Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Treasury Quietly Warns: 'Expect Debt Limit to Be Reached Near End of 2012' -

Treasury Quietly Warns: 'Expect Debt Limit to Be Reached Near End of 2012' - 

The U.S. Treasury quietly warned at the end of a statement issued last Wednesday that it expects the federal government to hit its legal debt limit before the end of this year--which means before the new Congress is seated--and that "extraordinary measures" will be needed before then to keep the government fully funded into the early part of 2013.

On Aug. 2, 2011, President Obama signed a deal he had negotiated with congressional leaders to increase the debt limit of the federal government by $2.4 trillion. But, now, after only 15 months, almost all of that additional borrowing authority has been exhausted.

Although Treasury revealed in its statement on Wednesday that it was likely to hit the debt limit by the end of the year, Treasury Secretary Geithner failed to respond to a letter that Senate Finance Ranking Member Orrin Hatch and Senate Budget Ranking Member Jeff Sessions sent to him on Oct. 15 demanding that he notify them by Nov. 1 what he believes to be the exact date Treasury will hit the debt limit and the date he expects to begin using "extraordinary measures" to avoid it.

"Treasury continues to expect the debt limit to be reached near the end of 2012," says the tenth paragraph of the "Quarterly Refunding Statement" put out by Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Markets Matthew Rutherford.

"However, Treasury has the authority to take certain extraordinary measures to give Congress more time to act to ensure we are able to meet the legal obligations of the United States of America," said the statement. "We continue to expect that these extraordinary measures would provide sufficient 'headroom' under the debt limit to allow the government to continue to meet its obligations until early in 2013."

Prior to the release of this statement, Sen. Hatch and Sen. Sessions sent Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a letter asking him specific questions about the approaching debt limit and the administration's plans for dealing with it. Hatch's and Sessions's questions included these two: 1) "What is Treasury’s forecast of the date upon which Treasury will find it necessary to use extraordinary measures to manage to keep federal debt at or below the statutory debt limit?" 2) "What is Treasury’s forecast of the date upon which the U.S. government will reach the statutory debt limit given use and exhaustion of these extraordinary measures?"

The senators gave Geithner a "hard deadline" of Nov. 1 for providing an initial response to these questions. Julia Lawless, spokesperson for the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, confirmed that as of Nov. 6 the committee had received no response from the Treasury secretary.

As of Oct. 31, according to the Daily Treasury Statement (DTS), the portion of the federal debt subject to the legal limit was $16,222,235,000,000--just $171.765 billion below the $16,394,000,000 debt limit.

In October alone, according to the DTS, the debt subject to the limit increased by $195.214 billion.


Virus Breaks Out at Shelter; Refugees Puking in Hallways... -

Virus Breaks Out at Shelter; Refugees Puking in Hallways... - 

A Brooklyn high school being used as a shelter for Sandy victims has to be shut down and sanitized after about a dozen storm refugees came down with a stomach virus.

Mayor Bloomberg said John Jay High School will be closed Wednesday instead of opening for classes as scheduled.

"The school will be thoroughly cleaned and then reopened," Bloomberg said.

The mayor said none of the sickened storm victims was severely ill. The cleaning is being done as a precaution, he said.

Thousands of city residents from low-lying areas stayed in shelters as Sandy smashed the tri-state.

Bloomberg also said 10 schools that suffered storm damage or lost power will open Wednesday. The majority of city schools reopened on Monday.

Another 47 schools still won't be open Wednesday. Bloomberg said parents should check www.nyc.gov to see where those students will need to report.

Read more -

Three phone calls President Obama should make right away -

Three phone calls President Obama should make right away - 

I have some advice for President Obama. Here it is:
Mr. President, you should make three phone calls -- as soon as you and your team finishes celebrating, with justification, having run a great victory. These three calls should be made to three conservative Republican senators who care about the country and who want to solve problems more than winning ideological wars.

They are Sens. John McCain, (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Orrin Hatch(R-Utah).

These three men should be invited to the White House and Mr. President, you should say something like:

"What would it take to win your support? And to other Republican conservative Senators and House members -- to do the Grand Bargain to pay down our $16 trillion debt?"

"Will you join me in endorsing Simpson-Bowles?

"In finding a centrist immigration reform solution?

"To reform the tax code?

"Tell me - I want to find a compromise. Help me. Let's work together."

This is the Barack Obama of the 2008 campaign -- the keynote speaker in 2004 - running for history, not for reelection.

If our president can do this, or something like this, there is a chance we can once again be a "purple nation" -- not a polarized "red" and "blue" state nation.

President Obama can then find a broad center-left and center-right bipartisan majority Congress and actually start to solve the problems facing our country.


Pepsi in Japan reportedly to be releasing a new fat-blocking soda -

Pepsi in Japan reportedly to be releasing a new fat-blocking soda - 

Soon a new "healthy" Pepsi will be on the market in Japan that lets you get the taste of coca cola during your meal without all the fat.  
The website Kotaku is reporting that Pepsi Special contains indigestible form dextrin, which is used as a dietary fiber supplement and makes it difficult for the body to absorb fat while eating. Pepsi Special is designated as a "food for specified health uses," meaning the product is regulated by the Japanese government and has been approved for consumption.
Pepsi and Suntory, the sole bottler and distributor of Pepsi products in Japan, reportedly worked together to make sure Pepsi Special doesn't have an overpowering dextrin aftertaste.
This isn't the first "healthy soda" to be released in Japan.  Earlier this year beverage maker Kirin began selling Kirin Mets Cola (no connection to the MLB team) which contains a similar type of dextrin and also claims to block fat absorption.
Priced at about $1.87, Pepsi Special will be available in stores throughout Japan starting Nov. 13.