Connections: If Americans traveled 4.3% less this March than last, why does the price of oil keep going up? Because crude oil has 20 gallons of gasoline but only 10 of diesel, and the rest of the world wants the diesel. They sell the US their excess gasoline at a discount - probably not much above cost. That is why inventories are high, lines short, and diesel more expensive than gasoline.
Watching Your Step: Police insist that law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear.
Blackmail: The US State Department says that countries which sign the treaty banning cluster bombs will no longer be eligible to receive US humanitarian assistance. The US did not bother attending a conference of over 100 nations seeking to outlaw the munition, notorious for killing children for years after they've been randomly scattered about.
Dark Ages? Soaring oil prices are bringing out the doomsters in force. Do not panic. This is not the end of the world. It is simply the end of the world as we know it.
Click Your Heels? We may not be classic 'immovable objects', but despite the clear need for immediate, fundamental changes needed to preserve a habitable world and to maintain our urban civilization, we continue to seek salvation in little things. We seek the minor tweak that will save us.
Investergatons: Greed, fraud, financial bubbles, market tops and criminal investigations follow closely one after the other. We're in the investigation phase; just ask JPMorgan, Moodys, S&P and Fitch. Someone should point out to the investigators that history suggests little comes from the effort, but that repayment is certain; ask Elliot.
Nothing to Sneeze At: Kimberly-Clark announcing it will hike consumer prices by 6% to 8% percent in the third quarter of this year. Repeat after me: "Sub-prime is contained, inflation is under control."
Bad Moon Rising: S&P reports that Alt-A mortgages issued 2005-7 are defaulting at a 17% rate, matching subprime back when this was all contained to subprime. And the subprimes have now reached a 37% default rate. The Fed chimed in with a report that prime mortgage defaults are also on the rise.
Nice Tan: Google, Chevron, and Goldman Sachs have joined in investing in a solar energy array in the Mojave desert that uses 550,000 mirrors to make steam to turn turbines to generate electricity. They're looking ahead to 2020 when their cost will fall below that of coal-fired plants - assuming coal-fired plants aren't all bulldozed under before then..
Silly Is As Silly Says: The National Association of Realtors says "more areas are showing gains, and a reversal in mortgage policy means the market is better positioned for a turnaround." Actually, sales have dropped 18% and prices are down 8% from last year. Real estate is all about location, and if you are located in a real estate office...
Trust Me, Once More: The International Energy Agency says this time they've got it right. For a couple of years now as demand rose faster than supply, the IEA kept assuring that the supply was and would be adequate. Now it admits it might have been hasty and need to survey production and reserve data from oil producing countries in order to make a forecast. Why now, not then?