I blame it all on tube socks.
Herring, Red: The GOP nay-sayers insist that they had to vote "No" to teach the unions a lesson. The lesson is that being poor is their destiny and the destiny of 80% of the American population. The cost of labor in a Detroit car is about $800. UAW wages are only marginally higher than for those who work at Toyota (McConnell, R-KY), Nissan (Corker, R-TN) and Mercedes (Shelby, R Rep-AL). Protecting their constituents and free market capitalism while busting unions and promoting global economic disaster; it just doesn't get better than that.
Getting Real: Adjusted for inflation, US retail sales fell 10% in November (YoY); biggest drop on record.
Ultra Top Secret: Responding to Bloomberg's Freedom of Information request for details on $2 trillion in taxpayer money dispersed to financial institutions, the Fed said it would be completely transparent in providing what data it could as long as no names, amounts, terms or collateral involved were identified. Doing so, they claim, would be "a dangerous step" and the information must be kept secret in order to preserve confidence in the institutions being bailed out. If they told us more than that, they'd have to kill us.
Rules of the Game: The GOP message to Detroit was really meant for Obama: Republicans continue to be the party of the über-rich with no interest in solving the nation's problems.
Splash Point: At a certain point, global warming is unstoppable. We - the whole damned bunch of us - appear determined to pass that point still certain that technology will save us. Once it gets warm enough to trigger huge releases of carbon dioxide and methane from not so-permafrost, the game is over. That point is 2°C warmer than today. That will come with CO2 concentrations of 450ppm. Few scientists believe that stopping at that point is possible.
The Big Cheese: Ferrari and Porsche don't seem to need bailouts yet, so the Italian government can afford to buy 100,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and give them to charity to help out their struggling cheesemakers.
Twofer: Right now the value of water in many parts of the US is all too apparent, as drought afflicts large portions of the country. These shortages are predicted to become commonplace in the next few years. OPEC suggest you wash your car and clothes in petroleum, which is cheaper these days than water; 6 cents a cup vs 89 cents a bottle.
Abandon All Hope... Britain's environment minister Hilary Benn proposes the world adopt a "food Kyoto" treaty to promote a global effort to increase food security for the near-billion now seriously at risk. After all, Kyoto worked so well in lowering CO2 emissions.
Victimology: It's easy to tick credit contraction's largest victims; they are countries that rely on customers in other countries to keep their economies going. China is #1, and 2009 will bring turmoil, especially if the latest projection of an actual decline in 4Q08 GDP is even half-close. Put Russia down as a close second, India third, just before Mexico.
Red Slippers: Mexico has pledged to cut its CO2 emissions by half by 2050. It did not reveal how this was to occur. Clicking heels has not proved effective for other countries.
Perception / Reality: The IEA says global oil demand will increase in 2009. The US EIA says oil demand has shrunk 50,000 bpd in 2008 and will shrink another 450,000 bpd in 2009. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank sees oil falling to $30 on "weakening demand," while the US DOE reports an increase in gasoline demand in October. Flip a coin.
Trend Setters: The Center for Economic and Policy Research suggests that house prices must return to the 50 year trend line, and encouraged Fannie/Freddie to restrict the mortgages it buys to that range, sending out letters saying "we think you are paying too much for that house."
Porn O'Graph: Valuing the old homestead.