I could probably write several blogs today over the news but I'll limit it to simple observations.
First, the WikiLeaks crowd going after Mastercard, VISA, and PayPal? Well....they were supposed to be this transparency group that wanted the world to be a "better" place. Secrets weren't supposed to exist. So today, they've demonstrated that attacking people or businesses can be part of the WikiLeaks agenda as well. So you were a group of good or honest intentions, and now you've become this group aggressive intentions and transparency is to be fought for in a vicious manner, if required. The public won't buy this strange switch in behavior. The New York Times would now have to put out a column to defend tactics of WikiLeaks, but I seriously doubt they want to raise a flag to their audience over this. If Cyber Command existed to defend American businesses, then they would have stood up and taken on WikiLeaks as they attacked Mastercard, VISA or PayPal.....but strangely enough....they didn't. Something smells awful bad here.
Second, strange issues with this Presidential-arranged deal with the Republicans. Apparently, there are enough angry Democrats left in the house....so that nothing will move on what the President wants. Why? Because they bought into the White House agenda for two years, lost a vast and hurtful race, and now watch a President to sell his agenda completely....to survive the remaining two years and win re-election. They aren't buying into this and I'm not shocked. Gazing at the Senate and this immigration reform deal.....it's kinda of shovled off into the ditch now and I don't expect them to bring it back out in the remaining week of battle left there.
Third, there was this magic moment in the 2008 election when everyone chatted how the President could bring together a party and was a master of working out compromise. Well....I suspect that some media guys are waking up this week and wondering about this strange ability that they bragged about but can't really cite too many examples over the past twelve months.
Fourth, total home values for 2010....dropped $1.7 trillion. That means this money doesn't exist in America today. It's $1.7 trillion that doesn't exist anymore. Flushed down a toilet or just sitting on the bottom of some lake...it's a sum of ownership that we no longer can claim. I suspect that a million Americans are sitting in a house that they bought for $400k or more, and it's lost over a third of its value. It bothers them, and they'd like to just escape and leave....but they can't.
Fifth, oil is tipping toward $100 a barrel. For a stalled economy, it will be an interesting moment when this happens and people start to measure every single mile again. You guys with 14-mile per gallon results....will began to ask if you really need to travel today. Accident rates decrease. Fewer kids on the road because Mom has tight control gas funds. Things change.
Sixth, word of change came from the UK today. Tuition at a major university is now rigged at $15k a year (up from $4k a year). The fury from students was immediate. They went after Prince Charles car, and I don't think the authorities can grasp the full anger and hostility existing. It won't end now....or in the spring. By next fall, I suspect the university system will see a twenty percent drop in students. The curious thing is that you've got students who can readily get loans from the government, and they can avoid replaying the loan until they make over $30k a year. The idea of spending fifteen or twenty years paying their loans back....just doesn't appeal. Strange....you gaze at American kids who borrow $100k to study English literature or French philosophy....and they don't see a problem with a massive loan and paying back.
Seventh, it's strange that a bunch of global warming folks could all meet in Cancun, Mexico, in the midst of a drug war where a hundred people are found dead each week, and everything seems "OK". The Mexican government probably pulled out every single cop and even private security folks to make this safe. Yet across the country....Mexicans aren't getting that level of protection. Guess you need to appreciate global warming in the right fashion.
Just some observations from today's news.