Thing One: Nein Uber Alles: Here at 7.5 Things, one of our many stale jokes is to say that Angela Merkel and Herman Cain came up with Merkel's tag line for the euro-zone crisis: "Nein Nein Nein." We had no idea that Germany would actually decide to run with that!
On the eve of today's 1,213th European summit to solve the Hundred Years' Debt Crisis, the German business paper Handelsblatt brayed "Nein! No! Non!" on its front page, Reuters writes, urging Merkel to stand strong against European pleas to share the continent's debt burden or to ease up just a bit on the self-defeating austerity. As Reuters notes, European leaders have never been so far apart on solutions to the crisis. And Merkel is increasingly being demonized in the European media, Reuters writes, being portrayed variously as the Terminator, as Hitler, as Saturn eating a Greek, and maybe worse.
The Washington Post puts the best possible face on Merkel's efforts, saying she is trying to form a more perfect European union. But that union would involve other nations giving up some sovereignty and giving Germany more power by way of its money. For some reason this idea makes, say, the French un peux nerveux! A better solution, say some, is for Germany to just leave the euro zone, which would immediately lower the currency's value, giving a boost to struggling countries. Anatole Kaletsky of Reuters says this would be relatively easy. Still, if this is the best solution we're coming up with, things have gotten crazy. As Brian Blackstone of the Wall Street Journal writes, it's hard to find anything to be optimistic about in Europe right now.
Thing Two: A Billion Here, A Billion There: Hey, remember that teeny tiny loss JPMorgan Chase took in insane, but also totally legitimate, bets on credit derivatives? The one that was just so miniscule that it almost wasn't even worth talking about, much less holding congressional hearings about? Well now The New York Times says that loss has grown to $9 billion. That should make for an interesting earnings report two weeks from now! For the record, Maureen Farrell at CNNMoney was way ahead of the NYT in tracking the steady rise of the London Whale's loss.
Thing Three: Secrets And Libor: Speaking of dumb bankers, Barclays agreed to pay $450 million to settle charges it manipulated a key short-term interest rate called Libor, which helps set adjustable-rate mortgages and a bunch of other borrowing costs, notes Peter Eavis of The New York Times. The dumbest part is that Barclays bankers left a loooooong and hilarious email trail of their evildoings, introducing the phrase "for you, big boy" into the Wall Street lexicon forever. And there will be other banks charged eventually, notes the Wall Street Journal, which was the first on this story years ago.
Thing Four: SCOTUS Watch! The Supreme Court's health-care ruling is due shortly after 10:00 a.m. The Huffington Post's Jeffrey Young lays out what's at stake in devastating detail. You know, not only the future of the whole American health-care system, but also real, suffering people.
Thing Five: Google Joins Tablet Fray: The Tablet Wars opened another front yesterday, when Google jumped in with its own offering, called the Nexus 7. Priced at $199, it's almost more of a direct competitor to Amazon's Kindle than to Apple's iPad. Google also introduced a home-entertainment system, the Nexus Q, and finally those wacky Internet glasses that probably no one will buy, at least not until the price drops well below $1500.
Thing Six: Madoff's Brother To Plead Guilty: Bernie Madoff's brother and former second-in-command Peter Madoff plans to plead guilty on Friday to charges that he stood by and did nothing while his brother ran the world's biggest Ponzi scheme, The New York Times' Peter Lattman and Diana Henriques write. He faces 10 years in prison and a penalty of $143 billion -- yes, billion, with a "b."
Thing Seven: Moving To The City: U.S. cities grew faster than suburbs between 2010-2011, breaking a trend of nearly 100 years, write Conor Dougherty and Robbie Whelan in the Wall Street Journal. The change reflects "shifting attitudes about urban living as well as the effect of a housing bust that has put a damper on moving," they write.
Thing Seven And One Half: Louie, Louie: The third season of Louis CK's brilliant FX show "Louie" premieres tonight. Louis CK talked about the show on Bill Simmons' "BS Report" podcast. And, why the heck not, Uproxx has a slideshow of Louis CK standing next to various famous people down through the ages. This comes in a busy week for the comedian, in which he slammed Jerry Sandusky and became his own best ticket-seller.
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Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Initial Jobless Claims for the week of 06/23
8:30 a.m. ET: GDP - Third Estimate for Q1
Before Market Open:
After Market Close:
Heard On The Tweets:
@LaMonicaBuzz: GDP revision tomorrow. Hopefully a snooze. Forecast is to remain 1.9%. EU summit tomorrow. Hopefully NOT a snooze. Progress would be nice.
@umairh: Somewhere along the way, we seem to have forgotten that markets and money are tools and mechanisms. Not gods, idols, or masters.
@ObsoleteDogma: Hey Germany, why don't you just flip a coin to decide whether the Spanish bank bailout loans will be senior or not.
@sahilkapur: If SCOTUS axes just the ACA mandate it'd be the Chamber of Commerce's first defeat this term.
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja