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Friday, October 21, 2011

U.S. Subsidizes 'Green' Car Production...IN FINLAND !!!

When will the Obama Administration--already in hot water over its feckless backing of Solyndra--stop dumb-ass 'green' spending, i.e, expenditures that, in the name of environmentalism, boost foreign business and labor over U.S. business or U.S. labor ? Like, for instance, the subsidy to produce electric cars IN FINLAND !!!

As reported by ABC NEWS...

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the company's manufacturing jobs are still limited to the assembly of the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car in Finland.

Hell Freezes Over Again : Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Right To Pillory Corrupt Fed

In SEEKING ALPHA, John Lounsbury relates selected sections from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' scathing indictment of the Fed.

Never thought I'd find myself saying this, but GO BERNIE !

This week some of the details of the structure and operation of the Fed were summarized in a “brief” 120 page report by the GAO (General Accounting Office) with the very unassuming title: “Federal Reserve Bank Governance: Opportunities Exist to Broaden Director Recruitment Efforts and Increase Transparency.”;
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, VT) responded to the GAO report with what I have called a scathing indictment of the Fed. Sanders lists 18 former and current members of the Federal Reserve’s board affiliated with banks and companies that received emergency loans from the Fed during the financial crisis. He also summarized findings by the GAO that compares the Fed very unfavorably to other central banks.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dud Sox Deny Sudsing It Up in Dugout

Beckett, Lackey and Lester after a few brews.
The on-going Dud-Sox soap-opera grows ever more tiresome.

Wish the whole bunch --John Henry, Tek, Lester, Francona--would just shut up, and the new brain-trust would get on with preparations for next season.

Of course I have some suggestions.

1. Get Garza and a bag of balls from the Cubs for Theo and Lackey.
2. Tell Tek and Wake it's been real nice, and they're done.
3. Tell Big Papi to take his act--showing up the manager at a press briefing, mouthing off about the starting rotation, wasting critical at-bats, and doing some really dumb base-running--somewhere else for $12 M a year.
4. Tell Jed Lowrie there's no longer a roster-spot for the chronically injured.
6. After you find a manager, find a pitching coach.
7. Tell the guys they'll have to practice baseball fundamentals until they prove it (the practice that is) isn't needed. 

On this rainy afternoon, more than usually perplexed and baffled

Remedies ? Don't think so. the petty annoyances of everyday life -- like websites that seem purposely designed to repel any clearcut query, the better to impel you to choose equally impalatable options, or like customer support reps who seem incapable of answering simple, direct questions in understandable (eighth-grade) English, or like appliance installers who are incapable of any installation calling for more technical know-how than inserting a plug into an electrical outlet -- I sought some musical balm for my modernity-addled brain and instead drifted into an (early)-Procul-Harum-type anomie.

I leave to you, dear reader, to divine the resolution of my dilemma from the accompanying playlist.  

Cream - We're Going Wrong
Dr. John, the Night-Tripper - Right Place, Wrong Time
Foreigner - Urgent
Kool & The Gang - Emergency
Greg Kihn Band - Jeopardy (extended version)
After The Fire - Der Kommissar
Kool & The Gang - Misled
Foreigner - Cold As Ice
Gap Band - You Dropped A Bomb On Me
Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science
The Motels - Take The L
Journey - Who's Crying Now
'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry
Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime
Daryl Hall and John Oates - I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
Sade - Smooth Operator
Cars - Who's Gonna Drive You Home Tonight?
Alan Parsons Project - Don't Answer Me
Bryan Adams - Run To You
Mr. Mister - Broken Wings
Foreigner - Waiting For A Girl Like You
Landon Pigg - Love in a Coffee Shop
The Police - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Sting - If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Real Life - Send Me An Angel
Journey - Don't Stop Believing

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

EURO Bank Crisis : Be Afraid, be very afraid..

says James A. Kostohryz in his SEEKING ALPHA post, "Global Financial Disaster Looms: European Banks Face Bankruptcy", excerpted below.

There are several important consequences that could flow from a general insolvency crisis amongst European banks.

· Importance of European Banks to Europe’s economies. Bank assets as a percent of the GDP of European countries are magnitudes higher than they were at their peak in the US. Furthermore, finance represents a much larger percentage of GDP in Europe than it ever did in the US. Thus, banking sector troubles could cause greater damage to European economies than they did to the US economy.

· Importance of European Banks to Europe’s equity markets. European banks generally constitute a larger portion of European equity indices than was the case with US banks in 2008. Thus, the effect of a major decline or even bankruptcy in European banks on European equity markets could be even more dramatic than in the US.

· Credit contraction and economic depression. A banking crisis would cause an immediate and deep contraction of credit to European businesses and households. The result of the concomitant liquidity crisis would be general economic collapse and depression throughout the European continent.

· Spiraling sovereign debt crisis. Collapsing tax revenues and the cost associated with bank rescues would provoke either general sovereign defaults, a chaotic break-up of the EU and/or a massive inflation engineered by the ECB.

As I stated in a recent article, European leaders seem to be “whistling past the graveyard,” hoping that some miracle will occur that will enable them to avoid taking drastic and expensive action to contain the evolving crisis.

Unfortunately, there is no alternative to drastic and costly action to save the European financial system and prevent the collapse of Europe’s economies – and perhaps the entire EU system. If dramatic and decisive actions are not taken within the next month, I believe that Europe will face a “Lehman Moment.” At that point, there may be no turning back for Europe.

What actions must be taken? Contrary to the approach currently favored by European officials, the most urgent need is not intervention to capitalize the banking system; it is to place a credible backstop on the sovereign debt of European countries.

Banks can operate with low and even negative levels of equity capital. However, no amount of equity capitalization can withstand the fallout from sovereign defaults of several European states.

Thus, as I have stated previously, the default of all European nations with the possible exception of Greece must be “taken off the table” credibly through authorization of an unlimited commitment by the ECB to purchase and/or finance the purchase of European sovereign debt of member states when and if interest rates on European sovereign bonds exceeds predetermined levels.

What should we expect to happen to commodity prices as a consequence of a full-blown Euopean banking crisis ?  In a follow-up post,  Kostohryz argues  the following :

Is it a total certainty that the European banking system will experience a crisis such as the one experienced by US banks in 2008 and 2009? No. But the probability of such a fiasco is very high – at least 50% in my estimation.

And given this risk, commodity prices are way too high.

Based on global demand and supply projections from mid 2011, the fair price for oil and copper would probably be around $80 and perhaps $3.00 based on marginal all-in costs.

Speculative activity via ETFs, hedge funds and other mediums has consistently kept prices well above these equilibrium levels.

Economic theory posits, and historical experience confirms, that in a global crisis such as was experienced in 2008, commodity prices will tend to drop below their all-in marginal cost all the way down to their cash cost at a new and lower level of global demand. This means that oil prices can go to roughly $35 and copper can go to approximately $2.00.

With oil prices currently at $86 and copper prices at around $3.35, commodities prices are essentially discounting a zero percent probability of a global financial and economic crisis. This is absurd.

This is the number one reason why commodities and commodity stocks offer an attractive opportunity to short today.

Rangers in Six, Says Nolan Ryan

...according to ESPN.

Can't remember a baseball owner or exec ever calling a World Series his team was playing. 

I'm pulling for the Cards all the way.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Culture Vulture and the Mrs Go to the Fair

Hey ! You talkin' to me ? 
...the famous (in Massachusetts, that is) Topsfield Fair.

Jabba the Gourd poses with unidentified Fair-goer.
Yesterday was a brilliant,  cloudless. summer-warm Saturday, and naturally the traffic into Topsfield and Route 1 was backed up onto I-95.

We heeded signs indicating that all lots at the Fair were full (untrue), and parked at North Shore Comunity College. After a good twenty minutes or so, schoolbuses from Gloucester arrived to shuttle us to the Fair site.  

The grounds were thronged with children of all ages, taking in a wide range of agricultural exhibits,  events, games and rides, ranging from exotic flower arrangements from various Essex County garden clubs to gigantic gourds to racing pigs to a carousel, Ferris wheel, and bumper cars.     

Of all things I was most struck by the endless variety of poultry -- YES, POULTRY !  -- of which the specimen at the top--I believe his name is Travis-- is an excellent example. I will post the rest of my pix on FLICKR. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blogger DJ's Aimless Meanderings

...always end up in the same, thematic place.

The Exciters - Tell Him ( I Know Something About Love )
Martha and the Vandellas - Heatwave
The Supremes - Can't Hurry Love
Love - My Little Red Book
Jefferson Airplane - Somebody To Love (Live at Woodstock 1969)
The Doors - Light My Fire
The Doors - The Crystal Ship
Moby Grape - 8:05
Big Brother and the Holding Company - Combination of the Two
Poco - Crazy Love
Buffalo Springfield - Kind Woman
Neil Young - Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Roxy Music - Love Is The Drug
Bryan Ferry - Slave To Love 
George Michael - Kissing A Fool
Wham! - Everything She Wants
Wham! - I'm Your Man 
Elvis Presley - A Little Less Conversation

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tonight's Blogger DJ Song - Beck's Nobody's Fault But My Own

Click here to play song.
Treated you like a rusty blade
A throwaway from an open grave
Cut you loose from a chain gang
And let you go

And on the day you said it's true
Some love holds, some gets used
Tried to tell you I never knew
It could be so sweet

Who could ever be so cruel,
Blame the devil for the things you do

It’s such a selfish way to lose
The way you lose these wasted blues
These wasted blues

Tell me that it's nobody's fault
Nobody's fault
But my own
That it's nobody's fault
Nobody's fault
But my own

When the moon is a counterfeit
Better find the one that fits
Better find the one that lights
The way for you

When the road is full of nails,
Garbage pails and darkened jails
And their tongues
Are full of heartless tales
That drain on you

Who would ever notice you
You fade into a shaded room
It's such a selfish way to lose
The way you lose these wasted blues
These wasted blues

Tell me that it's nobody's fault
Nobody's fault
But my own
Tell me that it's nobody's fault
Nobody's fault
But my own (x3)

Culture-Vulture-ing in Mystic, Connecticut and Mohegan Sun

Last weekend, the C.V. and Mrs. C.V. ventured to Mystic County, Connecticut, to visit with our nephew and his brood.

After checking into our New London motel, we drove to Mystic Seaport, only about 15 min. away. There's lots to see and do even for kiddos, and plenty of places onsite that provide food and drink and someplace to set for a spell. We spent only a couple of hours there, and felt we'd only scratched the surface. Next time, we'll take in more demos and go for a catboat cruise.

From Mystic Seaport, we headed north to Uncasville and Mohegan Sun, hoping to be early and beat the Saturday Night crowds. By the time we arrived (6 PM) only two floors of one of the large garages weren't full. After parking, we wended our way through hordes of gamblers and gawkers like ourselves and found a quiet table at Jasper White's Summer Shack Restaurant.

Beluga Whale charms my great-niece et al.
Next day, we met up with our nephew and the kinder at Mystic Aquarium. It's a great take-in for families, with plenty of indoor and outdoor exhibits. Sadly, we missed most of the demos and shows. We'll make a point of seeing them next time.
BTW, if you're planning a trip down to Mystic, be sure to check out the excellent tour info site, and check out the many discounts that are available.