A recession is a financial disaster, a depression a social one.
Thumb Pricking: April was " an extraordinarily bad month for economic activity" in Europe. Italy's PMI fell to 43.8, its job losses were the steepest in over 2 years, and new orders fell the most in over 3 years. Spain's PMI told the same story as its economy deteriorated the most in three years. France too stumbled. Even Germany saw its first drop in output in over two years. More worrisome, the Euro-zone youth unemployment rate is over 22% for the first time since 1994. Here, US factory orders suffered their biggest decline in over 3 years.
Anniversary Present: As a coda to Obama's victory lap in Kabul, the Taliban attacked a compound housing hundreds of foreigners, killing seven people and wounding 17. It was the second major assault by the defeated and demoralized Taliban in Kabul this spring.
Perspective: 11.23% of US houses with mortgages - 5.5 million of 'em - are either delinquent or in foreclosure. That's an improvement.
Past Perfected: Aubry McClendon, Chesapeake Energy's CEO, thought he was running a bank. First we find he borrowed a billion dollars to invest in Chesapeake on his own behalf. Now we learn he ran a hedge fund that speculated in the same commodities that are Chesapeake's business. No, I don't know why John Corzine comes to mind. Or Angelo Mozilo.
Re-Runs: In Cairo, 20 were killed and 200 injured when groups of armed thugs – thought to be plain clothes members of the security forces – set upon demonstrators conducting a peaceful sit in to protest continuing military rule. Ah, spring.
Samaritans: Social scientists (sic) report that the less religious are more generous and compassionate ("motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost.") than the holy rollers. The more religious - instead of acting out of spontaneous compassion - were more likely to respond to "reputational concerns."
A Year Later: So, how's that war thing going, anyhow?
It'll Never Work: The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau wants lenders to make sure borrowers can repay the mortgage money they borrow. What a quaint idea. No wonder Republicans thought the CFPB was a bad idea.
Box Of Chocolates:
The FDA has decided to streamline pharmaceutical approvals by not requiring safety or effectiveness studies until people start dying. In a similar development, the Interior Department will not require natural gas drillers to disclose what poisons they are using in their fracking until after the well is drilled, profits taken and bankruptcy arranged.
Directions: Pennsylvania’s governor, Republican Tom Corbett, says forced ultrasounds are “the way to go.” I don't think you can get there from here.
Definitions: The administration claims that drone strikes are a legal and ethical, and cost effective, way to kill people. They did not cite any particular definition of the terms. The legal basis seemed to be the president's responsibility to "protect the nation from any imminent threat", but it was unclear how imminent a threat a bunch of people at a wedding reception in a remotest Pakistan rep;resent. Certainly the hundreds of civilians killed by drone strikes would testify to the efficiency of the strikes, but they might quibble about the ethical or moral nature of these "extrajudicial killings" - which is the term of art preferred over the traditional "murder".
Stand Your Ground: FLA Gov. Scott (R, of course) says that the citizenry will need their guns to “protect” themselves from “protests” at the Republican convention in Tampa, even though the city has banned stuff like pieces of wood, switchblades, slingshots, containers of bodily fluids, squirt guns and pieces of string longer than six inches. Tampa's mayor says this makes the city “look silly.” Look?
Porn O'Graph: Dating? No, we're just hanging out together.