FM newswire for 8 January, hot articles for your morning reading

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis…

  1. Guess who are “The Biggest Losers“, Wall Street Journal, 3 January 2009 — “Behind the Christmas Eve taxpayer massacre at Fannie and Freddie”
  2. Scary title, but the article provides good news (that the bad news is wrong):  “Where Are The Corpses?“, Willis Eschenbach, Watts Up with That, 4 January 2010
  3. Another conservative-slanted article by the supposedly left-wing media:  “Why Obama Defaulted to Bush Foreign Policy Positions“, TIME, 4 January 2010 — But the title is fake, as the author never explains “why”.  Stratfor came to the same conclusion here.  So much for the loony right-wing accusations that Obama is far different than Bush (at least in his foreign policy).

(4)  Ugly news, but vital to understand

I recommend special attention to this guy, as his forecast has been spot on so far:  “A Japanese Rx for the West: Keep Spending“, an interview with Richard Koo, Barron’s, 4 January 2010 — “America seems to be suffering from the same affliction that has hobbled Japan for so long — a balance-sheet recession.”  See here for more detail on his views. 

Here’s a different perspective on these things:   “National Savings at the Lowest Level Since the Depression“, Michael Mandel (former Chief Economist of BusinessWeek), 4 January 2010.  Falling savings is the other side of increasing debt.  Either way it’s bad news for America.

(5)  Today’s featured excerpt:  welcome to the new America

From “Pantybomber exposes naked bureaucracy“, Mark Steyn, 5 January 2010 :

On Christmas Day, a gentleman from Nigeria succeeded (effortlessly) in boarding a flight to Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. Pretty funny, huh? But the Pantybomber wasn’t the big joke. The real laugh was the United States government. The global hyperpower spent the next week making itself a laughingstock to the entire planet. First, the bureaucrats at the TSA swung into action with a whole new range of restrictions.

Against radical Yemen-trained Muslims wearing weaponized briefs? Of course not. That would be too obvious. So instead they imposed a slew of constraints against you. At Heathrow last week, they were permitting only one item of carry-on on U.S. flights. In Toronto, no large purses.

Um, the Pantybomber didn’t have a purse. He brought the bomb on board under his private parts, and his private parts weren’t part of his carry-on (although, if reports of injuries sustained in his failed mission are correct, they may well have been part of his carry-off). But no matter. If in doubt, blame the victim. The TSA announced that for the last hour of the flight no passenger can use the toilets or have anything on his lap – not a laptop, not a blanket, not a stewardess, not even a paperback book. I can’t wait for the first lawsuit after an infidel flight attendant confiscates a litigious imam’s Koran as they’re coming into LAX.

You’re still free to read a paperback if you’re flying from Paris to Sydney, or Stockholm to Beijing, or Kuala Lumpur to Heathrow. But not to LAX or JFK. The TSA were responding as bonehead bureaucracies do: Don’t just stand there, do something. And every time the TSA does something, you’ll have to stand there, longer and longer, suffering ever more pointless indignities.

The rest of the article is partisan drivel.

6 thoughts on “FM newswire for 8 January, hot articles for your morning reading”

  1. Great article from Richard Koo, although I note that you linked to an article (yesterday?) that mentioned that very high levels of government debt might very well limit future economic growth.

    I suppose that this is a case of choosing which particular problem you want to have (Depression vs. limited future growth). Personally, I’d prefer to undergo a limited Depression (very hard if not impossible to arrange) to knowing that I’ve already bought my future, lost it, and now have no choice but to pay for something I no longer own.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure how I’d feel about undergoing a full-blown 1929 (or worse) Depression, mortgaging my future might be worth it to avoid that.
    FM reply: Your last sentence goes to the heart of the matter. Nobody wants to try that experiment. Fear drove Japan’s response. Fear drives America’s current response. China’s too, as seen in their massive-beyond-what-anyone-dreamed-possible stimulus.

  2. Creedence Clearwater Revival — It Came Out Of The Sky lyrics

    Oh, It Came Out Of The Sky, landed just a little south of Moline.
    Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn’t b’lieve what he seen.
    Laid on the ground and shook, fearin’ for his life.
    Then he ran all the way to town screamin’ “It Came Out Of The Sky.”

    Well, a crowd gathered ’round and a scientist said it was marsh gas.
    Spiro came and made a speech about raising the Mars tax.
    The Vatican said, “Woe, the Lord has come”.
    Hollywood rushed out an epic film.
    And Ronnie the Popular said it was a communist plot.

    Oh, the newspapers came and made Jody a national hero.
    Walter and Eric said they’d put him on a network T.V. show.
    The White House said, “Put the thing in the Blue Room”.
    The Vatican said, “No, it belongs to Rome.”
    And Jody said, “It’s mine and you can have it for seventeen million.”

    Oh, It Came Out Of The Sky, landed just a little south of Moline.
    Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn’t b’lieve what he seen.
    Laid on the ground a shakin’, fearin’ for his life.
    Then he ran all the way to town screamin’ “It Came Out Of The Sky.”

  3. Burke G Sheppard

    Having given it some thought, I’ve decided that Secretary Napolitano is right. The system did work…but only if you understand what the real system is. The system is that the passengers defend the plane. If you are on a plane, and you see a man lighting himself, or anyone or anything else, on fire, you need to jump him and overpower him instantly. There are hundreds of lives at stake, yours among them. By all means, call the Department of Homeland Insecurity as soon as you land, but burning underwear boy is your problem.

    The TSA exists to provide an illusion of safety. Remember, only YOU can prevent underwear fires.

    On a serious note, I think one reason this issue freaks out the bureaucracy to the extent it does, is that it highlights the point where the actual defense of the nation falls on the shoulders of the citizenry.

  4. Some folks get badges and fancy uniforms. Some folks get handsfulls of flaming underwear. Thus be it e’er. :P

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