Fear is a commodity.
Simon Says: Portugal's prime minister insists there is “no connection” between the Irish rescue and Portugal's situation because “Portugal doesn’t need anyone’s help.” Spain's finance minister agrees, claiming that Spain 'absolutely' does not need a bailout. Is there an echo in here?
Pay to Play: China says that if the world wants to keep receiving rare earth shipments, it had best shut up about the manipulation of the yuan and its long and ongoing history of violating international trade rules. “We are happy to continue a sustainable supply,” they say,
“As long as we get out way.”
Push/Shove: Alaska's governor asks which is more important to you, polar bears or petroleum? Me, I've seen a polar bear.
Proof/Pudding: A plethora of plagiarized and out of context data in the Wegman Report, a much-touted denial of climate change championed by Representative Joe Barton, suggests there was less science and more politics than usual in the report. Golly.
Dance Card: China is funding a $6 billion petroleum refinery expansion in Cuba, while India is looking to buy five coal mines in the US, Australia and Indonesia, before the Chines do. Ain't it nice to be wanted?
Endgame: The culmination of the Deficit Committee and next spring's federal debt limit showdown may be the creation a crisis that 'the experts' say can only be cured by instituting a flat tax on income, along with a value added tax on spending, coupled with abolishing taxes on interest, dividends, capital gains and property. It would be the ultimate victory of the uber-rich, whose mantra would become “Your money and your life!”
Correlation/Causation? It's been noted that, at least in California, increases in energy prices and increases in poverty levels occur in tandem. Not really surprising in that our whole economy is based on energy consumption. Energy prices are expected to continue to rise.
Power to the (Right) People: Republicans are seeking to consolidate all energy and natural resource considerations into one congressional committee, provisionally to be called the Energy and Natural Resources Operations Nexus, or something like that.
Writing Prompt: Over the next 15 years China is expected to build the equivalent of 10 New York Cities. 1,500 words please, usual prize (No trips!)
Priorities: Rushing back to the past, Senate Republicans voted unanimously against a bill that would work to ensure fair pay for women. Despite support by the majority, the Republican filibuster once again allowed the GOP to say No!
Serious People: You might think that those who lent all that money to the failing Irish banks would take the losses, until you remember that they are bankers and bankers don't take losses. People do. In this case, the Irish people who, by 2014, will be paying about 20% of their taxes directly to the bankers in interest – they'll never get the principal paid off. The serious people (who are the bankers and their IMF cronies) say this is necessary to restore confidence in the banking system that no matter what, they will not have to take losses. Just like in the United States.
Uprooted: About half of all the people who are delinquent on their mortgages have given up on the putative American Dream and would rather rent than try to buy another house.
Infrastructure: Increases in the cost of materials, especially asphalt, combined with plunging gasoline tax revenues will cut Michigan's 2012 road construction and maintenance budget in half. Drive on the left.
Protect and Defend: A Rasmussen poll found that 44% of Americans think the government operates in unconstitutional ways.
Cold Comfort: Kjell Aleklett, the Swedish energy expert generally credited with coining the phrase 'peak oil', says not to worry about the global warming effects of burning fossil fuels. There is not enough oil and coal and gas for us to burn to push the global temperature to 6º C. Maybe 3 or 4º C, which is sufficient to cause a great deal of mischief, but then they'll be all gone, and with them modern industrialized society. So don't worry, it'll get warm enough not to have to heat our homes about the time we run out of fossil fuels to heat our homes.
Nightstand: Michael W. Hudson’s 'The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America–and Spawned a Global Crisis.'
Porn O'Graph: The big letdown.