The United States has given war a bad name.
Kristallnacht: Finally. S&P's long expected downgrade of everything European arrived with no great surprises - 'BB' Portugal; 'BBB' Ireland, Italy; 'A' Spain and, most importantly, France steps down to 'AA'. This leaves Germany even more power among the EU equals. S&P explained “Today's rating actions are primarily driven by our assessment that the policy initiatives that have been taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the eurozone." The downgrades will have more political than economic impact, and leave serious questions about the status of the ESFS and the overall international monetary system. Will S&P follow-up with similar downgrades for major European banks?
Deck Chairs: President Obama says that by merging six trade and business agencies into a single, export-oriented bureau the US can double its exports. It was not immediately clear who needed more US munitions.
Arrested Development: Participation in the US labor market has dropped by 4.8 million workers over the last 3 years. If they were still considered as unemployed instead of having been disappeared by the BLS, the US unemployment rate would be 11.3%. Out of sight, out of mind.
Dealing Off The Bottom: Goldman Sachs has offered the NY Fed $3 billion for $20 billion of crappy AIG bonds the Fed swallowed back in 2008. Don't polish up the altruism award just yet, they're in it for the money.
Healthy Care Costs: Stop me if you've heard this one: AstraZeneca raised list prices for its drugs by 9.5%, Novartis raised prices 8.5%, and Pfizer 7%. Inflation? Nah, it's just about the profits.
Greeks Not Bearing Gifts: Restructuring talks between Greece and its private bondholders have broken down, raising the likelihood of a hard default by Greece before the end of March. An agreement was a necessary precondition for the next installment of bailout funding. Now the ECB, EU and IMF have the excuse they needed to stand aside and let Athens implode.
Porn O'Graph: My, how you haven't grown.