Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SAR #15273

Fantasy-based ideologies have real-world consequences.
Marketing Skills: GlaxoSmithKline fined $3bn after bribing doctors to increase the unauthorized prescription of antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin to children and to conceal safety problems with the asthma treatment Advair. It is not research that drives the high price of drugs, but the need to build reserves against being caught.
Quoted: “Domestic police have devolved into criminal gangs of liars, thugs and assassins. Hostile to the public they serve and the laws they are supposed to uphold.”
Confidential Informant: UBS, which ratted out its co-conspirators in the LIBOR fraud investigation, is reported to be cooperating with Swiss authorities in an anti-trust investigation into manipulation of the prices for precious metals. UBS has entered a plea agreement that will let it off with a much lighter fine and no criminal convictions.
Seems Like Old Times: A Saudi air strike in Yemen “apparently by mistake” hit a wedding party, killing at least 130 non-combatants.
Blow Some My Way: A national multicenter study by McGill University Health Center concluded that there is “no evidence of harmful effects on cognitive function, or blood tests among cannabis consumers and we observed a significant improvement in their levels of pain, symptom distress, mood and quality of life"
Datapoint: The average American earns less today than in 1975.
Seems Like Old Times, Part II: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now are allowing borrowers to count the income of their live-with children or parents to get mortgages that they cannot afford.
Professionals: House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (Orphan-UT) opened the Republican witch hunt of Planned Parenthood by blaming its funding for his parents death from cancer. Then Jim Jordan (Grand Inquisitor-OH) interrupted Planned Parenthood's president 19 times in 5 minutes, mostly by repeating the same question.
Never-Neverland: If all the promises made by all the nations of the world to cut carbon emissions are kept, the Earth will only heat up another 6° Fahrenheit – which will be enough to produce catastrophic famine and widespread extinction of plants and animals. Whatever feel-good agreement is made in Paris this December will not do the job, because businesses and the rich think that it will cost them money.
Porn O'Graph: Half-off sale.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SAR #15272

We'll Be Back! Maybe: After pouring over $7 billion down a disappointing hole in the Chukchi Sea, Shell has ceased exploration activity in offshore Alaska “for the foreseable future.” Seems the cornucopia didn't cornucooperate.
Me Too: Audi says that they installed “cheat” emissions software in over 2.1 million of their cars. Some (just some?) BMW, Mercedes and Peugot cars actually use at least 50% more fuel than their EPA claims.
Chastity Belts? Appearing on FOX, Seton Motley, president of Less Government, said that instead of raising the minimum wage, the best way to keep people off of welfare was to stop low wage workers from having children. “The problem is a family of three is not supposed to be living on a minimum wage. “If you’re making minimum wage, you shouldn’t be having children and trying to raise a family on it.” In North Carolina the GOP-controlled Senate passed a bill that would limit food stamp benefits to three months for most unemployed adults without children, because that would encourage them to finish college.
File & Forget: An investigation by the Missouri Attorney General found “no evidence” that Planned Parenthood mishandled any fetal tissue.
His Story: In South Dakota the Board of Education has decided that public school students, from Kindergarten to High School, need not be bothered with learning about the Constitution, slavery, the slaughter of American Indians or any of that stuff that tarnishes our history.
Playing To Their Publics: The Irving, TX chief of police and the mayor claim that nothing about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed for building a clock was wrong, and that “he got what he asked for.”
Our Kentucky Home: Kim is not the only one; two other Kentucky county clerks claim God has told them to refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples but have not been in trouble with the courts simply because no gays have applied to their offices. And they'd like it to stay that way.
Wish I'd Said: Boehner Exits House of Shards. “John Boehner was a terrible, very bad, no good speaker of the House... We're going to miss him.”
Just Askin' Does Jeb Bush really need a $3 million tax cut?
Pig/Poke: After originally refusing to dignify Lord Ashcroft's story about Cameron and The Pig with a response, PM David Cameron now specifically denies that it was the dead pig's mouth that he put his “private part” in. He also claimed that he was too busy to sue Ashcroft for hamming things up.
Fish In A Barrel: Swiss authorities have opened an investigation into whether banks have been illegally fixing precious metals prices.
Mission Accomplished: Walmart's customers do not like the long lines at checkout, the lack of customer service, the shoddy goods, the below-average produce and the wobbly-wheeled carts. In other words, they don't like Walmart except for the price. They'll be back.
Yawn: Saudi Arabian helicopter attacks have killed another 25 Yemeni civilians, which seems to please their al-Qaeda allies.
Rude Awakening: Vladimir Putin wants the US to learn that only the people of a country are entitled to decide who should govern their country. Sisyphus.
Same Old Same Old: In August, personal income grew by 0.3% while outlays grew by 0.4%, which isn't really a Good Idea. Even so, pending home sales fell 1.4%, so that's not where the money went.

Monday, September 28, 2015

SAR #15271

It's a test of character; a lot of 'em are failing.
Battered Up: Having deposed Boehner, the uber-conservatives seem likely to next turn to removing Mitch McConnell from his Senate leadership. Their complaint is that he has not taken advantage of the GOP majority to neuter the Democrats by eliminating the use of filibusters.
A Grateful Nation: An 11-year Special Forces holder of the Bronze Star for Valor has been kicked out of the US Army for “shoving a local [Afghan] commander who was keeping a 12-year-old boy chained to a bed as his sex slave. This was construed to be “a flagrant departure from professionalism and even-tempered leadership” by senior Army commanders who have long sense lost any sense of decency.
New Thinking. New Possibilities: An uncorrectable manufacturing problem has caused Hyundai to recall nearly half a million of its midsize cars to replace their defective engines.
Second Act: The second group of US-trained Syrian “moderate” rebels have given much of their weaponry and transport to the local Al Qaeda affiliate immediately on crossing into Syria . The $5oo million program has been a complete failure, like so many US undertakings in the Middle East.
Carramba! Jeb! says he will do what his brother did, except this time it will work.
Up The River: The Pine River in Michigan has so much farm-runoff-caused E. coli in it that residents are being warned to not even touch the water. Over in Flint, Michigan the drinking water contains so much lead that seniors, children and pregnant women have been told not to drink it. A chicken producer in Mississippi is recalling half a million pounds of chicken that may be contaminated with “extraneous metal materials”. As opposed to acceptable metal materials.
Barefoot & Pregnant: Marco Rubio says that women are either too dumb to be trusted to make abortion decisions for themselves, or they get pregnant so they can sell their fetus at Planned Parenthood which “created an industry … an incentive for people not just to look forward to having more abortions, but being able to sell that fetal tissue...”
Usual Suspects: Police in Kansas City are using computer algorithms to identify potential criminals before they commit crimes – and then telling the suspects that the cops are watching them. The idea is to prevent future crime through intimidation and harassment, although that's not the way the chief explains it.
Ordered In The Court: The judge in a Texas murder trial has had a “shock belt” placed on the defendant to encourage him to stop “misbehaving” during his trail. In that he is facing the death penalty, a few electric shocks may not have the deterrent value the judge is seeking.
Saying No To No: In Australia, 70% of the voters oppose the plan by the Tony Abbot government – wholly owned and operated by environmental rapists and climate change deniers – to strip environmental groups of their charity status.
Dumb & Dumber: “George W. Bush's central plan for selling his 2001 tax cut, both as a candidate and then later as president, was to lie about both its cost and its beneficiaries. Jeb Bush's central premise for his own tax cut proposal seems to be the same.
Your Money Or Your Life: Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a US drug company that has only one product, Soliris, is suing s Canada for trying to lower its $700K-a-year cost. Alexion has made $6 billion in profit from the drug in the last eight years. The drug treats, but does not cure, two rare and lethal diseases of the blood. Patients must take the drug for life. This sort of thing will become common once TPP is in force.
High There! “Dry” counties in Kentucky have significantly worse problems with meth than places where alcohol is legally available.
Porn O'Graph: Greed is good.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

SAR #15269

Perils Of Pauline: John Boehner's resignation as Speaker may prevent a government shutdown in October, but nearly guarantees a shutdown in mid-December by a newly empowered Tea Party wing of the GOP that is already celebrating their victory. The struggle for control of the Majority Party has simply entered a new phase, with the farer right trying to gain control over the totally anti-government farthest right. The first round seems to be between Paul Ryan (who says he doesn't want the job), the establishment's candidate, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (who has the same problems that caused Boehner's resignation) and some yahoo from the Tea Party.
Good Neighbors: Not only do 41% of Americans want a wall along the nation's border with Mexico, 41% want one along the border with Canada. There's a good likelihood these are the same 41%'s.
Each And Every: For the last seven years, the UK's Government Communications Headquarters – GCHQ, NSA's little brother – has recorded everything that every internet user does online. GCHQ builds profiles of users, analyzes their emails, Skype calls, text and instant messenger communications, and tracks cell phone locations and social media connections.
Going Through The Motions: If your “antibacterial” soap contains triclosan – which most do – you might as well save your money and use ordinary soap.
Just Say'n: The last time the Republicans shut down the government over budgets, it cost us $2 billion in additional outlays. Let's hope (against the prevailing evidence) they learned something.
Local Yokels: A Republican state legislator in Maine wants to post the names and addresses of welfare recipients online, and a similarly handicapped fellow in the Kentucky legislature says the state's $1,000 at a time limit on bribes infringes on the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of both himself and various lobbyists.
Noted: Homelessness in the UK has increased 40% since David Cameron became Prime Minister.
Nine Tenths: VW’s massive and prolonged evasion of US regulatory oversight is just the tip of the iceberg. It seems probabe that VW and most of its competitors in Europe – where half the cars are diesels - have also been gaming European standards. Previous reports suggest that US manufacturers have also gamed the system. More, and worse, to come.
Truth To Power: Any attempt to address global climate change that does not address the unsustainable number of humans on the planet will fail.
Idle Hands: Scott Walker, fresh from failing to get the government job he wanted, is following up on his success in using budget cuts to turn Wisconsin's Office of State Employment Relations into the new Office of State Employment Management headed by a political hack of the governor's choosing, now wants to dispense with merit hiring based on civil service exams and have state jobs filled by a patronage system.
Evidence: The capitalists have once again demonstrated their willingness to kill us for profit – using cars, drugs, petroleum, and even peanut butter. Are you sure this is the best of all possible worlds?
Porn O'Graph: Blowing smoke.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

SAR #15267

How much you pay in taxes is irrelevant, how much you have left is what matters.
Capitalism's Triumphs: In at least 5 states persons on bail must wear electronic monitoring bracelets – and pay for them. About $3100 a month. On any given day there are at least 100,000 people wearing ankle bracelets. That's over $1 billion a year in mostly pure profit. We're all aghast that a little snot has legally hiked the price of staying alive from $13 a pill to $750 – but it is the essence of capitalism to charge as much as possible for one's product or service. And we are shocked to our very core to discover that the capitalists at Volkswagen have been gaming regulations (for years and with the apparent knowledge and consent of the German government) for fun and profit while killing tens of thousands indirectly – the equivalent of collateral damage. Note that VW was first caught doing this back in 1974, the same year that GM was forced to recall more than 800,000 cars because it was doing the same thing.
Unfortunately: “Wealth inequality has widened along racial, ethnic lines since end of Great Recession.”
People/Profits: Tennessee is arguing that the FCC cannot violate “states rights” by letting cities provide fast, inexpensive broadband services as long as corporations providing slow and expensive service continue to pay politicians for the privilege of overcharging the citizens for indifferent service.
Quoted: “When you see ever-changing rationales for never-changing policy demands, it’s a good bet that there’s an ulterior motive.” Paul Krugman
Explicate: David Cameron says Europe must get better at “sending migrants home”.
A Regular Guy: Jeb ¡Caramba! Bush now pledges to gut the FCC's net neutrality rules and return unconscionable profits to ATT, Comcast, Charter and friends. He also says he will roll back environmental protections, limits on Wall Street fraud, limits on oil drilling and saftey regulations that hurt profits of oil companies, as well as killing food-safety rules that are harming profits while preventing the food industry from killing us. Because regulations that hamper profits while protecting our health are unconstitutional. Or some such bullshit.
Shadow Boxing: A mathematician who is trying to account for anomalies in Kansas voting patterns is being denied access to the records which might reveal the causes of these anomalies. “Anomaly” here is taken to mean “how the Republicans got a lot more votes than seems possible.”
Quoted: “There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies.” The Newsroom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

SAR #15266

Voting doesn't count, counting votes does.
Multiple Answers: 1) VW's CEO was shocked to learn they'd been caught. 2) The renegade low-level coder responsible will be fired. 3) The CEO will be spending more time with his family. And 4) No one will go to jail.
Calling Ms. Nightingale: The Seattle Children's Hospital has told 12,000 families that their children need blood tests to see if the hospital managed to infect them with HIV, Hep B & C or lesser infections. Seems that “procedures for sterilizing surgical instruments were not always followed.”
Asked:Are bankers evil or stupid?”
Vengeance: The SEC has successfully concluded its case against two former Fannie Mae executives who, behind their bosses' carefully turned backs, committed multiple instances of criminal fraud “misled investors” about $100 billion in sub-prime loans. The culprits will be fined $35,000... and not go to jail. They also charged then CEO (who got the job when his predecessor was caught fiddling the books) and the two underlings have agreed to rat out their former boss, Chief Executive Daniel Mudd.. A similar suit against folks at Freddie Mac netted a fine of $310,000.
Money Matters: Men at the bottom 20% of the income scale who turned 50 in 1980 had a 27% chance of living to 85, as did those born 30 years later. But the odds for those in the top 20% of the income scale jumped from 45% to 66%.
Conform: A pre-school teacher in the Okemah, OK public school system was forcing a naturally left-handed 4 year old to write with his right hand because “being left-handed is evil”.
Porn O'Graph: Homes Alone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

SAR #15265

Off Tracks: Again this month Caterpillar's retail sales are down throughout the world – which makes 33 consecutive months of contraction. There's a message in there – either someone's stealing their heavy equipment business or no one's in the “needing heavy equipment' business. I pick door #2.
Qualifications: Mega accounting firm Ernst & Young, which has previously been one of the UK's largest recruiters of college graduates, says that their years of experience with graduate associates has taught them that there is “no evidence” that a college degree is a pre-requisite for success in life, so they will no longer seek nor require college degrees in its hiring practices.
Protecting & Serving: A cop in Miami handcuffed a kid and put him in a squad care following an altercation at school... over a toy. The suspect is five.
The Company Store: Governments are examining ways to do away with physical currency and replace it with contactless credit/debit cards. Once “money” exists only as electronic digits in government monitored bank accounts, they will own us completely. Buy and bury some precious metals, just in case.
The Price Is Right: Martin Shkreli, the hedge fund slime charging $750 a pill for a 60-year old drug that sold for $13 a tab before he got his greedy hands on the rights, says that the drug is worth a lot more than $750 because people really, really need it to survive. Your money or your life. Or first the one and then the other – asked if he would consider lowering the price for those who couldn't afford it, Shkreli simply said “No.”
Hope, Springing Eternal: The Economists suspects that “the golden age of the Western corporation may be coming to an end.”
Crazies: Billy Graham's kid, Franklin Graham, says that the President will have the “blood of children” on his hands if he doesn't kill Planned Parenthood's federal funding. Some GOPers in MI claim Planned Parenthood encourages teens to get pregnant so the group can make money performing abortions. House Republicans are likely to shut down the federal government to make sure everyone knows they don't like providing healthcare services to women. Best of all is Carley Fiorina who insists that you watch a non-existent video of things that never happened before you can talk to her about the things that didn't happen.
Crime Fighter: Pennsylvania's Supremes have suspended PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane's law license while she defends herself against felony charges. How can she continue as the state's top lawyer if she can't practice law?
Condensed Version: It comes as no surprise that the US is unsure which terrorists to back – which explains the nation's penchant for creating their own.
Porn O'Graph: The trend is ot your friend.

Monday, September 21, 2015

SAR #15264

Most of us use credit to postpone reality.
Bought And Paid For: Saudi Arabia will chair “a panel of independent experts” on the UN Human Rights Council. Saudi expertise in the area of human rights comes solely from their long and bloody history of repressing them. Only bribery or blackmail could possibly explain such an astonishing insult to common decency.
Yes, But: Secretary Kerry says that the US will increase the number of refugees admitted to the country to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017. Wait and see what the GOPers say.
Parallel Universes: The Democratic wannabes talk about college costs, climate change, workplace equality for women, addressing income inequality, improving healthcare for all and expanding gay rights. The Other Guys talk about abortion, bombing all and sundry, increased military spending, lower taxes for the rich, rounding up immigrants and building a wall along the Canadian border. Reality check: Voters mostly vote based on how they personally perceive the economy.
Bastards: Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to market the 1950's drug Daraprim and overnight raised its price from $13.50 a pill to $750 each. No new nothing, except price.
German Engineering: Engineers at Volkswagen designed software for VW diesels that gave false readings on emissions tests. The EPA is not amused and wants $18 billion in penalties and all 500,000 of the cars recalled and repaired to conform to the emission standards laws.
Factoid: The typical man in the US, assuming he has a job at all, earns less today than he did in 1973.
Times, Changing Yet Some More: President Obama has nominated Eric Fanning, formerly an advisor to the Secretary of Defense, acting under-secretary of the army, previously the undersecretary of the Air Force, deputy under-secretary of the Navy, and a long time openly gay citizen. Guess what the Republicans would like to focus on in his confirmation hearings...
Shoe, Dropping: After several months, authorities in Waco are finally acknowledging that law enforcement officers shot at least 12 rounds into the assembled bikers at the Twin Peaks restaurant. So far they have not identified who the cops shot or whether the shots were fatal. Stay tuned – we'll be shocked, of course, to learn that all of the dead were victims of a police riot.
Per Capita: The British Secret Police are paying Muslims in Great Britain to rat out their co-religionists. It was that sort of pay for play that led to Afghans naming people they didn't like to the Americans, who forked over cash while filling up the American torture gulag with mostly innocent bystanders.
Child's Play: A NC teen is being prosecuted as an adult, charged with 5 felony sex offenses for having nude photos of himself on his phone. It seems he was exploiting himself. He was apparently caught during an warrantless search of his cell phone and will not be labled a sex offender for life. Avoid North Carolina if at all possible.
Dumb & Dumber: Two Republican backwoodsmen think they have the power to exempt Tennessee from following the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality by declaring that "Any court decision purporting to strike down natural marriage, including (a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision), is unauthoritative, void, and of no effect." Their cousins on the Alabama Supreme Court want their 12 minutes of fame for ruling that Alabama does not have to recognize adoptions made in Georgia, because lesbians... What part of “equal rights” and “Supreme Court” don't these folks grasp?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

SAR #15262

Our society is organized around fears, mostly imaginary.
Relax: GlaxoSmithKline, which was fined $3 billion for fraudulently promoting several of its drugs, has known for over 15 years that its antidepressant drug Paxil is neither safe nor effective when given to adolescents and has withheld this information while pushing the drug's use. The fine will undoubtedly be some small fraction of the profits they made selling a drug that caused suicidal thoughts in nearly 15% of of the adolescents given it.
On Immigration: Either we believe in our founding principles, or we should give up the pretense.
Yellen, Passing The Graveyard:Let me be clear that negative interest rates was not something that we considered very seriously... at all... today.” Today. Stay tuned.
Bigger Brother: Swiss health insurers are developing a plan to require their clients to wear digital health and fitness monitoring devices so they could charge higher premiums to sedentary couch potatoes.
Odds On: Nearly 3,000 of the 440,000 refugees who have attempted to cross the Mediterranean this year have drowned. That's a 0.6% death rate, which may beat the odds if you own a GM vehicle.
Readin': Children in countries where the kids are “most comfortable with computers”, have much poorer reading skills that in countries not quite so addicted to the tiny sceen. The more children use computers at school, the lower their reading skills. And cutting-and-pasting isn't writing, either.
What Could Go Wrong? Japan has changed its constitution to allow Japanese troops to fight abroad after 70 years of repressed aggression official pacifism.
Quote/Note: Our perception of how we are doing economically is based on how the Jones are doing. Not the 1% Jones. Not even the 10% Jones, but the Jones in our group. It is not the actual level of increase or decrease in our wages that matter, but whether we're doing as well or better than the neighbors. As for the 10%, we we wish them well because we deeply believe that we'll get there one day soon.
Second Chances: The Catholic Church continues to ship US and European priests who sexually abuse children to South America, instead of jail.
This Is Only A Test: A military coup lin Burkina Faso, ed by the country's former spy chief, has overthrown the country democratic government. Your task: find Burkina Faso on a map. Hint: it's in Africa.
If Only: The Supreme Court has banned all corporate contributions to individual political campaigns and to political parties. That's Brazil's Supreme Court, not ours.
Another Verse: So far this year over half a million children have fled attacks by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Maybe we need to rethink a whole lot of things.
Tradition: A seventeen year old Saudi convicted of protesting against the government will be crucified. This does not seem to be an improvement over the more traditional beheading.
Food For Thought: August 2015 was the hottest August on record (as were the three previous months). It has been 100 years since a month – any month - set the record for being cold.

Friday, September 18, 2015

SAR #15261

It is death that makes life interesting.
They Ain't Seen Nothing Yet: Sure, Europe is overwhelmed with the tens of thousands of desperate migrants fleeing hunger and violence in Africa and the Middle East , but this is just the beginning. As global warming continues and continues to worsen, the violence and the hunger will only grow, as will the waves of migrants. Over the next couple of decades the numbers will not be tens or hundreds of thousands, but millions, perhaps tens of millions. Europe best get ready. So should the United States, because things to our south are not going to get any better either.
Plan B: After two months of investigation, Republicans in the House have concluded that Planned Parenthood did not sell fetal tissue for profit, did not break any law, and did not misuse any federal funds. They also concluded that they would have to defund Planned Parenthood because they still don't like it.
Not Invented Here: Not only did the US reject repeated offers by Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to surrender in favor of continued combat, it also rejected a 2012 offer by Russia to help get rid of Assad and avert the ongoing civil war and the rise of ISIS.
Just Saying No: The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, wants to raise their CEOs' pay from $600,000 a year to $4 million – sso that they could eventually hire “reliable” individuals to fill the positions. The Senate, bless 'em, said no.
Perspective: The Wall Street Journal (and lots of me-toers) are all hot an bothered that that raving socialist Bernie Sanders want to spend $18 trillion over 10 years on a single-payer universal healthcare plan for all Americans. What they fail to mention is that we already spend $1.4 trillion a year, don't cover everyone and get pretty mediocre health care for the money – while driving up the cost of employment and lowering our competitiveness with countries that already have single payer systems, which is most of our trading partners. But there seems to be something wrong with actually getting what we're paying for if there aren't profits in it for private insurance companies and for-profit healthcare companies.
Revised Revisions: The US Air Force Chief of Staff says that acting on the F-35's continued inability to meet contract specifications – such as being able to fly, or to shoot its guns, or drop ordinance – by reducing the number the Air Force will buy would damage the program just when it looks like it might someday become operational. Plus it would cut into foreign sales of the turkey.
Just Bidness: Carly Fiornia, more than a little misleadingly, cites her time at Hewlett Packard as her prime qualification to be President. One of the worst CEOs ever., she “destroyed half the wealth of her investors” and still took home nearly $100 million.
Over-reaction Are Us: The idiocy in Irving over a homemade clock begins to be understandable (not excusable, mind you) when you learn that a couple of years ago they reacted to a chain email that warned of a Muslim takeover of the schools' curriculum by hiring a former social studies teacher to produce a report that concluded the curriculum is heavily biased in favor of Christianity.
And The Band Played On: The Census Bureau reports that there was no improvement in wages during 2014, no increase in the median household income and no decrease in the number of Americans living in poverty. Income was, in fact, 6.5% lower than it was in 2007 before all this recovery took place. It's the new normal of low official unemployment, high real unemployment, low wages and little inflation. But we're doing just fine, depending how you define “we” and “fine”.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

SAR #15260

Strange things happen in the minds of critics. Paul Krugman
Taking Notes: The US should pay close attention to the way Europe wrestles with their immigration problems, because our own are just getting started. Well, in the sense that we mostly created the problem it should be called “our refugee problem”, but it is taking place over there. Refugee camps are being planned for Italy and Greece (!). Germany, which has made to most accepting statements is threatening to cut funding to those EU states that do not accept their quota of refugees. At the same time, though, the European Court of Justice ruled that Germany can deny basic welfare payments to migrants - even if they've previously worked in the country.
Another Record: US household incomes are back to 1989 levels and 46.7 million Americans now live in poverty. They will not benefit from Bush's tax cuts, but will suffer from his planned cuts in the social safety nets.
At Least It Doesn't Cause Lung Cancer: Exxon's in-house scientists informed senior management that burning fossil fuels was the root cause of global warming – back in September, 1982.
Privateers: The Senate's version of the highway bill includes a quite little provision that requires the Treasury Department to privatize the collection of back taxes. Tax collection is the signature government activity, so of course the Rs want to privatize it.
Poked: Australia has decided that parents who do not vaccinate their children may not receive any government childcare benefits.
Success: The US has so far spent $150 million training Syrian rebels to carry on the fight against ISIS in Syria. The original plan was to train 5,400 a year. So far, of the 60 graduates of the program, only 4 or 5 survive and are still fighting in Syria. Only another 100 to 120 prospective fighters are still in training. D'ya think the program was outsourced to one of our glorious mercenary companies.
Revised Version: A Christian commentator claims that Bernie Sanders' anit-poverty plan is un-Christian because “the God of the Bible is not a socialist.” Well, maybe the god of the Old Testament wasn't, but that Jesus fellow in the New Testament was certainly a pinko.
Education: A 14-year old 9th grade student in Irving, TX, assembled a digital clock from IC chip components as a science project and took it to school. His science teacher was impressed. His English teacher thought it was a bomb. Four Irving cops arrived, arrested the student for terroristic activity and hauled him off to jail. Once it was determined that he had not built a bomb he was released and, because he was a Muslim he was suspended from school for three days. Learning that young Ahmed Mohamed had a few days off, President Obama called and invited him to the White House.
Compassion: Mike-the-Christian Huckabee says that the people we see on the nightly news streaming out of bombed-out Syrian cities and Syrian villages run by ISIS are not fleeing tyranny, they are “just looking for cable TV.”
Higher Education: Obama is getting beaten up for saying that college students should be made to listen to points of view that are new to them, that may not conform to their parents prejudices. That the point of an education is... well, to become educated.
Inflation Watch: The BLS reports August's CPI decreased 0.1% m/m, bringing the y/y increase (inflation) to 0.2%. So the Fed better act pretty quickly to kill inflation before it gets away from us.
Quote:Trump isn’t a problem for Republicans; he’s a symptom of the problems Republicans have.”
Porn O'Graph: What goes up...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SAR #15258

Into The Liars' Den: Bernie Sanders gave a speech at Jerry Fallwell's Liberty University, stressing the injustice of an America that does not feed its poor not care for its sick. The good little Christian boys and girls didn't want to hear about feeding the poor and caring for the sick, not while gay Americans were marrying each other and abortion was still legal. Bernie was polite enough not to shame them for caring more about fetuses than hungry children.
Slackers: "If people on disability were faking it, they wouldn’t have such high death rates. People on disability are three to six times more likely to die than people in their age group who are not on disability."
Junkyard Dog: Senator Elizabeth Warren has explained to Candidate Ted Cruz that if he wants a fight over funding Planned Parenthood leading to another government shutdown, she's up for it.
Teeter-Totter: Debt levels around the globe have reached such precarious heights that many fear even a small hike in US interest rates could begin an avalanche of problems that could bring the whole edifice down.
On Popular Democracy: Polls show that 43% of Republicans think believe that Obama is a Muslim, and 20% of adult Americans believe he was born outside the country. These are the folks who keep electing Mitch McConnell who says US businesses are being held back because the unemployed are ““doing too good with food stamps, Social Security and all the rest” to look for work.
Rule Britannia: Seems that even in the Commonwealth nations such as Australia, British tradition protects the well connected when they commit crimes against children, while back home British police have dropped their investigation murders committed by a VIP Westminster pedophile ring. Down under, Robert Emmett, son of an Appellate judge and a Federal Circuit Court judge was permitted to plead guilt to charges of “filming the private parts of children” and possessing over 9,000 pornographic child abuse images on his computer. In exchange for his plea he must do 32 hours of “community service” each month for two years. Hopefully not in a youth center.
God Question: What sort of country will we have when everyone gets to do only that part of their job that fits with their reading of the Bible. Or Koran, Kama Sutra, or the instructions to their microwave.