A bubble reaches its maximum extent immediately before it bursts.
R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y: Job openings, the 'hires' rate, the 'quits' rate and the separations rate were all little changed m/m in January. Don't let the cheering deafen you.
The Map Is Not The Territory: The 2013 version of Paul Ryan's assault on the social fabric of the United States: Repeal Obamacare but keep the Obamacare cuts to Medicare and the new taxes in the plan. Convert Medicare to a voucher system, giving profits to private insurance companies while depriving seniors of needed health care. Cut Medicaid to the bone and then prevent the poor from getting medical care by putting them in the loving hands of state-level grifters. Cut as many other domestic social programs as deeply as possible. Increase Defense spending in order to strengthen defense contributions to the Republicans. Simplify taxes by doing away with taxes on the rich and cutting corporate taxes (which nobody pays anyway) to 25%. Also include a rather stupid mandatory cap on total spending so in the next recession the government won't be able to help anyone. Continue to fund any and all wars under the table, like Iraq and Afghanistan have been. Same old same old. This is not “deficit reduction” it is an assault on the social compact. And it is Paul Ryan's attempt to save himself from the obscurity of being a losing vice-presidential candidate. Why is this treated as anything other than self-promotion? That Paul Ryan is the intellectual leader of the Republican Party says far more about the low state of Republican intelligence than it does about his presumed brilliance.
Asked and Answered: Could melting glaciers slow down climate change? No. Well, not much.
Fat Of The Land: Mississippi, number one in the obesity Olympics, has passed a bill prohibiting any city or town from requiring restaurants to post calorie counts or to otherwise appraise those who can read of the dangers lurking in their meat and three. And they're happy.
Other People's Money: As the Dow was zooming to new heights, so was margin debt, which is now at at the third highest level in history. Third to June and July 2007, just before... well, you know.
Fodder: The Congressional Budget Office has reduced its projection of cumulative Medicare 2011-2020 spending by more than $500 billion from its 2010 estimate. The Cat Food Commission asked for only a $60 billion cut in Medicaid over the same period. The CBO also lowered its estimate for Medicaid spending over the same period by $218 billion. But Paul Ryan claims that Medicaid is inefficient and its costs are out of control and that giving state political hacks control of all that money is the way to go.
On Getting Away With It: After the bankers' enormously long list of forgery, fraud, lies and negligence (putting a good face on things) cost the FDIC $92.5 billion, the government managed to recover $787 million.
Depends On The Definition: The 100-plus detainees at the Guantanamo concentration camp who are on a hunger strike are not, according to the Pentagon, on a hunger strike. They're just not eating – it's like a Weight Watchers thingy.
Bottom Feeder: The lawyer for a bunch of high school football louts who plied a young woman with alcohol until she passed out, then gang raped her, says hisclients are innocent because the woman never actually said no.
Horse, Mouth: "we’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people." Paul Ryan, Republican.
Flash! Eisenstadt v. Baird, the 1972 SC case that established the right of unmarried people to use contraception is “the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court,” according to the Family Research Council, which also says that “functioning societies” have never given single people “the right to engage in sexual intercourse.” No, that would have been Mother Nature's doing, some time earlier.
Porn O'Graph: A little off the top.
The Parting Shot:
Trillium sessile, Toadshade.