Saturday, July 30, 2011

SAR #11211

Anyone who says they know exactly what happens next is lying. Ezra Klein

Numbers Game: First Quarter GDP was originally reported as a 1.8%, then it was revised upward to 1.9%. Now it has been cut to 0.4%. Second Quarter GDP was originally supposed to be in the 2.8 to 3% range and has been 'expected down' to about 2%. The current 'real' number is 1.3%. GDP numbers for the years back to 2008 were revised – all downward. 2008 is now seen as a minus 8.9%!   Depressing, if not quite a depression.

Fun While It Lasted: It took the Senate just 2 hours to kill the bill that took Boehner a week and his leadership to pass.

This foul deed shall smell above the earth. That it is called “budget crisis” is a testament to the Republicans success at distorting reality. The government is not going to “run out of money”, and raising the debt limit is not a big deal to the bond markets. Not raising it is. But the GOP – and their adolescent offspring, the Tea Party – have chosen this place and this time to mount a massive attack on the federal government's social support systems. It is not about the debt, nor the deficit; it is about the Republicans' dogmatic insistence on abolishing all traces of human decency from US society.

Down & Out: Leading Tea-Partier Joe Walsh (R-IL) is $117,000 behind on his child support payments. The Congressman makes $174,000 a year defending the fiscal responsibility of the republic.

The Years of Living Dangerously: The world currently produces about 88 million barrels of oil a day. Demand during the second half of 2012 is expected to be 92 mbd. If the Saudis up their exports by 40% and no one else drops the ball we'll just scrape by. Of course Saudi Arabia isn't really going to increase their output by 40%, so something else will have to give.

Can't Please Everybody: ExxonMobil's profit for the second quarter, at $10.8 billion, was up 41%. Wall Street was disappointed.

Future, Tense: America has entered an age of political paralysis, with government possible only if the majority give in to the tantrums of the screaming infants (on the left now, but times change). There is little chance any significant or rational legislation will pass before the next election and there seems little hope that the next Congress will be any better behaved than the current bunch. How did we get here? Decades of gerrymandering of electoral districts to avoid actual political contests and secure safe seats for the incumbents, polarization of the electorate, monetization of the electoral process to prevent political change and exploding government deficits to provide the bread, bribes and circuses that grease the re-election machinery. And change is not permitted.

Shopping For Signatures: BoA plans to transfer the high-risk mortgages they inherited from Countrywide to sub-servicers. Wonder who they'll find to run the robo-signer.

Yon Cassius: Obama's problem is not that “he thinks too much” but that he hasn't yet learned that the Republicans do not compromise and that his efforts at bipartisanship are seen as offered out of weakness. He is – however ineffectively – trying to govern. Their only goal is to make sure he isn't around to govern after the elections. The entire display is appalling.

Bread Eaten In Secret: Senators Wyden and Udall are trying to get the administration to produce a “detailed assessment” of the differences between what the public thinks the Patriot Act says and the way the intelligence and security agencies interpret it. To put it another way, Wyden and Udall want to know what sort of abuses of the surveillance laws the government has been up to lately.

Unfinished Business: The largest rally since the Egyptian people deposed Mubarak and delivered the country into the hands of the military turned into a show of strength by Islamists advocating the imposition of strict Islamic law. This does not portend well for the future of peace or the course of reform in Egypt.

Straightjacket: Google wants to help you enjoy the internet by letting its Page Speed Service chose what websites you can visit and what portions of the information on those websites you can see. This will cushion you from ever having to encounter a viewpoint that you do not already agree with; ideal for the true believers -political and religious.


kwark said...

RE Can't Please Everybody: Lately none of the major oil companies have managed to replace the volume of production with comparable new discoveries. Wonder if Wall Street's finally figured out the consequences of that relative to the Big Oil business model? Or they're just greedy. Or both.

RE Future, Tense: I'd say the majority of screaming infants (in Congress anyway) are on the right - the ones on the left are so marginalized that they are effectively ignored by both their fellows and the press. As to how we got to this point, the WE part can't be ignored - the electorate is as apathetic and lazy as any time in the last 70 years. Now it's true that both parties, particularly the Republicans since the Regan years, have worked to this end, but WE are still culpable.

Doly said...

RE Straightjacket: Your commentary is usually brilliant, but on this one you're going way too far. Google's rewrite of pages is about the code (invisible to users, telling the computer how to display the page, and often bloated because web designers often don't look at it either, they just let their software bots make whatever mess they like). The code and the content of pages are completely different things. Yes, they could use the same system to rewrite the content, but it would powerfully catch people's attention if the page displayed by Google said different things from what the content provider put in - and it would kill the service pretty much instantly if they started doing that.

CKMichaelson said...

Perhaps, Doly, but "they could use the same system to rewrite the content". Could is a scary word in this context. I don't see why Google would go to the trouble of cleaning up other people's code if there were not something (profit) init for them....


Drewbert said...

Google's pagespeed isn't about profit, it is about control. Google routinely executes people's user account for minor infractions that they will neither explain nor allow for appeal often with no warning or notice. Now they will be able to execute your website too.