I can’t remember a more bizarre day than what we saw today. It’s, well, it’s just hard to even find a word that comes close to describing it. But let’s see if we can’t get it hammered out.
Before I even get into all of the strange and baffling nonsense, there is no way I’m letting the John Kerry circus freakshow slide. It would be criminal to not bring it full circle, even if it is likely the most embarrassing and jaw dropping decision ever made in politics and at the expense of our nation. Yeah, it’s that hokey. As bad as I hate flying, I’d have paid big money to have witnessed this first hand.
John Kerry showed up in France with none other than James Taylor. And then Taylor serenaded the entire nation with Kerry, in true roadie form, watching and wanting so bad to sing with him (you could just tell). Oh, and that woman? Talk about a completely awkward position of having to hold the mic as Taylor crooned “You’ve Got a Friend”. Never, ever, ever should a Democrat be allowed again to make fun of President Bush’s loose take on the English language.
This happened overnight, so it’s not exactly breaking news anymore; I won’t dwell on it. I will say, however, his quote made in Bulgaria that he intends “to share a big hug with Paris and express the affection of the American people for France and for our friends there who have been through a terrible time,” is already going in my Top 10 end of the year list.
And now, I’ll allow the video and the Twitterverse to wrap this up:
Here’s the video – fair warning: prepare yourself for 3 minutes and 39 seconds of sheer horrific deliciousness.
I’m telling y’all – this has Jen Psaki all over it.
Here are a few of the groovy tweets that have entertained me all day (and there are so many):
So, while that’s ridiculous and silly, there were other closer-to-reality-though-still-hokey events unfolding.
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron shared a press conference today that began, typically, with a classic Obama pre-emptive strike or maybe he was establishing that whole bromance thingey:
DAVID RECENTLY NOTED HOW COMFORTABLE THE TWO OF US ARE WORKING TOGETHER. THIS SENT SOME COMMENTATORS INTO A TIZZY. SOME EXPLORED THE LINGUISTIC ORIGINS OF THE WORD. SOME ANALYZED HOW THIS HAS EVOLVED OVER TIME. SOME SEEMED CONFUSED AND ASKED WHAT DOES OBAMA MEAN? LET ME PUT THE SPECULATION TO REST. DAVID IS A GREAT FRIEND…WE SEE THE WORLD THE SAME WAY. WE USED OUR WORKING DINNER LAST NIGHT TO DISCUSS HOW WE CAN HELP CREATE MORE JOBS FOR OUR PEOPLE.
And then, about thirty minutes in, he said:
ON THE ECONOMY, I WOULD NOTE THAT GREAT BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES ARE TWO ECONOMIES THAT ARE STANDING OUT AT A TIME WHEN A LOT OF OTHER COUNTRIES ARE HAVING PROBLEMS. WE MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.
OK, well, let’s see. Here’s the thing – there is so much wrong that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of jobs, the economy and everything else that supports this nation. So, with that in mind, I thought a bit of perspective might be good.
Ma, What’s for Supper?
More than 50 years ago, President Johnson earmarked $20 trillion to fight poverty in this nation. Under the Obama Administration, records are being broken and not in a good way. President Johnson would be disappointed:
47 million Americans receive food stamps. This is 13 million more than when he took office.
More than 50 million Americans are living below the poverty line.
His administration loves to tell the tale of how it pulled 12.6 million out of poverty since 2009. What it doesn’t tell is that another 13.5 fell into poverty.
One of the biggest indicators of whether a child will live in poverty is a matter of whether that child is born to single mothers. A whopping 42 percent of all babies born today are born in one-parent households.
Today, the New York Times reports:
Study Finds Widespread Poverty Among U.S. Public School Children
The Real Fear
And now, let’s get to the heart of the matter because trust me – this is the dirty little secret many are still trying to keep hidden away.
As we know, oil is taking a beating, what with OPEC calling the shots, Russia keeping its hand close and all of the repercussions that are now being felt, I’m surprised it took a few weeks for the tension to build.
United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui gave comments at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi and said, “The strategy will not change,” noting also that he expected no sudden rebound and he believes these prices will actually stabilize for the next few years.
Energy shares are way down – last week, they lost 8 percent. The big players in the sector are all being downgraded, as oil continues its downward tumble. Take a look at the logistics –
Goldman Sachs nearly halved its three month forecast for Brent crude, from $80 to now $42 per barrel with assurances that prices would continue to stay low.
Also this week, Goldman Sachs made significant reductions in its targets for energy stocks.
Oceaneering International lowered its target price by $10 to $64, indicative of a massive 28 percent decline.
If that weren’t bad enough, RIG has lost nearly 67 percent of its value and is barely hanging on to its $16.10 share price.
Goodrich Petroleum Corp – NASDAQ and Zacks have said it may be a stock worth dropping and noted, “The stock also has seen some pretty dismal trading lately, as the share price has dropped 23.9% in the past month.”
Regency Energy Partners was downgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley. It’s now rated as “underweight”. That was announced today, right before a report was sent to investors and clients outlining the less than rosy news.
Morgan Stanley’s not the only one, though. Credit Suisse downgraded Regency from “outperform” to “neutral” and The Street downgraded from “buy” to “hold”. This all happened in the past few days.
Transocean Ltd. – Every analyst – 16 in total – have issued nothing better than a “hold’
So how does all of this look from a jobs perspective?
On Thursday, oilfield dominator Schlumberger announced it was letting go of a whopping 9,000 employees.
Dallas Federal Reserve reports it expects at least 128,000 lost jobs –in Texas alone – by mid-2015 “if West Texas Intermediate crude oil remains around $55.00 a barrel”. (Stocks closed today with WTI crude at $46.25 a barrel).
Also this week, U.S. Steel Corp, which makes the pipes and various tubes for the sector, and specifically for oilfield drilling, is laying off 142 people in Houston.
JPMorgan Chase’s U.S. economist says a recession in Texas is a strong possibility. Alberta, Canada is already preparing for a recession.
Fitch Ratings said this week that low oil prices could affect “economic and revenue trends for certain cities, counties and school districts” in states that rely heavily on the sector.
Meanwhile, this also means that every other sector will feel the burn. Fitch explained that other “economically sensitive revenue at hotels, restaurants, retailers and construction will suffer”. Banks are bracing for debt defaults and investments are being cancelled already.
At least two contract drillers, Helmerich & Payne and Energy Services Corp. admit that clients are paying early termination fees to rescind contracts. Caterpillar is already warning of a lower forecast for 2015.
Bringing it Around
While the country braces for the bottom to fall out, unsure of whether it will or won’t and how it might or might not affect their families, Obama said not once, but at least twice today during the presser that the economy’s strong and that the U.S. and UK are rocking the good news wagon (you can read the entire transcript here). Clearly, that’s not true. And I’ve not even touched the whole free tuition, free widespread Wi-Fi and the increase in minimum wage and how he intends on paying for it. I’m sure, though, he’ll outline it all in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
So, what now? Well, it’d be great if we could ask the president, but he’s hosting an exclusive party tonight with the cast of the film Selma, as well as the rapper Common and John Legend who were nominated for song of the year that links 1965 and 2014 using references to police brutality. This party is, I suppose, a consolation prize for not being nominated, even though the song and film were, well, both nominated for Oscars.
Now, before you get upset about taxpayer dollars being used to soothe bruised egos with a shindig at the White House, even as poverty ticks up and fears about the job market grow each minute, just remember, it’s not going to be anything near the $4 million we paid for the 17 day vacay to Hawaii last month. Or, at least, we hope it won’t.