Bailout update

The Motley Fool calculates the current bailout, including amounts issued or guaranteed by the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the Treasury at $10,155,300,000,000.00. There are just over 305 million people in the United States. A $10.155 trillion bailout distributed equally would provide about $33,296.07 per person.

In 2005 just under 100 million individuals who filed tax returns owed taxes to the IRS. A $10.155 trillion bailout distributed equally to taxpayers would provide right at $101,553.00 each.

In 2005 there were 48,394,000 mortgages in the United States. Rounding up to 50 million mortgages, a $10.155 trillion bailout would provide about $203,106.00 per mortgage.

In 2007, approximately 1,300,000 mortgages were subjected to some form of foreclosure activity. If we more than doubled that up to, say, 3 million mortgages at risk of foreclosure, a $10.155 trillion bailout would provide about $3,385,100 per mortgage at risk of foreclosure.

But the thing is, it's not really a bailout, it's just a very risky investment... buying up credit instruments that can no longer be secured by the private companies that agreed to secure them because... well, because they assumed that nothing bad would happen and if it did the taxpayers would have their back.

And so we do.

(Note: a great deal of this amount has been transferred back to the FDIC from the institutions its release was intended to rescue, so use the above merely as an illustration rather than a statement of facts)


"As you get over 30% [market share] and higher I am sure there is a point where government is compelled to intervene." - Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. speaking about Tesco's domination of the British retail food market in August 2005.

Wal-Mart currently controls about 20% of the US grocery market (link)


Star Wars bounty hunter character sketches

Though based on depictions of the characters and situations in "The Empire Strikes Back", these sketches are entirely my own:

Boba Fett: (no introduction needed) A career heavy still pained by the shameful death of his father, Fett has devoted himself to mastering every conceivable situation. While some say he puts more effort into appearances than effectiveness, his record remains impressive and his bearing almost never fails to inspire respect. Fett's customized armor and array of sophisticated weaponry put him in a league of his own in combat situations, but can sometimes overburden him in other contexts. He makes up for poor social skills and shortage of trusted contacts by paying handsomely for tips (and reacting with prejudice to sources of bad information)

Bossk: Bossk (the lizardy one) takes bounty hunting very seriously. His father was a reasonably successful bounty hunter, but died before his son learned how to hiss. Bossk uses his father's guns but, being of much slighter build, has assembled his own uniform (which he always wears) from items culled from some of the best-known underground hunting boutiques in the galaxy. He subscribes to the Empire's "Bounty Hunt" premium holographic channel and idolizes Boba Fett, though his many attempts at communicating with the famed hunter have all gone unanswered. Bossk despises Dengar, who always seems to show up for the same contracts, for his perceived lack of personal pride and his undeniable disdain for personal hygiene.

Dengar: Dengar (the bandaged one) fell into bounty hunting after a long career as a bar bouncer. The many favors owed him from some of the galaxy's most depraved scum and villainy have served him well in his current career, as has his knack for getting quickly to the point and always with the upper hand. He has little patience for other professionals in his field, although he does observe their methods, particularly those employed by droid bounty hunter IG-88. He considers himself every bit as capable, if less flashy, than Boba Fett. Dengar's ratty attire, constant sneer, and sharp body odor limit his sphere of operations to seedier areas, a limitation he accepts without shame when putting in for jobs.

IG-88: (the robot one) A droid custom-built and programmed for the hunt by a reclusive master, IG-88 brings a unique set of skills to his field. Perhaps his single greatest advantage is his utter relentlessness, as he knows no distraction from his quarry. IG-88 is also able to move through the galaxy attracting little notice as droids are routinely ignored by all classes of living creatures. His multiple processors, culled from all major droid types, also allow him to interface with most facility computers without leaving a trail. Though he wouldn't recognize the problem, he has virtually no ability to communicate with sentient life forms except to process contracts. Many attempts have been made to engage him as an assistant, but are always rebuffed with a dismissive "bleemp-dop".

Zuckuss: (the insectoid one) New to bounty hunting, outer-rim native Zuckuss brings an outsider's alertness to his surroundings to the task of hunting. That quality is enhanced greatly by his hyper-attenuated visual and aural senses, capable of penetrating vast distances and many barriers. He overcomes a deficient long-term memory by painstakingly recording his operations in a multi-layered holographic chip implanted in his brain. Lacking the creativity to construct a proper course of investigation, Zuckuss routinely tracks other hunters on big jobs and snatches the quarry just before they reach it. He is lucky not to have been discovered at his art, but has roused some suspicion from Boba Fett.