Carthago delenda est.
Say/Do: The G7 finance ministers ended their emergency meeting saying they had agreed to act together, but announced no actions. They did, however observe that “There are now clear signs of a slowdown in global growth.” and promised they “would cooperate as appropriate." Elsewhere, George Papandreou pledged to avoid default.
Better: Goldman is now advising its pension fund clients – who have taken a serious beating following Goldman's previous advice – to try to make back their losses by increasing their exposure to riskier investments more adventurous investing. What could go wrong?
The Tailor of Panama: An AP review of sources named in the Wikileaks cables found that none were fearing reprisals, much less death. Many are already dead, others have publicly written or testified about their supposedly confidential information. A great many were surprised to find that the US embassy thought they were “sources” in the first place, in that the information they were credited with divulging was common knowledge at the time.
Deep Blue, See? Recent scientific studies have shown that nearly all of the world's deep-sea fisheries are being seriously overfished and are approaching collapse.
A Penny Stolen Is A Penny Saved: The threat to Medicare is very real and pressing as more and more political forces are lining up to raise the Medicare eligibility age, under the rubric of 'deficit reduction'. The American Hospital Association – fearing even more reductions in Medicare payments and thus reductions in their profits – wants Congress to raise the eligibility age from 65 to 67, which is tantamount to raising the retirement age to 67. The insurance industry also wants the age raised, so they can sell more health insurance to those who are thus deprived of Medicare. It is not about the deficit, it is about profits.
Coming Attractions: The coming breakdown of the
error euro zone doesn't bother me nearly as much as the political breakdown that will accompany it. Remember, it took WWII to drag the world out of the Great Depression, some parts faster than others.
Plastic: In an economy where high unemployment and wage stagnation persist, the only way the economy can grow is through consumers increasing their debt loads. And that's what happening. But the increase is in installment credit, especially in sub-prime auto loans and in kids borrowing for college - both future disasters. Revolving (credit card) debt – generally for the purchase of everyday consumer goods - actually declined by $3.4 billion.
Basics of Research: A British university that has done extensive research on the attitudes of children towards smoking and cigarette packaging is being sued by Philip Morris, which wants to gain access to the data,
to better target advertising to children.
Competition: Capitalism is bad for health care consumers. As the capitalist winners in the competition for health care profitability gobble up their competition, the consumer is faced with fewer choices and higher prices. The goal of capitalist competition is to kill off the competition. In the health care industry, killing off the customers is an unfortunate side effect.
Cleaning Bill: Most of the time, most doctors' and nurses' uniforms host potentially dangerous bacteria. It's not just hands that don't get washed often enough.
False Dawn: Switching from coal to natural gas will not appreciably decrease global climate change, for while natural gas emits less carbon dioxide, coal emits significant amounts of sulfates and other particles that block some of the sun's incoming rays. Natural gas also has a propensity for 'leaking' methane into the atmosphere. Over a 50 to 100 year period, switching to natural gas would make at best a difference of a few tenths of a degree.