Links 1/31/09

Acid oceans ‘need urgent action‘ BBC. We wrote about this in 2007.

Deadly heatwave causes havoc across south-eastern Australia Telegraph

Tidal-powered datacenters: A sea of opportunity? InfoWorld

“Bad bank” may be put on hold: report Reuters versus US set for ‘big bang’ financial clean-up Financial Times. Not necessarily contradictory, but released in close proximity with a big difference in tone.

The Bailout Game, Comic relief.

Feds allege plot to destroy Fannie Mae data Associated Press (hat tip reader Tom)

Give Back The Bonuses James Ledbetter, The Big Money

Citigroup under fire over baseball sponsorship Guardian (hat tip reader Ed)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the TARP Calculated Risk. You need to see this.

It’s Theirs and They’re Not Apologizing New York Times

The credit crunch according to Soros Financial Times

Japan’s Economy – No End in Sight? Japan Economy Watch. A reader chided me for not pointing out how world class awful the Friday factory production release was out of Japan, and other economic updates from the Land of the Rising Sun have been less than stellar. This post gives an excellent and longer ranging overview.

Zimbabwe Dumps Currency Paul Kedrosky

US-China currency war eclipses Davos, and threatens the world Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Slowdown in lending threatens new squeeze on companies Independent

Layoffs: The new problem? Macroblog

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Anonymous

    FYI the Ambrose link is actually to the FT, and by the way I can’t find an article with that title at the Telegraph….but this subterranean contest is at the heart of the next phase of the crisis methinks.

  2. Anonymous

    NYTimes, January 30th:

    “By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster.

    “There is far more forest here than there was 30 years ago,” said Ms. Ortega de Wing, 64, who remembers fields of mango trees and banana plants.”

    Perhaps our expertise in predicting climate catastrophes might help us to model global economics too?

  3. John Rosevear

    I have nothing of substance to contribute this morning except to say… Yves, you rock. Thank you for starting my mornings with consistently excellent links and commentary.

  4. Richard Kline

    The Reuters ‘bad bank’ article mentions that due to concerns over security pricing a counter idea is being floated of blanket government guarantees against losses on same . . . Idiots. We are a nation governed by those advised by idiots.

    Of all the bad ideas out there, a blanket guarantee of government payouts against privately held losses is the worst of all possible worlds; the very worst idea floating, like last year’s corpse, to the surface of the scummy pond. In effect, it is a promise that the citizen-taxpayers will pay out ALL LOSSES incurred by private parties, to other private parties. If any of the securities actually do well, those profits are retained by private parties. What does the citizenry gain other than manacles of debt slavery which they don’t even get to approve themselves? The banks have no incentive even to lend with said guarantees in place since their capital positions are not improved thereby, and many institutions are going to be closed due to sector overcapacity. Fannie and Freddie have always had an implicit Guvmint guarantee; they had to be backed, their was little practical choice (when been over all that, so I won’t rehash). But a guarantee that we will be the Stoopis of Last Resort in this shell game run by the financial industry is—what’s a good word?—patently offensive. (Alright, that’s two good words, I couldn’t get it down to one.)

    It is shameful to me that what is preventing the obviously least bad choice, nationalization, from going forward is ideology, plain and simple. Financial ideologues tied to a generation of duplicity and failure are still hogging all important advisory and administrative posts. (Volcker shrewdly has no post, for those who see him as a different animal.) Ideology means that we drag on and on with the worst available notions rather than roll the dead and dying zombie bankers overboard and lean hard on the tiller for the nearest land. Free(money) market ideology, it’s ghost clings on, unwilling to crumble into the grave of it’s own design. Who will be the Exorcist?

  5. Anonymous

    Thanks for your concern about the heatwave and fires in South & SE Australia. The somewhat breathless report from Sydney (some 1000kms away via UK half a world away) misses some of the local flava.
    Like California, we get this kind of weather most summers, and our long drought has exacerbated the "fuel load" for the fires. It has highlighted some shortcomings in our infrastructure (massive peak electricity loads, suburban train system failure, and high water drain on inadequate stores). But we've been lucky – no loss of human life due to fires so far.
    Wildlife will suffer though, and as this drought continues, climate change deniers are becoming endangered, too.
    Our local news ( or ( are much more excited about Serena Willams. That's because Australia is doing badly at cricket.

  6. lineup32

    ” Davos became the place where the pent-up dismay and anger over what Wall Street wrought boiled to the surface”

    “A lot of bankers were not there to hear themselves being blamed for the economic crisis. Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, stayed away and cancelled the investment bank’s usual party. Bob Diamond, president of Barclays, had been due to co-host a mountain-top dinner for clients but decided at the last minute to remain at home.”

    The end for American investment establishment selling securities overseas. How long before the vast Army and Navy deployment covering 2 current wars and military bases in over 130 countries run out of funds and need to come home. Maybe we are finally going to see the end of World War 2.

  7. lineup32

    “This explains quite nicely why currencies of countries with high interest rates to begin with, such as the dollars of Australia and New Zealand and the U.K. pound has lost so much in value during the current bear market in stocks while the currencies of low interest rate countries such as Japan and Switzerland has gained in value. And this also explains why the U.S. dollar has stopped falling along with stock markets like it did in 2007 and early 2008, and has instead started to rise against most currencies . In the beginning, the U.S. had fairly high nominal interest rates (5.25%), and when they were reduced the dollar initially lost a lot of value. But once the U.S. had already joined the low interest rate club which previously only included Japan and Switzerland, the additional declines in stock market value would inevitably cause the interest rate differential against other countries to decline, and so strengthen the U.S. dollar.”

  8. donna

    The cats look evil because their bowl is empty.

    Like taxpayers with empty 401K accounts looking at Wall Street brokers right now.

  9. Anonymous

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard calls Premier Wen Mr. Jiabao. Is he really that ignorant not to know Jiabao is first name and Wen is last name?

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