Diagnosis, Prognosis: Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's President, warns that the “widespread social tension and unrest” in the country as a result of austerity policies and the drawn-out recession “has put a severe strain on social cohesion”. He said that the threat of insurrection must be confronted by the rule of law. There should have been an 'or else' but he couldn't seem to figure out what it might be.
Snappy Quiz: Who is investing in America's future? Right, trick question; no one is.
Bible Study: The fall of Adam and Eve is a metaphor for the demise of our hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Eden is the recollection of an oppressed peasantry of the more humane world of their happier ancestors. Before we bit the apple, we lived off the fat of the land. Hunter-gatherers lived longer, ate better, and worked less than their agriculturalist descendants. Average adult height, an excellent proxy for childhood nutrition did not return to levels seen in the Palaeolithic until a mere 150 years ago.
Re-Run : New unemployment filings rose again last week, up 11,000 over last week's massive 22% jump to 368,000. There were 2,884,000 continuing claims – but nearly half of those will evaporate come January, which will dramatically improve the unemployment rate
Ante Up: A 54 year-old woman was scooped up at the El Paso border crossing as part of a random screening program, strip searched, and subjected to body cavity probes. When nothing was found she was handcuffed and taken to a local hospital where she underwent a CT scan and other examinations including “an observed bowel movement.” No drugs were found and she was eventually released, with a $5,000 bill from the hospital for the 'procedures.' The other stuff was free.
Spin Cycle: In November, for the third consecutive month, sales of existing homes fell as rising prices and increased borrowing costs put a damper on the nascent housing bubble. The explainers had some convoluted story about how this was part of the ongoing housing recovery, but I lost interest.
The Parting Shot: