Warren Buffett called Wall Street credit default swaps a “time bomb” five years ago
NASA scientists to switch on Mars Lander’s microphone in the next week or two
October 2, 2008
Reuters reported a week or so ago that the world’s richest man, Warren Buffett, called the swaps responsible for the melt-down currently underway on Wall Street, a “time bomb,” over five years ago. And Space.com reported yesterday that NASA is planning to switch on the Phoenix Mars Lander’s microphone with the hope that it’ll record and send to earth some sounds from planet. Pundits are debating whether people on earth will give a shit what Martians are saying when we pay no attention to market experts when they warn of impending doom.
“Eavesdropping on Martians is all well and good, but it might be useful if we listened in on public commentary made here on earth by a market expert and the worlds richest man, when he warns about market swaps and then cuts and runs from that business,” said Hapless “Happy” Taxpayer, a hard-working Midwestern American, who is considered irrelevant most of the time, but takes on sudden importance during national elections and Wall Street bail-outs. “I’m just a fly-over country gal who clings to god, guns and country, but I have a weakness for common sense. I know that’s not very popular on the coasts and a lot of them only need the central U.S. for food and money, but it still helps out when they can’t get enough Chinese cash or the food from China is tainted with anti-freeze. The old guy from Omaha was right when he said the credit swaps were “financial weapons of mass destruction.” The suckers blew up all right. Maybe some of the experts could learn a thing or two from regular folks. I suppose that’s why the coasts hate Sarah Palin too. She’s a regular gal who busts up corruption, cronyism and balances budgets. That’s not the kind of stuff they’re used to on Wall Street or in DC. Chicago style politics from smooth talkers is more their deal.”
Not everyone agrees with Hapless Taxpayer. “We need more financial innovation if we’re going to solve today’s credit problems and Wall Street losses. Things happen and go wrong sometimes and then everybody blames everybody else. A few multibillion dollar slip-ups are bound to happen,” said E.Z. Money, a former investment banker, who recently cashed out using Federal bailout money and is busy thinking up a way to fund his next enterprise with what’s left of your 401k. “You can’t build the next big thing if you stay conservative like Buffett and make the oil companies pay for the natural resources they pump out of the ground like Palin made them do in Alaska. A little income distribution is a good thing, especially when it’s distributed into my account. Those whiners in the fly-over States don’t know a good thing when they pay for it.”
Reuters reported that five years ago, billionaire investor Warren Buffett called the specialized insurance known as credit default swaps, a “time bomb” and “financial weapon of mass destruction,” and directed the insurance arm of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. to exit the business. Recent events suggest Buffett was right. The collapse of Bear Stearns. The fire sale of Merrill Lynch & Co Inc. The meltdown at American International Group Inc. In each case, credit default swaps played a role in the fall of these financial giants.
Space.com reported that NASA scientists hope to hear what it sounds like on the surface of Mars for the first time when they attempt to switch on the Phoenix Mars Lander’s microphone in the next week or two, mission leaders announced on Monday. The team needed NASA’s approval for funding to turn on the microphone, and now they’ve gotten the go-ahead, said Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith, of the University of Arizona, Tucson. Phoenix scientists aren’t sure just what, or how much, they’ll hear. Phoenix’s mike is “not a professional microphone,” and sound waves don’t travel as far on Mars as they do on Earth because Mars’ atmosphere is thinner. Some people say the atmosphere in Congress and on Wall Street is pretty thin too, and that’s why it’s so hard for common sense to penetrate it.
“It’s amazing how little sensible information is allowed into the atmosphere around Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid; but how much crap spews out of there that makes no sense,” said Missy Mooreorless, a stripper wannabee stuck in a dead end job as prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice. “Some people say the amount of hot air generated by Pelosi and Reid is what is melting the polar ice cap. It probably is. Other than raising taxes and ripping conservatives it sure isn’t doing much else. I heard that the ozone layer above Pelosi’s office is virtually gone. Must be the reason for the permanent look of surprise stuck on her face, although some say it was her fifth face-lift that did that.”
In other news, Reuters reported Tuesday that experts at Johns Hopkins are recommending that warnings should be put on high-caffeine drinks. They say consuming too much caffeine can cause gastrointestinal pain, anxiety and agitation, rapid heartbeat, and insomnia, especially among people who aren’t used to it. One of the authors of the new research review on the beverages also warned that young people who use caffeine-fueled energy drinks may be more prone to illicit use of prescription drugs like Ritalin later on. No word on why kids will pay attention to labels when Wall Street managers ignore experts, and Congress ignores basic common sense. Still, I guess it’s important that we keep busy so we can keep paying our taxes and funding bailouts.
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