Two very important cases related to the 4th Amendment protection of cell phone data went before the Supreme Court yesterday. At issue here is whether or not police can search someone’s cell phone upon arrest. As usual, the Obama administration’s Justice Department is arguing against the citizenry, and in favor of the (police) state. Let’s not forget that the “Justice” Department also argued in favor of the police being able to place GPS tracking devices on people’s cars without a warrant back in 2011. Fortunately, the Supreme Court ruled against it.
To be sure, month-to-month swings in hiring are a snapshot of the economy, rather than a portrait, and frequently blur.
For example, government statisticians on Friday revised upward the number of jobs added in February and March by 36,000 total, suggesting the economy was stronger than first assumed. And the April data could be significantly revised upward — or downward — next month.
How Not to Be Misled by the Jobs Report (jdargis)
Let’s consider how statistical noise might affect our perception of the jobs report in two scenarios: one with steady job growth and one with accelerating job growth.
Back in 2004-05, the government said the average price for electrical power was 9.0 cents/ Kwh compared to the 13.5 cents posted last week for March. Doing the math, that’s a compound growth rate of 4.5% over a decade. And that’s not noise. Its signal. Its inflation.
In this article, Peter Schiff gives, for the first time, a detailed view of the leading conspiracy theories and how they impact its long-term investment outlook. He believes that the individual investor should have the same opportunities in the marketplace as the big institutions. The subtext “Because the price is suppressed, buying gold is for suckers” is fundamentally wrong in his view.
The Big Fish Win Again (jdargis)
Catch shares have some perks. A lot of them, really. They limit the amount of fish that can be caught, allowing depleted populations make a comeback. They reduce the number of boats pillaging the seas and make fishing safer just by thinning competition. Catch shares mean nobody rushes to the sea in a hurricane to get an edge on the next guy. Not only is that good for the ocean, it saves lives. It’s also intended to boost values for seafood, a potential windfall for fishermen.
I don’t see very strong U.S. or Eurozone growth, despite quantitative easing and all the liquidity pumped to the system. China’s growth seems to have slowed down. That said, I expect 2014 prices for Brent to remain $100–120/bbl. WTI is a different category because its price is at times dictated by the storage capacity at Cushing, Oklahoma, which is the giant storage center where many pipelines meet. The storage bottleneck there has been relieved by a couple of new pipelines. This has allowed WTI to close the gap with Brent. There’s now less than $5/bbl difference between them; a year ago, the split was as high as $20/bbl. So WTI should trade from $100–120/bbl in 2014, unless the Russia-Ukraine dispute results in instability of supply from Russia into Europe.
First-quarter earnings reports are in and the world’s biggest oil companies are reporting mixed results. ExxonMobil, the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., reported quarterly earnings of $9.10 billion, down 4.2 percent from $9.50 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Yet it beat Wall Street expectations, owing to a spike in natural gas prices during the winter and a boost in its quarterly dividend. The brutal winter in the eastern U.S. drove natural gas prices up, giving the company more revenue than expected.
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