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Aggravation II

Both Paul Krugman and Badtux have talked about the insolvency crisis, so I won’t bother, but a Newsweek article on MSNBC shows that some people don’t live in the real world, or know anyone who does. The article, that was so short-sighted I didn’t even bother to grab the link, was essentially claiming that the number of people in default isn’t really that bad. All I can say is look at the damn numbers, it is worse than anything in my lifetime which stretches back to just after World War II ended.

I want to talk about another group who have gone into economic hibernation. These people have great credit scores and haven’t defaulted on anything. On paper they are seemingly doing well, but they don’t think so, as reflected in the The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index™ for January of 37.7, an historic low [100 is “normal”].

These are people who are employed and played by “the rules”. They put 20% down when they bought their house with a 30-year fixed mortgage. They don’t have out-of-control credit card debt. They haven’t abused their HELOC [Home Equity Line of Credit]. They pay all of their bills and save some for retirement, and have for years. They are very afraid.

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February 18, 2009   14 Comments

Back Tracking

Sled DogThe Fairbanks Daily News-Miner notes that William Kleedehn is in line for the Dawson Award: “The Dawson Award, four ounces of Klondike placer gold, goes to the first musher reaching Dawson who then completes the race.” Kleendehn made a last minute pass on Jon Little to arrive 2 minutes ahead of him at the Dawson Check Point. Now he has to make it to Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner‘s reporter also explained the early Britten scratch:

Jean-Denis Britten didn’t care to continue with 10 dogs.

Britten said his three best dogs were submerged in water after breaking through overflow ice near McCabe Creek on Monday.

After determining in Pelly that he would have to drop all three of them, Britten instead scratched from the race, loaded his dogs in a truck and presumably drove home to Dawson City.

It is almost always about the dogs. Mushers will continue with all kinds of injuries, but you don’t risk your dogs.  He couldn’t take the dogs inside to dry off because any dog taken inside is automatically dropped.

February 18, 2009   2 Comments

Australia Update

CBS carried an AP report that Australia Wildfire Death Toll Reaches 200. They have been searching the open areas, and are now doing the more difficult job of checking structures. The heat of the fire may have cremated people, so it is unlikely that all of the remains will ever be found.

The Australian Broadcasting report, Police urge patience as bushfire death toll climbs, noted that firefighters are still battling 21 fires, 15 of which are contained. The temperatures are also rising back above 30°C [86°F].  While no communities are currently at risk, all it takes is for the winds to pick up.

February 18, 2009   Comments Off on Australia Update

Day 5 – Dawson City

Yukon Quest Map

Sled DogThe first teams, William Kleedehn (12), Jon Little (18), Hugh Neff (23), Hans Gatt (16), Sebastian Schnuelle (20), Brent Sass (13), have arrived in Dawson and begun their mandatory 36 hour layover. This is where the time advantage for the start is ironed out with everyone but Norman Casavant (29) required to stay more than 36 hours.  The first musher allowed to leave with be Jon Little (18) at 10:50AM [PST] tomorrow.

Jerry Joinson (10) decided to scratch after leaving Pelly Crossing, and returned, which pares the field to 27.

You can get Race Updates here.

February 18, 2009   Comments Off on Day 5 – Dawson City