Do the riots come before or after a country defaults on its loans?
Free At Last: Imagine, a government of openness, not of fear and hiding. "Starting today,” Mr. Obama said, “every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.”
The Wedding Ritual: US forces sent missiles into two houses in Pakistan. Sort of a reverse Welcome Wagon gift from Obama.
Shared Sacrifice: When a politician speaks of a shared sacrifice, he (or she) means that the taxpayers are going to share the expense. When a whole country speaks of having to share the sacrifice, they mean that other countries are going to share the costs - be it sending troops into combat or buying US debt. The Treasury hopes that China, Japan and Saudi Arabia re-enlist real soon.
Slash and Burn: Some of California's largest farms are slashing their planting this spring, for fear the California drought will burn up their crops. First to go, lettuce, next tomatoes. Hold the toast.
Bad and Worse: The US is second only to China in CO2 output. But if the US had to take responsibility for the CO2 produced outside the country in making stuff for the American consumer, it's output of poisons would exceed China's by 20%. But that would entail the US consumer taking responsibility...
Words of One Syllable: When Republicans tried to explain to the President what they would and would not accept in a stimulus package, he explained to them "I won."
Three Card Monte: Who'll believe that the US can maintain a strong dollar long enough to pay back the next $2 trillion, and the trillions after that? Do we have captive lenders - those who've lent us so much they can't afford to see us fail? Better hope so.
You Are There: Here's a marvelous 2 minute video of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in its last days.
Hard Truths: All together now: The bailouts have not worked. Not in the US, nor Britain, nor Germany... More is not going to change this. Untried but worth discussing is triage: leave the solvent banks alone, let most fail and nationalize the rest.
Egyptian River: Like Tim O'Reilly, every time I drag a little AGW item into the light here I get angry responses from those in deep denial. I'm not going to stop, so I suggest that those unpersuaded by 30 years of scientific research take the self-centered view that if global climate change has even a 10% chance of happening, we should try to prevent it. Changing to a sustainable world will not hurt us and may keep us from some very bad things.
On Again, Off Again: As expected, President Obama struck down the Bush revived Clinton canned Reagan initiated ban on letting anyone who could spell abortion get near any federal funding either here or abroad.
Now When? Leaders often do things on the international stage that make no sense until you realize they have to do certain things to stay in power at home. Roubini says coordinated global economic action is impossible because each country must put its own citizens and its own industries first.
Selfish: Bolivia, which has over half the world supply of lithium, doesn't want to just lay back and let Mega Corp International come in, scrape up the ore and scamper off with the big bucks. Bolivia and its dirty rotten socialist leader think they are going to share in the profits. Silly people; just wait until the Marines get done in Afghanistan.
PR/News: A 'market research' firm that is constantly finding the newest thing to invest in (Chinese Fast Food! Singapore Tourism!) claims that by 2030 the US will generate 917 billion KWh with nuclear power plants. Today's US nuclear power capacity is just over 100 billion. Better get going.
Today's Word: Seigniorage. In days of yore the king would shave a little bit off each gold or silver coin. Not much, but it all adds up. Debasing of the coin of the realm hasn't gone away just because the gold coins have stopped circulating.
Cautionary Tale: Global oil production entered a plateau in 2005 and hasn't grown since. Not in three years, some of which had wickedly high oil prices. Even if TARP II and Stimulus 3.6 is the theoretically right antidote, the continuing physical and geological limits on oil production will trip the economy again and again.
Don't Look Now: If NSA is grabbing all the electronic bits about you, all of you, all the time, 24/7 - and they are - what are they doing with all that info? Turning it into intelligence by finding connections. They've got some terribly clever people working for them who are not particularly introspective.
Porn O'Graph: The hills and valleys growing in China.