Stock markets are see-saws with greed at one end and fear at the other.
Thought Experiment: Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi says "There is no rational reason for high oil prices." It used to be when the Saudis wanted lower petroleum prices they produced more oil and dumped it on the market. Now they produce words. Wonder why.
Yo-yo Stats: The Labor Department revised last week's initial unemployment figure upward by 16,000 - a 4.5% 'correction' which adds even more doubt to this week's reported 359,000 which may or may not mean 375,000. 78,000 people fell of the far end and became non-countable formerly unemployed phantoms. Stay tuned.
Sermon Topic: Scientists report finding billions of habitable planets.
Clip & Save: JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, a noted impartial observer of all things financial, says that housing has reached "the inflection point" (new home sales, housing starts and residential investment have already bottomed) and a marked recovery in the housing market is underway.
Style Points: Rick the Sanctimonious, at a bowling alley campaign stop, told a young man “Friends don’t let friends use pink balls... You’re not gonna use the pink ball. We’re not gonna let you do that. Not on camera,” he said.
Tweet This: Smartphones with price comparison apps are driving Best Buy out of their big boxes, which have become simply showrooms for on-line shoppers. The company is closing big stores and opening smaller “mobile” outlets. The new stores also will emphasize online purchase for pick up in stores. It is also going to make it harder to return items or make expenses. Too bad there is such a small list of retailers that have successfully cut costs to make a profit.
Harvest Time: The UK's 4Q2011 GDP data is in and shows that their austerity program has turned the economy around... so it shrank at 1.2% annual rate. They've gotta eat more spinach.
Party Line: In the bad old days when we-the-people regulated monopolies, one of the things we required of the phone company was that there be guaranteed landline telephone service at nearly every address in the country. ATT and Verizon now want to dump this requirement so they can concentrate on providing wildly profitable bundled services to their urban customer base and abandon those unprofitable wires strung all over the countryside. They also want a law that takes the state regulators out of the customer complaint business. What could go wrong?
Study Guide: Research shows there is an inverse correlation between homework and academic achievement - the more homework forced on children, the poorer their academic scores. Only high school juniors and seniors showed any real benefit from doing homework.
And crown thy good with brotherhood...Homeless mother Anna Brown wouldn't leave a St. Louis hospital because of the pain in her legs. She was arrested and taken to jail, where she was left on the cell floor to die from blood clots in her legs.
Inside Straights: One view of health insurance is that every year you have good health you have wagered against yourself and lost - and your money went to pay for someone else's care. A sort of consensual redistributive tax. (This is true of all sorts of insurance - car, house, etc) So why not go without, after all,while the taxpayers will not repair your car they will not let you die of most treatable illnesses. Why not just let the taxpayers pickup the tab? Which is exactly what a national health system does.
Progress: Real wages for production and non-supervisory workers (including non-wage compensation, in 1984 dollars) declined from $388.01 in 1972 to $326.23 in 1995 and now has climbed back to 365.77 - down only 6% in 40 years of progress. But at least you don't have to pay those pesky union dues.
Porn O'Graph: Who loves ya, baby.