mm381: Crime’s up. Economy’s down. Next question?

May 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Driving earlier this evening to pick up take out for dinner, found myself listening to radio news. Never do that, if I can help it. But this story sprang out at me.

It’s a crime story. Not usually a staple of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©. And it’s our next installment in a ever-lengthening series.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm380: The return of cheap gasoline
mm370: How can you tell our president is lying?
mm347: It’s official, we’re depressed — er, recessed
mm344: Welcome to interesting times
mm337: Dare we trust the guys who got us into this mess?
mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

“Hold on, Mudge,” I hear faithful reader protesting. “What the devil does crime have to do with our deepening recession.”

Just about everything.

chitrib

City crime statistics show increased violence

Violent crime is up 6% in first four months of the year compared with 2007, police say

By Angela Rozas | Tribune reporter |

4:52 PM CDT, May 16, 2008

Homicides in Chicago rose by almost 9 percent, while violent crime was up more than 6 percent in the first four months of 2008, compared with the same period last year, Police Supt. Jody Weis said Friday.

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mm370: How can you tell our president is lying?*

May 5, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Surprisingly (to me at least) it’s been several weeks since we last looked at the nation’s recession. Maybe we were hoping that we would wake up and find it was all a bad, bad dream.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm347: It’s official, we’re depressed — er, recessed
mm344: Welcome to interesting times
mm337: Dare we trust the guys who got us into this mess?
mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

Basically, the time since Jan. 20, 2001 has been a bad, bad dream; our collective misfortune is that we’ve been experiencing it together. Okay, people, no more sushi from that place down the street!

But, about our recession. Did you catch the news that the unemployment numbers weren’t as desperately bad as predicted? These are the types of statistics examined by gimlet-eyed economists, whom I’m afraid function in much the same way (just different, more electrified tools) as witch doctors and soothsayers.

Consider the employment numbers as so much chicken entrails.

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mm347: It’s official, we’re depressed — er, recessed

April 14, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Paul Krugman has appeared in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© quite frequently; he’s an economist, and an insightful writer, and a lot of news lately has been about our economy, and cries out for insight.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm344: Welcome to interesting times
mm337: Dare we trust the guys who got us into this mess?
mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

Since so much of the U.S. economy is driven by consumers, and has been, I’m imagining, since the end of World War II, when the bomber factories returned to stamping out annual cosmetic freshenings of shiny Fords, Plymouths and Hudsons to an eager population that couldn’t wait to “See the U.S.A in your Chevrolet,” consumer perceptions are a key indicator of economic health.

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mm344: Welcome to interesting times

April 11, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

This is not the Navy related story I expected to write. But, as always, real life changed my plans.

More than many, the MUDGE household has been observing this past week’s American Airlines MD-80 debacle with more than passing interest.

There have been myriad news stories, in print and on line, much television (I’m told – I never watch TV news). It’s a topic that anyone who flies can relate to.

As it happens, we’re headed off on a much needed vacation next week to see the grandMUDGElets in L.A., and, as American most frequently protects that route with this disappointingly tiny (in the context of: traversing 2/3 of the continent), not to speak of disappointingly elderly (in the context of: acquired cheaply when American absorbed what was left of the once proud TWA many years ago), sardine can (in the context of: so small, there’s never been audio entertainment available, much less an in-flight movie. Not that this is much of a hardship, but, it is a 4-hour flight). It’s an awful flight, in the best of circumstances, especially for a somewhat larger than life person such as yr (justifiably) humble svt. You guessed it: we’ve got tickets on an MD-80 flight.

Q: What’s worse than flying an American Airlines MD-80 to Los Angeles?

A: NOT flying an American Airlines MD-80 to Los Angeles because the flight’s among 1,000 that they’ve been forced to cancel due to inadequate maintenance procedures finally catching up to them.

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mm337: Dare we trust those who messed up to fix it?

April 3, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

I can’t help it — our turbulent economic news continues to cause concern.

And, as we’ve pointed out, it’s increasingly top of mind most everywhere.

As a topic, it has appeared here with depressing regularity (depressing topic but lively and insightful commentary, of course!):

“May you live in interesting times”

mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

Pointed here by American.com here’s a useful analysis that lays out the causes of the financial system’s deep crisis, and you might be surprised at the source: St. Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve that, directed by Greenspan’s successor, Ben Bernanke, now is portraying itself as our white knight.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?

April 1, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

I’d always heard it was a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Wikipedia.org is not so sure.

Notwithstanding the source, I think we’re there.

We’ve written increasingly on the recession that has arrived, and the depression that might be lurking. Perhaps it’s time for a nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© link table.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price … power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

Jon Taplin, who always has interesting, big picture points of view, has a big word to teach us.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm334: Rearranging deck chairs

March 31, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Paul Krugman is frequently quoted here in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©, because he so frequently cuts through the obfuscation and clarifies economic realities. (See this post, and this one, for example.)

Today, the George III administration announced with great fanfare their latest financial system reforms.

Krugman looked it over. His conclusion: There’s no there, there.

nytimes

The Dilbert Strategy

By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: March 31, 2008

Anyone who has worked in a large organization — or, for that matter, reads the comic strip “Dilbert” — is familiar with the “org chart” strategy. To hide their lack of any actual ideas about what to do, managers sometimes make a big show of rearranging the boxes and lines that say who reports to whom.

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mm333: "Great people shouldn’t have a resume"

March 30, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Mostly, this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© looks at the news and opinions of the day, be it political, or sometimes technological, seeking some nugget of value that, out of the information inundation, resolves itself as unique and important to yr (justifiably) humble svt, and hopefully to you, faithful reader.

Today it’s not about what’s new. It’s about each of you.

This won’t take long. But it just might be the most important few words you’ve read this year.

It’s Sunday. The next workweek lurks, its dimensions unknown, its outcomes uncertain, beginning in a mere few hours.

It’s recession in America, and perhaps the world. What’s going to happen to your job this week?

Better start thinking about your next job.

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mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101

March 25, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Paul Krugman of the NYTimes is an economics professor who has a clear grasp of the big picture. Guess that would be macroeconomics, wouldn’t it?

And he has a way with words.

For yr (justifiably) humble svt, as a child of children of the Depression, its lessons were removed by time, heavily insulated by the cornucopia of plenty that followed the cleansing and rebirth that was World War II for the U.S.

Only those who were very young during the Thirties, certainly not policy makers, are around now, so it’s good that Prof. Krugman is here to teach us some important lessons.

nytimes

Partying Like It’s 1929

By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: March 21, 2008

If Ben Bernanke manages to save the financial system from collapse, he will — rightly — be praised for his heroic efforts.

But what we should be asking is: How did we get here?

Why does the financial system need salvation?

Why do mild-mannered economists have to become superheroes?

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mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear

March 8, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

The ‘R’ word: recession. It’s pretty much inescapable now. The Wall Street Journal was among all the major media to let us know:

wallstreetjournal

Jobs Data Suggest U.S. Is in Recession

Largest Payroll Fall In Five Years Spurs New Stimulus Talk

By SUDEEP REDDY March 8, 2008; Page A1

U.S. employers shed 63,000 jobs last month, the most in five years, reinforcing a widening view that the U.S. is falling into recession. Among economists and politicians, the debate is shifting to how deep the downturn will be and how to ease it.

The jobs dropoff came after the nation lost 22,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said. In the past, such back-to-back monthly employment declines have occurred only around recessions.

Coming amid continued turmoil in the financial and credit markets, the report sent stocks lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 146.70 points Friday to close at 11,893.69. The index lost 3% for the full week.

By far the most distressing feature of this distressing development is that the dimension of the job loss was such a surprise, especially to the guys who are paid good coin to anticipate such news, economists.

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