As Expected: As anticipated, December's CPI came in at an annual 1.5% rate, up from November's 1.2% rate but short of the Fed's target. Absent energy and food the inflation rate pretty much wasn't any different at 1.7%.
Mediocrity, Again: While seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims, at 326,000 were close to the six month average, the non-adjusted claims were a whopping 438,000 and continuing claims jumped to 3.3 million – the highest in six months. The 1.3 million who lost their benefit eligibility will start showing up in the numbers in the next week or two.
Dumber Than A Board: François Hollande, in sending Paris to Athens to woo
A Rose By Many Other Names: Articles on the Tran-Pacific Partnership negotiations keep suggesting it has something to do with free trade. Not true, the greater part of the treaty deals with crippling and nullifying regulations that international corporations find bothersome. The 'partnership' is a multi-national protection scam, designed to subvert the will of the people and the power of countries to control what goes on inside their own borders. To call this 'free trade' is to claim that Blackbeard was a simple entrepreneur.
The Easy Button: If you make $25,000 a year, you pay 6.2% of that into Social Security, and your employer matches that. If you make $117,000 a year, you cough up $7,254 a year. If you make $50,000,000 a year you also pay $7,254. If the $117,000 cap was abolished, we could increase Social Security payouts and deprive the Republicans of a cudgel at the same time – what's not to like?
Over There: The risk of cyclones for China, Japan and Korea has increased with the warming of the Pacific ocean. Good thing we've got laws against global warming here in the land of the fearful and home of the scientifically ignorant.
Hard of Hearing: As scientists' warnings on the severity global climate change become ever more positive and ever more alarming, why does the mainstream media reduce coverage of the warnings? a) sucking up to their corporate bosses, b) sucking up to their advertising directors, c) they're clueless, d) afraid of the bullies in the room.
Political Speech: A load of manure was dumped outside the French National Assembly, an apparent comment on president Hollande and his happy band.
Encore: Fresh from a round of voter supression, Republicans now want to force food stamp recipients to show a government-approved photo ID every time they make a purchase with the stamps. In that the coupons are interchangeable and stores do not have any way of knowing who is and who isn't a food stamp recipient, this would be pure harassment. Which is the point.
Posture: Tennessee, which has as many brain dead idiots in their state legislature as any southern state, even North Carolina, has taken up legislation to require that hospitals refuse to treat people who got their health insurance through Obamacare – in fact it would prevent any state agency from cooperating with the Affordable Care Act in any way. It won't pass and wouldn't be constitutional if it did, but that's not the point.
Porn O' Graph: The Chinese are coming, the Chinese are coming. Not.
The Parting Shot: