Bits & Pieces (Thursday Night Open Mic)

Ron Paul gets the Bad Lip Reading Treatment.

Obama administration says Fort Hood shootings were “workplace violence”. Well,  I guess that’s true, but . . .
The background here is that on August 20, 2011, the independent commission that was set up to determine how best to do force protection on base – where almost everyone goes about their business unarmed – made these preliminary findings, among 79 recommendations:

Educating commanders about the symptoms of potential workplace violence and the tools available to them to address it.

Ensuring commanders and supervisors have access to appropriate information in personnel records throughout a service member’s career.

Improving law enforcement and force-protection information sharing with partner agencies and among installations to ensure all relevant personnel are aware of and able to analyze and respond to potential threats.

Expanding installations’ emergency-response capabilities, including enabling enhanced 911 to notify dispatchers of a caller’s location, mass notification and warning systems to guide installation personnel and emergency responders to an emergency, and a common operating picture to ensure emergency responders have access to real-time information in a crisis.

Integrating force-protection policy through the creation of a consultative and policy-making body that will bring together the various entities across the department with force protection responsibilities.

Ensuring the department provides top-quality health care to servicemembers and health care providers by hiring additional health care providers, particularly in the mental health field, and ensuring health care providers receive appropriate post-deployment respite and time at home between deployments.

Gates also has directed the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and America’s security affairs to continue to lead the follow-on review and to provide regular progress reports to him.  Killeen Daily Herald, August 24, 2011.

So the criticism of the use of the phrase “workplace violence” when the security team was charged with learning as much as it could to make bases safe (force protection) seems like much ado about nothing.  You will recall that other Army shrinks, including other Muslim Army shrinks, warned about Maj. Hasan well before the shootings, but the command structure simply did not take them seriously.  The preliminary panel report addresses the training of command staff, so that they will take reports from their health care pros seriously.

But everybody gets to gripe about something.

A blogger is not a journalist, meaning they don’t enjoy the same 1st Amendment protections, I guess. Be careful what you say, folks, at least in Oregon. 

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1254.1 -9.9 -0.78%
Eurostoxx Index 2331.6 -13.340 -0.57%
Oil (WTI) 100.36 -0.130 -0.13%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 78.544 0.125 0.16%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.05% 0.02%

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has shown the markets his bazooka and they yawned. The ECB cut interest rates by 25 basis points and then further announced they would offer banks 3 year loans and relax collateral requirements. This is an extension from the one year loans currently being offered; the market had expected an extension to 2 years.

Initial Jobless Claims came in lower than expected – 381k vs 295k expected. Continuing Claims were 3.58million vs. 3.7 million expected. This print approaches the post crisis low of 375 set in Feb 2011. Just another sign that the labor market is beginning to thaw.

Jon Corzine will be in front of Congress this morning to address the MF Global fiasco. In his prepared statements, he claims he has no idea where the money was and wasn’t involved in the day-to-day movement of capital at the firm. He doesn’t understand why the accounts haven’t been reconciled yet. The Kenny Lay defense, I guess. I would bet the missing money went to cover margin calls. If so, the money should be recoverable – technically it wasn’t MF Global’s money to give. Find out who made the margin call and you will know who is about to make an earnings pre-announcement.

Bloomberg released some of the findings from its Bloomberg Global Poll this morning. 61% of the respondents (mainly professional investors) believe China will face a banking crisis within the next 5 years. It will be interesting to see how the “world’s best managed economy” behaves once the bubble bursts. I am sure the Thomas Friedmans of the world will not abandon their fixation that the government can fine-tune the economy and manage it intelligently.

Chart: Initial Jobless Claims:

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