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Monday Message Board

February 18th, 2008

It’s time once again for the Monday Message Board. Please post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. MikeM
    February 18th, 2008 at 17:59 | #1

    Gretchen Morgenson’s column in The New York Times yesterday was about the $45.5 trillion in outstanding credit default swaps in the US market. She points out that because these are tradable instruments, in many cases the holder of one side of a swap may not know who the counterparty is or whether that party has the substance to honour the swap.

    In the event that substantial numbers of credit defaults start occurring this sounds like a recipe for total chaos.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/business/17swap.html

  2. February 19th, 2008 at 06:56 | #2

    “total chaos?” why yes, although many prefer the term ‘capitalism’.

    an advisor to obama has discovered diplomacy, peace and good will will breakout soon. this piece in ‘salon’ is facile nonsense, but since the writer is constrained by the need to get her guy elected, i am willing to say now she is sane and sensible, and constructive, if only in contrast to the orcs surrounding the maximum lider.

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/02/18/samantha_power/

    worth reading, if only because it shows obama doesn’t think he already knows all he needs to know.

  3. Peter
    February 19th, 2008 at 09:35 | #3

    Is Puerto Rico 51st state of USA ? And if so, is the annexation of Puerto Rico by US legal ?

    The democratic party have 55 delegates from Puerto Rico. But they do not have any Senator from Puerto Rico in US senate. Can anyone explain why ?

  4. pablo
    February 19th, 2008 at 13:00 | #4

    Peter, I guess it is a bit the same with the Virgin Islands and American Samoa, US territory and possibly with delegates, but no senators. Not sure about congress either. And a further question…is their any senate representation from Washington DC. I don’t think so which probably puts all US territories/districts in the same bag. What happens with other bits of Micronesia, (Marshall Islands, Guam) I don’t know. They inherited this last bit of empire from the Japanese. The Philippines put in quite a large vote to join the US during the Marcos regime but Washington presumeably wasn’t interested. The baggage of empire it seems.

  5. Anthony Sadgrove
    February 19th, 2008 at 13:56 | #5

    Is anybody concerned that the AUD/USD exchange rate is now nearing .92? There seems very little comment on this and to me it appears to be a disaster. Import prices down, export prices up, current account deficit up. The RBA is talking up interest rates yet our inflation rate is lower than the US and they are dropping their rates.

    what is going on?

  6. February 19th, 2008 at 15:10 | #6

    peter, puerto rico is not a state, it’s an allied territory. free trade and travel, but not quite part of the usa. left over from the annexations consequent to the spanish american war. yanks never got around to liberating them, and nowadays it’s more likely they will become a state.

    quite like the situation of hawaii, removed from british rule rather more politely, but not a state until 1960′s.

  7. Ian Gould
    February 19th, 2008 at 17:38 | #7

    This is a hopeful sign – when was the last time you saw a politician complaining he had too much power?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/19/2166624.htm?section=justin

    Immigration Minister Chris Evans has ordered a review of his role, saying he feels the position has too much power.

    Senator Evans has told a Parliamentary Committee there was a substantial increase in ministerial powers under the previous federal government and has commissioned a report into how that could be changed.

    He says powers once used rarely in immigration matters have become the norm.

    “I have formed the view that I have too much power, in terms of the power given to the minister to make decisions about individual cases,” he said.

    “I’m uncomfortable with that, not just because of concern about playing God, but also because of the lack of transparency and accountability for those decisions.”

  8. observa
    February 19th, 2008 at 22:14 | #8

    Where are all the Bernie Banton handwringers and breast beaters now we might well ask. Come out all you union reps and Labor Premiers and ex-Premiers who allowed this to happen right up until Dec 2002, when you knew full well that James Hardie had stopped manufacturing asbestos by 1978 and precisely why they did. Come out and explain to the poor widow why you allowed her hubby to fit these silent killers to the all the mums cars pulling up outside the kindys and schools. Come out and have a sorryfest where we can see you all you wanton, deliberate killers.
    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23242276-5005962,00.html

  9. February 19th, 2008 at 22:25 | #9

    Al Loomis, Hawaii was independent when the USA took over, not under British rule. Puerto Rico is going through the familiar process of having its people asked over and over if they want to become a US state until they get it right (sorry, “…until the people are ready” – though funnily enough, they stop being asked at that point in all comparable examples, e.g. Savoy).

  10. observa
    February 19th, 2008 at 22:31 | #10

    Oh and start picketting the servos and coal fired power stations to get the workers to down tools and stop their planet killing ways too eh Gore fans?

    Now do you sorry leftists understand how our laws should always work? As long as something is collectively deemed legal, it should be fair game to openly trade until we decide otherwise. Furthermore, if we decide collectively some product or procedure was in hindsight damaging to health, and we’re feeling retrospectively sorry for the victims, then we should raise general taxes on things like building materials and brake pads now to pay for the social costs, rather than pick on the JHs and Fords to salve our consciences. That should be our due collective penance for letting the general consumer abscond with the cheap social costs in the past.

  11. mugwump
    February 20th, 2008 at 07:43 | #11

    Steve McIntyre has posted a very readable summary of a presentation he gave at Georgia Tech on the problems with hockeystick reconstructions.

    Oh, but silly me: according to JQ he’s a crank and has been thoroughly refuted by the IPCC. How do we reconcile that with the fact that he is now being invited to present at seminar series in mainstream institutions?

  12. February 20th, 2008 at 16:53 | #12

    Any body interested in spreading scientific reasoning via a free board game, check webspawner groenier

  13. Ian Gould
    February 21st, 2008 at 21:59 | #13

    The new Federal government is starting to face up to the probme of getting qualified people (not just eachers, but Dcotors, nurses and police) to work in remote Aboriginal communities.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/21/2168914.htm

    They’re also putting an additional $170 million into indigenous housing.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/21/2168914.htm
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/21/2168638.htm

    They’re also facing up to the fact that there’s little point to health check-ups if there’s no-one to follow up and no money from treatment.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/21/2168646.htm

    Much to the dismay of sly griggers, sexual predators and abusive spouses, htey’re bringign back the permit system.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/19/2166762.htm

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