First Step: Riding on Edward Snowden's coattails, The Guardian and the Washington Post (Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman) have been honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
Excuses, Excuses: Mortgage originations have cratered, falling to levels last seen 15 years ago even though economists claim the recovery is marching along. Banks blame rising interest rates, rapidly rising house prices, winter weather, and the general lack of excitement over this year's American Idols. Long term unemployment, stagnant wages and the withering of the American middle class were not mentioned as factors. Don't want to scare the horses.
Bright Idea: The Netherlands has build a 'glow-in-the-dark' roadways which, after a day of sunshine, glow all night. The idea is to reduce the energy used for street lighting and to improve safety.
Bad Idea: Western Nations (for which read Uncle Sam) will be giving Ukraine $3.2 billion in aid, which – after their politicians skim off a handling fee – will be passed on to Gazprom. Why? Because Europe needs Russia's gas, no mater what those yokels in Congress think.
Worse Idea: the US is reportedly considering sending arms to Ukraine. Okay, let 'em consider it, then decide not to do it. And surely those arms won't be attached to US soldiers, right?
Crybaby: Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière says that America recognizes no bounds to its electronic espionage, and has “low expectations that further talks will prove to be successful. But of course these talks are continuing.” As is the NSA's spying.
Short Form: In the case of Tesla vs The Auto Dealers, “There isn’t a rational argument for why a new company should have to use dealers. It’s just dealers trying to protect their profits.”
Excuses, Excuses: It is a long standing tradition for market commentators to make up a story that explains whatever the markets have just done. After. Solemnly and with great and convincing gravitas. These explanations seldom can withstand close examination, but we need them. It wouldn't do for the marks to know the whole thing is a charade.
Growth is good? In most of the world economic growth is the magic elixir that everyone strives for, lots and lots of growth. Endless growth. Growth gained by using energy to turn resources into garbage. More energy, more cars, more TVs, more and more and more. Especially more CO2 emissions. Growth. Too bad that growth will doom us. Or has.
Cause And Effect? In the Netherlands - where pot is legal – they are closing 19 prisons because they haven't got enough criminals.
Simple Fact: In 31 of our States, daycare for your infant is more expensive than sending your teenager to college.
Green Shootlets: Retail sales picked up in March, increasing 1.1% m/m, the biggest gain since late 2012.
Yeah, so? Who would have suspected that the 'grassroots' campaign against a free, simple tax filing process would be growing out of TurboTax's front yard?
Another One: Ohio has joined the growing number of states that have been ordered by the judiciary to recognize all out-of-state marriages. It's a simple mater of contract law and the several states obligations under the Constitution. And yes, that means same-sex marriages.
Meditation Prompt: Google is going to buy drone-maker Titan Aerospace in hopes of expanding Internet access. Or so they say.
The Quote: "If you want to know what the U.S. military is doing in Africa, it’s advantageous to be connected to a large engineering or construction firm looking for business." Sort of 'if you build it, the troops will come.'
Asked And Answered: Are Americans really jingoistic yahoos? Yes, really. And note that the Mr. Wang sets up a straw man to argue otherwise.
Porn O'Graph: Earnings... sort of.
The Parting Shot: