Nice and businesslike this morning: Starting with the odds-on World War III this weekend.
War Risk Reduced?
That might be a possibility if the happy-talk on point is right. But, as you will read, we don’t think the “reportage” on this has been particularly objective.
So, let’s roll with some of the good coverage and then follow it: Standoff Between G7 and Russia Intensifies as Group Rejects Putin’s Demand to Pay for Gas in Rubles. This is where we have fears of gas to Europe being shut off on Sunday. Vlad Putin’s March 31 hard date is today.
The happy-talk choir over at CNBC, though, we believe is a little too chipper in their outlook: Europe energy: Russia appears to soften its gas-for-rubles demand.
A much more reasoned report of the same underlying events is that all Russia did today was tell the Germans that they can transfer money into a Russian bank, where it will be converted into Rubles – and then applied to gas payments.
What Putin is telling Germany is the “how to get your money here, and how to get it converted.” The misleading part is in both the German official announcements in coverage like Germany says Putin agreed to keep payments for gas in euros, and elsewhere, is this is a “procedure call” not a policy change.
No, absolutely not. What he explained (to the tone-deaf Germans) is they transfer money into a Russian bank, conversion, and then Rubles for the gas.
Our judgment is the reality is there is still a likelihood of Russian gas being turned off this weekend: Gazprom studies options for halting gas supplies to Europe, Kommersant reports | Reuters.
On the other hand, with the market selling off a bit Wednesday, we’re still on track for something of a rally going into the weekend (which is the whole point) which – if the Options Signal Service April 4 expect a big something is right – does get legs with misstated stories.
Bottom line: Putin’s call to Germany was a “how to.” Which the Germans and Neocon tooled West are taking as a “softening.” No, sorry, not.
Meanwhile, the “regime change in Russia” story keeps being repackaged and resold: ‘Regime will end very soon’: Jailed Oligarch explains why many Russians also want Putin to go – Raw Story. You buying it?
Meantime, looking ahead to the next conflict (Taiwan, if you’ve been living with Rip Van Winkle up in the hills) a new RAND report is worth a quick scan. All about A New Framework for Understanding and Countering China’s Gray Zone Tactics.
Employment levels remain statistically high. Which means – on the flip side – two things.
First is very low job cut levels. Reflected in the Challenger Job Cut report just out. But there’s a problem: Cuts are easing back up:
“There appears to be a return of a healthier churn in the labor market,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
“Some U.S. Employers report hiring is getting easier, particularly with the incentives many companies put in place to attract and retain talent. Meanwhile, inflation impacts, and war concerns are causing workers who were depending on savings or investments to seek out paid employment,” he added.
Meanwhile, the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed the number of hires increased by 263,000 in February, while quits hovered near record-high at 2.9%.”
At the same time, we also have new unemployment filing data to contend with:
Tomorrow the Federal numbers. But, as we so frequently remind, the total employment level is still below the August of 2019 levels. Despite the hype a recession in Q3 cannot be ruled out, especially with the Fed reducing its balance sheet for whatever is out there this fall.
“Personal income increased $101.5 billion, or 0.5 percent at a monthly rate, while consumer spending increased $34.9 billion, or 0.2 percent, in February. The increase in personal income primarily reflected an increase in compensation of employees that was partly offset by a decrease in government social benefits. The personal saving rate (that is, personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income) was 6.3 percent in February, compared with 6.1 percent in January.”
So, where’d it all go? *(And boy, does it go quicker these days!!!)
I can sure see how crime becomes a choice for some people: Pay higher prices and go more in debt on credit cards. Or just turn to crime and live on the proceeds. Crime does have several “lifetime retirement community” options, though we’re not keen on those.
Still, ever wonder why more aging poor don’t just go on crime sprees and land 20-year sentences in the Big House where (save smokes and dope) most things are free? I mean if you can get the kids to throw a little something on your book, now and then to buy protection from cellmates?
Evidence of Crazies
While disingenuous politicians are trying to play both sides of the defund police (woke idiocy), we see what could be construed as “responsibility shifting” as More states are easing laws on handgun carry permits – Chicago Sun-Times (suntimes.com).
Of course, interesting that a pro defund mayor has a bigger personal security detail. But, we’re not fans of Lori Lighthead, at all.
Useful to Know
Living in the South may be more stressful – not less – than living in the North. One implication in Do you live in one of the ‘most stressed’ states? Here’s where (and when) people are super frazzled.
Other good catch on Study Finds today is a link between heart problems and dehydration. Staying hydrated cuts risk of heart problems: Here’s how much water you should drink daily – Study Finds.
ATR: Time and Speed
The “nutter in the woods” has been working on getting more out of life, again.
This time, with the notion that the right sounds can change your perception of time. Won’t go into the whole background here, but we all know there is perceptible change of how time feels based on any number of inputs. CBD use, for example, or certain kinds of music.
But the topic tossed out this morning is pretty simple: How do you measure apparent time-speed. Seriously.
I was looking at the reaction time test over here at JustPark.com and it struck me that when locally modifying time perception (via music, for example) is this really the right way to measure time? *(I’m still doing right hand 33, 41, 33 years of age and left-handed 29, 27, 36 year old equivalents.)
I’ve looked at some other measurement tool ideas, but not happy with how I would measure “mental time perception” vs. Reality in any kind of a scientific way. Your suggestions (other than “Just shut up and accept aging!) are welcome in the comments section (click this thing below for access).
No word from The Major yet. His wife had an additional drain installed yesterday for a total of three – so do keep them prayers headed her way, thank you.
Write when you get rich,