None Of The Above: European leaders in the ECB, EU and EMU have called for individual member countries to go it alone, that there will be no "debt mutualization" (ie. Germany isn't going to pickup the tab) and that to pay off their debts member governments must adopt policies of austerity in government spending, tax cuts, 'flexible' labor rules and an intentional policy of deflation. History says this plan is doomed, that countries cannot pay off their debt under such a regimen, and that falling prices and falling wages lead to falling governments and economic and social chaos.
What If: The politicians and the pundits, economists and scholars have had over 50 years to try this and that to end poverty, or at least reduce it and sweep it under the rug. Nothing's really worked all that well. Wonder if they've asked the poor what they want. Wonder if “a job” was the most popular answer.
Prescription: The nations of the world must undertake "explicit efforts" to stop using fossil fuels "immediately" if there is to be any hope of avoiding the worst of the predicted and foreseeable effects of global warming. And what does your son want to be when he grows up... or your granddaughter?
The Open Road: The auto industry makes up about 20% of the nation's GDP and - reports claim - everything is Happy Days ahead. Well, except for Detroit, of course. But the glowing reports from the manufacturers ignore the inconvenient fact that there are 3.45 million vehicles stuffed into dealer's lots - about a three month backlog. Sure, the manufacturers claim them as sold, but they aren't. And retail sales are slowing, not growing. Expect discounts, rebates, other incentives incentives, cash back flim-flam, etc. to move these units off the lot, because the factories are turning out more and the car-carrying freighters are on their way and who cares if the dealers make a profit anyway?
The Four Whiches: The IMF warns that Denmark, Finland, Norway and Poland belong on the list of places that could destabilize the entire global economy. Wouldn't have made my list of the top ten threats either.
One Dip Or Two? The reason the US has not experienced a double dip recession is because most of us never experienced a recovery from the first one. Sure there are some signs of a renewed bubble in the housing sector, but that's fading fast and first-time homebuyers are nowhere to be found - banks rather insist you have a job before you can get a loan and the drop in unemployment was all done with smoke, mirrors and an evaporating labor participation rate. Hey, the median home is priced at $328,000 and the median US income is $51,000 (below 2000 in real terms) and the bank can do the math even if you can't.
Test Run: The headlines say that Ohio used “an untested method” to execute a prisoner. Okay, but where do you get the live test dummies?
The Four Agreements: Obama would have you agree that there have been no abuses by the NSA (well, except for Frau Merkle and a few million others), that the NSA has averted at least 50 terrorist threats (evidence, we don't do evidence), that the NSA does not do any domestic surveillance (except when it does), and Snowden could have ratted out the NSA without fear of reprisal. That last was the punch line, brought down the house.
Conflict Of Interest: Pension funds should not invest in fossil fuels because if they turn out to be good investments the world left for the pensioners will suck, and if they turn out to be bad investments, ditto.
Mother Hubbard's Cupboard: The Roman Catholic diocese of Stockton, California (a wholly owned subsidiary of The Vatican, Inc.) says it hasn't got enough money to pay any more victims of priestly pedophilia, so there is no point in making a big to-do about it. So the diocese is seeking bankruptcy protection from the children they offered no protection to. Okay, so why not deed the church's property to the victims and let the church rent the places? O better, why not sue the parent company; it's got lots of money, it knew about the abuses, and it was their policies that allowed, if not encouraged, decades of child abuse.
Silver Lining: Thank god it was just ordinary corporate indifference to the environment that poisoned the drinking supply of 350,000 Americans; if it'd been al-Qaeda we'd already be at war with the wrong country. The curiously named villain, Freedom Industries, has taken a clue from the Roman Catholics and filed for bankruptcy as a way of ducking liability.
The Parting Shot: