This is not exactly a “big deal” morning. Futures were down 60 and here comes post options let-down.  Wake me up later. 

A lot of reasons to snooze, of course, but the main ones go something like this:

1.  Thanks to Emancipation Day being a DC holiday, TODAY is the deadline for IRS tax filings, unless you get the extension request in.

2.  The Fed Meeting on rates is next week, not this week (some coffee kicked in) so we will have some real interesting data next week, but not so much this week. 

I don’t know about you, but I like it when we get a week where there is a Fed statement on rates and the Case Shiller Housing numbers.  Keeps life interesting.

True, there is a minor Housing index out in a couple of hours, and the Census Housing Starts tomorrow morning, but even when you toss in existing home sales Wednesday, it still doesn’t contain the information that’s in the Case Shiller report.

That gets us through Wednesday  and Thursday is another day to dose up on Triple Americanos because most of the news is minor..

Come Friday, if you work in finance, this would be a good day to take off early and take in some lower lakes freshwater trout fishing.  Single-egging is good this time of the year if weather cooperates.

If you don’t know what “single-egging” is, you’ve spent too much time on a Facebook and not enough time in a Fishboat.

WE define cultural insanity as wifi  &/or G3/4 coverage of a trout lake.

Excavating Ecuador

That 7.8 quake in Ecuador has us very concerned for a couple of regular contributors to the discussion pages of this site:  Bruce and Deborah, we hope you are OK.

With luck, when conditions down there recover a bit, they will be able to fill us in on what it was like.  Reason?  We often put out of our minds the possibility that such an event could happen any time here in the USA in at least three places:  Pacific Northwest, SoCal up to SF, and the New Madrid region.  Any learnings along the way are valuable, but the biggest one on my list is lots of drinking water.

For now, the death toll from the 7.8 is climbing toward 300 and with 3,000 reported injured, a reasonable guess is that those figures will at least double in coming days.

Change in Brazil

The lower house of the Brazilian parliament has voted to impeach president Dilma Rousseff – which means we can expect change there, shortly.

With a population about one third smaller than the US, and with a land area of 3.2 million square miles, it’s a big place.  By comparison, the US is 3.5 million square miles, but back our the wilds of Alaska and things get a little closer.

The thumbnail of Brazil’s economy from Wikipedia goes like this:

The Brazilian economy has been predicted to become one of the five largest in the world in the decades to come, the GDP per capita following and growing,[211] provided that large investments in productivity gains are made to substitute the GDP growth of the last decade that is attributable to the increase in the number of people working.[212] Its current GDP (PPP) per capita is $15,153 in 2014[6] putting Brazil in the 77th position according to IMF data. Active in agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors Brazil has a labor force of over a 107 million (ranking 6th worldwide) and unemployment of 6.2% (ranking 64th worldwide).

In terms of what happens next – in a post-impeachment Brazil – it’s hard to say.  The country has been self-governed for a very long time so as a result, it will probably end up in about the same boat as the impeachment of Richard Nixon in the USA, but it doesn’t really result in a massive change of how things work.

Except:  With that much land and such a key high-output landmass, we will sort of look for environmental policy change and birth control to emerge as discussion points as a new government preps to take over.

The Brazilian Federal Constitution establishes that a Vice-President succeeds as President when the elected President dies, resigns or is removed from office. The other officers in the line of succession are the President of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Federal Senate, and the President of the Supreme Federal Court, in that order, but those other officers do not succeed to the presidency as a Vice-President would. Instead, they merely serve as Acting President.

The Vice-President and the other officers in the line of succession, in accordance with the constitutional order of preference, also serve as Acting President when the President is under incapacity, or is suspended due to impeachment proceedings, or when the President travels abroad.

In Brazil, when the Vice-President dies, resigns or is removed from office, or when a Vice-President succeeds to the Presidency, the Vice-Presidency remains vacant until the inauguration of the Vice-President chosen in the next election. That election is usually the presidential election held in the last year of the presidential term to choose the President and Vice-President that will serve in the next four-year presidential term. Only when both the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency become vacant at the same time are special elections summoned to elect a new President and Vice-President to complete the pending presidential term.

Still, it is an interesting change to watch, but without huge stocks of nuclear and chemical arms, and without a Muslim insurgency, it’s more an academic process than a headline maker.

Dangerous Drones

As a (self-grounded for the moment) pilot, I’ve told you it is only a matter of time and unlicensed idiots with drones before we get our first passenger jet crash to be blamed on a drone.

Today, we have moved closer to this coming true, as it’s reported that a British Airways jet with 137 aboard hit a drone over Heathrow/London.

A few ounces of bird into a jet engine will make a mess in the hot section, but an equal amount of metal and plastic could be a lot different outcome.  It’s just a matter of time.

The Press – Some Genuine Curiosities

I mentioned this to Peoplenomics subscribers recently:  When I see too much hype around a product, I sill sometimes look at shorting the underlying stock.

So here’s another morning when Google News has another Tesla story (This 70-Year-Old Has The Best Reaction To A Model S With Autopilot) and it seems to have become a daily “thing.”

This sort of warms me to the point:  There are a lot of Americans who don’t trust the Press – and only 6% of your countrymen buy their sanctity.

Need another example?

OK, sure.  Here’s a story to consider:  NYC to Donald Trump: He’s not one of us.  This was from CNN.

This is the kind of story people might be well-advised not to trust.  The headline implies that Trump is not popular in New York (“not one of us”) and yet when you get into the story, the people interviewed seemed to be mostly democrats.

The topic comes up in the New York Times (and other content monsters) under headlines like “For News Outlets Squeezed From the Middle, It’s Bend or Bust.”

And going further, another article notes that the online ad money is flowing into the (I think useless) social media sites and search.

Further Dark Musings

Since we’re on such a pleasant trail this morning, here comes an update on national defense preps from our buddy warhammer, a former oak lead cluster type:

This article posits whether “we [America] are ready for a cyber attack on the power grid!”


Short answer – no! Nor are we prepared for a direct terror attack, a solar CME strike or an EMP burst, man made or cosmic.

The U.S. population and government are 99% dependent upon having uninterrupted power. No power means no communications, no lighting or refrigeration, failures in our food and other supply distribution and a 3rd World equivalent for medical care.

It is America’s Achilles Heel. How many Americans could cope with being thrown back to an early 1800s living arrangement? The death toll would be staggering.

Every time a read a story about a power outage (like 15.000 Area residents experience power outage), I think to myself:  Is this some jihadi code-warriors making a test run?

Something to think about because it comes up all the time in books about EMP and just like there was talk about jihadists from Saudi Arabia extremists before 9/11, everyone’s going to act surprised with the lights go out here.

Repeat after me:  Those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to what?