Monday, July 23, 2012

SAR #12204

History does not favor the clueless.

Shadowlands: Spain's Valencia region is broke, many of the rest will follow soon. By September Spain will be out of money and there is no Plan B-for-bailout. Spain will be kicked to the curb just as the IMF is now throwing Greece under the bus. It won't be pretty.

Steady As She Goes: The recoveryTM continues to build momentum; now only 43 states have fewer jobs than before the Great Recession.

Clues: Is there a point at which a climate system shifts so abruptly that we can point to it, draw a line and say 'there'? Or is it insidiously slow like the dissolution of affection before a divorce becomes inevitable? Perhaps some mathematical rigor would help: if event after event - storms, droughts, heat waves - happen that are two or three standard deviations from the expected norm, maybe then we could point to them and proclaim 'there!' Well they've happened and are still happening. Will the current series of exceptional events trigger even more and more serious climactic events? Perhaps. Sit back and watch, for it is far too late for us to do anything to stop them now.

Is There An Echo In Here? California's energy market again seems to be the victim of price manipulation.

Dodge City: Republican Senator John Corynyn wanted to force the administration to explain in public its authority for the targeted killing of American citizens, but the Democrats prevented him from finding out where the administration got its double-oh-seven license.

What They Do, Not What They Say: The Democrats, party of the wealthy, can't get enough votes to even pretend to give a shit about the 98% who make less than a quarter million a year, so they're not even going to go through the motions of trying to raise estate taxes on hoards exceeding $3.5 million. The Republicans, party of the wealthiest, agree with the Dems on hiking taxes on the unfortunate 98%, killing the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit. Flying your horse to France will still be tax deductible.

Briefly: Overuse of deworming drugs led to widespread resistance among parasites.

Crimestoppers: Offenses reported on this month's financial crime blotter: Conspiracy (Barclay's and about a dozen other big banks, Libor). Price Fixing (JPMorgan). Fraud – inflating performance data (JPMorgan). False reporting to SEC (JPMorgan). Money Laundering, multiple counts (HSBC and at least a dozen others). Witness Tampering (HSBC. Fraud – false ratings on MBS (Morgan Stanley). Price Fixing (Visa & Mastercard). Tax Evasion (UBS HSBC etc).

Another Brick In The Wall: To go along with erecting barriers to women's health care, kicking the poor off food stamps, preventing hundreds of thousands from voting, and trying to gut Medicare, Medicaid and privatize Social Security, the Republicans now want to block the Labor Department from trying to reduce black lung disease in coal miners, for fear it would cut profits.

Bedfellows: China is paying $1.5 to $2 billion to buy the investment positions held by GM's pension plan in firms like Carlyle Group, Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners. Bain? No, Bain wasn't mentioned.

Dead Is Dead: The Environmental Prevention Agency is going to see how much it must relax its new standards for mercury, soot and other emissions so a bunch of new coal-fired power plants can spew poisons profitably into the air. If the object is to let Peabody Coal make as much money as fast as possible, why pretend?

Porn O'Graph: Wages & sin.

The Parting Shot:



mistah charley, ph.d. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mistah charley, ph.d. said...

The mushroom photo to me stands as an indicator that the beauty and wonder of the natural world will outlive our technologically sophisticated, energy-intensive, pollutant-spewing way of life - whether or not our species continues.

May the Creative Forces of the Universe have mercy on our souls, if any.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

As for the mystery of this little corner of the universe - I've walked this same bit of woods 5 times a week for over 10 years and find something new and interesting and surprising every day. (And worth taking a photo of...)


OkieLawyer said...

Regarding the Paul Krugman graph, here some interesting facts I learned on my just-completed trip to Alaska, where I took a cruise and a land tour. While there, I met many people from other English-speaking countries (England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), as well as English-speaking Scandanavians and Europeans.

It seems our minimum wage laws are far behind those of other English-speaking democratic market economies (OK, "English-speaking" and "democratic" and "market economy" are redundancies.)

Australia, whose dollar is on par with ours, has a minimum wage of $15.96 per hour or $606.40 per week.

In New Zealand, the adult minimum wage increased from $13.00 per hour to $13.50 on April 1st 2012. The New Zealand dollar trades at about 85 cents to the U.S. Dollar.

In Great Britain, it is £6.08 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over. This translates to $9.55 per hour at current exchange rates.

Here is the list for Canada: which range from $9.40 per hour (Alberta province) to $11.00 per hour.

Ireland is €8.65 per hour, which translates to $10.55 per hour.

For vacation time, just use the Wikipedia cheat sheet. (Hint, the U.S. is the only western democratic market economy that does not guarantee vacation days. In almost all of the other democratic market economies, it is one month per year. Only Canada lags behind with ten working days, i.e. two weeks.

Don't forget they all get national health care, maternity leave, retirement, sick leave and any number of other benefits not enjoyed by American workers.

If that wasn't enough insult, they added injury to this attorney by noting attorneys there get paid far more than here -- and I was comparing government attorneys there to government attorneys here.

One of the people I talked to several mornings at breakfast on the cruise ship was a New Zealand employer who informed me that his agents (in a trade that does not require more than a high-school education) start out making $44,000 per year. That is just the wages, not including all of the benefits that workers in New Zealand get that American workers do not, such as health care, vacation time, retirement, etc.

In summation, American workers are shortchanged at so many levels that it is unbelievable there is not an outcry.

Anonymous said...

A quick glance at your wonderful photograph and my brain said, "fried eggs." Then it shouted, "No, it's a nuclear explosion!" Then I noticed the surroundings. Erp.

Which of the two, I wonder, is the correct analogy?