Consensual reality has disappeared, and civility with it.
Illusions: Before we get to involved celebrating the fourth housing bottom sighted in the last three years, take a pause to appreciate how weak the “signal” is, given artificially depressed interest rates, bailouts, write downs, forgiveness, tax credits and incentives and a buyer's market. Pretend you didn't notice that those wonderful April figures are among the weakest Aprils in the past decade for existing home sales, and that pending home sales fell in April.
Being Prepared: In a few weeks, Abu Dhabi will be able to bypass the Straits of Hormuz with the completion of a pipeline that will carry its petroleum to the port of Fujairah.
Monopoly Money: Money has three basic characteristics: (1) It is a unit of account. (2) It is a store of value. And (3) It is a medium of exchange. Nothing in modern Greek history suggests that a new drachma will qualify on any of these three measures.
Nostrums: Economists, like doctors, should first do no harm.
Money, Talking: The RNC and the Romney campaign are expected to spend $800 million in this fall's campaign. Separately, “outside groups” (the Koch brothers, Karl Rove and the usual suspects) will spend at least $1 billion to elect Romney. The super-PAC supporting Obama hopes to raise $100 million.
Explanation Explained: Conservative politicians and their tame economists argue that the nation's high unemployment is 'structural' – mostly because the unemployed are uneducated and ineducable louts. Too bad the NBEAR finds that unemployment is high because highly indebted consumers don't buy enough to get the economy going. It's the lack of aggregate demand, stupid. And cutting 5 million from the unemployment benefit rolls is not going to help.
"Militants” Defined: According to US counterterrorism rules, a militant is any human being who is standing in the way when a drone -launched missile explodes. All males in a strike zone are viewed as combatants, unless the corpses turn out to be children.
Take Home Test: Right now, you are living at the absolute historical peak of human wealth. In terms of the energy you consume, the variety of foods and beverages available to you, and the amount of physical labor you don’t have to do every day, you are vastly more wealthy than any generation before you. Your children will be much poorer than you, will have far fewer options about what they can eat and drink and do with their free time, and will have to do a lot more physical labor. Their children will have even harder lives, and so on into the future, as wealth per capita declines for the next several hundred years. True or Sadly True?
Fair & Balanced: Fox & Friends has unveiled a four-minute attack ad aimed at President Obama. The ad was produced by a Fox News associate.
Roundup: A snake-handling pastor in West Virginia has died of snakebite. In Kansas, pastor Curtis Knapp has called for the US government to kill LGBT people. And at a church in Greensburg, Indiana, the congregation cheered as a 4-year-old sang ‘ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven’. Makes me proud to be a devout atheist.
Status Check: The belief that hard work pays off and that your kids will be better off than you is a) The American Dream. b) Something you once heard in a dream. c) Gone with the wind.
Porn O'Graph: Traveling Companions.
The Parting Shot: