Archive for June, 2009

Annotating Ben’s Helicopteresque Mug | zero hedge

June 30, 2009 Leave a comment

A few choice comments for Helicopter Ben and the banksters

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Categories: Off Blog

A horrifying chart…

June 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Brody: You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

From Business week:

Private sector job growth was almost non-existent over the past ten years. Take a look at this horrifying chart:


European companies reducing hours of work to cope with depression

June 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Tip of the Hat to Economist’s View:

We are delighted to read this report from the New York Times that reduction of hours of work figures prominently in the solutions implemented in Europe. It seems to fly in the face of two objections often made to the idea of reducing hours of work in the US:

1. That such a reduction would be inflationary, and,

2. That such a reduction is uneconomical, since there is no limit to demand for goods and services (also known as the lump of labor theory).

Obviously, European companies are not finding such reductions inflationary, but actually cost-saving. And, it is clear they understand based on real time data that the demand for labor can and will at least fluctuate over time. Which presents the opportunity for an approach to dealing with downturns that does not add to fiscal deficits nor rely on inflationary loose monetary policies. It would be nice to see it catch on with American economists as well.

From the NYT:

“Collectively, workers and employers are finding some other solutions” to job cuts, said Andrew Watts, a senior researcher at the European Trade Union Institute, a body based in Brussels financed by unions to research labor issues.

Many countries have short-time compensation programs, tailored for the manufacturing sector, under which employers can apply for temporary assistance to lift the wages of workers working reduced hours.

France has a publicly financed partial unemployment plan, allowing companies experiencing difficulties to temporarily lay off workers and draw on state money to pay them during those periods.

Several companies have applied for the funds, many in the auto and auto supply sectors.

The automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën is in the process of a voluntary layoff plan for 3,500 of its 108,000 workers in addition to cutting workers’ hours. Laurent Cicolella, a spokesman, could not provide an exact figure for those affected by partial unemployment as it “changes week to week,” but he added that the number had been falling since last fall.

In the Netherlands, 223 companies had used a similar program by mid-January.

Germany also has several measures to reduce working time, many of which are specifically framed as employment-saving measures.

The federal “Kurzarbeit” system, which translates as “short work,” provides a state-supported backup for companies resorting to short-time working outside the provisions of collective agreements.

ZP Heller: Take Action: Demand an Exit Strategy in Afghanistan

June 24, 2009 Leave a comment

From Huffington Post:

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June 24, 2009 Leave a comment


Q: What’s the difference between a pigeon and an investment banker?

A: The pigeon can still make a deposit on a BMW.

Categories: Uncategorized

Red States – 2009

June 23, 2009 Leave a comment

From Calculated Risk, the states in various shades of red have declining economic activity.

The other one is lying…

Calculated Risk - redstates

Not another color coded “revolution”?

June 22, 2009 Leave a comment


It is said the poster on the left depicts a woman who was killed while demonstrating against the election results walking by a demonstration in Iran. You will note it’s resemblance to the famous poster of the Messiah from last year’s campaign on the right.

We can’t confirm or deny the story about the woman depicted in the first poster. We can, however, confirm that He Is The Messiah.

And, we do note the heavy handed campaign being directed from Washington against Iran, and note that it has become something of a cause célèbre among otherwise semi-intelligent mouth breathers on the left, who, since the wars against the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan have now received the blessing of the Messiah, find themselves aching to see those savage assaults expanded to neighboring Iran.

Interestingly enough, the mouth breathers on the left have been joined by the doctor killers on the right to push the situation in Iran into the public conversation here in the United States.

If you caught Meet the Press this weekend, you will note that that asshole, David Gregory, spent his entire interview with the Israeli fascist chieftain Benjamin Netanyahu questioning him not about Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestine, but about whether said fascist Israeli politician believed the Messiah was taking a strong enough stand against Iran.

And, today, via comes the above “Neda” poster which some nerd at CBS conveniently seems to have “discovered” while surfing the web for pornography over the weekend.

From the Newsbusters report:

Obama and Neda: same struggle!

Who says Pres. Obama isn’t backing the Iranian uprising strongly enough?  Why, supporters of the struggle have chosen to immortalize Neda, the young student reportedly slain by the current regime, by creating a poster of her in the style of the iconic Obama poster made famous during his presidential campaign.

Might that have been CBS’s subliminal message this morning?  Of all the possible posters of the fallen girl who has become the symbol of the Iranian uprising, the Early Show chose the one displayed here in the unmistakeable style Shepard Fairey used to create his Obama poster.

CBS reporter Richard Roth implied that CBS had discovered the Obamacized poster of Neda on the internet, and that may well be true.  But surely there were any number of posters CBS might have displayed. That it chose this one was surely no coincidence.

We would suggest that, before any of you doctor-killing, mouth-breathing conservative/progressive holy warriors get your panties in a bunch over events in Iran, that you stop and realize how the United States has spent most of the last sixty years:

  1. Overthroing a democratically elected government in Iran;
  2. Installing a puppet dictator, then training and arming his secret police;
  3. Instigating and supporting an invasion of Iran by its neighbor, Iraq;
  4. Shooting down at least one civilian passenger plane;
  5. Stationing aircraft carriers to threaten Iran;
  6. Invading neighbors of Iran on two borders; and,
  7. Pursuing and engaging in hostile acts against that country, including economic sanctions and political isolation.

So the outrage you are now feeling against the clerics in Iran over the alleged events leading to the reported death of an unknown woman (who you believe is named “Neda” because CBS told you that her name is “Neda”) portrayed in the above poster is the product no less than sixty years of sustained propaganda aimed at you by Washington.

We suggest you go watch, Wag the Dog.

At least consider this scenario:

The Messiah is sincere about his desire to open dialogue with Iran. He ran on this position, he went to Cairo and apologized for at least one previous insufferable interference in Iran internal politics.

Who doesn’t want this opening to happen? Who wants this opening to be rejected both in Iran and in the United States? And, how might they create an incident designed specifically to head off any dialogue?

You’re being played, folks…

Reality versus Romer-Bernstein

June 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama economic advisers Christine Romer and Jared Bernstein made projections for unemployment in 2009. Their projections were the basis for the Obama stimulus plan passed in the opening moments of his Presidency. We thought it might be interesting to see how those projections have panned out so far.

Below is the chart, courtesy of

reality versus Bernstein

All we can say is, it’s a good thing economists get graded on a curve.

WSJ: Taxes Are Up in 23 States, Expected to Go Up in 13 More

June 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Having already been gang-raped by your credit card issuer with reduced credit limits and higher rates,  you can now look forward to another round of deep penetration by your state government:

By Erica Alini

States are increasingly dipping into Americans’ pockets to replenish their cash-starved coffers.

Faced with gaping budget holes, 23 states have raised taxes this year, and 13 more are considering doing so as they set out to approve 2009-2010 budget agreements, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think-tank.  In most cases, the tax increases come on top of cuts in public services.

The raises include income, sales and business taxes and take aim at anything from slot machine licenses to motel room taxes.  Another popular target is alcohol and tobacco. New York, which estimated its budget gap at 29% in its 2010 budget, will charge 30 cents more on beer and wine.  Similarly, seven states will race the price of a pack of cigarettes anywhere between 2 cents and $3.46.

This, however, may be just the beginning. In most cases, the actual deficits states will have to balance are wider than they estimated in the budget plans they’ll pass in the next few weeks.  As the Journal reported on Thursday, a recent survey of 37 states found that revenues from income taxes fell by more than most states’ legislators expected in the first four months of 2009.

This will leave an additional gap, with which current budget plans don’t come to grips. In New York, for example, where the fiscal year kicked off on April 1, legislators have already announced that the skimpier-than-expected income tax harvest for Jan-April 2009 has left an additional hole of between $400 and $700 million in the state’s finances, according to Don Boyd, a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute, a non-profit.

Expect more tax hikes and services cuts in six months.

We assume the demand for KY will continue to be elevated. Day traders may want to buy future on Preparation H.