Big numbers with dollar signs are scary because they are big numbers with dollar signs.
Getting To The Point: Greece is going to begin privatizing its rail system in June. Angela is pleased. Greece had originally thought it could raise 50 billion euros selling off bits and pieces of the country – a statue here, an island there and so on – but now says it might raise as much as 9.5 billion by 2016. Selling wooden horses hasn't been as profitable as it once was.
Newspeak: Under the EPA rules making the public comments on the Keystone XL Pipeline secret, the word “public” comes to mean “secret”. And hiring a firm that is a tool of the petroleum industry certainly helps insure the “independence” of the firm massaging the public outcry into a grassroots approval of the project.
Austerity For All! Eurozone unemployment has reached 12%, with Spain and Greece (and soon Cyprus) above 26%. Unemployment among the under-25 is nearly 60% in Greece, 55% in Spain, 38% in Portugal and 37% in Italy.
When Less Is Less: Since 2008, Walmart has opened several hundred stores and several distribution centers, while cutting its workforce by 120,000. Sound familiar? More work, less people? In many ways, Walmart is the US economy, and while Wally is having a hard time keeping the shelves stocked, so are a lot of us.
Pep Talk: Three decades of wage stagnation followed by the Current Unpleasantness has been... disheartening. But don't despair. Not yet anyway, because it's quite possible you will get to “experience something worse.'"
The Law of Averages: One of the things about averages is that they are averages; for example, if the global temperature rises an average of 2°C, some places will a bit warmer. The Arctic will be 6°C to 8°C warmer, as will the Mekong basin, which is - now - one of the most fertile areas in southeast Asia. It will not be by mid-century. And that's if we keep global warming to 2°C, which we have no intention of doing.
Worry: Jamie Dimon says that Mary Jo White, a member of his legal defense team who earned $2.4 million doing so last year, is “the perfect choice” to be Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stunner – she's not a Goldman grad.
Birds of a Feather: Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who thinks permitting same sex marriage will lead to marriages between three guys and a duck, also believes that limiting the size of gun magazines will lead to making guns illegal. Senator Cruz (R-TX) claims to think providing Medicare to 1.2 million poor Texans will force the state to release “violent criminals” from prison. Someone should point out the real threat comes from elected officials.
Aw, Shoot: In the last ten years nearly a million Americans (989,023) have been killed or wounded by gunfire. That's five times the number of US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Getting The Vote Out: North Carolina's GOP-controlled legislature is planning to cut the state's early voting period to one week, to eliminate same-day registration, to outlaw early voting on Sunday, and to prohibit straight-ticket voting,
Original Sins: Tennessee Republicans want to block Gov. Haslam's school voucher bill because it does not prohibit funding Islamic charter schools. Other Republicans are opposing an attempt broaden the bill from applying to just the bottom 5% of the states schools to all Tennessee schools because that would make even more money available to teach the Quran. This is the same gang that wants to take food stamps away from families whose kids are not doing well in school
Porn O'Graph: How's in recovery
The Parting Shot:
Phlox divaricata, Blue Phlox