February 06, 2008

this morning's great urls .. 6 feb 2008 great snips

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/03/IN8LUO095.DTLSan Francisco Chronicle


Higher loan limits will lead to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bailout

Annie's letters: America’s whoredom season By Khalid Amayreh in ...

America’s whoredom season. By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem. 5 February, 2008. “And the governor said, Why, what evil that man (Jesus) has done? ...
annies-letters.blogspot.com/2008/02/americas-whoredom-season-by-khalid.html - 4 hours ago - Similar pages - Note this

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 Geostrategy-Direct.com
Cheney: Eavesdrop because terrorists don't fight by the rules of international law
Vice President Dick Cheney said last month that the terrorist threat to the United States remains a real danger and so U.S. intelligence agencies need strong authority to conduct electronic eavesdropping and other intelligence-gathering activities.

“The terrorists waging war against this country don't fight according to the rules of warfare or international law or moral standards or basic humanity, and we have to be clear-eyed about the character and objective of these adversaries,” Cheney said in remarks at the Heritage Foundation on Jan. 23.
“They have a strategic goal to create the old 7th century caliphate, an empire stretching from Europe through the Middle East all the way around to Southeast Asia. They want to arm themselves with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and they would not hesitate to use such weapons.”

Banks lose billions
Published on Wednesday, February 06, 2008.

Banks losing billions, and replace it with more money, Citigroup and Lynch holding lion share of market risk, local services slashed, Yahoo! bounces back from layoffs by buyout notice
Banks are losing hundreds of billions of dollars and those in the banking industry tell us only losing $1 billion is considered a good news event these days. This is the kind of sociopathic insanity we have to listen to these days. Then their answer is to give us more money to throw at the problem and we will solve it. They are lying and they simply can't help themselves. They get totally divorced from reality. They are in total denial. We are also told that the infusion of capital from foreign institutions into the banking system to cover up their mistakes is a sign of strength. That is mindless. All the foreigners are doing is dumping dollars, which are the wages of de-industrialization, deregulation, free trade, globalization, offshoring and outsourcing. Better known as the termination of your livelihood. It has made us dependent on capital from the outside world. We have become junk-bond junkies. We are no longer the most productive nation in the world. We have been converted into sniveling, pathetic debtors who have been betrayed by our large transnational conglomerates.
Colleges and universities are concerned about the state of their financial aid programs. Sallie Mae does not deny it has problems, yet its CEO Albert Lord sold 1.2 million of his shares.
Private loans are available but they have variable interest rates that allow for higher rates.
Concerned about amounts of pension money that are being moved to outside managers and into opaque investments such as private equity, two trustees of the Texas teacher retirement system board, want to curb political contributions from investors, who do business with the fund. These trustees, who are both school superintendents and the only educators on the nine-member board, said that the $115 billion fund needs to disclose more information about the firm's it hires to invest its money and how they got the job.
Besides limits on campaign contributions the board will also consider whether the fund should publicly disclose placement fees and other payments made in connection with hiring money managers.
Texas has become only the fourth state with a pension fund that limits campaign contributions. Others are California, New Jersey and Connecticut. They should all do so.
Sometimes with financial dislocation comes tragedy. A high-ranking executive of a collapse subprime lender killed his wife and then jumped off a bridge in New Jersey.
Junk bonds are off to their worst start since 1990, falling 1.8% in January triggering $17 billion in losses.
In case you missed it at the State of the Union address by our president he said, "and tonight I am pleased to announce that, in April, we will host this year's North American Summit of Canada, Mexico and the United States in the great city of New Orleans." You'll get the same message from McCain and Clinton. Only Ron Paul can give us the kind of government we need.
A quarterly survey from Financial Executives International and Baruch College showed its optimism index sinking 6.6 points. CFOs have steadily for three years been expressing less confidence about the economy. They have seen recession coming. Of the 361 polled, 73% were concerned about the recession over the next year. 46% said a weaker dollar would have a negative impact on their business and 26% said it would have a positive impact.
Mortgage applications jumped to a four-year high as activity rose 75%. Remember the average applicant is submitting three applications, so the numbers are misleading.
Refi applications rose 22.1%, the highest since July of 2003, but the application index fell 17.7%. Refi's were 73% of all applications up from 66%. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose 11 basis points to 5.6%.
Banks may have to post additional write-downs of $70 billion or more as credit ratings for bonds are further downgraded.
Citigroup and Merrill Lynch hold 45% of the entire market risk. The fate of mono-line insurers is of paramount importance to financial stocks. If MBIA follows Ambac to double A, the game is over. Such an event could take the Dow to 9,000.
Merrill Lynch will no longer underwrite collateralized debt obligations.
Morgan Stanley wrote down $169 million after helping its money market funds by taking on bonds issued by their SIV's. They bought $1.06 billion in SIV's including $160 million since December the first.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns are under investigation by the SEC and the FBI, as well as the states of New York and Connecticut in the default of mortgage-backed bonds. The largest banks and securities firms have posted more than $133 billion in credit losses due to subprime loans. The FBI is pursuing violation of subprime lenders, housing developers and Wall Street banks that packaged loans as securities. They are also looking for criminal activity and insider trading.
Cities, towns, counties and states are slashing municipal services past the point of pain. They are cutting police patrols, laying off teachers and slashing municipal services. It's either do that or go into savings and that usually only lasts a year and the savings are gone. Even the more affluent communities are starting to show signs of strain. Spending by states has fallen precipitously forcing communities to rely more on property tax revenues, or use savings or services. The loss in revenue and inflation are killing these entities. Wait until they have to cut real estate taxes due to falling values. That is when the real problems will begin.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing is going to expand layoffs as a result of the recent $4 billion acquisition of Harcourt Education.
A rumor is bouncing around Wall Street, the City of London and in Paris and on Kaiserstrasse in Frankfurt that J.P. Morgan Chase has a $4 billion loss on a derivatives trade coming soon.
Yahoo is preparing to lay off 1000 workers in Sunnyvale, California the largest purge since the dot-com bust seven years ago. Yahoo reported a 23% drop in fourth-quarter earnings.
Yahoo shares then rose 45% when Microsoft offered to buy it.
The Conference Board said the December help-wanted index was 22 versus 21 month on month

Letter Re: A Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Disaster

Dear Jim,
I just read on a[nother] blog about an imminent Federal Reserve disaster.

There's no [mainstream] news coverage on it yet so this qualifies as a serious heads up.

Note the second numeric column. $40 Billion, has been since 1913, by law. Then notice it suddenly drops to $198 million and then two days ago the report lists the banks as minus $8.7 Billion, something which has never happened before.

How bad is it? Think Weimar Republic. The Fed can no longer stop inflation because the banks can't secure new money with debt. People aren't buying debt anymore. Ergo, hyperinflation is the natural consequence. Mark this day on your calendar. Best, - InyoKern
JWR Replies: In case you missed it, I mentioned the following in Friday's Odds 'n Sods: Hawaiian K. pointed out this Federal Reserve chart, showing that the Net Free or Borrowed Reserves (NFORBRES) of Depository Institutions just fell off a cliff. Let's pray that there aren't any bank runs soon, because the till is empty. It is a jolly good thing that the Fed is handing out so much cheap money these days, so the member banks can list part of these funds as "reserves."

Letter Re: Question on Body Armor "Expiration" Dates

Dear Jim:
There is an "urban myth" that Body Armor "expires" after the official manufacturer warranty runs out. Actually, the standard five year warranty is simply based on the insurance companies legal need to limit their liability - not on the actual performance of armor. (I have a sneaking suspicion that manufacturers don't complain too much about being able to sell new Body Armor every five years either!)

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has found that 10 year old used armor tests as good as new. Since we deal with a lot of Police Surplus we run tests on the oldest and worst looking vests we see (vests we would never sell because they are over 25 years old, on the old NIJ 0101.02 standard). Oddly enough, these old and beat-up vests always stop 9mm +P FMJ and .357 Magnum +P JSP for us.
Here is a direct link to data and photos.

Of course decertified Zylon vests are not to be trusted - regardless of age. However, good Body Armor lasts much, much longer than the five year warranty/insurance policy.
Thanks, - Nick Taylor, BulletProofME.com Body Armor
2007 into 2008
• Linguistically 2007 was the “Year of
emergence” where we see macro trends
• 2008 is “Year of manifestation” and it will be
“ruled” to use the astrological context by two
memes (thought viruses) “Secrets Revealed”
and “Economic Collapse”

George Ure's presentation on coast to coast .. highly recommended

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