Saturday, January 9, 2010

SAR #10009/Weekender

Try not to add to the madness.

Employment Summary:   The worst recession since WWII continues, with unemployment (U3) flat at 10% because 661,000 workers left the workforce and 589,000 fewer were employed.  'Total' unemployment (U6) was 17.3%.   The US lost 53,000 construction jobs and 27,000 factory jobs while adding 22,000 bed pan emptiers and insurance form clerks in 'health care'.  Those “no longer in the labor force” numbered 850,000 – if they were counted unemployment would top 12%.   The outlook for the job market remains grim.   Roubini does not see a return to 'normal' before 2015.   Paymens under the extended benefits programs are up 43% in one month.   Does all of this bad news auger well for a new round of stimulus spending?

Did Someone Say Fraud?   Yes, also coercion and securities manipulation. Seems a lot of folks are out after Tim Geithner's head.   Eliot Spitzer's just one.

If, Then:  Would those who claim that Hubert Humphrey and Barney Frank Fannie/Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act are responsible for the housing bubble like to find a convenient liberal-bashing explanation for the commercial real estate bubble?

Cartography:  The opening of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline on Wednesday connecting Iran's northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan's vast gas field should lead to a re-drawing of the energy and security maps for the region, promoting Russia, China and Iran to prominence and rendering the pipelines advocated by the US and the EU as moot.

Fasting Food:   The sad news has been confirmed yet again:  The only reliable way to lose weight is to eat less or exercise a great deal more.

Nobililty:  A New York Times article suggests that underwater Americans do what Morgan Stanley and the other banks regularly do: demand better terms or walk away.  There is no honor in fiscal suicide.  Perhaps it would help if homeowners thought of walking away as helping the banks face up to reality and take their losses.

Office Space:   When businesses fail or cut back on their payrolls, they don't need as much office space.   That's why 17% of the nation's office space is vacant.

There They Go Again: Scientists say there is overwhelming evidence that mountaintop-removal coal mining is toxic, destroys streams, devastates the environment in permanent and irreversible ways and harms human health.  Of course they said bad things about smoking, obesity, and global warming. Why should we pay any attention this time?

Asked and Answered: Why does the economy feel worse than is reported? Because it is.

Peer Group: I see I'm not the only one who suspects the end of government support for housing will pretty much put a stop to the housing market.  And much, much else.

Future Farmers:  An Arizona State scientist says we are wasting phosphorus and if we don't stop we are going to be sorry.  Very sorry.  He used the word famine and promises that it's “the biggest problem you’ve never heard of.”

Blood/Turnip:  Collections from state sales and income taxes continue to shrink, falling the most in 46 years.  Revenues for the first 9 months of 2009 fell 13%

Spreading Democracy:  “Would you buy a used government from the same people who brought you 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, global warming, skyrocketing national debt, torture, isolation from our allies, hatred of the world, and now what is – at the very least – the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression?”

We've Come Undone...   An Israeli or US (but I repeat myself) attack on Iran is “not unthinkable.”  Pakistan is facing a 'worst case' energy crisis, which is expected to trigger civil unrest.  Power shortages are also crippling India, the Philippines, Vietnam and the Caspian countries.  Many cities in the 'civilized world' are selectively turning off streetlights because they cannot afford to keep the lights on.

Porn O'Graph:  Loss of jobs leads to unemployment.


TulsaTime said...

Phosphorus- is only important if you want your grandchildren to have bones..........that was my favorite byte from the article. Those whacky science types kill me!!

Anonymous said...

Fasting Food:...

Same as Economy: "The only reliable way to get out of DEBT is to spend less or earn more." And, just like the weight biz, tremendous inertia to get-off-the-couch.