Links 11/27/08

Survival of the firmest Vancouver Sun

Why dogs have have wet noses Telegraph

Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Current Financial Crisis (hat tip reader Scott) Jeremiah Tucker

The Obama Letdown Michael Hudson (hat tip Crocodile Chuck). Note Obama also got questioned in his press conference about having so many Clinton operatives on his team when he said he stood for change. The answer, that he would drive change, was not convincing.

The Parable of the Troubled Assets Relief Program Credit Bubble Stocks

Porsche chief savages US rivals over self-inflicted wounds Guardian. Of course, he is an interested party, but his comments about parts markers are interesting.

Food Prices Expected to Keep Going Up New York Times

Japan engulfed Financial Times

Property asking prices tumble as reality sets in Times Online

Call to Let Tax Breaks Cover Banks Outside U.S. New York Times

Motor City Meltdown Thomas Palley

US debt puts strain on dollar Financial Times

Antidote du Jour:

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  1. Anonymous

    Regarding Obama’s appointments, The only democratic administration for the last 27 years (28 at inauguration) has been Bill Clinton’s. As Obama apparently wants an experienced cabinet that’s not a Carterite retirement club he’s going to be somewhat limited in his choices.

  2. Freud

    re The Obama Letdown –

    ‘The Vision For Change Comes From Me’

    For some that’s leadership, for others it’s evidence of
    (narcissistic personality disorder).

  3. luther

    here’s another gem from michael hudson w/ some american history to put this whole current mess into perspective.

    “But it is in the ensuing Yazoo scandal that we find a perfect combination of financial and real estate fraud on a magnitude that helped establish some of America’s great founding fortunes, creating dynastic wealth that has survived down to the present day.”

    this article may question some of your beliefs about the sanctity of contracts (at least where those faiths have originated in american cultural attitudes.

    what i’m wondering is whether the legal precedent of ‘innocent purchaser’ and ‘vested interest’ can be somehow turned around and used to nullify some of these mortgage contracts…hmmm….

  4. K T Cat

    So in a country of 300M+, the only people who can handle the cabinet positions just happened to have been in the Clinton administration?


    Or maybe it’s that the guy is a total empty suit who has never done anything and has absolutely no group of his own advisors to bring in. Recall that both Clinton and Bush had pretty big groups of trusted advisors they brought with them.

  5. Anonymous

    Dont exaggerate, it’s not like every position is going to an old Clinton hand or that there are no Obama advisors in the new administration.

    I also recall that Clinton’s early years were marred by mistakes since his inner circle was more familiar with Arkansas politics than national politics. And Bush II drew much of his gang from daddy’s and Reagan’s administrations.

    I think the tight ship run during the election shows Obama is cautious by nature and would rather hit the ground running instead of stumbling.

  6. Bush III

    Anonymous said…
    “And Bush II drew much of his gang from daddy’s and Reagan’s administrations.”

    I think that says it all – justifying Obama’s recycling program using W’s example…

  7. Bill

    Among the fallacies that Obama had no choice but to heavily populate his administration with Clintonistas: the best and the brightest in America were employed by the Clinton administration; individuals who presided over and participated in the creation of the economic crisis are best qualified to correct it; being a Washington insider is a prerequisite to affect change; etc.

    Such an argument suggests that a Washington insider and Clinton administration alumnus would have been best qualified for President unless of course Obama has a monopoly on vision – it would appear he believes that to be the case e.g. “the vision for change comes from … ME”

  8. doc holiday

    This visual metaphor of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit could suggest a tongue-in-cheek balance between right and wrong.

    The simplicity of making choices and then being held accountable for your actions could be the lesson here, linked to some weird humor. However, as everyone knows, the story of Peter is not a story of humor, but a terrifying example of how bankers, politicians and bureaucrats in our modern society can stray off course, into ideological delusions and into insane passions, playing out schizophrenic Jekyll and Hyde delusions that shift between lusting for greater power and then using their remaining energy to cloak the reality of the cancer-like beast that grows within their corrupted and twisted souls.

    Peter had a simple task to do, but his obvious failure came about because he disobeyed orders. Peter’s Mom represents the innocent taxpayer, she represents me and you, the investor, the voter, your neighbor, your family and the person in the mirror.

    This bunny trail tail also provides clues as to what happens once average characters stray away from purposeful logical and legal paths: “Disobeying his mother’s orders, Peter sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s garden and eats as many vegetables as he can.”

    What a fine example of theft there, which is compounded by greed and then killer blood thirsty lust. After Peter has helped himself to some of the garden’s vegetables, he wanders about his Wall Street office to find some parsley to settle his full belly….

    In the version of the story my Mom read, Peter was so full that he barfed and had such a hangover that he passed out for hours, but then woke up hallucinating, and then went on another veggie binge, drunk with excessive delusions that he had to steal as much as he could as fast as he could. The reason Peter ran into trouble was because in his gyre he had the innovative notion that if he were to go to the nearby barn, he could use the awaiting tractor to harvest all of the veggies in the field and take them away, to a place no one would find them. It was this vision that drove him almost into the arms of Mr. McGregor, who saw the wild look in those bloodshot bunny eyes. Mr. McGregor was obviously used to getting screwed over by local pests and rodents, but to have some wall street rabbit punk come along trying to steal everything in the fuc-ing farm — well, that was a matter between God and him, but in his rage he grabbed a shotgun and squeezed off a few blasts in the direction of Peter, but in the haste of the moment, Peter darted left as the buckshot went right, and much to his surprise he was able to take advantage of the confusion and escape, e.g, “Peter manages to escape, but not before losing his jacket and his shoes”.

    The rest of the story, pretty much is the same after that, and Peter, having benefited from a massive dose of exercise, came back to his senses and realized what a slob he had been. It wasn’t until a week later that his mom asked him why he had a set of keys in his pockets, but Peter had a choice to make, between coming clean and telling his mom why Mr. McGregor’s farm had gone into such a state of decline and thus why McGregor was suddendly out there in the field harvesting by hand and not using the tractor. It was that winter that the health of Peter’s family declined, and a year of a serious health epidemic, which was eventually forensically traced to various health associated problems which had sadly resulted from harvest yield mismanagement at the McGregor’s farm.

    This story is also really about diversification and the fact that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket and why it makes sense to have back up plans and an extra set of keys.

  9. Anonymous

    On TARP collateral:

    “I talk to Geithner and he was pretty sure that they’re OK,” said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. “If the risk is that the Fed takes a little bit of a haircut, well that’s regrettable.”

  10. Anonymous

    Geithner and Frank are just two more of the Wall Street buddies.

    They are there to serve us. On a platter.

  11. Viv

    The Author of Liar’s Poker sends a letter to Hank Paulson. LOL

    “As much as I admire all of your decisions I can’t help but notice that the main qualification of the bankers to whom you have been giving money, so that they might make smart loans, is that they have gone almost bankrupt by making stupid loans.

    As your mind is subtle, I can only assume that you secretly believe that the American economy right now needs not smart loans, but more stupid ones — and thus that you have targeted the bankers who have proven they can make them.

    I, unfortunately, have not flirted with bankruptcy, or made any stupid loans. But here’s my point: I haven’t been given the chance! Allow me to prove my financial ineptitude to you. I swear to you that when I return for my second round of assistance I will have proven myself fully qualified to receive it.

    By giving money to bankers who have made many stupid loans you have made life harder for bankers who have never made stupid loans. By aiding the dumb banks you prevent the smart ones from replacing them. It may be that just now smart bankers are the last thing we need — but one day they may come in handy, and so we should do what we can to keep them from getting discouraged.’

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