Overused phrase: “faster than previously thought.”
Rush to Inaction: In Copenhagen the world's leaders all agreed that Rome was burning, but each wanted to be Nero. President Obama , as leader of the polluters, was the advance favorite to act "boldly and decisively", but historic levels of incompetence resulted in a year of planning that barely achieved a “meaningful and unprecedented first step”. It has taken two years of negotiations to agree to meet in November 2010 in Mexico Cit, where work on “one or more legal instruments” to fight global warming would be discussed.
Jocks: Polls show that Tiger Woods' popularity among men has risen along with the body count. Among women, well... not so much.
Job Losses: US companies plan to reduce their domestic workforces by 1.6% in 2010, while increasing the outsourcing of jobs. Two-thirds of companies do not expect their employment levels to revert to pre-recession levels until 2011 or later. Most expect to stop funding workers' health care costs.
Advertising Extortion: Among the short sighted dysfunctional leaders gathered in Copenhagen, Saudi Arabia's oil minister stood out when he insisted that any resolution that would lower the consumption of petroleum must include payments to the oil producers to make up for their lost sales. If that doesn't explain why we are headed for a much warmer world, nothing will.
Dogs of War: 69% of the Department of Defense's workforce are not soldiers, but mercenaries and camp followers.
All Over But The Shouting: Moody's suggests the housing market has bottomed out and the way forward is up, up up. Deutsche Bank disagrees and says it's down another 10% or so. Meanwhile those folks on the hill in the big houses are defaulting twice as fast as the commoners down in the McMansion lowlands. And 10% of homeowners would seriously consider walking away is they were underwater. Or when they become...
Starting Point: Container volume at US ports was essentially flat in 4Q09 compared to 4Q08. But despite the lovely and misleading uptick on the accompanying graph, what this means is that things are not any worse than last year, which was 10% down from '07. Not worse can, cleverly, be made to look as though it were “much better.”
Couch Potatoes: Not only can insurgents, terrorists and Abdul Q. Public sit at home and watch video feeds from Predator drones, they can also watch surveillance videos from all sorts of US military aircraft. But don't worry, the Pentagon's known about this since 2004. They just haven't done anything about it.
Growth Industry: The FDIC plans to hire at least 1,600 employees to help close even more banks in 2010.
Distraction: There are lots of articles out there pretending to explain the health care farce in terms of death panels, public options, abortion, deficits, the Medicare buy-in or the doughnut hole and any number of other distractions. Don't be fooled, this is all about fear and greed. The politicians fear they'll lose big bucks and the insurance companies want to earn even bigger bucks. It has nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with that single payer, the taxpayer. And those of you that are so happy with your company-selected health insurance should be aware that it is going to go away, and the new legislation will make you buy useless policies from the insurance giants or go to debtors' prison.
Porn O'Graph: I owe, you owe, we owe, but not so much.