Just when did we all go crazy?
Barefoot and Pregnant: The Republicans convened an all-male hearing on health insurance contraceptive coverage, saying it wasn't a women's health issue but one of freedom of religion. No doctors need apply, either. Let's all go to Rio, where the government is handing out 3 million condoms for Carnival!
Progress: The week's initial unemployment claims of 348,000 continues the downward trend, with the 4-week moving average now at 365,000. The prior week was revised upward, as is traditional. Continuing claims were 3.426 million, down 100,000 from last week, while 23,000 workers dropped out of the running, having used up 99 weeks of unemployment insurance without finding a job.
Asked & Answered: How do Walmart, McDonald's and Starbucks feel about paying their employees so little that most of them qualify for food stamps?? Profitable.
Paying The Piper: The Republicans will go along with a slimmed-down version of extended jobless benefits, but only if federal employees contribute more towards their pensions, plus cuts in Medicare fees paid to hospitals and specialists.
Foreclosures Shall Rise Again! Foreclosure fillings were up 3% in January, m/m, and an upward trend in foreclosures is expected over the coming months as banks get get-out-of-jail-free cards from the mortgage settlement that will let them go forward without fear of criminal or civil penalties for fraudulent paperwork. In addition, short sales increased 12% in December, y/y.
Penny/Pound: The Obama budget will eliminate the only national program that regularly tests our fruits and vegetable for things like e-coli. What could go wrong?
Denouement: All those MF Global customers can relax, it turns out that their money was not vaporized. In fact it's not even actually missing. It has been stolen. Twice. By bankers, who want to steal it one more time.
Breaking Ground: A French court has found Monsanto guilty of chemically poisoning a French farmer, resulting in severe neurological problems. This opens the door for legal action in Europe against Monsanto's Roundup and similar pesticides/herbicides.
Devil/Details: The American Dream of owning a home is best kept as a dream. The reality is that renting is better 100% of the time. Don't let on to the NAR that you know.
The Dickens You Say: Debtor's prisons are so 19th Century, right? At least in the US, right? Wrong. The Feds won't throw you in jail, true, but many states will, as debt collectors game the process so that the debtor is arrested for contempt of court and then has to post a bail bond to get out. The bond, of course, equals the amount the collection agency claims is owed. Not able to make bail? Rot in jail.
Money Talks: The International Olympic Committee says that as long as Dow keeps giving them money, the 1984 Bhopal disaster will not be considered to be Dow's responsibility. (Note: When Dow bought Union Carbide, they bought the responsibility.)
Porn O'Graph: Getting Sentimental.