Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SAR #15181


"Nobody needs to justify why they 'need' a right. The burden of justification falls on the one seeking to infringe upon the right." Edward Snowden


Comedy, Tragedy, Farce: Most likely, the IMF will term Greece's non-timely payment as putting the loan “in arrears,” which will let the ECB pretend that it is not a default and find ways to keep this silly play running another three weeks. But come July 20th and Athens cannot pay the €3.5bn due on sovereign bonds held by the ECB it will, at last, be in default. As a season ticket-holder who has seen all the previous installments, that's my guess.

Scoreboard: On the good side of the ledger, the Supreme Court told BP and Anadarko to quit whining and pay up, upheld the power of independent commissions to draw congressional district lines, told Texas to stop trying to keep women from obtaining legal abortions, and told AZ and KS to stop trying to keep Democrats from voting. On the down side it suggested that affirmative action preferences in higher education are suspect and that human lives are not worth as much as coal company profits. 
 
Naiveté: Rand Paul wants to get the government out of the marriage business altogether. Quite how this would affect all the little legalities that marriage takes care of – property inheritance, medical decisions, various benefits and obligations - was not mentioned. 
 
Unclear On The Concept: It's nice to see that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore continues to display his complete ignorance of constitutional law and complete indifference to human emotions. He has instructed probate judges to drag their feet for as long as possible before giving up the already lost fight against same-sex marriage. The Texas attorney general claims that county clerks don't have to follow the law of the land if it hurts their feelings. 
 
This Just In: A review of the scientific evidence suggests that fluoride in the water supply may not prevent cavities after all. Is nothing sacred?

Problem Child: Poor President Erdogan doesn't know which way to turn. He doesn't want ISIS to establish a caliphate to compete with his vision of a resurrected Ottoman Empire, but he even more does not want the Kurds to be victorious in anything more important than a backgammon game. That explains the 18,000 Turkish soldiers marching into Syria to fight the Kurds.

Next Up (or Down): Puerto Rico cannot pay its debts. It owes about $72 billion and only has $1.72. The governor says that PR is now “in a death spiral”, but he's a politician not an IMF economist, so what does he know? Austerity, do I hear austerity?

Folly: Black Knight reports that US house prices rose 1% month-to-month in April from March. That's 12% on an annual basis. Did you get a raise?

Civility Service: NYC cops are outraged over a proposal that would require them to get a suspect's consent before conducting otherwise illegal searches and to provide citizens the phone number of the Civilian Complain Review Board.

Oh-Oh: Russia reportedly will have important positions in the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The US didn't even get an invitation to the dance.

Win Some, Lose Some: Because natural gas is mostly methane and methane is way worse than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming, if the entire production process leaks more than 3% of the gas involved it becomes worse for the environment than coal. It does, and is.

What’s traditional about being married three times? One thing almost all those Bible believers going on about God and marriage and gays and Hell and Perdition have in common is that they have not read the Bible. Or have they forgotten that it was fine to force captive virgins to be wives or concubines or just sex slaves, along with rape, incest, polygamy, and pimping out your daughter-in-law. Or that God likes marriage so much that, according to Jesus, there is no marriage in Heaven.

Monday, June 29, 2015

SAT #15180



Little of what is now happening will end well.

Job Description: Antonin Scalia, who is apparently unaware of his job description, bitched “A system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.” Never mind that the “committee of nine lawyers” is the Supreme Court, one of the three co-equal parts of the government of the United States, whose constitutional responsibility is to ensure that the laws of the country (to which the citizens must submit) conform to the Constitution. At least five of the Justices were doing their jobs. Scalia, not so much.

Protecting And Serving: As part of their community outreach effort to the Muslim community, New York police ticketed hundreds of cabbies while they were attending mosque for Ramadan Friday prayers.

Clarification: Yes, we're facing the sixth great mass extinction. We are not the dinosaurs, we're the asteroid, but we're not going to make out very well either.

The Family Album: Military prosecutors report that they have unearthed 14,000 CIA photos from torture conducted in black sites in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Thailand. Defense attorneys want access to the photos, as will the International War Crimes tribunal. Note that these are apparently official CIA documents that were overlooked when the agency was busy destroying the viedos
 
The Bill Clements Defense: Rick Scarborough, the Texas preacher who said he would set himself on fire if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage now says that he did not mean that he would actually set himself on fire, and besides, there wasn't a bible in the room.

When You're Right, You're Right: Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has described Nato’s insistence that all member states spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense as “nonsense.” An understatement.

Yeah, Boo: Massachusetts has raised the minimum hourly pay for home care workers to $15 an hour. Brave of them, until you compare the size of the affected employers and number of employees, say, Wally World or Macky D.

Doing Unto Others: Illegal immigrants in 35 California counties have granted access to healthcare. First thing you know they'll be talking about it as a universal basic human right.

Just Say “Yes!”: In Iceland, seven bankers have been jailed for illegal market manipulation. See, it wasn't that difficult after all. It may not stop bankers from stealing, but it certainly will stop these guys for a while.

Down Is The New UP: American consumers are expressing greater confidence in the economy as the economy cools and the rate of GDP growth falls. We've lowered our expectations and still aren't too upset when they're not met. 
 
Two To Tangle: A lot of people who are quite happy to point out that leaving the euro would be a disaster for Greece conveniently overlook the disaster it will be for the euro and the grand experiment. And it is also quite possible that leaving the eurozone would be far easier on most Greeks than an indefinite period of servitude to German banks.