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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    The Telescope Turns 400

    Dutch eyeglass-maker Hans Lippershey first tried to patent the telescope in October 1608, and his invention was soon a big hit in Europe—as a tool for insider trading. Futures contracts were in vogue, and spying a cargo ship first had financial benefits. Oh, and the telescope also redefined our universe: In 1608, Earth was the center of God's perfect Creation. By 1610, Galileo showed that Jupiter had moons, Earth's moon had mountains, and the Catholic church was fallible. Four centuries on, we know we're a mere speck in a universe of wonders.

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    Oil May Fall to $50


    [...]

    Crude-oil future prices have fallen almost a third in New York since reaching a record $147.27 a barrel on July 11, driven by concerns a worsening financial crisis in the U.S. is crimping energy demand. U.S. oil use is declining faster than expected, while European consumption is falling ``rapidly,'' and OPEC production capacity is ``just about to soar,'' Merrill said.

    ``Combined, these factors represent significant short-term headwinds for both upstream and downstream companies alike,'' Merrill analysts Mark Hume and Alexis Clark said in the report. ``Notionally it is conceivable that in a worst-case scenario global oil demand actually contracts in the near-term as it did back in the 1980s post the Iranian Revolution.''

    [...]

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    Pictured: Typical Republican Voter

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    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    Mortgages Now, Credit Cards Later

    A hurricane of bad credit card debt will start crashing ashore in the United States in the first quarter of next year, even as the mortgage crisis continues, analysts at New York research firm Innovest Strategic Value Advisors warned Monday.

    “A combination of a 10-year steady drip of deteriorating personal finances and a tidal wave . . . brought on by the mortgage and credit crisis leads us to believe that credit cards are going to implode in the near term,” Gregory Larkin, Innovest's senior banking analysts said during an online seminar on the topic.

    So far, credit-card “charge-offs” – debts declared irrecoverable by card issuers – have been “defying gravity,” with losses lower than in both 2001 and 2005, Mr. Larkin said.

    But, historically, after a time lag, irrecoverable credit-card debt has followed mortgage charge-offs up or down, and U.S. mortgage charge-offs have rocketed up eight-fold since the last quarter of 2007.

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    US Econmoy Cracks From Years Of Right WIng Deregulation. Autosale Crash

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Major automakers reported plunging U.S. sales for September on Wednesday -- led by a 34 percent slide at Ford Motor Co -- as an escalating credit emergency slammed a slumping industry and raised new doubts about when the world's largest auto market would hit bottom.

    The downturn in auto sales for September coincided with a crisis on Wall Street and claimed even the auto industry's better-performing brands.

    Sales were down 24 percent at Honda Motor Co Ltd, 32 percent at Toyota Motor Corp and 37 percent at Nissan Motor Co Ltd.

    U.S. industry sales leader General Motors Corp, which was more aggressive in discounting its vehicles, managed to keep its September sales decline to a relatively small 16 percent to take a larger share of a rapidly declining market.

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    Satellite-Surveillance Program to Begin Despite Privacy Concerns

    The Department of Homeland Security will proceed with the first phase of a controversial satellite-surveillance program, even though an independent review found the department hasn't yet ensured the program will comply with privacy laws.

    Congress provided partial funding for the program in a little-debated $634 billion spending measure that will fund the government until early March. For the past year, the Bush administration had been fighting Democratic lawmakers over the spy program, known as the National Applications Office.

    [...]

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    Nasty Old Liar McCain Acts like He was born to Rule, like Chimpy

    At another point, McCain was asked if he's strayed from his "straight talk" image with advertising that some have labeled deceptive. McCain dryly responded, "It would be valuable if you gave some examples for an assertion of that nature."

    He went on to say: "I have always had 100 percent, absolute truth, that's been my life and putting my country first. I'll match that record with anyone and an assertion that I have ever done otherwise, I take strong exception to."

    As examples, a questioner at the Register noted a McCain commercial that suggested Obama favored comprehensive sex education for kindergartners and assertions by his campaign that a "lipstick on a pig" comment Obama made was a reference to Palin. News media fact-checking the sex education ad deemed it deceptive and a distortion of Obama's position.

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    What the right is really up to.

    n an example of how fragile credit markets have become, the state of Massachusetts yesterday tried to borrow $400 million to make its routine quarterly local aid payments to cities and towns. State treasury officials said the credit markets abruptly froze midday, leaving them $170 million short. The state will have to use its own funds to complete the local aid payments, draining the state's balance to extremely low levels.

    "I don't think any treasurer alive could say they've ever seen anything like this," said Timothy P. Cahill, the state's treasurer. "There have always been cash shortages, but you could always go to the market and get more. This is the first time we haven't been able to do that."

    Cahill said he believes the credit market will in effect remain shuttered today as the nation's largest lenders hold on to their cash amid uncertainty over plans for a federal bailout. In short, the House's rejection of a $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan takes Massachusetts and the rest of the US economy into territory that few policy makers and analysts wanted to explore.

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