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dkf

dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
September 8, 2012

Democrats Said to End Convention $15 Million Short

Democrats ended their convention in Charlotte $5 million short of their budget even after being forced to draw down a $10 million line of credit from Duke Energy Corp. (DUK), according to a Democratic Party fundraiser.

That will leave a $15 million bill that eventually will have to be paid by President Barack Obama’s campaign or the Democratic National Committee, according to the fundraiser, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The Charlotte Host Committee ended the convention with more than $5 million in immediate obligations and may require a direct cash infusion from the Obama campaign to pay vendors, said the fundraiser.

The $10 million line of credit to Duke Energy will need to be repaid next year, said a second person familiar with the matter, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Duke Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers is co-chairman of the host committee.

Those debts could siphon off advertising money in the campaign’s final months, as Democrats face a cash disadvantage.

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-07/democrats-said-to-end-convention-15-million-short.html

September 7, 2012

the Fed owns all but $650 billion of 10-30 year nominal Treasuries

The Scary Math Behind The Mechanics Of QE3, And Why Bernanke's Hands May Be Tied

When it comes to the NEW QE, everyone has an opinion, and most seem to believe that the NEW QE will come next week, now that the US economy added "just" 96,000 people (but, but, the unemployment rate 'fell'). Certainly, and far more importantly, if the most recent FOMC minutes are any guide, the Fed shares this view. Sadly, as so often happens, most, and this includes the FOMC's various voting members, have once again made up their minds without actually evaluating the limitations posed by simple math. After all it is far easier to form an opinion, and actually think about the underlying facts later. The math, for those who actually have looked at the numbers behind the scenes, is scary (in UBS' words, not ours).

Here is the math.

As part of its Operation Twist, the Fed is buying long-term bonds, and selling short-term (0-3 years) bonds. As we reported in April, the biggest limitation for the Fed is that it is rapidly running out of short-term bonds to sell. There is a fix to this: the Fed will simply have to sell longer dated bonds from its SOMA portfolio, first up to 5 years, then 7, and so on. Of course, this will also force the Fed to extend its ZIRP language by an appropriate amount of time, through 2017, then 2019, and so on (which also means all bets that the Fed will hike any time in the next 5 years will be immediately null and void, and one can position accordingly in the Eurodollar space).

This move, however, will simply permit the Fed to extend Twist 2 beyond its year-end maturity. As a reminder, the primary role of Twist, aside from that stated one which is to keep the curve as flat as possible (i.e., boost housing which as we showed yesterday is not working, as refis have plunged recently despite record low mortgage rates), is to absorb virtually all the long-end supply: after all, it is all about the funding of the US $1 trillion+ annual budget deficit.

Said otherwise, when it comes to the 10-30 year sector the Fed is already monetizing all new issuance. This is part of the entire flow argument which we have been discussing for the past 6 months, and why we, correctly, say that Operation Twist is really QE 3 and QE 3.5 (for the recent extension of Twist). So far so good.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/scary-math-behind-mechanics-qe3-and-why-bernankes-hands-may-be-tied

September 5, 2012

FBI disputes claims of hackers' Apple data breach

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI on Tuesday disputed a computer hacker group's claim that it stole personal identification data on millions of Apple device owners from an FBI agent's laptop.

FBI officials said the bureau never asked for and never possessed the database that the group, which calls itself AntiSec, is posting on a website.

The group has released a link to a database of more than 1 million unique identification numbers for Apple devices, which could include iPhones and iPads. AntiSec said the data is just a piece of the more than 12 million unique identification numbers and personal information on the device owners that it got from a laptop used by an FBI agent.

The FBI denied that it ever had that information. But officials there said they could not verify the validity of the data that AntiSec released. Federal officials also warned that computer users should be careful when clicking on such links because they sometimes may contain malware that can infect computers.

http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-disputes-claims-hackers-apple-data-breach-225542770.html?source=email_rt_mc_body&ifp=0

September 4, 2012

Record 46 Million Americans Are on Food Stamps

The number of Americans on food stamps hit a record high in June, and economists don't expect much improvement as long as unemployment remains high.

Those receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program numbered 46.37 million, the government said in a report that hit just days ahead of the monthly nonfarm payrolls report, which the Labor Department releases Friday.

The two numbers are inextricably linked as the economy battles its way back from the crippling recession that the National Bureau of Economic Research says ended in 2009.

"The unemployment data is not really telling us the true story of how many people are underemployed," says Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. Food stamps are "a good indication of how the income of the workforce has stagnated and more and more people are applying for food stamps."

http://m.cnbc.com/us_news/48898378

September 4, 2012

CDC: Americans' high blood pressure 'out of control'

Nearly one in three Americans has high blood pressure and more than half of those cases are "out of control," according to federal health officials.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that high blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths per day by increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sixty-seven million Americans have high blood pressure, and of these, 36 million cases are uncontrolled, according to the report. Another 16 million Americans take medication from the condition but still struggle, the report found.

The CDC estimates that healthcare costs related to high blood pressure top $130 billion annually.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/public-global-health/247377-cdc-americans-high-blood-pressure-out-of-control

September 2, 2012

There are more paid below minimum wage than are being paid the minimum wage.

In 2011, 73.9 million American workers age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates, representing 59.1 percent of all wage and salary workers.1 Among those paid by the hour, 1.7 million earned exactly the prevailing Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 2.2 million had wages below the minimum.2 Together, these 3.8 million workers with wages at or below the Federal minimum made up 5.2 percent of all hourly-paid workers. Tables 1 through 10 present data on a wide array of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics for hourly-paid workers earning at or below the Federal minimum wage. The following are some highlights from the 2011 data.

Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly-paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers paid by the hour, about 23 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 3 percent of workers age 25 and over. (See table 1 and table 7.)

About 6 percent of women paid hourly rates had wages at or below the prevailing Federal minimum, compared with about 4 percent of men. (See table 1.)

About 5 percent of White hourly-paid workers earned the Federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 6 percent of Blacks and about 3 percent of Asians. Among hourly-paid workers of Hispanic ethnicity, about 5 percent earned the minimum wage or less. (See table 1.)

Among hourly-paid workers age 16 and over, about 11 percent of those who had less than a high school diploma earned the Federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 5 percent of those who had a high school diploma (with no college) and about 2 percent of college graduates. (See table 6.)

http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2011.htm#2

September 1, 2012

Israelis prepare amid fear of Iran war

Larissa, a 66-year-old manager at an Israeli investment company, waited in line last week at a Tel Aviv youth centre to get a gas mask, one of tens of thousands of Israelis rushing to pick up such protective kits in recent weeks.

Amid media speculation that Israel may carry out a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites and possibly prompt a regional war, the number of Israelis collecting state-funded gas masks has quadrupled from 17,000 in April to 70,000 in July, according to the military.

As she prepared to take the box from the postal workers charged with the distribution of the masks, Larissa, who did not want her last name to be published, said: “I am afraid – I don’t believe an attack will happen but I’d like to have the mask just in case.”

As speculation in Israel persists about a possible air strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, Israeli citizens – who polls show do not support an attack unless it is backed by the US, the country’s staunchest ally – are getting prepared.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/91383352-f055-11e1-b7b2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz25EqXbEsh

September 1, 2012

For some Texas schools, demographic future is now

Certain characteristics set the Laredo Independent School District apart from most districts in the state.

Its western boundary aligns directly with the Mexican border. Nearly all its students are poor, and nearly all are Hispanic. Most rely on the school to provide two meals a day. On the first day of school this week, some showed up without shoes or without parents accompanying them.

“It’s hard to work on teaching them about reading and writing and math when they haven’t eaten. It’s hard to really welcome them into their class with their textbooks and their lockers when they don’t have on shoes,” said Marcus Nelson, the Laredo superintendent, who said the district solicited donations of shoes and dress-code appropriate clothes all summer to prepare for the new school year.

But geography aside, Texas public schools may increasingly find more in common with the South Texas district. In 2011, the state reached two landmarks. For the first time, Hispanics became the majority of public school students. And to cope with a historic budget deficit, the Legislature did not finance enrollment growth in the state’s schools — something that had not happened since the modernization of the state’s public school system in 1949. Though the first turning point passed quietly and the second with much political strife, they both underscored the challenges ahead as a dramatic demographic shift occurs in public school classrooms statewide.

http://www.kens5.com/news/texas-news/For-Some-Texas-Schools-Demographic-Future-is-Now-168193026.html

September 1, 2012

Study: Cats That Beg For Food Suffer From Mental Illness

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A new study put out by a group of veterinarians finds that a cat begging for food suffers from an eating disorder caused by a mental illness.

The study, which was done by veterinarians at the University of Padua in Italy on an 8-month-old cat, concluded that felines suffer from “psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior” if it rubs against its owner’s legs during a time they usually eat. The cat also showed signs of jumping on the owner’s table and eating from other cat bowls, indicating a type of eating disorder.

Veterinarians treated the cat by reducing exposure to stress and modifying its behavior through desensitization of food, according to the study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.

“The cat did not show any abnormal behavior at the sight of food and it remained relaxed when present at the owners’ meals,” the researchers said.

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/08/28/study-cats-that-beg-for-food-suffer-from-mental-illness/

Weird.

September 1, 2012

Japan plans to cut state spending, could run out of money in a month

Japan's government is planning to suspend some state spending as it could run out of cash by October, with a deficit financing bill blocked by opposition parties trying to force Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda into an early election.

The impasse in Japan's parliament has raised fears among investors that the world's third largest economy is being driven towards a "fiscal cliff", Reuters reported.

"The government running out of money is not a story made up. It's a real threat," Finance Minister Jun Azumi told a news conference, making a last-ditch appeal for cooperation by opposition parties to pass the bill.

"Failing to pass the bill will give markets the impression that Japan's fiscal management rests on shaky ground," he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9510811/Japan-plans-to-cut-state-spending-could-run-out-of-money-in-a-month.html

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