Thursday, May 26, 2005

Calpine Power Shortage / GMAC / Paris Barricades

  • If the world has become overly laden with irony obscured by absurdity, this article about Calpine has great heuristic value in one's search for lucidity. After all, you cannot have lucidity without insanity.
    Whoah, there's more, GMAC makes the news with a deal which, should you suffer a moment of rational insight, an economic epiphany so to speak, will help you understand how the boys at GM plan to protect THEIR capital from the inevitable collapse of their retirement Ponzi play.
  • Substitute GOP for GM, Social Security for benefits Ponzi play, and you be getting the picture. Sadly, getting the picture does not prevent getting the shaft. You'll have to hit the streets and bleed before this looting is stopped.
  • Jake's Comedy Corner - Bushism Re Stem Cell Issues

  • Really, it was on the news at the top of the hour every hour, Bush saying that he would veto any act which would "destroy life in order to save life."

  • - UzBushistan - UzBushistan: David Corn writes The Loyal Opposition twice a month for Corn is also the Washington editor of The Nation and is the author of The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown Publishers).

    "The Bush administration's ho-hum response to this incident is no surprise. Bush's pro-democracy doctrine is only half a doctrine; he doesn't apply it whole-heartedly to nations that his administration needs. For years before the massacre, Karimov ran a nasty regime. Amnesty International's 2004 report noted that Uzbekistan held at least 6,000 political prisoners in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions: 'Human rights defenders and hundreds of people suspected of political or religious dissent were harassed, beaten and detained without trial, or sentenced to prison terms after unfair trails and frequently tortured or ill-treated.' In previous years, human rights watchers reported that so-called 'independent' Muslims who attended mosques not under the control of the government were harassed and their religious leaders were imprisoned and disappeared. Some reports noted that dissidents had been boiled alive. None of this prevented Bush from making friends with Karimov in order to prosecute the war on terror."

  • Check out Warren Beatty's remarks about Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Saturday, May 21, 2005

    Future Tense - Bubble Surface Tension">
  • Is there a bubble in financial services?

    More from the John Mauldin newsletter - When financial services professionals start whistling past the graveyard, it's time to sharpen your "soupline stand'n'" skills.
    Hint: If I had a hammer . . .."
    Thoughts from the Frontline: "Is there a bubble in financial services? While there was no consensus, my take away is that the answer is roughly no. There are several reasons. First, the P/E ratios for most financial services companies are not in nosebleed territory. While they may be high, they do not look like the NASDAQ in 2000 or California real estate today. That doesn't mean that prices can't (or won't) fall during the next recession, but simply that a drop that is characteristic of bubbles doesn't seem to be in the cards.
    Secondly, many of the US financial services companies are globally diversified. Many get more than half their earnings from outside the US. These earnings show up in the US equity values and are not really part of a possible US financial services bubble. Given the leadership of the US in financial services globally it should be expected that a significant portion of our market capitalization would be in financial services. "

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    Pour Sewage On That Burning Bush

    Yen for some yen

    This is some serious yening:

  • From John Mauldin's always interesting newsletter, in which he provides informative economic missives with which one need not agree.
  • "This week's letter is by Richard Duncan who is the author of one of my favorite books called The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures. Richard is based in Hong Kong. . . ."
  • How Japan financed global reflation

    In 2003 and the first quarter of 2004, Japan carried out a remarkable experiment in monetary policy ? remarkable in the impact it had on the global economy and equally remarkable in that it went almost entirely unnoticed in the financial press. Over those 15 months, monetary authorities in Japan created ¥35 trillion. To put that into perspective, ¥35 trillion is approximately 1% of the world's annual economic output. It is roughly the size of Japan's annual tax revenue base or nearly as large as the loan book of UFJ, one of Japan's four largest banks. ¥35 trillion amounts to the equivalent of $2,500 for every person in Japan and, in fact, would amount to $50 per person if distributed equally among the entire population of the planet. In short, it was money creation on a scale never before attempted during peacetime.

    Why did this occur? There is no shortage of yen in Japan. The yield on two year JGBs is 10 basis points. Overnight money is free. Japanese banks have far more deposits than there is demand for loans, which forces them to invest up to a quarter of their deposits in low yielding government bonds. So, what motivated the Bank of Japan to print so much more money when the country is already flooded with excess liquidity?

    The Bank of Japan gave the ¥35 trillion to the Japanese Ministry of Finance in exchange for MOF debt with virtually no yield; and the MOF used the money to buy approximately $320 billion from the private sector. The MOF then invested those dollars into US dollar- denominated debt instruments such as government bonds and agency debt in order to earn a return.

    The MOF bought more dollars through currency intervention then than during the preceding 10 years combined, and yet the yen rose by 11% over that period. Historically, foreign exchange intervention to control the level of a currency has met with mixed success, at best; and past attempts by the MOF to stop the appreciation of the yen have not always succeeded. They were very considerably less expensive, however. It is also interesting, and perhaps important, to note that the MOF stopped intervening in March 2004 just when the yen was peaking; that the yen depreciated immediately after the intervention stopped; and that when the yen began appreciating again in October 2004, the MOF refrained from further intervention."
  • More at this link.
  • Monday, May 16, 2005

    Alcoa Participates in 1ST Plasma Tech Packaging Recycling Plant

    Alcoa Participates in 1ST Plasma Tech Packaging Recycling Plant: "PITTSBURGH, (BUSINESS WIRE) May 13, 2005 - Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that its Brazilian affiliate, Alcoa Aluminio, has joined Tetra Pak, Klabin and TSL Ambiental to inaugurate the world's first carton packaging recycling facility located in Piracicaba, Brazil.
    The plant uses groundbreaking plasma technology, which enables the total separation of aluminum and plastic components from the cartons. This innovative process constitutes a significant enhancement to the current recycling process for carton packaging, which up until now, separated paper, but kept plastic and aluminum together. The plasma process provides another option for recycling, allowing for the return of all three components of the package to the productive chain as raw material.
    Alcoa, which supplies thin-gauge aluminum foil to Tetra Pak for aseptic packaging, uses the recycled aluminum to manufacture new foils.
    The new plasma facility has the capacity to process 8 thousand tons per year of plastic and aluminum, corresponding to recycling approximately 32 thousand tons of aseptic packaging. The emission of pollutants during the recovery of the materials is minimal, handled in the absence of oxygen, without combustion, yielding an energy efficiency rate close to 90%.'This project synthesizes the best that sustainability can offer, in the form of partnering, technological innovation, environmental enhancement and social development. Alcoa is proud to participate in the roll-out of this pioneering technology,' stated Franklin Feder, president of Alcoa Latin America.
    'Brazil already possesses an exemplary record of recycling aluminum and, consequently, the country now has the potential to become a global paradigm as well in the recovery and reuse of aseptic carton packages,' Feder said"

    Sunday, May 15, 2005

    Doodles - Who's Paranoid About National ID?

    Yeah, look over yonder . . . that vast, bountifully healthy, well fleshed flock grazing contentedly, is indeed the electorate of the USA.
    If you're tired of bleating, get involved:

    Saturday, May 14, 2005

    Frist Follows Nazi Christian Template

    This is a generic computer translation. The search = "Deutsche Christen" The result, below is a taste, will sicken and chill you if you have been following the GOPer alliance with the evangelical right.

    Christian and Jew 1933-1945
    The Evangelical-Lutheran church in the national socialism

    "praise large God we you" example from "entjudeten" version of the German-Christian gesangbuches, Weimar 1941

    "bell ring and thank services" - that was the reaction in numerous churches of Schleswig-Holstein, when Adolf Hitler arrived on 30 January 1933 at power. The extra large majority of the Evangelical-Lutheran church - belonged to the more than 90 per cent of the Schleswig Holsteiner - welcomed the national socialism . In view of the broken relationship of the church to the Weimar Republic that did not surprise. Those had nevertheless terminated Weimar condition the connection of state and church in the person of the national gentleman, valid since the reformation. By the November revolution ( sailor rebellion ) and the following democracy the church saw the lutherische authority priority as to a large extent destroyed on. Already in the middle of the 1920er years welcomed the schleswig holsteinische regional church openly the voelkischen Antisemitismus. After 1933 the few Christians of Jewish origin were increasingly expenditure-bordered.

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    The secret Downing Street memo - Sunday Times - Times Online

    This is the smoking gun that probably will go unnoticed in the US. The press helped sell the war, just as Congress used CIA cover to rationalize their complicity in this act of inhumane aggression.
    The secret Downing Street memo - Sunday Times - Times Online

    Saturday, May 07, 2005

    AIPAC - FBI charges Pentagon analyst

    Print: "
    w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

    Last update - 01:18 05/05/2005
    FBI charges Pentagon analyst in AIPAC affair
    By Nathan Guttman

    WASHINGTON - Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin was formally charged yesterday with passing classified military information about Iraq to two individuals, believed to be former officials of the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC.

    Franklin, an analyst on the Iranian desk in the Pentagon, turned himself in to the FBI yesterday morning and was placed under arrest. He made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., and was released on $100,000 bond on condition he surrender his firearms and passport. A preliminary hearing was set for May 27. Franklin's lawyer, John Richards, said he expects his client will plead innocent. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison.

    The charges made no mention of suspected espionage; that Franklin knowingly helped a foreign government, as originally reported when the scandal was revealed last summer; nor of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or the state of Israel.

    Nonetheless, official sources involved in the inquiry say that AIPAC officials are suspected of receiving the secret information. The Justice Department said that the investigation continues, which presumably means focusing on the two former AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, who allegedly received the information, as well as on the activities of the lobbying group. That kind of probe could end with indictments against the two or a plea bargain. Rosen and Weissman were fired by AIPAC last month.

    'Steve Rosen never solicited, received or passed on any classified documents from Larry Franklin, and Mister Franklin will never be able to say otherwise,' Rosen's attorney"

    Molly Ivins On Bush's Social notSecurity

    originally uploaded by Afthought.

    By Molly Ivins AlterNet: Bush's New Math

    "In another interesting development from President Bush's news conference, if you make more than $20,000 a year, you are wealthy. Attention, all campers! "Progressive indexing" is just another word for "cutting Social Security benefits." Do not be fooled by this idiot locution. Just as sure as "extraordinary rendition" now means "shipping the guy to another country so he can be tortured," progressive indexing means cutting benefits. Got it?"

    Dumb Dems Let GOP Run WildThe unholy combination of theocracy and plutocracy that now rules this country is, in fact, enabled by dumb liberals. Apr 28, 2005
    Christian Right Goes NuclearIt's a joke that the right wing claims it is against "judicial activists." What they want are judicial activists who agree with them.Apr 26, 2005
    The Abysmal AmbassadorKeeping the furor going over this crank Bolton is the best thing that's happened to the Democrats politically since Tom DeLay.Apr 21, 2005
    More stories by Molly Ivins

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    Economic Reporting Review by Dean Baker May 2, 2005

    As objective as it can get. After all this about the economy, hence always be on guard for magical thinking (aka irrationality.) CEPR is a good antidote to the blatant establishmentarianism of the major media.
    Economic Reporting Review by Dean Baker May 2, 2005

    Science News Online, Ivars Peterson's MathTrek (2/28/98): Pick a Digit, Any Digit

    Here is the king of new Iraqi oil based math

    My Name is King Chalabi and you know what part of my anatomy Goergie likes to kiss.
    Science News Online, Ivars Peterson's MathTrek (2/28/98): Pick a Digit, Any Digit

    Be Careful, Someone Wants Your Money - Forex Trading Articles

    Forex Trading Articles: "The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (�CFTC�) warns consumers to take special care to protect themselves from the many types of commodities fraud being perpetrated in today�s financial markets. The CFTC is the federal agency that regulates commodity futures and options markets in the United States. We have seen a great increase in the number of scams that falsely promise high profits with low risks. Many of these scams are targeted at ethnic communities in their language, from New York to South Florida and from the Southwest to California, among other areas.
    The public should be wary of any firm that offers to sell commodities or commodity futures or options. They might be selling precious metals, such as silver or gold, or on foreign currency, such as Euros, Yen or Deutschmarks. They might be selling futures or options on precious metals or foreign currency, or on other commodities such as crude oil, heating oil, unleaded gas, or agricultural products such as corn, soybeans, or cattle. The firm might be offering to manage your money for you to trade in commodity futures or options, or to pool your money with other customers. If a firm offers any of these investments, and promises high profits and low risks, or claims that they have made profits for all of their customers, you should not believe them without proof. The commodities and futures markets are very risky, and you can lose your entire investment very quickly. Anyone who claims otherwise might be breaking the law.
    Foreign currency trading scams often attract customers through advertisements in local newspapers, radio promotions or attractive Internet sites. These advertisements may tout high-return, low-risk investment opportunities in foreign currency trading, or even highly-paid currency-trading employment opportunities. The CFTC urges you to be skeptical when p"

    The Draft By Michael Schwartz in Mother Jones 4-27-2005

    The Draft: "Recruitment: Entering Freefall
    Last fall the military embarked on a Herculean set of efforts to meet these daunting demands. It manufactured a 40% increase in the pool of candidates available for the Guard and Reserve by relaxing entry standards and raising the enlistment age to 40 years. It added thousands of new recruiters (1400 for the National Guard alone) and equipped them with an array of new inducements, including signing bonuses as high as $20,000 (for those with previous experience) and up to $70,000 in college credits for new enlistees. Re-enlistment bonuses, depending on specialty, can now reach $100,000. The Defense Department also launched a new $180 million recruitment campaign that includes 'sponsorship of a rodeo cowboy, ads on ESPN, and a 24 hour Web site that allows users to chat with recruiters�24 hours a day.' In a special effort to help the most stressed service, the military is offering six million dollars of recruitment money in exchange for the right to name the home of the new Washington Nationals baseball team National Guard Stadium.
    The most dramatic of the new measures were aimed at inducing (or coercing) personnel to remain in the military beyond their enlistment contracts. Tom Reeves, author of The End of the Draft and longtime observer of draft policy, reports that 40,000 soldiers have already been retained by using the notorious 'stop-loss' system, which allows the Army unilaterally to keep soldiers for up to 18 months beyond the date their enlistment is scheduled to terminate. This is essentially a more bureaucratic and politer form of the old British method of 'impressment,' also known as Shanghaiing. There is now a Congressional investigation into persistent reports that short-timers -- those with less then a year or so left on their enlistment contracts -- are being told"

    Introducing the March 2005 CTP: What's New In "Avalon"

    Longhorn Developer Center Home: Introducing the March 2005 CTP: What's New In "Avalon"
    : "Introduction to 'Avalon'
    'Avalon' is the code name for Microsoft's unified presentation subsystem for Windows. It consists of a display engine and a managed-code framework. 'Avalon' unifies how Windows creates, displays, and manipulates documents, media, and user interfaces, which enables developers and designers to create visually stunning, differentiated user experiences that improve customer connection.
    The 'Avalon' Engine. The 'Avalon' engine unifies the way developers and designers experience documents, media, and user interface (UI), providing a single runtime for browser-based experiences, forms-based applications, graphics, video, audio, and documents. 'Avalon' is built on top of DirectX, which enables it to unleash the full power of the graphics hardware present in modern computers, and is engineered to exploit advances in hardware moving forward. For example, the 'Avalon' vector-based rendering engine enables applications to scale to take advantage of high-dpi monitors without requiring extra work on the part of the developer or user. Similarly, when 'Avalon' detects a video card that supports hardware acceleration, it takes advantage of it.
    The 'Avalon' Framework. The 'Avalon' framework delivers solutions for media, user interface design, and documents that go well beyond what developers have today. 'Avalon' is designed for extensibility, enabling developers to create their own controls on top of the 'Avalon' engine from scratch or by subclassing existing 'Avalon' controls. Central to the 'Avalon' framework are controls for shapes, documents, images, video, animation, 3-D, and "

    Cost of War in Iraq

    Yahoo! News Message Boards World News: "Taxpayers in the US will pay $207.5 billion for the cost of war in Iraq. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

    47,133,456 People Receiving Health Care or
    27,486,910 Head Start Places for Children or
    122,099,681 Children Receiving Health Care or
    1,868,579 Affordable Housing Units or
    24,422 New Elementary Schools or
    40,241,753 Scholarships for University Students or
    3,576,505 Music and Arts Teachers or
    4,676,000 Public Safety Officers or
    367,147,976 Homes with Renewable Electricity or
    3,250,796 Port Container Inspectors "