Snow Job: January's private housing starts were down 16% from December and 2% down y/y. Mortgage applications were down over 4% w/w. The decreases were blamed on the atrocious winter weather, which would make more sense if the Northeast hadn't seen starts surge by 62% while the West (California) fell – and it wasn't snowing in SoCal. Plus permits for new construction were down, and that's for houses that will be started in the spring.
Briar Patch: Despite Bob Corker's assurances that rejecting the UAW would be the only way to make sure VW built more plants in the south, Bernd Osterloh says that the rejection of the union will keep VW from building more plants in the south. Osterloh is on VW's board, Corker is not.
Reality Check: Actual measurement natural gas well sites and production facilities found 75% more methane leaking into the atmosphere than estimated by the EPA. The discrepancy may stem from the EPA relying on data submitted by the producers. There is so much methane leakage that switching from diesel to natural gas would actually increase global warming.
The Alfred E. Neuman Victory Lap: A court has ruled that heaping ridicule on the NSA and Homeland Security seems like a good idea.
Vengeance: Megan Rice, an 84-year-old nun, has been sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for embarrassing the management at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Bomb Factory. The sentence was severe because the judge was upset that the nun wasn't contrite for doing what she set out to do. Two or three Hail Mary's would have been appropriate.
The Parting Shot: