Thursday, June 30, 2005
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The banking sector's biggest problem is asset quality--not surprising, given its historical relationship with state-owned enterprises. The official aggregate nonperforming loan ratio is now below 20%, but many analysts estimate that the true level exceeds 40%. To put the size of the problem in perspective, Standard & Poor's estimates that the full cost of writing off these loans could be $656 billion, or about 43% of forecasted 2004 GDP. Given the government's ownership, this has become a huge fiscal issue. Last January, the government recapitalized two of the healthier "Big 4" banks, China Construction Bank and Bank of China, injecting $22.5 billion into each institution and enabling them to write down bad loans; however, as I said, many have questioned the accuracy of reported asset quality improvement.Just how much in reserves does China hold? $700 billion? But, Brad Setser advises: beware of currency mismatch (scroll through all the comments) between assets (foreign exchange reserves) and liabilities (remnibi bank deposits).Calling Cards
"The reality is, you do not need home prices to go down -- all you need is for housing prices to stop going up," said David Rosenberg, chief North American economist for Merrill Lynch. He calculates a flattening of housing prices could trim U.S. economic growth, currently running about 3.5 percent a year, by a full percentage point.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Bubble after bubble has since percolated to the surface during this period of extraordinary monetary accommodation -- especially in a multitude of fixed income products (i.e., Treasuries, investment-grade corporates, high-yield bonds, emerging market debt, and a host of credit instruments). With overnight money basically free in real terms, the "carry trade" was a no-brainer -- investors and speculators alike could pocket the spread anywhere on the yield curve. This created an artificial demand for fixed income securities that was quick to take on bubble-like implications of its own.
The welfare economics of music do not resemble those of bread or buttons. Right now we do not even know whether music is being oversupplied or undersupplied, relative to an optimum. Beware of any analysis of this case which does not consider these deeper underlying issues.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Even more interesting, developers are trying to slow the speculative tide (Why? Who knows...):
he lenders' caution coincides with some developers trying to cut down on speculative buying as well. For example, in Las Vegas, Arizona, California, and Florida, KB Home, one of the largest US home builders, is now inserting language into buyers' agreements that states the buyer must live in the home for one year and it must be their primary residence.Drug tests
"There is a difference when someone comes in to buy and sell: They don't take care of the property the same way as a primary owner does," says Daniel Weidman, a spokesman.
In fact, Mr. Lyles the Starpointe developer, says he really dislikes it when multiple out-of-town buyers purchase one of his units and then lease it out to different people every weekend. "There is a new rock 'n' roll band every week that the permanent owners have to live with," he says.
Lyles says his firm can usually weed out investors during the qualification process. "If you look at their assets and they already own eight other condos, you know," he says.
Ooh. Gee. I hope they get to the bottom of this one. Here's a hint: a bunch of people within certain political boundaries are purchasing goods and services from a bunch of people in another political territory.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Authorities believe Ojeda, who could face life in prison, controlled the drug trade of Latino street gangs in Orange County by using violence and coercion to keep them in line, while forcing them to pay the Mexican Mafia a percentage of their profits. Through Santa Ana city jailers, Ojeda declined a Times request for an interview.Sidenote: I still think several cities should be "kicked out" of Orange County. Santa Ana is one of them. house review
Hey, Porter, have you heard of Afghanistan or Iraq? I guess what you meant to say is you can't invade sovereign states that have enough weapons to fire back, right?
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Also, and not to say that I have anything to with this, but did you know jumpers take leaps off buildings in downtown LA during the night? Be sure not to mention to a jumper that your friend works in a building on South Fig (for building access purposes). Whip Guide
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Before us are millions of armed men, ever more and more efficiently armed and trained for more and more rapid slaughter. We know that these millions of people have no wish to kill their fellows and for the most part do not even know why they are forced to do that repulsive work, and that they are weary of their position of subjection and compulsion; we know that the murders committed from time to time by these men are committed by order of the governments; and we know that the existence of the governments depends on the armies.http://www.jesusradicals.com/library/tolstoy/last.html
Can we then who desire the abolition of war, find nothing more conducive to our aim than to propose to the governments which exist only by the aid of armies and consequently by war - measures which would destroy war? Are we to propose to the governments that they should destroy themselves?
The governments will listen willingly to any speeches of that kind, knowing that such discussions will neither destroy war nor undermine their own power, but will only conceal yet more effectively what must be concealed if wars and armies and themselves in control of armies are to continue to exist.
'But', I shall be told, 'this is anarchism; people never have lived without governments and States, and therefore governments and States and military forces defending them are necessary for the existence of nations.'
But leaving aside the question of whether the life of Christian and other nations is possible without armies and wars to defend their governments and States, or even supposing it to be necessary for their welfare that they should slavishly submit to institutions called governments (consisting of people they do not personally know), and that it is necessary to yield up the produce of their labor to these institutions and fulfill all their demands - including the murder of their neighbors - granting them all that, there yet remains in our world an unsolved difficulty.
This difficulty lies in the impossibility of making the Christian faith (which those who form the governments profess with particular emphasis) accord with armies composed of Christians trained to slay. However much you may pervert the Christian teaching, however much you may hide its main principles, its fundamental teaching is the love of God and one's neighbor; of God - that is the highest perfection of virtue, and of one's neighbor - that is all men without distinction. And therefore it would seem inevitable that we must repudiate one of the two, either Christianity is love of God and one's neighbor, or the State with its armies and wars.
Perhaps Christianity may be obsolete, and when choosing between the two - Christianity and love of the State and murder - the people of our time will conclude that the existence of the State and murder is more important than Christianity, we must forgo Christianity and retain only what is important: the State and murder.
That may be so - at least people may think and feel so. But in that case they should say so! They should openly admit that people in our time have ceased to believe in what the collective wisdom of mankind has said, and what is said by the Law of God they profess: have ceased to believe in what is written indelibly on the heart of each man, and must now believe only in what is ordered by various people who by accident or birth have happened to become emperors and kings, or by various intrigues and elections have become presidents or members of senates and parliaments - even if those orders include murder. That is what they ought to say!
But it is impossible to say it; and yet one of these two things has to be said. If it is admitted that Christianity forbids murder, both armies and governments become impossible. And if it is admitted that government acknowledges the lawfulness of murder and denies Christianity, no one will wish to obey a government that exists merely by its power to kill. And besides, if murder is allowed in war it must be still more allowable when a people seek its rights in a revolution. And therefore the governments, being unable to say either one thing or the other, are anxious to hid from their subjects the necessity of solving the dilemma.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Saturday, June 11, 2005
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