BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A JOB - The Labor Department, in a new report Thursday, says new applications jumped by 16,000 to 404,000, the highest level since late March. Employers cut payrolls by 62,000 in June, the sixth straight month of nationwide job losses, underscoring the economy's fragile state. The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out weekly volatility, rose last week to 390,500,the highest since early October 2005.
OILMAN IN CHARGE OF THE COUNTRY SHOULD BE FIXING THIS UP TUTE SUITE - Oil prices neared $146 a barrel Thursday for the first time ever on reports of declining U.S. stockpiles and the threat of conflict with Iran.
DRIVING AMERICA INTO A DITCH - Analysts at JPMorgan painted a bleak picture for Detroit's automakers Thursday, suggesting General Motors Corp. (GM) (GM) might need to raise $10 billion, Ford Motor Co. (F) (F) could be forced to sell Volvo and Chrysler LLC may have few if any options by late next year.
BEARLY KEEPING WALL STREET'S HEAD ABOVE WATER - The Dow fell 166.75, or 1.46 percent, to 11,215.51, the lowest close since August 2006. It now stands 20.82 percent below its Oct. 9, 2007 record of 14,164.53. The last bear market ended in October 2002.
MADONNA HURTING YANKEE'S PERFORMANCE - Amid reports linking Rodriguez to Madonna. Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and his wife have split less than three months after the birth of the couple's second daughter, according to a report in the New York Daily News. Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner criticized the team's lack of hitting before an 18-7 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, suggesting "a little less outside distractions and a little more concentrating" might help the team at the plate. (NOTE: While this may not seem a Bush-caused scenario, Madonna never dated Rodriguez during the Clinton presidency.)
Political satirist, Steve Young, blogs at SteveYoungOnPolitics.com