Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for July 7th, 2009

Why We Need The Price Of Oil To Stay Low (for the next couple of years, anyway)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 7, 2009

Nouriel Roubini looks at what would be the most likely trigger of a W-shaped recession as opposed to a true recovery:

There are also signs that there may be forces leading to a double-dip recession, sometime toward the second half of next year or towards 2011. If oil prices rise too much, too fast, too soon, that’s going to have a negative effect on trade and real disposable income in oil-importing countries (US, Europe, Japan, China, etc.). Also concerns about unsustainable budget deficits are high and are going to remain high, with growth anemic and unemployment rising. These deficits are already pushing long-term interest rates higher as investors worry about medium- to long-term stability. If these budget deficits are going to continue to be monetized, eventually, toward the end of next year, you are going to have a sharp increase in expected inflation – after three years of deflationary pressures – that’s going to push interest rates even higher.

That’s why it’s very good news that the one-man speculative bubble that sent oil prices spiking in the last few months has been popped. This won’t kill off the renewable-energy industry, as has been feared, but it will keep the Chinese from being able to use our debt load against us and perhaps enable another round of stimulus spending. (The Japanese, in backing the US over China with regard to China’s drive to topple the dollar from global prominence, apparently recognize that a healthy US can protect them from an aggressive China.)

Posted in economy, Oil | 1 Comment »

Honduras, Entr’acte (continued)

Posted by Charles II on July 7, 2009

It’s Ladies Day as First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya emerges from hiding and starts to lead the demonstration. Hey, maybe she’ll run for president in November to twist the shiv in the gorillas. Unfortunately, she doesn’t look to me to have gravitas, but maybe she’ll develop it as the unfamiliarity of speaking on stage in a policy role diminishes.

Large and noisy demos in front of Public Ministry, but it’s unclear what new there is to say. Someone who deserves props is Adriana Silvano, a reporter for Telesur, who was beaten early in the coup, but has been out front and center ever since.

The schools are on strike in defiance of orders from the usurpers.

Hillary Clinton has announced after consultations with President Zelaya that Oscar Arias will negotiate with the coupistas. This sounds like a mistake to me. Not only is there nothing to negotiate, Oscar Arias is getting long in the tooth for this kind of work and suffered ill health last year. And every day that goes by is a day of hardship for Zelaya’s supporters and a day of rest for the coupistas.

The Mexican press is days and days behind events. La Jornada is just now headlining the Foreign Minister’s offensive remarks about Obama. But they talked with the father of the 19 year-old kid who was murdered. Turns out the father is an evangelical pastor who says that if you give up the struggle, you leave nothing but rags to your children.

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras, Entr’acte (continued)

Why We Need Unions

Posted by MEC on July 7, 2009

Workers in the Smithfield pork plant in Bladen County, North Carolina have finally won a 17-year struggle to unionize.

The contract guarantees such basics as sick leave, time-and-a-half holiday pay and a $1.50-an-hour raise over the next four years. Some said it also ushers in a new era at a plant where workers have had little say in their working conditions.


The sick time is unpaid, but in the past workers earned disciplinary points that could lead to firing if they stayed home sick.

The contract will also guarantee workers at least 30 hours of work each week and only modest increases in the cost of health insurance.


The union contract comes after years of complaints about unsafe conditions in the plant.

The enemies of unions go on about the supposedly unreasonable wages union members demand (grossly exaggerating those wages to make their point). They ignore the much more important benefits of unions: protection from arbitrary and punitive management practices and hazardous working conditions.

A little bit of history: the union movement got a huge boost from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. More than 100 women and girls died when the factory caught fire because doors were locked, blocking their escape. Two years after the fire, the company owner was arrested for locking the factory doors during working hours.

This isn’t just history. In 2004, the New York Times reported that WalMart locked its night-shift workers in its warehouses, and often no manager was available to unlock the door in an emergency.

We have unions not because workers are greedy, but because too often their employers abuse them.

Posted in unions | 3 Comments »

kitty kitty kitty!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 7, 2009

Because we need pictures of really cute juvenile predators.

*nuzzle nuzzle nuzzle*

Posted in cats, Just for fun | 2 Comments »

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