They'd tell us if things were going to keep on getting worse, wouldn't they?
Game, Set, Match: Bill Daley's appointment as Obama's gate-keeper means the banks have capped their conquest of the financial/political system and will continue to reap the rewards (bailouts, interest-free money, no re-regulation, lower taxes). And they will ride the economy into another crash, profiting all the way.
Dumb: “The Giffords Tragedy: Is the Media Partly at Fault?” If you have to ask...
Dumber: “Can Europe Be Saved?” If you have to ask...
Party Time! After the EU, the ECB, China and anonymous big banks forced Portugal to pay 6.7% to sell 10-year bonds and Spain 4.5% for 5-year notes, it was smiles all around and stock markets took off as investors pretended that this patch was a fix . It isn't.
Three Card Monte: During the 16 months from last payment to foreclosure, auditors and regulators let banks count the missing payments as income. How else are they going to look solvent?
Mother Nature Seems Upset: Over 500 have been killed and thousands left homeless by mud slides that have wiped out three towns in Brazil. Over 60 people are missing as flooding causes £3 billion in damages in Australia. Flooding in Sri Lanka has killed over 20 people and forced over 1 million from their homes. Mount Etna is erupting.
The Recovery To Date: "Of the 1.1 million private jobs gained in the last year, 60% are have absolutely no real wealth creation capacity, nor do they provide any real benefits."
Slow Learner: NJ Republican Governor Christie wants to balance the state's budget by 'reforming' education, which is code for slashing education spending – the state cut its school bond offering by more than half. The goal is to save money, not educate children. He wants to eliminate teacher tenure (instill fear – it improves performance!), increase charter schools (which have repeatedly shown to be no better than public schools), close low performing schools (for which read schools in poor neighborhoods), and institute merit pay for teachers (whose success or failure is mostly dependent on the parents of the students). He'd do more for education if he pushed for abolition of tenure for failing parents. Or if he did something to make sure every child had a home, a place to sleep. And a parent with a job. And food on a regular basis. Everyone's got the answer to education and it is always the teachers fault?
One More Time: Initial unemployment claims were reported at 445,000, up 35,000 from the previous week. You win some, you lose some, some get seasonally adjusted.
On the Up and Up: The USDA has reported a surprising drop in 2010's US corn and soybean crops, citing abnormally wet weather and high temperatures (ie, global warming). Prices jumped amid concern for tighter supplies of food and a shortage of grain to make biofuels. Historically low stockpiles of grain and oilseeds globally will leave little buffer as demand – and prices – rise.
The Way of the World: “… market economy means capitalism, which means big money, which means large bribes for the best connected.”
Plan to Plan: Over the last 4 months money growth as measured by the St Louis Fed was 7% for M2 and 10% for “Money of Zero Maturity”. With oil now closing in on $100 a barrel and other commodities, especially foods, at record highs, expect inflation to become a coffee break topic pretty soon. It will be interesting, living with deflation in our assets, jobs,and wages, and inflation in our expenses while we try to make the mortgage payment. Wonder how that'll work out.
Stirred, Not Shaken: Half of the world's small (5 square kilometers in area) will be entirely gone by 2100, but the Himalayan glaciers are expected to only shrink by 15% by then. More to come.
Deluge: The Queensland floods have been disastrous to communities in their path, but their effect on the Great Barrier Reef will be catastrophic as the brown plume of runoff – soil, pesticides, fertilizer, trace metals from mines - fills the inshore lagoon for nearly 1000 miles. Water visibility, usually more than 75 feet, has been reduced to nil and salinity has dropped to 10 parts per thousand, which is deadly to sea creatures and corals. As the corals die, so will all the sea life and fish that depend on them.
In Perpetuity: Congress is about to – very, very quietly – extend the Patriot Act again. Like the Bush tax cuts, the Act will be renewed ad infinitim. It's only for another year...