The teleprompter is still hot from all the Obama spit unleashed in his latest sincerely passionate denial that his administration knew anything, anything at all, about what is merely the latest scandal to rock the president, this time surrounding the Veterans Affairs fiasco, and already a brand new scandal is taking shape, this one Obama however will not be able to sweep as easily under the rug. The LA Times reports that the "Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money." In other words, yet another taxpayer funded bailout.
Have you ever given food to a homeless person? Well, if you do it again in the future it might be a criminal act depending on where you live. Right now, there are dozens of major U.S. cities that have already passed laws against feeding the homeless.
Take a moment and look at your hands. Specifically, compare the length of your ring finger to the one you use to point. Is the ring finger longer or shorter than your pointer, and by how much? It turns out that the answer to that question can tell a lot about your mental abilities and appetite for risk. As ConvergEx's Nick Colas details, a 2009 study of mostly male traders working in London found that the ones with longer ring fingers were generally more profitable than those with shorter ones. Traders with the largest fourth finger/second (pointer) finger ratios actually made 11 times more than those with the smallest.
Embargos as a rule rarely achieve their intended goal of overthrowing governments. Instead, embargos tend to deprive the poor of basic necessities, enrich government cronies while giving the government an excuse for why their economic policies are failing.
- Vietnam mobs set fire to foreign factories in anti-China riots (Reuters)
- Recession-Baby Millennials Scarred by U.S. Downturn Spurn Stocks (BBG)
- U.S. Agents Start Hunting for Sanctioned Russians’ ‘Shiny Toys’ (BBG)
- Russia moves to oust US from International Space Station (FT)
- China Central Bank Calls for Faster Home Lending in Slump (BBG)
- Geithner Must Give S&P Documents in U.S. Fraud Suit (BBG)
- Samsung's 'crown prince' in focus as father hospitalized (Reuters)
- Yahoo buys mobile 'self-destruct' messaging app Blink only to shut it down (Reuters)
- Goldman’s Twitter banker joins hedge fund (FT)
- Keyword being "unexpectedly": Sony Unexpectedly Forecasts Loss Amid PC Restructuring Costs (BBG)
Our condolences to students in Arizona, who have seen a near doubling of their college tuition in just 5 short years. In fact our condolences to students in the six states where tuition have risen by more than 60%, in the ten states where it has increased by more than 40%, and in the 29, or more than half of all states, where college tuitions have risen by more than 10 times the Fed's inflation target of 2% per year.
It is unclear if the most recent crackdown on synthetic drugs was prompted by today's Yellen testimony, but according to AP, the US government - seemingly in desperate need to find new things to spend money on - has decided to take its vendetta with sellers of drugs, just synthetic drugs, personal, and starting this morning, "broadened its national crackdown on synthetic drug manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers as federal agents served hundreds of search and arrest warrants in at least 25 states.... The DEA has been cracking down on synthetic drugs, including so-called bath salts, spice and Molly."
Virtually everything that you do is being watched. Do you drive a car? Do you watch television? Do you use a cell phone? As you do any of those things, information about you is being recorded and tracked. We live at a time when personal privacy is dying. And it is not just governments that are doing this. In fact, sometimes private companies are the biggest offenders. It turns out that gathering information about all of us is very, very profitable. And both government entities and private companies are going to continue to push the envelope when it comes to high tech surveillance until people start objecting to what they are trying to do. If we continue down the path that we are currently on, it is inevitable that we will end up living in an extremely restrictive “Big Brother” police state where basically everything that we do is very closely watched, monitored, tracked and controlled. And such a day may be much closer than you think. The following are 10 examples of how “Big Brother” is steadily creeping into our daily lives…
- Both sides bury dead as Ukraine slides towards war (Reuters)
- Dollar wilts to 6 1/2-month low; shares drift (Reuters)
- Draghi Grapples With Money Markets Signaling Recovery Too Early (BBG)
- Foreign wristslaps: Credit Suisse Nears Record Tax Plea: Credit Suisse Settlement Expected to Exceed $1 Billion (WSJ)
- OECD joins IMF in cutting global growth forecast, demanding moar QE from ECB (WSJ)
- Three Bankers Bolster Blankfein as Goldman Trading Sinks (BBG)
- Strong performance from eurozone services sector (FT)
- OECD Cuts Forecast for 2014 Global Growth; Urges ECB Action (WSJ)
- Elite Colleges Don't Buy Happiness for Graduates (WSJ)
- How Russia Inc. Moves Billions Offshore -- and a Handful of Tax Havens May Hold Key to Sanctions (BBG)
$250 Million homes in Europe, $150 Million homes in the US, and as Bloomberg notes Million-dollar homes in the U.S. are selling at double their historical average while middle-class property demand stumbles, showing that the housing recovery is mirroring America’s wealth divide. As CoreLogic notes, "the real estate market is the ultimate reflection of confidence, wealth and income," as purchases costing $1 million or more rose 7.8% in March, while sales of homes costing less than $250k plunged 12%, as "the same factors driving the income stagnation in the middle are driving the income momentum at the top." The luxury markets are indeed on fire as foreign (and domestic) super-wealth floods into real estate but as NewEdge's van Batenburg notes, echoing ur very words, "The American Dream is dead for everybody but the happy few who have enjoyed the tailwinds of the appreciating stock market."
For 364 days of the year, the theater that the press and the administration are on the opposite sides of the table, continues without a glitch. However, one day a year, during the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, the facade falls and Obama, together with his fawning press corps, have a night of laughs in an Oscar-inspired night of self-congratularoty excess. Which, just like every other night in Washington, is at the taxpayers' expense. Here are the highlights from last night's festivities.
An intro to the misconceptions, the obvious failings and occasional successes of state-planned socialism in a Zimbabwe just off the coast of Florida.
- Two-Thirds of Insurance Exchange Enrollees Paid Premiums (WSJ)
- Panic: Criminal Charges Against Banks Risk Sparking Crisis (BBG)
- Did the junk bubble pop: Junk Loans Pulled as Investors Say No After Fed Raises Concerns (BBG)
- CME mulls price fluctuation limits for gold, silver futures (Reuters)
- AT&T Has Approached DirecTV About Possible Acquisition (WSJ)
- NBA sets wheels turning for Clippers sale; Oprah in wings (Reuters)
- One way to fix prison overcrowding: Florida Jail Hit by Deadly Blast (WSJ)
- New Boeing jets hold key to more than half of future sales (Reuters)
- Sony slashes profit estimate by 70% (Guardian)
America’s massive prison system is creating a long list of unintended consequences, some of which will effect all of us in the coming years. To help explain just how bad things have gotten, we’ve compiled this list of the most stunning facts and statistics on the America’s prison system today.
Whenever the beltway bandits run low on excuses to run-up the national debt they trot out florid tales of crumbling infrastructure - that is, dilapidated roads, collapsing bridges, failing water and sewer systems, inadequate rail and public transit and the rest. This is variously alleged to represent a national disgrace, an impediment to economic growth and a sensible opportunity for fiscal “stimulus”. But most especially it presents a swell opportunity for Washington to create millions of “jobs”. One thing is clear. There is no case for adding to our staggering $17 trillion national debt in order to replace the bridges of Madison county; or to fix state and local highways or build white elephant high speed rail systems; or to relieve air travelers of paying user fees to upgrade local airports or local taxpayers of their obligation to pay fees and taxes to maintain their water and sewer systems. At the end of the day, the ballyhooed national infrastructure crisis is a beltway racket of the first order. It has been for decades.