Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Do I hear $3.25 gas coming?

There was a slight reduction in oil supplies and gasoline stockpiles dropped as refiners pulled back their refinery operating rates. Oil seems to be trending toward the mid to high - 80s and that's probably going to be reflected in gas hitting $3.25/gallon in NNY over the next month or so.

There's a good deal of speculation that the major traders are long the oil market right now so the trend is likely to be higher until someone realizes that $4 gas is bad for a mid-term re-election campaign.

I'm sure this will end well....

China's Bubble - "That means that a middle-class family of three looking to buy a modest 80 square meter apartment will have to come up with RMB2.4 million, or about $350,000.

This is pretty startling considering that the average annual income of urban workers only reached about RMB29,000 ($4,250) in 2008, as reported by Xinhua News Agency.

The median multiple, which measures the ratio of the median house price to the median annual household income, has historically hovered around 3.0 or less in the US, but rose dramatically prior to the recent housing bubble.

If my estimates above are right, then the typical middle-class family is looking at a median multiple of about 80 to slip into a modest Shanghai apartment."

I'll spare you the super-sized picture - you can check it out here - but there's an interesting list of the best prospective jobs for US workers based on salary, flexibility, satisfaction, job growth and stress levels.

Some interesting jobs make the cut.

1 - Systems Engineer
2 - Physician Assistant
3 - College Professor - WT*?
4 - Nurse Practitioner
5 - Project Manager
6 - CPA
7 - Physical Therapist
8 - Network Security
9 - Intelligence Analyst
10 - Sales Director

What's really obvious is the heavy weighting toward health care. While on the subject of healthcare consider this op/ed by the scientist behind prostate testing. He has a great perspective .....

The Great Prostate Mistake
The test’s popularity has led to a hugely expensive public health disaster. It’s an issue I am painfully familiar with — I discovered P.S.A. in 1970.

Americans spend an enormous amount testing for prostate cancer. The annual bill for P.S.A. screening is at least $3 billion, with much of it paid for by Medicare and the Veterans Administration.

American men have a 16 percent lifetime chance of receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but only a 3 percent chance of dying from it. That’s because the majority of prostate cancers grow slowly. In other words, men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it.

Even then, the test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. As I’ve been trying to make clear for many years now, P.S.A. testing can’t detect prostate cancer and, more important, it can’t distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer — the one that will kill you and the one that won’t.

Instead, the test simply reveals how much of the prostate antigen a man has in his blood.

So why is it still used? Because drug companies continue peddling the tests and advocacy groups push “prostate cancer awareness” by encouraging men to get screened.

Testing should absolutely not be deployed to screen the entire population of men over the age of 50, the outcome pushed by those who stand to profit.

I never dreamed that my discovery four decades ago would lead to such a profit-driven public health disaster.

Finally, on the latest KILLER PRIUS ON THE LOOSE story - I immediately felt like this guy was Balloon Boy in a Prius. Nothing felt right about his story - he couldn't take his hands off the wheel to press the engine off button, but he was comfortable dialing 911?

There are at least 6 ambulance chasing law firms running national ads calling for Toyota owners to report sudden acceleration in order to cash in.... I mean, receive restitution for their pain and suffering.

News tonight has leaked that Balloon Boy in a Prius was up to his eyeballs in debt. From KGTV - "According to his bankruptcy records, he had a $700,000 debt. Additionally, his debts included two homes he was upside down to the tune of $240,000. He had credit card debt to deal with, including $12,000 owed to Bank of America, $38,000 owed to Citibank and $15,000 owed to Discover." Developing....

Only in America.


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