Those who claim to speak for God lie.
True Lies: The National Association of Realtors is at it again. Their headline: 'Home Sales Surge in April.' And they did, up nearly 7% over March. But it was only a 3.2% gain, y/y. And the gain was all in used houses. New house contracts continued to fall, as deeply discounted REO houses swamp the market. And mortgage rates are starting to rise sharply - those who didn't lock in their rates (nearly impossible to do these days) may well be frozen out come closing.
Grand Theft Auto: Car Czar Rattner is demanding the bankruptcy court simply cancel all the money GM owes workers for retirement health insurance. In the same breath he says that Citibank and JPMorgan should get $6 billion in cash. Today. The only thing standing in the way is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which says you can't steal pension funds. Details.
TicToc: A new house foreclosure action starts every 13 seconds - 6,500 a day. Already this year over a million foreclosure actions have been initiated, working towards 2.4 million for 2009.
Magic Pills: Robert Reich says the bailout of GM is wrong because GM actually makes things. Not very many, not very good, but things none the less. Reich says the future is in building "a post- manufacturing economy." Okay, but when we all take up modern dance, where are the tutus going to come from?
Construction Constructs: The April construction reports showed private single family house construction fell 53% y/y and was 79% off the pace in Feb 2006.
Wrong Worry: Citigroup is coaching employees what to tell people when asked if being kicked off the Dow sucks. Silly, there's no answer to that question but 'Yes.' It would be better if Citi taught its employees cover stories to hide their employment at Citi from the neighbors.
Something Else: Spanish researchers have described a new hominid, Anoiapithecus brevirostris, estimated to be from about 12 million years ago. Lluc, as the remains is known, has an extraordinarily flat (Hominid) face, "a very modern facial morphology, characterized by a very reduced facial prognathism". The argument is made that this shows that the Mediterranean region was the source of the Hominidae. And that argument is going to lead to a lot more.
Essay Question: Why is the work-week 40 hours?
Cash Gold on the Barrelhead: Some 174 tonnes of gold compounds have been shipped to the Dominican Republican, which is not a well-known hub of the gold trade. It is a well-known hub of the cocaine trade. Perhaps instead of using rolled up $100 bills to snort coke, the Dominicans are turning to gold-leaf straws. Perhaps some exporters prefer gold to dollars.
Truth Will Out, Maybe: A Kuwaiti lawmaker is demanding the Kuwaiti oil ministry publish the actual size of its oil reserves. The official figure is 100 billion barrels. A more realistic estimate would be half that. Be amusing to see the real figure for Saudi Arabia, too.
Porn O'Grpah: Savings by the bell....