Friday, May 28, 2010

SAR #10148

This would be a good time to rediscover a sense of humor.

Mistakes Were Keep Being Made:  The BP official who reportedly overruled Transocean's employees on key safety procedures has lawyered up and declines to talk to investigators.  Another BP'er called in sick. Meanwhile BP claims 'top kill' was going as planed, but didn't explain why they lied about it misinformed the public about it for 18 hours

Weakly Employment Numbers:  New unemployment claims were down 14,000 last week, bringing the 4-week moving average to 456,500. Just over 4,650,000 of the unemployed received government support. Numbers for those who fell off the end of the 99 week gangplank will be reported later.

On Hold:   The administration has put Shell's permit to drill five exploratory wells in the waters off Alaska on 'temporary' hold until 2011, or at least until the public's interest is focused elsewhere.

Under the Counter:  In 2008, Johnson & Johnson learned of problems with Motrin, but rather than issue a recall they hired an outside firm to go around and buy up the tainted product.  Note that J&J was forced to recall more than 40 varieties of children's medicines after FDA inspectors found multiple violations at J&J plants.

Asked & Answered:  The question is “Are we merely slouching toward despotism, or have we arrived?” and it is very well answered by the Anecdotal Economist.  This week's magnum opus.

Grossly Distorted Poppycock:  First quarter GDP is said to be 3.2% (annualized). But that's after the stimulus program raised it by either 1.7% or 4.2% (?). And over 1.3% of the increase in GDP was reportedly due to inventory restocking.  If you subtract all this from that you end up with confusion, if not a negative GDP growth rate, which the government isn't about to own up to.  Maybe the GDI is a better measure – but it's pessimistic.

DoublethinkSecretary Clinton, in announcing an an escalation of belligerence and provocation by the US and South Korea will help "avoid an escalation of belligerence and provocation in the region."

Slick:  Scientists have detected another massive oil plume beneath the Gulf of Mexico, 6 miles wide, stretching 22 miles from the leaking wellhead northeast toward Mobile Bay, at depths from just below the surface to over 3,000 feet down.  The oil concentrations increased with depth.  The first such plume detected stretched from the well southwest toward the open sea.  This one is headed towards the shoreline.

Vacation:  Now that you can't go to Mexico, Jamaica or Airzona for fear of violence, what's left, tours of riot torn cities in Spain, Italy, Greece, Thailand?

A Chill in the Air:  The Defense appropriations bill has had an amendment tacked on that would force the DOD to aggressively investigate disloyal attorneys who dare to represent Gitmo detainees, and to charge them with “interfering with the operations of the Department of Defense.” This is the work of Jeff Miller (R-FL) who was afraid that these lawyers “could compromise national security."

Public Privates:  Only 41.9% of those taking home wages get paid by the private sector – a record low.  Most of the nation's personal income comes from stuff like Social Security, unemployment, food stamps and such.  And that doesn't even begin to count those in gray areas like the auto industry and Wall Street that are putatively private but couldn't exist without government support.

Unintended Consequences:  Turns out that those cameras installed at intersections work; they do cut down on people running red lights. But the white-knuckeled fear of getting a ticket leads to abrupt stops and thus an increase in rear-end collisions at these no-safer but revenue producing intersections.


kwark said...

Thanks CK,

Even in Franklin's day we were ruled by an oligarchy. But that was a "good" oligarchy, perhaps slightly broader-based, comprised of land-owners. It seems the primary difference between then and now was the post-war development of a large middle class. So by comparison with the past more people now have more to loose/further to fall! Well, and without doubt the oligarchs have in their arsenal far more sophisticated means of relieving us of our cash. Knowing this doesn't make the decent any more comfortable.

EconomicDisconnect said...

Loved the Red Light Article.