather than months.
And now some reports from the United States.

Massachusetts' Gov. Deval Patrick slashes budget. Slashed $122.5 mil from the $28.223 bil budget, and asked for powers to conduct mid-year budget cuts.

Orland Park works very hard to hide budget hole. The village has a $4.7 million hole in a budget of $122 million - a 3.77% deficit. Whoops. And so far is successfully hiding the fact.

New Brunswick, NJ cuts services, including scaling back on trash pickup. Oh, and there will be "personnel reductions." Layoffs.

California? Still hasn't passed a budget yet. And they're going to need a major bond issue no matter what.

Illinois Gov. Blagojevich cuts $1.4 billion from the state budget of $59 billion. The General Assembly makes symbolic votes (knowing the Senate had already adjourned) to repeal $480 million of the cuts. Without the Senate, the cuts stand.
The budget was $2 billion in the red, so with the governor's cuts the State is still $600 million short.
The cuts also affected the RTA, which is mandated by the governor's blatant political ploy earlier this year to provide free rides for seniors. However, the subsidy that helped the RTA cover the costs of those rides was cut from the budget.

Indiana knows the secret to budget surpluses: don't provide any services.
By contrast, state governments in the four bordering states — Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan — all were showing projected budget deficits at the end of their fiscal years

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that 29 states plus the District of Columbia will have budget shortfalls for fiscal 2009.
By percentage of budget, the states in the biggest trouble are:
California - 21.3%
Arizona - 17.8%
Nevada - 13.5%
Rhode Island - 12.6%
Florida - 11.0%
New Jersey - 10.6%
Alabama - 9.2%
New York - 9.1%

Yowza.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bush issues Amber Alert for Iran

Dateline Washington D.C.

Pentagon officials reported on Sunday, July 13 2008 that President Bush has given Israel an "amber light" to strike Iran.
"Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you're ready," the official said.
Great. Our president is so mentally crippled that we have to use street light analogies to get war threat levels across to him.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Updates and other miscellany

First off, Samuel Israel III did not kill himself. See earlier post (another hedge funder goes to the Big Easy). He faked his death and only turned himself in because his girlfriend had been arrested. He stated she had nothing to do with it. Except for that aiding & abetting thing.

In other news, another Iraq vet dies under unusual circumstances. The article reports that an overdose of prescription medicine was involved, and Dwyer (the Iraq vet) called for ambulance. Accident? Suicide's remorse? Who knows.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The (S)Bux stop here

Starbucks announced 600 store closings. That's up from 100 they announced earlier.

Just because it happened a hundred years ago, doesn't mean it will happen again. Cubs can win at Wrigley, but get their hats handed to them at Comiskey. And Kerry Wood gets busted on FOX flipping off (no doubt) Sox fans. Lou Piniella rounds things out by getting ejected in the Sunday game, in the 2nd inning.

How are those repressive gun laws working out? Violent crime in Chicago is up 4.3%, homicide up 12.7%, January to May 2008 versus the same period in 2007. Next step, martial law?

Do you know who's supplying your crude oil needs? Before you going off on rant about those damn Middle Easterners jacking up our gasoline prices, refresh your memory on where our imported oil comes from:
1) Canada
2) Saudi Arabia
3) Mexico
4) Nigeria
5) Venezuela
That's right - it's those damn CANUCKS.

Alcoholics are going to be outraged about this. California may have an initiative this fall about legalizing marijuana - for everyone. Sold in the same places they sell booze.
Why, that's just outageous! Booze should be the only legal drug! (Ed. note: Can't do anything about cigarettes, but we're still trying.)

Barclays joins RBS in dropping the boom. Barclays states the obvious - there's a financial tsunami heading our way. And, oh yeah, the Fed has "zero credibility."

Nominated for Stupidest Man In The World: Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America. He saw his own domino theory playing out (one state after another filing lawsuits and charges against Countrywide) and did something about it - went ahead with the acquisition of Countrywide. And boy, is Angelo Mozilo relieved.

There's more, so much more, such as UBS' mounting legal troubles with the IRS, but we'll save that for the next post.