More of the same is a safe bet, until it isn't.
Gag Me: Paul Ryan now says that drastically cutting social safety-net spending on programs for the sick and the poor will prevent the need for austerity measures. And John Boehner, leader of the would-be populist Republican born-again party, says that ending abortion is "a defining human rights issue " and that ending abortion is a top GOP priority. Those, like Jindal, who claim the Republicans are " not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes or big anything,” have a very long row to hoe.
In Passing: In 1990, 21.8% of 65 to 69 year-olds worked. Today it's 30.8%. Ah, the golden years.
Not So Fast, Buster: Robert Shiller is at best cautious in the face of the current boosterism for the housing markets. He sees the current indicators as unconvincing for either a boom or a decline. Don't forget, at base a house is a place to live, 'better' does not necessarily mean 'good', and almost no one in the industry is actually your friend.
Scusi: Silvio Berlusconi, the once and wannabe future Italian premier, said - at a Holocaust Remembrance Day in Milan - that Mussolini "did good things" and the anit-Jewish racial laws, the roundups, the concentration camps and the shipping of Italian Jews to Auschwitz were mistakes.
Don't Be Shy: George Soros thinks that the world is about to enter a period of "evil." For the US, he predicts "riots on the streets that will lead to a brutal clampdown that will dramatically curtail civil liberties. The global economic system could even collapse altogether." Soros attributed this to rising inequality in income levels.
Measure For Measure: Those on the left should tamper their enthusiasm for the immediate future. “They forget that Obama started his first term with solid majorities in both houses and a filibuster proof majority in one of them and that public sentiment at the time was running so high against the banks that he could have pushed anything he wanted with the public’s blessing." His “lack of action to serve the vast majority of Americans, his astonishing squandering of two years of Democratic majorities, is insurmountable. It has caused irreversible damage to our personal fortunes and those of our children.” Most likely what we'll get is what we got.
Smoke, Fire? Libya, never a paragon of virtue, will not disclose the details of its oil sales this year. Meet the new boss, same corruption as the old boss?
Open Secret: A NY research firm reports that it is likely that OPEC'’s claimed petroleum reserves are overstated by as much as 70%. If this is either news or surprising, you haven't been paying attention. For decades.
Dead Certain or Certainly Dead: Absent a bailout, Cyprus is going to default. A Cypriot restructuring will be much messier than Greece has been to date. First, because Cypriot bonds were written under foreign laws, which erects a lot of barriers to some of the iffy things done with Greek bonds. Second, and far more serious, Cypriot banks hold a lot of Russian money, and the Russians do not have a reputation of looking kindly on those who lose them a lot of their ill-gotten gains.
Disposal: Of all the food produced each year around the globe, about one-third of it goes to waste - due to inefficiencies and waste in every step from harvesting to processing to markets and on through preparation and consumption. Much like our energy supply, our food supply could benefit from a great deal of applied low-tech efficiencies.
Porn O'Graph: What'd you do with my housing recovery?
The Parting Shot: