Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Football and Five Countries

Castellammare di Sabia has set its standards of decency to include bans on outdoor pick up football (soccer) games, blasphemy and skimpy clothes. The 6.8 square mile commune, situated on the Bay of Naples, has a population of 64,800, give or take. With a new mayor, Luigi Bobbio, the small southern Italian hamlet has a new resolve. No inappropriate mini skirts, no cleavage enhancing tops, no shirtless men, no foul language and no soccer games, all contribute to Bobbio's view of decency.

10,000 tons of trash are piled up in the city of Marseilles.

France is in a twist over proposals to raise the retirement age and pension eligibility 2 years. Workers and citizenry have expressed their discontent by acting out and striking. Besides the mountains of not picked up trash, the oil refineries are paralyzed as well. Oil tankers are backed up, waiting to unload and supplied filling stations are becoming scarce. Mr. Sarkozy has a tiger by the tail.

China will be investing $10 billion in Brazil. The South American country is rich in resources and land. Petrobras,

the Brazilian oil giant, will benefit from Chinese interest. And of course China will secure a reliable source of petroleum. It comes as no surprise that China is investing. It is awash in cash. As the USA free falls in debt, China's balance sheet swells with black print. Simply put, China has become the world's banker.

America and its united states make up the world's largest debtor nation. Obama's country is spending money that it simply does not have. Printing new money (as a form of debt) seems cool enough as long as someone will give you value. And China is the major purchaser of this debt. The dollar is at an all time low in value as compared to the Japanese yen and the greenback is taking heat from all of the world's other currencies as well. Sooner or later, when the debt is called in, America will look like a haggard blackjack player, who can't pay his marks.

Five countries. Two are old and European. Their heydays are long gone and they sell themselves as tourist meccas, both looking backwards instead of otherwise. With non growing economies and a tendency to live on their past glories, France and Italy are not relevant in 2010. China is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. With a population of 1.3 billion or more (who really knows) and an impressive work ethic and unparalleled enthusiasm, China is pacing the world. Brazil, too, is an up and comer. Not yet ready for prime time and not China, the resource endowed and youthful Brazilians are coming on. Lastly, the United States is past its prime. Roiled in impossible, fractious politics with a dash of religious obstinacy, the once great leader is in rapid decline. Not much productive can happen in the US since most of its energy and time is spent on running for political offices and fighting about gays, illegals and whether the world is 6,000 years old. Perhaps even more telling is the fact that Yankee "can do" has been terrorized out of the Americans. In essence, it's a scared society.

It's AM 5 and the weatherman calls for a warm cloudy day in New York City. The chance of precip is 40%, possible thunderstorms. Starbucks at 100 Wall Street is open for the early risers. Pat Feld sips coffee and fingers his iPad. Hungry for news, he moves off of the World and onto Sports. Giants 41, Cowboys 35. Romo knocked out, fractured clavicle.

It's gonna be a good day. Football wins make everybody feel good. Gridiron action is the soporific of the States. And so it goes.

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