ECONOMIC UPDATE….The New York Times reports the latest batch of bad economic news:

The price of imports rose 1.7 percent in January and was up 13.7 year over year, the highest annual rate since the Labor Department records began in 1983….Manufacturers’ woes were reflected in the Empire State Manufacturing survey, a measure of business conditions in New York State. The index fell in February to -11.7, its lowest reading since April 2003….Meanwhile, a closely watched measure of consumer confidence, the Reuters/University of Michigan survey, fell to 69.6 in February, the lowest reading since February 1992. It had stood at 78.4 in January.

Meanwhile, here in Southern California where I’m typing this, median home prices are down 18% from their peak and home sales are at their lowest level since records started being kept. And the Fed? They’re lowering interest rates but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good.