Perceptions are everything.
Obesity: The House voted to give the Pentagon an extra $60 billion and force it to buy F-35 plane engines that it neither needs nor wants. The Senate, meanwhile, voted down $24 billion in health insurance subsidies for the unemployed, cut extended unemployment benefits, and dropped matching funds for state-run health programs. GE has better lobbyists than the disenfranchised.
In Recovery: Retail sales plunged to a 14-month low in the early part of this month, angering economists who had predicted sales would increase. Nearly half of retailers reported lower sales y/y. The recovery seems to need a twelve step program.
Another Day Older and... Not to be confused with the original mufti-layered oil plume, nor the one found Thursday running for miles east of the leak site, yet another vast plume of oil has been discovered 75 miles northwest of the leak. The new plume, in shallower water, covers the water column from the surface to the sea floor. The extent was not known yet, for unmanned submarines have traveled miles from side to side without finding the edges of the pollution.
Definitions: Goldman Sachs admits it mislead investors over Greek sovereign debt, but claims this was simply a 'material omission', not fraud. At least they didn't 'misspeak'.
Self Evident: Investigations suggest that three detainees who reportedly committed suicide at Guitmo in 2006 actually died while undergoing torture. But isn't refusing to tell the dungeon masters what they want to hear always a form of suicide?
Mom Was Right: If you don't brush twice a day, you'll be sorry.
Q&A: Is Europe heading for a meltdown? Perhaps. This financial crisis is worse than the 2008 crash because then the banks had the government's big pockets to bail them out. W ho is going to bail out the governments? Warren Buffet? There is no answer; there's no backstop.
Personality Defect: Shoplifters are mostly unpleasant, disorganized males. Except for the young and the desperate.
Forecast: NOAA says the next six months will bring 14 to 23 named storms, 8 to 14 of which will become hurricanes and 3 to 7 of them major hurricanes. Odds are reasonably good that at least one major hurricane will make landfall in the US. No biggie – most of the coast will be so polluted that nobody will be there.
Under the Sun: Everyone is aghast at the environmental destruction being done by BP's oil. Funny how the destruction of the wetlands went unnoticed, the low oxygen levels caused by the runoff from mid-western farms dumped into the Gulf via the Mississippi is routinely ignored, the damage done by over-fishing always came as a surprise, the dying coral mattered only in tourists areas. These are all caused or exacerbated by humans, most of whom do not work for BP.
Brother Can You Spare a Billion? New York State is a billion bucks short of the $3.8 billion it needs to pay out next week. Script, anyone? IOU's?
Needs a Tune-up: House sales are dropping, house prices are dropping, the unsold inventory of houses is tremendous and it takes about 14 months to sell a new house, so Congress is considering extending cheap credit to house builders so they can build more houses. The timing seems a little off.
Taxes, Taxes: A group of 30 Italians from a small village pooled their money and bought a lottery ticket that paid them €33 million. After they paid the local mafia it's cut for life insurance, they had a lot less to celebrate.