If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
Twelfth Night Act 1, scene 1, 1-3 - Shakespeare
Although America cares less about certain issues that were considered morally unacceptable in the past like a president admitting to doing illegal drugs and the notion of divorce and leadership, we have a long way to go to be as liberal as Italy, where Silvio Berlusconi has brought back the freewheeling days of Roman emperors.
It's amazing when you consider he is actually in trouble for possibly having sex with an underage girl, while partying with Moammar Kaddafi, and openly brags about his unquenchable love life. The self made billionaire runs one of the biggest companies in the country but still finds time to govern.
Of course, his coalition government has been coming apart at the seams, and it feels like he has been scrambling to keep it alive. Still, this cool cat continues to find time for endeavors that would make Nero proud. You see, Berlusconi has recorded his fourth album with Mariano Apicella, the guitarist that once parked cars in Naples before the prime minister discovered him and whisked him to his luxury retreat in Sardinia to assist in composing love songs.
The problem is that this thing called governing and the economic crisis in Italy have grown so troublesome as to absorb more of Berlusconi's time.
Consequently, yesterday word came out the album's release will continue to be postponed. After canceling a giant launch party in September that was to take place in Milan, the release is just the latest and maybe most important causality of the economic turmoil that has shaken the entire continent. Titled "True Love" there is no doubt the album will actually sooth the crisis and even make the three trials Berlusconi finds himself embroiled in easier to handle.
How's this for the strange logic of the stock market. The more inept Ben Bernanke appeared yesterday during his third post-FOMC Q&A with the press, the higher the stock market climbed. Sure, he put up well-rehearsed answers in a calm but relentless attack on the Fed which began with questions about criticism from some Republicans (which brought the response the Fed is held accountable by Congress in the long term but should be free to act independently during shorter periods of time), then Occupy Wall Street, then the Fed's overly optimistic forecast, and finally cutting to the chase of why monetary policy simply hasn't worked.
At this point of desperation, policies by elected officials are being questioned all over the world. People want results, not rhetoric and yet it seems like excuses and finger-pointing are the best we can expect. For the Fed it means they ultimately must break that glass box that reads "Last Resort" and print up more cash as they admit the dual mandate isn't going to be fulfilled. Yesterday the Fed caught up with most private sector economists by altering its assessment of the economy over the next few years. Yes, they became less optimistic and, in the process, edged closer to doing what the Street wants most-churning out the cash.
The line about inflation being benign was the green light for future action. I find it very curious that as all the excuses fade, including the tsunami in Japan, our economy would actually grow slower than previously anticipated, and unemployment would be higher. That's a head-scratcher.
Futures were already higher when the latest initial jobless claims report came out with a "3" handle, which has become a psychological sigh of relief number. That was coupled with rumors Greece will ditch the idea of a referendum and stick to the deal apparently cut when its legislation approved austerity numerous times. I don't think investors should ignore this move, and the chance of a giant breakout this week if tomorrow's number is better than expected.