The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 415

BofA Automated Teller Truth Machines

The Understory reported that the Rainforest Action Network transformed about 85 Bank of America ATMs in San Francisco into Automated “Truth” Machines the other day using the overlay sticker shown below, one more sign that, though still quite popular in Washington D.C., big banks are increasingly unpopular in the rest of the country.

On a related note, according to this McClatchy report, BofA and other too-big-to-fail banks have settled on their pick for President this fall – Mitt Romney. Employees at the big banks gave the Romney campaign $600,000 through September of last year, dwarfing the $200,000 sent to the bankers’ second choice – President Barack Obama – virtually ensuring that there will be little change to the status quo, big-bank-wise, until 2017 or later.

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MLK Day Morning Links

MUST READS
Euro Leaders Race to Salvage Rescue Plans – Bloomberg
European Markets Little Moved by Downgrades – NY Times
S&P’s downgrades spook Asian markets – Channel News Asia
Beleaguered France gets lift from Moody’s – Globe & Mail
Eye-catching ECB liquidity number du jour – FT Alphaville
Linde CEO says Germany should mull euro exit-paper – Reuters
As Reforms Flag in Greece, Europe Aims to Limit Damage – NY Times
Portuguese Bonds Lead Euro-Region Declines After Downgrades – Bloomberg
Analysis: Tax breaks on autopilot with little debate – Reuters
Activists Change San Francisco ATMs into Truth Machines – NBC Bay Area
Big banks have picked their candidate, and it’s Romney – McClatchy
Will printing more money solve our ills? – Telegraph
The Year of the Central Bank – Noland, Prudent Bear

MARKETS/INVESTING
Oil above $99 amid Middle East jitters – AP
Gold firms as stocks recover, euro up from lows – Reuters
Strike over Nigerian fuel subsidy ’suspended’ – BBC
On the Iranian oil embargo – EconBrowser
Why the Smart Money was So Dumb in 2011 – Time
Mutual fund industry under pressure from ETFs – Sober Look
Did China just overtake India as the world’s largest gold consumer? – Mineweb
India’s gold jewellery demand seen up 10-15% in 2012 – Reuters
Gartman: Gold to be higher in 2013 – Commodity Online
Gold and energy bull charges on – MarketWatch

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Seven principles for arguing with economists – Noahpinion
UK ‘already back in recession’, warn forecasters – Guardian
Iran bans foreign currency trading on the street – AP
Why expect S&P, Moody’s, or Fitch to know it’s junk – voxeu
India Inflation Slows to Two-Year Low as Rate Pressure Eases – Businesseeek
Is real estate overheated? The bubble discussion rages on – Financial Post
Beware a slow cascade of additional foreclosures in 2012 – philly.com
U.S. Housing market outlook is more upbeat – USA Today
How’s That Austerity Working? – Fed Watch
When Did The Fed Screw Up? – Slate
Secrets of the Fed – NY Sun

 

Stephen Colbert for President?

There is real value in good political satire (for those who recognize and appreciate it) and Stephen Colbert has been making a pretty good living at it, most recently announcing the formation of an exploratory committee for a run at the GOP presidential nomination, a move that required him to transfer his “super PAC” to Daily Show host Jon Stewart last week.

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Colbert appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos earlier today and, while providing more than a few chuckles, shed light in his own satirical way about how money in politics has entered a new and more dangerous phase following the 2010 Supreme Court decision that changed the rules for corporate political donations that, essentially, allows unlimited spending by any group that registers as a political action committee, so long as their activities are not “coordinated” with a candidate.

The Best of the Bozeman Police Reports

Culled from the Police Reports page of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle come the best of the Bozeman police reports from the last week along with some items from the Sheriff’s Office. Note that a new book featuring the very best of these police reports is now available from the Chronicle for only $10 – just click on the banner below to find out how to order.

Things appear to be livening up a little bit around here after weeks of mostly dull police reports, the first item below being a summary of this story in today’s paper that, for some reason, editors felt deserved to be a featured report. This was just one of multiple similar reports last week, a category that hasn’t really been noticed in the year or so since these police reports have became regular Saturday fare here. And remember, driving with your lights off at 2 AM is one of the surest ways to get pulled over for drunk driving.

  • A Big Sky woman was accused of slipping out of handcuffs while riding in the back of a patrol car, pulling down her pants and urinating. The woman was arrested in Big Sky for aggravated drunken driving around 4 a.m. Friday and, before being taken  to Gallatin County jail (about 40 miles away), was allowed to use the restroom at the Big Sky Fire Station. But while traveling on U.S. Highway 191 near Deer Creek, she was able to remove her handcuffs, unbuckle her seat belt, pull her pants down, and then urinated in the back of the squad car.
  • Police warned two men on East Main Street around 2:30 a.m. for being disorderly “as they were having a heated discussion about the end of the world.”
  • A yellow Nissan truck that says “pooper man” on the side has been parked near East Curtiss Street and South Wallace Avenue for three months.
  • A teenage boy was seen urinating under an apple tree in a North Eighth Avenue woman’s yard at 12:46 p.m.
  • A slender man with black goggles was walking toward the library when he gave a woman a weird feeling.

(more…)

Bulk REO Sales a Hot New Topic in 2012

The idea of selling foreclosed properties in bulk seems to be gaining lots of interest in both New York and Washington, at least  according to this story at CNBC, and Rick Sharga (formerly of Realty Trac, but now venturing out on his own) talks about how he has a half billion dollars in investor money looking for a good deal.

It’s hard not to conclude that any new efforts to aid the nation’s housing market this year will be about as successful as the ones already taken since the housing bubble burst a half-decade ago, but that probably won’t stop them from trying.

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