Does India have the right to a nuclear capability? Does Israel? Does Iran?
Smoke And Mirrors: The BLS rendered another of its rosy reports today - 227,000 payroll jobs added in February, an unemployment rate of 8.3%, U6 declining to 14.9% and all the trimmings. So why does it not feel like this is the best of all possible worlds? Perhaps it has something to do with the 20 million who are “marginally attached”? Maybe because we've added 33 million people since 2000 but only 4 million of them are working – and none of them appear to have full time jobs (whose numbers haven't changed since 2000).
Putin Rocks: After playing at an anti-Putin concert, members of a female punk band have been arrested and face up to 7 years in prison for 'hooliganism'. The Dixie Chicks got off easy.
Punch Line: After all the angst and violations of contract law and drama, it turns out that the Greek bond swap will end up increasing Greece's debt by $33 billion. Also, now that the private bondholders have been scalped, the ECB/IMF/EU will hold 85% of Greece's debt by 2014. The next time Greece defaults, and it will, German taxpayers get to foot the bill.
Takeaway: Contracts can now be unilaterally changed, retroactively.
Whitewashed: According to the GAO, little Timmy Geithner and friends are being disingenuous when they claim that TARP “made money”. Almost half of the 341 institutions that have paid back their loans did so with funds from other federal programs.
Asked & Answered: Is Portugal doomed? Yes. And to save you asking, so is Spain.
You can't make this stuff up: Three of MF Global's top executives are going to get “performance bonuses” for their performance as co-conspirators in the disappearance of $1.6 billion of their customers' money.
Fire In The Hole: Ohio oil and gas regulators say that a dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio “were almost certainly” caused by fracking. Almost certainly “almost certainly” will get in the way of regulating the industry.
You Know What I Meme? Of late there has been a full court press touting the 'housing has turned the corner' meme. But house prices continue to fall, over 11 million are underwater, over 3 million are in foreclosure and foreclosures are increasing, which means that prices will be going down even more. Housing has not recovered; it's not even in a 12 step program.
Taking Up The Slack: While US petroleum consumption has fallen of late, China's appetite keeps growing – it rose 5% in January, y/y, which puts demand back in the supply/demand/ speculators formula.
Evicting God: Since 2010, 270 churches have been foreclosed on and sold after defaulting on their loans. Even God sometimes ended up with more house than he could afford.
On The Battlefront: The Texas Republican controlled legislature has cut the state's family planning budget by 66%, which will eliminate services for about 284,000 women, lead to 20,500 additional births and cost Medicaid $230 million.
Bullying: The Republican-led Arizona House thinks kids should be able to hide guns in their backpacks – but only for protection.
Prophylactic Tactic: In order to prevent the spread of any new influenza strain, the Japanese prime minister can now declare a state of emergency prohibiting public assemblies, confiscating land 'for medical use' and arrest those who do not stock sufficient supplies.
Porn O'Graph: Employment landscape.