Saturday, June 5, 2010

SAR #10156/Weekender

“Inalienable” has been redefined.

More Egg Than Chicken:  Rebound in the labor market?  The only jobs being created are temporary, part-time and low wage.  Of the 431,000 new jobs reported for May, only 20,000 are actual jobs.  Jobs may be coming back, but they are not real jobs with real benefits and real futures. I n 2005, the government estimated that 31% of U.S. workers were already so-called contingent workers.  Experts say that number could increase to 40% or more.  And even the 431,000 was far below the predicted 600 – 700,000 new jobs.

Take the Money and Run: BP intends to distribute $10 billion in quarterly dividends, despite the bills piling up on their books like oil on a Gulf Coast beach.  Wonder who is working harder, BP's engineers trying to stop the leak, or BP's lawyers and accountants, trying to stop the leak.

Mark's the Word:  To Wall Street bankers, the vast majority of Americans are both"predictably irrational" and "stupid".  That investors keep trusting Wall Street is all the proof needed.  “In any market, as in any poker game, there is a fool. Any player unaware of this is probably the fool.”

A Matter of Fairness:  Unemployment is near 10 percent.  Long-term unemployment is at a record high.  Teachers are being laid off across the country.  State governments are slashing services to the bone.  So let's cut the estate taxes on the richest 0.2% of Americans.  If you've got less than $3.5 million to leave your heirs, raise your hands and vote against this giveaway – at a cost of $440 billion in revenue that could go to the unemployed, to reinstate some teachers.  Or to buy another penthouse, another yacht, another Congressman.

Water War? Egypt won’t give up its Nile share that has been theirs by treaty since the 1920's.  Egypt and Sudan – by treaty – use 90% of the Nile's water.  Today there are 120 million Egyptians and Sudanese. In 2025 they will have grown to 150 million.  But the rest of the Nile watershed will have grown to 650 million and will not quietly sip on the 10% treaties allow them.

Deep Pockets:  A lot of European nations are counting on the European Central Bank to bail them out.  The ECB has already promised €113 billion to help Greece over their difficulties.  Good.  Except it only has €60 billion in capital and reserves...

Son et Lumière:  The public has put up pretty well with being stuck with mortgages they cannot afford, but what will happen when they realize they've been sold a whole lifestyle that will never be theirs?

Now You See It:   From the beginning BP provided video feeds to the Coast Guard, but – claiming proprietary privilege – kept them from being made public.   From the mass of data they had, the Coast Guard released but one fuzzy picture – because BP refused to allow the release of more damning images.

Simmer Time:  Even with the sun playing hookey, we have reached a new record high global mean temperature over the last 12 months. NASA said “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend that began in the late 1970s."  These announcements pass unnoticed while nonsensical stories by the denialists get lots of space in the MSM.

Porn O'Graph:  Housing Inventories are Up!  Hurrah?


john patrick said...

CK--thanks again for the daily update.

On jobs... how can the loss of 1 $80k/yr job be made up with the creation of 1 $20k/yr job? Without these details on the statistics, one might be led to believe things are improving a bit. Just plain lunacy.

john (chicago)

CKMichaelson said...

jp - Wow. Why didn't I think of that? Don't know how the fantasticians would come up with such an index, but it certainly is a very valid point: the Work&Wage index.


john patrick said...

Yeah--the whole method of tracking jobs is just plain nonsense. All one has to do is drive around their community and see the empty storefronts and the apartment for rent signs popping up. Though, some businesses are doing well (coffee shops and car maintenance) "if" they offer the highest quality around.

On a side note--maybe another reader has the data, but it "seems" that rail traffic lately has been huge (I live next to a major line). Almost as if the corporations are stocking up while money/credit is good and to prepare for the upcoming hunker-down period.


CKMichaelson said...

jp - We aim to please: "Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that intermodal volume on U.S. freight railroads for the week ended May 29, 2010, reached its highest level since November 2008. Intermodal traffic totaled 225,111 trailers and containers, up 35.5 percent from last year and 10.3 percent from 2008."

john patrick said...

CK--that might explain things... I just get the feeling that commerce is occurring, and quickly, while credit still remains. The corps are doing the same thing as the wise ant did for winter. Thanks for the data!

kwark said...

Re Now You See It Thems fighting words from Brian Ross ". . . a far too cozy relationship . . . that allows oil companies to do what they want." So that's ABC sense of outrage I suppose. One wonders if ABC will KEEP reporting even this rather weak message (given the situation) or if the board of directors will decide they can't have any more corporation bashing and the "news" will move on to more "important" things such as who's on "Dancing with the Stars". My money is on Dancing with the Stars.

Anonymous said...

@jp Perhaps income is a more relevant statistic than payrolls:

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

re Mark's the Word - Mr. Farrell urges us to "never read another behavioral economics book...ever", and in his list of such books mentions Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves. It's the only book in his list that I HAVE read, and because I have done so, I know that it is NOT about behavioral economics. A recent paperback reprint has a better title: The Plastic Mind: New science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves .

"AskNed"'s review states, in part:

In this lucidly written, very readable and compact volume, science writer Sharon Begley explores the recent convergence of learning about the mind and the brain through two very different approaches: Western science, in particular neuroscience and medical studies of the brain; and Eastern (Buddhist) philosophy, including mental training via meditation. As the book explains, recent research has documented changes in the brain that were once held to be impossible, changes wrought by conscious, focused mental effort on the part of the brain's owner. This emerging science has opened up wide vistas of possibility, ranging from mitigation of mental disorders that originate in brain (dys)function, such as obsessive -compulsive disorder or the after-effects of stroke, to improving one's character by becoming more humane and compassionate. This book makes you think humanity may have a future after all, despite so much current evidence to the contrary, if we are wise enough to harness this powerful new knowledge to expand the common goodness of people everywhere.

john patrick said...

<<@jp Perhaps income is a more relevant statistic than payrolls:>>

Anon--thanks for the link. You would think that this issue is obvious.

CKMichaelson said...

mista charley - you quoted: "makes you think humanity may have a future after all," Let's not have that kind of talk 'round here.