Do bankers con themselves first?
Tradition: Not all of the House Republicans told Sandy's victims to suck it up and go away, but 179 of them did. But old softie John Boehner broke his own rule about not bringing legislation to a vote if a majority of the majority were against it, so the $50 billion aid bill passed 241 - 180. Makes resolving the debt limit and the looming sequestration and the needed continuing resolution all the more problematical.
Salvation, Downsized: Germany, the supposed strong man of Europe and the Euro, has had a letdown: German GDP grew (if that's the word for it) only 0.7% in 2012, way down from 2011's 3.0% and 2010's 4.2%. And European car sales are down, too, falling 16.3% in December. Damn, where are the benefits of austerity when you need them?
The Best Offense Is Offensive: The NRA says that Obama is an "elitist hypocrite" for having the Secret Service protect his daughters. Actually, the Secret Service does not give him an option. And what this has to do with assault weapons is unfathomable.
By Any Other Name: In terms of global warming, 'black carbon' - soot to you and me - from burning coal, gas, petroleum and wood is second only to the CO2 released by the same burning. Black carbon aerosols have been known to warm the atmosphere for many years by absorbing sunlight. They also speed the melting of ice and snow. Directly and indirectly soot has a warming effect about 60% that of CO2. The good news is that burning less carbon-based fossil fuel will cut both CO2 emissions and black carbon particulate emissions.
Draining The Swamp: New toll roads being built to alleviate Jakarta's traffic mess will only increase the use of cars and make the problem even larger. Lots of other large cities could have told them so, Beijing for one.
More Evidence: Joining Louisiana's Bobby Jindal in doing away with the state's income tax and loading the burden on the poor through sales taxes, Governor Heineman of Nebraska now says his state, too, will coddle the rich and soak the poor by embracing the least progressive form of taxes possible. He's also going to abolish taxes on corporations. Ah, the party of the people. The rich people.
Hot Seasoning: 2012 joins 2000 thru 2011 among the 14th warmest years on record (dating from 1880). And "natural variability" does not explain the relentless march of ever hotter summers, an ever warmer planet.
Prognostication: UBS, in the person of their chief technical analyst, is convinced that what goes up must come down. In this case he's talking about the stock market. He expects, nay assures, that the market will crash by exactly 42%, back to about 850. His method, he claims, has been 100% accurate going back to the 1800's. But don't panic, this won't happen for 5 to 8 years - long after you've forgotten his guesswork.
Porn O'Graph: Unemployment, going long.
The Parting Shot: