Articles that caught our eye today

1. What's happening in California (the world's eighth largest economy) is incredible. Really, these are not 'ordinary' times. Maybe its time to reread The Grapes of Wrath:
See the UK Observer's story: Will California become America's first failed state?
2. Quick builds on cheap imports during the housing bubble are the plague that keeps on giving: see Thousands of US homeowners site drywall for ills
3. It's hard to find anyone optimistic on the US dollar these days, which should be a red flag in itself. ” Talk of the perils of dollar weakness has been exaggerated for three decades-and in that way is somewhat comical–while predictions of its demise as the reserve currency are premature. The dollar saga is also the stuff of a short memory.”
See a contrarian argument: Dollar's Demise-Bah Humbug
4. Following up on Meredith Whitney’s observations about contracting credit for small business loans, maybe its not so much banks not wanting to lend, but people unwilling to borrow that is reducing the total credit outstanding. Again, short term this reduces leverage and growth expansion, but longer-term it’s main street taking back its power from the loan sharks. See: You can’t see Main Street from Wall Street.

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