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Weekend Economists Need Somebody August 19, 2011

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:05 PM
Original message
Weekend Economists Need Somebody August 19, 2011
Help! That's our theme this weekend. We could use Help! the film to divert us from the Apocalypse (which might be next week's bill of fare)...

Help! is a 1965 film directed by Richard Lester, starring The BeatlesJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starrand featuring Leo McKern, Eleanor Bron, Victor Spinetti, John Bluthal, Roy Kinnear and Patrick Cargill. The soundtrack was released as an album, also called Help!.

The photojournalist Michael Peto was commissioned to take still photographs during the making of the film. They were recognised at the time for their candid and expressive quality. In 2004, more than 40 of his unpublished photographs of The Beatles were discovered during a digitisation project of his work. These were exhibited in 20072008 at the National Museums Liverpool.

Synopsis

Part One

An eastern cult (a parody of the Thuggee cult) is about to sacrifice a woman to the goddess 'Kali'. Just as the woman is about to be killed, the high priestess of the cult notices that the sacrifice is not wearing the sacrificial ring. Ringo Starr, drummer of The Beatles, has it; sent to him by the victim it is on his finger. Determined to retrieve the ring and sacrifice the woman, the great Swami Clang (McKern), the high priestess Ahme (Bron) and several cult members including Bhuta (Bluthal) leave for London. After several failed attempts to steal the ring, they confront Ringo in an Indian restaurant. Ringo learns that if he does not return the ring soon, he will become the next sacrifice. Ringo then discovers that the ring is stuck on his finger.

The Beatles seek a jeweller to remove it but the tools he uses all break on the ring. In a desperate effort to remove the ring, the band resorts to the bumbling efforts of a mad scientist, Foot (Spinetti) and his assistant Algernon (Kinnear). His laboratory is full of surplus British made equipment and Foot despises anything British. When his equipment turns out to have no effect on the ring, Foot decides that he, too, must have it. Before he can do anything else, Ahme comes in with a pink Walther P-38 pistol, rescues the group and they return home.

Ahme, now revealed as being on the group's side, tells the group that her sister's time has passed and she is now out of danger. Ringo is now the sacrifice victim. Ahme proposes to inject Ringo with a potion that is derived from the essence of certain orchids and would shrink his finger so the ring would come off. She tells Ringo to be brave and suggests, to the camera, that if he had been brave; "none of this would have been necessary".

Intermission

The boys are seen in a field, jumping up and down.

Part Two

Ahme's sister is taking a bath and getting the red paint off.

Part Three

Ringo lies nervously on the couch, waiting for the injection. But before Ahme can proceed, the gang starts to pound on the doors. Startled, Ahme drops the needle into Paul's leg and he shrinks instead. Cutting from "The Exciting Adventure of Paul on The Floor", the thugs break into the room and a fight ensues. Ahme flees. Ringo is doused with red paint (he has to be painted red in order for him to be sacrificed), thus ruining his best suit and causing him to cry and a swordsman approaches. Foot comes in, shoots a warning shot with his Webley and scares the man away. The gang retreats and Foot makes his attempt to take the ring. Paul unshrinks and John subsequently starts to swing a lamp at Foot who tries to shoot him, but his gun misfires. Blaming this on the fact that the gun is British made, Foot retreats. The boys are left to sort things out.

The band flees to the Austrian Alps for refuge but both thugs and Foot follow in pursuit. As the Beatles participate in a game of curling, Foot and Algernon booby trap one of the curling stones with a bomb. George sees the "fiendish thingy" and tells everyone to run. The bomb eventually goes off after a delay, creating a big hole in the ice in which a swimmer (Mal Evans) emerges and asks directions to the White Cliffs of Dover. Next, Swami skis down a slope that Ahme told him was the way to get to further pursue the Beatles, but turns out to be the take-off ramp for a Ski jumping contest. Swami is the winner, and inadvertently gets held up by receiving a gold medal. The group escapes back to England and they ask for "protection" from Scotland Yard; and get it in the form of a cowardly Inspector (Cargill). After being attacked whilst recording in the middle of Salisbury Plain surrounded by the British Army, they hide in "A Well Known Palace" (Buckingham Palace) until they are almost captured by Foot.

The group step into a small pub, where Swami appears to be working. After being served beer, Ringo cannot pick his glass up from the table, so George tips it over, unknowingly opening a trapdoor to the cellar that Swami set up. Inside the cellar is a broken ladder and a tiger. They go summon the Inspector, and tells them to sing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony to the tiger in order to tame it, while everyone outside the pub hear the melody, and join in. Disguised, the Beatles take a plane to the Bahamas, followed by Scotland Yard officers, Foot and Clang. After Ringo is nearly captured, the other Beatles pose as him in order to lure the cult members, who are then arrested by the Bahamas Police. Despite their best efforts, Ringo is captured by Foot, who takes him on to a ship intending to cut off his finger to get the ring.

Ahme rescues Ringo by giving Foot the same orchid essence shrinking solution in exchange. The two try to escape the ship by jumping into the water, however Ringo cannot swim. They are captured by the cult and tied down on the beach where they are surrounded by two battalions of Kukhri Rifles. Clang begins the ceremony to sacrifice Ringo, after telling him that the cult members are prepared to attack the rest of the Beatles and police when they come to the rescue and that if Ringo attempts to warn them he will die instantly.

Ringo manages to untie himself and tries to wave to his band mates to warn them away. With this act of courage, the ring falls from his finger. He puts the ring on Clang's hand, saying "Get sacrificed! I don't subscribe to your religion!" Ahme declares that Clang will be the next sacrifice, as he is wearing the ring. The movie ends with Help! playing one last time and everyone running around. Clang manages to remove the ring and gives it to Foot and Algernon. They, however, leave the ring in the sand while the police rush about arresting the cult while The Beatles playfully run around; the ring ends up on Bhuta's finger and he becomes the target for sacrifice; meanwhile, Mal Evans swims toward the beach and once again, asks for directions to the White Cliffs of Dover. The movie ends with a dedication to "Elias Howe, who, in 1846, invented the sewing machine".

The credits feature the characters acting up in front of the camera, with the jewel of the ring being placed in front of the lens. The music playing during the credits is the Overture of The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini, with The Beatles adding their own laughing and comments.



Inspiration

The Beatles said the film was inspired by the Marx Brothers classic Duck Soup; it was also directly satirical of the James Bond series of films. At the time of the original release of Help!, its distributor, United Artists, also held the rights to the Bond series (now owned by UA sister studio MGM.)


(ANY RESEMBLANCE TO THE ANTICS OF UNCLE BEN, LITTLE TIMMY AND PRESIDENT PETTIGREW IS MERELY A CASE OF LIFE IMITATING ART. UNFORTUNATELY, NO ONE HAS BEEN CAST AS THE BEATLES IN THIS REMAKE...OR PERHAPS MORE ACCURATELY, 99% OF US HAVE--DEMETER)
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good flick!
Edited on Fri Aug-19-11 08:08 PM by Roland99
and we just saw Duck Soup at a local theater as part of their summer movie fest. another good flick!
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. And if that fails, we can always use the Rutles.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I hate to ask, but what is that?
No, I don't have time this weekend to Google...
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. It was a Beatles spoof with heavy Monty Python influences
Edited on Fri Aug-19-11 08:22 PM by ixion
a la Eric Idle.

The Rutles (also known as the Prefab Four<1>) are a band that are known for their visual and aural pastiches and parodies of The Beatles. Originally created by Eric Idle and Neil Innes as a fictional band to be featured as part of various 1970s television programming, the group (remaining a parody of The Beatles) recorded, toured, and released two UK chart hits in reality.
Initially created for a short sketch in Idle's UK television comedy series Rutland Weekend Television, The Rutles gained international fame after being the focus of the 1978 mockumentary television film, All You Need Is Cash (often referred to as just The Rutles). Having been encouraged by the reaction to the sketch, featuring Beatles' music pastiches by Neil Innes, the film was written by Idle, who co-directed it with Gary Weis. It featured 20 songs written by Innes, which he performed with three musicians as "The Rutles". A successful soundtrack album in 1978 was, much later, followed in 1996 by Archaeology, which spoofed the Beatles' Anthology series which had recently been released. The Rutles pre-date the American parody Spinal Tap by about a year.
A second film, The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch modelled on the 2000 TV special The Beatles Revolution was made in 2002 and released in the US on DVD in 2003, but it did not prove as popular as the original film.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rutles
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. OOOH!
Any of that on line?
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. oh, heck yeah... here you go...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. THANK YOU!
I'm going to enjoy this weekend, for sure!
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #13
26. Sure thing!
It's the least I can do to reciprocate for your awesome Weekend Economist series. :woohoo:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I'm blushing ( and it's humid, again)
It's for you, this weekend!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. 4 BANKS DOWN, INCLUDING THURSDAY'S PREEMPTIVE CLOSING

Public Savings Bank, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, was closed THURSDAY by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Capital Bank, National Association, Rockville, Maryland, to assume all of the deposits of Public Savings Bank.

The sole branch of Public Savings Bank will reopen on Friday as a branch of Capital Bank, National Association...As of June 30, 2011, Public Savings Bank had approximately $46.8 million in total assets and $45.8 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Capital Bank, National Association agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets...The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $11.0 million. Compared to other alternatives, Capital Bank, National Association's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Public Savings Bank is the 65th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Pennsylvania. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Earthstar Bank, Southampton, on December 10, 2010.


Lydian Private Bank, Palm Beach, Florida, was closed today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Sabadell United Bank, National Association, Miami, Florida, to assume all of the deposits of Lydian Private Bank.

The five branches of Lydian Private Bank will reopen on Monday as branches of Sabadell United Bank, National Association...As of June 30, 2011, Lydian Private Bank had approximately $1.70 billion in total assets and $1.24 billion in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Sabadell United Bank, National Association agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

The FDIC and Sabadell United Bank, National Association entered into a loss-share transaction on $907.1 million of Lydian Private Bank's assets...The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $293.2 million. Compared to other alternatives, Sabadell United Bank, National Association's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. Lydian Private Bank is the 66th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the tenth in Florida. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Landmark Bank of Florida, Sarasota, on July 22, 2011.


First Southern National Bank, Statesboro, Georgia, was closed today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Heritage Bank of the South, Albany, Georgia, to assume all of the deposits of First Southern National Bank.

The sole branch of First Southern National Bank will reopen on Saturday as a branch of Heritage Bank of the South...As of June 30, 2011, First Southern National Bank had approximately $164.6 million in total assets and $159.7 million in total deposits. Heritage Bank of the South will pay the FDIC a premium of 1.0 percent to assume all of the deposits of First Southern National Bank. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Heritage Bank of the South agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.

The FDIC and Heritage Bank of the South entered into a loss-share transaction on $115.7 million of First Southern National Bank's assets...The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $39.6 million. Compared to other alternatives, Heritage Bank of the South's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. First Southern National Bank is the 67th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the seventeenth in Georgia. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was High Trust Bank, Stockbridge, on July 15, 2011.


First Choice Bank, Geneva, Illinois, was closed today by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional RegulationDivision of Banking, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Inland Bank & Trust, Oak Brook, Illinois, to assume all of the deposits of First Choice Bank.

The sole branch of First Choice Bank will reopen on Saturday as a branch of Inland Bank & Trust...AS of June 30, 2011, First Choice Bank had approximately $141.0 million in total assets and $137.2 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Inland Bank & Trust agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets...The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $31.0 million. Compared to other alternatives, Inland Bank & Trust's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. First Choice Bank is the 68th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the seventh in Illinois. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Bank of Shorewood, Shorewood, on August 5, 2011.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. $374.8M IF MY ARITHMETICAL SKILLS HAVEN'T DESERTED ME
Today I fed two friends just out of surgery--didn't want to eat 1.5 gallons of spaghetti sauce with just the Kid's help. Yes, that is less crazy, trust me.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. Help! the Title Song
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:36 PM
Response to Original message
10. Now Is the Summer of Our Discontent
http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=now_is_the_summ...

Deep structural problems lie beneath the London riots...It would be an understatement to say that the riots of the last few days caught Britain by surprise. There had been dire warnings in recent years of a looming summer of rage, but it hadnt come to pass. The economy had stalled, made worse by overly hasty austerity measures, but the only protests came from university students who faced higher fees. The type of urban unrest that dogged Britain in the early 1980s had been avoided. This is England: That sort of thing only happens to the French...But it did happen and, with Parliament hurriedly recalled Thursday, Britains political class now begins the search for answers. Much rote condemnation will follow, and rightly so. Yet lurking below are more profound questions that need to be asked by Britains political elite; questions to which it self-evidently does not yet have good answersespecially given that the two most tempting explanations dont stack up.

The first is to blame the cuts. True, these are harming Britains economy: a model used by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a respected think tank, suggests they will reduce growth by 0.8 percent this year. Some specific programs for young people have also already suffered, like the Future Jobs Fund for the long-term unemployed, and the Education Maintenance Allowance, which helps young people to stay in school. But this doesnt add up to a causal explanation, and it probably had very little to do with violence at all. Most of the reductions in Britains public services have not actually happened yet; a worrying thought in itself. There is also little evidence that specific cuts were cited as grievances by rioters, especially when compared, for instance, to complaints about police stop and search measures, which overwhelmingly affect young people from poor ethnic communities.

This leads to the second tempting explanation: race, often at the heart of similar disturbances in France. The riots began in the gritty North London area of Tottenham, after police shot and killed Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old with links to local gang culture. The same area saw racial violence in the 1980s, and tensions between young ethnic minorities and the police surely contributed some of the early spark. Yet the Duggan killing was an isolated incident, and this isnt a high-point for police violence. The type of casual police racism common two decades ago is much less prevalent today, while the tensions seen in Tottenham and elsewhere are more to do with the grievances of a small subset of young people, rather than their parents and grandparents.

That leaves deeper, knottier problems to explore: not least the crisis of sections for Britains underclass. No longer able to rely on manufacturing jobs, many of these people (and especially the young) are too often facing lives of quiet educational failure and family breakdown, offset only by the false hopes of consumerism. It seems no accident that so many of the shops looted sold consumer electronics and fashionable street footwear. This is a generation once dubbed freedoms orphans, by the center-left Institute for Public Policy Research think tank, and its lower reaches are troubled. It is also poignant that violence hit areas like Hackney, which until now had seemed to be at the heart of a certain type of a British social and economic success story. Hackney used to be a byword for urban deprivation and state failure. It had Britains worst schools and many of its most notorious estates. Today it remains one of the poorest boroughs in the UK, but it doesnt quite feel like that for its many middle-class residents. Until Monday night, this was seen as Londons Williamsburg or Park Slope; a place of fashionable markets, racial diversity absent tension, pretty houses, and hipsters in skinny jeans riding about on fixed-wheel bikes. Places like Hackney made it seem that Britains ripped social fabric had been gradually repaired by a decade of high-spending Labour governments. And, to some degree, it had: Crime rates are lower, while the borough is dotted with glistening new schools and Sure Start childrens centers. Yet just as Britains two decades of economic resurgence rested on too much debt and financial chicanery, so its new social model of increasingly European levels of public-service provision clearly hasnt reached down to the very bottom of society...
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Made Endless Winter
couldn't resist...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. We'll Be grateful for the Global Warming
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
12. The Super Committees Super Wish List
http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_super_commi...

Six progressive ideas Obama should recommend to the Super Congress :rofl:

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW WHAT IS NOT IN A MILLION YEARS GOING TO HAPPEN:


...The committee has yet to begin, but when it does, President Barack Obama has promised to offer the full cooperation of his administration. Indeed, at a White House press conference on Monday, Obama announced that he would provide his own recommendations to the committee.

Given the fragile economy, progressives are justly worried about the effects of deficit reduction, but there are ways to reduce the debtusing spending cuts and revenueswithout harming the economy or working people. With that in mind, here are six progressive ideas that Obama should include in his recommendations to the Super Congress.


  • Let Medicare Part D Negotiate for Drugs


  • Reduce Defense Spending to Cold War Levels


  • Implement a Carbon Tax

  • Implement a Financial-Transactions Tax
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
15. Sorry, Ive Started Seeing Someone Else
http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=were_just_not_t...

After years on the rocks, Wall Street is ready to break up with the GOP...HENCE THE SEDUCTION OF OBAMA...For more than a century, big business has counted on the Republican Party to do its bidding in Washington. Given recent debates over taxes and regulationin which GOP lawmakers have catered to corporate interestsit might seem that not much has changed.The past few weeks, though, show that everything has changed. Todays Republican Party is turning out to be the worst friend business could imagine, led by politicians who dont understand the modern economy, and, worse, are ready to blow it up on principle...This spring, as a GOP beholden to the Tea Party geared up for brinksmanship on the debt ceiling, lobbyists for Wall Street and corporations begged Republican leaders to back off. These pleas were ignored, and now a few trillion dollars in shareholder equity, wealth owned primarily by the top 10 percent of the richest Americans and corporate executives, has gone poof.

The story of Republican economic incompetence long predates the Tea Party. The rise of the new right in the 1970s, based largely in the Western United States, pushed aside an Eastern Republican establishment that knew its way around major financial institutions and believed in fiscal prudence. In his memoir about serving as Ronald Reagans budget director, David Stockman wrote of a White House that fundamentally didnt understand fiscal policy and made gigantic amateur errors in projecting growth rates and tax revenues. That spawned huge deficits and the need for Reagan to reverse nearly half of his 1981 tax cuts. (Yes, Reagan raised taxes: not once, but 11 times.) The old Republican establishment enjoyed a last hurrah under George H.W. Bush and his Treasury secretary, Nicholas Brady, a graduate of Yale and Harvard who got his start at the august Wall Street firm of Dillon, Read, and Company. Bush was serious enough about fiscal responsibility to back tax hikes to reduce the deficit, but he and Brady proved clueless about how to deal with new competitors like Japan or the recession of 19901991.

By the mid-1990s, the GOP had moved squarely to the fringe on economic policy. While Bill Clintons centrism might have laid the groundwork for a new era of bipartisan economic policy-making, it was not to be because Southern conservatives like Phil Gramm, Dick Armey, and Newt Gingrich pushed the GOP to an extremist anti-tax position. That shift elevated ideology above all else and further sidelined those Republicans who thought in pragmatic terms about the economy...


In retrospect, it was sheer luck that Bush happened to have a Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, who understood financial markets when the 2008 crisis erupted. Paulson barely bothered to consult his know-nothing boss as he worked to avoid another Great Depression. :ROFL: All this historya troubling stew of incompetence and extremismhelps explain why so many business and financial leaders have defected to the Democratic Party since the 1990s and flocked to Barack Obamas candidacy in particular. (The willingness of Democrats to cater to corporate interests in return for campaign cash has been another factor.)...Six months ago, it was common to hear executives and investors expressing buyers remorse about supporting Obama in 2008. To be sure, some of these folks will be lining up behind the Republican nominee in the 2012 election, especially if it is Mitt Romney. But for many other business leaders, the debt-ceiling fiasco is likely to serve as a fresh reminder that todays GOP cant be trusted when it comes to the economy.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. AS THE BEATLES PUT IT: You're Gonna Lose That Girl
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 08:59 PM
Response to Original message
17. Goldman Sachs VP Changed Name, Now a Top Congressional Staffer
http://www.truth-out.org/goldman-sachs-vp-changed-his-n...

Peter Haller, now a congressional staffer, was previously known as Peter Simonyi when he served as a VP to Goldman Sachs. (Photo: bbrslaw.com)



ThinkProgress has found that a Goldman Sachs vice president changed his name, then quietly went to work for Issa to coordinate his effort to thwart regulations that affect Goldman Sachs bottom line.

In July, Issa sent a letter to top government regulators demanding that they back off and provide more justification for new margin requirements for financial firms dealing in derivatives. A standard practice on Capitol Hill is to end a letter to a government agency with contact information for the congressional staffer responsible for working on the issue for the committee. In most cases, the contact staffer is the one who actually writes such letters. With this in mind, it is important to note that the Issa letter ended with contact information for Peter Haller, a staffer hired this year to work for Issa on the Oversight Committee.

Issas demand to regulators is exactly what banks have been wishing for. Indeed, Goldman Sachs has spent millions this year trying to slow down the implementation of the new rules. In the letter, Issa explicitly mentions that the new derivative regulations might hurt brokers such as Goldman Sachs.

Haller, as he is now known, went by the name Peter Simonyi until three years ago. Simonyi adopted his mothers maiden name Haller in 2008 just as he was leaving Goldman Sachs as a vice president of the banks commodity compliance group. In a few short years, Haller went from being in charge of dealing with regulators for Goldman Sachs to working for Congress in a position where he made official demands from regulators overseeing his old firm...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. The Beatles- You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKHA2AGbXtI

THE SONGS JUST LINE RIGHT UP WITH THE ARTICLES....IT'S JUST LIKE MAGIC!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:03 PM
Response to Original message
19. California unemployment rate rises to 12% in July
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. BofA Layoffs Are The Latest As An Industry Shrinks
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=13...

The cuts confirmed Friday by Bank of America follow layoffs announced this summer at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., State Street Corp. and other financial institutions.

And though banks also laid off thousands of workers in 2008 and 2009, analysts say it's different this time: Many of the banks are posting profits right now, so their layoffs indicate permanent structural changes rather than temporary cuts in response to a weak economy.

Steven Mann, chairman of the finance department at the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business, said he's hearing from MBA grads who have been job-searching for months and haven't found anything.

"From 2002 to 2007, pretty much everybody who could walk and talk could get a job," Mann said. "But those days are gone."

LUCKY FOR W HE'S RETIRED AND ELIGIBLE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
21. FBI Uncovers Largest Credit Card Scam In History After Raiding Visa Headquarters
TODAY, THE ONION, TOMORROW? VIDEO AT LINK

http://www.theonion.com/video/fbi-uncovers-largest-cred...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
22. Save the Savings Bond By FRED T. GOLDBERG Jr. and PETER TUFANO
TALK ABOUT A BLAST FROM THE PAST...I THINK IT WAS SHORTLY AFTER "HELP!" CAME OUT THAT OUR FAMILY BOUGHT ITS LAST "SAVING STAMP" THROUGH THE PUBLIC SCHOOL STAMP DRIVE....

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/19/opinion/save-the-savi...

FOR generations of children, the idea of saving first became real when a savings bond landed in a birthday or holiday card, the image of a famous American staring out from the elaborate, earth-tone etching on a stately certificate. These fond memories may explain why this year nearly 50,000 Americans the vast majority of them modest wage-earners decided, under a new I.R.S. policy, to buy savings bonds with a portion of their precious tax refunds...But taking advantage of this crucial form of savings is about to get much harder. The Treasury Department announced last month that in January it would end over-the-counter sales of savings bonds. While paper bonds will still be available at tax time and electronic bonds will still be sold online, bonds will no longer be sold at banks, savings-and-loan institutions and credit unions.

Given the continuing debate over fiscal policy, now hardly seems like the time for Treasury to make it harder for Americans to support their country by buying its debt. The savings bond program, which began in 1935, has helped millions of Americans save for a home, for college tuition or for a first car. More than a financial instrument, savings bonds are an instrument of hope. Pamela Sinclair, a 48-year-old Baltimore mother who works in health care, told us that she bought bonds for her children, using her tax refund, because they could be president of the United States someday. Moreover, the tried-and-true savings bond is a universal product. Where else can someone with as little as $50 invest in a virtually risk-free, inflation-protected, giftable, fee-free savings product with returns that often exceed the meager interest on savings accounts?

Savings and financial literacy are particularly critical for working families with limited assets. The nonprofit group Doorways to Dreams Fund, which encourages low-income families to save (and which we serve as board members), found that up to 10 percent of low-income tax filers ordered savings bonds with their tax refunds, when offered the opportunity in pilot tests conducted between 2006 and 2009. Most said they saved for their children and grandchildren; nearly a third developed a savings habit, buying bonds year after year...In the past decade, opportunities for saving money at tax time have improved. Under President George W. Bush, the I.R.S. introduced a split refund feature an option for filers to send their refunds directly to more than one account. Last year, the Obama administration added the option to use refund money to buy savings bonds. As a result, all taxpayers now have the option to save, even if they do not have bank accounts.

The decision to eliminate the sale of paper bonds at banks is only the latest of several actions that have blunted the impact of these positive developments. The federal government has for years done little to support the savings bond program eliminating its marketing budget, ending a program that allowed employees to buy savings bonds through payroll deduction, lowering annual purchase limits and making savings bond terms less favorable for small investors. Despite these obstacles, Americans still buy more than $1 billion in paper savings bonds every year. Its true that Americans will still be able to buy savings bonds electronically, through a Web-based platform known as TreasuryDirect. But the system isnt user-friendly, and it presupposes ready Internet access, which about 35 percent of all Americans and 65 percent of low-income Americans do not have. And the system requires a user to have a bank account, effectively excluding the 17 million American adults who are unbanked. This may explain why less than 1 percent of the 55 million people who own savings bonds have TreasuryDirect accounts....Rather than making savings bonds less accessible, the government should encourage thrift by reinventing the bond program for the 21st century. The option to buy a savings bond at tax time is a wonderful first step. Another promising opportunity is to offer savings bonds in retail stores via a savings-bond card, similar to the gift cards and prepaid bank cards in ever wider use. (Imagine if you could buy savings in a checkout line.) And the TreasuryDirect site should be updated and made more accessible, particularly for those who are less adept at navigating financial information. While we applaud the Obama administration for retaining paper savings bonds at tax time, we urge the Treasury Department to reverse its decision to eliminate their sale, year-round, at financial institutions. We must not take away one of the few proven tools one born during the Depression that empowers working people to save for themselves and their children.

****************************************************************

Fred T. Goldberg Jr. was commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from 1989 to 1992. Peter Tufano is the dean of the Sad Business School at Oxford University.

********************************************************


AFTER THE GREATER DEPRESSION, THIS MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA....BUT NOW?
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Beatles - Ticket To Ride (1965) from "HELP!"
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
24. Cutting Costs the Montana Way By BRIAN SCHWEITZER, GOVERNOR
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/19/opinion/cutting-costs...

WITH the debt crisis and the weakening economy fresh on their minds, most Americans have probably concluded that government, as a rule, cannot manage money responsibly. But it can. Just look at Montana. For six years it has been one of the only states in America with a budget surplus: this year it is a record $433 million, proportionally equivalent to a federal surplus of $858 billion. Thus weve been able to cut taxes, invest in education and infrastructure and keep essential services intact. We recently got our first bond rating upgrade in 26 years. And were not simply riding the Western energy boom. The recession has driven unemployment to 7.5 percent, and while weve had a great run with oil, coal and gas, royalties from these commodities account for only 9 percent of our budget surplus.

How do we accomplish what most states and the federal government cannot? I like to say we run government like a ranch. In ranching my old job you either pinch pennies or go belly-up. We do the same in government. Perhaps Washington can try it...For one thing, we challenge every expense. If it isnt absolutely necessary, we eliminate it. When the recession came we found $80 million in savings, which helped us avert a budget crisis. Little things added up: we renegotiated state contracts, cut our energy consumption by 20 percent, auctioned off state vehicles and canceled building projects and computer upgrades. We even saved by spending: we stepped up our efforts to collect unpaid tax bills from out-of-state and foreign corporations, an undertaking that more than paid for itself. This type of penny-pinching rarely occurs in Washington. As a small example, I was recently at a military base where a private firm ran security. Why, with the toughest soldiers on earth, would the federal government spend extra cash to rent security guards rather than let troops take turns guarding the fort? Sure, there might be a convenience to contracting, but is it worth the billions spent? No doubt the lobbyists for the security firm sprinkled plenty of money around Capitol Hill to get the contract. The federal budget contains thousands of similar line items. A government serious about tightening its belt would eliminate them all.

But we dont just cut costs. Like good ranchers, we also leave some grain in the bin in case of drought. When times were good, we stashed away cash in a special savings account. This was a political challenge, because almost every state legislator, from both parties, wanted to spend it instead. But the account proved to be a big help in getting us through the recession in solid financial shape. I cannot recall the federal governments ever banking surplus funds in a protected account, even during the surplus-laden 1990s. If Washington ever digs out of the current hole and runs a cash balance, Congress should likewise put some grain in the bin.

And even as weve cut costs and socked away money, weve followed another ranching principle: treat your ranch hands with respect. Like other states, weve had to freeze employee pay and reduce the work force. But as in any good organization, many of the best solutions for cutting costs come from state employees. Some look at payroll as a burden; we look at it as human capital, and we work hard to keep up morale in tough times. So when we cut the state payroll, I cut my own salary. Sadly, many politicians, especially in Washington, seem to relish the opportunity to trash government workers. This is just cheap and ugly scapegoating. More to the point, it does nothing to produce bottom-line results....Finally, we dont spend money until weve found the lowest price. Around here, government contracts arent a way to take care of friends. Quite the opposite: we use our purchasing power to get the lowest possible rate. When the real estate market softened, we told commercial landlords who rented space to the state that if we didnt see rent reductions, wed move to cheaper premises when our leases were up. Most complied, saving the state almost $4 million.

MORE MONTANA WISDOM AT LINK


***************************************************
Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, is the governor of Montana.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. The Beatles- I Need You
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
28. For-Profit College Group Sued as U.S. Lays Out Wide Fraud
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/education/09forprofit...

By TAMAR LEWIN

The Department of Justice and four states (California, Florida, Illinois and Indiana) on Monday filed a multibillion-dollar fraud suit against the Education Management Corporation, the nations second-largest for-profit college company, charging that it was not eligible for the $11 billion in state and federal financial aid it had received from July 2003 through June 2011.

While the civil lawsuit is one of many raising similar charges against the expanding for-profit college industry, the case is the first in which the government intervened to back whistle-blowers claims that a company consistently violated federal law by paying recruiters based on how many students it enrolled. The suit said that each year, Education Management falsely certified that it was complying with the law, making it eligible to receive student financial aid.

The depth and breadth of the fraud laid out in the complaint are astonishing, said Harry Litman, a lawyer in Pittsburgh and former federal prosecutor who is one of those representing the two whistle-blowers whose 2007 complaints spurred the suit. It spans the entire company from the ground level in over 100 separate institutions up to the most senior management and accounts for nearly all the revenues the company has realized since 2003.

Education Management, which is based in Pittsburgh and is 41 percent owned by Goldman Sachs, enrolls about 150,000 students in 105 schools operating under four names: Art Institute, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College and South University....In 2003, Education Managements chief executive was Jock McKernan, a former governor of Maine who now serves as chairman of the board. Mr. McKernan is married to Senator Olympia J. Snowe, a Maine Republican whose 2010 financial disclosure form lists Education Management stock and options worth $2 million to $10 million.

MUCH MORE AT LINK
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. "THE NIGHT BEFORE" - The Beatles (1965)
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:13 PM
Original message
Goldman Sachs sued by credit union watchdog
http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/09/news/companies/goldman_...

A federal watchdog for the credit union industry slapped Goldman Sachs with a lawsuit August 9th, alleging violations of federal and state laws tied to the sale of mortgage-backed securities.

The National Credit Union Administration filed suit in California district court against the financial firm for damages in excess of $491 million.

The agency, which regulates and charters credit unions, alleges that Goldman (GS, Fortune 500) misrepresented securities it sold to the now-defunct U.S. Central and Western Corporate federal credit unions.

Specifically, the NCUA claims that Goldman's misrepresentations caused the credit unions to believe certain investments carried minimal risk, while that was not the case...
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kickysnana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #28
37. +1
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:05 PM
Response to Original message
30. Why S.&P.s Ratings Are Substandard and Porous By NATE SILVER
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/why...

Five years ago, if you were an investor looking for guidance on which countrys debt was the safest to invest in, Standard & Poors ratings wouldnt have done much to help you navigate the headwinds of the financial crisis. Investors now think that Ireland has more than a 40 percent chance of a default or debt restructuring at some point in the next five years. The country is penalized with double-digit interest rates when it wants to borrow money. But in 2006, Standard & Poors had Irelands debt rated with its top-of-the-line, AAA rating. It didnt downgrade Ireland until March 30, 2009, long after its financial problems had become obvious, and the price to buy insurance on its debt had increased tenfold from a year earlier...Spain, which markets now posit has about a three-in-ten chance of default or restructuring, also had a AAA rating, which it maintained until January 2009. Today it still has a AA rating, one notch higher than Japans...Iceland, the tiny country with the oversized banking sector that came perilously close to national bankruptcy, was in 2006 rated AA+, the same rating the United States now has...Greece, which now appears more likely than not to endure at least a technical default, had debt rated A, lower than most European countries but a reasonably good grade by world standards. It too was not downgraded until January 2009, and its bonds were still rated as investment-grade until March 2010.

Although Standard & Poors assigns ratings based on a series of letter grades, they can easily be translated into a numerical scale sort of like the way that letter grades in high school are translated into a grade-point average:



This allows to test the reliability of the ratings in various ways, as well as to reverse-engineer them and see how the sausage is made. What factors is S.&P. looking at when it rates sovereign debt? A countrys debt-to-G.D.P. ratio? Its inflation rate? The size of its annual deficits?...S.&P. does look at each of these factors. But it also places very heavy emphasis on subjective views about a countrys political environment. In fact, these political factors are at least as important as economic variables in determining their ratings. For instance, the S.&P. ratings have an extremely strong relationship with a measure of political risk known as the Corruption Perceptions Index, which is published annually by Transparency International. These ratings have been the subject of much criticism because they are highly subjective, relying on a composite of surveys conducted among experts at international organizations who may have spent little time in most of the countries and who may instead base their judgments on cultural stereotypes.



I dont know whether or not S.&P. looks at these ratings. But the fact that the two sets of ratings are so closely related is troublesome. It suggests that S.&P. is making a lot of judgment calls about countries they have no particular knowledge about. Keep in mind that even when it comes to the United States, S.&P. made a $2 trillion error that reflects their lack of understanding of the way that bills are scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Are we to expect that they add value based on their perceptions of the political climate in Kazakhstan, or Cyprus, or Uganda? Other factors that S.&P. looks at, which can be determined through regression analysis, include a countrys G.D.P., its inflation rate, its recent deficits and its long-term debt. But the subjective Corruption Perceptions Index is more closely related to the S.&P. ratings than any of these economic fundamentals. In addition, in 2006, S.&P. tended to rate European countries higher than others, even after controlling for all these other factors something which has been especially problematic since, with some exceptions like Venezuela and Lebanon, countries in the euro zone now dominate the list of those most likely to default...None of this would be a problem if S.&P.s ratings had performed well. But there is little evidence that they do. The next chart presents a comparison of S.&P. ratings as of June 30, 2006, to the risk of default five years later (on June 30, 2011) as measured by the prices of credit default swaps, financial instruments that pay an investor if there is a default on a bond obligation.



S.&P.s bond ratings from five years ago would have told you almost nothing about the risk of a default today. They had no insight about the threats in European markets, nor about which countries in Europe were relatively more likely to default. (Norway, which remains among the most solvent countries in the world, had a AAA rating in 2006, but so did Ireland and Spain.) By comparison, simply looking at a countrys ratio of net debt to G.D.P. would have been a better predictor of default. It wouldnt have done well by any means: it only explains about 12 percent of default risk. Still, this simple statistical indicator does better than the S.&P. ratings. (Nor is it the case that some combination of debt-to-G.D.P. ratios and S.&P. ratings does better than either one taken alone. Once youd accounted for a countrys debt-to-G.D.P. ratio, the S.&P. ratings would not have improved your projections of default risk by a statistically significant margin.) Certainly, one might contemplate more sophisticated models than this (for instance, accounting for a countrys inflation rate in addition to its debt seems to be helpful). But when considerably more advanced studies have been published by academic economists like Carmen M. Reinhart, they have come to similar conclusions. Ms. Reinhart found that, although S.&P. rating changes have some value in predicting defaults, they are significantly outperformed by objective, statistical indicators....The fact that billions of dollars in wealth are tied up in the judgments of a company with such a poor record is all the proof you should require that the global financial system is in need of reform.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. How The U.S. Gave S&P Its Power
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/09/139219473/how...

Who gave S&P the power to kick sand in the face of the U.S. government? Oh, right. It was the U.S. government....The story goes back to the rise of the railroads in the 19th century. Before then, most loans were pretty simple. You loaned money to a business and, at least, you knew where the store or factory was. But putting railroads across the continent required the kind of capital that was unheard of at the time. They needed investors who were literally sending your money out into the wilderness...Enter Henry Varnum Poor. In 1860, he published a giant book of nothing but financial details of railroads. Finally, there was a way to start to make sense of the industry. In 1909, another famous name, John Moody, jumped into the railroad reporting business, too. He was the first one to use those letter grades. He was followed by Fitch. Standard joined up with Poor.

Pretty soon, they started branching out... the rating of a loan was just a service that investors payed for. It didn't have the make-or-break power that it has today. The U.S. government changed all that. After the stock market crash of 1929 and the start of the Depression, the U.S. government started to regulate the health of the banks. Part of that was monitoring the quality of the bonds that banks invested in. And here's the catch: The government said the bonds had to be rated by one of these private agencies...For decades, the rating agencies did a pretty good job of separating the good loans from the bad...But the business started to change in the late 1960s. Instead of charging investors, the rating agencies started to take money from the issuers of the bonds. White blames the shift on the invention of "the high-speed photocopy machine."

The ratings agencies were afraid, he says, that investors would just pass around rating information for free. So they had to start making their money from the company side. Even this seemed to work pretty well for a long time. In the scandals of the past decade, though, the rating agencies fared more poorly. They largely missed Enron's impending bankruptcy. They gave AAA ratings to too many subprime mortgage securities.

In the aftermath of the crisis, Congress even passed legislation ordering regulators to stop relying on the rating agencies as much as they used to. But it's hard to undo decades of special status, and the regulators are still trying to figure out how to stop relying on ratings.
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DU GrovelBot  Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
32. ## PLEASE DONATE TO DEMOCRATIC UNDERGROUND! ##



This week is our third quarter 2011 fund drive. Democratic Underground is
a completely independent website. We depend on donations from our members
to cover our costs. Please take a moment to donate! Thank you!

Click here to donate

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
33. Moody's Analytics Warns Student Loans May Be The Next Financial Bubble To Burst
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/09/moodys-student...

Record borrowing by college students who are graduating without jobs could lead to major problems in the nation's economy, according to a recent report by Moody's Analytics...The Moody's report points to the fact that student loan volume growth, unlike other lending, has accelerated during the recession. This is due in part to people seeking more education and retraining as well as some students opting to remain in college longer to avoid poor job prospects.

The report indicated that in addition to college enrollment tripling over the past four decades, "demand for student loans is driven by the cost of education, which has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past three decades." Based on Consumer Price Index data, the cost of tuition and fees has more than doubled since 2000, and has outpaced inflation across all goods, health care, housing and energy.

Student lending has also increased due to state governments making cuts to their public education institutions, causing colleges to raise tuition. Further, college endowments have recovered slowly throughout the economic downtown, forcing schools to increase tuition and limiting the amount of in-house money for scholarship use.

The student loan debt load now outpaces credit card debt, and according to Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes the financial aid websites Fastweb.com and Finaid.org, the average 2011 college graduate carries $27,200 in student debt.

MUCH MORE AT LINK
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Credit card late payments hit 17-year low in 2Q
http://news.yahoo.com/credit-card-payments-hit-17-low-2...

Credit card users are so focused on keeping their accounts in good standing that they've driven the rate of late payments down to its lowest level in 17 years.

The national credit card delinquency rate, or rate of payments 90 days or more past due, fell to 0.60 percent in the second quarter, down from 0.92 percent a year ago. That's the lowest rate since 1994, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion.

Delinquencies were expected to drop, but the improvement in that April to June period was faster than forecast.

And the improved payment habits came despite increased use of credit cards, based on quarterly data reported by banks that issue Visa and Mastercard-branded cards and data from American Express Co. and Discover Financial Corp.

MORE
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #33
90. MOODY'S ANALYST BREAKS SILENCE: Says Ratings Agency Rotten To Core With Conflicts
We've included highlights of Harrington's story below. Here are some key points:

Moody's ratings often do not reflect its analysts' private conclusions. Instead, rating committees privately conclude that certain securities deserve certain ratings--but then vote with management to give the securities the higher ratings that issuer clients want.

Moody's management and "compliance" officers do everything possible to make issuer clients happy--and they view analysts who do not do the same as "troublesome." Management employs a variety of tactics to transform these troublesome analysts into "pliant corporate citizens" who have Moody's best interests at heart.

Moody's product managers participate in--and vote on--ratings decisions. These product managers are the same people who are directly responsible for keeping clients happy and growing Moody's business.

At least one senior executive lied under oath at the hearings into rating agency conduct. Another executive, who Harrington says exemplified management's emphasis on giving issuers what they wanted, skipped the hearings altogether.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/moodys-analyst-conflicts...


And here is a link to Harrington's full comment to the SEC:

http://www.sec.gov/comments/s7-18-11/s71811-33.pdf
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #90
107. This Isn't News to Anyone With Insight
but it's nice to get an "unofficial" confirmation....
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
35. Sweet dreams everyone!
Back in the morning for a bit...
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 11:40 PM
Response to Original message
36. Hello Demeter....
And WEE people.

My first week at my school, sans kids was so nice. It is a small school and everyone wears many hats. Everyone was heful and we have many very active parents that help out. Time will tell, but I think it has potential.

I will go up thread and start enjoying the read, but I just wanted to check in. I will be a building stewards meeting tomorrow so I will be in and out.

Have a good weekend.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 06:42 AM
Response to Reply #36
38. So glad to hear!
May the first good week be a long-term trend.
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 06:52 AM
Response to Reply #36
40. Sounds like a good beginning!

May the rest of the school year be good too!

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 06:49 AM
Response to Original message
39. it's the weekend! morning miss demeter!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #39
42. And...all their fingers, toes, arms and legs are crossed
Good morning, X! Well, until I start unloading the van. Then the pain will start...

The Younger Kid made it in good time and good shape. Sis and BIL ran into heavy weather, though, and had a much harder time of it...

Someday, this too will be finished.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:14 AM
Response to Reply #42
46. Well you are surrounded by your tribe.
I hope that's a very good thing.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 06:55 AM
Response to Original message
41. Meet the Global Financial Elites Controlling $46 Trillion In Wealth
Edited on Sat Aug-20-11 06:58 AM by Demeter
http://www.alternet.org/story/151999/meet_the_global_fi...

The economic elite have at least $46 trillion in wealth but who are they? We look at the people and the industries picking the pockets of the working class.


The following is an adapted excerpt from David DeGraws new report on the financial destruction of the United States. The full report can be read here: Analysis of Financial Terrorism in America:http://ampedstatus.org/exclusive-analysis-of-financial-... /



How Much Wealth Do The Economic Elite Have?

While 68.3 million Americans struggle to get enough food to eat and wages are declining for 90 percent of the population, US millionaire household wealth has reached an unprecedented level. According to an extensive study by auditing and financial advisory firm Deloitte, US millionaire households now have $38.6 trillion in wealth. On top of the $38.6 trillion this study reveals, they have an estimated $6.3 trillion hidden in offshore accounts. In total, US millionaire households have at least $45.9 trillion in wealth, the majority of this wealth is held within the upper one-tenth of one percent of the population. If all this isnt obscene enough, to further demonstrate how the global economy has now been completely rigged, Deloittes analysis predicated, based on current trends, that US millionaire households will see a 225 percent increase in wealth to $87.1 trillion by 2020. Accounting for wealth hidden in offshore accounts, they are projected to have over $100 trillion in total within the next decade...To put it in perspective, last year the entire cost of feeding all 40 million Americans on food stamps was $65 billion...according to the latest IRS data, only 0.076 percent of the population, less than one-tenth of one percent, earned over $1 million in 2009.
.............

The highest bracket for annual income is $50 million or more. Only 74 Americans are in this elite group. The average income within this category was $91.2 million in 2008. As astonishing as that is, in 2009 they averaged $518.8 million each, or about $10 million per week. This means, in the depths of the recession, the richest 74 Americans increased their income by more than five times within this one year. These 74 people made more money than 19 million workers combined....In context, overall, the richest 400 people in the US have as much wealth as 154 million Americans combined, thats 50 percent of the entire country. The top economic 1 percent of the US population now has a record 40 pecent of all wealth, and have more wealth than 90 percent of the population combined...Here is an analysis from an investment manager with mega-wealthy clients breaking down the economic top 0.5 percent of the population, recently published by William Domhoff, sociology professor and author of Who Rules America?:


Unlike those in the lower half of the top 1%, those in the top half and, particularly, top 0.1%, can often borrow for almost nothing, keep profits and production overseas, hold personal assets in tax havens, ride out down markets and economies, and influence legislation in the US. They have access to the very best in accounting firms, tax and other attorneys, numerous consultants, private wealth managers, a network of other wealthy and powerful friends, lucrative business opportunities, and many other benefits.

Folks in the top 0.1% come from many backgrounds but its infrequent to meet one whose wealth wasnt acquired through direct or indirect participation in the financial and banking industries. Most of the serious economic damage the US is struggling with today was done by the top 0.1% and they benefited greatly from it. For example, in Q1 of 2011, Americas top corporations reported 31% profit growth and a 31% reduction in taxes, the latter due to profit outsourcing to low tax rate countries. The year 2010 was a record year for compensation on Wall Street, while corporate CEO compensation rose by over 30%.

In 2010 a dozen major companies, including GE, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and Fed Ex paid US tax rates between -0.7% and -9.2%. Production, employment, profits, and taxes have all been outsourced.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: A highly complex and largely discrete set of laws and exemptions from laws has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of the US financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the US political and legislative processes.

They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them, and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%.

the American dream of striking it rich is merely a well-marketed fantasy that keeps the bottom 99.5% hoping for better and prevents social and political instability. The odds of getting into that top 0.5% are very slim and the door is kept firmly shut by those within it.



To get into the top economic 0.01 percent (one-hundredth of one percent) of the population, you have to have a household income of over $27 million per year. If you look at some of the central players who caused this economic crisis, you will see that they are among this Economic Elite group:

Former Goldman Sachs CEO and Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson had already amassed at least $700 million prior to moving to the US Treasury in 2006. Current Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and a few other top executives at Goldman Sachs just received $111.3 million in bonuses. Blankfein just took home $24.3 million, as part of a $67.9 million bonus he was awarded. Goldmans President Gary Cohn took home $24 million, as part of a $66.9 million bonus he was awarded. Goldmans CFO David Viniar and former co-president Jon Winkelried both took home over $20 million in bonuses...Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit just took home $80 million, in what may eventually total more than $200 million in compensation and bonuses. Coming in at the top of the list is JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who just took home $90 million.

If you think people in this income level dont control the US political process, you are not paying attention. After they caused this economic crisis, they got the government to give them trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, and then, after taking our tax dollars, they gave themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses. 2009 was an all-time record-breaking year for Wall Street executives bringing in a total of $145 billion. And then, in 2010, they raised the bar even higher, breaking the all-time record set the year before by pulling in another $149 billion. The audacity of it all is stunning...Finding people more grotesquely greedy than Wall Street executives would seem to be impossible. However, health insurance CEOs are giving them a run for their money. As the LA Times reported:


Leaders of Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth, WellPoint and Aetna received nearly $200 million in compensation in 2009, according to a report, while the companies sought rate increases as high as 39%.

H. Edward Hanway, former chief executive of Philadelphia-based Cigna, topped the list of high-paid executives, thanks to a retirement package worth $110.9 million. Cigna paid Hanway and his successor, David Cordani, a total of $136.3 million last year.

Ron Williams, the CEO of Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc., earned nearly $18.2 million in total compensation, down from $24.4 million in 2008.



Aetna CEO Ron Williams has recovered from his down year in 2009 by making $72 million in 2010.

Given this level of obscene profiteering within the health care industry, it is not surprising that Americans pay more for medical care than any other nation in the world. In fact, Americans are forced to pay twice as much as most nations, and get lower quality care in return. As health insurance companies admitted, they have been reaping windfall profits because people with health insurance plans still cannot afford to go to the doctors and have stopped going unless it is an absolute emergency. With well over 50 million people unable to afford health insurance and the skyrocketing costs, it is not surprising that over 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies are the result of medical bills. In fact, 75 percent of the medical bankruptcies filed are from people who have health insurance.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:11 AM
Response to Reply #41
44. 3 Ways To Have Economic Success Without Greedy Corporations and Huge Wealth Disparities
http://www.alternet.org/story/151992/3_ways_to_have_eco...

Some business communities have achieved significant impact and scale, broadly distributing wealth rather than concentrating it...(According to the CIA's World Fact Book, which ranks countries in terms of how "equally" wealth is distributed, the US is the 42nd most unequal country in the world.)...Yet, it doesn't have to be this way. Examples of business communities that have achieved significant impact and scale, broadly distributing wealth rather than concentrating it, exist all across the globe under a header one might best describe as economic democracy. One thinks of Mondragon in Spain, Legacoop in Italy and the Co-operative Group in the UK. The Evergreen Cooperative in Ohio is our own homegrown American version....Mondragon, Legacoop, the Co-operative Group, and the Evergreen Cooperatives have structured their businesses around a socio-economic arrangement in which the enterprise is democratically controlled.

This limits the primacy of the profit-maximization motive that currently drives the way most businesses engage with the market. Though the form and structure of control varies -- think worker cooperatives, consumer cooperatives, employee stock ownership programs (ESOPs) and credit unions -- these businesses are organized to benefit a group of stakeholders, primarily worker owners, rather than outside investors. This shared ownership helps diversify rather than concentrate wealth, rooting the value it generates in communities and keeping assets and resources from being transferred away from local communities and low-wage employees to multinational corporations and their owners.

Cooperatively owned businesses can range from small-scale local companies to multi-million-dollar global businesses, such as Organic Valley, the $500 million leader in the organic dairy industry; Nationwide Mutual Insurance, an 80-year-old Fortune 500 company, with more than $135 billion in statutory assets; and Land O'Lakes, Inc., a farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative with $12 billion in sales. Throughout the world, cooperatives employ more than 100 million people and have over 800 million members. In the U.S., nearly 14 million employees participate in 9,650 employee stock ownership programs at public and private firms with combined assets of over $925 billion.

According to Worker Cooperatives for the 21st Century by Nicholas Luviene, Amy Stitely and Lorlene Hoyt, U.S. cooperative businesses serve over 120 million members, or four in 10 Americans. The top 100 co-ops generate more than $150 billion in revenues, and there are more than 72,000 cooperative establishments in the U.S. providing over 2 million jobs. Two-hundred-and-fifty-five telephone cooperatives provide service to 964,000 households; 6,400 housing cooperatives provide homes for 1.5 million households; and 30,000 U.S. credit unions have 91 million members and assets in excess of $760 billion.

The numbers prove that worker-owned models aren't merely a wishful possibility, they are enduring and sustainable realities for workers and consumers....For more information, visit CommunityWealth.org and American Sustainable Business Council. SEE LINK FOR ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SUBJECT

***********************************************************

Jeffrey Hollender is co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation. He is the author of "The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win," and five other books. He is a board member of Greenpeace US and Verite and co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council. To learn more visit his website or Twitter (@jeffhollender).
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #44
47. A Hidden Anti-Corporate Rebellion is Brewing Across the Nation
Edited on Sat Aug-20-11 07:16 AM by Demeter
http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/650574/a_h...

It turns out that we have another Townhall uprising on our hands. But it doesn't seem to be featuring people wearing tri-corner hats and carrying guns so nobody's interested. Or rather it doesn't have a full fledged publicity campaign financed by wealthy wingnuts and news network feeding a smooth diet of Tea flavored BS to the public:

If this organic movement were happening on the right, it would be front-page news in every national newspaper in the country. We know because the distinctly non-organic movement in 2009 was front-page news.

In order to find out about this movement, you have to go to local news sites. The Dickinson Press, Dickinson, North Dakota:

(North Dakota Republican Rep. Rick) Berg said he voted for the (debt limit) package because of one provision added in the final hours of debate: a requirement that both houses of Congress vote on a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Berg said he believes it is the one thing out there that can get our country back on track.

However, several residents criticized Bergs position, saying the amendment wont solve immediate problems like getting unemployed Americans back to work.

The balanced budget amendment is like trying to drain a lake to save a drowning person, West Fargo resident Darrel Lund said. People are in trouble now.

Lund said Congress ought to have just raised the debt ceiling as they were tasked to do, instead of adding to the problem through political deadlock.

Thats whats caused uncertainty that Congress cant even do one thing, Lund said to applause. They had to make a political statement.

The Duluth News Tribune, Duluth, Minnesota:

(Republican Rep. Chip) Cravaack said he wanted to bring down the tax rate to 25 percent for small businesses because higher taxes are passed on to consumers or result in layoffs.

Audience member Dave Garshelis of Cohasset said President George W. Bush tried that plan and it didnt work.

Is this an experiment or a concept or do you have information from somewhere that shows this works? he asked. Im wondering when the jobs are going to happen.

Cravaack said he wants reduced taxes with the addition of tax reform. He said jobs went to places like Mexico and China because of high taxes in the U.S.

Kevin Kooiker of Pequot Lakes wasnt so sure of Cravaacks answer and said the tax rate today is lower than its been in years. He said major corporations are known to be sitting on sizeable amounts of money instead of creating new jobs.

People need to get more money in their pockets, he said. The stimulus bill was way too small.



Silver City Sun-News, Silver City, New Mexico:

A woman stormed out of Congressman Steve Pearces town hall meeting Tuesday night at the Silver City Senior Center, after calling Pearce a liar and saying Youre just (BSing) everyone and we dont buy it.

He got off on the wrong foot with me because he started to lie because he said the reason we got downgraded by S&P was because of our deficit, said Anne Nitopi of Silver City. Thats not the reason. Those very credit agencies approved junk bonds that turned out to not be worth the paper they were printed on, which created a financial collapse. The governments inability to compromise is the reason they downgraded us. He took the debt ceiling debate and linked it to the debate about a budget and our deficit. They allowed the Tea Party extremists to threaten our country with default. <...>

A person before her had said that he heard the 400 wealthiest families in the U.S. had more money than 90 percent of the population and that 80 percent of Americans support a balanced approach to balancing the budget meaning cutting spending and raising taxes but Pearce said he vowed that he would never raise taxes.




(More at the link) http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/08/12/ordinary-america... /

Despite the wingnuts' febrile imaginings, the all-powerful Move-on with its billions in terrorist dollars is not making this happen. This is happening because average people are spontaneously trying to make their voices heard. And these politicians should be listening. But once again, we are all obsessed with the right wing freak show (they own August apparently) this time fetishizing the Ames Cholesterol Poll and Rick Perry.

I'll let dday have the last word:

These Americans are coming forward without a compelling, overriding narrative to draw from. Theyre picking up bits and pieces of information and comparing it to their everyday lives. But the overall message is remarkably similar. It says that government has a role to play in fixing the economy, that increased revenues on the rich to reduce their political economy as much as their share of national wealth would be a positive step, that people are seeing their labor and livelihoods extracted by the top 2% and they cannot stand it. This is a message about inequality, about fairness, about the need for a priority on job creation. Its representative of a very basic and fundamental set of values that have been endemic to America for a long time. And its representative of a frustration that nobody in Washington shares those values.


If only this sentiment could be concentrated, if only these people organized, if only their voices heard!

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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
43. We had this weird power outage last night

I put clothes in the dryer, pushed the button, and the power went off.

But then the power came back on immediately, so I pushed the dryer button again.

Would you believe the power again went off! and stayed off for a couple hours.

We saw some neighbors, and their power was off too. And I'm thinking I caused the electric to be off in the neighborhood!


Later, we heard a car crashed into a telephone pole and knocked out power to our entire area, thousands were without electric!

7 photos
http://projects.springfieldnewssun.com/cache/galleries/... /



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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:11 AM
Response to Reply #43
45. So at least it wasn't you!
That would be embarrassing.
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Po_d Mainiac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #43
73. Reason # 287 for a cloths line
:hide:
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #73
96. Good point

Sisters and I were just discussing various drying racks too.
:)

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #96
108. Such things are ABSOLUTELY Verboten in Our Condo Neighborhood
for the moment :evilgrin:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:23 AM
Response to Original message
48. Mark Fiore's News Roundup
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:24 AM
Response to Reply #48
49. On S&P
Edited on Sat Aug-20-11 07:25 AM by Demeter
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:32 AM
Response to Original message
50.  HP plans to buy Autonomy for $10bn
Edited on Sat Aug-20-11 07:45 AM by Demeter
Hewlett-Packard is close to announcing plans to buy Autonomy one of the largest UK technology companies, for about $10bn, and plans to spin off its own personal computer business, according to several people familiar with the matter...

Moves would dramatically reshape the US tech group, which has come under investor pressure to focus on higher margin businesses ...

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/P75VYY/C4XAFU/6ADGM/JIDYY4/4CVUW0/...

THE FOUNDERS WOULD BE TURNING IN THEIR GRAVES
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #50
58. Takeover is loss for UK software sector


Autonomy's takeover by Hewlett-Packard is likely to make a dollar billionaire out of its chief executive Mike Lynch, but deprive the British software sector of one of its richest assets

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/WDI4RR/NJFE01/Z87P0/8AVD90/8Z7HPJ/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #58
59. UK tech sector set to lose its Autonomy, lucratively


The proposed $10bn purchase of Autonomy by Hewlett-Packard, at an impressive premium of more than 60 per cent, would trigger handsome pay-outs

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/WDI4RR/NJFE01/Z87P0/8AVD90/7AZTP4/...

SOUNDS LIKE THE BRITS ARE ROYALLY FREAKED BY A BIT OF US BARGAIN-HUNTING...THE WAGES OF AUSTERITY?
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:05 AM
Response to Reply #59
78. Hewlett-Packard to Buy Autonomy for $10.3 Billion, Weighs PC Unit Spinoff
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-18/hp-said-to-be-...

...Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker, who took the helm at Hewlett-Packard in November, is lessening the companys reliance on PCs as consumer demand wanes and Apple Inc. lures buyers to its iPad. Hes also expanding in so-called cloud services, which help customers handle computing tasks over the Internet.

Their focus is on being more of a software and services company and not dependent on the hardware businesses, said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Inc. The hardware business has become a difficult business. In many ways its a commodity-driven business. This is a major strategic shift for HP.

By discontinuing WebOS products, Apotheker is backtracking on a strategy he announced just five months ago to put WebOS software on every Hewlett-Packard computer. The operating system runs the companys TouchPad tablet and a range of smartphones.

Former CEO Carly Fiorina acquired Compaq in 2002 for $17.6 billion, making Hewlett-Packard the worlds biggest seller of PCs. Fiorina won shareholder approval for the deal after a proxy fight that pitted her against heirs of the companys founders...

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:12 AM
Response to Reply #78
80. THE TECHIE TAKE: Death of HP TouchPad Changes the Tablet Landscape
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/238482/de...

The tech world was rocked earlier this week when Google announced its purchase of Motorola Mobility, but that was nothing compared with the bombshell HP dropped today. HP announced in one fell swoop that it is abandoning both the PC and mobile device markets. PCs will live on, but the demise of WebOS eliminates what should have been a major player in the mobile field.

Not quite seven weeks ago HP launched the WebOS-based TouchPad tablet with great fanfare and high hopes. It was immediately hit with customer backlash over poor performance, and received tepid reviews. HP cut the price three or four times in the course of a week and still couldn't drive demand, leading Best Buy to complain about being stuck with hundreds of thousands of unsold TouchPads and demanding that HP buy them back.

WebOS will go down in history as the mobile OS that was technically capable--or even superior--but just couldn't find the right combination of vision, hardware, and marketing to capture any interest in the market. When HP bought the flailing Palm, many thought it would be just the thing WebOS needed to compete head to head with Apple's iOS and Google's Android. We can see how well that worked out.

WebOS could have been a contender. WebOS should have been a contender. HP had the financial resources, marketing muscle, and corporate presence to develop and promote WebOS and take the reins from RIM as the de facto mobile OS for business. Instead, it launched a half-baked tablet, scrambled around for seven weeks with no coherent marketing vision, and threw in the towel without even putting up a decent fight....


THIS IS A CLEAR CASE OF BEAN COUNTERS WRECKING A COMPANY. HP WAS LEGENDARY FOR BEING A PLACE WHERE THE NERDS RULED, AND THAT GOT THEM WHERE THEY WERE. NOW THE BEAN COUNTERS, IN PURSUIT OF THAT ETERNAL 20% GROWTH CURVE, ARE MAKING SURE THAT HP WILL SHRINK AND DIE, JUST AS EVERY OTHER VICTIMIZED TECHNOLOGY FIRM HAS SHRUNK AND DIED.

TOO BAD THE HP HEIRS LOST OUT TO FIORINA--THAT STARTED THE WHOLE DECLINE.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:20 AM
Response to Reply #80
81. O'Brien: HP begins to reckon with its own lost decade
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_18712238?nclick_...

Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) dumping of its PC business and its recently acquired Palm webOS acknowledges a doubleheader of disasters. It's a stark admission that the problems facing the world's largest technology company are more fundamental and widespread than any of us realized...But putting aside the monstrous challenges looming in HP's future, the stunning announcements Thursday got me thinking about the company's past. It was a decade ago that then-CEO Carly Fiorina waged her epic fight to acquire Compaq, a deal that, among other things, made HP the largest seller of PCs in the world.

The merger, beyond the business and financial aspects, was one of the most dramatic corporate battles Silicon Valley has ever seen. It represented a kind of cultural civil war, one that nearly tore apart one of the region's most iconic companies. It drew a stark line, dividing the Old HP from the New HP. Out went the human-centered management style known as the "HP Way." In its place came the cold calculus of mergers and layoffs to reshape HP and curry favor with investors. This, we were promised, was in keeping with the times. "I don't think the company's culture, fundamentally, has ever recovered," said Chuck House, who spent 29 years at HP in various roles and is now chancellor at Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale. "The 'HP Way' was gone." And now, for all the blood spilled, two of the biggest pieces of that strategy for growth are being punted away. Fiorina insisted that HP had to get bigger to remain competitive. A bigger company would have more leverage to negotiate with suppliers, she argued, and be able to serve more of its customers' needs. Post Compaq, HP did indeed get bigger. But the merger ultimately cost Fiorina her job when she was unable to deliver on the promised benefits. That duty fell to her successor, Mark Hurd, who tidied things up nicely, and then went on his own buying and firing binge until his controversial departure last year. Hurd's deals included paying $1.2 billion for Palm just a year ago to acquire the mobile operating system webOS.

When it was all said and done, there would be billions of dollars spent on buying other companies and laying off more than 100,000 employees. Even with all those job cuts, HP's employment tripled, topping 300,000. It is now a huge beast of a company. And, alas, a slow one. All that focus on buying and cutting -- where did it leave HP? It missed important shifts in computing, including the emergence of tablet computers and cloud computing. And it has yet another CEO who is in desperate need of a new strategy to reinvent the company...Webb McKinney, who worked at HP from 1969 to 2003, said the Compaq deal was about much more than just PCs. It also made HP more competitive in servers, storage and services. But in general, it was the first step toward creating a company that may have simply become too unwieldy. "HP can do anything, but it can't do everything," McKinney said. "The complexity of trying to run a business like this is extremely challenging."

Which leaves me wondering: What was it all for? The churning of bodies, the huge fees to bankers to facilitate mergers, the lack of a clear identity, the low morale, the absence of leadership or strategy. I have only one thought as I look back over the past decade at HP: What a waste.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:24 AM
Response to Reply #50
82. Another Insight Into the Techie World from Dilbert
Edited on Sun Aug-21-11 05:24 AM by Demeter


Despite the fact that I'm VERY low tech these days, this is the world that shaped my development as an adult...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
51.  Case against three ENRC oligarchs settled
Edited on Sat Aug-20-11 07:54 AM by Demeter
A criminal case involving the three billionaire shareholders behind Eurasian Natural Resources Corp has been settled, removing an obstacle for one of them to become a board member and chairman at the Kazakh miner



Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/S4XZQQ/TUL9H3/3CWTA/PRSJJ1/DWXB8P/...


Case against three ENRC oligarchs settled
Charges against the trio who own 45% of the Kazakh miner have been dropped, clearing the way for Alexander Mashkevich to become its chairman

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/IOCBMM/MSRKZJ/Z87P0/EW544B/8Z71M9/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
52.  US court approves Lehman CLO deal
A US bankruptcy court has approved a deal on Wednesday to securitise a $5.3bn portfolio of loans made by the former investment bank Lehman Brothers, in a sign both of the quiet revival and the changed nature of the market for complex financial products.

WCAS Fraser Sullivan is to take over management of the assets and will generate cash for creditors by selling a series of collateralised loan obligations instruments that pool assets, which are then sliced into tranches of varying risk and return.

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/4RNQTT/FKY2VT/Z87P0/WLU11G/KQ9VV6/...

AND THIS IS THEIR SOLUTION?
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
53.  BofA in talks to sell Merrills property assets

Bank of America is in exclusive talks to sell the bulk of Merrill Lynchs boom-time real estate investments to Blackstone for up to $1bn, as the largest US bank by assets tries to clear up its balance sheet and bolster capital ratios

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/H60H77/160RLN/K91WR/720C9A/R3P7S6/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #53
64. BofA to sell credit card assets


Paulson & Co dumps half its stake while the USs biggest bank by assets has agreed to sell its Canadian credit cards business to TD Bank for $8.6bn

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/0QSDPP/MSR79G/4VXHZ/9ZV22M/L9S8VT/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:37 AM
Response to Original message
54. Gavyn Davies - What went wrong with the global recovery?

As recently as six months ago, mainstream economic forecasters were expecting real GDP growth to be comfortably above trend in 2011, and surveys of business activity were hitting new peaks. Of course, everyone knew that the underlying condition of the western economies was still very weak, but that did not seem to be sufficient to prevent a continuing normalisation of economic activity, with GDP returning slowly towards pre-recession trends.

We now know that these expectations were extremely complacent.

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/CTBPCC/YB8PCC/4VXHZ/HDWXTQ/4CVPG2/...

DELUSIONAL IS MY WORD FOR IT
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #54
69. Not so much delusional as
deluding.

I sincerely think many of these people who spew this utter bullshit really do know it's bullshit. But they also know that most of the peed-ons will believe it (in part because they want to believe it) and will behave accordingly.

The ones at the top aren't stupid. They just think the rest of us are.




TG
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:01 AM
Response to Reply #69
77. I don't know, Tansy
I've found time and again I've attributed more smarts to really stupid people than they ever possessed because they were in a position to thwart my goals--but they got there not because of their smarts, but because of timing, or random luck, or social advantage.

But when the time comes to lay the cards on the table (and that happens regularly in the game of life) they are holding busted flushes.

I don't think they are smarter than average. And remember, averages in this nation are pretty low, despite the bracket creep that has been occurring in intelligence testing over the past 50+ years.

No, the problem is that intelligence isn't everything. But when all other advantages are stripped away by adversity: age, beauty, wealth, social standing, all the trappings society values; the only thing we have left going for us is intelligence. It is what we carry with us regardless of the circumstances.

A lot of subnormal people like W get where they are because of their family. Take away that family, and they fade pretty fast.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #77
91. I still stand by it
Yes, there are people who are in positions of power/authority by way of privilege, but the ones who are really making the pronouncements that the sheep absorb like gospel are smart but manipulative people. They're the "social dominators" of the authoritarian mindset. And they are evil to the core.


Tansy Gold, who spent almost six hours in online chat with McAfee techies yesterday because the dumb shits would not pay attention to what she was telling them and they kept trying to fix problems she told them did not exist.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #91
99. I think your second paragraph makes my case
And yes, I agree about the evil people...hell, I married one. Nothing like a crash course....

Still, the amount of influence they can exert is determined by something other than intelligence---it's status. And if the Evil get their status from the Stupid, both come down the hill, like Jack and Jill. Hitler didn't rise in a vacuum--and he took a lot of Evil People and Stupids down with him, in the end.

Although, we seem to have an ever renewing, inexhaustible supply....
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Hawkowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #91
105. I agree 100%
The "social dominators of the authoritarian mindset. And they are evil to the core." An apt, succinct summation of our society.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
55.  Volatility and low rates make the world a riskier place

Following the downgrade of the US sovereign credit rating, investors continued to do what they had been doing: selling riskier assets, like equities, and buying safer ones, like Treasuries. The downgrade provided no new facts but underscored fears that the world is a risky place.

The US is now adapting to a growth rate that is much lower and more volatile than it is accustomed to. Working off the accumulated debt of the last two decades weighs on wealth, as assets are written down, and diverts a larger share of lower incomes to debt repayment, slowing economic growth for years to come.

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/LVA6WW/8ZMG8Q/1O51V/YH1L49/GDY6BC/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:46 AM
Response to Original message
56.  Surge in buy-backs by US companies

More US companies have announced share buy-backs in August than in any month since 2008, reflecting their view that recent stock price falls are excessive

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/UXDMSS/TULNU1/ULCJB/6V0XQ7/B548HS/...

MAYBE, MAYBE NOT
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:47 AM
Response to Original message
57.  Traders prepare for Chvez gold transfer

Bullion move is one of the biggest in recent history as Venezuelas central bank is the worlds 15th largest holder of gold

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/UXDMSS/TULNU1/ULCJB/6V0XQ7/EXK08J/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #57
66. Chavez Preparing Government Takeover of Venezuelas Gold Mining Industry
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-17/chavez-prepari...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered his government to repatriate $11 billion in gold held in banks abroad to safeguard the country from the economic crisis and said hell nationalize the local gold industry. Venezuela has about 211 tons of its 365 tons of gold reserves held abroad at institutions including the Bank of England, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Barclays Plc (BARC), Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) and the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), according to a government document....

Chavez, who has said he wants to eliminate the dictatorship of the U.S. dollar, has called on Venezuelas central bank to diversify its $28.7 billion in reserves away from U.S. institutions. Some cash reserves, which total $6.3 billion, will be shifted into currencies from emerging markets including China, Russia, Brazil and India, central bank President Nelson Merentes said today at a news conference.


Earlier today Chavez said he plans to take control of the countrys gold industry to halt illegal mining and boost reserves. The government is preparing a decree to stop illegal miners exploiting deposits of gold and coltan, an ore containing tantalum, used in mobile phones and video-game consoles, he said. Venezuela produces 11 metric tons of gold a year, and illegal miners extract an additional 10 to 11 tons a year, Chavez said in May.

Venezuela faces international arbitration over nationalized gold assets from three companies including Crystallex International Corp. (KRY), a Canadian gold producer whose Las Cristinas mine was taken over by the government in February. Chavez has increased state control over the economy since 2006 by nationalizing companies in the oil, petrochemicals, cement, metal, mining and telecommunications industries. Venezuela has established its position as a brutal place to do business, Tom Winmill, who manages the Midas Fund in New York, said today in a telephone interview. Whether its a small cap like Crystallex or a large cap like Barrick or Anglo Gold, it doesnt really make any difference because no one is going to put another nickel into that country, he said. GOOD! THE MAN IS FEARLESS. The South American country, in an effort to boost stalled production and take advantage of rising prices, last year relaxed restrictions on gold exports to allow some companies and joint ventures with the government to send as much as 50 percent of their output abroad. Venezuela state gold producer Minerven has been shut for 15 days amid a strike, newspaper El Mundo reported today, citing company President Luis Herrera. The area is run by the mafia, Chavez said of the gold industry today. Were going to nationalize gold. We cant keep allowing them to take it away. ...Rusoro Mining Ltd. (RML), the only publicly traded gold miner still in Venezuela, is in talks with the government to increase gold exports, Chief Executive Officer Andre Agapov said today in a telephone interview. We can sell gold in the local market, but we want to sell as much gold as possible at international prices, Agapov said. He said he didnt have any information on a possible nationalization. The companys stock fell 17 percent to 12.5 Canadian cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange today. Its fallen 69 percent this year.



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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:52 AM
Response to Original message
60. Senator Grassley quizzes SEC on file purging


Senior Republican senator seeks a response to a whistleblowers claim that the regulator has destroyed more than 9,000 documents on high-profile cases

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/IOCBMM/MSRKZJ/Z87P0/EW544B/GDYOIK/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:53 AM
Response to Original message
61.  Disney takes advantage of low bond rates

A person close to the entertainment group said the company had opportunistically tapped the market at a time of historically low rates

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/IOCBMM/MSRKZJ/Z87P0/EW544B/HYI0EH/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:55 AM
Response to Original message
62. Move to curb Swiss francs rise backfires


The Swiss National Bank says it will bolster measures to counter the runaway franc by expanding the supply of liquidity to the money markets

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/2SRI11/WTBF25/T10SH/PR9SCJ/TU1K1I/...
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Po_d Mainiac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #62
76. ctrl-p.. ctrl-p.. .ctrl-p.. .ctrl-p. ..ctrl-p ctrl-p ....ctrl-p ctrl-p n/t
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:07 AM
Response to Reply #76
79. Morning, Po
Edited on Sun Aug-21-11 05:13 AM by Demeter
What are you doing Control-P for? Printing Swiss francs?

I'm up because I was shorted a bundle last night, waiting for the truck to redeliver so I can finish the route...
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Po_d Mainiac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #79
95. Back about a year ago they tried buying EUD's
Bout the only thing that came of that, was a large hit on the SNB's balance sheet.

They'll have to prove to the world they are just as good at printing if they want to run their currency down.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
63.  Fitch maintains USs triple A rating

Rating agency confident of budget cut deal, while rival S&P downgraded its rating to double A plus and Moodys put the country on negative watch

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/BLH300/YB8JL6/DXJ2Y/UUN3ZV/AM5UEO/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 08:00 AM
Response to Original message
65. Pfizer wins case to keep Viagra patent


US drugmaker wins a patent case that will block generic producer Teva from selling an unbranded version of Viagra

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/0QSDPP/MSR79G/4VXHZ/9ZV22M/5V2QFI/...

NO COMMENT
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
67. Time to Unload the Van--Wish me luck
I'm going to take some pre-emptive aspirin...
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #67
68. good luck!
:hi:
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #67
70. Good luck!
:hi:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #67
71. Well, It Didn't Go Too Badly
We got the van unloaded in an hour, stopped at the dump, the gas station, home to pick up the grandpuppy and a car, then dropped off the van! Whew! The humidity is excessive, and the threat of rain is only a promise so far.

But when I went to get the first load of papers, I wished I had that van. It took two trips. All that back-to-school advertising. More delusion.

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kickysnana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #67
75. kicking so I can find this OP again. n/t
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
72. Treasury Yields Fall to Historic Lows as Stocks Plunge
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904070604...

For at least 50 years, the 10-year U.S. Treasury note yielded nothing lower than 2%until Thursday. The yield sank to 1.9872% in early trading on Thursday, the first time it has hit that level since at least the 1960s, based on St. Louis Federal Reserve records. Before that, comparisons become murky....While 10-year yields later rose above 2%, their foray below that level underscored the fact that investors, consumers and financial institutions increasingly find themselves in a new world of rock-bottom interest rates that has profound implications for public, corporate and personal finance.

"I think what the bond market is telling youis that returns over the next couple of years are going to be significantly lower than they've been over the last 10, 20 years," said Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of BlackRock Inc.'s actively managed fixed-income funds, with $604 billion under management. "It's certainly suggestive of an economy that's significantly slower than people thought it would be at this point."

Roger Ibbotson, a professor at Yale School of Management, traces 10-year yields back to the 1920s and says the 10-year has been above 2% since April 1950. It reached its lowest point in April 1942 of 0.92%, he says....Since peaking this year at 3.725% in February, the yield on the benchmark 10-year notea key rate that tends to guide moves in consumer rates such as mortgageshas collapsed by more than 1.60 percentage points, according to Thomson Reuters data....
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Po_d Mainiac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-20-11 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #72
74. T10's are a lot like the patch of woods between pit stops, when u have the shits
Even though u may get poison ivy or step in a yellow jacket nest, it's the best place to go at the time.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:41 AM
Response to Original message
83. The Beatles - Another Girl
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:45 AM
Response to Original message
84. U.S. needs to reform corporate tax, GE CEO says
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/18/us-ge-immelt-...

WHY? SO GE CAN PAY EVEN LESS THAN SEVERAL BILLION NEGATIVE DOLLARS?

The United States needs to reform its corporate tax code and should consider eliminating all loopholes that allow companies to pay less than the statutory rate, General Electric Co (GE.N)'s chief said.

The largest U.S. conglomerate would accept the elimination of loopholes "in a heartbeat" if it was coupled with a lowering of the statutory 35 percent rate, Jeff Immelt told a group of students on Thursday.

"Corporate tax in this country needs to be reformed," Immelt said at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire. "Stuff that the deficit commission came up with, which was a lower corporate tax rate ending every loophole, is what we would take, with a territorial system, we would take in a heartbeat. The fact is I'd take Germany's or Japan's or the U.K.'s corporate tax policy today, sight unseen, without any dispute, I would take any of those tax policies today."

YEAH, SURE, THEN HE COULD MOVE EVERYTHING TO KAZHAKSTAN....OR WHEREVER THE DEAL IS BETTER....
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
85. Mortgage lending at lowest level since 1997
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/08/18/121119/mortgage-l...

IN OTHER WORDS, BACK TO PRE-BUBBLE LEVELS...AND IT'S ALL REFIS, ANYWAY...

Despite near-record-low mortgage rates and the cheapest housing prices in eight years, home lending has slipped this year to the lowest level since 1997. The laggard loan market can be explained in part by the slow economy, numerous foreclosures and the proliferation of "underwater" loans, those that exceed the value of the properties they secure. But other factors are compounding the problem, including so-called refi burnout - how many times, after all, can one refinance a home? - and a wave of people who have simply decided that homeownership isn't what it was cracked up to be...

In 2003, as the housing boom took hold and 30-year fixed mortgage rates fell below 6 percent, refinancings propelled home lending to four times the current volume. And as the rate tumbled toward 5 percent and then smashed that barrier in 2009 for the first time since 1956, there was twice as much mortgage lending as now. "There is a burnout phenomenon," said Mortgage Bankers Association economist Michael Fratantoni. In addition, many would-be refinancers have been stopped by the declines in home prices, now back at 2003 levels, which has left them owing far more than their homes are worth. "Borrowers who couldn't qualify for 4.5 percent mortgages last year for the most part still can't qualify this year," Fratantoni said.

And getting the purchase market up and running again would require "significant job growth," he said, something that has failed to materialize in the sluggish recovery that now is threatening to fall back into recession.

The result of all this: Despite the confluence of lower home prices and rates, new mortgages are down by a third compared with 2010. Lenders will write about $1 trillion in home loans this year, the smallest total since 1997, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, which projects home lending will fall even lower in 2012...among younger buyers, "there's not much feeling that they need to buy right away," Fratantoni said. "I expect that may change over the next couple of years, but certainly for the first-time buyer there's less near-term demand."

MORE AT LINK

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:56 AM
Response to Reply #85
86. Home sales dropped 3.5 pct. in July, hit 2011 low
AND THOSE ARE ALL SHORT SALES...

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j5Yfy...

The number of people who bought previously occupied homes fell in July for the third time in four months. This year is on pace to be the worst in 14 years for home sales, as more Americans worry that the economy could slip back into another recession...Home sales fell 3.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.67 million homes, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That's far below the 6 million that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.... Sales are lagging behind last year's 4.91 million sold the weakest in 13 years...

First-time homebuyers made up just 32 percent of sales. First-time buyers are critical to strong housing markets and normally make up about half of all sales. Their purchases of low and moderately priced homes also allow sellers to move up to pricier homes. The weak data show "the housing market will not save the U.S. economy," said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

Since the housing boom went bust in 2006, sales have fallen in four of the past five years. Declining home prices and super-low mortgage rates haven't been enough to boost sales this year...Some sales are falling apart at the last minute. At least 16 percent of deals were canceled ahead of closings last month. That's four times the number in May and the highest level since such records began being kept more than a year ago. A sale isn't final until a mortgage is closed. Buyers have canceled purchases after appraisals showed that the homes were worth less than the buyers' initial bids....

Foreclosures and short sales when a lender agrees to sell for less than what is owed on a mortgage made up about 29 percent of all home sales last month. That's up from about 10 percent in past years. And a wave of foreclosures are being held up, either by backlogged courts or lenders awaiting state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices. Investors have targeted foreclosures and other deeply discounted properties. Their purchases accounted for 18 percent of sales in July....Most economists say home prices will keep falling, by at least 5 percent, through the rest of the year. Many forecasts don't anticipate a rebound in prices until at least 2013...The glut of unsold homes declined slightly in July to 3.65 million homes. At last month's sales pace, it would take 9.4 months to clear those homes. Analysts say a healthy supply can be cleared in six months...MORE
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 05:59 AM
Response to Original message
87. the Beatles - She`s a woman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIQRjT3_hG8

THIS TUNE WAS A SELF-REFERENCE IN THE FILM--HEARD ON A RADIO...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 06:01 AM
Response to Reply #87
88. The Beatles - 08 - "Another Hard Day's Night" (instrumental) (Arranged by Thorne)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obTgLM13PQg

ANOTHER SELF-REFERENCE, PERFORMED BY A SITAR BAND...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 06:46 AM
Response to Original message
89. Social Security disability on verge of insolvency
http://news.yahoo.com/social-security-disability-verge-...

Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency. Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs. The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved and worsening the financial problems of a program that's been running in the red for years.

New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security's much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry as well.

Much of the focus in Washington has been on fixing Social Security's retirement system. Proposals range from raising the retirement age to means-testing benefits for wealthy retirees. But the disability system is in much worse shape and its problems defy easy solutions. The trustees who oversee Social Security are urging Congress to shore up the disability system by reallocating money from the retirement program, just as lawmakers did in 1994. That, however, would provide only short-term relief at the expense of weakening the retirement program.

Claims for disability benefits typically increase in a bad economy because many disabled people get laid off and can't find a new job. This year, about 3.3 million people are expected to apply for federal disability benefits. That's 700,000 more than in 2008 and 1 million more than a decade ago. "It's primarily economic desperation," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said in an interview. "People on the margins who get bad news in terms of a layoff and have no other place to go and they take a shot at disability."
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
92. Pollyanna-in-Chief? The Economy Drowns Out Obama's Cheery Speeches
"There is nothing wrong with our country" except for the "broken" political system, President Obama declared at many stops on his Midwest bus tour this week. "We've still got the best workers in the world. We've got the best entrepreneurs in the world. We've got the best scientists, the best universities."

Well, fine. Presidents have to profess confidence about the country and its long-term prospects, even when the news is bleak. But in repeatedly insisting that there is "nothing wrong," Obama put himself at odds with current reality and with what most people think is true.

It's not just that unemployment and underemployment are sky-high. It's also that the economic recovery is sputtering and in serious danger of slipping into a second recession. A wide variety of polling shows that about 75 percent of Americans think the country is on the "wrong track." Consumer confidence is at the lowest level since 1980, and consumer spending is depressed. Global stock markets, which plunged again on Thursday, are more volatile than at any time since the depths of the financial crisis in late 2008. Gasoline prices are still near $4 a gallon, and gold prices have now pushed above $1,800 an ounce.

Obama's line is eerily reminiscent of John McCain's infamous remark during the 2008 presidential campaign -- during the same week that Wall Street was imploding - that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong."

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/print/2011/08/polly...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #92
100. What's he going to do?
Admit his errors (multiple and ongoing)? End the wars? Fire Geithner and blackmail Bernanke? It's more likely that Obama would be blackmailed and fired...I'd bet money it's going on as we speak.

Obama got all his carrots up front: the Nobel Peace Prize, which will live in infamy, the book contract, the mortgage, the election by damn near acclamation, etc....Now it's time for the stick.

In war, truth is the first casualty.--Aeschylus, Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC - 456 BC)

The war on everything America stands for takes no prisoners....

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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 08:14 AM
Response to Original message
93. For Many Seniors, There May Be No Retirement
Many older people are finding themselves in a position they never expected to be in at retirement age: still working or in need of a job.

And the laundry list of reasons just keeps growing. Already battered nest eggs took another beating this month with the market's wild swings. With interest rates essentially at zero since 2008, income from Treasurys and certificates of deposit is pretty paltry. And the Federal Reserve recently said it would likely keep rates "exceptionally low" through mid-2013. On top of that, housing prices are still in the doldrums, leaving homeowners with much less equity to tap.

More than three in five U.S. workers in their 50s and 60s plan on working past 65 -- and 47% of that group say they'll do so because they'll need the money or health benefits, according to a 2011 study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

But in this tight labor market, working into your golden years isn't easy. And you'll have to make your age and years on the job come across as assets, not liabilities. In addition, with the current market upheaval, you'll need a financial plan that puts your savings on the fast track and takes into account how Social Security and Medicare benefits could be affected.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903639404...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
94. Stocks and Gold Point to a Hellish Outcome By Bill Bonner
...We keep an eye on stocks and gold. Stocks measure the value of Americas businesses. Gold measures the value of Americas and the worlds money. What are these measures telling us? That were on the road to Hell! Of the two measures, gold is harder to figure out.

Stocks are obvious. Americas businesses arent worth 20 times earnings. Theyre not worth that much because were in a Great Correction. And after the action of last weekand yesterdayit is becoming clear that this correction will probably last a long time. Layoffs are increasing. Home sales are falling. And consumer prices are rising at a 6% annual rate. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Banks business activity index fell to minus 30.7 in August, the lowest level since March 2009 when the economy was in recession, from 3.2 in July. That was much worse than economists expectations for a reading of plus 3.7. Any reading below zero indicates a contraction in the regions manufacturing...A second report showed sales of previously owned homes fell 3.5 percent in July, to an annual rate of 4.67 million units, the lowest in eight months. Economists had expected home resales to rise to a 4.9 million-unit pace...Separate data from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 9,000, to 408,000. Another report from the department showed the Consumer Price Index increased 0.5 percent in July, the largest gain since March, after falling 0.2 percent in June.

So dont expect most businesses to increase sales. And dont expect profits to go up. Businesses have already done a very good job of squeezing costs in order to survive the downturn. That helps keep up profit margins. But its murder on the economy. One businesss costs are another businesss revenues. While profits rise, revenues fall. Not good for the long term...The biggest single expense for most businesses is the payroll. People are expensive. So, if youre a good businessman, you try to get rid of as many people as possible and not hire more of them. Even when you think business is improving, you try to service the new sales with the same staff. A little more over-timestreamlining administrationmaking the enterprise more efficient. In that regard, computers and modern communications technology have been helpful. They make it easy to fire people! But they dont seem to lead to the kind of GDP boosts that you need to create jobs and increase standards of living. Thats why the 10 million or so jobs that disappeared in this downturn wont come back. And its why the real unemployment rate in the US hasnt been this high since the Great Depression...Here at The Daily Reckoning weve been expecting lower stock prices for a long time. Wall Street has never completed its rendezvous with disaster that began in January 2000. As we see it, stocks began a bear market almost 12 years ago, after an 18-year bull market. But the bear market was never allowed to fully express itself. Instead, the feds came in like rap stars into a late-night party. They turned up the music. They poured drinks for everyone. They brought drugs and hookers. And pretty soon, the party was going louder and wilder than ever. But now the partys over. The feds are still opening bottles. But nobodys drinking. The bear market is back. By our reckoning, the Dow should fall below 5,000 before it is over. Most likely, it will not be a short, quick collapse. Instead, it will be a long battlestretched over many yearswith the feds fighting over every inch....Anyhow, thats our story. Thats been our story for many years. Seeing no reason to change it, well stick with it.

But what about gold? Therewell, we admit to a certain feeling of I told you so. But it was one thing to tell Dear Readers to buy gold when it was selling for $300. Its another thing to suggest it at $1,800. Gold was a steal at $300. At $1,800, its probably close to fair value. That doesnt mean it wont go higher. In fact, we think it will go much higher. But its a rare bull market that makes it so easy for investors. But gold is harder to figure out. If the economy is really in a Great Correctionand if it will be in a funk for yearsa Japan-like slumpand if investors are fleeing stocks and buying dollars and dollar-based bondsthen, why is gold going up? Are investors really looking ahead to the feds reaction to a double-dip recession? Are they thinking that Bernanke et al will panicand print more money? Are they worried about higher rates of inflation? Or maybe investors figure with interest rates so low they might as well hold their money in gold. Who knows what could happen? Who knows what the feds will do? Who knows anything? At least gold is something you know wont go away.

Possibly. But we dont think investors are that smart. Or that forward-looking.

Read more: Stocks and Gold Point to a Hellish Outcome http://dailyreckoning.com/stocks-and-gold-point-to-a-he...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #94
98. Multiplying by Zero By Bill Bonner
Permanent zero. Thats what Edward Harrison calls the Feds new policy of guaranteeing ultra-low interest rates for the next 2 years...Maybe investors are catching on. Maybe they realize that we are in a zero stage economy. Zero is a funny number. It is not a number at all. When you say there are zero donuts on the table, how many are there? None at all. There are no donuts on the table. So how many is zero? And what happens when you add zeros together? Nothing. But when you multiply by zero something extraordinary happenssomething becomes nothing. No kidding. Zero times 6 = 0. Zero times the entire federal deficit equals zero. Want to make something disappear? Multiply it by zero. And what happens when you multiply a Great Correction economy by zero rates of interest? Hey, thats what were finding out.

If a person is zero years oldhow old are they? They have no age. They do not exist. Zero is emptynon-existentit is nothing. It is a void. It is where the person who does not exist sits to drink his coffee. But what is a void? It is like describing the universe. You may say that the universe began with the big bang, but what was there before? Zero? No There had to be something to blow up. If you say the universe was a giant void, it only raises our curiosity. How can a void be giant? And what exactly is in a void?...Lets try to imagine something that is so small it has no dimensions. None. Take a measurement. Cut it in half. Do that againand againand no matter how many times you do it, you still have something. You cant make the damned thing disappear! You cant get to nothing, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, zero by definition does not exist! And if it does not exist, there is no point in talking about it. We only bring it up because zero is becoming a larger and larger part if you can imagine it of the US economy. Zero interest rates. Zero growth. Zero stock market appreciation. Zero housing gains. Zero new jobs. Yes, dear readerthe economy is a Big, Fat Zero

The whole thing is breathtakingly bizarre. The feds latest measure puts consumer inflation at more than zero about 3%. John Williams Shadow Stats puts it at 11%. And yet, the Fed lends member banks money at zero interest. It is not only giving money away, it has pledged to do so until the middle of 2013. Get it here! Free Money! Get your Free Money here! For the next 24 months! Readers may think this is a good thing. Now, the banks know that all they have to do is to borrow the Feds money for nothingand then lend it back to the federal government for 10 years at a higher rate. Maybe 2% higher. Two percent is not a lot. But the feds will borrow $3 trillion or so during that 2-year period. Lets see, 2% of $3 trillion is $60 billion. Not bad. Especially for doing zero work. In other words, for zero effort and at zero risk the banks will make beaucoup money from the Feds permanent zero interest rate policy. It is supposed to encourage them to borrow and lendand thereby stimulate the economy to grow.

But well make a prediction. No, several of them.

Bankers, being who they are, will still find a way to lose money. They are public utilities now, run largely for the benefit of their employees. Bank managers will suck out the profits, leaving banks severely undercapitalized. Then, when US Treasurys collapse, the banks will collapse too. Another one: permanent zero is not just a policy measureits a prediction and a curse. It is what you get when you take the road to Japan permanently zero interest ratesand zero growth too. And another one: when they multiply a permanent zero interest rate policy with an economy in a Great Correction they will getzero.

Bill Bonner

Read more: Multiplying by Zero http://dailyreckoning.com/multiplying-by-zero/#ixzz1Vff...

WHAT BILL LACKS IN MATHEMATICAL PRECISION AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE THEORY OF LIMITS, HE MORE THAN MAKES UP FOR IN HORROR AND IMAGINATION...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #98
101. Bernanke to Savers: Save This! By Dan Amoss
Edited on Sun Aug-21-11 02:56 PM by Demeter
...the Fed promises i.e., threatens to maintain its failed policy of suppressing short-term interest rates, thereby punishing savers and promoting debt accumulating and consumption. This is an inflationary policy, which will continue to fuel the cost pressures that are already unfolding at many US businesses....The Fed has effectively decreed that the US Treasury shall pay no interest on notes issued with a 2-year or lower maturityand not much interest on notes all the way out to the 10-Year.

With this weeks announcement, the Fed pinned the front end of the yield curve to zero. This action will act to lower the average interest rate of the national debt over the next two years, which is a wealth transfer from savers to the federal government.

This is all part of the financial repression as outlined by Bill Gross of PIMCO: savers wealth stored in banks and Treasuries will be clipped by a few percent per year, as rates remain well below inflation. This inflation tax is a wealth transfer to the government as it gets to spend the newly created money first, before it gets transmitted through the banking system (losing value in the process)...


Read more: Bernanke to Savers: Save This! http://dailyreckoning.com/bernanke-to-savers-save-this/...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #101
102. Is Gold Still a Buy? By Bill Bonner
...In an expansion, the banking system turns on the taps. It magnifies purchasing powerby making loans. In a contraction, purchasing power goes downas loans are repaid or written off. A $100,000 loan that is repaid reduces the money supply by $100,000 (unless it is lent out to someone else). In a fractional reserve banking system, a loan that cant be repaidreduces the money supply by as much as $1 million. It wipes out the banks lending capital, forcing it to reduce its loans outstanding.

This de-leveraging process should help support the value of the dollar and reduce the demand for gold as a refuge. But so far, gold is still going up. And in the long runafter the feds have intervenedit should soar....Gold is fundamentally a bet that the financial authorities are losersthat the worlds paper-based monetary system is headed for destruction, and they cant stop it.

It is a good bet.



Read more: Is Gold Still a Buy? http://dailyreckoning.com/is-gold-still-a-buy/#ixzz1VhB...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #102
103. Why the Gold Bull Market Will Continue to Charge Ahead
Despite the fact that gold has soared more than 500% during the last decade, most professional investors still refuse to embrace the precious metal as a respectable asset class. Gold remains a relic. A has-been. A roll-your-eyes investment.

Gold is like a prostitute that becomes a brain surgeon. No matter how accomplished a surgeon she may become, most folks will still consider her a hooker, not a doctor.

Thats unfortunate, especially if you happen to need brain surgery.

Right now, the entire world needs a kind of monetary brain surgery. Gold can handle the job. So dont let her skin-tight spandex shorts and her stiletto pumps fool you; this gal can do things with investment capital and personal savings that paper currencies can only dream about.

Read more: Why the Gold Bull Market Will Continue to Charge Ahead http://dailyreckoning.com/why-the-gold-bull-market-will...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #103
104. Another "Nugget" from the Gold Bugs
In other words, the commodity markets are saying that the global economy is in trouble; while the gold market is saying that the dollar is in trouble.

We agree with both markets.

Read more: Why the Gold Bull Market Will Continue to Charge Ahead http://dailyreckoning.com/why-the-gold-bull-market-will...

I REALLY LIKED IT WHEN MAX KEISER CALLED THE ANTI-GOLD CROWD "PAPER BUGS"...I THINK HE'S ACURATE, AND THAT'S TRUE BECAUSE PAPER IS GOING NOWHERE EXCEPT DOWN THE TOILET....
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
97. A day too far
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Asian_Economy/MH20Dk01.htm...

MONTREAL - Asian markets were doing more or less fine, showing a net gain on the week, before the sell signals rang out after steep overnight drops in the United States and European markets. The gains were lost, Seoul giving up more than 6% on Friday, and stocks were set up for their fourth consecutive overall weekly decline.

Volatility was moderately negatively (-0.40) correlated with percentage move: the more volatile an index was, the more it lost; and eight of the 10 national markets reviewed here were losers this week.

The Australian All Ordinaries Index closed at 4,172, down 1.6% on the week with the suggestion of an oncoming reversal to the upside after the recent precipitous decline, bounce and retracement, the last due to a short-term overbought situation now


possible resolved. The reversal, however, is far from certain: it is now walking a tightrope along a long-term (since November 2007) ascending-lows uptrend support. Volatility declined throughout the week. Some other indicators turned moderately favorable and momentum also improved but remained steadily moderately negative.

In Northeast Asia, South Korea was the most volatile exchange of the week and Japan the third-least volatile, but both ended with overall median losses. The KOSPI in Seoul closed at 1,745, down 1.9% on the week (and down 6.2% on the day, erasing Monday's gain of nearly 5%) and seeming to be trying to reverse to the upside after resolving a short-term oversold situation. Volatility declined throughout the week to a moderate level, but momentum remains significantly and steadily negative.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
106. Germanys Opponents of Common Bond Provoked by U.S. Downgrade
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-16/germany-s-oppo...

Chancellor Angela Merkels resolve to defend Germanys top credit rating in the wake of Standard & Poors U.S. downgrade is at odds with the likely expense of containing Europes debt crisis.

Merkel faces a domestic audience both wedded to Germanys AAA rating and divided over whether Europes largest economy should provide financial succor to its currency-union partners in the form of common bonds. Mohit Kumar of Deutsche Bank AG estimates an aggregate credit rating of AA+ for the euro region, a notch lower than Germany is used to, which would make it impossible to maintain a top grade while allowing Euro bonds.

A transfer union where Germany pays for the debt of other countries, but has no access to their tax revenues, would probably be the worst outcome for Germanys rating, said Kornelius Purps, a strategist at UniCredit SpA in Munich.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
109. I'm Stopping Here, Everyone
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is not.

Have a good week, watchout for bears, bulls, the morons, the evil, and the zombies!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-11 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #109
110. Roll the Credits!
Edited on Sun Aug-21-11 07:18 PM by Demeter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpCbD3xTDa0

It's too bad the Beatles were so stoned throughout the filming...they might have enjoyed it more....
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