"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Jackal with the soft underbelly

The taxonomy of UK Military vehicles is a fascinating field for study but which requires some considerable care and caution as the military mind, whilst given to an obsession with detail and order can suprise any sleepy sub-editor.

Therefore when Royal Marines , Robert McKibben and Neil Dunstan who were part of Task Force Helmand's Information Exploitation Group were reported to have died in their new in a new £600,000 Jackal mine-resistant armoured car (Daily Mail) after a hit from a roadside bomb in Garmsir district of Southern Helmand, Afghanistan, on Wednesday afternoon , the normally well informed technical section of our military staff were non-plussed. (MOD report)

This follows the death of 21 year old Trooper James "Magpie" Munday, of 1 Troop, D Squadron, the Household Cavalry Regiment, on Wednesday 15 October 2008 who was serving as a Jackal driver on Operation HERRICK 8 when he was killed in action in Helmand province. His Troop was conducting a routine patrol approximately 23km north of Forward Operating Base Delhi when he was killed by a contact explosion. (MOD report)

The "Jackal" first saw life as a military vehicle when on Monday 25th June the MOD announced that under an Urgent Operational Requirement for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan , (which as Lord patel's old batman pointed out they don't hand out with the rations.Sir.) 130 new new MWMIK 's , (Mobility Weapon Mounted Installation Kit) will begin deploying out to operational theatres "early in 2008", Lord Drayson, Minister of State for explaining shortages, overunning costs, and delays in Defence Equipment and Support, said:

"These vehicles are well armed, swift, and agile and will boost our capability with some serious firepower. MOD and the Treasury have worked hard to get these powerful vehicles to our troops in quick time, and they will start going out to theatre early next year." see Saturday, June 30, 2007 WMIK - Patrolling Afghanistan in a convertible

Then in September they announced the purchase again ..Wednesday, September 05, 2007 MOD announce ordering 130 MWMIK air cooled 6 x 6 Supercats at £250,000 each for Afghanistan next year - AGAIN

Sharp eyed readers may note the absence of protection of the crew - all handily placed immediately over the axles, where if contact is made with a mine they can expect the maximum explosive force.

The vehicle was based on 6x6 wheel drive design from Supacat Ltd from Honiton in Devon, with a claimed top speed of 80 mph. Universal Engineering Ltd manufacture the steel framed chassis, Cummings the engine, and Allison the transmission.

Sharp eyed observers might also notice that any mine protection is - if present, fairly minimal.

Quite when the name Jackal was applied to this hybrid vehicle - when the Mail on Sunday introduced it in September 2007 it was "80mph "Mad Max" monster targeting the Taliban"

Looks like it is becoming a soft target for Taliban ... as we said at the time ... Patrolling Afghanistan in a convertible .. not forgetting Friday, January 27, 2006 Reid sends ill equipped troops to certain deaths in S Afghanistan

Forget TARP .. just spread a little money around...

You have to admire the remarkable combination of chutzpah and financial legerdermain of US Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. AKA Hank the Bank, on the remarks he made during his press conference reviewing ...his er.... "Financial Rescue Package "

First he sends a 3 page bill for US$700 very, very, very , very big ones to Congress without any detail of how he was going to spend it.... but we were assured that this was a Troubled Asset Relief Program which became abbreviated to TARP.

As credit markets froze in mid-September, the Administration asked Congress for broad tools and flexibility to rescue the financial system. We asked for $700 billion to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions. At the time, we believed that would be the most effective means of getting credit flowing again.
From this clear mandate to buy up the so called toxic debts .. it is / was but a small Paulsenian step to ....

It was clear to me by the time the bill was signed on October 3rd that we needed to act quickly and forcefully, and that purchasing troubled assets – our initial focus – would take time to implement and would not be sufficient given the severity of the problem. In consultation with the Federal Reserve, I determined that the most timely, effective step to improve credit market conditions was to strengthen bank balance sheets quickly through direct purchases of equity in banks.
Nor was he slow to show how fast he had been in distributing this tax payer largess to the failed banks on Wall Street - many his old friends and cronies, when he was the world's highest paid banker..

We announced a plan on October 14th to purchase up to $250 billion in preferred stock in federally regulated banks and thrifts. By October 26th we had $115 billion out the door to eight large institutions. In Washington that is a land-speed record from announcing a program to getting funds out the door
Fear not anxious tax payer, your Secretary has not forgotten his other friends...

Since announcing the Capital Purchase Program, we have been examining a wide range of ideas that can further strengthen the financial system .... we must continue to stand ready to prevent systemic failures. That is the basis for Monday's action to purchase preferred shares in AIG
Which is a simple way of explaining how AIG have somehow managed to hoover up, burn their way through US$ 155 Bn .. and it seems will soon be back for more ...."Too big to fail "

But there is more ..

First, we are designing further strategies for building capital in financial institutions. Stronger capital positions will enable financial institutions to better manage the illiquid assets on their books and better ensure that they remain healthy.

Second, we are examining strategies to support consumer access to credit outside the banking system.
..and we haven't even got round to shelling out billions to keep the Detroit rust bucket belt in the luxuries which we can afford.

The result of all this ? Well Reuters reports today ..."Short-term interbank lending rates have risen over the past two days because "there has been a change of sentiment since the latest rewrite of the Treasury's asset rescue program," said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP, in Jersey City, New Jersey."

Three-month dollar London interbank offered rates rose more than 8 basis points to 2.23625 % , the biggest rise since Oct. 10. Thursday's increase broke a streak of 23 consecutive declines.

The gap between 3 month dollar Libor over T-bill yields, the so-called TED spread, widened slightly to over 200 basis points.

The ECB said on Friday that overnight deposits rose, as banks continued to hoard rather than lend cash. Banks deposited 127.566 billion euros at the ECB, up from 103.318 billion the previous day.

Just to round off a week of exciting news US Retail sales fell by 2.8pc in October – the biggest drop since records began – and the fourth consecutive monthly fall.

Mr Paulsen is 63.

Bibi snaffles 'bama's best ideas

Blue State Digital had a big role to play in designing the Obama website and have now produced the transition website change.gov . Already on the website you can share your “American Moment,” a story from the campaign trail about what this election means to you.

However if you are Benjamin Netanyahu, you can share Obama's Web site design for his campaign for your forthcoming Israeli presidency.

“Imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” says Ron Dermer, a campaign adviser to 'Bibi' Netanyahu. “We’re all in the same business, so we took a close look at a guy who has been the most successful and tried to learn from him. And while we will not use the word ‘change’ in the same way in our campaign, we believe Netanyahu is the real candidate of change for Israel.” (gulp)

Sani Sanilevich, is Bibi's manager of his Internet campaign and is quoted ...“The main advantage of the Internet is the ability to communicate with citizens and people directly,” he said. “You can actually hear them and get them involved in this campaign. The whole idea is, together we can succeed.”

Hmmmm .... “Together we can succeed” .. which is Bibi's campaign slogan sounds a lot like “Yes we can.”

There is an excellent analysis of the Obama web campaign , which developed from Howard Dean's pitch for the Democratic nomination in 2004 in the FT, Hot-button election: How the internet drives the US campaign By and Thursday September 11 th 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tina Fey is not a Bond girl but she has a very special agent

The New York Post reported on October 1st that a publisher had offered US$5 Mn. to Sarah Palin's doppleganger , comedy star, Tina Fey, to write a book of non-fiction humour and other bidders drove the alleged advance up to US$6.Tina is married to Jeff Richmond, a Second City director

Her agents are the Endeavor Talent Agency formed when a group of four agents left International Creative Mangement (ICM) in 1995: Ari Emanuel, David Greenblatt, Rick Rosen and Tom Strickler

The person who handles her literary work is the much reviled Richard Abate, who left ICM to head up the East Coast operations of Endeavor (152 W 57th St., 25th Floor, New York, NY 10019) - which resulted in a law suit from ICM (which they lost) - revealing that on January 30th 2007 Abate flew out to Los Angeles to met the president of Endeavor, Ari Emanuel whilst still their employee.

Subsequently a U.S. District Court judge refused to grant ICM's request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented Richard Abate from leaving the agency to start a literary division at rival Endeavor (along with 48 of his 50 clients) until his contract expired at end 2007. His evasiveness and porous memeory however failed to impress Judge Leisure ; "Your lack of memory on things transpiring only 30 to 60 days ago surprises me," Leisure said, "and you're not making a good impression on the court."

Richard Abate has also negotiated one of a promised slew of post election navel gazing books. He acted for Anne Kornblut, who covered the presidential election for The Washington Post and will soon be reporting for the paper on the Obama White House, her book will have the positive title - Rejection: Why America Isn't Ready for A Woman President for the Crown imprint of Random House - for an advance said to be in mid 6 figures US$'s.

Chairman of Endeavor is Ari Emanuel, bro of Obama's puppet meister Rahm Emanuel , and another son of Irgun.

Is Shrillary going to get that 3. am call ?

The question that everyone wants an answer to - is the Democrat Party / President / AIPAC ready to give Shrillary a job ? - NYT Obama’s Talk With Clinton Starts Buzz ... Mrs. Clinton, as a former first lady, has Secret Service protection and travels in a government S.U.V...... by early evening a small motorcade of black sport utility vehicles emerged from the garage of the downtown Chicago building where Mr. Obama has his transition office, just minutes before Mr. Obama’s own motorcade left it. "

"One potential downside for Mrs. Clinton taking a top job in the cabinet: she would presumably have to disclose much more about Mr. Clinton’s earnings, especially from foreign sources, and donors to his presidential library than they have been willing to disclose so far."

Lawyers start to sue Baxter over tainted heparin supplies

Regular readers will be aware of regular posts on the effect of deliberate substitution of oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, or OSCS--that is derived from animal cartilage -- in supplies of heparin -- derived from pig intestines -- in China which first showed up in deaths and illness in users of Baxters heparin in the US during twice weekly kidney dialyisis sessions earlier this year. (see Wednesday, February 13, 2008 Baxter Healthcare Heparin crisis grows - active ingredient traced to Chinese production plant that was not inspected by the FDA )

This week's Time magazine has helpful update detailing some of the personal tragedies this has caused - Heparin's Deadly Side Effects By Bill Powell/Shanghai Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008

The article claims that (as many have suspected) that OSCS's key benfit is -- as a Baxter spokeswoman is quoted by Time, a "virtual mimic of heparin" in most tests and, according to a congressional investigator, costs only $20 per kg, vs. $2,000 for crude heparin. The suppliers, investigators believe, colluded to substitute OSCS in the crude heparin they passed along for the standard price and pocketed the $1,980 difference for each kilogram they sold.

Naturally in the land of the lawyers , plaintiff attorneys have filed 60 suits to date against Baxter and their Chinese based heparin suppliers, Scientific Protein Laboratories LLC (SPL), in federal courts. (Pic of Changzou SPL factory outside Shanghai)

SPL CEO Strunce can claim his company's heparin met Chinese standards, but that's probably a meaningless defense in a U.S. trial. For American drug companies using sources in China, quality control is not just China's problem--it's also their problem.

It is of interest that Waunakee, Wis., based SPL was started in 1976 by Oscar Meyer (now part of Kraft Foods) , top hot dog merchants throughout the USA. SPL have no connection now and are an independent company - " As a truly independent company, SPL is extremely nimble, entrepreneurial and customer-focused .... While we retain the levels of quality and compliance from our “Big-Pharma” roots.." (website)

Time points out that the gruesome connection is that half the world's pigs are to be found in China and Oscar Meyer handles a lot of them and so set up the company to manufacture and trade the many proteins used in the world wide pharmaceutical industry.

Thos interested in the further story of how Baxter's competitors in the USA , APP was taken over by dailysis speciaists Fresenius (FREG_p.DE: Quote) and the fascinating career of their fascinating Chinese born founder Patrick Soon Shong - Wednesday, July 09, 2008 who is till busy counting the US$3 Bn. he collected on selling out. Heparin -another chapter in the tale APP taken over by Fresenius - Patrick Soon Shong trousers US$3 Billion

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Puritan Gift - the rise and the role of Wall Street, MBA's and Accountants in the post war decline and export of US manufacturing industy

THE PURITAN GIFT Triumph, Collapse and Revival of an American Dream by Kenneth Hopper & William Hopper I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2007 Website Amazon

THE PURITAN GIFT traces the origins and characteristics of an American managerial culture which, over the course of three centuries, turned a handful of small colonies into the greatest economic and political power on earth. It argues that the energy, social mobility, competitiveness and capacity for innovation, all of which lie at the heart of that culture, have their origins in the discipline and ethos of America’s first wave of European immigrants: the Puritans.

Essential reading for the fall and rise of post WWII US manufacturing industry the malign rise of Management Schools and their graduates and the role of accountnats and the relentless demnds for increased quaterly returns being reported to support an ever rising share price and ultimately the reliance not on shareholders funds but funds from banks.

On November 4, 2008, Peter Day of BBC Global Business interviewed Kenneth and William about THE PURITAN GIFT. Visit Day's Global Business page and click on "Listen (23 mins)".

Short video describing the book

The cavity magnetron was invented in November 1939 by two British scientists, Drs Randall and Boot, working at Birmingham (UK) University under Professor Mark Oliphant. There was a need then for shorter-wavelength, higher-frequency oscillators for more accurate radar detection of planes, U-boats, etc, at frequencies that existing glass-valve oscillators couldn't generate. Randall and Boot (aged 22 at the time) came up with the idea of a "cavity magnetron" that produced high-power centimetric radar.

Early in 1940 Sir Henry Tizard suggested to Winston Churchill that Britain should disclose its scientific secrets on military matters to the USA and Canada in exchange for desperately needed assistance in technology and production. Tizard was Rector of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and had been chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Survey of Air Defence since its formation in 1935; this committee had been largely responsible for starting and promoting the work on radar in the UK. In 1939 Tizard was the chief scientific advisor to the Air Ministry and was a central figure in organizing science for the British war effort. The proposal for an exchange of information with the USA and Canada was the subject of intense debate after Churchill became prime minister in May 1940. The resulting maneuvers, both bureau-cratic and political, at this highly critical time just after the fall of France now appear quite extraordinarily short sighted. This sorry situation is well described in Zimmerman’s book Top Secret Exchange.

Churchill gave final approval on August 9th for a mission headed by Tizard to go to Canada and the USA.

James P. Baxter, the official U.S. historian of scientific developments in WW II, said of the first cavity magnetron brought from the UK to North America :

When the members of the Tizard Mission brought one toAmerica in 1940, they carried the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores. It sparked the whole development of microwave radar and constituted the most important item in reverse Lend-Lease.

The Hoppers give this as an example of the skills of US industry in adopting ideas and revving up manufacturing ...The outstanding performance of the magnetron disclosed by the Tizard Mission in September 1940 persuaded the Americans of the need for a major laboratory to develop microwave radar. The result was the immediate establishment of the Radiation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA., which became the major US radar laboratory.

So successful was the programme at the Radiation Laboratory that the first experimental airborne 10cm radar was tested in a Douglas B18, with Bowen on board, on 27 March 1941, only seven months after the Tizard Mission had arrived in the USA. Their first 10cm AI (SCR720), accompanied by Bowen, was demonstrated in the UK in August 1941 and later became known as AI Mk IX.

In the course of the next year the Radiation Laboratory grew in size and soon became the most important and productive radar laboratory in the USA; by the end of the war the staff numbered about 4,000.

The Tizard Mission, was highly successful. It drew the attention of the Americans to the importance of radar as a weapon of war, introduced them to airborne radar, accelerated the development of centimetre-wave radar by giving them the cavity magnetron and helped them to set up the highly successful Radiation Laboratory.

Coins in his pocket

The major problem the UK had in ming their cavity magnetrons was in making the multiple chambered device central to the valve - it was for this reason that help was sought from the US and Canadian allies. An engineer drafted in to the meetings, had a habit of shuffling coins from his pocket from one hand to the other.

He realised that carefully designed and engineered slices woul enable rapid and precise fabrication. A secret they failed to share initially with their allies.

The Germans first discovered the multi-cavity magnetron on February 2nd, 1943, when
a British Pathfinder bomber on a raid on Cologne was shot down near Rotterdam, the plane containing an H2S airborne radar using a 10 cm wavelength magnetron (type CV 76).

The explosive charge, designed to destroy the radar set when the plane crashed, failed to explode.

The Germans were astonished at this microwave radar and very rapidly made Chinese style copies of the magnetron (even as far as copying the type number). Later in 1944
an H2X radar was captured from a crashed American bomber and the 3 cm wavelength magnetron was copied and was in production by early 1945.

Aerial bombing campaign continues unabated... nothing changes

With complete command and control of the skies over Afghanistan and what used to be called Iraq the US and allied Air Forces maintained their stauration bombing... detailed at Air Force Link November 11th when we remember the dead of 2 World Wars.

In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer and an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle dropped a guided bomb unit-31 and GBU-38s onto anti-Afghan forces who were firing rocket- propelled grenades at coalition forces conducting operations in the vicinity of Shkin (4 miles from the Pakistan boarder at an elevation of 7800ft see map) . The missions were confirmed a success (as ever) by an on-scene joint terminal attack controller.

This brings to mind an incident on April 9, 2003 when the USAF killed 11 civilians and wounded one. A coalition bomb hit a home after an Afghan militia checkpoint came under attack in Shkin on the Pakistani border. Four militiamen were wounded in the attack. A quick reaction force from Coalition Task Force 82 responded to the attack on the checkpoint, said officials. The checkpoint is very near the firebase in Shkin and about a mile and a half from the border. The force spotted two groups of five to 10 enemy and chased them toward the border. The force requested air support, and Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers responded. One Harrier engaged the enemy with cannon fire and the other dropped a 1,000-pound laser-guided bomb. That bomb missed the intended target and struck the house.

In total, 62 close-air-support missions were flown in support of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.

Total failure to control Prison drug trade in Wandsworth ..and probably in all prisons

Spyblog identifies the continuing problems of drugs in our largest prison and the failure to tackle to import and usage of mobilephones which sustains the prison drug trade. 2007 - 2008 Independent Monitoring Board annual report for Wandsworth prison

Section 10.5 Access to Drugs

1. Drugs continue to be widely available within the prison. This is supported by the high level of positive MDT’s. As of June 07 this was 12%.

2. Increased drug availability is fuelling bullying, intimidation, prisoner debts and a gang culture.

3. Mobile phone usage is increasing as demonstrated by the number of phones being found.

In their comments on the current position they reveal ...

Phones are not just used to drive the drugs trade in Wandsworth. We have seen a phone seized by Security which had the most graphic and violent images taken in another prison, including forced sex and stabbings. With the possession of mobile phones within prisons now being a criminal offence we look forward to the Police taking a more active role in arresting and charging those found with mobile phones in prison. We had very high hopes last year that the BOSS (Bodily Orifice Security Scanner) chair would be used to try and detect more phones being brought in by prisoners. Unfortunately it has hardly been used at all.
"BOSS is a unique, fast, non-intrusive, inexpensive, high sensitivity detector designed to etect metal objects hidden in body cavities. It is commonly used in corrections facilities to scan inmates for weapons and contraband objects hidden in anal, vaginal, oral and nasal cavities. At some sites visitors are also screened.Suggested Retail: US$8275.00 (website)see pic

It is evident that there is no serious attempt to control the prison drug culture, nor to attack the problem of corrupt prison staff or block the usage of mobile phones nor track their usage by readily available technology such as Path Intelligence , who supply FootPath™, that provides retailers an automated measurement technology that can continuously monitor the path that your shoppers or passengers take from their mobile phone signal.

They can of course listen to MP's interviewing their constituents....REPORT ON TWO VISITS BY SADIQ KHAN MP TO BABAR AHMAD AT HM PRISON WOODHILL , REPORT OF INVESTIGATION BY THE RT HON SIR CHRISTOPHER ROSE, CHIEF SURVEILLANCE COMMISSIONER, February 2008. ..." The conversations between Mr Khan and Babar Ahmad on 21 May 2005 and 24 June 2006 were monitored. The monitoring was carried out lawfully under the legislation. It was properly authorised and fully documented."

Here's one we found earlier

Top TV academic Laurie Taylor on BBC 4's "Reading Aloud" just now, established how liberal his editor is, by reading an e-mail from a listener raving about BBC bias on the reporting of the US election and the uncritical acceptance of the saintly nature of Barack Obama and family and their putative dog.

Naturally the writer, labouring over his spittle flecked keyboard predicted (incorrectly) that his ourtrage would not be broadcast ....

Possibly because, so blinded with unfocussed bile and hate his brain ran ahead of his fingers and he managed to produce the word pariahtors to describe the capitalist scum who own the world's Press and TV.

Someone out there may have the mot juste to describe such serenditpitous neologisms - surely lexicographers have manufactured the appropriate collective noun ?

These are of course a distinct species from the Freudian slip - a word that was sought but replaced by a mother.

The Guardian's Simon Hoggart was not unknown to entertain with such witty and inventive wordplay - a career gone into decline since he discovered that he was sharing la Quinn's pudendal playground with the loathsome David Blunkett. No doubt he spends too much time laving his loins with powerful antiseptics and his lily white and sensitive hands are too sensitive to pound his portable.

It is worth noticing that in the debate over ending lifetime tenencies for council house it is revealed today that heartless cuckold Blunkett's Sheffield has the longest council house waiting list in the country. Some 87,773 households are waiting for a home – equivalent to 39.7 % of the city.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nudge,nudge...wink, wanker - behavioural economics

This smug looking well fed, grey haired white man and chosen advisor to President elect Obama is Richard H. Thaler (b. 12th Sept 1945)he is is the theorist behind the juvenile concepts pushed in the dreamy eyries of academe called behavioral economics / finance. He has promoted these insane nostrum along with Daniel Kahneman and is is coauthor, with Cass R. Sunstein, of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008).

Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for hemselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice.

Amazon review - 'This book is terrific. It will change the way you think, not only about the world around you and some of its bigger problems, but also about yourself.' --Michael Lewis author of The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game and Liar's Poker

Thaler started out at Case Western Reserve University in 1967 with a BA . At the University of Rochester, he received his M.S. in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Economics in 1974.

Floating in the world of movers and shaklers at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, he must have bumped into Obama . He is an associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His academic record is impresive but seems l to lack ony business experience of any value. He has previously taught at Cornell University and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Thaler presides as an in-house expert who regularly consults with Barack Obama's top economic advisor for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, Austan Goolsbee .

Thaler has also organized a series of behavioral finance seminars along with Robert Shiller, another behavioral finance expert over at Yale School of Management.

Thaler gained some attention in the field of economics for publishing a regular column in the Journal of Economic Perspectives from 1987 to 1990 titled Anomalies, in which he documented individual instances of economic behavior that seemed to violate traditional microeconomic theory.

Thaler also is the founder of an asset management firm that enables a select group of investors to capitalize on cognitive biases such as the endowment effect, loss aversion and status quo bias.(Fuller & Thaler Asset Management, Inc. is an institutional investment firm managing approximately $1.5 billion* in long-only and long/short equity assets. Founded in 1993, the firm is 100% controlled by key professionals. We are headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area. )

Thaler has also written a number of books intended for a lay reader on the subject of behavioral finance, including Quasi-rational Economics and The Winner's Curse, the latter of which contains many of his Anomalies columns revised and adapted for a popular audience.

In one of his most recent papers together with three Dutch economists Thaler has analyzed the choices of contestants appearing in the popular TV game show Deal or No Deal and found support for behavioralists' claims of path-dependent risk attitudes.

Basically his crass belief is that economic behaviour can be "nudged" not necessarily by stock pickers in the financial press, tipsters on the sports pages but by ...say the careful placement o healthy and nutritional foods at the canteen checkout - ignoring the fact that profit pr sq foot determines placing the impulse buys at the check out not rational behaviour.
Anyway if you have the patience read the guff and choose for yourself from the management self help bookshelf at Wal Mart whe his books are handily stocked by the National Enquirer and Hello magazine.

With advisors like this, expect some really, really good ideas for resolving the problems of the US auto industry.

Obama's economic advisors.. Spot the nigger

It was revealing when Obam revealed his smug, smiling economic advisors (the "economy posse")- with some 30,000 professors of the subject and a few of them black and Hispanic , few have shown the democratic values needed to support and advise their president elect.

Always assuming aconomic advice is worth taking .. pout two economists in aroom and get three sets of advice.

Mr. Obama is acting with the greatest urgency (it says here) toward choosing a Treasury secretary and is said to be considering Lawrence H. Summers, who held the post during the Clinton administration, and Timothy F. Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. (NYT)
Assembled to offer wide-ranging advice, the group of 17 included Mr. Summers and his predecessor as Treasury secretary, Robert E. Rubin; Paul A. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, and Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google. The billionaire investor Warren Buffett is to attend by speakerphone.

Other participants included Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles; former Commerce Secretary William Daley; William Donaldson, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Anne Mulcahy, chairman and chief executive of Xerox; Laura Tyson, former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan.

All these look like a re-tread of the Clinton era and also hang with them the smell of the foul smelling pardons he provided the day he left office ....

It was of course Antonio Villaraigosa, who with Congressman Xavier Becerra and State Senator Richard Polanco - the three most prominent Mexican politicians in Los Angeles who lobbied (after receiving handy campaign donations) to write letters and make telephone calls to President Clinton urging him to pardon Carlos Vignali.

Horatio Vignali , Argentinian immigrant made good, and very weathy father of Carlos Vignali gave $200,000 to Hugh Rodham, Hillary Clinton's fat, sleazy , brother brother, to convince Bill and Hillary to release his cracl dealing son Carlos Vignali - but none of his poor, black and Hispanic co-defendants.

Carlos Vignali and 30 black gang members were caught planning to distribute over 800 pounds of crack cocaine. He and the 30 blacks were imprisoned after pleading guilty to the crack cocaine distribution charges.Carlos is active today in his father's extensive real estate businesses in downtown Los Angeles.

On Clinton's last day in office, he signed the pardon (sentence commutation) releasing Carlos Vignali from prison. He was then serving the 6th of 15 years in prison.

For further details of Obama's list of economic advisors go here also see piece above about Thaler and his lunatic ideas.

Russian Bear increases it's energy hug on Italy / Europe - oil / gas and nuclear deals signed up

RIA Novosti are reporting that our old pal, Mr Vagit Alekperov , president LUKoil is prepared to slash their current projected investment programs from US$ 8 Bn. to US$ 4 Bn. if the price of oil falls to US$ 45 per barrel.

"We have worked out three pricing scenarios: at US$ 80 / 65 and a third, crisis price of US$ 45 per barrel." Investment would be reduced by USD 2 billion at each pricing stage, from US$ 8 Bn. to US 4 Bn. He told journalists the investment cuts could affect refining projects but investment in the development of new fields would not be reduced. He added that "We will not postpone launching new deposits."

Berlusconi signs big energy deal with Russia

LUKoil signed a 1.35 Bn Euro deal to purchase a stake in Italian refiner ERG which will allow them to enter into a joint venture to break into European markets.

The agreement between the two firms was signed as part of an Italian-Russian intergovernmental summit at which Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met in Moscow on November 6 in a deal to be finalised on December 1.

LUKoil will pay cash during the year,” LUKoil agreed in June to acquire the 49 % stake in the Isab refinery in Priolo, Sicily, but the global credit crunch and dropping oil prices threw the deal into question. Alekperov and ERG CEO Alessandro Garrone sealed the deal in Rome on June 23rd 2008. Under the deal, LUKoil will acquire a 49% stake in the Joint Venture for EUR 1.35 Bn. excluding inventory. ERG will retain 51%. The transaction provides LUKoil with an option to increase its stake in the future.

Alekperov said at the time that “The establishment of a refining joint venture in Italy is a cornerstone of LUKoil’s growth strategy in the area of developing its downstream operations in Western Europe. LUKoil’s overall refining capacities will increase by 13% and overseas refining capacities will increase by 60%. The refinery’s advantageous location and an opportunity to process Russian crude make this project very attractive.” According to Lukoil the ISAB refinery complex is one of the largest refineries in the region and is well positioned to meet the growing middle distillate demand in Europe.

The refinery includes two sites which are united by a pipeline system and integrated in a single refining unit with a total annual refining capacity of 16 million tons. The Russian oil company said that each partner will procure its share of crude and market its share of products in accordance with its JV equity stake. The ISAB refinery has the flexibility to process crude such as Urals, and LUKOIL intends to fully integrate its share of the refinery into its supply chain.

Alekperov said on November 6 LUKoil had applied to Vneshekonombank for a US$ 1.8 Bn. loan toward the purchase of new assets and to help refinance its debts, Interfax has reported.

If the purchase goes through it should increase LUKoil’s refining capacity and smooth its expansion into Europe, where it already manages refineries in Bulgaria and Romania.

Italy relies on Russia economically. Energy supplies dominate trade between the countries with Russia supplying almost 30 % of Italian energy needs (Currently - and this will grow).

With Russian gas monopoly Gazprom improving its ties with Italian energy company ENI this figure is set to go far beyond its current level.

Russia and Italy also reached electricity and nuclear deals. Russia’s electricity trading company Inter RAO UES will work with Italy’s Enel to develop Russia’s power industry. According to the memorandum, a working group will be established to handle appraisals of commercial and investment prospects in nuclear production.

Any production would be done jointly by Inter RAO and Enel. Inter RAO is also taking part in a project to build the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant and is looking for foreign investors. Enel has indicated it is interested in working on that project as well.

On the nuclear front, the Russian Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom, intends to cooperate with Italian partners in creating nuclear reactors of the third and fourth generations. “This work may begin as early as next year,” Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko told reporters in Moscow on November 6 after signing an agreement on cooperation in nuclear power industry with Italy’s Economic Development Ministry.

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish