Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: OPEC. The center of geopolitical power moves Eastward even as The West disentangles itself from the consequences of the bubble. T-Secretary Tim Geithner heads to China to speak with top Chinese leaders. And the politics of OPEC now dominate the global economy. But even as "green shoots" signalling recovery are spotted around the bleak economic landscape, the price of oil will have major impact on how soon we get out of this recession. From WSJ:

"A simple calculus underlies OPEC's decision to leave its oil spigots steady: the group's big production cuts since late 2008 are starting to bite, and the world oil market is starting to bounce the cartel's way after exacting a heavy toll on members' economies.

"The recent increase in crude prices -- in part due to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' slashing its output -- has given oil ministers some peace of mind that the worst of the global economic recession's impact on oil prices appears to have passed.

"'We feel the market has been reacting positively,' OPEC President and Angolan oil minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said. "We will wait for this trend to grow slowly."

"Oil prices set a fresh six-month high Thursday of $64.99 a barrel in New York, following the OPEC meeting. Prices are up about 40% since OPEC's last meeting in March, though still well below a record high of $147 a barrel hit last July.

"With prices on the rise, OPEC Thursday glossed over the fact some members, such as Iran and Venezuela, are pumping well above their production targets agreed in late 2008. Such quota-busting is typically a source of frustration inside the group.

"OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem El-Badri applauded the group's roughly 80% compliance with total cuts of 4.2 million barrels a day agreed to in late 2008, but he called for more discipline."

Thus far it looks like oil prices will keep steady. But the price of oil will have a direct correlative effect on how Iran approaches the Obama administrations overtures for peace in the Middle East. No doubt this is on the President's mind as he ventures, next week, to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. More here.

Out: Michael Bloomberg, Dick. Increasingly the bilionaire New York Mayor comes off as a dick. And his buddy Arnold aint doing so hot either (Bloomberg/Schwarzenegger '16? We think not). Bloomberg's Eagle Scout beginnings have evolved, disturbingly, into an increasingly tyrannical boorishness not unlike Italy's decadent media mogul Berlusconi -- though not with ambitious young starlets -- with a side order of paternalism (cig taxes, no trans-fats, upcoming pop tax, "Cover your mouths!") that, quite frankly, rankles. Mr. Mayor, get off our ass! We already have mothers, we don't need to elect another one to legislate from Gracie Mansion. From CityRoom:

"To the growing list of questions that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg does not want to be asked, you can add one more.

"At a press conference in Queens on Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg was asked if an economic turnaround would undermine his initial reasoning for rewriting the city’s term limits law and seeking a third term, which was that a city in financial turmoil needed his steady hand and business background.

"Mr. Bloomberg interrupted the question, from the New York Observer reporter Azi Paybarah, having deemed it unworthy of his time, and even called the reporter 'a disgrace.'"

You dick!

In: The Real Housewives of DC. Can. Not. Wait. For. This. Of course, bad choices could fuck the whole shit up. Still, in a city brimming with great personalities like the wacky Alexandra Wentworth (Mrs. George Stephanopolos), the smart Ana Marie Cox (Mrs. Chris Lehmann) and the sassy Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, there are so many possibilities. And we live in an age of Celebrity Politics. From Politico:

"Bravo announced this week that it will bring its 'Real Housewives' program to Washington and is hard at work 'scouting the D.C. area to identify the city's alluring and discriminating residents ... women who have their pulse on the most important cultural events, political galas, gallery openings and fundraisers in Washington society.'

"We’re here to help – or at least handicap the search.

"Despite the show’s title, 'Real Housewives' doesn’t actually require women to be housewives — many of the 'housewives' featured on other versions of the show are accomplished women with impressive jobs — or not even married. Still, being single is the exception to the rule and, for the sake of consistency of our list, we’re including married women only.

"Sorry, MoDo."

Read more: "Who'll be 'Real Housewives of D.C.'?

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