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Bits and Pieces 7-27
Posted by: Lance on Sunday, July 27, 2008

Over at Byron 1776 a viable third party approach is proposed.

Global Warming and an economic renaissance in Greenland. I like Glenn Reynolds observation though:
Divine Providence is unveiling these resources just as we need them the most! Though if you're really looking for miracles, the Greenlanders' desire to live without subsidies from Danish taxpayers should probably take top billing . . . .
Many here think that global warming, at least anthropogenic global warming, is a fraud. I am not so sure. Either way though, I think Peter Huber has the broad contours of any attempt to address it correct.
So does the climate computer have a real audience, or is it really just another bag lady muttering away to herself in a lonely corner of the intellectual park? That the computer is heard in Hollywood, Stockholm, Brussels and even some parts of Washington is quite beside the point—they have far less global power and influence than they vainly imagine. Vinod Dar is right: "Contingency planning should entail strategic responses to a warming globe, a cooling globe and a globe whose climate reverberates with laughter at human hubris."
Given that, Jeffrey Carter says we need more speculators, not less if we want oil markets to function.

Well if not speculators, how about making compound interest a sin again? Or not.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, we have succeeded in handing power to Muqtada and the extremist militias...maybe not so much.

Obama makes his first effort at diplomacy with the Palestinians. The response:
F- - - Washington, f- - - Obama and f- - - you.
I feel encouraged, how about you?

Panels are great ways to work on issues, like this event for the media:
Still, Obama received a standing ovation from many in the audience at the start and end of his appearance. There was also a rush toward the stage after his speech, as Obama shook hands and signed autographs.

One journalist was also overheard wishing him luck, while another squealed, "He touched me!" as she left the ballroom.

Before Obama arrived, a panel discussed the question of journalistic objectivity, including whether journalists should clap for politicians when they appear.
Some in Europe were less impressed:
Onlookers chanted: “Oba-ma! Oba-ma! Oba-ma!” But in truth, the prophet underwhelmed. As he implied, he is neither genius nor idiot, just an everyday global saviour.
Oh well, I guess defenders of the media just need to "keep on believing."

Maybe Obama Mania can rub off on Gordon Brown, because Guy Herbert describes a historic Labour meltdown in progress.

The John Edwards story hasn't been deemed important enough for the major media here in the US, but it did make The Sunday Times in England, where they noted:
The New York Times has not deigned to touch the story, although it recently ran thousands of words on a relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist, which appeared to be based more on innuendo than fact.
Well, that is because..uh...Let's all just forget about the past, hunh?

Lee Stranahan tries to break the progressive side of the blogosphere's code of silence:
Seems like I've touched a third rail here. I cross-posted this piece at Daily Kos and it got over 400 comments. Unfortunately, a large number of the comments were nothing but insults. One person suggested seriously that all the videos I've made lampooning Republicans (including my Mike Huckabee video that Kos himself called the 'best political parody of 2007) were just a ruse so I could weasel my way into the progressive blogosphere, apparently in anticipation of John Edwards being caught at hotel.
Well, you know Lee, they are all about tolerance.

Peter Jackson hits the right note on the passing of Randy Pausch.

Former Fed Governor Bill Poole still wants to put an end to Fannie and Freddie:
Whatever the amount of the bailout, even if “only” $25 billion, the real question is not immediate survival of the loan giants but their long-term future. Instead of being regarded as too big to fail, we should look at them as too big to liquidate quickly.
Former Treasury Secretary John Snow takes his bat to the GSE's as well. I only have an issue with his claim that they copied hedge funds. Hedge funds as a whole have never used leverage on the scale of banks, investment banks or most egregiously of all, the GSE's.

Oh well, they'll probably skate through despite having liabilities that are barely more in Fannie's case, and less than in Freddie's, their assets. The situation is getting better. Just take the latest data:
Foreclosure activity jumped nearly 14 per cent in the second quarter - and rose 121 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.
Oh, wait...

Well, at least housing values are stabilizing, meaning fewer homeowners will be tempted to walk away. The ratings agencies are fine tuning their models to allow us a better look at what is going to happen. The result?
Fitch said in its report that it is expecting home prices to decline by an average of 25 percent in real terms at the national level over the next five years, starting from the second quarter of 2008.

And that’s the base case scenario.
Huh, that doesn't help at all. I am sure they will be fine anyway. We are only talking about a few percentage points of their portfolio at worst, right? Lets see, 4% levered up at 40 to 1 equals losing 160% of the value of their portfolio. ... I suggest we just move along to the next topic.

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