A 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi near New Orleans remained closed Monday after two vessels collided and caused an oil spill on Saturday in foggy conditions about 30 miles west of New Orleans. As NBC news reports, the Lindsay Ann Erickson crashed with the Hannah C. Settoon, which was pushing two barges carrying barrels of light crude oil that spilled into the river. Clean-up efforts are underway.
Presenting a few of tonight's headlines...
- *OBAMA: 'THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES IF PEOPLE STEP OVER THE LINE' (like last time with Syria?)
- *FACEBOOK TO BUY WHATSAPP FOR ABOUT $16B CASH AND STOCK ($50 per user!)
- *U.S. COULDN'T REACH UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS IN FEW DAYS: OFFICIALS (can you hear me now?)
- JAPAN JAN. IMPORTS RISE 25.0% Y/Y (Abenomics is nailing it)
- *CNN LIES ABOUT VENEZUELA EVERY DAY: MADURO (no comment)
- Vietnam Bans Import of Used Electronic Devices
- *WILLIAMS: FED HAS REACHED `END OF THE LINE' ON JOBS THRESHOLD (that didn't last long)
- *SUGA: EXPECTS IMPROVEMENT IN TRADE BALANCE IN FUTURE (any day now)
- *MADURO SAYS `IT'S YOUR LAST CHANCE OR YOU'RE TOAST' (but you wanted peace?)
- *OBAMA SAYS WILL SEEK COOPERATION WITH PUTIN ON UKRAINE (worked last time?)
- And lots more...
Has the world gone mad?
Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951? Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that "food prices soar as incomes stand still", but the truth is that this is only just the beginning. If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere. Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be "disaster areas", and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.
Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do).
"It's really a crisis situation," exclaims one California city manager, "and it's going to get worse in time if this drought doesn't alleviate." For the state that produces one-third of the nation's fruits and vegetables, the driest spell in 500 years has prompted President Obama to make $100 million in livestock-disaster aid available within 60 days to help the state rebound from what he describes is " going to be a very challenging situation this year... and potentially some time to come." As NBC reports, Governor Jerry Brown believes the "unprecedented emergency" could cost $2.8 billion in job income and $11 billion in state revenues - and as one farmer noted "we can't recapture that." Dismal recollections of the 1930's Dust Bowl are often discussed as workers (and employers) are "packing their bags and leaving town..." leaving regions to "run the risk of becoming desolate ghost towns as local governments and businesses collapse."
- Draghi as ECB Master of Suspense Keeps Investors on Edge (BBG)
- Abe lays out detailed plan for expanding defense powers (Nikkei)
- Inflation Fuels Crises in Two Latin Nations (WSJ)
- Obama walks into crossfire of Asian tensions (FT)
- Harvard Makes Professor Disclose More After Blinkx Slides (BBG)
- Hedge Funds Rework Currency Positions in Market Drop (BBG)
- Canada, U.S. Strike Tax-Information Sharing Deal (WSJ)
- Indonesia calls for greater clarity from Fed on tapering (FT)
- Sony to cut 5,000 jobs, split off PC, TV operations (Reuters)
Big Oil Is Gaming the System to RAISE Domestic U.S. Prices
Show this article to anyone that believes that the economy has actually improved in the last 5 years. On Tuesday evening, the President once again attempted to convince all of us that things have gotten better while he has been in the White House. He quoted a few figures, used some flowery language and made a whole bunch of new promises. And even though he has failed to follow through on his promises time after time, millions upon millions of Americans continue to believe him. To say that his credibility is "strained" would be a massive understatement. No, things have not been getting better in America. In fact, they continue to get even worse. The following are 32 statistics that Obama neglected to mention during the State of the Union address...
Pure speculation, but interesting information.
Chalk this one up to US (f)austerity, and a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bull that forgot to add Pentobarbital among the billions in pork spending. Two months ago we reported that due to a shortage of Pentobarbital, Ohio would be unable to execute death row convicts. It appears that the shortage has persisted into the new year, and now some states are taking matters into their own hands. Or rather the hands of the firing squad. As NBC reports, due to the lethal drug shortage, lawmakers in at least two states to call for the return of firing squads. "Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin, a Republican representing Harrisonville, introduced legislation Friday (.pdf) that would add five-person firing squads as an alternative to the state's current method of capital punishment, lethal injection."
This should be good... just don't mention the bridge (and with any luck this won't last as long as the press conference)
*CHRISTIE SAYS MISTAKES WERE CLEARLY MADE
*CHRISTIE SAYS I AM ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THAT HAPPENED
While McDonalds "coffee is hot" warning labels and litigation was a farce of lowest-common-denominator American exceptionalism; SirGriorgio Clardy, a Portland pimp, is suing Nike for not specifying that his trainers could be used as a dangerous weapon. As NBC News reports, Clardy is seeking $100 million from the Oregon sportswear company after he was sentenced to 100 years in prison for brutally beating a 'john' with his sneaker (apparently unaware of their potential for danger when one stomps on the face of another human being).
- Full onslaught 1: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Aides Pressed Hard for Endorsements (WSJ)
- Full onslaught 2: Feds investigating Christie's use of Sandy relief funds (CNN)
- Iran nuclear deal to take effect on January 20 (Reuters), Iran to get first $550 million of blocked $4.2 billion on February 1 (Reuters)
- Sen. McCaskill didn’t want to be in same elevator with Hillary Clinton (Hill)
- The banks win again: Basel Regulators Ease Leverage-Ratio Rule for Banks (BBG)
- Ireland's Rebound Is European Blarney (NYT)
- Democrats prove barrier for Obama in quest for trade deals (FT)
- Federal Reserve Said to Probe Banks Over Forex Fixing (BBG)
The nation may be slowly thawing from its deep freeze "polar vortex", but that is no comfort for tens of thousands of Ohians, whose water supply has literally frozen in the past day after the valves at the Avon Lake Municipal Utility plant were planted in ice, dramatically lowering the supply of water. NBC reports that "tens of thousands of customers in several counties in Ohio are facing a dramatic water shortage after the intake valves at a key plant that draws water from Lake Erie apparently froze amid the wild winter weather." As a result, the mayor of Avon had a modest proposal as a response to the caticestrophy: don't flush your toilets. At least there is toilet paper, which is more than Venezuela, and its 480% returning in 2013 stock market can say.
Following a Washington reporter's request to the Navy to turn over documents related to the Navy Yard Shooting, a US Navy official mistakenly forwarded an internal email outlining instructions on exactly how to avoid his Freedom of Information request. As RT reports, hours after NBC's Scott Macfarlane's tweets on the matter went viral, the Navy "regretted the incident" and re-iterated its "commitment to transparency."