Blackened Friday: Time for another round of retail theater, in which the retailers pretend to offer bargains and the customers get emotionally exhausted while spending far more than they should. Did you really think the bargain hunters were in control? The buyers don't mind, they enjoy being duped – they are not after bargains so much as they are seeking the high from the promotional frenzy, from pretending they got a bargain. Let's make a deal; in the end everybody ends up happy – the shoppers emotionally fulfilled and the retailers' registeres filled.
Running On Empty: What occurs when one fact-checks Fox News? Duh.
Just So Tale: Research is well on the way to proving that the severe decline in the labor force participation rate is due to the recession and not to demographic factors. People are dropping out because they cannot find work, not because they are retiring. But the government doesn't count the dropouts as being unemployed. If they did, unemployment would have remained at 11% for the last four years. And that's not politically acceptable.
Open For Debate: Different accountants can issue wildly different accounts from the same data depending on the “different accounting concepts” they use. So there are 50 shades of gray after all.
Discuss: “The ability of the economy to generate adequate demand is so impaired that we are getting financial bubbles before we get full employment. In consequence, under current policies episodes of full employment are fleeting and unsustainable.” Larry Summers, the condensed version.
Taking Our Ball And Going Home: The White House has told Karzai & his opium producers that if he doesn't straighten up and let the US keep 15,000 troops in Afghanistan for another decade they will be forced to pull all US troops out of the country. If that happens the US will simply find another compliant Central Asian dictatorship that will - for a regular payment of a few hundred million dollars - let the US use their territory as a base for continued strikes in Pakistan. It's not known if the treaty covers the mercenaries.
Thanksgiving Feast: As they sit down for the traditional family gathering on Thursday, 62% of American workers fear they will lose their jobs, and nearly 90% of the nation's low-paid workers live with that fear constantly.
On the Evils of Capitalism: A poem by Pope Francis, denouncing capitalism and the inequality at its root, as well as our obsession with consumption. He finds that our soulless economy kills through inequality while we worship the unproven wisdom “of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose." He asks us to “remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day...” And to do something about it.
Don't Let The Door Hit You: French mega-bank Groupe BPCE (possibly speaking for elements of the French government) suggests that Germany should leave the euro. Granted there are lots of non-economic reasons to keep the eurozone together, but there are compelling reasons for Germany to leave. Of course it would not be that simple, because several northern states would join Germany in a manufacturing-euro zone while the French and the Meds would coalesce into a devaluation-of-the-month-euro zone. Ah, north vs south, what could go wrong?
Serving & Protecting: In New Mexico, female corrections officers repeatedly sprayed mace directly on a female prisoner's genitals. In Texas a police officer is facing felony sexual assault after he allegedly handcuffed and raped a 19-year-old woman during a traffic stop. Following up on the Steubenvill, Ohio rape-by-athletes case, the school superintendent and three other supposed adults have been indicted for evidence tampering , obstructing justice, and failing to report sexual child abuse. In Florida, football fans have decided that a star quarterback who’s facing rape charges is innocent, or at least can't be tried until his winning season and possible bowl appearance are over. Best of all, the Defense Department is giving 165 armored vehicles previously used in Iraq to police forces around the country.
Enjoy, Don't Inhale: It's time to stuff yourself with outlandish reports of retail sales during the Splurge and Overspend Season. Like Aunt Bea's green bean casserole, the reports will need a lot of salt.
Porn O'Graph: It's official!