None of this could have happened in a rational world.
Words of One Syllable: Only 23,000 Americans bought a new house last month, orders for durable goods fell for a fifth month (don't need those new appliances... ) and a record number were collecting jobless benefits. Now connect the dots.
Next! Avis, Hertz and the local pizza parlor's delivery guy have applied for federal bailout funds. They all use cars in their business.
One Day We'll All Be Rich: The French are pretty sure things are going to pot and they are pretty sure they will pay for the greed of the elite. So they have taken to the streets to protest. How un-American of them. Don't they know they are supposed to submit two photographs, one of their face and one of their right retina, and their fingerprints, get a permit, then go to a designated free speech area?
Match, Set: Melbourne is facing four days of temperatures above 40ºC (104ºF), the longest stretch of above 40ºC weather in a century. Just in time for the Australian Open .
Outlook Stable: In 2008, Pemex's production dropped 9.7%, after a 5.5% decline in 2007. Production is not expected to increase despite three years of $16.3 billion a year in investment in new production. Fitch Rating Service says Pemex's outlook is 'stable'. Steadily downhill.
Flying Leap: The IATA reports that December's international air cargo traffic dropped 22.6% from the prior year. Back in September 2001, when much of the world's air fleet was grounded for 10 days, air cargo only dropped 13%.
Known Unknowns: As the entire Federal apparatus flails aimlessly in the dark, a few things become clear: No one knows what to do. No one knows how bad it will become. No one knows how much money it will take. No one knows how much the banks bad assets are worth. And the folks in Washington do not want the taxpayers to know how little they know.
Put A Stake In Its Heart: The demise of the efficient market hypothesis is once again being reported. This time let's make sure the Republicans know.
Bystanders: After interviewing economists who failed to see this disaster coming, the AP concluded that no one in America objects to their tax money going to Bankers, Brokers or Detroit.
Veneer: In the wake of the ice storm across the Appalachians, folks are looking at 30 - 60 days without electricity. If you can't quite imagine what an energy-starved future would be like, go read this one. There won't even be FEMA in the future. Why should there be, there doesn't seem to be one now.
Strawiest Man Ever: Look at the chart on Net Borrowed Reserves (I've shown it to you before) and then understand that it is not scary because it represents increases in government debt. Granted the overall increase in government debt is scary, but this is even more scary because it means that banks don't have any reserves.
Chicken Feed: We keep being assured that the notional $175 trillion in derivatives is really much less because it is well hedged. But if only 1% of that goes south, it is $1.75 trillion that our too-big-to-bail-out banks will lose. If it's a modest 3%, it'll be women and children first.
If Not One, Then Two: The Fed's most recent obfuscation is a long way of saying "We have two and only two ways to influence the market (1) we can lower interest rates and (2) we can print currency. Except (1) we can't lower interest rates and (2) we're printing paper as fast as we can, so (3) we're pretty much irrelevant."
Again: Republicans (in Ohio this time) alleged widespread voter fraud in last fall's election. A special prosecutor reports found none. One man, from Connecticut did turn himself in,
but he voted GOP. Print this out and put it on your refrigerator door for the next time the GOP says voting Democratic is illegal.
Hidden Message: Some say the age of growth is over, and the age of sustainability has begun. I agree that the age of growth is overing, but have no idea what comes next. Sustainability is just happy talk, unless we have sudden population decline to about 1.5 or 2 billion. And I don't see how we get there with any civilization left. Nor do I see a happy ending to the climate crisis. That last sentence is four words too long.