What happens when the economy gets even worse?
All In Favor Say 'Aye': Germany and France have agreed not to force “private” holders to take a loss on their Greek bonds as part of a second Greek bailout, but said they can participate on a voluntary basis. Would all the bank presidents and CEOs who would like to be unemployed please raise your hands. And note that this agreement to provide more debt to resolve the problem of too much debt will not make it possible for Greece to repay either the original debt or the new, improved, higher debt. It will let the looting of Greece get underway.
Seeing Double: Prices for the rare earths used in things like plasma televisions, energy-saving light bulbs and lasers have more than doubled in the last two weeks. Even the communists in China know what to do with a monopoly.
The Old See-Saw: Oil dropped precipitously to $93 a barrel in anticipation of economic chaos in Europe following a Greek default. At the same time, economists say that current and developing shortages will drive the price of oil significantly higher this summer. As they say in the oil markets, heads we lose, tails they win.
On Deck: Kuwait's emir warned that "zero tolerance" will be shown to any Kuwaiti who is less than ecstatically happy with the way things are.
The Beating Goes On: The battle has resumed. Wisconsin's supreme court has let stand Gov. Walker's bill stripping bargaining rights from state employees. Republicans in New Hampshire and Missouri are seeking to make their states “open shop” - which allows workers to benefit from union bargaining without paying union dues, starving the unions of essential funds. Republicans in Congress plan to punish the National Labor Relations Board for a pro-union ruling. Remember, “unions bad, poverty good”.
Another Good Idea: Russia plans to build 8 floating nuclear power plants in the Arctic ocean to power the search for oil and gas deposits. What could go wrong?
Read His Lips: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that al-Qaeda's new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri is marked for death. “"As we did both seek to capture and kill - and succeed in killing - Bin Laden, we certainly will do the same thing with Zawahiri." Capture and kill, any questions?
Lies, Polite Lies and Spoon Feeding: In an article warning, very softly, that we have seriously underestimated the amount of sea level rise that will happen this century, the claim is made that “the window of opportunity” for keeping global warming to 2ºC by 2100 “is rapidly closing.” Poppycock. We are on course to easily exceed 4ºC by then. And it seems likely that even 2ºC will be enough to trigger the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which will – over several centuries – push the oceans of the world 20 feet or more higher.
“...the smell of politics in the morning.” The US military wants to keep the number of troops in Afghanistan at the current “surge” levels until September 2012. American troops are scheduled to begin their
retreat withdrawal in October, coincidentally just in time for the Presidential elections.
Two Out Of Three: Social Security and Medicare seem to be escaping the knife, while Medicaid is facing significant cuts in the Biden bipartisan budget deal. Medicaid is the target because it is a state-level program that Congressmen can distance themselves from, and the program primarily serves the very young, the very poor and the very disabled – none of whom carry much, if any, weight in electoral calculations.
Tales from the Crypt: The far right would have us believe that New York state workers are retiring at age 55 and drawing over $100,000 a year in benefits. Actually, the average benefit paid by the state's main pension program in 2010 was $18,300. And New York state's pension is 100 percent funded. Damned liberal facts.
Bears/Woods: Will the 700,000 jobs lost to the Republican deficit witch-hunt push the US back into recession? Similar reductions in Britain certainly did, resulting in real household incomes there equaling the lows of 1931. What happens when 6 million workers lose their extended unemployment benefits? Does it matter whether GOP politicians are stupid or simply lying as part of political gamesmanship?
Climate Changed by Degrees: Minnesota State Senator Michael Jungbauer proudly calls himself the "No. 1 global warming denier in Minnesota." He also claims to have a bachelor's degree from the Moody Bible Institute with a "background in biochemistry." Except he doesn't. Jungbauer holds no degree, although he was ordained by Christian Motorsports International, which provides "chapel services" at "races, car shows, cruise-ins, and tractor pulls."