Where did America get the idea it was the exception to all the rules?
Infiltrator: Citibank's employment agreement with Treasury Secretary candidate Jack Lew includes “a monetary award” if he accepts “a full time high level position with the” federal government or regulatory body.” Questions?
Collateral Damage: There are about 4.5 million orphans in Iraq today, 70% of them having lost their parents since the US invaded in 2003. Over a half-million of them live on the street.
Back From Irrelevance: The Simpson-Bowles charade has resurfaced, pedaling the same 'solution' that it couldn't sell the first time around – big cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and the social support programs along with lowering Social Security funding by rigging the CPI, all under the code-word of “reform” - and modest increases in taxes. Didn't pass the smell test then, won't now.
Prophet Motives: Part of the well-thought-out Affordable Care Act gives employers of low-wage workers the option of paying a $2,000 a year fine or providing the workers with healthcare coverage for $4,600 or more a year. Guess which they are going to choose.
Over There: The corruption scandal in Spain isn't going away, Spanish airline workers are on the first of a planned series of five-day strikes, auto sales on the continent tanked in January, and a lot of Cypriot bankers wish the Russian dirty money had never washed ashore. France's economy is unlikely to meet even the anemic 0.8% growth target. Unsurprisingly, only a third of Britons would vote to stay in the EU.
Piggy Bank: The big banks have nearly $300 billion parked at the Fed. Too bad they can't find something useful to do with it.
Situation Report: Until a fair part of the $8 trillion that magically appeared and not quite so magically disappeared in in the housing bubble. Until something comes along to replace the consumption demand created by that bubble, things are unlikely to improve. Thus Obama's mad race to get a new housing bubble underway. But don't be fooled; he's not concerned about you – it's big bank profits that make the world go 'round.
A Bad Rap: Homeland Security plans to improve its “situational awareness” to better insure “public safety”. For 'situational awareness' read 'surveillance and for 'public safety' read 'docility'. The program is called “Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety” - RAPS.
Is This The Party To Whom I Am Speaking? As the Dow hits record highs, margin debt on the NYSE does too. What could go wrong?
Simple Math: America's obesity epidemic can be traced back to small social changes in our snacks and snacking. An 'extra' 100 to 150 calories a day (3 small cookies or one can of soft drink) is 10 or more pounds extra a year. If you don't walk an extra mile and a half, that snack is going to settle in. And stay. Consuming healthier (and fewer) snacks could make a real difference in our
child obesity rate.
Observed: “While N-methylamphetamine itself is a powerful decongestant, it is less desirable in a medical setting because of its severe side effects and addictive properties. Such side effects may include insomnia, agitation, irritability, dry mouth, sweating, and heart palpitations. Other side effects may include violent urges or, similarly, the urge to be successful in business or finance."
Porn O'Graph: Shaken, not stirred.
The Parting Shot: