Credit Where Credit'll Come Due: In November, consumer spending rose 0.5% while income grew only 0.2%, which is better than the 0.1% fall in incomes in October. The theory is that consumers were dipping into their savings, but mostly they don't have any and they're just putting it on the never-never.
Smoke/Fire: Greek austerity programs have so impoverished the citizenry that many have resorted to burning wood to heat their houses. So now the authorities are offering free electricity in an attempt to cut down on the unhealthy smog blanketing the cities.
Sorry: British giganormous bank HSBC having admitted it had laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels, paid a $1.9 billion fine – about a month's income – said they were sorry, and went back to serving their customers.
Baseline: There's poverty, then there's living on $1.25 a day or less as one out of five people in the world and over 50% those in sub-Saharan Africa. Changes you view of inequality.
Modern Times: Rape victims in Memphis are trying to get a federal court to prod the city into processing its backlog of 12,000 unexamined rape kits. Justice delayed is, undoubtedly, more rapes.
Crass Flow: Blackstone Group owns 41,000 houses in the US and is renting them out and securitizing the rental income – RBS is the new MBS, and about as clever. What could go wrong? Besides the renters being the same folks who defaulted on their mortgages a while back, I mean.
Patriot Games: Egypt's military junta has jailed the three most prominent leaders of Egypt's 2011 'Arab spring' uprising. Ain't gonna have none of that protest stuff no more.
The Parting Shot: