Thursday, September 18, 2014

SAR #14259



Why do so many stories about the economy have 'unexpectedly' in the first sentence?

Yesterdays: Obama makes the fourth successive US president to announce that the US would solve the world's problems by bombing Iraq. Why do we cling to the idea that death from the air will carry the day in the desert – against over 25 years of evidence to the contrary.

Plot Summary: A measure of homebuilder sentiment is at a 9 year high while mortgage applications are at a 14-year low.

The Downward Spiral: Turkey's newly re-elected Erdogan continues his Islamification of once secular Turkey by mandating that all school students at all grades must study Islam. It appears that the majority of Turks want their country dragged back to the level of religious savagery common in the middle ages – or in ISIS-occupied Iraq.

A Little Parsley: Ten percent of American workers between 35 and 44 get garnish with their wages – being docked up to 25% of their wages to repay credit card debt, medical bills or student loans. Often such debts go uncollected for years as the interest and fees compound, making repayment nearly impossible and providing an even larger unearned income stream to lenders.

Tense: Justice Sotomayor says technology has led could lead to “Orwellian world”.

The Low-Down: The US cost of living “unexpectedly” dropped by 0.2% in August. Excluding food and fuel, the so-called core measure was unchanged, the first time it failed to increase in almost four years. Let's hear it for the recovery!

Race To The Bottom: The $1.5 billion bribe Nevada extended to Tesla to get the battery factory brings up the question: Is this really a sensible thing to do? To bribe industries to come to your state or city, to pay their employee training costs, to build factories, roads and other services... for the promise, often not kept, of thousands of jobs at low wages. It is almost as silly as cities building professional sports stadiums. But no one dares be the first to quit.

Surprise! New reports indicate that as late as 2011 Citi, BofA and Deutsche Bank continued to launder drug money. Who thought they'd stop?

Fish Story: In the mid 2000's mackerel started showing up in the waters between Greenland and Iceland, which was not in their traditional range. By 2009 Iceland set a mackerel quota of 112,000 metric tons. In 2012 bluefin tuna weighing 220 pounds were being occasionally caught. In the last three months 21 tuna had been caught along with schools of mackerel. These waters used to be too cold for bluefins; no longer. 
 
Studying War Just A Little: The LA school system has decided to return the three grenade launchers it got from the Pentagon, as being in excess of their needs. They are keeping 61 semi-automatic rifles and a mine resistant armored personnel carrier.

Can't Win For Losing: Research (finally) has shown that using artificial sweeteners makes Type 2 diabetes worse, not better. While cutting the calories of sugar, the sweeteners do more harm than the real deal would, by increasing blood sugar levels. “Non-caloric artificial sweeteners may have directly contributed to enhancing the exact epidemic that they were intended to fight."

It's A Feature: New Apple devices come with kill switches that will allow the government users to lock the device and erase all the data on it. Something to deter theft, among other things.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SAR #14258



Elections don’t change things, only the rich and the political elites win. Masaccio

Wayback Machine: Congress, looking for someone, anyone, to do the dying they don't want to Americans to do, is slowly deciding to arm Afghanistan mujahideen “moderate” Syrian rebels and don't want to remember how these things usually turn out. 
 
The Hits Keep Coming: NASA reports that last month was the warmest August (globally) on record and the 354th consecutive month with a global average temperature above the 20th century average. Strange fish are showing up in the Gulf of Alaska, where the waters have become unusually warm. PricewaterhouseCoopers figures that we are only 20 years away from a climate change catastrophe. That's why Texas troglodytes want to require that school books deny any human input to climate change, if they mention it at all. 
 
Chickens, Roosting: A district judge has ruled that the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision means that a member of a fundamentalist Mormon group does not have to honor a federal subpoena if it would violate his religious principles. Sure would mine.

Convergence: Like the religious right in the US, ISIS has banned the teaching of evolution in schools under its control. 
 
Conditionals On The Ground: Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says that even with US advisers accompanying Iraqi troops in battle, the fight against ISIS will be neither easy nor brief and that if it does not go well, reintroducing US ground troops into the battle would be necessary. What's the over/under, January?

Either Or Or: Reports claim that 50% of US adults are either pre-diabetic, diabetic or have doctors who have been convinced everyone over 27 should take more pills. Which is most of us.
 
Goosing the Gander: If a school board, in a place like Orange County, FL for example, decides to allow religious pamphlets and Bibles to be distributed to students, they are deciding that materials from the Wickans, Buddhists, Muslims, snake handlers and pastafarians can be handed out too. It's called equality under the law. 
 
Magic Money: Until a digital wallet increases the amount of money I have and makes it harder for me to waste, I don't want one.

Hey, Lady: Senate Republicans have once more blocked an effort by the Democrats to bring a little more pay equity to the nation's female workers. The Republicans said the bill was too broad and would cost too much. Too bad this won't cost the Republicans enough votes to make an impression.

Fine Print: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing the for-profit Corinthian College chain, alleging that the company is defrauding potential students by lying about job prospects and career services Corinthian would provide. Seems the enterprise is more concerned with profiting from getting students to take out predatory tuition loans than it is about educating anyone. Unlike politicians, colleges are apparently not permitted to lie in their advertising.

You Don't Always Get What You Paid For: Like a seat at a Kayne West concert.