"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Non-Economic News

There is a report out from researchers at Indiana University indicating that President Obama's goal of getting 1 million electric cars on US roads by 2015 may not happen. Why? Consumers, that's why. The average car-buying individual is concerned about the cost of electric cars vs. how far you can drive one before you have to recharge it, how easy it will be to recharge, and what sort of resale market there is.
Unimpressed by President[1] Saleh's statements yesterday that he will not seek reelection[2] in 2013, the "Day of Rage" protests have started in Yemen. So far, it's a pretty peaceful Day of Rage - there was "a large crowd of government supporters"[3] nearby, but things remained peaceful. So far.
Speaking of pro-government counter-protests, it turns out that the pro-Mubarak protesters that turned out in Cairo yesterday were in the pay of the government. Some were plain clothes police officers, others were soldiers. They are, interestingly enough, also the ones that provoked the violence yesterday after Mubarak announced he would not run for reelection[4] in September. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry claimed that all of the police identification cards were stolen or fake. CNN's response is "But state television reporting Wednesday did not always match CNN's own observations of what was happening in Tahir Square." The Egyptian government has restored internet access to the nation, though.
In good news for the US, Standard & Poor's has stated that they do not have any plans to downgrade the US sovereign debt rating. They feel that our credit risk is similar to Japan's (which Moody's cut last week), but they do not feel it is as serious.
[1] Read: Dictator-For-Life.
[2] Read: he might not actually shoot anyone who expresses a desire to run against him, and he might not direct his rubber stamp parliament to declare him president again.
[3] Read: a large group of soldiers and political appointees who got orders to show up.
[4] Read: once again exercise emergency powers to direct the parliament to declare him president again, and imprison anyone who speaks out against him.

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