WTF of the Day: Goldman Sachs Lost a Bunch of Libya's Money

WTF! I'm speechless (for once).


In early 2008, Libya's sovereign-wealth fund controlled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi gave $1.3 billion to Goldman Sachs Group to sink into a currency bet and other complicated trades. The investments lost 98% of their value, internal Goldman documents show.

What happened next may be one of the most peculiar footnotes to the global financial crisis. In an effort to make up for the losses, Goldman offered Libya the chance to become one of its biggest shareholders, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.

But wait, here's the best part. The Goldman rats got so scared of retaliation they had to get a security detail.

Libya was furious at Goldman over the nearly total loss of the $1.3 billion it invested in nine equity trades and one currency transaction, people involved in the matter say. A confrontation in Tripoli between a top fund executive and two Goldman officials left the bankers so rattled that they made a panicked phone call to their bosses, these people say. Goldman arranged for a security guard to protect them before they left Libya the next day, they say.

I mean look at Gaddafi. I'd be scared to cross that dude too.


What Is It With Sleazy Bankers and New York Hotel Maids?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 , , 1 Comments

Jesus, didn't we just go through this with what's his nuts from France?

Whenever I question my career choice, feeling jaded and exhausted by online media, I realize that it could be worse, I could be a NY hotel maid. Is there some secret society of hotel maid rapists I'm missing here?


A former head of Bank of Alexandria, Mr Omar is accused of groping a maid at the Pierre Hotel on Sunday night.

A spokesman for the New York city Police say they found the complaint credible and arrested Mr Omar.

Mr Omar is currently the board chairman of El-Mex Salinas Co. the largest salt producer in Egypt and the Middle East according to the company's website.

Police said the maid was called to Mr Omar's room on Sunday night to deliver tissues, but he kept her from leaving and touched her inappropriately.

Deliver tissues has to be code for something. I mean really.


The Headlines Say It All (Or, Alternatively, "All You F%$^ing People Are Insane")

When I saw an alert come through this morning that said "Stocks rise in early trade on optimism over Greece," I thought to myself (pre-coffee so who knows if I was of my right mind when I thought this) "are markets really that stupid?"

I already know the answer to that and even my pre-coffee head knew the answer. Here we've both been waiting anxiously for the jig to be up, for the music to stop, for the fat lady to bust out a chorus, for the other shoe to drop 90 feet to its death... you get the point. Despite all reasonable expectations otherwise, the debt machine can has somehow been successfully kicked down the street for over two years and still hasn't fallen to pieces. Sure, it's battered and bruised but this baby is still roaring.

The headlines have it:

Stocks traded higher on Wall Street Tuesday as the euro rose against the dollar and commodity prices jumped on optimism that new aid for Greece from the European Union was on the horizon.

Europe stepped up efforts to draft a second bailout package for Greece, with private sector participation still an option to help relieve the country of its huge debt burden.


“The news out of Europe is propelling the market higher in pretrading, following the rest of the global markets. News regarding a Greece bailout is basically fueling the optimism,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.

“It is causing the dollar to go back down, strengthening the euro, so that is inviting risk back into the marketplace.”

If I wasn't before, I am now thoroughly convinced you people are out of your minds.


TLP: Gasp! Weiner on the Web!

For a guy with the name he has, Congressman Anthony Weiner pretty much has to always see it coming. And going, too, I guess, weiners doing what they do. He's constantly on cable teevee making a joke about weiner jokes.

He's been having a tough time getting a laugh out of this one.

NY Post
US Rep. Anthony Weiner yesterday spent the day on the grill after a lewd photo purporting to be of him was sent to a pretty Seattle coed from his Twitter account -- but the young woman insisted a stalker was the culprit.

The six-term Democratic congressman struggled to play defense as rumors swirled, continuing to insist that the illicit tweet -- a below-the-waist photo of a man in bulging gray boxer-briefs -- was the work of a hacker. His rep called the incident nothing more than "a distraction."

The woman on the receiving end of the tawdry tweet -- 21-year-old Gennette Nicole Cordova -- said in a statement published in another New York newspaper that she was sure the questionable photo came from a person who had harassed her many times "after the congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago."
He says hacker, she says stalker and skeptics raise questions about disappearing photos and other Internet behavior they find curious. There's one lawyer involved already. And, since Twitter is a cannibalistic bitch, #weinergate is there for endless entertainment.

Just so you know the media is having fun with this, check out the Post's URL for the story:


Not long before this story sprung up, Weiner was having his own Twitter fun, poking at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with #annoying #awful #hashtags. All that was missing was an @longdongsilver.

HuffPost struggled through it:
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) spent his Friday afternoon pestering Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for executing a classic news dump: a release of his financial disclosure filing on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend.

The Congressman spent the day tweeting to his heart's content, first alerting his 43,000-plus followers to the likelihood that someone on the Court was going to try and bury an embarrassing story while the world's attention was turned toward the commute and barbecue ahead:

"Friday dump Scotus style? I'm hearing disclosures released today. #ConflictsAbound," he tweeted.
Of course, if there's anyone who knows what it's like to have his privates discussed in public, it's Clarence Thomas. Maybe he'll invite Weiner to commiserate over a Coke.


TLP: Easy for Him to Say

Monday, May 30, 2011 , , 0 Comments

gop dreamers
I guess this is one way of dealing with withdrawal. Seems to work for Trump.

CNN Political Ticker:
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who recently decided against a run for president, said he could have beat President Barack Obama in 2012.

"Yes, I think so," Daniels said Sunday on ABC's "This Week," adding, "I mean, no one can know."

Daniels reiterated that his family was the reason behind his ultimate decision not to seek the GOP presidential nomination.
It's getting to be a familiar rap for gutless, nutless Republicans. Some say it before they bail out, others make the claim and don't even get in.

Give Haley Barbour credit. He made his decision and admitted he didn't want to run a race he couldn't win.

Can't wait to hear from other nameless and unknown wannabes.


Saudi Prince Says He Doesn't Want the West to Find Oil Alternatives

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said Sunday that he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don't accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country's supply.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on "CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS," the grandson of the founding king of modern Saudi Arabia said the oil price should be somewhere between $70 and $80 a barrel, rather than the current level of over $100 a barrel.

"We don't want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives," said Talal, who is listed by Forbes as the 26th richest man in the world.

Here's the video:

Guess who came up again? Speculators, obviously.


Pixlr Is the New Photoshop

Sunday, May 29, 2011 6 Comments

I've been using the Pixlr editor since my last Photoshop-equipped laptop crapped out in 2009. It's flash, web-based and completely free. I'm sure real digital artists can do better than poorly cropped off heads of the Heroes of the Federal Reserve attached to, uh, used car salesmen.

Here are some excellent examples of what I've been able to accomplish with Pixlr over the years; if you actually try, you can probably do some editing 15 - 55 times better than this.

Danger, the next one may not be SFW depending on a) if you work and b) whether or not you want your coworkers to see you looking at money coming out of someone's ass.


See? It's amazing. (here are some others)

Play with Pixlr here or find them on Facebook. They have recently introduced Pixlr-O-Matic to make your images look like you "left them on the dashboard of your 68 VW camper all summer."


Are You In a Food Desert?

h/t SF Fed via Twitter (yeah, I know)

Check out the USDA's Food Desert Locator to get a spatial overview of low-income neighborhoods with high concentrations of people who are far from a grocery store.

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) working group defines a food desert as a low-income census tract where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store:

* To qualify as a “low-income community,” a census tract must have either: 1) a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher, OR 2) a median family income at or below 80 percent of the area's median family income;
* To qualify as a “low-access community,” at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract's population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).

I was struck by the fact that the locator identified an area of the District of Columbia as being 100% low access for its population and yet stated only 2133 people had low access.

So poke around at your own risk, the methodology doesn't quite make sense.


TLP: If Only He'd Had the Same Effect on California's Economy

arnold's girlscredit: Daryl Cagle

So, the line is that Schwarzenegger's extra-gubernatorial activities didn't affect the way he did his job. Now we learn that he may have been overly distracted. Or at least being very attentive to things not involving official duties.


Zimbabwe Ben Comes For My Grande Quadruple Black Eye

DAMN YOU, BERNANKE!!! Is nothing sacred!?


Starbucks confirmed Wednesday it will raise the prices for bagged coffee sold at its U.S stores by 17%, and 6% at its Canadian locations, effective July 12.

Its move comes a day after J.M. Smucker raised prices for the fourth time in the past year. Smucker, which sells Folgers, Dunkin Donuts and Millstone, is upping those prices by 11%.


Starbucks is raising prices for a 16-ounce bag of coffee at its U.S. stores to a range of $11.95 to $14.95. It is the first price increase since September 2009. The last time Starbucks rose prices for bagged coffee at its Canadian locations was in October 2007.

The Seattle company last year raised prices for some of its drinks to counter rising costs for milk and unroasted beans. And on March 18, Starbucks upped the price of its bagged coffee sold at supermarkets.

Not too long ago, I warned JDA readers that it was a good time to decouple from our vices as the pain train was headed straight for us and no one wants to have to quit cold turkey when it arrives. Hopefully you heeded my advice then, dear reader, and did a little personal housekeeping to clean up your dirty (read: costly) habits.

Train, meet face. Ouch.


OMG! IER Says High Gas Prices are Part of the Obama Plan

Forget unleaded or super unleaded, kiddies, this is Hopey-Changey Plus we're talking here.

Not too long ago, I caught a link someone put on Twitter saying gas was in the $1.60 a gallon range when Bush left office. Could that number be real? I was still living in San Francisco in early 2009 and, at that time, did not have a car (San Franciscans don't need to drive, and it's probably better if you don't lest you get branded as a liquid dinosaur bone-guzzling asshole by the neighbors who walk back and forth to Trader Joe's) so I couldn't really recall as I didn't care at the time but I certainly didn't remember $1.60 gas. Sure enough, that was the national average at that time.

Meanwhile, now that I'm on the East Coast I have no choice but to get in the trusty old Mazda for everything from grocery shopping to visiting the Hill, although I do dump her off at a Metro parking lot for trips into DC. Still, it breaks my little Fedbashing heart to see $50 fill ups.

Even more heart-breaking, the idea that all of this could totally be on purpose. Say what?

Institute for Energy Research:

It is not too difficult to understand President Obama’s point of view on energy. When he first took office, he was given the opportunity to select a new Secretary of Energy. He chose Steven Chu, who had just been quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying that “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Currently, a gallon of gasoline in Europe will set you back over $8.

Then, faced with the decision of who to place in charge of the Department of Interior, which controls much of America’s vast energy resources, he chose a senator who went on record to oppose any new drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, even if gasoline prices reached $10 per gallon.

President Obama chose to surround himself with anti-energy advocates that view affordable energy as a problem, not a solution. So it is important to keep that in mind as you watch him and members of his administration as they attempt to handle the current crisis of rising energy costs. While they act as though affordable energy is the goal, observers must remember how these activists deliberately fought for higher energy prices before the public spotlight was shining so brightly on them.

Not only that, Obama also chose to surround himself with a degenerate crew of economic idiots (no offense to the idiots out there) at a time when this country needs true leadership, talent and genius to maneuver the Titanic away from the giant, jagged iceberg jutting out of the water. Fail.

Raise your hand if you are surprised by any of this.


Why Doesn't Treasury Just Come Out and Say It... ?

Have you ever been in a relationship with a passive-aggressive or known one who tends to leave vague and cryptic comments in really public places like Facebook? They don't need to specifically call anyone out, it's always pretty clear who they are referring to when they say "some people" or "certain individuals" or, in this case, "China." The Treasury is being passive-aggressive and China is the bitch girlfriend who keeps putting up with it.


The U.S. Treasury Department ruled on Friday China was not manipulating its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage, but said Beijing still needs to allow the yuan to rise much faster in value.

Although the Obama administration has often used blunt language to warn China over its currency practices, the semiannual report issued by Treasury on Friday maintained its practice of avoiding the harsher step of naming it a currency manipulator.

The department said it concluded China did not meet the U.S. legal definition of a currency manipulator due to the appreciation of its currency -- known as the yuan or renminbi -- since June 2010 and recent Chinese statements that it would continue to promote exchange rate flexibility.

"Treasury's view ... is that progress thus far is insufficient and that more rapid progress is needed," the report said. Rapid progress like the Bernanke Crime Family has been setting up for the dollar?

Get the full report here. I couldn't read it, it brought back too many bad memories of my time spent with an emotionally-damaged asshole who couldn't express his feelings and instead spent his time sending me confusing signals. Ya with me, people?


TLP: Pimp Threads, Congressional Burglary and Hidden Cameras Now Tax-Deductible

o'keefe irs
Remember when conservative gangsta James O'Keefe went begging for money, NPR style, so he could keep trying to take down organizations like NPR? The kicker in O'Keefe's fund-raising email for was the line that contributions to Project Veritas "are not tax deductible at this time."

Consider that matter resolved. The NYT reports:
The Internal Revenue Service has granted nonprofit status to the group that brought down two senior executives at NPR and dealt a death blow to the community organizing group Acorn with videos of its employees giving tax advice to people claiming to be a pimp and prostitute.

Project Veritas, a group founded by the videographer James O’Keefe, received the status from the I.R.S. in April, according to documents gathered by The Chronicle of Philanthropy through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“It will help us expand as an organization and institution,” Mr. O’Keefe said in an interview on Thursday.

He said the money saved with the status would help Project Veritas train and equip “an army” of citizen journalists to carry out its mission: “to investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.”
I still can't shake the delicious irony of taking tax dollars to save tax dollars.


Herman Cain's Dirty Fed Past... So?

I have specifically avoided discussing most issues related to the 2012 presidential campaign due to the fact that A) I am no longer a registered Republican and therefore have no political stake in who the GOP picks to run and B) don't care. Events of the last few years have affirmed my worst fears; D or R, it's all the same bullshit, with the same handful of puppetmasters pulling the strings behind the curtain. I would love to see Ron Paul actually get the GOP nomination but don't believe the party is that smart (or that stupid, depending on how you feel about these sorts of things).

That said, I couldn't help picking up today's piece in The Atlantic by Joshua Green, which reveals possible presidential hopeful Herman Cain as a - gasp! - Dirty Fed operative. Sort of. First, let's get to what Green wrote, then we'll rip it up:

But Cain has a fascinating background and has followed a political path that's the opposite of what you normally see. It's not uncommon to move from the fringes of the business world to the center of the political world: Harry Truman was a haberdasher and became president; Tom DeLay was an exterminator and became House majority leader. But it's rare for someone to journey from the top of the business world to the tea party political fringe. That's what Cain has done. Although it hasn't gotten much attention, he was actually chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank in the mid-1990s. That's the epitome of the Establishment and the opposite of the tea party.

The Kansas City Fed is one of twelve regional banks that advise the Federal Reserve Board and initiate changes in the discount rate. The Kansas City Fed in particular has a reputation for monetary conservatism and distrust of central authority. (Along with the Dallas Fed, it's one of only two Fed banks currently pushing for higher discount rates.) Curious about Cain's chairmanship, I requested an interview with Thomas Hoenig, the president of the Kansas City Fed (then and now), who is a famous inflation hawk. I didn't get to talk to Hoenig, but he sent along this statement:

From 1992 to 1996, Herman served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the capacities of deputy chairman and then chairman of the Board. Fed directors are dedicated representatives of Main Street business, community development, organized labor and financial services sectors who agree to give their time to help the Federal Reserve understand the economy and to oversee our operations. It was my privilege to work with Herman very closely during his five years on the Kansas City board.

I appreciate the opportunity to provide greater understanding of the role of Federal Reserve Bank directors because they provide a tremendous service to our country.

I had better luck with Drue Jennings, a Kansas City lawyer who served with Cain on the Federal Reserve Board and succeeded him as chairman. Jennings is quite fond of his old colleague. "Herman was a pleasure to work with," he told me. "His views were pretty consistent with those of the Fed at the time. Alan Greenspan was, of course, chairman and Herman was in lock stop with the policies of the Fed." Jennings added that this was not atypical; he could not recall a single dissent from anyone during this three-year term. Still, he said, Cain was no pushover. "He's a guy you'll never find in a gray area," Jennings said. "He's intelligent, well spoken, and very assertive to the point of almost being aggressive. He's anything but shy."

Jennings said Cain fit the profile of the Kansas City Fed. "Inflation was always the big bugaboo," he told me, "and when it comes to monetary policy, he was an inflation hawk. I'll tell you, that's the most conservative bunch of guys I've ever met."

Please! Before we go any further with this, we need to point out the obvious: chairmen of regional Fed boards are little more than economic spies who report back to the Bank on matters of business that they are familiar with. They don't call the big monetary shots, despite what this Jennings guy may say, and to paint it as such is reckless journalism, in this particular reckless journalist's humble opinion.

As pointed out in the article, the main duty of members of the regional Banks' boards is to find a new president to head the Bank - which Cain wouldn't have had to do as Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig has been president since 1991 (back when JDA was still wearing pink spandex pants, slap bracelets and a side ponytail).

From the Fed's own The Federal Reserve System, Purposes and Functions:

Each Reserve Bank has its own board of nine directors chosen from outside the Bank. Three, designated Class A, represent commercial banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System. Three Class B and three Class C represent the public. The member commercial banks in each district elect the Class A and B directors. The Board of Governors appoints the Class C directors, one of whom it selects as chairman. No Class B or Class C director may be an officer, director, or employee of a bank or a bank holding company. The directors in turn nominate a president of the Reserve Bank, whose selection is subject to approval of the Board of Governors.

Cain's duties for the Kansas City Fed, therefore, cannot possibly be construed as anti-tea party. Who could possibly be more anti-government than the very business owners impacted by big government's overreaching authority? In fact, it could almost be considered patriotic on his behalf to penetrate the Dirty Fed in a "consulting" capacity and be sure his voice was heard through Hoenig's actions at the FOMC during his time. That's the point.

Not only that but the Kansas City Fed is about the least dirtiest Dirty Fed Bank there is. They don't supervise any TBTF banks and last I checked, farmland wasn't quite the same as a handful of banks with market caps in the bazillions.

I couldn't care less about Herman Cain and wish him the best of luck with whatever it is he's trying to do but am merely pointing out that I thought The Atlantic was above cashing in on anti-Fed sentiment to get pageviews. As has happened before, I guess I was wrong.


Why Does the Government Want to Withhold 3 Percent on Its Own Payments?

While the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants isn't exactly asking that question, they are doing a little, er, encouraging on this matter:

Congress should repeal a 3 percent tax withholding rule facing government contractors and individuals such as farmers and medical professionals, Patricia Thompson, chair of the Tax Executive Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said in Congressional testimony today. The provision would subject the contractors to 3 percent withholding on payments they receive for goods and services provided to federal, state and local governments.

“The AICPA strongly urges Congress to repeal the 3 percent withholding on payments made to government contractors, and for Medicare, farm and certain other payments,” Thompson said in testimony submitted to the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce for the hearing record. The subcommittee’s hearing examined the need to repeal the provision.

Thompson said AICPA members are reporting that state and local governments are concerned about the cost to reprogram their systems to comply with the law and that their clients are concerned about the law’s potential impact on cash flow.

Thompson noted that Congress delayed the effective date of the provision in 2009 from Jan. 1, 2011 to Jan. 1, 2012. The Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations on May 9 that included a further one-year delay in the effective date until Jan. 1, 2013. The 3 percent withholding provision was approved by Congress as part of the Tax Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

“Without compelling evidence of non-compliance by these persons and business entities in terms of non-payment of their federal tax liabilities, the additional burden may not be necessary,” Thompson said. The IRS already has a number of tools it uses to thwart nonpayment of federal taxes by government contractors and granting of contracts to businesses that have unpaid federal taxes.

Look at it this way... Let's say you get a job and your employer says your pay rate will be $100,000 a year (for easy math purposes, of course). Let's say also that your employer requires you to pay into a donut fund (in this example, the donut fund is the same as your federal income tax) - and because your employer is paranoid that you won't be honest and pay into the donut fund like you are asked to, they withhold 3% of your pay just in case. So you're really getting paid $97,000 a year. Why not just say $97,000 and call it a day?

If the government can't trust its own contractors (most of whom are audited several times over), who can it trust? Don't answer that, it was totally rhetorical.


TLP: When Saying Grace Isn't Enough

Friday, May 27, 2011 , , , 5 Comments

What do you know, it's almost Memorial Day and time for cookouts and barbeques. Who's ready to wring a few chicken necks or slit the throat of a pig?

That's the way Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is handling his meat this year.

When he's not too busy connecting people across the universe, Mark Zuckerberg is pursuing a new "personal challenge," as he calls it. "The only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself," says the Facebook founder and CEO.

It's an odd dietary direction for the 27-year-old Internet billionaire, but since he has taken to killing goats, pigs and chickens, "I'm eating a lot healthier foods. And I've learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals," he says. "It's easy to take the food we eat for granted when we can eat good things every day."

Zuckerberg's new goal came to light, not surprisingly, on Facebook. On May 4, Zuckerberg posted a note to the 847 friends on his private page: "I just killed a pig and a goat."
Turns out that for Zuckerberg, this is all about gratitude. "This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat," Zuckerberg said in an email to Fortune. "I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have."

Being a billionaire and all, Zuckerberg has the luxury of arranging to kill his food with the farmers who raise it and then have it butchered so he can cook it. Safeway is a lot more convenient for most folks.

But as JDA wrote back in March, with all appropriate warnings and disclaimers, it ain't pretty getting meat to the market.

The Truth Behind Meat or, Alternatively, Much Ado About Bacon

Bon appétit!


Here's Another Updated Fed Poster For Your Viewing Pleasure...

Shall I continue? I really have nothing better to do, it's too hot here in the Capital Wasteland today to go picket the Board...

Earlier: Fed Propaganda Updated For Our Day and Age, Courtesy of Yours Truly

See The Fed Goes Retro for the original 1920s era posters.

You're welcome... again.


Fed Propaganda Updated For Our Day and Age, Courtesy of Yours Truly

The other day, Washington Post econ reporter Neil Irwin tweeted that he was eagerly awaiting the Fed's explanation of QE in poster form, jumping off the retro 1920's pro-Fed posters NY Fed shared on their blog last week.

Of course, JDA is not the sort of girl who can see a request like that without taking action. Therefore, I humbly present the following poorly-Photoshopped update of one said pro-Fed poster. My guess is the Fed media department won't be calling me to do any artwork for them any time soon.

You're welcome, world.


Don't Bet on the Fed Pulling Out Any Time Soon

Jeff Harding at the Daily Capitalist shared a recent piece by Dr. Frank Shostak which explains Shostak's views on what will go down once the Fed stops blowing up its balance sheet. And by "go down" I mean "occur," not "normalize" or blow or plunge.

Said Shostak:

We suggest that the key to boom-bust cycles is the Fed's monetary policy. The so-called economy of Fed experts' models is nothing more than monetary turnover that (once deflated by a dubious price index) is labeled as real economic activity or real gross domestic product. As long as the pace of monetary pumping is accelerating, the so-called real economy follows suit. Once, however, the pace of pumping slows down, the pace of the economy's so-called expansion also declines (after a time lag).

Shostak also suggests that CPI will run closer to 5% by the end of the year, among other things. Harding's thoughts on that? QE 3 is the inevitable answer to any oncoming financial malaise headed straight for us should the Fed really pull out like they've been saying they're going to do.

That light at the end of the tunnel? It's a fucking train, obviously.

The consequence of taking their foot off the money pedal will lead to higher unemployment and I do not think this is politically acceptable to the Fed or to the Administration. I think they will institute a new round of quantitative easing (QE3) because politicians will demand that the Fed “do something.” Which is, of course, the worst thing they could do. It will lead to more “bubble” activities and higher price inflation. See Will Fed Insist on Trying to Ignite Unhelpful Wealth Effect?

I believe the Fed and the Administration will be willing to tolerate a higher level of price inflation and for a much longer period of time, despite the inflation hawks’ warnings. I think this new money stimulus will occur no later than during the start of the presidential election period (January, 2012), and will continue until the winner is sworn in. I think Dr. Bernanke will be fired thereafter.

As I have said before, it's obvious to anyone with half or even a quarter of a brain that quantitative easing, easy money and/or money laundering (pick your poison) is not going to solve our unemployment problem, nor was it ever intended to. That's not the issue.

In my mind, it's actually politically disadvantageous for the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration to continue printing money out of their asses, especially now that the unwashed masses have kind of caught on to the fact that this is all a scam and that they're being screwed. Hard. Daily. From behind. Sans lube. Ouch.

Here's a great bit from the St. Louis Fed on the importance of a central bank in avoiding political influence in tumultuous times. With great power comes...

That is why most governments took steps to tie their own hands and make themselves credible stewards of their nation's economic interests. It became very clear that if elected government officials had direct control of the money supply, then they could cut taxes and print money to pay for goods to win votes. Consequently, promises by elected officials would not be seen as credible. To achieve credibility and avoid this abuse of public power for private gain, the control of the money supply had to be delegated to a nonelected group of individuals. These officials were to run the institution responsible for monetary policy, known as the "central bank." It was important that central bankers be independent of the political process to ensure that they could not be manipulated by elected officials. However, having such great power meant that central bankers had to be accountable to the electorate in some fashion, and accountability required the central bank to behave in a transparent manner. Thus a well-designed central bank needed to be 1) credible, 2) independent, 3) accountable and 4) transparent.

Well let's see... the Fed has negative credibility right now (and can't print up more) and has burnt up most of its political capital fighting to retain its position as #1 debt pusher. Independence? Yeah right, if you believe the Fed is independent, I have a warehouse full of unicorn piss to sell you. As for accountability, we're not sure to whom the Fed would be accountable but it certainly isn't any one of us, the poor assholes who have to use dollars to eat, as that would mean they have some serious 'splainin' to do, Lucy. And while I will reluctantly admit that the Fed has taken some pretty big steps towards transparency, it's going to take more than a few dog and pony press conferences and a website redesign to convince me that they are actually taking steps to improve the communication process. Then again, Philadelphia Fed finally got bold enough to tweet me back so who knows, maybe they are making strides in that area.

Anyway, it remains to be seen how and when the Fed will actually pull out, I'll believe it when I see it. My money's on QE 1,515,735 or however many they get to until we finally get smart and kick 'em to the curb where they belong. If Congress were smart enough, they'd knock nearly a trillion dollars off the national debt just by ending the Fed (all debts null and void, can't owe money to someone who doesn't exist!). But we know we'll never see that in our lifetime.


Quick, Everybody Blame the Speculators!

This is awesome and all but what are federal regulators going to do about the guys who have tankers full of oil floating in the middle of the ocean? Or what about the bearded freak who is printing more dollars than even Scrooge McDuck could swim through, thereby directly impacting the price of oil as it is traded in - surprise! - dollars?

CNN Money:

Federal regulators charged five oil speculators Tuesday with manipulating the price of crude and making a $50 million profit from the scheme.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleges the speculators bought enormous amounts of actual crude oil for sale in Cushing, Okla, during the early months of 2008.

This created a perceived shortage of oil in Cushing -- a major point for oil delivery -- and drove the price of oil futures contracts higher.

The speculators then bet the price of oil would fall by selling so-called "short" contracts to other investors. When the speculators sold their actual oil holdings in Cushing en mass, the price of oil did fall, netting the group a hefty profit.

Speculation can be a beautiful thing when executed correctly and in normal circumstances. Of course, we all know this is far from a normal market and the powers that be have a long way to go before they can say they are in control of the situation. Given those facts, it makes sense that certain failing politicians might want to put the focus on speculators, if only to offset the blame associated with failing miserably at economic revitalization.

But that's just my $0.0000002.


TLP: Once Upon a Time, His Worst Problem Was Being Called 'Breck Girl'

edwards investigation
Poor John Edwards, doing it so wrong. He didn't get to be president. Or vice president. He'd barely become a baby daddy when he got busted by the National Enquirer, forcing him to run into hotel bathrooms in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, another political baby daddy got elected governor of California. Twice.

The wife Edwards cheated on died. His sex tape ended up in court. An aide wrote a book. And now this, according to the NYT:
The Justice Department plans to move ahead with criminal charges against the former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, contending that he misused campaign funds to cover up an affair with his mistress, a person close to Mr. Edwards said Wednesday morning.

“DOJ has made its decision to move forward with charges,” the person told The New York Times in an e-mail. “This phase of the case is moving rapidly toward conclusion,” the person added, but did not clarify whether this meant that an indictment was coming or that the whole case was moving toward a conclusion through a plea bargain.
And it's not even the fucking, it's the fucking money. Ask John Ensign about that. And watch Mark Sanford, who reimbursed South Carolina after his travel expenses were questioned, roll around in the sand with his Argentinian girlfriend after a long hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Fuck, the way things are going for Edwards, he might want to go to jail.


Will June 30th Be the End of the World?

Since none of us are talented enough to be able to jump into a time machine and go back to late 2008 to study a world without QE 1 and 2, it's difficult to analyze the what if of not pursuing the easy money policies of the last three years. Would unemployment be higher? Would there be more bank failures? Would there have been another Bear Stearns-esque firesale of a major investment house?

My guess is that unemployment would be about the same (a bit lower, perhaps, for scare purposes), as would consumer credit, manufacturing, retail sales, housing starts, etc etc.

In my view, the only impact QE 2 has had is in equities and commodities. This market should have turned ugly in March of 2009 and instead has continued to surge despite overwhelming evidence that contradicts all those pretty green up-up-up numbers. Or, in other words, "this market is more reluctant to go down than a Sofitel Hotel Maid."

The point of QE 2 was never to create jobs. It was never to put deserving families in homes they can barely afford. It was not to get more money on Main Street as that would be inflationary, duh.

The entire point, at least as far as I've figured it out, was to keep the money laundering machine going (in absence of big Treasury buyers) and to make our banks appear solvent. That's pretty much it, and if you think it had anything to do with getting Americans back to work or out of debt.

It isn't correct to call it quantitative easing, in the traditional sense, which is why I mostly stick to calling it money laundering, easy money whoring or, the easiest explanation, money printing. Money laundering is the closest thing to the truth, as the Fed is basically loaning money at zero to the banks, who buy Treasurys only to sell them to the Fed. Sure, it's not technically money printing (more like blip creation) but hey, sometimes you have to keep things simple.

Said the Pragmatic Capitalist in November of 2010: "All of my work regarding QE has me wondering why the Fed would implement such a policy when the evidence appears to point to little to no gain in economic growth? The only logical answer is that QE2 is really just another case of the Federal Reserve proving that this is a country centered around the bankers, by the bankers and for the bankers."

Even Fedheads admit the net effect of QE 1, 2, 7, 12 or 163 is really, well, nothing, unless you count moving risk around and some strange psychological comfort for easy money whores as an effect. Check out October 2010 comments from Minnesota Fed's Narayana Kocherlakota:

What is the ultimate impact on the overall economy of this shift in risk? In the baseline models used by central banks, all bondholders are taxpayers. In these models, QE is essentially shifting risk from one pocket to another. As a result, the increase in tax risk (what I’m calling the fourth effect of QE) completely undoes the decrease in interest rate risk (the third effect of QE). QE ends up having no effects, except for those associated with any new forward guidance that it signals.

What happens when QE 2 ends? The U.S. government is going to have a bunch of trouble funding its operations, that part we know. I would recommend going long popping corn and peanut oil.


The Public Face of the Fed Cracks

Is the public face of the Federal Reserve in a shambles? Numerian over at The Agonist certainly seems to feel that way:

How much control of the Fed has Ben Bernanke lost? We have never had a Fed board in living memory that has been so fractious in public. The Fed has always had a party line and governors and presidents are expected to have all speeches cleared in advance to ensure the party line is followed. With this Fed, so many FOMC members have come out in opposition to official policy that you have to wonder if there is a party line left any more. To the extent it revolves around Quantitative Easing, it is in a shambles.

Too bad that's not entirely the case. The existence (or, if you subscribe to this school of thought, appearance) of diverging opinion within Fed ranks lends much-needed credibility to the issues they do fully agree on (like easy money for the last 3 years). It would be a bit suspect if 12 different Fed presidents and the Board, all with differing political positions, views, beliefs, backgrounds and experience were somehow always in agreement on every issue, regardless of the farce that is Fed independence.

Case in point, check out Bloomberg February 2006:

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson's resignation may help new Fed chief Ben Bernanke win support at the central bank for a numerical inflation goal.

Ferguson, who quit yesterday effective April 28 after eight years on the Fed's Board of Governors, opposes an inflation target, partly because it may limit the central bank's flexibility. Bernanke's support for such a move has been a hallmark of his work as an economist.

The absence of Ferguson and former Chairman Alan Greenspan removes the two biggest obstacles to a Fed inflation goal, leaving Governor Donald Kohn as the only board member known to disagree with the approach. At least 21 central banks, including those in Canada, the U.K. and Australia, have an inflation aim, and Bernanke told Congress in November that such a strategy would make the Fed more open.

At the time, the media and the Fed-obsessed guessed that this inflation targeting disagreement could have been to blame for Ferguson's departure but a more likely scenario is that Ferguson (a Democrat) got butthurt over Bernanke (an alleged Republican) getting the chair spot.

In fewer words: bitchfighting is nothing new at the Fed, manufactured or otherwise.

I will, however, wholeheartedly agree with The Agonist's point that we're seeing an all-out assault on the Fed's "party line," whatever that might be. The spear-throwing is only a step above cussing each other out in public and I, for one, am thrilled. It may not be making much progress on the economy but hey, it makes for fantastic theater.


TLP: I Guess It's Not News Til It's in the Newspaper

Monday, May 23, 2011 , , 0 Comments

lazy media
If there's one thing The Lazy Paperboy loves, it's company. Lazy company. So let me just say hello, Washington Post, and welcome. You've been mighty lazy.

The Post has a story that says Indian outsourcing companies are finding it too expensive to hire workers in India, so they are outsourcing jobs to ... wait for it, the United States.

The Washington Post with Bloomberg (did the Post outsource the story?):
Ray Capuana paces the rows of cubicles in a haggard high-rise a stone’s throw from Wall Street as his people hustle the phones and hope for a bonus check.

His employees are not bond traders, though. They are call center workers. Many are African Americans without college degrees. Some lack high school diplomas. They work for a Mumbai-based company called Aegis Communications.

India’s outsourcing giants — faced with rising wages at home — have looked for growth opportunities in the United States. But with Washington crimping visas for visiting Indian workers, some companies such as Aegis are slowly hiring workers in North America, where their largest corporate customers are based. In this evolution, outsourcing has come home.
So here's the lazy part. The Financial Times had a nearly identical story nine months ago, which was brought to you right here on Jr Deputy Accountant.

TLP: Jobs Outsourced To India Now Being Outsourced Back To America

Just laugh at the irony, will you? Or cry. Up to you.

Financial Times:

Call centre workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the US as they are in India, according to the head of the country’s largest business process outsourcing company.

High unemployment levels have driven down wages for some low-skilled outsourcing services in some parts of the US, particularly among the Hispanic population.

At the same time, wages in India’s outsourcing sector have risen by 10 per cent this year and senior outsourcing managers based in the country command salaries above global averages. ...
Suddenly, I'm not feeling as lazy as usual. Better do something about that.


TLP: Who Will Read it to W?

cheney book
It's not news that Dick Cheney is writing a book. But for some reason, it was news that the book will have a cover and that the cover will have a picture of Dick Cheney on it.

Given that Cheney is being kept alive by a battery-powered heart pump , who better to get the story from than CNN's political ticker ...
We still don't know what Dick Cheney's memoir will reveal, but now we know what it will look like.

Threshold Editions, an imprint of mega publishing house Simon & Schuster, unveiled the cover of the former vice president's upcoming memoir Wednesday, portraying a pensive-looking Cheney from what appears to be his days in the White House.

The book, called In My Time, is 544 pages and set to be released on August 30, according to the publisher.
So far, the book has at least five words: the title and the author's name. If Cheney is a lazy writer *coughahemcough* he may still be playing around with those.

Mine: Itchy Dickey Men
Dickey Nice, Mine Myth
Nicked Icy Hymen Time
My Denim Chicken Yeti
My Me Hickey Incident
Dicey Icemen Ink Myth

Hey, he's got all summer. As long as that pump holds out.


TLP: Police Charge Unemployed Man with Shooting Tiny Loads for 'Stress Relief'

bb vandalism
We here at Jr Deputy Accountant like our guns, but are against gun violence. I'm not sure this even qualifies. It seems like it barely qualifies as vandalism.

Police in Porter County, Indiana have finally detained a man suspected of a months-long string of BB gun shootings throughout the area.

Dennis Ditterline admitted to a spree of 75 shootings that left dozens of cars, homes and buildings in the area damaged, according to Fox Chicago. And police have no reason to believe that he's lying: “He had working knowledge of what had taken place,” Valparaiso Police Department Detective Sgt. Jeff Balon said.

A Valparaiso, IN man was instrumental in hunting down Ditterline. He awoke one morning to a loud bang, and looked out the window in time to catch the license plates of Ditterline's car, which led authorities to the suspect. Surveillance footage from a Wal-mart also helped police identify him as the BB shooter, according to the Chesterton Tribune.

That paper also describes Ditterline's confessed motive:

When asked the reason for the spree, Ditterline told investigators that he was “out of work” and had “health issues,” that he was “frustrated with life,” and that shooting at cars was a kind of “stress relief,” Sgt. Mike Grennes of the VPD told the Chesterton Tribune today.

“He said he felt better after he did it,” Grennes said.
There's a much easier way to get "stress relief" and feel better. And the police are rarely involved.


The Fed Goes Retro

Saturday, May 21, 2011 0 Comments

Via NY Fed's Liberty Street Economics:

Over the years, the Federal Reserve System has used many methods to communicate about the role it plays in support of stable prices, full employment, and financial stability. Current communication tools include the new press conferences by the Chairman, speeches by Bank presidents, public websites, economic education programs, local outreach efforts, publications, and blogs like this one.

Ninety years ago, however, the options were more limited. The Fed was still new and the nation’s economy was plagued by a growing number of bank failures. The five posters below (from the mid-1920s), with their images of strength and stability, were part of a larger series designed for display at member banks. They were likely intended to inform the public about the Federal Reserve System and foster confidence in its member banks.


Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Sweet Severance Package (Insert Lorena Bobbitt Joke Here)

h/t The Daily Bail

Care to guess who pays the most into the International Monetary Fund? Why the American taxpayer, obviously, duh!

And here's some great news on our ROI for that particular scam... looks like (alleged) humiliated pervert and third world nation sodomizer Dominique Strauss-Kahn will receive quite the severance package from the IMF now that he's resigned in shame. Infinite sadness? More like gold toilet seats and Bentleys. It's hard out there for a debt pimp, you know.

Here are the terms of his gig, courtesy of the IMF. If it's TL;DR, that's $420,930 a year plus a $75,350 bonus to cover "a scale of living appropriate to your position as Managing Director" which does not include the additional "entertainment" expense allowed on top of that. By our estimation, that's about $500,000 or 41,666 hours worked by the maid he (allegedly) assaulted. Assuming she works 40 hours a week every week at $12/hr, it would only take her 20 years to make what good old DSK made in a year. Not bad, old man, not bad.

Your salary as Managing Director of the Fund shall be $420,930 per annum. As explained in Section 14(b) of the By-Laws, this salary shall be net of income taxes.

b) You will receive an allowance in the aggregate amount of $75,350 per annum, similarly net of any income taxes, payable in equal monthly installments, without any certification or justification by you, to enable you to maintain, in the interests of the Fund, a scale of living appropriate to your position as Managing Director and to the Fund's need for representation. In addition, you will be reimbursed for reasonable expenses actually incurred for entertainment directly related to the business of the Fund.

c) The Fund will reimburse you per diem at the rate applicable to Executive Directors plus reasonable vouchered expenses not covered by the per diem, including all hotel expenses, incurred by you for travel in the interest of the Fund. Such expenses shall include travel and hotel expenses of your spouse in attending Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors held outside the Washington, D.C. area, and in accompanying you on official travel in circumstances where this is in the interest of the Fund.

d) Both your salary and your general representational allowance will be adjusted on July 1 of each year beginning in 2008 by the percentage increase in the Washington metropolitan-area Consumer Price Index1 for the twelve months ending the preceding May.

Sweet! But wait, there's more!

(i) You will participate in the Staff Retirement Plan, with effect from the date of your appointment.

(ii) In addition to the pension which you will receive under the Staff Retirement Plan, you will receive, as from the commencement of this pension and continuing for the duration of your life, an annual supplemental retirement allowance equal in the amount to a percentage of the total pension payments you receive each year on account of your participation in the Staff Retirement Plan, determined according to years of completed service as indicated in the table in Annex I; provided, however, that the amount of that supplemental retirement allowance each year would be reduced to the extent that you receive income from regular and continuous employment of not less than six months' duration.

(iv) This supplemental retirement allowance will be payable in equal monthly installments along with the monthly payments from the Staff Retirement Plan. Should you elect either to receive a withdrawal benefit or to commute a portion of your pension under the Staff Retirement Plan, an amount equal to the percentage applicable to the number of years of completed service set forth in the table in Annex I, of the amount paid in commutation would be paid to you at the same time under the supplemental retirement allowance scheme. In addition, any other elections or options selected by you that apply to benefits under the Staff Retirement Plan will likewise apply to the corresponding benefits applicable under the supplemental retirement allowance. All payments will be subject to any necessary adjustments, including recovery for overpayments, at the end of each year.

At the end of your term or terms of service, or if your service is terminated by the Executive Board after more than one year of service, or if you resign after having served for at least two years, you will be paid a Separation Allowance equal to a percent of the total salary paid to you during your last year of service, according to years of completed service, as indicated in the table in Annex I. The amount of the Separation Allowance will be reduced by the amount of any non-taxable income, and by two-thirds of any taxable income, you receive from regular and continuous employment of not less than six months' duration, as explained in footnote 2, during the year following the end of your service. In addition, the Separation Allowance will be reduced by the amount, if any, of the supplemental retirement allowance paid for the period covering the first year following your separation from service. All payments will be subject to any necessary adjustment including recovery for overpayments, at the end of the first year. The Separation Allowance would be net of income tax in the same manner as your salary.

We consulted Annex I, of course, and found that DSK will receive 60% of his salary as a Separation Allowance. So that's $252,000, on top of the retirement plan.

Financially raping the third world and literally raping hotel maids is apparently a sweet gig, it's obvious I've missed my calling.

CNBC has (updated) details on DSK's golden shower, er, parachute.


Global Earthquake Activity, May 21, 2011 (Or, Alternatively, "There Goes Doomsday")

Since the Family Radio website is down (or experiencing too much traffic to handle on this, its alleged Judgment Day), we can't check to see what Harold Camping is up to so let's consult USGS to see if his doomsday predictions are coming true as we speak. Here's the global earthquake activity of the last day:

y/m/d h:m:s
MAP 5.0  2011/05/21 16:30:31   31.259   -41.003 9.9  NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
MAP 3.1  2011/05/21 16:05:49   31.956  -116.191 0.0  BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
MAP 4.9  2011/05/21 14:23:53   -7.172   127.351 23.5  KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA
MAP 4.0  2011/05/21 13:57:10   59.752  -152.651 77.4  SOUTHERN ALASKA
MAP 5.3  2011/05/21 13:08:06   17.257   121.755 45.1  LUZON, PHILIPPINES
MAP 2.6  2011/05/21 12:15:14   35.522   -97.264 4.3  OKLAHOMA
MAP 2.5  2011/05/21 11:42:31   57.827  -143.166 25.0  GULF OF ALASKA
MAP 2.6  2011/05/21 11:14:30   53.223  -161.269 25.4  SOUTH OF ALASKA
MAP 4.6  2011/05/21 10:42:29   38.790   142.133 37.8  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 4.6  2011/05/21 10:24:45   37.239   141.371 35.3  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 3.4  2011/05/21 10:16:32   55.533  -158.621 22.9  ALASKA PENINSULA
MAP 2.8  2011/05/21 10:04:44   57.506  -153.911 25.5  KODIAK ISLAND REGION, ALASKA
MAP 5.0  2011/05/21 09:53:55   -7.265   147.003 42.6  EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP 4.8  2011/05/21 08:51:49   35.911   140.261 67.3  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 5.2  2011/05/21 08:33:21   65.369  -166.891 19.2  NORTHERN ALASKA
MAP 3.3  2011/05/21 07:42:46   58.164  -151.463 32.9  KODIAK ISLAND REGION, ALASKA
MAP 4.9  2011/05/21 06:31:53  -25.821   179.500 523.6  SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS
MAP 4.6  2011/05/21 05:35:27   39.040   142.311 35.3  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 3.0  2011/05/21 04:45:31   19.288  -155.772 10.2  ISLAND OF HAWAII, HAWAII
MAP 4.8  2011/05/21 04:35:38   -9.889   160.861 41.7  SOLOMON ISLANDS
MAP 2.8  2011/05/21 02:44:11   51.538  -176.820 19.5  ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN IS., ALASKA
MAP 4.5  2011/05/21 02:43:18   4.749   -82.573 9.9  SOUTH OF PANAMA
MAP 3.4  2011/05/21 02:17:40   20.127  -157.655 0.6  OAHU REGION, HAWAII
MAP 4.6  2011/05/21 01:34:39   -3.505   -80.304 35.0  PERU-ECUADOR BORDER REGION
MAP 3.7  2011/05/21 01:09:22   33.502  -119.118 15.3  CHANNEL ISLANDS REGION, CALIFORNIA
MAP 5.1  2011/05/21 00:41:37  -55.997   -27.195 40.7  SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
MAP 2.6  2011/05/21 00:38:23   59.870  -141.439 3.8  SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA
MAP 5.9  2011/05/21 00:16:27  -56.066   -27.165 64.8  SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION

OMG right? No, not at all, actually. Check out the activity the day before:

y/m/d h:m:s
MAP 2.6  2011/05/20 23:34:11   60.059  -141.488 17.3  SOUTHERN ALASKA
MAP 4.6  2011/05/20 23:20:19   0.291   98.398 47.5  NIAS REGION, INDONESIA
MAP 2.8  2011/05/20 23:14:23   29.829  -106.620 15.3  CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO
MAP 4.9  2011/05/20 22:10:56   35.957   141.862 38.9  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 4.5  2011/05/20 20:13:42   0.322   98.480 60.1  NIAS REGION, INDONESIA
MAP 4.6  2011/05/20 20:03:28  -23.540   119.401 15.0  WESTERN AUSTRALIA
MAP 2.9  2011/05/20 19:57:06   37.983  -118.774 8.8  CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
MAP 5.7  2011/05/20 19:43:17   -7.219   146.918 10.4  EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP 5.0  2011/05/20 18:46:25   46.598   152.248 62.3  KURIL ISLANDS
MAP 4.1  2011/05/20 17:44:35   34.389   89.543 12.9  XIZANG-QINGHAI BORDER REGION
MAP 2.7  2011/05/20 16:11:48   19.191   -64.158 6.2  VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
MAP 2.7  2011/05/20 13:35:28   18.897   -66.467 5.3  PUERTO RICO REGION
MAP 4.2  2011/05/20 12:51:51   59.898  -153.292 136.4  SOUTHERN ALASKA
MAP 4.8  2011/05/20 11:10:12  -53.604   140.878 9.9  WEST OF MACQUARIE ISLAND
MAP 4.3  2011/05/20 11:02:50  -29.174   -69.231 100.8  SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA
MAP 4.5  2011/05/20 10:34:18  -24.224   -67.067 164.5  SALTA, ARGENTINA
MAP 4.9  2011/05/20 08:53:04   35.902   140.003 74.1  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

Well damn! Does this mean post-Rapture looting is canceled?