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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saturday News

I realize that in the national scheme, south GA is your ultimate flyover country and not worthy of notice in any way. But let me just interject this: after months shrouded by a suffocating pall of smoke, Barry is bringing us RAIN. Sweet, wonderful rain. Blessed rain, that knocks the smoke out of the air, so that the hacking, coughing animals and humans of south GA and northern Florida can finally breathe again. Some of the old and the young have become sick with lung, eye, ear nose and throat infections and irritations.

If SGA were not firmly located in the Bible Belt, its denizens would be building altars to Benign Barry....

Non-flyover news:
What you don't know about commercial real estate lending in the land of lunatic lending could prove to be very expensive:
Supply is rising. Last year, structural nonresidential construction rose 9%.

And, in the last issue of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, according to Moody's, interest-only loans accounted for 84.6% of Q1 commercial securitized lending, up from 6.6% in Q1 2003.
The same trajectory as residential, but lagging. The problem is also that the income forecasts used to value commercial real estate are, by historical standards, way too optimistic. So, loans which do not contemplate that the borrower will be able to pay down principal are being issued on overvalued commercial real estate during a spate of building.... Sound familiar?

That toxic toothpaste has been found in the US, and now health and safety officials are recommending that Americans discard all toothpaste made in China. So far they have found it in a number of brands:
The agency said toothpaste containing diethylene glycol is sold under the names of Cooldent Flouride, Cooldent Spearmint; Cooldent ICE; Dr. Cool; Superdent, Clean Rite, Oralmax Extreme, Oral Bright, Bright Max, and ShiR Fresh Mint.
Don't rely on the brand names though, because there is no way that the US authorities can test everything out there. Just get rid of all toothpaste made in China. Another thing to ponder is that diethylene glycol is a (poisonous) substitute for glycerin, and that it may have been used in other gel/paste types of products. Might want to go through anything that fits that description and discard any such products made in China or overseas.

In an astonishing turn of events, Charles Moore writing in the UK Telegraph notes that Israel is being held to a different standard than other countries:
Watching the horrible video of Alan Johnston of the BBC broadcasting Palestinian propaganda under orders from his kidnappers, I found myself asking what it would have been like had he been kidnapped by Israelis, and made to do the same thing the other way round.

The first point is that it would never happen. There are no Israeli organisations - governmental or freelance - that would contemplate such a thing. That fact is itself significant.

But just suppose that some fanatical Jews had grabbed Mr Johnston and forced him to spout their message, abusing his own country as he did so. What would the world have said?

There would have been none of the caution which has characterised the response of the BBC and of the Government since Mr Johnston was abducted on March 12. The Israeli government would immediately have been condemned for its readiness to harbour terrorists or its failure to track them down.

Back at home, the Universities and Colleges Union has just voted for its members to "consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions".
How can we have got ourselves into a situation in which we half-excuse turbaned torturers for kidnapping our fellow-citizens while trying to exclude Jewish biochemists from lecturing to our students?
Read it all, and marvel at the voice of sanity.

For an on-the-ground view of the Fatah al-Islam war inside the the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, see Ouwet.com. Especially this post, which is a repost of an article written by a Palestinian living in Canada. Also see this MEMRI roundup on the Palestinian infighting which begins by quoting from a column in the Palestinian Authority Daily:
"The situation in the Gaza Strip, and especially in the city of Gaza, is scary. Murders are committed by the dozen, using every [conceivable] weapon... The murder machine, fueled by every conceivable type of hatred, is hurtling in every direction, all the time, everywhere... in the mosques... in the schools... [There are] executions... Leaders are attacked, and their families humiliated... Children and innocent civilians are being murdered..." Talal Okal, columnist for the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Ayyam, May 17, 2007.
Other quotes:
Some consequences of the clashes are public statements by residents calling on Israel to reenter the Gaza Strip, and concerns regarding the effect of the fighting on the international community's faith in the Palestinians' ability to establish a state, to honor agreements, and to maintain peace.

Among the solutions proposed in the Palestinian media were to launch a third intifada, this time against those responsible for the internal chaos, and to bring in Arab or international forces to keep the peace between the Fatah and Hamas.
Yousef Al-Qazzaz, a senior Palestinian Broadcasting Authority official and columnist for the PA daily Al-Ayyam, wrote: "A strong smell of Al-Qaeda is rising from what is being done in Gaza by the [forces] of chaos, which are murdering Palestinian security personnel and killing innocent women and children [right] in front of Prime Minister [Ismail Haniyya] from Hamas, who is unable to restrain them."
A society centered on the desire for revenge and combat has no center. We are watching a parable unfold in front of us, and the victims are all the best in these societies. Anyone who calls for peace tends to be reviled as a traitor and becomes subject to execution. Naturally, both the US and Israel are being blamed, but of course Sharon is also a devious, cunning manipulator of this disaster (insert the quote of your choice from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion):
Legislative Council member Rawiya Al-Shawa linked the situation in Gaza with the disengagement: "Everything that is happening today [in Gaza] is a result of Sharon's plan to sabotage the [resolving] of the Palestinian problem. There was a unilateral withdrawal that the Palestinians regarded as a clear victory [for them]. Sharon and his successors disconnected the Gaza Strip from the West Bank... Everything that is happening now [is the result of] our falling into the clever trap that Sharon devised... in order to disrupt the functioning of Palestinian society."
Soooooo? Giving Palestinians a state is a plan to destroy them? Really? Many are not buying it:
Palestinian journalist Majed Azzam wrote: "We should have the courage to acknowledge the truth... The [only] thing that prevents the chaos and turmoil in Gaza from spreading to the West Bank is the presence of the Israeli occupation [in the West Bank]... [as opposed to] its absence from the Gaza Strip."
Senior PA official and Al-Ayyam columnist Ali Al-Khalili wrote: "We are not insane. There are nine million Palestinians, and we will not be swept up in the madness of several hundred suicidal extremists among us, who are [heading] for a great nakba, after which there will be no rehabilitation, no [Palestinian] people, no Palestinian cause, and not a single inch of Palestine left. Our only option is to [go out] on the streets and announce that we refuse to take leave of our senses, of our reason and of our determination to deal with the mother of all nakbas before it is too late, and before history sweeps us all into the void of oblivion and death."
From the home front, a sharp contrast to this tragedy unfolding before a world helpless to stop it, because it is self-inflicted:

A pair of goose refugees that had flown into our place had decided to try to nest again. We knew because the gander was in state of near hysteria, especially when the otter refugee showed up. Otters eat everything, including small birds and eggs. The hysterical honking caused both dogs to deduce that a high-threat condition existed, and Ms. Bullhardt in particular has been in a state of constant tension which has kept us short of sleep. The geese and the dogs have developed a unified Homeland Defense Team, complete with Interspecies Threat Response squads, that is astonishingly effective. I went out and gave the otter a firm talking-to and a discussion of the Rules of Sanctuary. I didn't want to drive him away, because otters need water and the drought is so severe. He confined himself to fishing, which may have been due less to my rhetorical powers than the somewhat eerie, but effective, unified dog/goose coalition for Peace and Prosperity.

Yesterday three goslings made their appearance. The adults are strangers and don't know the ways of the place, so Chief No-Nag went out and put corn down for them in an isolated place near the (burnt) woods in the back close to the back pond where they had nested on an island shrouded (they hoped) from view by the all-encompassing smoke. They found the food. The goslings look healthy. This brings this year's gosling count to 10 in three families, which is pretty good considering the fire, smoke and drought conditions. The gander looks calmer. Ms.Bullhardt, feeling that a tough job has been well done, is taking a nap. She said not to wake her up for a couple of days except for meals.


Send Barry on up the coast. Coastal NC has had only about 50% of YTD rainfall and everything is wilting. Water restrictions in place in hardest hit areas.

We need a good soaking.

Hi Mama; Enjoy the rain. You've earned it.

That guy Jim Grant is a bum. He could make an undertaker seem like Robin Williams. I seem to remeber him selling his Brooklyn Heights Townhouse in the mid 1980's as he was convinced the Real Estate market was going to crash.

Anyway, greetings from the SOHO office!
Jim - I'll do my best!!!

CF - the FDIC had something to say about RE in the late 80's and early 90's. pdf Chap 3 If memory serves me, NOI declined an average of 3.4% annually beginning in 1986 for some years. For CRE, the bottom was 1991 when 8.2% of CRE bank loans were non-current and charge-offs were 2%.

When I think of SOHO, I think of this. Oh well, I'm sure you're observing some heavenly bodies in your locale too.

Excerpt from the above link:
"The heightened competition banks faced during the 1980s was a result of many factors, including the removal of deposit interest-rate ceilings, which significantly increased the cost of doing business; the granting of expanded lending and investment powers to thrift institutions; the increase in the number of newly chartered banks (approximately 2,800 new charters were granted during the 1980s); pressure from bank stockholders to improve earnings; the large-scale conversion of savings banks from mutual to stock ownership, a conversion that increased demand for new investments; and the loss of a sizable portion of the commercial and industrial lending business to the commercial paper market. Under these circumstances, many banks adopted riskier loan polices in an attempt to increase revenue and to maintain market share vis-à-vis other lending institutions. Both examiners and commercial bankers themselves who were familiar with the issues of that time suggested that banks had increasing difficulty coping with the new environment and that many conservatively managed institutions assumed greater risks because of the general belief that “if we don’t make the loan, the institution across the street will.”
"A society centered on the desire for revenge and combat has no center. We are watching a parable unfold in front of us, and the victims are all the best in these societies. Anyone who calls for peace tends to be reviled as a traitor and becomes subject to execution."

How is this different from the American or an other civil war in history?
People who spoke for peace during and around the time of the American Civil War were not shot down like dogs. There doesn't seem to be much non-front left, because close to two decades of utterly violent training of children has resulted in this being a Palestinian-on-Palestinian jihad now.

It's as if the people of MA or WV had started shooting each other in the streets, and as if when any authority, such as a preacher, asked that it be stopped that he was shot down too.
"A society centered on the desire for revenge and combat has no center. We are watching a parable unfold in front of us, and the victims are all the best in these societies. Anyone who calls for peace tends to be reviled as a traitor and becomes subject to execution."

Actually, this is called a "Grievance Cuture", one whose only reason for existing is revenge on the Other for something They did.

All grievance cultures -- the KKK, the Nazis, the Femmies, the Afrocentrists, the Raza Boyz, the Palestinians -- have the same basic mythology:

1) Once WE were Lords of the Universe and Everything was Perfect.
2) Then THEY came and took it all away from us.
People who spoke for peace during and around the time of the American Civil War were not shot down like dogs. There doesn't seem to be much non-front left, because close to two decades of utterly violent training of children has resulted in this being a Palestinian-on-Palestinian jihad now.

And that is the difference between Men and Orcs.

Through sixty years of carefully and deliciously-cultivated Grievance Culture, the Palestinians have changed themselves from Men into Orcs.
"Grievance Culture." I will remember that. It seems apt.
"Grievance Culture." I will remember that. It seems apt.

A friend of mine came up with the term. I'd like to see it become a meme.

Headless Unicorn Guy
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