Wednesday, July 13th, 2022


The Price You Pay

There have been a few recent hints—such as dropping gas prices—that inflation has peaked. But the latest inflation numbers are still inflated. "Record gasoline prices pushed inflation to a new, 40-year high last month. The Labor Department reported Wednesday that inflation hit 9.1% for the 12 months ending in June. Prices rose 1.3% between May and June, with energy costs accounting for nearly half the monthly increase."

+ WaPo: Five charts explaining why inflation is at a 40-year high. (These lists usually include six charts, but even charts are more expensive these day.)

+ NBC News: Inflation in America: Track where prices are rising.

+ One way or another, we're going to get inflation under control. But it might hurt. Vox: Inflation is soaring. How did Paul Volcker's Federal Reserve tackle it 40 years ago? "Volcker got inflation under control through the economic equivalent of chemotherapy: He engineered two massive, but brief, recessions, to slash spending and force inflation down. By the end of the 1980s, inflation was ebbing and the economy was booming."

+ Want a discount on goods? Buy things from Europe, or better yet, take a vacation and buy things there. "The euro has fallen below the dollar for the first time in nearly 20 years as the war in Ukraine pushes the single currency down." (The struggling euro is another reminder that inflation and other economic challenges are an international problem. But voters in each country will still take out their frustration at the ballot box.) An AP Explainer: What's the impact of euro parity with the dollar?


The Bone Zone

Fuel price hikes driven by Putin's Ukraine invasion are at the heart of the US inflation problem, which is at the heart of Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia. His first stop in the Mideast is in Israel where he opened "by declaring a 'bone deep' bond between the United States and Israel and pledging to strengthen economic connections between the two countries going forward." Imagine going a diplomatic trip and having Israel and peace in Middle East be the least complicated task on your to-do list.


The Path to Pathology

"Lying as a means of coping with poverty had given way to something more pathological. Instead of easing my passage through reality, lying had become a way of denying it altogether. To the extent that lying can become a game, its goals share something in common with gambling: It escalates not because people are hard to fool but because they are so easily fooled that experienced liars grow bored with their habit." Interesting first person piece by Joshua Hunt in the NYT (Gift Article): How I Became a Pathological Liar. (Oddly, it had nothing to do with running for office...)


Chicken of the Sea

A U.S. judge ruled that Subway can be sued over its '100% tuna' claim. "Amin's lawsuit cites a marine biologist who analyzed 20 samples of tuna offerings from 20 different Subway restaurants and found 'no detectable tuna DNA sequences whatsoever' in 19 samples. But, Amin says, the samples did contain other types of animal DNA, such as from chicken and pork." So I guess Arby's doesn't have all the meats...


Extra, Extra

Boss Tweet: You're not the boss of me! But I'm taking you to court so you will be! We all had a feeling the Musk/Twitter crap would end up in court. Now that it's a sure thing, NY Mag shares 15 Revelations in Twitter's Suit Against Elon Musk. (Twitter should just suspend his account. The dopamine withdrawals would have him crawling to the negotiating table.)

+ Meet and Cheat: "For hours, the group tried to persuade Trump to take extraordinary, potentially illegal action to ignore the election results and try to stay in power. And for hours, some of Trump's actual White House advisers tried to persuade him that those ideas were, in the words of one lawyer who participated, 'nuts.'" (In the Godfather, the mob went to the mattresses. In the Trump mob, they went to the Pillow Guy.) WaPo: Unhinged': The White House meeting that preceded Trump's ‘will be wild' tweet. Jan. 6 takeaways: ‘Screaming' and a Trump tweet never sent. And "a man who joined the pro-Trump mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol apologized Tuesday to officers who protected the building after telling lawmakers that he regrets being duped by the former president's lies of election fraud."

+ A Mead to Know Basis: "Stranded boats, desiccated fish, and no water on cracked ground that once made a shoreline. That's the new business-as-usual for Lake Mead, where the West's punishing drought and chronic water overuse have combined to render the lake almost unrecognizable as water levels continue to plummet."

+ Pulling Strings: "The Hitler marionette, an instrument of parody and defiance, offers an intriguing glimpse into the strong puppetry tradition in the family of the man who retrieved it from that attic: Frank Oz, one of its creators' sons, who went on to become one of the 20th century's best-known puppeteers, bringing Cookie Monster, Bert, Miss Piggy and others to life through his collaborations with Jim Henson, and later becoming a force in the Star Wars movies, giving voice to Yoda." NYT: The Saga of a World War II Ancestor of Miss Piggy, Bert and Yoda.

+ Eagle Brief: Did they do it for love? Did they do it for money? Did they do it for spite? Did they think you had to, honey? Either way, they might be headed to prison in the long run. Prisoners of their own device? Men accused over theft of Hotel California manuscript. "The men attempted to sell the manuscripts, manufactured false provenance, and lied to auction houses, potential buyers, and law enforcement about the origin of the material ... They had also allegedly engaged in a 'years-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts.'" Ironically, prison is a place where you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave.


Bottom of the News

"Bizzle, who was arrested in October 2020, remaining in federal custody ever since admits to filing 92 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims during the early months of the COVID-19-era CARES Act program ... And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for his pesky boasting about his own criminal acts on YouTube." Self-Snitching LA Rapper Will Plead Guilty to Defrauding Edd of Over $1 Million. And that's a rap...