Lunchtime Links 5-14

May 14, 2009 – 11:12 am

by Rolfe Winkler, CFA

(Send links, videos, pics to optionarmageddon at gmail with subject “link” … BIG thanks to Peter O.—$75—for the donation!)

GM/Chrysler to Cut Up to 3,000 Dealers (Reuters)  This is good news.  America doesn’t need to be wasting resources over-investing in the automobile sector.  As more of it is shuttered, those resources can be invested in more productive areas.

SEC Poised to Charge Mozilo with Fraud (WSJ)  The co-founder of Countrywide will be brought up on civil fraud charges.  We’re happy to see this, but OA would prefer the Justice Dept. file criminal charges.

Japan Should “Avoid Dollar Bonds” (Guardian)  “Japan’s opposition party says it would refuse to buy American government bonds denominated in US dollars, if elected.” Tough talk, but….

Not Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (Setser)  Talk about ditching dollar-denominated bonds isn’t being followed up with action as the world’s central banks are still pouring their cash into Treasurys.  But this shouldn’t be interpreted as a vote of confidence in U.S. paper.  No, reserve managers just don’t have any other options.  For years they’ve held their currencies artificially low in order to juice exports.  This has left them holding a mountain of dollars, which they’ve nothing to do with besides buy Treasurys…

FOIA Disclosure Busts Geithner, Paulson, Bair (Zero Hedge)  Judicial Watch published new info about the chaos surrounding the first TARP investments last fall.  Tyler does a good job highlighting key points.

Thriving Norway Provides Economics Lesson (NYT)  “…in the midst of the worst global downturn since the Depression, Norway’s economy grew last year by just under 3 percent. The government enjoys a budget surplus of 11 percent and its ledger is entirely free of debt….[Economist] Eirik Wekre…describes Norwegians’ feelings about debt this way: ‘We cannot spend this money now; it would be stealing from future generations.’  Mr. Wekre, who paid for his house and car with cash, attributes this broad consensus to as the country’s iconoclasm. ‘The strongest man is he who stands alone in the world,’ he said, [quoting Ibsen].” It helps to have massive oil revenues and a small population too…

Schwarzenegger to Propose Selling San Quentin (Santa Cruz Sentinel)  The Governator “today will propose selling San Quentin Prison, the Los Angeles Coliseum and other state-owned properties in a bid to raise cash to counter the state’s daunting budget shortfall.”

Bill Seidman dies (Bloomberg)  The former head of the FDIC and then the RTC, Seidman commented in his memoir that bank regulators should be instructed “to look for the newest fad in the industry and examine it with great care. The next mistake will be a new way to make a loan that will not be repaid.”  Amen.  (ht CR)

3-D Sidewalk Drawing Guy Outdoes Self
(  This is spectacular.

Molecules of Life Emerge From Laboratory Slime (New Scientist)  Creationists Intelligent Designers take note.

Honorary Degrees….

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