Seasons pass, stories change.
By Any Other Name: The punditry warns that no mater how the debt debate is resolved, serious austerity measures are inevitable. Someone should tell them austerity moved in some time ago.
Masked Raider: BP reports that its 2nd quarter profits are up even though production was down 11%. In other words, they're selling off the furniture and booking it as profit while the roof is caving in. An oil producer that does not produce oil is not a good investment no matter how much 'profit' their accountants can make.
How Much Is The Puppy In The Window: Absent the current brouhaha, the government was predicted to spend $46 trillion over then next 10 years. If by chopping wildly at social safety spending the GOP is able to save $2.2 trillion, that's about 5% of the whole pie. But if it all came out of non-Defense, non-Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid discretionary spending, it would be 30% of domestic discretionary spending. That would be a big ouch. But raising taxes to increase projected income by 1% would pretty much take care of the problem being “solved” at the moment.
Rational Discourse:The House GOP leadership was able to enlist the support of the Republican members behind the modified Boehner plan by explaining to them they'd better “get your ass in line.” Of course it has absolutely no chance to pass in the Senate, so this is just some sort of pecking-order thing in the House.
June Bride: Durable goods orders were a “very disappointing” -2.1%,. This points to slower growth in the near future, with the GDP growth now expected to dip below 1%.
Towards chaos: In the US – even if debt limit doom is avoided – Obama and the Republicans will finish destroying the last bits of New Deal social safety nets and sacrifice our children, our elderly, our helpless and the hopeless to the deficit Gods. The coming cuts in the public sector at both state and federal levels, together with an abrupt shut-off of unemployment benefits, will drive unemployment towards 20% - all in the name of reviving the consumer economy.
Progress Report: S&P reports that the EU/IMF rescue of Greece has been so successful that bondholders should lose no more than 50 to 70% of their investment.
Numb Numbers: BP's Statistical Review of World Energy 2011 says “In 2010, world oil production grew by 1.8 Mb/d and surpassed the level reached in 2008. Growth was the largest since 2004...” But their own data shows that since 2005 global petroleum liquids production has been in the 81 – 82 mbd range and does not reflect the “1.8 mbd increase. EIA data for global crude+condensate production (the oil that the peak oilers talk about) has been in the 73 – 74 mbd range since 2005. Plateau, not peak.
Too Many To Count: The Obama administration says “it is not reasonably possible” to know just how many Americans have had their private communications legally intercepted under the domestic anti-terrorism laws. It's the 'legally' part of the question that poses the difficulty.
Tradition: GMAC – one of the nation's largest mortgage servicers - had a problem: It wanted to foreclose on some mortgages originally made by the now defunct Ameritrade. But there was no proper paper trail, so it had its employees forge the necessary documents. Business as usual.
Starvation: “Deprived of food long enough, the bodies of starving people break down muscle tissue to keep vital organs functioning. Diarrhea and skin rashes are common, as are fungal and other infections. As the stomach wastes away, the perception of hunger is reduced and lethargy sets in. Movement becomes immensely painful. Often it is dehydration that finally causes death, because the perception of thirst and a starving person's ability to get water are both radically diminished.” The famine now starving Somalia affects 3.7 million people. If you stand by and do nothing, when you could do something, are you guilty? Of murder, or something more acceptable?
This Just In: The US government is simply too big to fail. The Fed will keep buying the Treasury's bonds. Wall Street will see to it.
The Reign In Spain: The protest by the Indignados in central Madrid has increased dramatically after riot police forcefully removed them from the area they had previously quietly occupied next to the congressional building.