Wednesday’s a snooze day

| April 29, 2009
Were coming for you.

We're coming for you.

MORNING LINKS

ITEM: Speaking of swine flu hysteria, this may be a good time to invest in pork belly futures — there may be a shortage soon.

ITEM: Yet another way in which Western Europeans are looking for the US to help them financially.

ITEM: Here’s a slideshow of items from the Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch auction. Some interesting, some amusing, some downright creepy. Hat tip to the Drunk Report.

OVERNIGHT LINKS

ITEM: With rising panic over the swine flu, here’s a statistic to keep in mind: about 36,000 people already die each year from flu right here in the US.  It will be interesting to see how many actual swine flu deaths we have here in the US. Bet it won’t be 36,000.

ITEM: Or should I say “H1N1 flu deaths“? Just trips off the tongue, doesn’t it? Kind of like “man-caused disasters”. Hmm…maybe “porcine-induced disaster“? (For SK fans out there: yes, ‘trips’ was deliberate.)

ITEM: What is most telling about Arlen Specter’s party switch is not the move itself; it’s his blatant hypocrisy after denying such a switch just five weeks ago and proposing changes to Senate rules back in 2001 after Jeffords’ defection. But here’s the real kicker: Joe Biden talked him into the switch. It’s one thing to be persuaded by the charisma and rhetoric (if a teleprompter is handy) of Obama — but Joe Biden?  It doesn’t say much for Specter. Of course, neither does this.

ITEM: The economic collapse has made wildcatters of us all:

In 1993, Chevron Corp. gave up the ghost and turned the field over to the city. “We go for big oil fields,” a Chevron spokesman says, and Whittier just “wasn’t economical.” Whittier, for its part, saw its legacy in President Richard M. Nixon — who attended college here when he couldn’t afford Harvard — and the city was glad to be rid of the pumps.

But then last year, as tax revenues plunged and oil crept up toward $150 a barrel, Bob Henderson, the town’s mayor, had a revelation.

“I was sitting at home, just idly thinking about this possibility of oil drilling and suddenly thought: ‘Oh, my God, when I purchased the old Chevron property, we demanded they give us the oil rights.’ ”

The demand was made so Whittier could convert the area into a wilderness preserve. Says Mr. Henderson: “It’s home to an awful lot of animals — bobcats, coyotes, hundreds of birds.”

Goodbye Bambi, hello oil rigs. Cha-ching!

ITEM: And pirate attacks have made heroes of us all:

Tayler and the others rushed to the railing and also saw what he described as five or six men sitting in a roofless pirate boat. One started climbing a rope to the deck beneath them. “He was already halfway up,” says Tayler. One passenger screamed: “Pirates!”

Without hesitation, passengers began to grab whatever they could find around them. “We immediately began throwing tables and deck chairs at the rope,” said Tayler. One hit a pirate scaling it. He fell off and the boat turned around, Tayler recalls.

The skirmish between the passengers and the pirates lasted for several minutes, he says. Suddenly, the pirates opened fire — Tayler says he counted three salvos of 25 to 30 rounds each.

Again and again, the pirate boat would approach the ship and disappear under the stern, only to reemerge. Tayler and his fellow passengers continued to throw chairs despite the gunfire. One passenger was shot in the leg and one bullet grazed the head of a crew member. The armed security staff finally turned up six to eight minutes into the skirmish, passengers claim.

Good for them.

ITEM: And the continuing market in credit default swaps (CDSs) may yet again make paupers of us all:

Wall Street looks to be quietly making gains in its attempt to keep regulatory interference to a minimum in a $30 trillion derivatives market at the heart of the financial crisis.

The fact that I haven’t even mentioned the name of the market yet speaks to one of the main reasons Wall Street is winning: it is benefitting from the fact that Main Streeters and their representatives in Congress are too bored by the topic to do anything about it.

Credit default swaps, or CDS — there, I said it — are a really geeky business. They are essentially promises by one party to pay another, if some third party should fail to pay its debts.

ITEM: Quick, which car manufacturer do you think will be #1 in global new car sales ten years from now? I’ll bet you weren’t thinking of this one.

ITEM: Speaking of manufacturing, here’s one of my all-time favorite SNL commercials. The best part is watching Sam Waterston struggle to keep a straight face.

ITEM: And finally, this is just too cool for words:

One man, living his dream.

Thanks for stopping by!  ..bruce w..

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Category: Business, Congress, Credit Backlash, Economics, Engineering, Environment, Geopolitics, Health and Fitness, Humor, Links roundup, Obama Administration, Pandemics, Recession Watch, Robots, Science, Space, Television, Toys, US Politics, Video, Weird

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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