Bits & Pieces (Rainy Monday Edition)

It’s a rainy Monday, after a rainy Sunday and a rainy Saturday. I’m tired of rain now.

The local Hastings (a combo bookstore, DVD rental, game rental, and other stuff type store) is going out of business. A book caught my eye, I read a few pages, decided I wanted it. Stayed up most of last night to finish reading it. It was a good read: Oblivion, by Peter Abrahams. Guy is a good suspense novelist. More than half the novel is conducted by a private investigator who is recovering from a stroke, and has to piece together not just a case he had practically solved before the stroke, but piece together what the case even was. Stayed up too late reading it. But found an author I will probably read another book from.

I don’t think that’s happened for fiction since I randomly selected a Iain Pears novel, An Instance of the Fingerpost, because I liked the name. I recommend both books.


The Universe is older than we thought. Maybe.

Good news. Sugar cures cancer! Apparently, you can’t consume it all in the form of Butterfingers.

Apparently, Antarctic ice originally formed when CO2 levels were much higher than they are currently.

Assuming everything we know about atmospheric CO2 and arctic ice 34 million years ago is accurate. Might not be. 

Was this guy arrested for looking out his window?

— KW

The Honorable Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently spoke in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act and its provision that allows for indefinite detention of American citizens that are deemed to be terrorist. If you have to ask what classifies you as a terrorist, that sounds like terrorist talk to me. Graham’s justification is that the “homeland” is a battlefield.

I didn’t realize that I live in a battlefield. If that’s the case, then I want to mount a belt feed machine gun on my front porch. And a want an M4.

Anyway, here’s Graham: “It is not unfair to make an American citizen account for the fact that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming next,” Graham said. “And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”

So all it takes to be detained without access to counsel is for the government to deem you a terrorist. They don’t have to prove anything. And Graham, and apparently quite a few, see this as a positive. So maybe I won’t “opt out” of the scan the next time I’m at the airport, because clearly only terrorists have something to hide or a reason to object. The Christian Science Monitor has more.

And don’t let Obama supporters tell you he’s on the right side of this issue. His veto threat is over an executive power issue, not a civil liberties one. He wants to determine the who, what, when, where and why of the detainment without congressional input. That the detainment will occur is not at issue.

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1261.3 17.8 1.43%
Eurostoxx Index 2379.1 36.630 1.56%
Oil (WTI) 102.34 1.380 1.37%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 78.375 -0.250 -0.32%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.10% 0.07%

Markets are rallying on the new Italian austerity plan proposed by Mario Monti. Hit proposal includes 30 billion euros of emergency economic measures funded by property taxes, a tax on luxury goods, and a plan to tie pensions to worker contributions. Italian markets are reacting favorably, with the Mibtel up 3% and Italian government bond yields down 59 basis points to 6.09%. The S&P futures are up 18 points pre-market.

Merger Monday is back with a big deal in the cloud computing space: SAP AG is buying SuccessFactors (SFSF) in a $3.3 billion deal. They paid a handsome premium – 52% over Friday’s close. Whenever someone like SAP buys someone, the follow on question is “What will Larry do?” – meaning Larry Ellison of Oracle. The early betting seems to be Taleo (TLEO) which is up 16% pre-market.

As predicted Herman Cain threw in the towel over the weekend and endorsed Newt Gingrich. From what I hear on the Wall Street money raising front, Newt doesn’t even register. It is all going to go to Romney. That money sat on the sidelines hoping that Chris Christie would run, but has now coalesced around Romney. Lots of big fund raisers coming up for Romney. Given the implosion of all of his rivals, he has managed to stay pretty clean and hasn’t had to spend money yet.

When a Judge Nixes a Settlement on Principle…

he may buy a trial he did not want.  Usually the parties know what they are doing when they settle.  A Federal Judge should be very cautious in rejecting settlements.  Citigroup may turn out to be a case in point.

The SEC concedes its case against Citigroup is weak.

Climate Audit

Hat tip to Ace of Spades.

Climate Audit seems like it might be my new favorite Global Warming Skeptic site. A good place to peruse if you ever wonder why anybody would ever be A Denier™.

Just something to ponder before Brent gives us the Morning Report.

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