Decline is a process, not an event.
Scorecard: So far our investment in Those Too Big To Fail have resulted in a net loss of $148 billion in TARP funds (you, personally, are out $1,200) and a couple of trillion still at risk on the wider bets. And we're not even being picky about the unacknowledged billions the bankers got through AIG that they are not acknowledging.
The New Normal: What if rotten retail sales are the new normal? Will they have an end-of-season sale on rose-colored glasses?
Keep Your Shirt On: The oil patch is a'twitter with news of Tiber, BP's 'giant find” in the Gulf of Mexico. Giant, these days, seems to be about 1 billion barrels. Or maybe 3. But BP didn't say how much was recoverable nor at what cost. What they did say was “Appraisal will be required to determine the size and commerciality of the discovery.”
Nothing New: The majority wants to save the planet, but are unwilling to do so.
Ouroboros : Firing as many employees as possible and putting the fear of god – or at least unemployment – into the remaining wage slaves raised productivity-per-worker by 6.6% in 2Q09. If you cut the pie into fewer pieces, they tend to be bigger. Makes the quarterly report look good, but doesn't enable the consumer (which is what we call the worker when he goes to the store) to buy all that “extra” production.
Teenagers Flock to Church: The Catholic church as developed a prayer to be said before sex. Not all prayers get answered.
A Note from Sermilik Fjord: Last Fall, Arctic temperatures were a record 5C above normal. The Greenland ice sheet continues to flow – in some places as much as an inch a minute – and is annually dumping the equivalent of a hundred billion elephants into the ocean, which makes the sea level go up.
Sin Taxes: Billions of shares, options, contracts are traded every day – there's no way most of these can be considered investments, they are simple bets. Why not put a piddling tax on each share, option, contract traded? A sales transaction tax of one tenth of one percent would raise needed money and might even get the gamblers to consider seeking help.
Holy Grail: Here's a strangely titled (Healthcare Rationing Is Good) article that discusses the issues rationally and dispassionately. Now that it seems there'll be no public option, maybe being informed isn't usefull. But it's interesting.
On Your Mark: WHO reports that H1N1 is now the world's dominant flu strain. Fortunately it has not mutated to a more deadly version, but there is a severe strain which directly attacks the lungs of younger people, with up to 15% of hospital cases requiring intensive care. The threat is the effect of the strain on available medical resources.
Fair Shares: Here's a surefire strategy: Pool your allowance with a bunch of relatives. Draw up an agreement that lets you take the gains while the relatives take the losses. Pretend you are “private equity” and the family is the FDIC. Buy a failed bank. Feed at the trough.
Nothing to Sneeze At: Massachusetts' legislators, not wanting the public to panic over swine flue, has done it for them, passing a bill to permit “authorities to forcefully quarantine citizens” who do not comply with health officials' orders.
The Missing Link... Scientific models of CO2 emissions plotted against predicted temperature rise fail to duplicate the extent of global warming seen at the “Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum” 55 million years ago. It seems that something besides CO2 was involved and it seems likely that at some point CO2 triggers another, yet unknown, warming effect that drives global temperatures beyond those predicted based on CO2 emissions alone. Grab a cold beer, it's getting warmer.
Patriots All: Even though the government has mortgaged America's collective future and that of its children and grandchildren, it is not enough. If the country is to rise out of the current doldrums, the patriotic American must increase consumer spending. And most assuredly, it would help if the consumer would charge it, buy it on credit, get a bigger mortgage. Sound familiar?