Looking for Mr. Goodnews

February 19, 2008: 11:53 AM ET

164px-fidel_castro5_cropped.jpgInflation in China is very high. It's hard to figure how that will benefit us, but on a list of things that come under the rubric "grim satisfaction," the continual travails of that sleeping giant always register. Bad air. Bad water. Poison in the children's toothpaste they export. Dead dogs worldwide due to crud in the pet food they offer the world. The explosion of their chief internet provider built almost wholly on illegally purloined music from American labels... so while more rain on their parade is not really good news -- particularly since it probably just hurts innocent civilians over there, it's a laugh riot compared to the rest of the crop this morning. 

Credit Suisse, which today fired a bunch of their traders who misplayed some aspect of the mortgage crisis or other, leading to a modest, single-digit billion problem that will have to be managed this quarter. That's sort of good news for UBS, which looked really deficient recently when it took a nearly $15-billion writedown. Perhaps they're high-fiving each other over there.

Wal-Mart beat the Street's expectations. Of course, at the same time they cautioned that '08 might not be the engine for growth that people might want it to be. Earnings came in at $1.04 per share for the fourth quarter and their stock lost four cents. Yeah, yeah, it's rational.

The head of MBIA is out, replaced with a guy who thought he had retired. That's always a good sign, except for the fact that people who come out of retirement are generally not as adept at bailout out the rowboat as they used to be. Still, a change will do them good, right? Or the illusion of change, which in our world is almost the same thing.

Let's see... we're getting down to some pretty slim pickins for those looking for a lift. Most people are not prepared for retirement, according to one study. That's not good, especially for Gen-Xers looking to take over anytime soon. Even that new head of MBIA is 59. Where's the new blood? Oh, I remember. In charge of risk management at the banks. Perhaps the world news offers more hope for the terminally optimistic?

Heidi Klum has offered to let Britney live in her house for a while, to help the ailing victim of celebrity back on her feet. That's nice.

Bono was seen holding hands with Penelope Cruz in San Tropez. That's like finding out that Al Gore drives a Cadillac Escalade.

And Castro resigned. That's got to be good for somebody.

As we used to say, without irony: Have a nice day, everybody.

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