How many people are staying in their underwater, over-priced homes only because they've killed several family members and buried them in the back yard?
Numbness: The DOL reports this week's seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims, at 357,000 was 6,000 less than last week's 359,000. The Labor Department has now revised upward its first estimate of seasonally adjusted claims in 56 of the past 57 weeks. Revisions are understandable, it is ... uncommon... for revisions to always make things look rosier. Class dismissed.
The Way We Are: The government is going to use a “military commission” - not actual judicial trials - to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others in connection with the 9/11 attacks.
The Defense Department will execute them after the are convicted.
Inquiring Minds: “Are we headed toward a permanently divided society?” Headed?
Pin The Tail On The Public: Obama signed the deceptively named JOBS act, claiming it was "a game changer". Which it is. It changes the definition of "small" to include all firms doing less than a billion dollars a year in business. It relieves these "start-ups" from such noisome hindrances as obeying SEC regulations, makes it legal for them to bilk investors through misleading internet solicitations, and excuses them from telling potential investors about regulatory problems and shortcomings. Republicans say these changes will remove many of the obstacles that kept Bernie Madoff expanding his business.
Today's Unexpectedlyness: German industrial production fell 1.3% in February. Unexpectedly.
Tired and True: US strategy in confronting oil producing nations requires the Saudis to ramp up production and replace production lost due to embargo or bombardment. This is an old and familiar plan, whose goal is to let the US attack others without upsetting the American driver. But Saudi Arabia is in danger of losing its “reserve margin”, which would change America's strategic calculus incalculably. At Saudi Arabia's 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in domestic consumption (6.8%/year, BP), this is not just an academic concern.
Government Intervention: In yet another attack on basic American values, socialist Barack Obama has come out in favor of letting women become members of the Augusta National Golf Club. So has Mitt, which will probably cost him votes.
Separate But Equal: Mac users are no longer second class citizens when it comes to identity theft, malware and having their computers taken over by cyber-criminals.
Prioritization: Consumer need their cars to get to work – or at least to the unemployment office – so they keep making their payments. They have less motivation to make mortgage payments on their underwater houses. Besides, they can sleep in the car.
Adventure In Good Living: As a money-saving step in anticipation of Republican cuts to its budget, the USDA is planning to let poultry producers inspect and certify their own produce. What could go wrong?
Intensive Care: One-third of American adults do not pay all of their bills on time, 40% carry balances on their credit cards and the same percentage have no savings. Retail sales are up. The data suggest that Americans have embraced the propaganda that tells them everything is coming up roses and that they should go out and buy, buy, buy. Or maybe they've gotten so far down and so far behind that they're just giving up.
Warm-Up Question: Has the Fed's QE boosted the stock market? Yes.
Failure Mode: Our reliance on probability-based plans often leads us to a false sense of security. Like with nuclear power plants and hamburger. If your plan makes assumptions, you had best assume your assumptions are biased and incomplete. Belts and suspenders, at a minimum.