Memeorandum


Powered by TypePad

« Maybe Just More Fiber In The Diet? | Main | Smile, Dammit »

December 05, 2008

Comments

Jane

What a juxtaposition against a woman they had on Fax yesterday who can remember everything - every day of her life, including what she had for lunch of January 16, 1982.

Jane

Fox, not Fax.

clarice

What would be worse, do you think? Remembering everything, including all your sins or remembering nothing, including all your joys and loves?

Thank heavens I need not choose.

sbw

Yeah, well, when I pick up a guitar the sound doesn't come out the same as I recall from 40 years ago. I suspect both erosion of my motor skills and rust in my remembery.

larry

As I age it seems the more stuff is crammed into my recollector the harder it is to find it when I need it.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Big deal. The entire nightmare of the 1970s has been lost to 53% of the American electorate.

Charlie (Colorado)

I desperately hope --- without much confidence --- that this will at least reduce the number of people who complain about having no "short term memory" when what they mean is they are having trouble forming long-term memories (and what they really mean is that they got distracted or weren't paying attention to start with.)

As I age it seems the more stuff is crammed into my recollector the harder it is to find it when I need it.

That's actually true; in fact, the brain, by observation, seems to act exactly as if we need to "search" for an item, at least in declarative memory. The more stuff we have, the longer it takes. This accounts for the way people with big vocabularies tend to do more "umm"-ing while speaking extempore.

What would be worse, do you think? Remembering everything, including all your sins or remembering nothing, including all your joys and loves?

At least according to Oliver Sacks and Alexander Luria, extreme memory is rather uncomfortable. Here's a description I found online:


But the eminent neurologist A. R. Luria documented an actual case of total recall in his astonishing book, The Mind of a Mnemonist. The subject was a Russian man, Sherashevsky, who could remember – or, more to the point, could never forget – any detail, however small, of the experiences of his life: every sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch, every thought and impression, every way of looking at and analyzing a situation. And, of course, it was disastrous for him because he had no sense of discrimination. He could never focus on a specific problem or situation because as soon as he turned his attention to it, his mind was choked full or irrelevancies. Every trivial item spawned the recollection of a thousand others. He could not follow through a particular chain of reasoning, or make decisions, or take an interest in one topic over any other. In fact, he could not function normally at all and spent many of his days in abject depression and misery.

On the other hand, this kind of profound amnesia seems to be at least benign --- people who have it don't get perturbed for long about what's going on around them. They don't function all that well --- you think you have tropuble finding your keys --- but they're not unhappy.

clarice

Nice to see you again, Chaco..

I have a too sad to recount story about a cousin who lost her capacity to remember except for long ago events (the result of brain surgery to remove a cyst, or more likely the fact that the cyst ruptured in the removal process). Maybe another time. It really is too awful.

Rick Ballard

"The entire nightmare of the 1970s has been lost to 53% of the American electorate."

Not to employers though. They reacted to the election of Carter II in November by providing a prompt lesson for 533,000 people who thought they had a job. Perhaps Brother George could be hired to supervise construction of a nice Obamaville on the National Mall? He and Illegal Auntie could be the first to pitch a tent or put up a cardboard and tin can shack.

The December numbers should be a little worse. Maybe a lot worse. It depends upon whether companies decide to augment what will surely be a surge in retirements with more trimming of fat.

jean

Rick,I'm not sure about the surge in retirements.I know of people who have put their retirement plans on hold.

Pofarmer

Man, man, the Dow is not happy. It's pretty much range bound DOWN. Anybody wanna project a bottom? Guys talking $20 oil??? That's 1980's bust territory. I'm thinking the increase in new Home mortgages last month was a suckers deal. We'll see.

Jim Ryan

CAPTAIN: "Just get into that F-18 and shoot down those Soviet jets. They're invading our airspace."

AMNESIAC: "What? This airplane? You want me to fly this airplane? Good Lord, it looks like a fighter, only way more modern than the ones my dad flew in the War. It's looks like a sci-fi thing. Soviets? Aren't they our allies?"

CAPTAIN: "Just get into the cockpit and go shoot them down."

AMNESIAC: "Say, are you having a laugh? You want me to fly this airplane. And shoot down some other airplanes. I don't know how to fly an airplane."

CAPTAIN: "Get in...."

[An hour later.]

CAPTAIN: "Nice work. Two kills."

AMNESIAC: "That was easier than I thought."

Pofarmer

Wheat has lost nearly 50% of it's value since June. Corn has lost 60%. Soybeans have lost 50%. Fat Cattle have lost 30%. Oil has lost 70%. The Dow has lost about 40%. Anybody got fresh numbers for real estate?

Anybody got any ideas for what happens when we bottom? When do we bottom??

clarice

Po, a very smart man I know predicted an enormous inflation in about 2 years time.

TCO

Remember all that crap from you interventionists on how the taxpayers would make money from the bailout? Bunch of crap. See below. You RINO interventionists suck.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081205/ap_on_bi_ge/bailout_returns

Pofarmer

Po, a very smart man I know predicted an enormous inflation in about 2 years time.

It's lasting that long that could be the problem.

jean

There is an interesting post at The Corner.Companies are shedding jobs now to take advantage of Obamas tax breaks in the future

DrJ

I saw the Jean, but it is pure speculation. I doubt that there is anything to it, personally, since BHO has not kept a single promise. This one should not be any different.

PD

TCO, do you ever argue a position without adding adding a postscript "you suck" about people holding a different position?

RichatUF

Rick-

Why would a company, esp a large enterprise, want to start adding workers, when its unknown to what extent Obama is going to raise payroll taxes and "fix" healthcare? Could very well see significant wage inflation pressures (in addition to pricing pressures) as the baby-boomers leave and companies don't bother replacing them. Obama is going to be president with the first wave of baby-boomer retirements so it should be an interesting squeeze.

Pofarmer-

Oil dropped to as low as $6 in the 1980's recession which was mostly a function of astronomically high interest rates and the Reagan tax cuts supercharging the dollar. A situation similiar could be recreated (though I don't really think oil will drop to $10/bbl like in did in the 1990's) because during that period the Saudi's cut their own production for a few months to 2.5 million barrels a day-something they have said they will never do again (iirc they have said that the absolute floor they will cut to is 7 million bbl) and the US is bottoming in its interest rate cycle while the rest of the world has only begun cutting theirs.

Interesting times we live in.

clarice

marketwatch reports the Sage of Omaha lost $2.5 billion on GS in four months time.
It's an ill wind..

Rick Ballard

Jean,

I'm sure there are great numbers of people at retirement age who wish to put their plans on hold. Will employers accede to their desire? If you were in HR and making decisions concerning layoffs would you cut at the 35-55 prime production level or the 55+ tapering off level? Under 35 cuts are a matter of evaluating training costs. There are a lot of under 35s who will be quite surprised at their companies willingness to forgo the pleasure of their presence.

Clarice,

Did he indicate the basis for his belief in a surge in inflation? Demographics militate against a "zero" result such as occurred in Japan when they attempted to beat back deflation but I can't quite get to a real surge in inflation based upon the US demographic situation.

clarice

It's very hard to plan in this atmosphere. My husband manages his firm's financial affairs and thru the years can predict the budget to within a few dollars a year in advance. This year, he really cannot. I expect less talented money managers are at least as preplexed as he is..and that affects countless decisions--extned the company's rental lease? At what price? Make new hires? What clients will amke it thru? Which ones will not pay their bills or be slow to? Should we buy new equipment now? And then, there's the matter of pension plan investments and health insurance--urgh--very hard for the quotidian when "big thinkers" are at the helm,

clarice

Rick, I don't know..it's a second hand account, but my understanding is that he thinks the govt will be printing money to pay for these bailouts and new programs. In any event, he claims office space in D.C. is being snapped up at high rates. About those demographics, I, too, am hearing of more people postponing their retirements because their pension accounts have lost so much.

narciso

Do those numbers on commodities make any sense, even considering the ethanol and gas
spike increases. People still have to make bread, feed the cows and the chickens, the ethanol mandates haven't been reversed last time I checked ,eat beef, eat tofu; Were completely screwed aren't we?

jean

The feelings remind me of post 9/11 .Everyone is just waiting for the other shoe to drop.Not much you can do to stop it,don't know how to prepare,but everything is on hold until after the event.

Pofarmer

and the US is bottoming in its interest rate cycle while the rest of the world has only begun cutting theirs.

We've been at this level since 01. There was time there when the Fed rate got up to, what, around 3%??? I still think the main problem we have right now is the avg consumer has too much debt, and the U.S. has too little real wealth creation type undustries. We thought we could live off the banks and Wall Street and Consumption. Guess what?

Pofarmer

Were completely screwed aren't we?

Yes.

Well, Narcisco, here's the deal, most of those prices, with the possible exception of oil and beef, are still at around DOUBLE their historical averages. If we go back to historical avg prices, with 2008 type costs???? Not, Gonna, Be, Pretty.

Pofarmer

Prices were driven by speculation, from too much loose change floating around, including oil. A lot of that would appear to be getting sopped up to Somewhere? Where o where does the money go?

Topsecretk9
General Curry has said on that matter history will judge differently because US operatives found a large stockpile of concentrated natural uranium (550 tons) in the heart of Bagdad. This is known as "yellowcake" and is evidence that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program designed to make weapons of mass destruction. US operatives had to sit on the information lest terrorists found out about it and tried to acquire the uranium...

LUN

jean

Didn't some state pension funds get into oil?What happens now?

RichatUF

narciso-

Ethanol producers are going bankrupt and Europe (and by this time next year the US) the "mandates" will be relaxed.

On the AP article, the article states, the gov't has 10 years to exercise the warrants. That in less than 2 months the ship is still springing leaks-good grief what do this people expect. I'm curious how the always outraged would have reacted to an Icelandic or Argentinian style meltdown while the president and congress did nothing.

PeterUK

"Yeah, well, when I pick up a guitar the sound doesn't come out the same as I recall from 40 years ago."

It is called improving.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

I'm sure that people who can control their departure from the workforce will (if they wish) defer a bit. That would apply to some 10-15% of those hitting retirement age. The rest don't get to choose.

The inflation which manifested so strongly in the Carter years was seeded by Johnson and watered and nurtured by Nixon. I can believe that Obama is as incompetent (and coldly amoral) at basic economics as was Johnson but I can't quite see the effect showing up so quickly.

"Where o where does the money go?"

Into the purchase of Treasury bonds. The current 2.57% 10 year yield isn't exactly a strong indication of inflation. The 30 at 3% seems like even less of an inflation hedge.

Rich,

Interesting to note (on a memory thread) how selective memory can be. Jim Rhodes has made some very acute comments concerning the fact that the same thieves have been involved in nearly every bubble since the S & L fiasco - and they keep showing up. He also provides good input on the fact that there really are people who profit by keeping their heads while watching others run around all day long with their hair on fire.

glasater

Here are two excerpts from McMasters--a service my husband purchases so I cannot give a link:

" China is the world's largest wheat producer – 114.0 mmt. World carryover – 145.25 mmt. Parts of China’s key agricultural areas have lost 50% of their winter wheat crop due to drought. US wheat inventories were their lowest in nearly 60 years. Global stockpiles were at 26-year lows.

The peak of the highest intensity in sunspot activity in 8,000 years occurred in 2005-2006, and corresponded with the peak in economic activity as it has done (and been documented as so) for centuries. Economic activity peaks with sunspot peaks. Less energy all around, from the sun, from mankind, equals less human action = economics). The excesses from the sun and from man are over, with volatile downside corrections into 2025, probably brutally so between now and 2017.

This is from 12/1/08

RichatUF

Pofarmer-

Rates have been historically low since 1992. Here's the Fed funds graph. One could argue that tinkering with the rate to fine tune it from 2002-2006 (taking it from 5 to 1 then back to 5) was the bigger problem than having it at 1 for about 9 months between 2003 and 2004.

narciso

Ok, I get that, but wouldn't that make prices spike; you know supply and demand,
(re: Trading Places and Orange Juice futures)Rich, I agree I've always seen Greenspan's interest rate spike specially between 2004-2006 as a much larger issue,
than a lot of other factors. Subprime loans
locked in in that period, reset afterwards
along with ethanol and oil speculation, led
to the first pops of the subprime market, it took some time for the air to stream out of the CDO market, Just like the briefer runup in the 1999-2000 period helped pop the tech bubble and led to the regional collapse in South America.

TCO

You guys can be glad to know that you are bailing out Goldman which is THICK with Democrats. Very hoity toity, pussy-ass, don't servie in the military, Democrats. Hope you are enjoying your socialism, RINOs.

RichatUF

narciso-

The problem is the systematic risk the Western real estate bubble (the US is bad, but parts of Europe are worse) and cds contracts have on Western banking (bank and ins company failures have been a feature on both sides of the Atlantic). If a hedge fund were writing cds contracts on traunches of sub-prime loans, the money they were getting (either as payment when the traunch went bust or using the contract as collateral for margin accounts) was going to be invested in something other than US financials or the US generally and was going to seek the highest returns (metals, softs, oil, currencies, foreign equities and debt) so they could pay the premimums required in the contract. They were investing it in the "de-coupling+BRIC+ROW infrastructure" plays, and not accounting for the risk of a systemic failure of US banking. The other problem in this is that part of the "de-coupling" thesis held that Asian demand would close the gap of any US weakness; however, the superspike in oil created the same sort of currency moves which participated the Asian financial crisis. The oil superspike has also reduced Asian overall consumer demand and killed off a number of oil consumption subsidies across Asia.

clarice

OJ just was sentenced to a 15 year prison term.

narciso

Really, TCO what would have been your
solution,let them all crash and burn, The Mellon approach to liquidation. We're talking from the perspective of that week in October. We all here had deep
reservations about this thing, but we saw it as a neccessary evil. We didn't think that Paulsen would be this incompetent and dishonest,

narciso

That's the best and possibly most disturbing
explanation to date; how did they think that Asian demand would save them when we're
the 'shopper of last resort'; all the stuff they manufacture they ship here. Europe certainly cover the slack, since their situation is worse at a quantum level. A disturbing parallel is to the US capital flows into Germany in the 20s, when Smoot Hawley blocked that, with the CreditAnstalt
bank being the first casualty, what was a sharp recession became the Great Depression.
But the inordinate, insane amounts committed
to supporting the banking system, should forestall this right?

Pofarmer

The Argentine crisis was precipitated by the Argentine govt defaulting on an IMF loan. They were broke. Sound familiar?

RichatUF

You guys can be glad to know that you are bailing out Goldman which is THICK with Democrats.

Maybe “if we were permitted to hang two or three persons, the problems with the stock exchange would be solved for ever”. Source.

Neo

And for those thing you wish you could forget ...

A student teacher who was denied a teaching degree just days before graduating has lost a court battle against her would-be alma mater. One of the contributing reasons for her dismissal was because of a photo she posted onto MySpace.com

Just days before her graduation in May 2006, Millersville University in Pennsylvania, accused student Stacy Snyder of promoting underage drinking, after they discovered a photo on her MySpace page titled "Drunken Pirate," in which Snyder can be seen wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup.

narciso

True, but I recall that they relying on low interest rates, after 2001 with the Greenspan reset, they were up the canoe without a paddle. Add to that while Menem
had cut back on national spending, spending
in the provinces had skyrocketed So Menem's successor a left wing member of the opposition and his opponent played games, while the Market collapsed. Hence the rise
of the Kirchners. who had firm ties to the Montoneros (who does that sound like?)

RichatUF

Pofarmer-

The Argentine crisis was precipitated by the Argentine govt defaulting on an IMF loan. They were broke. Sound familiar?

Their crisis had many fathers: a 1-to-1 exchange rate which acted as a punitive tariff; US dollar denominated debt (both government and private); provincial governments running massive deficits which were picked up by the federal government; political instability; massive social unrest.

Similiar in some respects, but very different regarding currency, the most important piece.

RichatUF

narciso-

But the inordinate, insane amounts committed to supporting the banking system, should forestall this right?

5% of GDP, of which 2.5% of GPD has been already been committed? It goes to a point that I've previously made-the TARP was more of an immediate dollar stabilizer than to fix any of the financial institutions the money has gone too (ie. think of it as the bill due to our economy for exporting hundreds of billions of dollars to oil exporters, removing it from the US economy and our banks.)

glenda waggoner

Hey-Charlie..the news about the brain research (even though on amnesia) is amazing. I know many studies are in progress on Austism spectrum, but mostly on environmental, gene therapy, kelation, diet, not neurological. We participate through Texas Childrens' OT and Speech Therapy programs, but no else. Colin's learning patterns are so obviously different from other students-much memory-based. He will watch a movie-if he likes it-he will go on wikipedia, look up the transcript, and memorize the dialogue and re=enact the whole thing. Same with books.It astounds me how his teachers are constantly surprised by his creativity and smarts. It is like they (and folks ignorant of autism) aren't quite sure what they see.
They are adapting to Colin, not the other way around. And he is progressing. I still would like more info on your brother's, was it? program teaching older autistics. Where would I find info on universities with high autism graduates? Never too early to start.

Clarice- OJ is definitely a sociopath. He still cannot believe he's a criminal-his expression after judgement was like--OK-hey-this crap does not apply to me-I'm OJ!

Rick Ballard

Rich,

I think the reply might go better as "How can the creation of Zombiegroup be construed as "support" in other than a risible definition." The rotting flesh and skeleton remain but volition has been removed. All of the Zombies are going through Chapter Upickem bankruptcy. Some will 'emerge' but they won't be the same entity which entered.

Isn't Argentina similar to Russia in that no one expects them not to default when they hit a rough patch? I've been wondering why Gaither/Paulson/Bernanke don't do a "not in the public interest" declaration wrt CDS and I believe it's tied to the fact that the US tends to honor even stupid contracts. IOW - if we renege on CDS then it will be seen as a fundamental change moving us too close to the Russian/Argentine model of "that's my nature, I can't help it".

The part of TARP that I really don't like lies in the mortgage modification plan requiring the homeowner to be three months behind before he can get "help". You mentioned it briefly the other evening but I really didn't give it adequate consideration. It just invites too strong an "everybody's doing it" reaction that could creep into the 80/20 market and disrupt what remains of the risk evaluation models.

Jane

Any word on the Supreme Court challenge?

kim

Nope. Maybe Monday morning, Jane, maybe sooner.
===============================

Rick Ballard

Rich,

Here's a good chuckle. Looks like the "best and the brightest" got caught with their shorts sitting on their shoes when their CDS grenade went off. I wonder which of their genius Masters of the Universe grads talked the endowment managers into juicing their returns by selling a little "no risk" CDS insurance?

Given that the endowment will pay off the bonds with donations made by the Alumni Suckers Association, I wonder how the market will value this "once in a lifetime" opportunity.

kim

I keep watching naturalborncitizen.wordpress.com
===============================

kim

Hey, how does a private institution get to issue tax-exempt bonds?
========================================

Thomas Collins

Kim, under certain circumstances, a private for profit or not for profit organization can use proceeds of bonds issued by States and local governments or State and local governmental agencies. Typically, the bonds are payable only from revenues from the private project, or from other funds of the private organization (that is, usually the governmental bond issuer is not on the hook). The rules are complicated, and usually involve questions under State bond law, State law relating to governmental meetings and resolutions, federal income tax law and federal securities laws.

clarice

State legislature votes to allow it. Here all the private schools did a lot of construction in recent years after the City Council(with Congressional approval because it is D.C.) voted to give them the right to sell tax exempt bonds for that purpose.


Generally only charitable institutions like schools or hospitals are granted this right.

clarice

Here.. http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/encyclopedia/Tax-exempt-bonds.cfm

Thought I could have been clearer, TC, was--the bonds are for a private purpose, but issued by the government entity as he notes.

Rick Ballard

One might wonder what type of "debt" is involved. Does the Harvard endowment perchance have $3.5 billion out in markers in Vegas and Monte Carlo or have they done something truly risky with the portfolio?

Daddy

Have had a chance to read a lot of these books on unusual varieties of mental peculiarities in human beings. Oliver Sacks's "An Anthropologist on Mars" was great, and his new "Musicophelia" though slow, started off with a very interesting case study. Johnathan Spence's "The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci" was excellent, both for Chinese Jesuit History and for expanded memory capacity. A recent very worthwhile book was "Proust and the Squid; The Story and Science of the Reading Brain," by Maryanne Wolf. I found it absolutely amazing in asserting that recent scientific research using electrodes to observe which portions of the brain activate as folks from different cultures read their various scripts, concluded the following: readers of Chinese Pictograms use a different section of their brains to read, as opposed to the sections that Western alphbetic/phonetic readers use to read, and that Japanese readers of their updated semi-phonetic version of Kanji, a mixture of the 2 reading systems, use a tiny bit different portion of the brain located somewhat between the 2 areas used by Chinese folks and Westerners. Most interesting to me in that book was the case history of a bilingual Chinese businessman who had a localized stroke, and for the rest of his life was still able to continue to read English perfectly, but was now unable to fathom any meaning in the Chinese pictogram script he was raised on. Fascinating. And then of course the idiot savant abilities in math or music or art, etc are all likewise amazing to read about.

If anybody has some really good recommendations on this sort of stuff, please list them, but with a caveat; Do I really have to read Proust's million page "Remembrance of Things Past," or can I just get by with the Cliff notes? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

kim

Thanks for the reminder, TC and c. I know someone in Providence who helped get scrubbers on coal plants with tax-exempt munis.
======================================

kim

Well, actually Warwick.
==============

bgates

OT - fascinating obituary in the NYT today, about a guy who appears to be the real-life inspiration for the movie Memento.

kim

Don't forget Phineas Gage, Daddy.
====================

kim

OK, bgates, that's the laugh of the week. Gad, you're consistently funny.
=========================

clarice

Daddy, that is interesting stuff. I have always thought that people who could read pictograms had developed some other talents more highly than those who did not--

kim

A confusing sentence for OJ; could be as little as 9 years and as much as 33 years. Bail denied while case is appealed.
=====================

kim

I have read, Daddy, of a Jesuit missionary back in the day around 500 years ago, who proposed a pantheon of Chinese religious figures as a parallel to the saints and historical figures of Roman Catholicism. His proposal was rejected as satanic, but had it been accepted, China might be Catholic today.
==============================

Jim Ryan

kim, what's so funny about the obit bgates posted? Sheesh.

re: Gage. I don't see the big deal about his case. If I had a spike fly through my brain I'd be cranky afterwards, too. And yet the scientists fill the journals "Subject much more cranky than before!"

Plus, what's so funny about the obit bgates posted? Sheesh.

Sorry, just having a laugh.

kim

OK, Jane, the latest I've read is that we won't know until 10:00 AM Monday. I don't know how close to the vest the justices hold this stuff, but an increasing drumbeat over the weekend might mean something. The issue has certainly crept into the MSM over the last two days; CNN has an almost accurate video of it.

I'll try not to be too ennuying about it. I know it isn't the real issue, but somehow Obama might feel increasing pressure to show his vault copy. In comments I've read, even his supporters are perplexed why he doesn't just settle the matter.
======================================

Thomas Collins

I love both Warwick and Providence, kim. I went to high school and college in Providence, and did some partying in Warwick. Warwick used to have a great amusement park with a restaurant that served great shore dinners, but it is closed now.

It sounds from the article you linked, Rick Ballard, that Harvard is going long term on its short term commercial paper debt, as well as borrowing funds to pay off a terminated swap. Those terminated swaps can be bummers. Let's say College enters into a swap with Zombie Financial Institution (ZFI). ZFI goes bust, which triggers a swap termination. Depending upon the market value of the swap when ZFI went bust, College may have to pay a termination fee even though it was ZFI that caused the termination. Life in the financial fast lane.

Of course, when College entered into the swap with ZFI, it probably thought, since ZFI was being run by masters and mistresses of the universe, that there was no way ZFI could go bust. Over the last several months in the financial cosmos, no way to go bust has become plenty of ways (unless Hank and Ben the Bailout Twins step in).

Jim Ryan

ennuying

heh

kim

Hah, you're funny too, Jim. Just in case you were serious about your question about Gage, he was the poster boy for the debate between so-called 'Whole brainers' and those who believed in localized function instead.
=====================

PeterUK

"His proposal was rejected as satanic, but had it been accepted, China might be Catholic today."

Give them time.

clarice

narciso, here are the websites if you need them:

CREW: http://www.citizensforethics.org/

Federal Election Commission: http://www.fec.gov/

Pofarmer

So, where is this 7.5 billion - 8.5 billion number that's being bantered around as the real value of the bailout? I'm feeling lazy, and the info here is probably better anyway.

Jim Ryan

Only slightly serious, kim. I saw a documentary on Gage, and one of the salient points was how obstreperous Gage was after the accident. The joke writes itself.

Barney Frank

I remember reading an article on Phineas Gage in the great old defunct magazine Argosy back in the late 60's.
What I found then and still find most interesting was not that his personality changed but that he could shoot a tamping iron completely through his head and brain and live.
I can't imagine not being a bit cranky after that, but I can imagine not being alive.

Rick Ballard

"it probably thought... that there was no way ZFI could go bust."

TC,

I like that explanation a lot better than thinking about endowments rolling the dice on something of a speculative nature. They probably have the Moody, S & P and Fitch AAA ratings on the deal in their hands as well.

The Fed Consumer Credit Report for October is actually more impressive than was August. The August report reflected the use to which Uncle Sugar's first tranche of "free money" was put. The October results are the result of consumer pay downs using their own money. The DSR/FOR Report for Q3 will be out Monday. I'll bet $1 that it's down a full 1%. On Monday I'll tell everyone which category I covered with the wager.

TCO

Narcisco:

1. We were promised that the money would have not been lost. This was bullshitting, lying and an appeal to authority (Paulson, Bernanke) that has already been proven to have a poor handle on the problem.

2. Yes, absolutely, let insolvent entities crash. Propping them up transfers taxpayer dollars to speculators and entities that need to fold. The wall street entities that got in trouble did incredibly risky things and should have been allowed to completely fold. There is no "shortage" of financial intermediaries. If anything that sector of the economy is overdeveloped and easily reconstituted (it's not like building a factory).

3. By socializing things, incredible uncertainty as to future events has been injected into the system.

--------------------------

There is nothing "purist" about wanting insolvent entities to be allowed to go through Chapter 11 or even 7. It is the people like you, who insist on the values of socialism who should have the burden of proof. So far, we have learned that you Chicken Littles have shit dribbling from your mouths.

kim

Would that be a clucky cloaca, TCO?
====================

kim

Or a cloacy clucker?
=============

kim

Hey, look over at Watt's Up and you can see the Obama effect on sea level already. What a guy!
==================

jean

Kim didn't you comment a few days ago comparing Baptisim to water-boarding?I have a bad cold and with all the doom and gloom,that comment has been one of the few good laughs I've had this week.Thanks

Barney Frank

Bruce Bartlett has an interesting article about Keynes, bailouts, etc at Forbes online.
I've always found it a little contradictory and odd to hear people explain that the egregious government spending and make work jobs of the New Deal didn't end the depression; it was WWII that did. As though WWII itself was not a tidal wave of government spending.

jean

I thought there was great fear the depression would continue after the War. Because there was nothing to buy during the war,and men overseas a lot of money had been saved.When the men returned and the GI bill kicked in the economy took off

boris

tidal wave of government spending

It has always seemd to me that spending a 100 billion on space technology was better for the economy than 100 billion on welfare and food stamps. I recall many who claimed the money for space was a big waste when it would be better used to help the poor.

How taxpayer money gets spent seems to matter IMO and probably more important than how much.

Rick Ballard

Barney,

I'd say that putting 4.5% mortgage money out into markets which are already starting to rebound constitutes an equivalent to programmatic spending. Some rather shrewd banks are getting in quite quickly.

Pretty quick some of the folks who are thinking about sticking it out another year rather than retiring are going to consider picking up cheap retirement homes in the down markets of AZ and FL. You might be better off (depending on the area in which you live) taking a small haircut on your current house in order to take advantage of the real haircuts being taken in Miami and Phoenix.

Residential construction isn't as significant a factor as it once was (neither is manufacturing) but it's very easy to jump start.

bad

My hair stylist said today that she is suddenly without many appointments. People are canceling saying they don't have the money. She knows some of those folks outside of her business and says none of them have lost their jobs. She thinks it is panic due to the gloomy news on TV everyday. She is considering a roommate to help pay the mortgage.

clarice

Yes, bad...my salon looked really empty this week. I suppose we will have to resort to my grandma's old depression trick of figuring out who was in trouble and inviting them to dinner with the explanation that our religion requires we bring strangers home to share the Sabbath meal with us.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Buying a condo in Miami and a big SUV would have a higher impact. I haven't shaved a nickel off of spending and I don't intend to. 'Course, there aren't that many nickels to shave to begin with but I'm not going to worry that either.

I assembled a Christmas bike for a seven year old granddaughter today so I'm not gloomy at all. It's hidden away and I get to imagine the smile until I see the real one on Christmas morning.

bad

Bicycles are such awesome Christmas gifts.

RichatUF

Pofarmer-

That was a Bloomberg article that was flagged up about 2 weeks ago but it seems to have gone into the ether. Bloomberg did a sum of maximum spending and guarantees (TARP, FDIC where the biggest, but others as well) on the Treasury side and tossed in for good measure, the expansion of the Federal Reserves balance sheet with all of its domestic "term facitities" and international swap lines. The FNs were also pretty big line items.

PeterUK

TCO

"There is nothing "purist" about wanting insolvent entities to be allowed to go through Chapter 11 or even 7. It is the people like you, who insist on the values of socialism who should have the burden of proof."

There you go again,making assertions without putting forward what the results of your course of action would be.
Saying AB or C is being done because the likely outcome will be DE or F is a policy decision.Just mouthing, "You were wrong and I was right", is a brainfart.

So come along TCO gives us your wisdom and examples of where your course of action worked on as large a scale as this before.

PeterUK

"It has always seemd to me that spending a 100 billion on space technology was better for the economy than 100 billion on welfare and food stamps."

With one you get satellite technology and with the other you get Obama.

Rick Ballard

Peter,

I doubt that you'll make much headway. There really are people too dumb to get "'E ain't dead, 'e's just pining for the fjords".

It's as if the sometimes necessarily minor distinction between de facto and de jure were an unfathomable mystery.

The correct response to certain government pronouncements concerning entities involved in the current unpleasantness is "it was as if he were going to sit up and speak, what a fantastic job by the embalmers".

PaulL

Rick,

I liked this in your link:

****more sophisticated debt instruments such as swaps****

Sophisticated. Only really smart people can understand it, while it makes my head swim.

Jane

It is the people like you

TCO,

As someone pointed out earlier today, every post you make includes this sort of platitude. It makes you an ass, and I for one never read past that sort of remark. So if your goal is for no one to ever get your point, by all means, keep it up.

PaulL

Daddy,

There's no point in reading Proust unless it's in the original French.

There's your out.

Unless you want a reason to learn French.

RichatUF

Rick-

I saw that about the Harvard endowment and got to wondering about other "non-profit" foundations as well. A pretty steep haircut for the smartest guys in the room to take.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame