Like A Charm: Big Oil says it needs more than the 2% of 'free pollution permits' allocated them under the Cap & Trade legislation. See, they spew a lot more carbon into the air than that and if they have to go out and buy more permits, they'll have to charge more for their products and people will then cut back on their products.... Oh, wait. That's the idea, right?
Minimum Daily Requirement: Eventually the number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits will begin to fall - there are minimum staffing levels. The local Grab&Run needs at least one clerk on duty and Starbucks needs two - one to make the coffee and one to overcharge the customer.
Compound Interest: Deaths from H1N1 rose 25% in the last week to 211, 0.5% of known cases. Public health officials estimate that more than a million Americans have had the flu, most having mild cases.
Scientific Literacy: The G8's agreement for the rich nations to cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 sounds good. That translates into an 80% reduction in everything that requires energy: transportation, electricity, manufacturing, civilization. And even at that it is not enough to stay below the magic 2C rise. For that we need to totally stop emitting and begin taking CO2 out of the atmosphere. And that isn't going to happen, so some very bad things will. Global warming is already impacting Greenlanders' daily lives. And while an Arctic teeming with life in 2030 sounds cute, if it is warm enough for life to bloom in the Arctic, how hot will it be in Atlanta?
G*d Damn It: Blasphemy has regained its status as a crime - at least in Ireland. This attack on free speech has gone unnoticed in the US, much as Free Speech has.
In the Center Ring - Oil! OPEC says the economic downturn has dried up demand. Even so, Russia wants $70-80 a barrel and Morgan Stanley says oil will rise 35% next year. Saudi Aramco deepened the cuts in supplies shipped to Asia, yet Qatar raised its oil prices to $71.19 a barrel - never mind what WTI is going for.
Timing, Perfect Timing: AIG is about to hand out $235 million in bonuses, just as Citi announces that AIG's net worth is nothing.
Heads or Tails: Russian President Medvedev has been showing his lucky coin to the G-8 leaders. He claims it traveled back from the future, where it is the international currency. The coin bears the motto “unity in diversity," so you know it's a fake.
He Said He Said: Wells Fargo is foreclosing on a condo on which it holds both the first and second mortgages. Wells Fargo the first, as part of the foreclosure, is suing Wells Fargo the second in order to get clear title to the property. Clear?
Over, Over There: Great Britain's producer prices fell at an annualized 1.2% rate last month, the biggest drop since 2001. Japan's corporate goods index fell 6.6% y/y in June. One suspects this may be a successful export item.
Ready, Aim, Ouch: The GOP is loading their trusty flintlocks and taking careful aim at Judge Sotomayor for being a female Latino who followed both the rules and the law on Affirmative Action. This is going to go over well with their base, which is white, male, privileged, xenophobic and used to shooting itself in the foot..
A Fool & His Money: Now that most investors have lost about half their money following Wall Street's advice, asset allocation has passed from favor. The masses are trying to preserve what little they have left by traipsing into government bonds, TIPs, and gold. What could possibly go wrong?