Mostly we are free to chose “a” or “b”.
All Austerity, All The Time: The ECB's injection of over a trillion euros into eurozone banks in the last six months has lasted about six months. But now interest-rate spreads for Italy and Spain are rising as the recession in the eurozone’s periphery - accelerated by unnecessary fiscal austerity - is deepening and will worsen throughout this year. This most likely will lead, absent a sudden enlightenment of the current leadership, to another round of austerity. Add in the French and Greek elections, both destined to produce leaders whose priorities will not please the bond markets, an expected rejection of the current fiscal compact by Irish voters and the rising demonstrations, strikes, and popular resentment against painful austerity measures in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and the immediate future looks less than sanguine.
Linkage: USGS scientists say that increases in the number of quakes in Arkansas and Oklahoma in the last few years are “almost certainly” related to oil and gas production - either because of the withdrawal of oil and gas or because of “changes in extraction methodologies.”
Table Talk: How your food is grown and processed has as much to do with how "green" it is as how far it travels to get to your table. And grass-fed, free-range, cage-free and pastured meat may be more humane than factory raised livestock - but it is no more able to supply the market in a sustainable way than industrial production.
Unexpectedly, Chapter 39: US retail sales for March were up an unexpectedly strong 0.8% against an expected 0.3% predicted by teams of soothsayers.
Sunny Side Up: A brief and wholly accidental pause in US greenhouse gas emissions has reversed as the US economy begins to revive, and emissions grew by 3.2% in 2010. In the Southwest Pacific, research confirms that the rapid rise in sea level in the 20th century is attributable to human-made climate change. But in the Himalayas, glaciers in the Karakoram range are not yet succumbing to global warming, but the Siachen glacier has shrunk by 10 kilometers (six miles) in the past 35 years.
Public Service: Republicans will be able to lie to the electorate about the causes of high gasoline prices only if the mainstream media let them. Even MSM that have columns that quietly expose the more egregious falsehoods would do democracy a better service if they pointed out the lies within the same paragraph of the news story that quotes the lying politician – without regard for party affiliation.
Business Vocabulary: Monopoly – Walmart's dealings with you. Monopsony – Walmart's dealings with its suppliers. Disintermediation – going around Walmart. Agency – when the manufacturer tries to get around Walmart. Digital rights management (DRM) when the seller wants to rent you what you think you're buying. The stakes: an economic morality play.
Buffet Line: Senate Republicans – to loud applause from the US Chamber of Commerce – blocked Obama's attempts to instigate class warfare with the job-killing Buffet Rule tax, noting that less than 100,000 millionaires paid taxes (if they paid any at all) at rates lower than most middle class families.
The Way Things Were: According to Robert Shiller, a house is not an investment, there is no guarantee that a house's price will increase, and in fact, even with ongoing maintenance, houses traditionally depreciate over time. Killjoy.