Questions are easier than answers.
Weak-End Worries: Spanish austerity measures, planned and taken, have lead to a series of protests which are now escalating in seriousness. Protesters have been in the streets in Madrid since Sunday, ahead of local elections throughout the country next weekend. Now they, and the Italians, want to follow Iceland and Just Say No! A Spanish sovereign debt crisis seems inevitable – especially in light of reported “hidden debt problems” (think Greece/Goldman).
Gas Bags: The Democrats want to take away tax breaks away from the big oil companies, the Republicans want to let them drill more places. Politics; neither will have a noticeable effect on the price of gas. When politicians claim these will bring down gasoline prices they are either ignorant or lying. Your choice.
Existentialism: Existing houses sold at an annualized rate of 5.05 million units in April, lower than the previous month by a smidgen.
Spilling the Beans: The insurance industry, along with the extractive corporations it insure, is warning that making a company pay for the environmental damage it does will keep smaller companies from ruining the environment.
College Education: About half of new college grads are forced to take jobs that do not require college education. Starting salaries for recent graduates are about $27,000, down 10% in the last 4 years. If they had spent the 4 years working at Macky D's wouldn't they be assistant managers making $13.50 an hour by now? And not owing $30,000 in student loans?
Conundrum: Given that the poor are poor and the rich are rich, why would anybody consider cutting anti-poverty programs before implementing tax increases on the rich?
You've Been Warned: Congressional leaders agreed on Thursday to extend three expiring provisions of the controversial PATRIOT Act for four years with as little public debate as possible.
Doubts.... A study by scientists from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, to be published in Reproductive Toxicology, found Bt toxin, a component of certain genetically-modified crops, in human blood samples, casting doubt on previous assertions that Bt breaks down harmlessly in the digestive system. None of the 69 subjects in the study had worked with pesticides or resided with anyone who did. Their diets were typical for Canadians, including GM foods such as corn, potatoes and soybeans.
A Good Idea: Sen. Sanders is calling for a constitutional amendment to overrule Citizens United. Lets do that, strip corporations of their “personhood” and absolutely forbid any political contributions or electoral activities.
Factoid: Missed payments on mortgages jumped to 6.4 million in April, which assures a long, long supply of foreclosed houses to keep driving prices down.
After-Action Report: The war in Afghanistan will eventually wind down. When it does, what happens to the economic dependencies? Afghanistan can always go back to full scale opium production, and probably will, but what about all the US contractors who survive on the war? “Where will all those unemployed mercenaries go. What will they do?
Revolting Development: The Egyptian military government continues to prohibit free assembly, to imprison and torture detainees, and to try civilians in military courts. This passes for reform? For how long?
Clarification Please: I interpreted this article to be saying that some current “repo” rates are negative – that is you get back less in cash than the value of the Treasuries you deposit. Is that correct? More importantly, isn't this the same as paying someone to hold onto your money for you? Is a safe place for one's asserts so hard to find that you cannot actually invest the money – is paying for protection the in thing?
Mystery: New data suggests that something that does not interact with anything else (neutrinos) changes something that cannot be changed (the decay rate of radioactive materials). Which suggest some changes need be made...
Porn O'Graph: Mandatory backdrop for debating the debt.