Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday roundup (05-31-10)

China's Wen: global economy double-dip possible: Too soon for countries to consider exiting stimulus (Reuters)

Eurozone debt crisis threatens stability: Italian minister (Agence France-Presse)

Fears Rise in Europe Over Potential for Deflation (The New York Times)

U.K. Recovery Is Vulnerable to Euro Crisis (The Wall Street Journal)

E.C.B. Says Banks at Risk From Slower Growth (The New York Times)

Euro-Zone Banks Still Stressed Despite ECB Moves (The Wall Street Journal)

Euro zone banks facing 'second wave' of losses (The Irish Times) (The Guardian)

U.S. to Push Europe on Stress Tests (The Wall Street Journal)

Spanish Banks in Merger Mode (The Wall Street Journal)

Greece urged to give up euro (The Times of London)

This scares everybody — that we can’t make it stop, says BP chief (The Times of London)

Colin Powell: Oil Spill Is 'Beyond The Capacity' Of BP To Solve, Military Might Have Role (The Huffington Post blog)

US expands Gulf fishing ban; states brace for oil (Marketwatch)

[UK] Government review to examine threat of world resources shortage: Study commissioned following sharp rises in commodity prices on world markets and food riots in some countries (The Guardian)

Are Nasdaq100 Insiders Dumping Stock? (The Big Picture blog)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday roundup (05-30-10)

Gulf Oil Well Could Continue Spewing Crude Until August (The Associated Press)

No end in sight for oil disaster: After 41 days and the failure of BP's top kill approach to stop the gulf oil leak, the catastrophe continues to grow. NBC's Anne Thompson reports on the BP's new plans for stopping the spread and what the Obama administration calls America's largest environmental disaster ever. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Oil spill could be 'permanent problem' for Obama: With the Obama administration calling the BP spill America's largest environmental disaster, critics have turned their attention to the president's legacy and what role politics have played in the situation. Mike Viqueira reports. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ed Markey: 'I Have no Confidence Whatsoever in BP [-- I think they do not know what they are doing]' - Actions Would Qualify as Criminal (Crooks and Liars blog)

BP Sugar Coating Facts: Sharyl Attkisson, who's been following the oil spill since day one, separates the facts from the fiction in the investigation against BP. -- "My biggest concern in covering all of this is getting accurate information. I still don't have a high degree of confidence that we'll be able to rely on the information that we get either from BP or from the government." (CBSNews)

Oil spill damage spreads through Gulf economies (CNN)

Oil spill creates huge undersea 'dead zones': Clouds of crude and chemical dispersants have formed in the Gulf of Mexico and oceanologists fear these could have devastating effects on the food chain (The Telegraph)

Election-year politics derail bid to save teachers' jobs (McClatchy Newspapers)

[Deflation watch:] Wal-Mart makes splashy price cuts to get mojo back: Wal-Mart bets on $1 ketchup, cheap soda, in campaign to re-ignite sales (The Associated Press)

[Deflation watch:] Huge Price Cuts Rumored From Chinese Developers Due To Collapsing Demand (The Business Insider)

As Deflation Looms, E.C.B. Keeps Its Eye Firmly on Inflation (The New York Times)

Debt Crisis Drying Up European Lending, Espirito Santo Says (Bloomberg)

Greece urged to give up euro (The Sunday Times of London)

Keeping France's AAA Rating Is "A Stretch": Budget Minister (Reuters)

Two million idle Italian youngsters run risk of becoming 'lost generation': More than one in five Italians aged 15-29 are jobless (The Observer)

Mobile phones responsible for disappearance of honey bee: The growing use of mobile telephones is behind the disappearance of honey bees and the collapse of their hives, scientists have claimed. (The Telegraph)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday roundup (05-29-10)

Quote of the Day:

"At the moment we are still walking on very fragile ground. After two consecutive quarters of positive UK economic growth, the risk of an immediate relapse is less severe. However, the recovery is still weak, and it would be unwise to disregard the threat of a double-dip recession. The crisis in the eurozone and turmoil in the global financial markets threaten to dampen the UK's growth prospects. The risk of things not going in the right direction in the eurozone is very high. The risk of a Greek default [on its debt] is high and that could unleash major problems." -- " said David Kern, chief economist for the British Chambers of Commerce. (The Guardian)

A worldwide financial crisis couldn't happen again. Could it?: Optimists see economies shaking off recession and corporate results improving. But pessimists see a growing debt crisis and a new slump that the world would be powerless to halt (The Observer)

UK at risk of double-dip, fiscal cuts should wait -- "Britain faces the risk of a double-dip recession and the government should hold off making big spending cuts until the recovery is assured, according to the British Chambers of Commerce." (Reuters)

Felix Zulauf: We May Have a Lehman, AIG, and Citi in One Day (Expected Returns blog) (The Audio from King World News)

Set Aside Fears of Inflation -- Just for Now: AN INTERVIEW WIH RAY DALIO: Bridgewater Associates' chief investment officer doubts that the printing of money will cause inflation. But he warns that the next recession may come sooner than we think. (Barrons)

Credit card habits show signs of change as consumers pay off debt, save more (The Washington Post)

The War Against Finance (Sudden Debt blog)

Deregulation and the Triumph of Wall Street (Bits of News)

Unions [in St. Louis MO] accept first pay cuts since the Great Depression (KMOX)

BP under pressure after 'top kill' failures: After the company's latest efforts to plug its leaking oil well failed, many have questioned BP's credibility. NBC's Anne Thompson reports on BP's next steps in trying to keep the disaster from getting worse. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Gulf locals watch, wait with growing anger: After 40 days of seeing an oil spill grow towards their shores, residents in Grand Isle, Louisiana have become frustrated at the lack of an effective response from BP and the government. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Simmons Says Government Should Take Over BP Oil Clean Up: Matt Simmons, founder and chairman emeritus of Simmons & Co., talks with Bloomberg's Mark Crumpton and Lori Rothman about BP Plc's leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP said in a statement today [Friday] that it has spent $930 million responding to the spill, which began after an April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 workers. The well has been spewing an estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf, a U.S. government panel said yesterday [Thursday]. (Bloomberg)

Spill may cut world oil supply 500,000 bpd - report -- "which would lead to an increase in the oil price" (Reuters)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday roundup (05-28-10)

Credit Swaps Signal Sovereign Debt May Need ‘Aggressive Action’ -- "Credit-default swaps on the sovereign debt of Italy and Spain are heading for their biggest monthly increase amid investor concern that depressed demand for bonds of indebted nations will keep borrowing costs elevated." (Bloomberg)

The Arithmetic Adds Up to a Greek Restructuring (The Wall Street Journal)

Spain Loses AAA Rating From Fitch, More Downgrades To Come -- [Brown Brothers Harriman:] "Spain should be downgraded multiple notches. ... and we stress again that we see multiple downgrades ahead for Spain." (Credit Writedowns blog) (Bloomberg)

Six Spanish savings banks planning alliance -- "that will help them avoid insolvency" (Agence France-Presse)

We [in Ireland] must slash deficit by [Euro]10bn, says OECD report (The Irish Independent)

EU struggles to convince markets in euro crisis (Reuters)

A Busted Formula -- [Eric Sprott writes:] "German banks are some of the most levered in the world. ... Commerzbank has the highest leverage of the German banks at 124:1. ... Hence the recent ban on naked short selling of German bank shares. They're too vulnerable to handle the market's wrath." (Infectious Greed blog)

[US] Stocks Tumble, Dow Ends Worst May Since 1940 (Bloomberg)

Europe's Pain Pinches U.S. Junk: A jittery high-yield market dried up for some companies in May. -- "Could Europe's debt problems spread to the U.S. credit markets? In a way, they already have ..." (Forbes)

Bond Distress Highest Since ’09 as Sales Vanish: Credit Markets (Bloomberg)

Credit Crisis Indicators Going Bonkers Again! Batten Down the Hatches! (Money and Markets)

Tactical Update From Bob Janjuah: "2008 Will Seem Like The Good Old Days" (ZeroHedge blog)

Increasing Complexity in Resolving Financial Crises -- [Reuters says:] "Fixing the problem will require money and political will. One cannot work without the other, and both are lacking." (The Big Picture blog)

U.S. Economy: Spending Pauses as Households Save More (Bloomberg) (Expected Returns blog)

Weak Job Market Weighs On Wages (CNBC)

IMF Economist Argues Home Prices Still Have Far To Fall (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

The Root of the Housing Bubble Remains Unchanged (Of Two Minds blog)

Three American cities [Jefferson County, Ala.; Harrisburg, Penn.; and Detroit] on the brink of broke (Fortune)

Bankruptcy talk spreads among Calif. muni officials (Reuters)

Antioch California Considers Bankruptcy; Former LA Mayor Predicts Bankruptcy for LA (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

[Rhode Island's] Cities, towns face more hard choices (

Street lights turned off to save money: Cranston [R.I.] implementing plan within six weeks [shutting off every third streetlight] (WPRI)

BP well disaster stuns hardened oil men (Reuters)

Estimates of oil leak gush past twice the previous levels; drill permits yanked (The Washington Post)

Estimates Suggest Spill Is Biggest in U.S. History (The New York Times)

Coast Guard Grounds Ships Involved in Oil Cleanup After 7 Fall Ill; BP Reportedly Preventing Fishermen from Wearing Respirators (Crooks and Liars blog)

Nadler presses BP for answers in oil spill aftermath: Congressman Nadler questions BP America Vice President Daryl Willis in a House Judiciary Committee hearing over the continued use of chemical dispersants and its threats to human life and the health of the entire Gulf ecosystem. (Youtube)

Regulators shut 5 banks as 2010 tally hits 78 (Reuters)

Bank of Florida - Southeast of Fort Lauderdale FL had a troubled assets ratio of 148.4%. (BankTracker)

Bank of Florida - Southwest of Naples FL had a troubled assets ratio of 284.6%. (BankTracker)

Bank of Florida - Tampa of Tampa FL had a troubled assets ratio of 205.2%. (BankTracker)

Granite Community Bank, NA of Granite Bay CA had a troubled assets ratio of 284.1%. (BankTracker)

Sun West Bank of Las Vegas NV had a troubled assets ratio of 338%. (BankTracker)

'Pieces of Eight': The Constitution and the Dollar: With everyone suddenly fretting about the need for a new world reserve currency, unorthodox views on the Federal Reserve are getting a new hearing. (The Wall Street Journal)

Wall Street's War: Congress looked serious about finance reform – until America's biggest banks unleashed an army of 2,000 paid lobbyists (Rolling Stone)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday roundup (05-27-10)

Are We Headed For Another Lehman? -- "No one can be certain, but I would venture to argue that the potential is there for a crisis far worse than Lehman. The global economy, arguably, has never confronted such massive hurdles. The Euro appears fundamentally broken. As I’ve repeatedly stated the problems in the Euro are inherent within the currency. The solvency crisis is simply a byproduct of an inherently flawed currency system. In addition, investor sentiment is incredibly fragile. And finally, those in charge don’t appear to have a grasp on the actual problems at hand and have failed to provide a viable solution despite two years of constant meddling." (Pragmatic Capitalism)

Is Europe heading for a meltdown?: This financial crisis is worse than the sub-prime crash of 2008 because the sums are so much bigger and it is governments that are in dire straits. Edmund Conway explains the dangers. -- "... were this a computer game, the politicians would be down to their last life. Any mistake now and it really is Game Over." (
The Telegraph)

Hugh Hendry ‘I would recommend you panic’ (
Credit Writedowns blog) Newsnight 26th May (Youtube)

Spain barely approves austerity -- "We should definitely turn our attention to Spain now. It’s not just the Greeks who are outraged by the austerity budgets they are due to experience. The Spanish are objecting too." (Credit Writedowns blog)

Banks covertly financing Italy’s deficit -- [Economist Jamie Dannhauser has written to clients on the Italian economy. According to the Financial Post:] "Fears that the Italian government will not be able to pay its bills are not the immediate threat, rather Mr. Dannhauser is concerned about potential illiquidity problems for Italian government debt if banks look to reduce their exposure." (The Financial Post)

Russian Banks on ‘Red Alert’ as Emergency Liquidity Is Unwound (Bloomberg)

In real money [= gold], British house prices are down by 70% (Money Week)

The housing rot is still eating the US economy from the inside (Money Week)

Miami Commissioner Says Bankruptcy is City's Best Hope; Chris Christie Says New Jersey Careens Towards Becoming Greece (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

More Cities on Brink of Bankruptcy (CNBC)

Despite ZIRP & Fiscal Blitz, US Money Supply Plunges by 9.6 Percent [attached graph from ShadowStats . com shows M3 money supply, the blue line, in outright deflation] (Max

The Recovery: Why Deflation Remains a Threat: Economic growth isn't strong enough yet to keep deflation at bay—and turmoil in Europe and market jitters amplify the risk (Business Week)

Your Household's Share Of The September 2008 Economic Collapse: $104,350 (The Consumerist) The Cost of the Financial Crisis: The Impact of the September 2008 Economic Collapse by Phillip Swagel (Pew Economic Policy Group)

[Ecclesiastes 3:15 watch:] Rachel Maddow: The more spills change, the more they stay the same (Crooks and Liars blog)

Obama: There's a Reason I Never Said "Drill, Baby, Drill" -- "the easily accessible oil has already been sucked up out of the ground" (CBSNews)

BP labors to kill oil leak; scientists say it eclipses Exxon Valdez as biggest US spill ever (The Associated Press)

Prominent Oil Industry Insider: "There's Another Leak, Much Bigger, 5 to 6 Miles Away" (ZeroHedge blog)

Scientists find evidence of large underwater oil plume in gulf (The Washington Post) (The Associated Press)

Gulf of Mexico oil spill: clean-up boats recalled after crews suffer health problems: All 125 commercial fishing boats helping oil recovery efforts off Louisiana's Breton Sound area have been recalled after four workers reported health problems, officials said. (The Telegraph)

2010 hurricane season may be worst on record (Agence France-Presse)

Hive Thefts on the Rise in Germany (Der Spiegel)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 05-27-10)

According to an analyst quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report.)

"Applications for unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 to 460,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Analysts had expected the level would fall further to 455,000." (The Associated Press)

"'Rather disappointingly, the four-week average of jobless claims has moved sideways for the last two months and is still at a level that we judge too high to be consistent with sustained job creation,' said analysts at RDQ Economics in a research note. 'We would feel more secure about the prospects for job creation if the initial claims data were in the neighborhood of 400,000 rather than above 450,000,' they wrote." (Marketwatch)

"'Claims remain the conundrum in the employment picture,' said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, who accurately forecast initial claims. 'They remain elevated, while the vast majority of data point to an improving labor market. Not all industries or sectors are seeing the full benefit of the recovery yet.'" (Bloomberg)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday roundup (05-26-10)

EU Labor Chief Warns of Double-Dip Recession (The Wall Street Journal)

Tensions in Euro Money Market Reappear (
The Wall Street Journal)

European banks face liquidity shortage - Portugal's BES (

Portugal Finance Min: Sovereign Debt Crisis 'Threat' To Banks [within the monetary union] (
The Wall Street Journal)

World is dangerously exposed to European default, report says (The Financial Times blogs)

Germany vs. Europe -- editorial (The New York Times)

European Nations Take Steps to Pare Deficits -- "'The euro area is adopting the wrong policy at the wrong moment and is thus making people suffer, which could lead to nationalistic reactions,' said Jean-Paul Fitoussi, a professor of economics at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, now teaching at the Luiss business school in Rome." (The New York Times)

PIMCO: Greece can't grow its way out of debt (Reuters)

Top Bond Vigilante: Fiscal Austerity May Not Work (Washington's Blog)

The European Debt Crisis: A Smoke Screen For Bigger Problems (Daily Finance)

The Greek Bailout's Two Secret Exit Clauses: Why Europe Is Now Cheering For Its Own Demise (ZeroHedge blog)

OECD 'very concerned' with Japanese debt (Agence France-Presse)

America Passes $13 Trillion In Debt (ZeroHedge blog)

Global Banks May Need $1.5 Trillion in Capital, Study Says (Bloomberg)

Credit Stress Gauges: Just How Bad is It Out There? (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

US money supply plunges at 1930s pace as Obama eyes fresh stimulus: The M3 money supply in the United States is contracting at an accelerating rate that now matches the average decline seen from 1929 to 1933, despite near zero interest rates and the biggest fiscal blitz in history. (The Telegraph)

Moody’s Reiterates U.S. Spending Risks Credit Rating (Bloomberg)

U.S. Spending on Food Stamps at All-Time High, Sparking Debate Over Welfare (FoxNews)

Glut of bank-owned homes means prolonged agony for California governments -- "means years of decline in the property taxes on which cities, schools and the state of California depend." (Contra Costa Times)

Economists warn La. budget deficit likely worse -- "than the $319 million deficit over which lawmakers are haggling." (The Associated Press)

New Pension Figures Could Cost City [of Baltimore] $165M More [as soon as July]: In 1983, Mayor Schaefer Predicted Pension Problems (WBAL TV11)

Grim revenue picture forces city governments to slash jobs (Yahoo! News)

Wall Street 'Popping Champagne' Over Watered-Down Financial Reform Bill (The Huffington Post blog)

100,000 teachers nationwide face layoffs (The Washington Post)

Youth jobless crisis could have lasting impact (CNN)

On The Money: $100,000 Felons: Convicted Felons [in the Great State of California] Still Collect Pensions (CBS13)

Space so full of junk that a satellite collision could destroy communications on Earth: Space is so littered with debris that a collision between satellites could set off an “uncontrolled chain reaction” capable of destroying the communications network on Earth, a Pentagon report has warned. (The Telegraph)

Report: Oil spill threatens state parks -- "'This could become America’s greatest environmental disaster,' noted Theo Spencer, senior advocate with the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a news release 'Oil contamination from the explosion of BP’s drilling rig threatens precious natural resources and livelihoods across the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.'" (South Florida Business Journal)

Report finds that drilling officials at Interior accepted gifts from oil industry, watched porn on government computers (Yahoo! News)

Rachel Maddow: Oil Regulation a Broken System (Crooks and Liars blog)

[The foregoing phenomenon is what William Black, a former US bank regulator, calls control fraud.]


Deepwater Horizon: This Is What the End of the Oil Age Looks Like -- "A couple of adages from the old-timers are worth quoting: 'Cut corners all you want, but never downhole,' and, 'There’s fast, there’s cheap, and there’s right, and you get to pick two.'" -- Richard Heinburg. (Post Carbon Institute)

Unchecked Oil Flow Would Cause Disaster ‘Heretofore Unseen by Humanity’ -- "Professor Tad Patzek, who heads the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas-Austin, gives the relief well a 90 percent chance of success. But he'd rather not consider the other 10 percent. 'As a petroleum professional, I don't even admit the possibility that that might be possible,' he said when asked about a failure to stop the flow. 'That would be an environmental disaster of a caliber that was heretofore unseen by humanity.'" (Common

Not just oil: US hit peak water in 1970 and nobody noticed (Ars Technica)

Is the Urban Farming Movement Here to Stay? (Civil Eats)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday roundup (05-26-10)

Double-dip fears over worldwide credit stress: The global credit system is flashing the most serious warning signals in almost a year on triple fears of a Spanish banking crisis, escalating political risk in Asia, and a second leg to the US housing slump. -- "'If a $1 trillion (£700bn) bail-out did not finally turn sentiment, I struggle to see what can,' said Tim Ash, an economist at RBS." (The Telegraph)

Geithner’s U.K., Germany Trip Highlights Focus on World Economy (Bloomberg)

The contagion of austerity (The BBC blogs) (The Independent) (The New York Times)

UK cuts spark fears of double-dip recession: There are fears Britain's spending cuts, intended to fix the nation's debt problem, could backfire and push Europe into a double-dip recession. (The ABC, Australian Broadcasting Commission)

Germany Prepares for $13 Billion 'Debt Guillotine' (The Financial Times)

Germany May Broaden Its Ban on Naked Short Selling to All Domestic Stocks (Bloomberg)

Italy joins Europe's austerity club with deep cuts (Reuters)

IMF raises fresh concerns about the Spanish economy (The BBC)

Oil market in fear of double-dip recession, says think tank (United Press International)

Case-Shiller Housing Index Falls for 6th Straight Month (Expected Returns blog)

Home Prices Edge Down: The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index posted a 0.5 percent drop from February. Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell month over month. David Blitzer, S&P 500 Index Committee chairman, discusses the data with CNBC. -- "... if we put it in simple terms, and draw it in a picture, we can get worried about double dips." (CNBC)

Falling home prices stir fears of new bottom -- "'It looks a little like a double-dip already,' economist Robert Shiller said in an interview." (The Associated Press)

Existing Home Sales Rise in April, but Inventory Soars -- "We can expect some sobering news over the next few months about the housing market recovery." (The Atlantic)

Losses to continue at Fannie and Freddie: regulator (Reuters)

Municipal Bonds: The Next Financial Land Mine? (Time)

U.S. cities face deepening fiscal problems -- "'City budget shortfalls will become more severe over the next two years as tax collections catch up with economic conditions,' the report [by the National League of Cities] said. 'These will inevitably result in new rounds of layoffs, service cuts, and canceled projects and contracts.'" (Reuters)

Oregon faces $563 million budget hole, Governor promises layoffs (The Oregonian)

DiNapoli says NY racking up more debt (The Business Review of Albany)

White House fires back at oil critics: Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, author Matthew Simmons and Capt. Dave Ballay talk about the growing backlash from the oil spill crisis, including accusations that the White House is not doing enough to stop the spread of the oil. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mike Papantonio: Gulf Leak Can't Be Stopped (Crooks and Liars blog)

The real cost of US debt: At least $8.3 trillion of the national debt is missing from the government’s books. (The Christian Science Monitor)

25 Questions To Ask Anyone Who Is Delusional Enough To Believe That This Economic Recovery Is Real (The Economic Collapse blog) An Apt Commentary for the Times (Financial Armageddon blog)

Warning: Crash dead ahead. Sell. Get liquid. Now. Commentary: 'Game's in the refrigerator.' Power's turning off. Dow sinking below 6,470 by Paul B. Farrell (Marketwatch)

UN official warns on fisheries losses: The UN's top environment official has echoed warnings that commercial fishing could be destroyed within 50 years. (The BBC)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday roundup (05-25-10)

Double Dip Recession Now Assured? (CNBC)

Fears grow that banks could send euro crisis global (Agence France-Presse)

Next phase of financial crisis may be the hardest -- "European leaders have yet to convince investors that they have a credible short-term plan to contain government deficits and a long-term answer to the region's slow growth. Until they do, financial markets will remain volatile, and the hard-fought economic recovery is in jeopardy." (Reuters)

In Greek debt crisis, collapse is better than bailout: European leaders' rescue plan is not only the wrong solution for the Greek debt crisis, it's too expensive. -- "Bob Janjuah, chief strategist at RBS, sees where this leads: 'We are trapped in some horrendous Keynesian/monetarist nightmare, where policymakers, aided/abetted/advised by their buddies in the media, in the lobbyist cabal and in financial system, have YET AGAIN decided to go down the route which merely delays the problem/pushes it down the road, but which virtually guarantees that when the NEXT bubble collapses…there is NO pleasant way back.'" (The Christian Science Monitor blogs) (Credit Writedowns blog)

Sen. Gregg says tough to see how the euro survives as a currency after crisis (The Hill blogs)

Financial crisis threatens Europe's cherished system of social welfare benefits -- "Six weeks of vacation a year. Retirement at 60. Thousands of euros for having a baby. A good university education for less than the cost of a laptop. The system known as the European welfare state was built after World War II as the keystone of a shared prosperity meant to prevent future conflict. Generous lifelong benefits have since become a defining feature of modern Europe." (The Associated Press)

At least 50,000 jobs will be lost as a result of the Government's £6.2 billion package of public spending cuts, economists have said. (The Telegraph)

Opel, European unions agree on restructuring plan -- "includes the elimination of 8,300 positions" (Agence France-Presse)

In Europe, Britain May Face Largest Debt Hurdle (The New York Times)

MPC's Adam Posen warns Britain at risk of Japan-style deflation: Britain is at risk of sliding into a Japan-style episode of deflation, and may be even worse-equipped than the Asian country to escape, a Bank of England policymaker has warned. (The Telegraph)

Irish 'Roubini' Says Ireland Is Worse Off Than Greece And Faces Insolvency (The Business Insider) Burden of Irish debt could yet eclipse that of Greece: What will sink us, unfortunately but inevitably, are the huge costs of the September 2008 bank bailout, writes MORGAN KELLY (The Irish Times)

Italy austerity budget to cut wages and hiring (Reuters)

An Asian credit crisis could force U.S. debt sales (Reuters)

[US government's] FHA Commissioner: Housing on "Life support", "very sick system" (Calculated Risk blog) (Financial Armaggedon blog) (Bloomberg)

Defaults on Apartment-Building Loans Set Record for U.S. Banks -- "'Apartment defaults are leading other commercial real estate,' Sam Chandan, global chief economist at Real Capital, said in an interview." (Bloomberg)

Commercial property troubles U.S. banks - study (Reuters)

Fitch: $5B Securitized Commercial Property Loan Seen Defaulting (The Wall Street Journal)

This Is Not A Good Sign: From Bloomberg: Banks Seek $10 Billion of Bids in Effort to Sell Bad Mortgages (The Golden Truth blog)

That receding, deflationary, resurfacing … M3 money supply (FT Alphaville)

Is the Oil Spill Our Dust Bowl? (Washington's Blog)

U.S. declares fishery disaster in 3 Gulf of Mexico states (Xinhua)

Melanie Driscoll [director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society's Louisiana program]: We're braced for a heavy impact [from the offshore oil leak] and the food-chain collapsing (The Independent)

Louisiana Realtor: Oil Is Having "Horrible, Just Horrific" Effect On Sales (Business Insider)

Fixing Oil Spill Is "No Feat," Say Iranians -- "A long-standing adversary of the United States, oil producer Iran has offered to help fight the spill -- a gesture unlikely to be taken up by Washington which is pushing for new U.N. sanctions against Tehran's nuclear program." (Thomson Reuters)

CRUDE - Official Trailer: Three years in the making, this cinéma-vérité feature from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet. An inside look at the infamous $27 billion Amazon Chernobyl case, CRUDE is a real-life high stakes legal drama set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film subverts the conventions of advocacy filmmaking as it examines a complicated situation from all angles while bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus. (Youtube)

Los Angeles based Michael Ruppert, author of Confronting Collapse, speaks on the tangible steps that must be taken to confront the grave global reality of our oil dependence. (CCTV)

[UK] Beekeepers lost one in six hives last winter due to disease and cold weather, according to the latest statistics. (The Telegraph)

"Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth" by Eric Herm (Youtube)

The Food Movement, Rising by Michael Pollan (The New York Review of Books)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday roundup (05-23-10)

Don't Rule Out a Double Dip Recession: In addition to Europe's woes, we have slower growth in China and a decline in bank lending and the velocity of money in the U.S. (The Wall Street Journal)

Cuts revive ‘double-dip’ recession fears [in the UK] (The Times of London)

One false move in Europe could set off global chain reaction (The Washington Post)

When the ECB should be about leadership, all Europe has is chaos: Many in the markets now fear a full-scale financial meltdown, amounting to a second Lehmans crisis. Last week's weakness in world equity markets was not so surprising. (The Telegraph)

Schama: Are the Guillotines Being Sharpened? -- "[Historian] Simon Schama ... warns in the Financial Times that revolutionary rage is close to the boiling point in Europe and the US" (Naked Capitalism blog)

[Satirists] Clarke and Dawe: Lending merry-go-round: How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies who haven't got any money? (Youtube) (The ABC -- Australian Broadcasting Commission)

Fiscal crises threaten Europe's generous benefits (The Associated Press)

300,000 UK Public Sector Jobs Face Axe; No Sacred Cows Including Quangos; What the Hell are Quangos? (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

Not So Sweet: "[T]he [US] recovery is not likely to be as robust as we would like for several reasons." (From NY Fed President William Dudley's commencement speech at New College of Florida). (Financial Armaggedon blog)

Financial Overhaul Puts Bank Ratings at Risk (The Wall Street Journal) A look at the lobbying behind weak financial rules (The Associated Press) New financial rules might not prevent next crisis: Sweeping financial overhaul will change many rules, but loopholes could allow another crisis (The Associated Press)

The black hole at the bottom of the Gulf: No one seems to know the extent of the BP disaster (The Independent)

Amid growing outrage, Jindal appeals for help: As Louisiana officials try to rescue local wildlife, Gov. Bobby Jindal is desperately trying to protect the coastal wetlands from the onslaught of oil. NBC's Anne Thompson reports. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Anger flows as oil reaches bayou town: Irritated residents express their outrage to NBC's Michelle Kosinski as oil hits the rich estuaries of a local bay. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Salazar blasts BP as oil fallout mounts: Amid criticism that the White House is ceding too much power to BP, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rebukes the company for missing "deadline after deadline." NBC's Mike Viqueira reports. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday roundup (05-22-10)

The euro crisis is a judgment on the great lie of 'Europe': The EU is paying the price for its pursuit of 'integration' at any cost, says Christopher Booker -- "If the euro does disintegrate, as Mrs Merkel warns, the consequences would be incalculable. ... A well-known economist said wryly to me last week: 'Bring back the days of Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown. At least they had some grasp of what is going on. This lot are just totally out of their depth.'" (The Telegraph)

The European Idea lies dead, killed by the credit crunch: The crisis in the eurozone marks the end of the dream of the continent as a superpower (The Observer)

Britain beware: why the euro crisis is a problem for us too: There was more than a whiff of Schadenfreude in the air as David Cameron arrived to a red carpet and a full military honour guard on his first visit as Prime Minister to Berlin's Chancellery. -- "... the prospect of weak growth in the eurozone, Britain's largest trading partner, could have serious consequences for the economic repair job at home. Without growth, there will be little demand there for Britain's exports, just at the time when politicians and policymakers are hoping for an export-led recovery. Moreover, if the euro weakens against the pound, Britain will at least partially lose the competitive edge afforded by the depreciation of sterling." (The Telegraph)

Obama, Merkel discuss European debt fund -- "President Barack Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday..." (Reuters)

Markets on alert after bank bailout -- "FEARS of further turbulence in the financial markets mounted [Saturday] as Spain was forced to bail out one of its biggest regional banks, adding to worries about the eurozone." (The Sunday Times of London)

Italy PM says cuts necessary, promises no 'social butchery' (Agence France-Presse)

Is global deflation being overlooked? (Money Marketing)

32 States Now Officially Bankrupt: $37.8 Billion Borrowed From Treasury To Fund Unemployment; CA, MI, NY Worst (ZeroHedge blog) CA Tops List at $6.9 Billion; Bill to Extend Benefits Until DEC in Congress (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

Central Falls Rhode Island - Bankrupt - Goes Into Receivership (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

Harrisburg [PA] Authority to Miss June 1 Debt Payments (Bloomberg)

[Elliott Wave specialist Robert] Prechter: Bank Reform Will Shrink Credit and Kill the Economy (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

"Two Scoop Special": Double-Dip Recession Guaranteed by Charles Hugh Smith (Of Two Minds blog)

Cleaning oil-soaked wetlands may be impossible (The Associated Press)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday roundup (05-21-10)

Whatever Germany does, the euro as we know it is dead: Angela Merkel's ban on short-selling is just a distraction from the horror to come (The Telegraph)

How the euro might collapse (Reuters blogs) (The BBC)

The Great Depression II: On the edge of a deflationary precipice [in the UK] … (FT Alphaville) 'Perfect storm' as market tremors hit China, Europe and the US: Capitulation fever has swept global markets on triple fears of faltering recovery in the US, Chinese credit curbs and Europe's intractable escalating debt crisis. (The Telegraph)

Ferko string band - Happy days are here again (Youtube)

Public borrowing [in the UK] hits record £10bn (The Press Association)

Edinburgh Council to slash 1,200 jobs in savings drive: Every department set to be hit as council leaders unveil plan to reduce wage bill by £61 million (The Scotsman)

U.S. Jobless Rate Edges Up Despite Declines in 34 States (The Wall Street Journal)

Credit Swap Investors Increase Bets on ‘Double Dip’ Recession (Bloomberg)

U.S. Solvency Depends On Low Interest Rates: Spike in rates would push U.S. debt costs to unaffordable levels. (Forbes blog)

Why state pension funds may need a $1 trillion bailout -- "This is a problem of monumental proportion," said Rauh, an assistant professor of finance at the Kellogg School of Management. "Given that we see the same issue in many states, the total size of a federal rescue plan could exceed the seriousness of the recent economic crisis and potentially cost more than $1 trillion total." (CNN) (ZeroHedge blog) (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University)

N.J. Income Tax Collections ‘Significantly’ Short (Bloomberg)

Oily Mess along Gulf Coastline: Residents across coastal Louisiana, particularly fishermen, are outraged over British Petroleum's lagging efforts to contain leaking oil. Mark Strassmann reports from Grand Isle, La. (CBSNews)

Plaquemines Parish president: 'We can't wait anymore': Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser discusses the desperate efforts to contain the oil disaster crisis in Southeast Louisiana. NBC's Brian Williams reports. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Small Minnesota bank fails, ups year tally to 73 (Reuters) Pinehurst Bank of Saint Paul MN had a troubled assets ratio of 99.2%. (BankTracker)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday roundup (05-20-10)

Leading City [of London] experts have started raising the prospect of "Great Depression II" amid worries that the European economic crisis could trigger a deeper bout of chaos. (The Telegraph)

Europe Debt Crisis May Be as Grave as Credit Crunch, BofA Says -- "Europe’s debt crisis has an 'equal chance or greater' of becoming as serious as the credit crunch 18 months ago, according to Jeff Rosenberg, head of global credit strategy research for Bank of America Merrill Lynch." (

German Finance Minister: Markets Out of Control (The Financial Times)

Fed official: Europe's crisis poses risks to US -- "Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo, in remarks to a House subcommittee, said the timing of Europe's problems on the heels of the global financial crisis is a 'potentially serious setback.'" (The Associated Press) "'A deeper contraction in Europe associated with sharp financial dislocations would have the potential to stall the recovery of the entire global economy, and this scenario would have far more serious consequences for US trade and economic growth,' Mr Tarullo said in testimony today to Washington’s financial services subcommittees." (The Irish Times) (The Federal Reserve)

Ex-Bundesbank Chief Says Greece Will Never Repay Debt, Says Bailout All About "Rescuing Banks And Rich Greeks" (ZeroHedge blog)

Merkel Isolated After Short-Selling Ban Fails to Win Backers (Bloomberg)

Geithner to Visit England, Germany to Discuss Crisis (Bloomberg)

George Osborne Is Spooking the Markets: Britain's New Chancellor of the Exchequer's alarmist warnings about the coming fiscal pain has investors worried about his skills (Bloomberg)

The Very Bad Luck of The Irish by Peter Boone and Simon Johnson -- "With the European Central Bank announcing that it has bought more than $20 billion of mostly high-risk euro zone government debt in one week, its new strategy is crystal clear: We will take the risk from bank balance sheets and give it to the central bank, and we expect Portugal-Ireland-Italy-Greece-Spain to cut fiscal spending sharply and pull themselves out of this mess through austerity. But the bank’s head, Jean-Claude Trichet, faces a potential major issue: the task assigned to the profligate nations could be impossible. Some of these nations may be stuck in a downward debt spiral that makes greater economic decline ever more likely." (Baseline Scenario blog)

Spain approves $19bn-euro austerity plan (The BBC)

EU budget deficit cuts could harm growth - IMF chief (Reuters)

FDIC: 'Problem' Banks at 775 [10% of all US banks] (The Wall Street Journal) "its highest level since 1992" (CNN)

Heavy oil hits Louisiana shore, enters sea current -- "'This wasn't tar balls. This wasn't sheen,' Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said after a boat tour to the southernmost point of the Mississippi River estuary. 'This is heavy oil in our wetlands.'" (Reuters)

Oil spill estimates go from bad to worse: The oil washing up on the shores of Louisiana fueled more anger and outrage on Thursday as the Environmental Protection Agency warned that chemicals used to break up the oil could be causing more damage. NBC's Chief Environmental Affairs Correspondent Anne Thompson reports. (MSNBC)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

BP Faces Mounting Outrage: The oil company is accused of dishonesty and use of a toxic chemical dispersant. (ABCNews)

Low oil spill estimate could save BP millions in court, experts say
(McClatchy Newspapers) Gulf oil spill may be 19 times bigger than originally thought (McClatchy Newspapers)

What If the Oil Leak Can't Be Stopped?: As new estimates suggest much more oil is spewing into the Gulf, experts outline how broad the impact could be. -- "'I think it's time to plan for the worst,' said Matthew Simmons, former chairman of energy industry investment bank Simmons and Company. 'BP is in total denial about this...This is totally unprecedented.'" (Discovery)

Teen job wasteland: Great Depression conditions spark fear of summer trouble -- "The Bay State’s summer youth jobs picture is worse than even during the Great Depression, with only 28 percent of teens able to find a job, according to a Northeastern University study released to the Herald. 'We’ve had the greatest collapse in the teen labor market in history,' said Andrew Sum, author of the study and director of Northeastern’s Center for Labor Market Studies." (The Boston Herald)

Polaris to shutter plant in western Wis., cut 500 jobs (Minnesota Public Radio)

Dow 28,000,000: The Unbelievable Expectations of California's Pension System: Because Calpers failed to disclose pension costs and liabilities 10 years ago, taxpayers will be on the hook for hundreds of billions. (The Wall Street Journal)