The Data Examiner 04/16/2023

The Data Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:

** Hurricanes and recessions are alike in many ways. I wonder if we could understand recessions better by thinking about hurricanes and understand hurricanes better by thinking about recessions. This is on my mind because of the horrific devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian, of course, combined with the many forecasts of coming recessions in the United States, Britain and elsewhere. Also, business leaders often analogize the economy and the weather. “You know, I said there’s storm clouds, but I’m going to change it,” Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said in June, referring to the worsening economic outlook. “It’s a hurricane.” There is at least one enormous difference between a hurricane and a recession: A hurricane is a concentration and intensification of energy; a recession is a dispersion of energy. A hurricane is like an engine running at superspeed, while a recession is like an engine running too slowly. —- Peter Coy, New York Times

** As the Russian Army continues to falter in Ukraine, the world is worrying that Vladimir Putin could use a tactical nuclear weapon. Maybe – but for now, I think Putin is assembling a different weapon. It’s an oil and gas bomb that he’s fusing right before our eyes and with our inadvertent help – and he could easily detonate it this winter. If he does, it could send prices of home heating oil and gasoline into the stratosphere. The political fallout, Putin surely hopes, will divide the Western alliance and prompt many countries – including ours, where both MAGA Republicans and progressives are expressing concerns about the spiraling cost of the Ukraine conflict – to seek a dirty deal with the man in the Kremlin, pronto. In short: Putin is now fighting a ground war to break through Ukraine’s lines and a two-front energy war to break Ukraine’s will and that of its allies. He’s trying to smash Ukraine’s electricity system to ensure a long, cold winter there while putting himself in position (in ways that I’ll explain) to drive up energy costs for all of Ukraine’s allies. And because we – America and the West – do not have an energy strategy in place to dampen the impact of Putin’s energy bomb, this is a frightening prospect. —- Thomas L. Friedman

** Dear Kanye West, or “Ye”: We’ve never met and I hope we never will. Still, I’d like to express a sort of gratitude. With a few outbursts in a few days – you threatened in a tweet this month to go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE” and it’s been downhill from there – you’ve probably done more to raise public awareness about the persistence, prevalence and nature of antisemitism than any other recent event. —- Bret Stephens

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The Data Examiner – Need To Know:

Iraq War Anniversary

It has been 20 years since a U.S.-led coalition launched its ground offensive in the Iraq War, the start of a nearly nine-year occupation. The conflict would topple Saddam Hussein’s pan-Arab, secular Ba’athist regime while ushering in an extended period of instability and counterinsurgency in the region. A multinational force led by the U.S. and joined by at least 40 other nations based the 2003 invasion on intelligence that Iraq had acquired weapons of mass destruction in addition to claims the regime was aiding terrorists in the West. Occupying forces were ultimately unable to substantiate either claim. Estimates place the overall civilian death toll of the war between 100,000 and 500,000, with millions more displaced. At least 8,000 Americans died amid the initial invasion and subsequent occupation and counterinsurgency. Analysts estimate the war’s overall cost at roughly $2.5T. Roughly 2,500 U.S. personnel are stationed in Iraq today in mostly advisory roles.

The Data Examiner – Lens:

Here is Evan Gershkovich of The Wall Street Journal, the American reporter jailed in Russia.

The Data Examiner – Bookkeeping:

** More than 158 million people are expected to travel this spring, with an estimated 2.6 million people every day through March and April. READ

** Nebraska coffee chain bakes 848-pound cake ball, breaking a world record. READ

** Inventory problems? IKEA is keeping on top of it with 100 autonomous drones that count its stock. READ

** Sales of snacks rose 12% last year as Americans enjoy an explosion of new tasty treats. READ

The Data Examiner – Moving Around America:

** In 2021, New York City lost the highest number of people ages 60 and older (-19,884), followed by Los Angeles (-7,199) and Chicago (-4,081).

** Cities that gained the highest number of people in 2021 were Mesa (3,629), Henderson (1,602) and San Antonio (1,164).

** The net migration of people was negligible in Montgomery (2), Reno (-6) and Knoxville (-9).

** Florida gained over 78,000 people aged 60 and over in 2021, whereas California lost nearly the same amount with just over 71,000 leaving.

** The data is clear: State with the biggest new gain is Florida. State with the biggest net loss is California.


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The Data Examiner – A Different View:…

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