Links 5/4/09

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Ancient tsunami ‘hit New York’ BBC. An updated version coming to a movie theater near you. I have separately read that a hurricane that hit at just the right angle would send a storm surge that would flood Manhattan to 14th Street.

Internet ‘draining world power’ Guardian

Berkshire Investment Officer Candidates Didn’t Beat S&P 500, Buffett Says Bloomberg. Does that mean NC readers should apply for the job

The End Of Personal Finance Helaine Olen The Big Money

Falling Wage Syndrome Paul Krugman

You Realithe, Of Courth, Thith Meanth War The Epicurean Dealmaker

Lessons of the Global Financial Crisis: 1. The End of Ponzi Prosperity Satyajit Das

Stress test results: Who is leaking? John Hempton

US mortgage cuts offer spending boost Financial Times. So now it’s official” cheap reifs are supposed to boost spending. And pray tell, what happens when the expected inflation arrives and all those cheap mortgages are in a loss position as a result of higher prevailing yields?

Boston Globe could file shutdown notice Monday Reuters

Art prices likely to be hammered at NY auctions Financial Times. Prices are estimated to have fallen by 50%. Note that banks and firms that provided loans to major fine art purchases would typically do so for up to 50% of the purchase price. Fine art loans seem to be following the path of other types of secured lending, that is, not being as safe as it was touted to be.

LL’s China April Property Market Monitor is Sobering All Roads Lead to China (hat tip reader Michael)

Banks Get Tougher on Credit Line Provisions Wall Street Journal and Bonds Show Lehman Bankruptcy Fading Into History as Credit Spreads Narrow Bloomberg. But since Fed policies are explicitly directed at narrowing spreads, I’m not certain whether this is a sign of healing or merely super aggressive resuscitation.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. LeeAnne

    From this morning’s Paul Krugman: Falling Wage Syndrome“But the unemployment rate is almost certainly still rising. And all signs point to a terrible job market for many months if not years to come — which is a recipe for continuing wage cuts, which will in turn keep the economy weak.”

    You can feel it in the lack of debate over wages and employment during this crisis that the pattern of the last few decades is set to continue as millions of working people are fired and in the ‘upturn’ never rehired left behind in every way even in the unemployment statistics. As the gap between rich and poor, middle-class and poorly employed continues, the gap in communication between people also increases.

    So much for compassionate Republicans and Obama praising Reagan. Being a transformative president doesn’t mean Reagan didn’t lead the country to its race to the bottom. But I digress. Now we have ‘hope.’ It really is a race to the bottom. Even the slogans are getting worse.

    In Obama’s long speech he referred to an improving economy knowing that a great number of people in the country are confused about the difference between the economy and the stock market. He has lots of support for continuing and perpetrating this confusion. Shadow Government StatisticsAmericans had better stop dreaming and hoping and start demonstrating. We need to be more like France where the government has the good sense to be afraid of the people not the other way around.

    Whatever changes in the US system are required to rebalance the relationship between the people and its government needs to begin to happen now or Obama will be a one-term president unless, of course, they get us into another war; they seem always to have this option.

    Obama is making the mistake of believing that he and the government are synonymous; that his popularity is a vote of confidence in the government when it is more likely a sign of continuing hope, a hope without substance that he shows signs of exploiting as long as possible.

  2. Doc Holiday

    RE: auction notes:

    amara-de-lempickaFrom Wiki: De Lempicka continued both her heavy workload and her frenetic social life through the next decade. The Great Depression had little effect on her; in the early 1930s she was painting King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Queen Elizabeth of Greece. Museums began to collect her works. In 1933 she traveled to Chicago where she worked with Georgia O’Keeffe, Santiago Martínez Delgado and Willem de Kooning. Her social position was cemented when she married her lover, Baron Kuffner, in 1933 (his wife had died the year before). The Baron took her out of her quasi-bohemian life and finally secured her place in high society again, with a title to boot. She repaid him by convincing him to sell many of his estates in Eastern Europe and move his money to Switzerland. She saw the coming of World War II from a long way off, much sooner than most of her contemporaries. She did make a few concessions to the changing times as the decade passed; her art featured a few refugees and common people, and even a Christian saint or two, as well as the usual aristocrats and cold nudes, and pork sandwiches…. (just testing there).

    Anyone have about $5 million?

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