Just So Story: “If you want a society in which everyone has a decent life, you need to construct a society in which everyone has a decent life — not a society in which everyone has a small but equal chance of living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.”
Vaporized: The Financial Times website posted a well-researched and documented article detailing how gold prices had been rigged at least 50% of the time during the last three years. I thought I'd tell you, because the FT website no longer carries the article.
The Road: According to the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the air in the city is so polluted that the city is “uninhabitable". Elsewhere in China conditions resembling 'nuclear winter' prevail, raising fears that crops will fail due to the overwhelming air pollution. The price of progress.
Elephant In The Room: A long article on the death of unions in the United States manages to completely ignore the vast legions of surplus labor in China and India and the rest of the world. No union can protect US workers from the economic damage this oversupply has and will continue impose.
Point Taken: "If past is prologue, we should be very worried about China now."
The Big, But Muddy, Picture: The expected 'significant pickup' in home sales has not happened. Mortgage applications fell 8.5% w/w, refinance applications were down 11% and refinance volume was down a crippling 58%. Toll Brothers (self-crowned 'leading builder of luxury homes') said new home orders were down 6% y/y even though other sources claimed new home sales unexpectedly surged 9.6% m/m.
Finally: President Obama has a new stump speech in which he calls for Congress to come up with a program to put people back to work repairing and replacing the nation's crumbling infrastructure. There is, of course, no way the Republicans could support such a socialist idea.
Curb Your Excitement: California is going to be hit by two big storms this week, brining more rain than has fallen there in the last eight months. Good, but not nearly good enough to make a significant dent in the drought.
Pop quiz: Where do dictators, tyrants, drug lords and similar slime turn to when they have to hide their ill-gotten gains? a) Switzerland b) a Caribbean Island c) Hong Kong or d). none of the above. Right, d) the United States of America.
Bears In The Woods: The Interior Department is planning on raising the liability cap for offshore oil spills from $75 million to $134 million. “This adjustment helps to preserve the deterrent effect and the ‘polluter pays’ principle embodied in the law.” Note that the cap will be waived if gross negligence can be proven. As opposed to ordinary negligence.
Sources & Methods: For eight years before 9/11, the FBI had a mole inside al Qaeda who told them bin Laden planned to finance terror attacks against the US. The bureau did not tell anyone before or after 9/11, because... well, they're the Bureau.
Shoemaker's Children: In oil-rich Iraq, petrochemical companies are grinding to a halt due to a lack of... oil.
A New Record? Credit Suisse is accused of helping 22,000 American millionaires hide their money in offshore tax havens. Wait, America has 22,000 millionaires? Why?
Quoted: "This speaks to a very difficult problem that we face today: namely, that we lack a coherent narrative for economic policy... this has moved macroeconomic policy in the US away from anything resembling rational discussion and toward a discourse based wholly in morality."
Pinocchio: Russia says it will keep out of Ukrainian affairs. My wife says she's going to lose weight. Me, I'm laying off the scotch.
Deep In The Heart Of Texas! A federal judge has ruled that the Texas statue outlawing same-sex marriages is both 'demeaning' and unconstitutional, it that it amounts to “state imposed inequality”.
Porn O'Graph: Grocery prices?
The Parting Shot: