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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mailbag: "Bear Trader" writes re Strauss-Kahn Case:

You think unlikely that Strauss-Kahn, 62 year old ex-head of the IMF, would be chasing a black house maid down his hotel hallway. Me, I'm agnostic. Some people are goat-weed horny and some people get a hard on from power over others, especially killing.

Let us presuppose that Strauss-Kahn was set up, "framed". One then has to look at motive and opportunity. Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank (involved with the Credit Lyonnaise scandal in 2003 when Treasurer of France, found not guilty, but was indeed guilty as far as I can judge) has been leading the "No haircut for Greek Bond holders" charge for the European Banking people while Strauss-Kahn has been pushing Greek bond restructuring, that is, "hair cutting" Greek bond holders. It looks clear to me that Strauss-Kahn has been running a power game with the European Central Bank. Been obvious for years. In a sense it is the old power struggle at the rotten heart of the EU, the struggle for dominance between France and Germany.

The world, looking through the European Central Bank's eyes, requires a harmony in Europe sufficient to avoid a repeat of the 20th Century cataclysms. The Strauss-Kahn faction agrees, but in a very French way - they believe that European peace is best served by French control and that Germany should know it's place - to serve, and not to rule. After all, Germans are stupid and (upper class) Frenchmen are brilliant, humane, witty, and sexy. The Germans, on the other hand, refuse to be France's beasts of burden.

To the Trichet (German - Luxembourger - Czech - Polish - Swiss) banker faction it looks like the French are suffering from the inability to add and subtract or even distinguish between delusion and reality. The European banks function under a reserve system set at the Basel III (I wrote "Basel II" in my previous email when I should have written "Basel III") which "recommend" at least 7% bank capital reserves. The "quality" requirement for these required reserves looks very questionable to me. The European banks are very shaky indeed

As the banker's faction sees things, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, with his money printing "answer" to the PIIGS problem would be the end of the Euro common currency and almost certainly mean the end of the EU. Strauss-Kahn has been playing chicken with the Germans with the goal of personal power (as the banker faction sees it).

As Strauss-Kahn sees it, the problem is that the bankers refuse political control and can easily be bailed out with enough "Quantitative Easing". Strauss-Kahn is a very, very arrogant man.

I think the banker faction has a less delusional situational analysis. Since Strauss-Kahn has been arrested the European Central Bank has embarked on a program of increasing interest rates throughout the banking system intended to control inflation and recapitalize the banks. This shows considerable wisdom especially when compared to the Bernanke Fed and one and a half trillion dollars per year US Federal deficits. The odds of the EU surviving go up while the odds of the USA surviving go down.

So there you go, motive. On the other hand, least hypothesis is that Strauss-Kahn is guilty.

Police: Madison: Incident Report of Possible Rapture Incident

Click on the post for a classic police report.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mailbag; "Bear Trader " Writes re EU Debt Crisis

So, what would happen if Greece defaulted on its debt? Would it be as bad as Lehman Brothers? Here's an excerpt from The Guardian:

"If Athens reneged on its debts it would shatter the markets' confidence in the eurozone project... Given the structure of modern financial markets, with their chains of derivative trades and their pyramids of debt, there is only one answer. Greece could certainly be the next Lehmans. The likelihood that a Greek default would pose a threat to the future of the eurozone as well as to the health of the world economy means it has the potential to be worse than Lehmans. Much worse...."

If Greece goes under, then it could take Portugal, Ireland and (perhaps) Spain along with it. So why is ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet dilly-dallying? Does he really think the problem is just going to go away? And why did French Finance Minster Christine Lagarde (who is the leading candidate to replace ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn) announce that "that a rescheduling or reprofiling of Greek debt is NOT an option (and that) executing the planned austerity program, proper implementation of privatization, and commitments across the political spectrum in Greece are the key for a solution in Greece" ("France's Lagarde: Option Of Rescheduling Greek Debt Not On Table", Wall Street Journal)

Talk about throwing gas on a fire! Does Lagarde want to kick off her appointment by sending the markets into freefall?

Things are looking bleaker and bleaker for Greece. Bond yields are widening, the red ink is rising and the ECB is as inflexible as ever. There's a good chance that policymakers will push this austerity-thing too far and bring the whole EU crashing down around them."


Well, the Lefties are always pushing an agenda, and what they haven't mentioned is who is to pay for all this EU largess. The amount of money involved is way larger than the European Central Bank (ECB) can manage, keeping in mind that if you pay off Greece's debt, you will have to pay off Ireland's, Portugal's, Spain's, Italy's, etc. Otherwise, the way overleveraged, Basel II reserve level European banks have to take the hit. It would be worse than Lehman and result in immediate destruction of the EU. I personally don't think this would be bad. It would blow out the US "too big to fail" banks in a heartbeat. I mean, the TBTF banks would be in the hole way worse than the Federal Government is, maybe $100 Trillion or more. They would be gone in seconds. History.

This would be the result of the collapse of the $1 Quadrillion 600 Trillion derivatives market. The Swiss banks would mostly not survive either.

So, bankers everywhere are looking their darkest nightmare straight in the face - a run on all banks, all at once, and everywhere. One much too large for the politicians to paper over. To get their books in order they have to, must ("Civilization is at stake!") transfer their excess liabilities to someone else or must keep then hidden. The USA (taxpayer) has strained his gut taking on Goldman Sachs' liabilities. Try the whole world. The GDP of the entire planet is a thousand times too small.

Could mean the end of central banking as we know it. The derivative pile blowing up would do this.

So there is desperate "kicking the can down the road" by politicians, central bankers, and everyone else in the financial world. That is why QE1, QE2, etc. If derivative values collapse it will be the end of the world as we know it. Myself, I am increasingly of the opinion that this "fall of the towers" is unavoidable. Might as well just let 'er rip.

The end of fiat money. What a trip. Andrew Jackson turns out to be right about a central bank.

What we are seeing is simple human nature. A crowd in panic, like being inside a theater that catches fire. The Four Horsemen ride again, and we thought we were done with them. All this because of mere marks on paper, nothing to do with the real economy.

So there is no choice but for Greece to take the rap, to be the scapegoat, to take the loss, even if that requires occupation by foreign troops. Anything is justified by the need to stop the contagion (as seen through the eyes of the ruling class). It won't come to military occupation though, as Greece will take it's beating like a good boy. If Greece becomes the horrible example then the other PIIGS will stay in line. Euro is saved. The EU is saved. The USA does not break up.

If Greece is a good boy the EU won't let anyone starve there. If the Greek government with EU financial help can't make that happen then the Germans will.

Wis Judge Voids Collective Bargaining Law: NYT

Click on the post for the latest.

Drink Tax is the Solution: Star Tribune

It's a viable solution for the sports stadiums of Minnesota.....and it is also a viable solution for funding education in Wisconsin.

Click on the post for the story.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wind Turbines coming to St. Paul--vertical ones: Pioneer Press

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2008: Audio: School: Ad Hoc: Potential Land Sites Discussed

Nostalgia: 2008: Audio: Evansville School Ad Hoc: 9-10-2008: Potential land sites identified and disussed as to advantages and possible size, and what additional information would be helpful to know.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Soucheray weighs in against new Viking Stadium; Pioneer Press

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Madison faces Grim Budget Landscape: WSJ

Mayor Soglin has proposed capital expenditure cuts for coming fiscal year...what a wonderful leadership idea...maybe some other cities will follow suit.

Click on the post for the latest.

BookBeat: "The Filter Bubble--What the Internet is Hiding from You"

Click on the post for a book that is very timely.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Housing Starts for Evansville, Wisconsin

Click on the post for the housing starts courtesy of the city of Evansville.

It appears that with the number of vacant lots, homes up for sale, homes up for foreclosure, homes that are pending sale due to death or job change, and "shadow inventory" of homes that banks are keeping on their books to make them look good....that we have 20 years at least before there is any problem of adding more capacity.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

City to suspend Open Meeting Law?


A regular meeting of the Economic Development Committee for the City of Evansville will be held on the date, time and place stated below. Notice is further given that members of the City Council may be in attendance.

City of Evansville
Economic Development Committee
Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 5:30 PM
City Hall, 31 S. Madison St. Evansville, WI


1. Suspension of rules to open meeting.

2. Roll call.

3. Nominations for and election of Economic Development Committee chair.

4. Call to order.

5. Committee member introductions.

6. Citizen appearances, other than listed agenda items.

7. Chamber of Commerce report.

8. Economic Development Plan – task force action items.

9. East Main Street Bridge construction meeting.

10. Adjournment.

Social Media in the Classroom: Silently speaking up: New York Times

Click on the post for the latest.

The Challenge Facing Florida: St. Pete Times

The times are a changing in Florida. Click on the post for the story.

Mailbag: Fred writes Re: Library Funding

I wrote to Democratic members of the Joint Finance Committee urging them to work to remove some of the onerous provisions in Gov. Walker's budget relative to libraries. Senator Jauch's reply is below. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in contact with me or with Kathi Kemp.

Perhaps, if you have time, you can contact legislators and the governor to indicate your support for our public libraries in Wisconsin.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sen.Jauch
Date: Thu, May 12, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Subject: Library Funding
To: libraryfriends@charter.net

Dear Fred,

Thank you for contacting me regarding Governor Walker’s budget proposal and the impact it will have on funding for local libraries in Wisconsin.

As you may know, the Joint Committee on Finance met recently to discuss a number of budget issues, including library funding. I was encouraged that Republicans who control the committee chose to restore funding for the BadgerLink program. The BadgerLink program is especially important to rural communities, it links library holding throughout the state and provides access to a multitude of information that would otherwise be difficult to access. That being said, I was deeply disappointed that they proceeded to cut $4.1 million in aid to public library systems and repeal local maintenance of effort statutes which have been in place since public library systems were first established in 1971.

Democrats offered a compromise to set maintenance of effort at 90% and restore it to 100% in two years. Republicans on the committee refused to even consider our proposal. Unfortunately, we were also unable to restore state aids for libraries resulting in funding library aids at approximately the same level from 2005.

Our local communities are already being asked to shoulder a greater burden under Walker’s budget and now they will also have to deal with deep cuts in library aid. Libraries today not only provide access to literature and information, but they serve as local community centers. In this economic downturn, library attendance has increased dramatically. Libraries are an important resource for those who need access to computers, internet services, and job search assistance.

I was especially disappointed that Republicans obviously didn’t listen to the hundreds of people who testified in public hearings asking to protect funding for libraries.

Residents and children across our state have come to depend on the services provided by local libraries and Walker’s actions fail to live up to his promises. The elimination of school reading specialists, deep cuts in school and community library funding, and the repeal of policies that have supported our libraries for forty years will reduce access to information, educational opportunities, and economic development services. Governor Walker and his fellow Republicans have once again decided to force children and families to make sacrifices while at the same time providing $200 million in new corporate tax breaks and giveaways to the wealthiest citizens in the state. The only ones being asked to share in the sacrifice are those who can least afford to do so.

Thanks again for contacting me. I appreciate your input, and please stay in touch with me on this and any other issues of concern to you.


Bob Jauch

State Senator

Town of Beloit Discrimination Case--1.5 Million damage award: Gazette

Click on the post for the latest.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rally at the Capitol This Saturday: MoveOnOrg

MoveOn members helped turn out in droves for a historic statewide recall effort—and we're well on our way to making sure that Scott Walker loses his majority. But we can't stop now.

Gov. Walker and his allies are so determined to hurt Wisconsin's middle-class families that they are now talking about adding Walker's union busting bill to the state's two-year budget.1

We can't let this stand. We need to remind Walker and his allies that Wisconsinites across the state reject his extreme agenda to limit their rights.

The We Are Wisconsin campaign is hosting a rally at the Capitol this Saturday, May 14. We need a huge crowd to remind Walker that in Wisconsin the people are still in charge.

WHAT: We Are Wisconsin rally
WHEN: May 14, 2011 with pre-rally events at 2:30 p.m. and the full rally at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: The State Capitol, 2 E. Main Street in Madison

Bargaining Restriction to be extended to Police and Fire in proposed bill: WSJ

Click on the post for the latest.

Brodhead Municipal Court Report: May 2011

Click on the post for the report.

Slideshow: Minimata Disease--Fifty Years of History: Yahoo

Click on the post for the show.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Video: 2 of 2: Mason Speaks: Evansville Plan; Asserts that "Hysteria caused by those who seek to develop rural residential growth"

Video; Evansville Plan: Mason, Evansville Common Council Presidents responds to citizen concerns; meeting on May 2, 2011

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Ecnomic Growth and Job Growth Different: Lookout

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Video: 1 of 2: Mason Speaks

Video: Evansville Planning Commission: May 2, 2011; Mason, Evansville Council Pres. responds to citizen input.

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French set to Ban Fracking: NYT

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Vikings Stadium site Set? Arden Hills location: stay tuned.

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I and E Club Meets Wednesday---6:30PM Eager Economy Building

“What’s It Worth to You” is a topic likely to stimulate some lively questions at Wednesday’s meeting of the Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club. Guest speaker David Vobora will focus on no- and low-cost market research techniques to forecast the profitability of your business ideas. Use these techniques right away to figure out your next business steps this summer! Refreshments are sponsored by the I&E Club. Join us at 6:30 pm Wednesday, May 11, in the lower level of the Eager Economy Building, 7 E. Main St., Evansville.

1/31/08: Union Plan: Janes Development

Presentation of proposed residential development; On parcel 6-20-167, Hwy M and Territorial Rd.

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Video:2 of 2 Hammann Analysis: Evansville Smart Growth

Video: 2 of 2: Bill Hammann provides analysis of Smart Growth Plan amendment as presented and suggests which parts are feasible, and which parts are not.

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Video: Hammann Analysis: 1 of 2: Smart Growth Plan

Video: Evansville Smart Growth Plan Meeting: 5/2/2011; Analysis of Bill Hammann on what is feasible and what is not; How can it be paid for?

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Video: 6: Evansville Comp Plan

Video: 6: Evansville Comp Plan: May 2, 2011

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Video: 5: Evansville Comp Plan

Video: 5: Evansville Comprehensive Plan: Presented by John Stockham 5/2/2011

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Half of All Twin Cities Home sales in April Foreclosures: StarTrib

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Video: 4; Evansville Comp Plan

Video: 4 of several: Evansville Comprehensive Plan: City Planner John Stockham presents: 5/2/2011

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Video: 3: Evansville Comp Plan:

Video: 3 of several: Evansville Comprehensive Plan: John Stockham presents: May 2, 2011

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Video: Evansville Comprehensive Plan: 2: 5/2/2011

Video: 2 of several: Evansville Comprehensive Plan: John Stockham presents: 5/2/2011

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Video: Evansville Comprehensive Plan: 1

Video: Evansville Comprehensive Plan: 1; Evansville City Planner John Stockham presents: Monday, May, 2, 2011 Evansville High School PAC

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Video: Litewire Additon: 2 of 2:

Video: Evansville Planning Commission: LItewire Addition 2 of 2: May 2, 2011

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Video: LiteWire Addition 1 of 2

Video: LiteWire Addition: 1 of 2: Evansville Planning Commission Meeting; May 2, 2011

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Trivia: Observer readers going mobile on "Opera Operating System"

Twenty Percent (20) of all views of pages on the Evansville Observer are viewed on mobile devices....These page views include podcasts listened to mobile.

The percentage mobile has been exploding as the android google operating systems in phones has grown. Stay tuned.

Click on the post for the details on the Opera System.

Audio: Kendall Schneider Speaks

Audio: Evansville Plan Commission: Town of Union Chair, Kendall Schneider speaks and indicates that while the Evansville Process of Amendment on the Smart Growth Plan is legal, it would be more proper for the revision to have full citizen participation.

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Audio; Citizen SpeakOut: Elaine Strausborg Speaks

Audio: Citizen Speak out portion of Evansville Plan Commission: Elaine cites growing diregard of Evansville for citizens.

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Audio: Mr. Janes Speaks

Audio; Citizen Speak Out: Evansville Plan: Monday, May 2, 2011

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Audio: Citizens Speak Out: Doug Zweizig

Audio; Evansville Plan: Doug asserts that the Evansville Plan Amendment is at best a first draft, needs to resolve the conflicting elements with Town of Union

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Audio: Citizens Speak Out: Eric Larsen

Audio: Evansville Plan Commission: Monday May, 2, 2011, Eric Larsen member of Town of Union Plan speaks on the Evansville Plan Amendment.

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Audio; Evansville Comprehensive Plan: 5/2/2011

Audio; Presentation of John Stockham, Evansville City Planner on 5/2/2011 at Planning Commission.

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Audio: LiteWire Expansion on East Main: PlanCommission 5/2

Audio; Evansville Planning Commission: Presentation by John Stockham Evansville City Planner of proposal for expansion of LiteWire on East Main. Approved by Commission.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Video: President Obama speaks on the Death of Bin Laden

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Audio; Evansville Comprehensive Plan 4/4/2011: Meeting TONIGHT: 6PM EHS: Public Hearing for Citizen Comment

Presentation by John Stockham at Evansville Planning Commission on Monday, April 4, 2011----This meeting was adjourned after this initial presentation because of inadequate space. The presentaion will be made again on Monday, May 2nd at EHS and time for comments from the public.....

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