Goldman’s New Money Machine: Stockpiling Aluminum

From Money News: http://www.moneynews.com/Markets/Goldman-Stockpiling-Aluminum-warehouses/2011/07/28/id/405166

Thursday, 28 Jul 2011

In a rundown patch of Detroit, enclosed by a cyclone fence and barbed wire, stands an unremarkable warehouse that investment bank Goldman Sachs has transformed into a money-making machine.

The derelict neighborhood off Michigan Avenue is a sharp contrast to Goldman’s bustling skyscraper headquarters near Wall Street, but the two operations share one important element: management by the bank’s savvy financial professionals.

A string of warehouses in Detroit, most of them operated by Goldman, has stockpiled more than a million tonnes of the industrial metal aluminum, about a quarter of global reported inventories.

Simply storing all that metal generates tens of millions of dollars in rental revenues for Goldman every year.

There’s just one problem: much less aluminum is leaving the depots than arriving, creating a supply pinch for manufacturers of everything from soft drink cans to aircraft.

The resulting spike in prices has sparked a clash between companies forced to pay more for their aluminum and wait months for it to be delivered, Goldman, which is keen to keep its cash machines humming and the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world’s benchmark industrial metals market, which critics accuse of lax oversight.

Analysts question why London’s metals market allows big financial players like Goldman to own the warehouses which store huge quantities of metal even as they trade the commodity. Robin Bhar, a veteran metals analyst at Credit Agricole in London says the conflict of interest is so acute he wants U.S. and European anti-trust regulators to weigh in.

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Do Women Have What it Takes?

This is why I am leery about replacing the classification of sex based on the physical with gender which is based on a social construct of masculinity and femininity.

From Northwestern University: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/07/women-leadership-eagly.html

Of course! But stereotypes about leadership still pose barriers to women’s advancement
By Hilary Hurd Anyaso
July 13, 2011

EVANSTON, Ill. — So much has changed since 1963, when Betty Friedan’s influential “The Feminine Mystique” provoked a national discussion about the deep dissatisfaction women were feeling about the limitations of their lives. Many women came to believe that discrimination limited their opportunities, especially in relation to leadership roles.

But a new Northwestern University meta-analysis (an integration of a large number of studies addressing the same question) shows that even today leadership continues to be viewed as culturally masculine. Thus, women suffer from two primary forms of prejudice.

Women are viewed as less qualified or natural in most leadership roles, the research shows, and secondly, when women adopt culturally masculine behaviors often required by these roles, they may be viewed as inappropriate or presumptuous.

These reactions to women leaders reflect gender stereotypes. Previous research found that predominantly “communal” qualities, such as being nice or compassionate, are associated with women, and predominantly “agentic” qualities, such as being assertive or competitive, are associated with men.

It is these agentic qualities that are believed to be essential to successful leadership. Because men fit the cultural stereotype of leadership better than women, they have better access to leadership roles and face fewer challenges in becoming successful in them.

The good news for women is that the project’s analyses indicate that this masculine construal of leadership is weaker now than it was in earlier years. Despite this shift toward more androgynous beliefs about leadership, it remains culturally masculine — just not as extremely so as in the past. However, this masculinity lessens somewhat for lower-level leadership positions and in educational organizations.

The implications of the meta-analysis are straightforward, said Alice Eagly, professor of psychology and faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern and a co-author of the study.

“Cultural stereotypes can make it seem that women do not have what it takes for important leadership roles, thereby adding to the barriers that women encounter in attaining roles that yield substantial power and authority,” she said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/07/women-leadership-eagly.html

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IMF chief: Dollar status in doubt if debt crisis persists

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/28/imf-chief-dollar-status-in-doubt-if-debt-crisis-persists/

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, July 28th, 2011

WASHINGTON — IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Thursday that failure to resolve the US debt crisis would likely raise “doubts” about the dollar’s status as the world’s prime reserve currency.

“It would probably entail a decline of the dollar relative to other currencies, and probably doubts in the mind of those people who reserve currencies as to whether the dollar is effectively the ultimate and prime currency of reserve,” she told PBS television in an interview.

Her comments, excerpts of which were released by the broadcaster, came as Republicans and Democrats remained locked in a showdown over rival plans to raise the US debt ceiling and stave off a looming default.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/28/imf-chief-dollar-status-in-doubt-if-debt-crisis-persists/

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Fracking Operations Cause Thousands of Earthquakes in Arkansas

From Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/fracking-operations-cause-thousands-earthquakes-arkansas/1311877041

by: Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
Thursday 28 July 2011

Geologists say fracking wastewater disposal wells in central Arkansas caused an outbreak of thousands of minor earthquakes.

The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission placed a ban on fracking wastewater wells in the area yesterday. A moratorium on well activity had been in place for months as geologists investigated a possible link between fracking activity and the outbreak of more than 1,200 earthquakes that measured lower than 4.7 in magnitude.

Fracking is a common term for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial gas drilling method that involves pumping water and chemicals deep underground to break up rock and free natural gas.

Fracking produces millions of gallons of wastewater, and the gas industry has been experimenting with different ways to dispose of it.

At least three gas companies were injecting fracking wastewater in the area of the earthquake outbreak, including BHP Billiton Petroleum, Clarita Operating LLC and Chesapeake Operating. The companies were injecting fracking wastewater near an active fault.

Steve Horton, an earthquake expert from the University of Memphis, told Truthout that continued fracking activity near the fault could have caused an earthquake strong enough to cause property damage.

At least one resident in the area is suing the gas companies over damage an earthquake caused to his home.

Continue reading at: http://www.truth-out.org/fracking-operations-cause-thousands-earthquakes-arkansas/1311877041

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Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security

From Truth Dig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/debt_madness_was_always_about_killing_social_security_20110727/

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Jul 27, 2011

This phony debt crisis has now passed through the looking glass into the realm where madness reigns. What should have been an uneventful moment in which lawmakers make good on the nation’s contractual obligations has instead been seized upon by Republican hypocrites as a moment to settle ideological scores that have nothing to do with the debt.

Hypocrites, because their radical free market ideology, and the resulting total deregulation of the financial markets, is what caused the debt to spiral out of control this last decade. That and the wars George W. Bush launched but didn’t have the integrity to responsibly finance. The consequence was a banking bubble and crash leading to a 50 percent run-up of the debt that has nothing to do with the “entitlements” that those same Republicans have always wanted to destroy.

Even Barack Obama has put cuts in those programs into play, warning ominously that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks. Why, when the Social Security trust fund is fully funded for the next quarter-century and is owed money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the other way around? Why would we pay foreign creditors before American seniors? The answer, offered as conventional wisdom by leaders of both parties, is that we cannot endanger our credit by failing to back our bonds, even though the Republicans have aroused the alarm of the main U.S. credit rating agencies by their brinkmanship on the debt.

What a topsy-turvy world when the same credit rating agencies that gave the thumbs up to the bankers’ toxic mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps now threaten the AAA rating of U.S. Treasury bonds. According to them, it will not be enough to merely lift the debt ceiling—what had been assumed by both Republican and Democratic presidents to be a routine act. In addition to that, as the credit agency Standard & Poor’s has insisted, more than $4 trillion has to be cut from programs that mostly benefit the victims of the banking meltdown. Otherwise the agencies will downgrade the U.S. credit rating, leading to higher interest rates that will destroy what remains of the U.S. housing market, dim the prospect for any improvement in employment and further enrich the Chinese government and other holders of U.S. debt.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/debt_madness_was_always_about_killing_social_security_20110727/

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Glenn Greenwald: Norway Attacks Expose U.S. Media’s Double Standard On “Terrorism”

From Democracy Now:

July 26, 2011

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