Daily Distractions 9-2

September 2, 2009

(This week has been particularly slow from a news standpt…so not a lot of links on topic today. I’m sure readers probably prefer that!)

Wells Fargo to repay TARP, not raise equity (Bloomberg) Ugh. Wells is sitting on a fairly toxic loan portfolio. They want out of TARP, because that’s the only emergency rescue that comes with any strings, but they aren’t going to raise new equity capital to protect the balance sheet. That would dilute existing shareholders, the biggest of which is Warren Buffett.

Mexico’s health care lures Americans (USA Today) Free-riding at its finest.

Flu trends (Google) I’ve linked to this in the past, but it’s worth another look today after we got new warnings about swine flu. In a nutshell, Google is able to spot flu trends faster than the Centers for Disease Control because search traffic for particular keywords, like “flu symptoms,” is a great leading indicator of infections.

Finding smells that repel (WSJ) Stressed out? You may be repelling mosquitoes naturally.

Pfizer to pay $2.3 billion fine (Reuters) Now that’s a fine. Why aren’t financial regulators coming down this hard on the largest marketers of shady financial products? Like Herb and Marion Sandler’s World Savings & Loan (now owned by Wells Fargo), which was the biggest originator of toxic option ARMs.

Man robs bank to get away from wife (AP)

Did Texas execute an innocent man? (New Yorker) One medical “expert” testified that the defendant was a sociopath because, among other things, he had Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin posters hanging on his wall.

The Wave (LA Times) Not what you’re thinking…

Fit of peak (Austrian Times) How the Chinese deal with eminent domain issues. Aren’t you glad you don’t live there?

From NASA…the LA fires from space


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Nice photo.

‘Fit of peak (Austrian Times) How the Chinese deal with eminent domain issues. Aren’t you glad you don’t live there?\':

Better late than never, missed that one this morning. I can’t resist, sorry. I wouldn’t want to do business there if these are the human rights, it epitomizes their attitude towards defaulting. Ok, let me get it off my shoulders: as calculated and callous as their modus operandi is, the Chinese economy is fatally flawed on about 10 levels even before it is has started up. A simple example: with price/earnings at 50 and the present growth rate, it only points to one outcome: cash flow problems. On the other hand the US bond book is astounding. The US must just not let them get control over its cash flow (interest payments and bond maturities) and certainly not dividend payments and stock book repurchases thereafter!

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