Monday, May 19, 2014
“What we want we will not get and what we would like is not on offer...” Demetrius
Navel Lint: Why are various American public figures – from liberal actors to John McCain (yes, I repeat myself) – calling for the US to do something militarily abut the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, when the same level of concern doesn't exist for the hundreds of childen forced into the world-wide sex trade every week, or the thousands of children suffering in Syrian refugee camps, or the starving in South Sudan, or the tens of thousand being forced to attend racially segregated third-rate schools in the US? Why do we think there's a military solution to every social problem?
Fact, Jack: College graduates (up to age 40) with student loan debts have a net worth that is 20% below that of equivalent high school grads who cleverly didn't go into debt to get an education for jobs that don't exist in today's economy.
Cat Escapes Bag: Wal-Mart's problem – despite their readiness to blame cuts in foodstamps, cuts in unemployment payments and the weather – is that their customers are not buying as much from them as they once did. Whether this is due to competitors or simply to the further impoverishment of their base customer pool is uncertain. It doesn't mater, profits do, and they're not making as much as investors expect. Expect consequences.
Curtain Call: Over the last 40 years scientists have gathered enough data to positively assert that the retreat of ice in the Amundsen sea sector of West Antarctica is unstoppable, that major catastrophic consequences will result, and that its collapse will most probably set off a chain reaction leading to the total collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. And that, over a one to two hundred year span will cause the seas to at least 12 feet – displacing tens of millions around the world. Two hundred years may seem like a long time, but there is no easy way to stop this, and no way to dodge our culpability. It is not just the ice sheet that is doomed.
It's Not Your Imagination: If you've thought it was strange the way you sometimes don't get text messages from until hours, sometimes days, after they are sent, you are right. Customers are suing Apple because iPhones frequently either delay or simply don't deliver text messages to (and from?) Android users. Clearly the solution is to not buy an iPhone in the first place.
One More Time: A new study of over a million kids confirms, again, that vaccination for measles – or anything else – does not cause autism, and is not statistically correlated with it in any way. The study didn't answer the question of why parents, mostly mothers, cling to this long disproven myth, but fear and the need to blame someone else are both good candidates.
This Time It's Different: Ken Rogoff, who was right about the housing bubble long before he was wrong about debt percentages, now says there is at least a 20% chance that (a) China's economy is a bubble and (b) it will burst, dooming developing countries across Asia, northern Africa and Latin America.
Underdog: In June, President Obama is expected to announce new EPA regulations on existing power plants that will reduce carbon emissions without increasing costs significantly and which will be able to withstand the inevitable legal challenges from business, the Republicans and 5 of the Supremes. To make this work he needs to hit the Trifecta, and that's not going to happen.
The Parting Shot:
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:33 AM