Peak oil? I don't use much oil. Now gasoline, there's a worry.
Litter Box: The market welcomed Caterpillar's quarterly earnings as proof the economy is improving. Caterpillar posted profits of $233 million, up from prior year loss of $112 million, but overall revenue dropped 11%. Machine sales were up 11% in Asia, but down everywhere else: -15% in Latin America, -18% in Europe, and -21% in North America. Revenue down, sales down, market up. Sounds about right.
Thought Experiment: What would the reaction of the press and the GOP be if the Tea Partiers were Americans of Arab descent? Or just ordinary African Americans who gathered in the tens of thousands, angry, well armed and ranting incoherently about taking back the country?
Trees/Forest: There were well over 100,000 people, perhaps 200,000, gathered on the National Mall for the Earth Day rally. Even though there were ten times the number of people there than the Tea Partiers bussed in, they did not get one-tenth of the media coverage. Maybe they should carry guns instead of signs, to show they are serious.
Grimm Fairie Tale: The Washington Post says the IMF has “a long history of stabilizing economies and solving global financial problems." Actually, having the IMF show up to 'help' is second only to the Grim Reaper making an appearance. The only advice you hear from the “helped” is “Run away, run away!”
The Disillusioned : Like all of the generations since WWII, young people are told that if they study hard, get an education and work within the system, good jobs and the American Dream would be theirs. As this year's graduates have discovered, this is a lie. They are graduating with immense debts and very dim employment prospects. They will not be setting off on a great adventure, they will be returning to mom and dad, defeated and depressed. Welcome to the world Wall Street, globalization, and the free market have created.
The Law & The Profits: “I would still like to know why buying CDS 'insurance' against your own issue of bonds deliberately engineered to default is NOT a form of insider trading.” J. H. Kunstler
Hand/Glove: Kuwait says that global demand for oil will increase by 5 mbd in the next 5 years. Nicely enough, Saudi Arabia says it has 4mbd in “spare production capacity” on hand. Note the word “capacity”. I have the capacity of spending tens of thousands of dollars – I just don't happen to have them.
Windage: What are the odds you – or your doctor – know the odds?
Take Home Test: Phosphorus is essential to human life. There is not a lot of it and we are rapidly running though it. When it is gone there will be Serious Consequences. No snarky comment, this stuff is serious. Study up.
Q&A: Is politics a joke? Yes, and it's on us.
On Morals, Ethics and Capitalism: While we here at Some Assembly Required do not often indulge in the nuanced reasoning of complex problems, that does not mean we do not appreciate it in the hands of a skilled practitioner.
Peace In Some Time: Kosovo Albanian “special police” ( ie. armed thugs) broke into Serbian-based cell phone and landline operators, cut cables and removed transmitters and other equipment. Gives a new meaning to 'dead zones'.