What's the worst-case scenario?
This is; what's unfolding before our very eyes.
Soldiers of Fortune: Mexico's "Gulf" drug caratel is advertising openly for current and former soldiers to join their Zeta hit squad. They offer "good salary, food and family care. Don't go hungry any longer," on banners hung over the main roads near Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa on the US border. No mention of retirement benefits.
Government Statistics: The GDP includes the rent money you would pay yourself to rent your home if you didn't own it. Their guess is $1.1 trillion. It's unclear if the money you would pay someone to mow your lawn if you didn't mow it yourself is counted or not. The tip you didn't give yourself for doing it yourself is included.
Twins: On Friday, the US dollar hit all time lows and oil hit all time highs. Essay assignment: Send us $30 or more and we'll send you 500 words or less.
Vocabulary: Add "Dribble Out" to "Trickle Down". Firms are terminating employees a few at a time, week after week - dribbling them out - rather than in large layoffs. Large layoffs makes a firm look financially weak. Dribble out will only make them look morally weak.
Cliff Notes: Morgan Stanley estimates that one in ten mortgage-holders will end up with negative equity as house prices fall another 15-20% by 2010. When they want to sell the house, they'll have to pay the bank more than they sell it for. That's best case. That, or walking away, away.
The Lease They Can Do: The Interior Department wants to wait a few more months to see if the polar bears all drown, saving them the trouble of listing them as endangered before selling off the oil rights.
Papers, Please: Last week, over 50 state and local police and sheriffs offices in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee took part in a massive round-up called "Operation Sudden Impact." Over 300 arrests - 142 on fugitive warrants - were made. Homeland Security paid for the "anti-terrorism and martial law training" exercise. Feel safer?
It's A Gas! The frozen Arctic floor has started to thaw and release methane that has been trapped for hundreds of thousands of years. A methane 'burp' is thought to have caused sudden global warming in the past. Stay tuned.
Accommodation: “World agriculture has entered a new, unsustainable and politically risky period,” says International Food Policy Research Institute Head Joachim von Braun. Millions, tens of millions, will soon starve. Hundreds of millions will go hungry. We will all have to find a way to live with the blood on our hands.
Success: The "trickle down" theory was a complete failure in terms the poor seeing any of the money the rich got from tax cuts. I bet it'll work a lot better when it comes to unemployment.
Rationing: The Philippines has made hoarding rice punishable by life imprisonment.