Archive for July 14, 2008

Ominous Rumors

July 14, 2008

One is what I’ve been saying myself all along.

The second one is new and never occurred to me. A major American manufacturer might shut down and furlough all production employees for four months.

Since most Americans — which excludes the techmemers — are close to living from paycheck-to-paycheck (hell, over paycheck-to-paycheck, if you look at credit card debt!), missing four months of mortgage payments, utility payments, insurance payments, union dues, credit card payments, etc, would be a massive punch in the head to them and to the entire economy.

If these things come to pass, as I wrote earlier:

Get used to hearing that phrase — I never thought I would see anything like this in my life — because you’ll be hearing it over and over again. Some of you will be saying it!

Preserve your cash.

Where is your money today?

And while there is still a chance, educate yourself!

iPhone eBook Reader Stanza Available

July 14, 2008

Stanza — link launches iTunes software

It’s there. It’s free. But it might be slooooow.

If you get it, leave a Comment with your experience of it.

Previously here:

Memo To Steve Jobs: iPhone Owners READ!
Reference: Stanza eBook Reader For iPhone

Be sure to look at The eBook Test blog too.

New Listings At The eBook Test Blog

July 14, 2008

It is my intent to do ten searches across ten ebook sites each day. As it is, just doing that is a pretty grim task. But if I can stick to it, I’ll get it done.

Go to the blog to see today’s ten new listings.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #155

July 14, 2008

I already did that.

But I like the drama of that image.

Meet your future.

And where is your money today?

That alarm ringing means it’s time to educate yourself.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #154

July 14, 2008

I still believe that CitiGroup is bluffing bigly, hugely, giantly. If we saw what was behind the curtain, we’d freak.

Well, we’ve just been given a peek behind that curtain.

Citigroup’s $1.1 Trillion of Mysterious Assets Shadows Earnings

To lose the full amount, all the assumed assets would have to be written down to zero. The figure exceeds Citigroup’s market value of about $90 billion, which dropped more than $180 billion since the end of 2006.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, why shouldn’t Citi lose that trillion?

Maybe that’s the trillion that’s been talked about here and here and here and here.

And all this time we’ve imagined it would be a vast collection of firms disappearing into the quicksand.

Well no. It can be just one company!

Is that one company CitiGroup?

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #153

July 14, 2008

Venezuela’s Chavez says oil could reach $300

“If they freeze us there will be no more oil for the United States, and the price will go to $300,” Chavez said during a televised meeting with Caribbean and Central American leaders as part of an energy cooperation scheme called Petrocaribe.

Chavez also said oil prices were being influenced by a “speculative bubble”, the collapse of which could send prices as low as $70 per barrel.

Emphasis added by me.

Trust me, Chavez, if any full-scale assault is launched against Iran, we won’t have to worry about you pushing oil to $300. It will get there on its own.

A price collapse to $70/barrel? If only!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #152

July 14, 2008

Update: See this post and this post.

Update 2: Click here for the updated post.

U.S. Stocks Fall, Led by Financials; Washington Mutual Tumbles

Let’s play, Which One Will Collapse Next?

The contestants (in no particular order, alphabetical or assetical):

1) Washington Mutual Inc.
2) National City Corp.
3) Zions Bancorporation
4) SunTrust Banks Inc.
5) Comerica Inc.
6) Bank of America Corp.
7) M&T Bank Corp.
8) Wachovia Corp.

Or will there be a surprise contestant?

Tick-tock: Time to educate yourself!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #151

July 14, 2008

Analysts say more U.S. banks will fail

There are just two paragraphs in this article that say it all:

In 1994, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation listed 575 banks that it considered to be troubled. As of this spring, the agency was worried about just 90 banks. That number may go up in August, when the government releases an updated list.

Emphasis added by me.

Ah, that doesn’t sound like any kind of disaster, right?

Um, then look at this:

And yet IndyMac, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, was not on the government’s troubled bank list this spring — an indication that other troubled banks may be below the radar.

Emphasis added by me.

What else is under the radar? What else is out there waiting to explode?

Where is your money

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #150

July 14, 2008

Oh, let’s do some IndyMac, the first domino to fall, last Friday.

IndyMac borrowers line up in California to withdraw their cash

PASADENA, California (Reuters) – IndyMac Bancorp Inc customers lined up outside a branch at the company’s headquarters on Monday, hoping to withdraw their money after regulators seized what was once one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States.

Several hundred people arrived around 4 a.m., five hours before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp planned to open that branch.

Regulators seized Pasadena-based IndyMac on Friday after a bank run in which customers withdrew $1.3 billion of deposits over 11 business days, as worries about the company’s survival grew, regulators said. The bank has 33 branches in Southern California.

The FDIC said the renamed IndyMac Federal Bank will cover insured deposits, mostly up to $100,000, and initially cover 50 percent of uninsured deposits.

“I have $360,000 in this bank, and I was misled by this bank,” said Robert Clark, a Glendale resident who was waiting on line. “I gave the names of my mother, my sister and my brother on the account so I thought I would be insured. I don’t know what to do. I really don’t know what to do.”

Emphasis added by me.

I wonder how many people sensed an actual run was going on at that bank over the course of those eleven days?


John Bovenzi, the FDIC’s chief operating officer, talked with some customers and tried to reassure them as they waited for the doors to open.

“This bank is as safe and as sound as any bank in the country right now,” he told one depositor. Bovenzi added that the FDIC was “going to get as much money as we can” to compensate investors with uninsured deposits.

Emphasis added by me.

That Should Scare The Shit Out Of You.


Gerard Cassidy, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, on Sunday estimated that 300 U.S. banks might fail over the next three years because of credit losses and tight capital markets.

Emphasis added by me.

That’s 100 banks failing a year. That’s about one bank about every three and a half days. For three years.

But you know these things never happen in an orderly manner. So some weeks we could have five banks failing. Plop plop plop plop plop!

Next article:

Feds cite Schumer in collapse of IndyMac

The point, however, is awarded to Schumer, who responded:

“If OTS had done its job as regulator and not let IndyMac’s poor and loose lending practices continue, we wouldn’t be where we are today … Instead of pointing false fingers of blame, OTS should start doing its job to prevent future IndyMacs.”

Emphasis added by me.

Sounds like OTS [the Office of Thrift Supervision] was about as reliable as these guys!

Hey, give me one of these No Work jobs. I can do much No Work for pay! I’ll even volunteer to do No Work overtime, goddammit!

One more time:

Sen. Schumer defends comments on IndyMac collapse

“The regulator here was asleep at the switch,” Schumer said. “The administration is doing what they always do, blaming the fire on the person who called 9-1-1.

Ha! Good for him.

Smart Car: Coast-To-Coast Possible

July 14, 2008

6,000 Smart km from coast to coast

Whether it was the edge of the St. Lawrence south shore, the wilds of western Ontario, the windswept prairies or the rollicking Rockies, the Smart was as reliable as our driving days were long. We piled on an average three-months’ worth of mileage in a little over a week. And except for a couple of pounds of air in all four tires mid-trip, the ForTwo never missed a beat.

Very impressive.

People repeatedly state that the interior is so spacious they tend to forget they’re in a “half” car.

Previously here:

The Smart Car Cult
Badass Batman Smart Car!
Video: Smart Car
Photo Album: Smart Car In Manhattan Again!
Photo Album: Smart Car In Manhattan
Cars Of The Future: Lose Weight Or You’ll Walk!