Facts are feeble weapons.
Patterns: Only twice before have the stock markets zoomed parabolically to such heights in less than a year as it has this time (80% up from March 2009 to April 2010). There was a 112% run-up in 1932 – which was followed by a 40% drop. And in 1933 a 116% increase was followed by a 34% drop. If this pattern is followed the S&P could be in for a 20 to 30% drop. Then again, crop circles are patterns, too.
To Catch A Thief: Having learned nothing from the financial crisis, Washington still claims that those who caused the problem (BP in this case) are still the best ones to fix it. Can't wait to see how this theory works when applied to homicides. (I was going to say pedophilia, but the Catholics have been there, done that.)
Quoted: “Of all the gaps between elite and mass opinion in America today, perhaps the greatest is this: The elites don’t really believe we’re still in recession. Or maybe, they just don’t care.” Harold Meyerson.
Around the House: The Census Department reports that new single family home sales jumped 14.8% in March and is up 47.8% y/y, while the median price for new homes fell to the lowest level since 2003. Mortgage Purchase Applications are at a 13 year low while refinance Applications are increasing. Which all seems to suggest that the US housing market makes little sense.
Priorities: Congress is going to give the Pentagon an additional $32 billion to kill people in the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The bill will pass with rare but overwhelming bipartisan support. Meanwhile, on the home front, Kansas is going to follow Hawaii to a 4-day school week, Detroit is closing 40 schools, KC plans to close half its school buildings, other states are eliminating kindergarten, cutting summer school and increasing class sizes. Wonder how many kids we could keep in school for the cost of razing one hut in Kandahar?
Free Fall: The fall in the US money supply (M3) is accelerating and now mirrors the declines seen from 1929 to 1933. European economists see this as an indicator of the direction of the US economy in the next 18 months.
Pandemic! Wage cuts and increased retirement ages are sweeping Europe as countries scramble to shore up their finances. Italy is cutting €26billion from its budget, reducing health spending, increasing the retirement age, slowing road building and imposing a three year wage freeze on public employees. France, where the 35 hour work week is under siege, plans to raise retirement age from 60 to 63. Britain and Germany are also increasing their retirement ages, while Spain is cutting civil servants' salaries and freezing retirement pensions. But making people work longer only works if there is work...
Going to Pot: The effect of government regulation of business is being illustrated by northern California's marijuana industry. State budget cuts have reduce drug enforcement efforts, resulting in bumper crops reaching the market, which in turn has driven prices down. Just as the GOP predicts, cutting government regulation has increased production, narrowed profit margins, cut prices and benefited the consumer.
In an attempt to divert attention from the spill in the Gulf, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, partly owned by BP, has spilled several thousands barrels of crude oil and caused the pipeline's production to be cut drastically. But don't worry, they are “going to take as long as we need to make sure the site is safe before we start back up.”
More Is More: General David “The Pacifier of Iraq” Petraeus has secretly ordered an escalation in US covert ops across the Middle East and throughout the Horn of Africa, involving expanded use of Special Forces, increasing drone surveillance and more missile- assisted assassinations. Achievements to date have gone unreported, much like the US victories in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Just sayin': Here's where the 'recovery' now stands: 26 million Americans are unemployed. 40 million are on food stamps. One out of 10 banks is on the FDIC problem list. Fannie & Freddie and the FHA make up 90% of the US housing market and will need tens of billions in additional bailouts. 10% of mortgage holders missed at least one payment in the first quarter. Over 350,000 properties were foreclosed in March.
Sideshow: In Colorado, Tea Party activists are seeking to block the teaching of
evolution, solar-centrism, gravity and global warming because it is contrary to their personal political views.
Porn O'Graph: Nude descending a staircase.