After 30 years of screwing around, we are out of second chances.
Word for the Day: Cognitive Dissonance: Holding two diametrically opposed opinions, as in Secretary Geithner saying "We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system," as he argues for the next TARP and the stimulus bill.
Quoted: "The financial debacle has many causes and implications, but it would be wrong to underestimate systemic corruption."
Trying Times: The Israeli Army is sufficiently concerned about the possibility of international tribunals investigating their soldiers for war crimes in Gaza that all officers from battalion level down are wearing black facemasks to conceal their identity.
Fixer-Uppers: In Q408 more money went into fixing up old homesteads than went into buying new ones. Make do or do without, a sign of the times.
Insulating the Economy: How big a boost would the economy get if the Feds underwrote bringing every house, office and factory in the country to some energy-saving decent level of insulation? And then double glazing the windows. And updating the HVAC systems. Less than the stimulus bill. Less than the TARP's already wasted. Plus it would create jobs all over the place, and leave behind a tangible recurring benefit that would, in fact, repay the expenditure. And cut down on energy use.
Some Numbers: Residential construction was down 23% in December (YOY) and down over 50% from the March '06 high.
Before: The Italian
GOP Rightists have banned 'foreign' foods from Lombardy, the Venito and other places where they are in power. It's aimed at 'kebabs and Chinese foods'. Except the pastas are fro China. The tomato's from Peru, as is the potato. Get that gnoochi out of here.
Here's The Plan: There's no need to wait a week to find out the basic outline of Geitner's plan to bail out Wall Street. In terms even an economist could understand, it's this: The Treasury is going to buy worthless assets for whatever the bankers want. Secretly. That's it. Simple.
Always Something: Rising sea levels are forcing sea water further up the Ganges, salting out farmland and invading the water table.
For Your Own Good: Ever get a call from your credit card company advising you they had noticed "unusual activity" on your card and wanted to make sure you had made the purchase? Now they're looking at what you buy to see if they still want you as a customer.
Great Migration: Some 26 million rural Chinese have lost their jobs in the big seaboard cities and are making their way back home. Unhappily.
Tax Breaks: The GOP will not support Obama's stimulus unless it includes even more tax breaks for business. Over 90% of US corporations pay less than 5% of their income in taxes. What's to cut?
Porn O'Graph: Do you buy this chart?