Is it morally wrong to mislead people with statistics?
Point to Ponder: Of the 7.2 million full-time jobs that have been destroyed during the current recession, over 2 million of them were in the auto and real-estate industries. Most of those are not coming back.
Taxing the Goose: Wall Street execs say levying high taxes on their obscene bonuses is likely to drive the best and the brightest out of finance. I doubt it, for there's little evidence that any of the best and the brightest are in finance.
Multiple Choices: The US will occupy 'South Asia' a) until June 2011. b) for a long time. c) forever. d) until the oil runs out. For extra credit, locate 'South Asia' on the map.
Perfection: Comparing computer models with reconstructions of what actually happened in the past has shown that current models underestimate the long term warming from atmospheric CO2 by 30 to 50%. The missing effects in the models are the long term feedbacks from land-ice and vegetation variations. In sum, those scare-mongering climate scientists have been understating the case and things are going to hell in a handbasket.
Be Prepared: Some are asking why the USAF is using a new stealth unmanned recon aircraft over Afghanistan. Since the Taliban have no radar equipment why be stealthy. Remember the Spanish Civil War? As a test ground?
One Per Customer: Going forward, giving birth and getting a hysterectomy should go hand in hand. Or do you really want to have 9, 10, or 12 billion neighbors?
Things vs. People: China, rather disingenuously, has put high protective tariffs on US and Russian steel, claiming “dumping.” This is in reaction to the US putting tariffs on Chinese steel last spring. Nothing like a trade war to pick up the spirits. Couldn't we put a tariff on all Chinese goods on the grounds that they're dumping labor on the US market?
Remedial Reading: Lost in the shuffle of upbeat employment data was this: 592,579 people rolled off the much extended continuing unemployment benefits table and dribbled, unnoticed, onto the floor.
Housing Sets Record: There will be 3.9 million foreclosure fillings in the US this year. That's 20% more than last year's 3.2 million. Foreclosures won't decline until after unemployment peaks and begins to recede. Don't hold your breath.
Decoder Ring: According to the Atlanta Fed, if small regional banks get crushed by the collapsing CRE market, they won't have any money to lend small business, and small businesses are what put people back to work.
Timed Exercise: List the ten most likely geopolitical disasters. Sarah Palin is not one of the answers, and Israel attacking Iran is a gimmie.
Throat Clearing: Brazil's November iron ore exports fell 15% below the average for the previous quarter, following a reduction in Chinese demand. Add that to the sudden slowdown in vessels hired to haul Australian coal to China, and you might think China is cutting way back in natural resource consumption. And you might think that would not be a good thing for commodity prices, either. Don't read too much into one month's data – it might be like the BLS data, just a blip.
Refining: “How can we sustain a modern industrial society on alternative energy?” is too long. “How can we sustain modern industrial civilization?” is still too long. “Can we sustain industrial civilization?” Ah, that's the question.
The Old Order Passeth: Under the terms of the Brussels agreement, which will come into force in two months’ time, the CIA will have access to information on all EU bank accounts, in aid of its terrorist finance tracking program. What's that? Does the CIA do the same thing in the US? Silly question.
Porn O'Graph: The map to nowhere.