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Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday, The Day Of Reckoning

First, my brother and his wife (the ones who lost the twins in 2010) had a baby boy this morning. It turned into a last minute emergency in the middle of a normal birth, but hopefully the baby is okay. His lung action is okay, anyway. Apparently he is voicing his philosophical displeasure over the human condition with abandon.

My sis-in-law is probably going to be in for a prolonged recuperation, because the emergency was acute and I gather they pretty much yanked out the knives and dove in to save the kid. This why it is really not a good thing to use those birthing centers. Almost always it is a much better experience, but if there ever is a real problem, you want to be in there right with the knives and knife-wielders; you don't have fifteen minutes, or ten minutes, or even five minutes. 

Chicago PMI - we may be in the last few months. This report is problematic; autos are still holding up but there was a wicked drop in lead times. Prices are still rising. Business barometer sharply lower at 56.2 from 62.2 in March. Overall a significant slowing, but new orders and inventories are still quite decent.This is a wait-and-see type deal.

The Dallas survey was quite disappointing this month.

On the consumer side, prices are rising for most items too rapidly. Personal Incomes and Outlays for March shows real disposable income growing, after two months of declines. But April prices in stores are reflecting a desperation relating to margins that is going to blow up this trend quite rapidly. Real PCE increased 0.1 in March compared to 0.5 in February. The report isolates most of the trend to new cars, but I think tax refunds boosted spending earlier.

This is basically a reprise of 2008, but without the impressive fall-off in credit-related spending to add drag. However the European drag on spending is introducing another leg down, China is pretty darned ugly, and the consumer-side inflation is explosive, without the margin companies had to cut costs back in 2007 and 2008. Then they were running fat and could cut. Now they can only raise prices, which is going to set off pure ugliness on the consumer side.

I spent the last few weeks walking around in stores, watching the prices of staples like pasta, beans and eggs rise. It's true that the US is the big global bright spot, but the bulk of US consumers must feel like they are walking around in a rainstorm.

Oh, yeah, China:

What's really cool is this from the official release:
By the end of March, the total volume of receivable accounts for industrial enterprises hit 7,119.9 billion yuan, went up 17.2 percent, year-on-year. The total value of finished products for industrial enterprises accounted for 2,783.0 billion yuan, went up 16.4 percent, year-on-year.
There is nothing like dropping profits and slowing payments to grease the wheels of commerce, is there? Companies don't need loans. They need cash flow. Mind you, in the Chinese corporate mind the concepts of "rigor" and "accounting" have only a very tenuous connection, so reported profits generally are a bit dreamy, if you know what I mean. 

I've got to step in to defend birthing centers. At least some of them.

When we had our 2nd child, my wife inspected the stats for the hospital that she would have gone to. Turned out they had not-so-good outcomes for normal births. It seems that an unusual percentage of their "normal birth" patients turn out to need invasive procedures just before delivery. The preferred procedures just happen to coincide with procedures that state-mandated insurance must cover. Funny, that.

We decided to take our chances at a birthing center with a 15-minute transport time to the best children's hospital in the state. Statistically, their total outcomes are better than the normal-births outcomes at the hospital we would have gone to. Granted, if there had been an emergency we would have been out-of-network at the children's hospital. But as it turned out there was no problem so it didn't cost us any extra.

When it's my wife and baby, they're not just statistics. But in this case it just worked out to a choice--take a chance under the knife, or take an improved chance of not needing the knife.
Takes after his aunt: "he is voicing his philosophical displeasure over the human condition with abandon".

All the best.
I'm crossing fingers for the baby and mother.

That leaves me no fingers for China though. Priorities.
Mother and son are doing fine.

This pregnancy had problems early on, and the doctors weren't offering much hope. She wasn't even supposed to go full term. The baby is a JPII special. I swear it's true.

Anyway, I have been gritting my teeth right through this thing, and this is one of the ways I got through it.

But now that the anxiety is over, I just want to yell with joy.
Neil - that's exactly right. Almost always a birthing center is better; when it's not it's a tragedy. There are very few cases when it matters.

My sister in law couldn't pull out of the grief over the twins, and the horrible way it played out. It was not until she got pregnant that she began to really breathe again, and if she had lost this one, I think she'd have continued to fight bravely, but I don't think she'd have ever made it out into the sunlight again.

And the baby almost died today. There aren't going to be any complications. The placenta separated; if she had gone into labor outside the hospital they both might have gone and the baby most definitely would have.

The labor was induced because she had gone well past full term. Very few of these cases are as severe as this one, it was literally a matter of just a couple of minutes.

But she's doing fine, and she's in Tahiti mentally.
Blah, Blah, Blah

All this touchy-feelie stuff is affecting my digestion. Now I am not saying that child bearing is not a needed human activity, but G-D delegated this to women, while men handle the more interesting stuff like starting world wars, making concentration camps, fire-bombing cities, etc. One other thing guys do is economic stuff. Now seeing as most folks that read this site are interested in this male activity, can we please keep the heart warming stories to the daily mail and other such female oriented publications.

Otherwise I demand equal time for guys maybe articles on home made flamethrowers and things like that.

I am sure your brother would agree if he was to post, else I wonder if he likes interior design and the oxygen channel.

M_O_M, for what it's worth,if it were me I wouldn't have put your sister-in-law in a birthing center, either.

It's wonderful that they've got a healthy family going there.

Oh, and Mr. Sensitive: my .308 is bigger than your mouse gun. And my lifted Jeep will run over your Yugo any day of the week.
Neil, Mr. Sensitive is the proud papa.

And I assure you that he is well armed. His jeep, however, is not lifted, so you've got him there.

I spoke to him yesterday evening, and I could have sworn nothing in the world could have made him happier, but I am afraid that your comment just did.
Oh fine Sis blow my cover...

Sis I was not pissed in any way. I am very happy, I may even be nice to my wife for a week or two, though I hope she does not try to use this as an excuse to stop work on the retaining wall out back of the barn, I have been hearing excuses for 6 months.

I was just trolling, hoping to get a reaction like Neils. Now if you had not stepped in I could have gotten into a lively debate. Good Sport.... Now I have to apologize for my boorish behavior to Neil.

Sorry Neil, it is a personnel defect of mine but it is very difficult for me not to tease my little sister at all times, both good and bad.

As for the touchily-feelie side of things, it did seem like my wife had some kind of help in this whole matter. One cannot put one's finger on things, but it seemed like something beyond that which is subject to human understanding was stepping in just prior to each critical moment, to ensure that no decision was made late.

Hah! I figured it was somebody still giddy from that new-baby smell. M_O_M probably outed you because she didn't want this to descend into gun-forum willy-waving.

My Jeep still beats your Yugo, though. M_O_M says so.
Socialism is not entirely the fault of Obama, but the result of an incremental creep toward that goal for over a century.

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Neil My 5.56 M262 ball beats your 7.62 M80 ball, at least to 600 meters....

No liberals were hurt in the making of this posting.
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