Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stop relying on US media for news

More grim news:

September 8 story from Army Times:
3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army
They hit U.S. soil Wednesday, October 1.

Sept. 25 - China tells domestic banks to stop lending to U.S.
China had been the number 1 buyer of U.S. Treasuries up until summer of 2007, when they systematically began reducing their purchases. The rest of Asia followed suit.

Another mortgage lender forced into receivership - it's a British one this time: Bradford & Bingley.

Next group of firms at the top of the Death Watch:
Wachovia, Fifth Third, Fortis (brokerage firm), Man Financial (brokerage).

More open stock manipulation: SEC allows exchanges to add more companies to short-sell ban list:
NYSE added 7 (Autonation, Zale, Wright Express, iStar Financial, Grubb & Ellis, Hersha Hospitality, and Apartment Investment & Mgmt. Nasdaq added Sears and MRU Hldgs.

Fresh examples of hypocrisy in organized religion: Archbishop of Canterbury castigates short-selling, except the Bank of England loans shares to short sellers. (And made a nice chunk of change on that sideline.)

InTrade, a futures exchange-like web site, has bettors increasingly favoring Obama (311 electoral votes to 229 for McCain).
This is not a poll, but rather an exchange where traders bet on outcomes.

The word is that Palin performed so badly in her prep runs for the VP debate that she will drop out due to "family reasons." And there is no consensus on who would replace her (Leiberman, Romney, ?). lets you send 2 free faxes a day - contact your Congressmen and tell them to vote NO against the bailout plan. John Hussman, PhD, of Hussman Funds, has a superb Open Letter to Congress outlining what should be done instead.
Paul O'Neil, Bush's first Treasury Secretary, is against the plan. So are CEOs of well-run banks. Tell your Congressmen that if they vote for the bill you will not vote for them.
We shouldn't vote for any incumbent anyway.

And now I'm off to catch the White Sox-Indians Death Match.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bernanke turns to Monty Python for solace. And advice.

Have we lost all sense of relativity?

From Bloomberg:

The Federal Reserve almost quadrupled the amount of dollars central banks can auction around the world to $247 billion in a coordinated bid to ease the worst crisis facing financial markets since the 1920s.


Shouldn't that read worst crisis facing financial markets since August 2007?

Or does that reflect too badly on Bush, Paulson, Bernanke/Greenspan, Chris Cox, Congress, et al?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Water, water everywhere but not a decent watering hole in sight

Chicago declares state of emergency.

No, not because the White Sox are on the verge of their Tigers series getting reshuffled to the end of the season. Although THAT is highly traumatic to us Sox fans. With a neck-and-neck race with the damn Twins, those games could mean something.

No, Chicago has been living a scene out of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude." It's been raining nonstop since Thursday (September 11). Today is Sunday (September 14). Friday's game was called. Saturday's doubleheader was called (the afternoon game was a nationally televised game on FOX - they were not happy). Sunday became a doubleheader. The second game is nationally televised (ESPN). The first game was supposed to be 1:05p, but pushed back to 4:15pm. The rain has paused, but now we have gale-force wind warnings. Have fun in the outfield!

Chicago has several neighborhoods under water. Damn you, Hurricane Ike.

WSJ and Financial Times headlines today are screaming that Barclays walked away from a Lehman (LEH) bailout. The Treasury is standing firm on refusing to buy any of the toxic Lehman paper. Instead, they are telling Wall Street to pony up, a la LTCM in 1998. Regrettably, they appear to have forgotten that not one financial institution in the United States is solvent so we're unclear on where they are supposed to get the CAPITAL to take on LEHMAN'S paper.

FT: Barlcays Pulls Out From Lehman Talks

WSJ: Screaming group of headlines about the Lehman catastrophe. Wall Street Firms Scramble To Avert Crisis

Now the scary part is that most people have a disconnect from Wall Street - and failure to see how Main Street intersects with Wall Street is going to ruin everyone.

Add to the fact that oil refineries shut down for Hurricane Ike, and will take minimum 10 days for production to ramp back up means gas prices - wait for it - are going north again. The Oil Drum does a nice job explaining how much pain to expect at the gas pumps.

And while my neighborhood, South Shore, is handling the massive amounts of rainfall fairly well, egress is impaired. Which means I can't get to any of my favorite watering holes to drink away my worries, baseball and financial.