Also, be sure to visit Robert's blog, Daily Economic Update for commentary and insight into today's economic news, and as always, a big thank you to our friend rj over at the Global Glass Onion!
Kunstler: Skeleton Dance
Media bullshit shout-out of the week goes to the dim James Suroweicki of The New Yorker Magazine, who said, astoundingly, on his political podcast that the nation's dire fiscal condition was "a myth," that "the recovery is underway...things are getting better." Suroweicki, the magazine's economics writer, also sees no problem with rising oil prices.Kunstler is rockin' with his latest post. Read the rest at ClusterfuckNation!
CSMonitor: Japan expands Fukushima evacuation zone. Will residents ever return home?
Radiation 'hot spots' beyond the existing Fukushima evacuation zone spur Japanese officials to order more areas to be emptied. Residents are being given a month to leave.
Guardian: Japan raises nuclear alert level to seven
Nuclear safety officials had insisted they had no plans to raise the severity of the crisis from five – the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 – according to the international nuclear and radiological event scale.CNN: Japan nuclear disaster tops scale
But the government came under pressure to raise the level at the plant after Japan's nuclear safety commission estimated the amount of radioactive material released from its stricken reactors reached 10,000 terabecquerels per hour for several hours following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country's northeast coast on 11 March. That level of radiation constitutes a major accident, according to the INES scale.
NewScientist: Fukushima crisis raised to level 7, still no Chernobyl
But this does not mean Fukushima is now on a par with Chernobyl. Indeed, as Bloomberg notes, the data so far suggests that Fukushima has released only one-tenth as much radioactive material as Chernobyl did.
It's also important to note that the upgrading does not mean that the situation is getting worse. Rather, it is a reassessment of what has already happened. The largest releases of radioactive material occurred in the first days after the earthquake, and the amount released every day has generally been decreasing as various leaks have been plugged.
ZeroHedge: Fukushima Vs Chernobyl - Compare And Contrast
FaireWinds: Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen demonstrates How Fukushima's Fuel Rods Melted and Shattered
HuffingtonPost: Mexico Mass Grave Complex Reveals 88 Bodies
xinhuanet: 63 percent of people killed in Iraq war were civilians: reportU.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been causing huge civilian casualties with 63 percent of some 109,000 people killed in the Iraq war being civilians, according to a report on the U.S. human rights record released on Sunday.
Mish: Pakistan Tells U.S. "Drones Out of Control", Requests Withdrawal of all C.I.A. ContractorsPakistan has finally had enough of US Drones firing first then apologizing later when Pakistani civilians are killed. Pakistan is also upset with how the US shares (or does not share) information about drone targets.
PBS: In Egypt, Revolution Still 'in Progress' as Protesters Return to Tahrir
NPR: Libyan Woman Tells Her Story Of Rape, Uncensored
Slate: The Arab Powder KegAn animated map of protests in the Middle East as they spread from country to country, updated with the most recent events.
RollingStone: The Real Housewives of Wall Street
Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?
Reuters: Nasdaq and ICE to continue offer for NYSE: Sprecher(Reuters) - Nasdaq and Intercontinentalexchange Inc will continue to press management of rival exchange NYSE to accept their takeover offer, ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said on Tuesday.
CBSMoneyWatch: Student Loans: The Anti-Dowry
MyBudget360: The housing gamble:
What if home prices remained stagnant until 2020? 6 charts laying out the argument for stagnant or declining home prices for another 10 years. Peak in dual income households, home prices still inflated relative to incomes, Federal Reserve unable to hold mortgage rates low forever.
DeclineoftheEmpire: The Breakdown Of Economic Expansion In The 21st Century
CalculatingRisk: Housing Starts: Vacant Units and Unemployment Rate
ritholtz: Fade the Consumer Credit Headline (For Now)
CEPR: Robert Samuelson Underestimates Dependence on the Government
Social Security is a retirement program that is run through the government because the government provides the service far more efficiently than the private sector. The administrative costs of the retirement portion of the Social Security program are equal to about 0.5 percent of the benefits paid out each year. By contrast, the administrative costs of privatized programs, like the one in Chile that is often held up as a model, are in the neighborhood of 15 percent of the benefits paid out. Why is it a problem that we choose to run our retirement system in the most efficient possible way?
ZeroHedge: UK Inflation Plunges As Retail Sales Drop By Most On Record
WSJ: Real Estate Bust Hasn’t Dimmed Americans’ Faith in Real Estate
Krugman: Saving Privatizing Ryan
The initial swooning has died down to some extent — but I’m struck by the extent to which news stories are still covering for Paul Ryan. I’ve already noted how “news analyses” write as if the objections of the critics were simply that his plan is too radical, as opposed to what people like me are actually saying, which is that it’s a fraud.ZeroHedge: Guest Post: Students - You Are Exploited Debt-Serfs
Guardian: Commodities boom may be over, warns Goldman Sachs
Oil and metal prices fall after trader predicts drop in demand for copper and platinum
WSJ: IMF: Chinese Yuan Substantially Weaker Than Fundamentals Warrant
TheCapitalSpectator: Strategic Briefing | 4.12.2011 | Energy Prices & The Economy
CalculatedRisk: Trade Deficit decreased in February to $45.8 billion
Peak oil and Energy News
Econbrowser: Some Thoughts on Energy Independence
The President's new initiative on increasing energy independence inspired much commentary on how much it was aspirational, rather than realistic; see for instance this extensive NYT article. In this post, I want to consider whether reduced dependence on imported energy is a worthwhile objective.
ABCNews: 5 Shocking Gas Prices Around the Globe
Surprised by Gas Price of $4 a Barrel? Try $8.35 in Germany
While American drivers are spooked by $4-per-gallon gasoline prices in the U.S., they may be shell-shocked on other continents like Europe. In London, gas was $8.17 per gallon in March, and in Istanbul, Turkey the price was $9.63, according to DailyFinance.
OilPrice: The Vicious Circle of Oil Price Induced Recessions
AlterNet: Despite Massive Leaks That Pollute Groundwater, Nuclear Agency Has Never Fined Violator
TheExtinctionProtocol: Yellowstone volcanic plume much larger than previously thought
NatGeo: How Earth “Plays Horseshoes” With Asteroids
TheExtinctionProtocol: New eruptions reported at Etna volcano in Italy
UPI: Park rangers dipping goose eggs in oilWALNUT CREEK, Calif., April 11 (UPI) -- California park rangers said they are combing parks for Canada goose eggs they dip in oil as a form of avian birth control to keep the population in check
America in Decline
WashingtonPost: More ‘birther’ nonsense from Donald Trump and Sarah Palin
DemocracyNow: U.S. Military Blocks U.N. Official From Seeing Bradley Manning
U.S. military officials have blocked a top U.N. official from privately seeing accused whistleblower, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, who has been held in solitary confinement at a military prision since July. Juan Mendez, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said he was “deeply disappointed and frustrated” that he was not allowed to have an unmonitored visit with Manning.
HuffingtonPost: Paul Ryan in Your Pockets: Government by People Who Hate You
If there is any doubt that our political system is controlled by an elite who is completely removed from the bulk of the population, this response to the Ryan plan ended it. There is nothing at all serious about the Ryan plan. It is naked attempt to redistribute yet more money to the country's rich at the expense of everyone else.
Food and Water
Bloomberg: China Pork Binge Driving Iowa-Sized Soy Imports on Shortage (3)
Bloomberg: Graves of Diseased Animals Spur Shift to Evian in S. Korea (1)
In South Korea, the carcasses of 9.7 million cattle, pigs and poultry were buried in mass graves across the frozen countryside after outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and bird- flu last winter. That’s raised concerns that pollutants may enter groundwater now that the soil has thawed, said Jun Kwan Soo, a professor of environmental engineering at Yeungnam University.
TreeHugger: Sunless Farming Touted as Answer to World Food Problems
What happens when we change the climate so much, from temperatures to rainfall patterns, that crops can no longer be easily grown? For some, the solution seems to be to move crops indoors, take away all natural sunlight and regulate the climate within massive grow houses. By removing Nature from the equation, advocates say food production would be far more consistent, with 1,075 square feet providing food for 140,000. Could this really be the future of farming?
Science and Technology
NPR: It Flies! Da Vinci's Dream Comes True
Spiegel: East German Cosmonaut Sigmund Jähn
'Capitalism Now Reigns in Space'
Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight. In a SPIEGEL interview, legendary East German cosmonaut Sigmund Jähn talks about what it was like being the first German in space and the future of space travel.
Medical and Health
Eurekalert: UCSF study on multitasking reveals switching glitch in aging brain
RawStory: Man detained in Ohio for LA synagogue blast: FBI
A man believed to be the suspect wanted over an explosion outside a Los Angeles-area synagogue last week was arrested in Ohio, reportedly on his way to New York, the FBI said.
MSNBC: Video shows jets colliding at a New York airport. Watch it here:
Guardian: Pair found guilty of trying to sell child for £35,000Man, 48, and woman, 29, arrested after being exposed offering to sell 11-month-old girl as slave in a newspaper sting.
TinfoilPalace: Rare American Civil War photos document life between battles
TinfoilPalace: (amazing video!) Is Japan sinking? Or Floating?
TheOilDrum: Radiation in the Americas
TheOilDrum: $5 dollar gas by memorial day
Hubberts-Arms: Economic Update for Tuesday Arpil 12th 2011- A quick warning.
Hubberts-Arms:New York state budget slashes education, health care and taxes on the rich
SilentCountry: Study: Gas from ‘fracking’ worse than coal on climate
SilentCountry: Mile High Skyscraper