Batchelor via RBO: Unemployment Planet

Cross-Posted from RBO.

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Batchelor: Unemployment Planet

John Batchelor writes on his blog:

No End In Sight

California JobsThe April unemployment number fresh on Friday morning will reinforce the trend that is accelerating. We are at an all-time-high of continuing claims of unemployment — going back all the recessions to 1971. The new jobless claims continue to spike, now at mid 600k, and show that there is no strength anywhere. All the bank maneuvers, all the sparring in Congress, all the globe-trotting by POTUS and delicate diplomacy at G20, cannot answer the facts. The loss of jobs is what is ripping down the morale of the country and making all the other challenges more grinding — and the smart guys say that we are a long way from where the unemployment number will end.

The Consumer Is Spooked

1-jobless-chartLast evening I received an email from an online service that sells porcelain dessert plates each year for Christmas season. Each year a different design with a Christmas star somewhere on the top of the illustration. When my daughter was small, I bought one each year for her to have as a collection when she is a grown-up with a home for Christmas. For several years I have forgotten, or was distracted, and I fell behind. From an email, I saw the plates on a severe sale — marked down from $85 and $75 to $39. The whole collection is more than one hundred and twenty years old, and the early plates are several thousand dollars. I checked off three plates and put in the order, with free shipping, for $117. Great deal I told myself.

And then this morning, when I read Calculated Risk, the WSJ headlines on the GM fiasco, and the failure of the G20 to make progress on protectionism, on the American banks, I realized that my return to American consumerism was premature. I wrote the company immediately to cancel the order. The service returned a note an hour later confirming cancellation, with a thanks.

1-jobless-lineThis is why folk are losing their jobs. Because of a spooked, ruminative, even superstitious consumer like me. I am certain they need the business. I am certain that their warehouse is their fortune. I am certain that they reduced those plates to draw me in and do business in a slow season. I responded quickly, demonstrating their correct practice. Yet then — I cancelled my own best idea, my best interest. I rationalized my decision when I saw the headlines on the FASB shenanigans with mark-to-market, as if calling a solid waste site a landfill makes everything safe. (Or as Baseline Scenario argues, “Investors are not idiots.”) My refusal probably means someone’s job, or means hours are reduced for someone. Multiply my anecdote by millions of similar hesitations each hour of the day, and you can see why there is no end in sight.

There Is A New Planet Image

1-planetOn a day of my gloom and irrational fear — scared of Christmas plates — it lightens my heart when I read of the sudden fresh discovery of the image of a new exoplanet at 130 light-years distance around a young star HR 8799. The grand robot Hubble took the photograph 10 years ago of the star. We knew there were three planets there, because of the star wobble, but we could not see them because of the starlight. Using a new image-filtering technique, a Toronto team has identified the outermost exo — seven times Jupiter’s size. There is the thrilling suggestion that it has water vapor in its atmosphere:

    “The planet seems to be only partially cloud covered and we could be detecting the absorption of water vapor in the atmosphere,” says Travis Barman of Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Ariz. “The infrared light measured from the Hubble data is consistent with a spectrum showing a broad water absorption feature (at 1.4-1.49 microns), but the level of absorption seen is lower than it would be if the photosphere were completely devoid of dust. Dust clouds can smooth out many of the spectral features that would otherwise be there–including water absorption bands,” Barman says. “Measuring the water absorption properties will tell us a great deal about the temperatures and pressures in the atmospheres, in addition to the cloud coverage. If we can accurately measure the water absorption features for the outermost planet around HR 8799, we will learn a great deal about their atmospheric properties. Hubble, situated well above the Earth’s atmosphere, is excellently located for such a study.”

In a time of great doubt here on modest, rocky and wet Earth, it is a gift to have a new friend that may have water vapor in its atmosphere. It isn’t quite a Christmas star on a porcelain plate, but it is a joy. The formula remains, where there is heat and liquid water, there are the fundamentals for life in the universe as we know it. And jobs.

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7 Responses

  1. i would reorder those plates.we will survive this..
    we are Americans..

  2. That new planet is pretty cool. Amazing that techonology can modernize past imagery and bring out something not previously visible.

    Spooked consumers? The government ought to be more spooked about consumer revolt on their “leadership.”

  3. This will make you sick, so be forewarned.

    THESE are the “moderate” Taliban whom the Pakistani govt has made truce with, and with whom Obama thinks we can have a good relationship. They are really just misunderstood…
    17 year old Pakistani girl accused of infidelity, being beaten:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6022878.ece

  4. An excellent read from the Christan Science Monitor.
    Highlight
    6. “Moderate.” This ubiquitous term is meant politically but can be received theologically. If someone called me a “moderate Christian,” I would be deeply offended. I believe in an Absolute who also commands me to love my neighbor. Similarly, it is not an oxymoron to be a mainstream Muslim who believes in an Absolute. A robust and civil pluralism must make room for the devout of all faiths, and none.
    Check out the whole article.
    Ten terms not to use with muslims

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0328/p09s01-coop.html

  5. Well someone thought they could afford to spend money on this book for Obama.

    Check it out.

    “From Publishers Weekly

    Democracy is not inherently good, Zakaria (author of The Post-American World and From Wealth to Power) tells us in his thought-provoking and timely second book. It works in some situations and not others, and needs strong limits to function properly.”

    That Post-American World is the book Obama has been total around for a viewing this week.

  6. So sorry; crazy woman on Board.

    WtF? Frugazies…the gruesome twosome (FPOTUS and Goon)

    SCOTUS has betrayed us. They continue to do so. Bill Clinton, WTF? Why?

    The genuflection speaks volumes and the donkey ass is too much information, Transparent jerkOff, (no pun intended) to a T. (TMI, my most exalted Pretzelman).

    They are unAmerican and the SCOTUS could give 2 shitz, obviously.

    Something ain’t right at the tippy top. Why are we so scared into complacency
    Uh Huhn.

    Sick. They took the cake. “Let ‘em eat broken glass and ashes”, he said for her.

    Right. NO. Nooooo!

    Stinkin skanks. America Haters. The proof is in the “lickin puddin” video.
    Hide and Run- in reverse. But this video and his words will come to haunt him.

    We shall overcome Someday. I think not. He is breaking the law 24/7. Oh yeah, he is. Whatever is is, I mean.

    Happy Weekend Friends.

    We’re being usurped with the pernmission of SCOTUS.
    Why and by whom?

    Where’s Kathy Bates now when we need her? Help. Misery! True Primary Colors!!!

    Yep, crazy woman on Board.

    Think forsythia abd dafodils. xoxo

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