Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Second, Obama’s lawyers successfully prevented re-votes in Florida and Michigan. That means it would be virtually impossible for Clinton to take a lead in either elected delegates or total primary votes.
Third, most superdelegates have accepted Nancy Pelosi’s judgment that the winner of the elected delegates should get the nomination and they’re drifting away.
In short, Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects continue to dim. The door is closing. Night is coming. The end, however, is not near.
Last week, Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she’s probably down to a 5 percent chance.
For the sake of that 5 percent, this will be the sourest spring. About a fifth of Clinton and Obama supporters now say they wouldn’t vote for the other candidate in the general election.
For three more months, Clinton is likely to hurt Obama even more against McCain, without hurting him against herself. And all this is happening so she can preserve that 5 percent chance.
When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.
Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish, and willing to put her party through agony for the sake of her slender chance?
The better answer is that Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.
For nearly 20 years, she has been encased in the apparatus of political celebrity. Look at her schedule as first lady and ever since. Think of the thousands of staged events, the tens of thousands of times she has pretended to be delighted to see someone she doesn’t know, the hundreds of thousands times she has recited empty clichés and exhortatory banalities, the millions of photos she has posed for in which she is supposed to appear empathetic or tough, the billions of politically opportune half-truths that have bounced around her head.
No wonder the Clinton campaign feels impersonal. It’s like a machine for the production of politics. It plows ahead from event to event following its own iron logic.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Is this just fantasy?
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
And look at your buys and see.
I'm now a poor boy
Because I bought it high, watched it blow Rating high, value low Any way
the Fed goes Doesn't really matter to me, to me Mama - just killed my
fund Quoted CDO's instead Pulled the trigger, now it's dead Mama - I had
just begun These CDO's have blown it all away Mama - oooh I still wanna
buy I sometimes wish I'd never left Goldman at all.
I see a little silhouette of a Fed
Bernanke! Bernanke! Can you save the whole market?
Monolines and munis - very very frightening me!
Super senior, super senior
Super senior CDO - magnifico
I'm long of subprime, nobody loves me
He's long of subprime CDO fantasy
Spare the margin call you monstrous PB!
Easy come easy go, will you let me go?
Peloton! No - we will not let you go - let him go Peloton! We will not
let you go - let him go Peloton! We will not let you go - let me go Will
not let you go
- let me go (never) Never let you go - let me go Never let me go - ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, - Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
S&P had the devil put aside for me For me, for me, for me So you think
you can fund me and spit in my eye?
And then margin call me and leave me to die Oh PB - can't do this to me
PB Just gotta get out - just gotta get right outta here Ooh yeah, ooh
yeah No price really matters No liquidity Nothing really matters - no
price really matters to me..
via za wif
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Late blight has been traced to central Mexico, and the first recorded instances of the disease are in the USA, with the sudden and mysterious destruction of potato crops around Philadelphia and New York in early 1843. Within months, winds spread the the disease, and by 1845 it had destroyed potato crops from Illinois east to Nova Scotia, and from Virginia north to Ontario.
It crossed the Atlantic with a shipment of seed potatoes. The warm damp spring of 1845 enabled late blight to become an epidemic. By mid-October, the ruin of Europe's potato crops was complete.
The failure of the crop was a disaster for everyone in Europe that relied on potatoes. In Ireland, a population of more than eight million was threatened with starvation.
Intimations of Ireland's looming calamity reached the British government in August 1845. Although responsible for the social and economic iniquities which had made Ireland so susceptible, the government of the day deserves some credit for its efforts to avert mass starvation. There were political as well as logistical difficulties.
The Conservative prime minister, Sir Robert Peel, without seeking the approval of either cabinet or Parliament, authorized the banker Sir Thomas Baring to secretly buy £100,000 of American maize for shipment to Ireland. But before any official relief program could proceed there was a political obstacle to overcome: Britain's Corn Laws, which imposed exorbitant duties on imported grain to ensure that it could never be cheaper than homegrown produce.
To Peel it was obvious that the Corn Laws would have to go, but his electorate of large landowners was vehemently opposed to their abolition. Peel drew heavily on the news from Ireland as he urged Parliament to vote for abolition:
"Are you to sit in cabinet, and consider and calculate how much diarrhea, and bloody flux, and dysentery, a people can bear before it becomes necessary for you to provide them with food?"
The bill abolishing the Corn Laws was passed in May 1846 in the House of Commons, with two-thirds of Peel's party voting against it and the entire opposition voting in favor. A month later, Peel was out of office.
As it turned out, far from Britain being flooded with cheap wheat, within weeks of the abolition the price of grain had soared. Speculation was rife, draining the country's gold reserves and eventually threatening the stability of the Bank of England itself.
Then the summer of 1847 brought news that Ireland's potato crop, though small, was doing well. The grain harvests also promised to be exceptionally good. Prices tumbled just as the grain bought months before at inflated rates began arriving in the ports.
Twenty major grain trading companies were brought down in September 1847. An additional 99 trading and related firms collapsed in October as the crisis spread, bringing down 11 country banks and three of the biggest in Liverpool.
The banking crisis had such an impact on the British mindset that it is the benchmark against which commentators compare subsequent banking problems.
Not since the 1840s have we seen anything like this, they declared as the Bank of England stepped in last year to save the Northern Rock bank from a collapse caused by the subprime mortgage debacle - another American-born infection. At least our potatoes are safe.
The moral of this interesting historical tale?
History repeats itself. Listen to the historians.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
"If there are 50 to 100 reactors or more to be built, there will be a real shortage and real delays in deliveries.'' said Ron Pitts, senior vice president for nuclear operations at the construction and engineering company Fluor Corp. in Irving, Texas.
Orders for nuclear generators are multiplying as electricity use surges worldwide and governments pressure companies to cut carbon emissions to fight global warming. As many as 237 reactors may be built globally by 2030, an average of more than 10 a year, according to the World Nuclear Association in London. That compares with 78, or fewer than four a year, started since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine.
Given Japan Steel's limited capacity, the math just doesn't work. Japan Steel caters to all nuclear reactor makers except in Russia, which makes its own heavy forgings.
It would take any competitor more than five years to catch up with Japan Steel's technology, said the company's chief executive officer, Masahisa Nagata. Rivals are working to break the Japan Steel stranglehold.
Areva, the world's biggest reactor builder, is considering modifying its newest design to be able to make the central reactor-vessel part from a 350-ton ingot instead of more than 500 tons as required today and another alternative is to turn back the technological clock and weld together two smaller forgings. That technique was used over the past 40 years in the U.S. and France and is still applied in China.
Well I never..
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
"The good news is this will help brokers and banks; the bad news is it will do nothing to help the Housing market, or stop the decline in House prices. Nor will it help resolve the inverted pyramid of derivatives that sits atop Housing. And, one has to believe it will only add to inflationary pressures."
Krugman and Ritholtz
PS. Will be in HK for the Sevens.. anyone fancy a knees up?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
"Yeah, a costume party," the man answered, "I'm supposed to come dressed as my love life."
"But you look like Abe Lincoln." protested the barkeep.
"That's right. My last four scores were seven years ago."
Wealth of owner: Barnsley - Patrick Cryne (software) £32m / Chelsea - Roman Abramovich (oil) £10.8b
Cost of squad: £350,000 / £212.42m
Number of foreigners: 16 / 24
Ticket prices (adult, seat in stand): £20-22 / £45-60
Last trophy won: FA Cup - 1912 / FA Cup and Carling Cup - 2007
For more comparison click here
-Is the credit problem fixed yet?
-How much worse will housing get?
-Will earnings rebound in the second half of 2008?
-Will the US dollar ever stop falling?
-Are US deficits going to continue to skyrocket?
-How much more will consumers pull back on their spending?
-(Did I mention the housing picture is a disaster?)
-The war in Iraq is God-awful expensive, is there any relief in sight?
-Is Oil going to go to $150?
-Can the wobbly banks regain their footing?
-And how much more will inflation heat up?
And.. heard from the desk of a hedge fund.. "Who is this guy Margin who keeps calling me?"
Margin calls.. Ouch.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
"Don't look so worried: I won't blow you up,'' she deadpans, leaning toward a front table. "Not tonight.''
She has had regular U.S. gigs. "Hello, my name's Shazia Mirza, at least that's what it says on my pilot's license,'' is a line she has used in the U.S. It was written weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
In London, Mirza quips that her burqa-wearing sisters conveniently share the same bus pass, and Muslim men "don't want to marry me because I speak."
Then came an almighty bang. We instinctively jumped backward, then fearfully looked up, only to catch an eyeful of ash. More explosions followed, and even Nakou began to look nervous. He called back to base on a satellite phone to explain the situation. "It's very active now,'' he said.
It is an experience not to be missed."
Anyone up for some lava laughs this summer? Beats a beach holiday, no?
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
There's loads of gems just like this in this year's Berkshire Hathaway letter to shareholders.. have a read.. it's well worth it. I do hold shares and this isn't a solicitation to buy. Past year's letters can be found here.