Political structures exist to concentrate wealth.
Both Sides Now: Negatives: House prices are at 2003 levels and falling, mortgage applications are at mid-1990's levels despite interest rates at record lows, the backlog of unsold houses is at record levels, new home sales are dormant, housing starts are at pre-1960 levels, and home builders are as depressed as ever. Positive: Realtors say now is the time to snap up a bargain.
Nutshell: Corporate earnings are growing strongly, yet unemployment remains near or in double digits. That's because corporations are making money by cutting costs (for which read wages) rather than increasing sales. How long, ya' figure, can this keep keeping on?
Noise? Durable goods orders – cars, planes, tanks – fell for the second month. Both were 'unexpected'. Don't worry, “manufacturing is just a small part of our economy.” Or rather, worry.
Enjoy the Weekend: Arnold is insisting that all California state employees take three days off. Without pay. Every month. Enjoy the weekend, as best you can with a 15% pay cut.
Clip and Save: There are no laws that prohibit taking pictures of public buildings. Just don't try to explain this to a gun-toting $8.25 an hour security guard. Know your rights, and know when not to exert them.
Nostalgia: Longing for the secrecy of smoke-filled rooms, the Republicans today blocked consideration of a bill that would have forced campaigns to disclose the source of campaign contributions. They didn't think they'd look good in suits with corporate logos all over them.
Water Is Wet #469: Investor Jim Rogers has figured out that CNBC is a PR agency flacking for Wall Street. Shazam!
In Case of Fire: The CBO says that “unless policymakers restrain the growth of spending, increase revenues significantly as a share of GDP, or adopt some combination of those two approaches, growing budget deficits will cause debt to rise to unsupportable levels.” Please walk, do not run, to the nearest exit.
Free Speech: Anti-Islamic bus ads have begun appearing in US cities, sponsored by a group aptly named “Stop Islamization of America”. Wonder if I can get the local transit people to carry one urging Christians to see the error of their ways.
Another Verse, Same Song: "Our entire social and economic way of life in this country is broken and unfair and inequitable..” Since 1979 the income of the rich is up nearly 300% while the bottom 20% have seen their pay jump by 16 cents on the dollar. Ah, America, where the rich “are able to completely immunize themselves from the fate of the rest of the society." So far.
Cat/Bag : Thad Allen, the government's man on the spot, says BP “put somewhere between 3 million and 5.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.” BP's own data "assume a flow rate of 53,000" barrels per day and that makes the figure is closer to 5.3 million barrels.
Uncooperation: The microbe population in Arctic waters has not cooperated with the theory that said melting the ice and warming the water would cause them to gobble up more CO2. The ice is melting and the waters are warming, but the microbes seem disinclined to help us get rid of our CO2. Selfish little beasties.
Porn O'Graph: Ups and downs.