Saturday, May 31, 2014

SAR #14150

In the end, it’s culture that’s broken.” Quinn Norton.

Not So Fast: The NSA is building a “pre-crime” computer analysis system that will use factors such as ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate, as well as webcam videos taken inside your house when you thought the computer and cell phones were turned off, to "detect cues indicative of mal-intent." That is, they want to know if you are likely to commit a crime in the future. The system is called “Future Attribute Screening Technology.”

Innovation: All winter the real estate shills kept saying the weather was holding back buyers. Now, with a seventh consecutive month of declining y/y sales, that 'pent up demand' has gone awol. The same experts claim the increase in 'inventory levels' ( ie unsold houses) will cause prices to rise. Hmm, oversupply leads to increases in prices. Interesting.

Re-enactment: Homeowners are hitting the Heloc ATMs again, as both home-equity loans and home-equity lines of credit are up 8% from a year ago. Its only $13 billion, but you have to start somewhere.

A Shift In The Wind? The House of Representatives has voted to force the DEA to stop raiding legal medical marijuana operations. If the states authorize the sale of marijuana for medical purposes, the federal government should not interfere. Besides, “Marijuana does not make people commit crime. It makes them overeat.” And even though it is not a crime, perhaps it should be.

Sticks And Stones: The ever thoughtful and well informed American public is far more woried about global warming than they are about climate change. Y'know, the climate's always changing, but it is getting hotter and that's a problem.

Protecting and Serving: An autopsy showed that the homeless man executed – shot in the back - by Albuquerque police was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. During a no-knock drug raid in Habersha County, GA, a SWAT team officer tossed a flash-bang grenade into a baby's crib. The baby is hospitalized in a drug-induced coma. In Oakland a school security guard dumped a handcuffed student with cerebral palsy out of his wheelchair. In Tulsa, a cop shot at a young man's car after the cop caught him making out on school property. 
Free Advice: If you get stopped and roughed up by a cop, call the NSA and see if they happened to catch the whole thing via your cell phone's camera. They can turn it on, and do.

Dog/Homework: Citi has acknowledged that it was way off in its guess as to what was happening in the economy and may have inadvertently caused you to lose money because they were flat wrong about where interest rates were going, but they are real sure they are right this time, so they've just changed the dates. 
Serving and Protecting: Acting on the deepset Republican belief that if someone can make a buck screwing the public, they should be allowed to, Bob Latta of Ohio has introduced a bill in the House that would prohibit classifying the internet as a public utility. Because utilities have restricted “flexibility” in pricing their services and making ever greater profits while providing ever poorer service. Like cable TV.

Unclear on the Concept: Sheri Few, a Republican running to be South Carolina's top education official, wants the schools to teach “the scientific theory of intelligent design.” Okay, but “intelligent design” isn't science, it's religion and it is not a theory, it is a belief. In her favor, this is South Carolina.

The Parting Shot:

Friday, May 30, 2014

SAR #14149

"We cheer-led the rise of property prices not realizing that it would destroy, if not our own lives, but the lives of our children." David Boyle.

Leavening: The number of student loan borrowers is going up, as is the amount they are borrowing. Student debt is higher than total credit card debt and higher than all of the nation's car loans. Oh, and jobs that require a degree are not at all time highs. Still.

Once And Done: The Top of the World: “[Piketty's] core message… can be delivered in a few lines: “Left to its own devices, wealth inevitably tends to concentrate in capitalist economies. There is no ‘natural’ mechanism… for inhibiting, much less reversing, that tendency. … Vast inequities should, in theory, be ‘competed away’, but mostly they’re not.” 
Just So Story: Along Florida's beaches and barrier islands they are building like there is no tomorrow. And there won't be. Recent reports have assured us that the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting faster than anticipanted and that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf – and the 10 to 12 foot sea level rise that goes with it – is underway and is unstoppable. A little like developers in Florida.

Finely Printed: Yes, the US is going to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan. What about the number of mercenaries?

Spot Quiz: Name another nation in the world that regularly has non-political gun-based mass murders. For extra credit, identify what sickness in the American make-up drives these tragedies. If there were a way to reduce the slaughter would you support it? If it included increased gun control, would you support it? If the increased gun control would keep your daughter from being gunned down?

PG-13: The latest guess at the First Quarter 2014 GDP number is out, and it's not fit for children. The magic number is a minus 1.0%. And if the stimulus effect of taxpayer-subsidized healthcare spending is excluded, it would be a minus 2%. So, on the general theory that things are so bad they'll have to get better, the stock market rose.

Runner-Up: A 3-year-old boy in Arizona shot and killed his 18-month-old brother with a neighbor's gun. It wasn't clear whether the boy or the neighbor would get the automatic life-time NRA Membership
The Parting Shot:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

SAR #14148

A new entity has been established without our noticing: the economic state.

Prophets and Loss: Remember all the fortunes that fracking the shale plays was going to create? Did you get in on the ground floor? Is your company one of those whose debts have doubled over the last four years while revenue has only increased 5.6%? A lot of frackers are spending at least 10% of their sales income on interest payments. Exxon, for comparison, pays 0.1% of its sales in interest. Drillers gotta drill, to make enough money to at least pay the interest on the loans they took out to do their previous drilling. And then they have to borrow more money to drill more holes to make more money to pay back the interest on the loans that went into the last set of holes. As for paying off the principal? Well, they're frackers, principles don't enter into it.

As the World Turns: A woman has been stoned to death by her family in front of a Pakistani high court for marrying the man she loves. At least it wasn't the woman she loved. A Sudanese woman who was found guilty of marrying her Christian lover has given birth in jail. She will now suffer 100 lashes and then hanged
Pace Yourself: S&P 500 CEOs got an average 8.8% pay raise last year and now their median income is over $10 million – 257 times what the average worker makes. But they deserve it because of all the hard decisions they have to make. And all the jobs they crea.... Because they can.

Qualifications: A Duke University business major who was expelled over rape charges is suing the university. Not to expunge his record, but to get his degree. He figures that with the degree and the rape charges he's a shoo-in for a Wall Street job.

Oily Days: Somebody else has noticed that there seems to be a correlation between the price of oil and the price of food. Y'think?

This Just In: Studies show that low paid workers don't have much money! 
Bonded Out: The stock market keeps climbing ever higher, while the yeild on 10-year Treasuries keeps dropping and are now down to 2.43%. If the bond mavens think that a 2.43% return on their money over a ten year period is a good deal, what do you think that might mean for the profits of corporate America? Bigger fools, bigger fools. Have we still got lots of bigger fools?

Antigonish: The governor of the Bank of England says capitalism will be doomed if its ethics vanish. Its ethics?

Camel's Nose & The Tent: The Russians are 'offering' to supply humanitarian aid to the 'conflict zone' in eastern Ukraine, and has asked the Ukrainian government to allow several Russian divisions to escort the supplies into the country. Russian would like “the fastest possible answer” to their request. 
Porn O'Graph: Correlation is not causation, but it gets suggestive after a while.

The Parting Shot: 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SAR #14147

History enables us to know when we are repeating our errors.

Buy, The Numbers: Retail lives by sales, traffic drives sales... profits, aw that's so last century. Here's now: Wal-Mart, traffic down 1.4%, profits down $220 million. Target, traffic down 2.3%, profit down 16%. Sears lost $358 million in 1Q14 as sales fall 7.8%. JCPenny is still open. Kohl's sales down 3.4%,income down 17%,. Staples, American Eagle closing stores. Gap income down 22%, and Dollar General's market segment – the poor – are too poor to shop, profits drop 40%. The Brooklyn Bridge is a better deal than retail space.

Word Usage: “Florida is being sued for partisan gerrymandering.” If it wasn't partisan, it wouldn't be gerrymandering.

Mission Accomplished: Obama says America's job in Afghanistan is done. Remind me again what it was we went there to do, why it took 12 years, more than $750 billion and over 20,000 US casualties. And if we're done, why are we leaving 9,800 troops there and reserving the right to re-invade if we want to?

Interesting Headline: “Some Things to Consider if Spain Leaves the Euro.” Well, they missed suicide...

Clearly Present Danger: Pointing out that the climate “has always been changing”, House Republicans have passed an amendment that would prevent the Pentagon from spending a dime to get ready for the security threats that mass migrations, flooding, hunger and unrest will present. Why, they ask, “should Congress divert funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology?”

Follow Through: Putin, living up to his promise to work with whomever won the Ukrainian election, has advised Kiev to stop its military operations in the eastern part of the country. Or else. Obama, on the other hand, is going to drop by and give his advice in person. Just so there's no misunderstanding.

Free In Every Box: A bullshit detector ring, get yours today!

Look Both Ways: JPMorgan, trying to get them before they know better, advises would-be college students that it is not enough to just save for college, they should invest their savings. You know, and make a lot of money like mom and dad did on their 401ks.

Porn O'Graph: Hitting the slopes.

The Parting Shot:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

SAR #14146

They say you learn by experience. In my experience, that's not true.

Never Waste An Opportunity: Interesting how the underfunded (and poorly managed) VA system's problems have immediately conjured up a plan to privatize parts of the system. For profits for for profit hospitals. Funny how the showcase for public health has suddenly become an unwanted step-child.

Another New Record: In April, carbon dioxide measurements in the northern hemisphere hit 400 ppm for the first time in human history. Not in recorded history, but in all the time humans have existed. Too bad we were designed to live in a world with an atmospheric CO2 count around 280 ppm. There is no way in hell we'll ever see that again.

The Other Kids Do It...” Having failed once, the Canadian government is trying to sneak a bill through parliament that would authorize expanded electronic monitoring of Canadian citizens... as part of the government's crackdown on “cyber-bullying.” They didn't think they could get away with the NSA's simple “because we can” approach.

Passing The Time: While you are standing in line this summer, waiting for the friendly TSA agent to grope you, ponder this: the frisking, body scans, profiling, tossed liquids, the inconvenience exist for no reason and the agency has no evidence that the process is anything more than a charade to make the traveling public feel safe. Which the public needs because TSA and Homeland Security have done their best to scare all of us into letting them herd us around. Given the costs of the TSA and the lack of evidence suggesting that it accomplishes any of its stated goals, why don't we just do away with it. And its parent agency, while we're at it.

Neither Nor: Events like the chemical spills in West Virginia and North Carolina are not accidents nor acts of nature nor 'freak occurrences'. They are the consequences of lax and ineffective regulation and corporate cultures that prize profits over people. 
Odds Are: The “Eurosceptic parties” - those that want out of the euro and out of the European Union (and often out of the 21st Century) – did remarkably well in the EU elections. UKIP in England beat both the Conservatives and Labor, In France the National Front got 25% of the vote, In Germany the far right got a combined 12%, in Denmark the Danish People's Party won 27% of the vote and in Greece the leftist Syriza dominated the vote. Of course this would be more important if those running Europe had any intention of listening to the people.

Turf War: Hospitals are tired of having to scrape by while health insurance companies keep raking in the big bucks. The answer? Why, get into the health insurance business. After all, they have identical business plans – squeezing money out of the sick and injured. And if a particular hospital network dominated your market and it had its own insurance company.. can you say higher rates and higher copays and higher profits?

Puff, Inc. Sure the NSA is big and scary, but it is not supernatural, it is not magic. The only real magic the NSA has is a huge pile of money it deploys, the tools they use are not particularly clever – they use the same bits and pieces that ordinary hackers do – but the NSA is simply better funded. This lets them gather and store and analysze immense amounts of data, but none of the steps along the way is particularly clever. No, the NSA is not magic, just dangerous
The Parting Shot:

Monday, May 26, 2014

SAR #14145

Corporations and governments do not do “anything they can get away with”, they do everything we let them get away with. 
Movin' On: The triumph – and the results across Europe are clearly that – of the anti-euro, anit-EU far right parties have served notice that the docile population is no longer docile, and that the great social/economic experiment is failing. And it is failing mainly because of the austerity that the leaders – bankers, politicians and industrialists – have instituted in a failed attempt to paper over the problems caused by too much unity, far too soon. The scramble of both major parties in England to claim the far right's position is the beginning of an cynical scramble we'll see repeated across the continent in the next few weeks as the politicians once more pretend they are leading the parade.

Removing All Doubt: A billionaire has won the Ukrainian presidential election. Next question?

Works In Process: When the Supremes hand down a decision it's the law of the land. More or less. Seems they are allowed to revise what they said, sometimes years after the decision is decided. But the court is remarkably shy about letting the public know they've made changes.

Survey Says: An API/Harris survey found that surveys “can be biased or flat out wrong.” 
Littering: As if the gigantic plastic trash island in the middle of the Pacific weren't bad enough, researchers have found trillions of pieces of plastic in the Arctic's ice. Best part is that as global warming melts the ice these pieces will join all the others choking the biosphere. Maybe we should reconsider whether “Plastics!” was good advice.

More Is More: Like so many other diet-related bits of wisdom, following a gluten-fee diet if you do not actually have celiac disease is a waste of time and, more importantly, money.

Leadership: Uruguay has decided to attack drug traffickers where they live – by selling marijuana tax free, undercutting the traffickers' profits and thus their interest in dealing the drug. And Iran has executed a billionaire for... bank fraud.

Pain In The... Neck: If they can tag a pill so your computer will know if you swallowed it, what does the government hide its tags in? 
The Parting Shot: 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

SAR #14143

Politicians do not look for cures, but for politically acceptable treatments.

Crime & Punishment, Keystone Cops Edition: The UK has fined Barclays £26 million for manipulating "the setting of the price of gold...” Wowser. That'll teach 'em. But now that Barclays is no longer in charge of rigging the price of gold, who is
Numbers: In order to meet the deficit-to-GDP ratios that the ECB has set for them, Italy will count prostitution and illegal drug sales as part of the national GDP. Makes more sense than counting the cost of rebuilding from hurricanes or the profits from the health insurance scams in the US.

Understatement: “Everything is broken.”

Separating the Unequal: Yes, the super-rich and the rest of us are separated by a huge gap. But that part of the rest of us that is white is separated from those of us who are black by something even more pernicious: the generational effects of slavery, Jim Crow, and ongoing segregation. It shows up in lots of ways, socially and economically, and we should address all the inequalities that have grown from our shameful shared past. Reparations, monetary reparations, would be a good place to start. As would equality in education, housing, health... Can we afford not to finally look in the mirror? Sure, tax the rich. Then give it to our black citizens, as a downpayment.

Chickens, Roosting Etc: In their long fight to achieve a European Union and their effort in the last few years to shore up the euro, European politicians of the left and center have heaped hardship, unemployment and social suffering on the voters. The voters have become restive, and in that the left and center cannot now suddenly abandon their goals, the voters will turn to the right. The far right. Voters will follow whomever can deliver visible benefits, relief from their suffering and an outlet for their anger; the Autobahn and Volkswagens cemented Hitler's power.

Just So: America – Free & Dumb, just as Congress' puppetmasters wanted.

Concepts: “Pent up demand” is one of those things economist say, pretending it explains something. That's why today, when retailers reported profits that missed expectations by the most in 13 years, analysts look forward to a boom in the next quarter. Or the one after that. Etc. The quote: "The American consumer is not fully back and remains cautious." In reality, the American consumer is comatose and can barely buy food and make the car payment. What's pent up is not demand, but growing anger.

Porn O'Graph: Field testing.

The Parting Shot:

Friday, May 23, 2014

SAR #14142

If we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us.” Pope Francis.

Down, Then Out: “I’ve completely given up on looking for a job.” That's what 47% of unemployed Americans said. 46% claimed they had not had a job interview in the prior month and 23% reported that their last job interview was in 2012. And before you get all “lazy swine aren't looking...”, note that only 20% of these people are receiving unemployment benefits.

Asked & Not Answered: When members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations repeatedly asked top Pentagon officials to name the groups the US military is currently at war with, they were told that the information was classified and that the senators had no need to know. Any questions?

Bear In A China Shop: Goldman Sachs says it expects Chinese housing to experience a two year “property downcycle” which will result in slowing demand resulting in 15% price cuts in most cities, with “negative implications for banking/commodity/machinery”. They note that “new starts have already fallen 22% y/y and we expect this trend to continue.”

Job Banker: William Dudley, President of the NY Federal Reserve Bank says that the Great Whatever has permanently changed the job market, removing many of what were middle-level skilled jobs and increasing (ever so slightly) more highly skilled and (more often) low-skilled service jobs. And, he says, those mid-level jobs simply are not going to come back.

Back To Basics: Wyoming wants to return to the basics in education. They want their kids to consider the facts and come up with the right answer. For example: If global warming is caused by burning fossil fuels and coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, then global warming must be a hoax and the National Next Generation Science Standards are a Communist plot. Correct.

In Cops PA Trusts: In PA, all a cop needs to search your car is “reasonable cause” and stopping your car is apparently sufficiently reasonable. And if they find a place where you could hide something, they can arrest you for pre-criminal possession of a hiding place. Or something like that. Best defense, unfortunately, would be to drive through New Jersey.

DataPoint: The Japanese government, which has not been noted for being overly forthcoming regarding the Fukushima disaster, reports that so far the ruined reactors have released 75% more radioactive cesium than Chernobyl did. Makes you wonder how much worse the real data is.

Easy Come, Easier Go: The US Energy Information Agency says that California's Monterey Shale Formation – once thought to contain over 60% of the nation's recoverable shale oil – has 94% less recoverable oil than previously claimed. Put another way, only 4% of the promised land has oil under it.

Your Turn: Here are some questions to ponder as you read the real estate ads: How long do you want to live here? Are you sure you can stay that long? Will your job cover the mortgage? How long will you have this job? Any job? The world is messy, will buying a house tidy things up? Is there an app for that? 
With Dignity: Amid new revelations of NFL owners secretly doping players to make them play injured, fifty US senators have joined together to urge NFL owners to support a name change for the Washington Redskins. There, that didn't hurt, did it?

Manic Depressing: The euphoria over last week's post-crash record low initial unemployment claims ran into reality this week as claims returned to the now familiar 325,000 range.

Asked And Answered: Can you hear me now? Well, if you are asking Facebook, the answer is yes. Yes, Facebook can listen to your phone's mike and determine what music you are listening to or what TV show you are watching. Also, what you are saying to your cat.

Porn O'Graph: Ups and downs.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

SAR #14141

Mother Nature is indifferent to our fate, we should not be.

Weather Report: Scientists estimate that by 2060 temperatures in the American Mid-South will be at least 9 degrees higher than their 1990 average. How are things going to be in your neighborhood?

On The Other Hand: According to the statistical data beloved of economists and Wall Street, the economy is recovering nicely. Based on the on-going need that over 100 million Americans have for social assistance to make ends meet, recovery seems to overstate the case.

Once Around: Australia, which seems to have forgotten their recent record heat and massive wildfires, is going to slash 90% of funding for global warming science from its budget. Elsewhere, reports indicate that Greenland will be a far greater contributor to sea rise than previously expected; nuclear power plants on the US East Coast are in danger of being flooded by rising seas; Bosnia and Serbia are being destroyed by record floods; and Farmers' Insurance is suing local government agencies for failing to act to slow or stop global climate change. 
No School, No Lunch: Ever wonder what the kids who get free lunch (and often free breakfasts, and far too often it's the whole student body that qualifies) at school every day during the school year do during the summer? Well, again this summer the Republicans are letting rural, mostly white kids receive food aid. As for the mostly non-white kids in the cities, the GOP is sorry, but they had to draw the line on spending somewhere.

Room For One More: North Carolina, which has outlawed global warming and made revealing what the frackers are up to a felony, now wants to make taking pictures of farms from an airplane illegal. In the Race to Backward, NC is picking up a sizable lead over the usual suspects.

In The Driver's Seat: Caterpillar, a pillar of the Dow, reports its global sales fell 13%, the most since 2010, making 17 consecutive months of falling Y/Y sales. 
Networking: The good old boys – of both parties – who were able to get their sub-standard offspring into the University of Texas Graduate School of Law have been unable to use that same clout to get junior past the bar exams. Nearly half of recent UT grads have been unable to pass, the worst record of any of Texas' nine law schools.

Number One, With A Bullet: A global survey found that Americans are more afraid of being tortured by their own government than the citizens of nearly all the other nations. And Americans are also far more afraid of their own government than they are of terrorists – which assumes there is a difference between the two. 
Porn O'Graph: No way out.

The Parting Shot:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SAR #14140

The world changes very slowly, except when it doesn't.

Halfway: A court has ordered Utah to recognize same-sex marriages. And another federal judge told PA that its ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. That makes 25 states and DC; same-sex marriage is now available to 44 percent of the U.S. population. But nearly 3 billion people live in places where being gay is a crime.

The Anti-Dope: Remember, almost everything you think you know about Ukraine was filtered though the US propaganda lens. To begin with, can you spell 'oligarchs'? 'Pogrom'? What real actions has Russia undertaken – as opposed to posturing? Has the South forgotten the Civil War?

Or Else... The Air Force says it is considering removing the rules that now prevent superior officers from proselytizing their asking for Volunteers for Jesus. 
Prophets & Loss: North Korea has suffered decades of sanctions aimed at preventing their development of nuclear weapons. You know, those things that go bang and will be quite worrisome, especially in that Kim & company are getting closer to putting a nuclear warhead on a missile. Ah, sanctions. Scared Putin, too.

Optimist: David Macary is worried that in ten years we will have no privacy whatever. Ten years? Maybe it'll take the NSA that long, but the private sector knows what and how much you drink, where you are all the while, if you're one of the Miracle Whip minority and everything else they can buy from folks who track your credit cards, cell phones, internet use and perhaps you'd better quit taking the laptop to bed.

To Protect and Serve: Republicans in NC want to make telling the public what the fracking companies are pumping into the ground and scattering around the environment a felony. Too bad taking your marching orders from frackers isn't one, too.

Jammed: Chris Christie – who apparently doesn't want to be President – says that NJ will balance the state budget by taking $2.43 billion out of the public workers retirement fund. He tried selling the George Washington Bridge, but it turned out not to be his to mess with. Anymore.

Know Thyself: The good news is that only 1 out of 5 homeowners with a mortgage is underwater now, down from 1 out of 3 back in 2012. The bad news is that 1 out of 5 homeowners with a mortgage is still underwater. Step out on your porch and count the nearest five houses and guess which one is... Oh, you don't have to step out?

Whose Bread, Whose Butter? House Republicans have managed to force the Agriculture Department to delay requiring that schools provide nutritious meals to students, so those who make less-than-acceptable foodstuffs can keep making them. 
The Parting Shot:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SAR #14139

Elections don't change things, revolutions do.

Present At The Creation: Despite some missteps in Ukraine and Vietnam, the Russian-Chinese agreement on a trillion dollar pipeline deal makes it likely that as the sun sets on the American Empire, Sino-Russian strength – military and economic - will grow and dominate the 21st Century.
Fails Laugh Test: The guys over at No Such Agency are having a good laugh at the US Justice Department charging China with computer-based espionage. 
Whistling/Graveyard: Charles Bolden, head of NASA, which can't send a man to Brooklyn much less the Space Station, says Russia's banning the US from using Russian rockets to get to the Space Station is no big deal. The US isn't interested in space exploration any more, anyway. Like me and sex.

Take Two Pills And We'll Call You In The Morning: NYPD cops solved a drugstore robbery by tracking the pills the robber stole – they contained GPS tags. Just think what the NSA could is doing with this technology. 
Goosing the Gander: Tell your daughter that if she's in a crowd and a man walks up behind her and grabs her breast that she is to simply stand there and enjoy it. That's what Judge Ronald Zweibel (who apparently has neither daughters nor decency) said in sentencing Cecily McMillan to three months in jail followed by five years on probation for reflexively elbowing an undercover cop who did just that. The cops uniformed friends then beat the crap out of her and dragged her off in handcuffs. She, mind you, was guilty of assault. The system works.

Dominoes: Today it's Oregon; a federal judge has ruled that the state's ban on gay marriage violates the equal protection clause of the US Constitution. Number 19 by my count.

Be Afraid, Children: Former NSA chief General Keith Alexander is out beating the drums , claiming that the odds of a new, massive terror attack on US soil “are growing”, and that “a lot more is coming our way...” Which suggests we'd best prepare for even more government surveillance and control of our daily activities. 
The Company Store: What if the main reason the healthcare industry insists on warehousing the elderly as long as possible with pointless but expensive interventions is the profits these interventions provide doctors, hospitals and care facilities and the pharmaceutical predators? You can't die until your money is gone and all the money that can be extracted from your insurance, Medicare and Medicaid has been wrung out of you. It's in the fine print.

Without Comment: A Texas man faces a life sentence for making and selling marijuana brownies. Another reason I left the Lone Star. (Rick Perry, Stone Age Abortion laws... ) 
More Good Tidings: Greenland’s glaciers are even more vulnerable to melting than previously thought and, along with the newly apprised pending collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, will add even more to the expected rise in sea level due to global warming.

Do It Yourself: You've known for years that the Mediterranean Diet is good for you. Now scientists have figured out which parts and why. 
Porn O'Graph: Take a deep breath and relax.

The Parting Shot: