Iraq - where we have too much to lose if we leave,
and too much to lose if we stay.
Better Late Than... Ten mayors and 17 other high-ranking officials, including an aide to the governor of Michoacan, have been arrested on drug-trafficking charges. President Calderon was shocked. Shocked.
Credit Where It's Overdue: JP Morgan claims credit card losses at subsidiary WaMu may reach 24%. But is someone playing games with the numbers?
Economists Say Recovery Sighted... Just think how high the Dow would go if the US lost only 500,000 jobs a month. Or if houses lost only 12% y/y in value, instead of 18.7%. Or if home-owner's equity melted away at only $250 billion a month instead of $400 billion. What a wonderful world it would be...
Downer: US Army Chief of Staff General George Casey (to give credit where credit is due), says the Pentagon is prepared to occupy Iraq for another ten years. A SOFA is something to sit on.
Hide In Plain Sight: Banks are keeping 70% of REO houses - perhaps half a million - off the market. In addition, some 15+ million homeowners would like to sell their houses "if the market improves." These inventories should keep housing prices depressed for years.
Skinny Dipping: If the melt-rate of Greenland's ice sheet keeps increasing at 7% a year - as it has for the last decade - sea levels along North America's Atlantic coast will raise by 12 to 20 inches more than the overall increase in sea levels worldwide.
Rinse Cycle: The US may be 'surging' troops into Afghanistan, but they'll be playing catch-up. The Taliban has become the effective government in much of northern Afghanistan. Among other signs of their control is the disbandment of schools for girls - at least 10 have shut down in the Kunduz area alone. The Taliban are certainly despicable to civilized eyes, but they are winning.
Well, Duh? Some are just now realizing that people with underwater mortgages on unsaleable homes that are losing value aren't out shopping for a bigger, more expensive place. Soon they'll begin to suspect that "moving-up" has moved out.
Matchbox Collection: When I was a kid I collected matchbox replicas of famous cars. Now, as a taxpayer, I'm collecting the companies that made those classic cars.
Shocking Stockings: Those elasticized stockings they make you wear in the hospital, the ones that are supposed to prevent blood clots - don't. At least not when given to stroke patients to prevent clot formation.
If/Then : In a shocking turn of events, the IRS acknowledged that tax revenue has fallen right along with taxpayer income. Revenue is down 34% in April, y/y. You can work out the rest.
Spin Cycle: NAR reports that existing single family home sales were down 2.8% y/y and median sales price dropped 15% y/y. Their spin: "Existing-home sales rose in April with strong buyer activity in lower price ranges..."
Plug-Ins: Tesla only builds electric cars and builds the only true "highway" electric. They go for $140,000 a copy. The future is not what it used to be.
Whitewash: Energy Secretary Chu says that if we paint the roof and driveway white, we can keep on polluting the skies with CO2. Or something like that. This will work best if - along with the whitewash - we become vegetarians, have fewer kids, consume less, use mass transit and walk to work.
Porn O'Graph: The Bear went over the mountain.