What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know,
it's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”
None out of Two: The US Commander in Afghanistan says the poppy crop will continue its 'explosive growth' this year, especially in areas controlled by the Taliban. Relief agencies report that the Taliban now controls at least a quarter of the country.
Spender : Part of a financial bubble's popping is the transfer of assets from the weak to the strong. The unprecedented size of this bubble means that the transfer of wealth from the weak (the US, if you haven't been paying attention) to the strong (Sovereign Wealth Funds, for example) will beggar belief. It has just begun, and it will assuredly beggar us.
Hope(less) Diamond: One of the safest predictions for 2008 is that politicians will complain that our financial crown jewels are being sold for a song. Actually, they're being sold for oil. And it not all that clear that the jewels are any great bargain either.
Picture This : India's tourism minister says the US dollar will no longer be accepted India's tourist traps. The dollar continues to lose value; they'd rather have rupees. Or yuan.
Unturned Corner: Americans are falling further behind on consumer loans, with late payments rising to the highest level since the nation's last recession in 2001. Late payments rose to levels not seen since the 1991 recession. Foreclosures set a record in the third quarter, with the majority of resets yet to come. But the Realtor's Association thinks we've turned the corner. Also stepped off the curb in front of an oncoming semi.
Now It Can Be Told : "For eight years " says Rush Limbaugh, "from 1993 through the end of 2000, I was there, with Bill Clinton, every day. I advised Clinton on every key issue. I was working behind the scenes to run the country and add to his legacy. " Few realize," he claims, "how much of a factor I was in the Clinton White House and how successful I was as the real co-president."
Disneyland: The suspect was pulled aside at JFK, questioned "by small men with megalomania anxious to prove their manhood" then handcuffed and chained, confined without food, drink or a place to sleep, driven to a jail in NJ for nine hours of interrogation, then the leg irons and chains were reapplied, the prisoner driven back to JFK and deported back to her native Iceland. Her crime was that 12 years previously she had overstayed a tourist visa by three weeks. Stayed too long at the fair.
Grand Oil Party : BushCo is selling off the seafloor under the Chukchi Sea to oil drillers in search of an estimated 15 billion barrels of crude. That's less than a half year supply and stands a good chance of evicting polar bars of one of their two remaining homes. DOE says not to worry, they'll get around to the other one later.
Redundancy : We're closer to our primate cousins than Huckabee would like. Researchers have observed male monkeys "paying" for sex by grooming the ladies. More importantly, the amount of grooming required depends on how much male competition there is. Capitalism and prostitution - ah, but I repeat myself.
Sneak Out The Back, Jack : When Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) announced his resignation he failed to mention he was $147,000 in debt to lawyers fighting his indictment in the Mark Foley corruption investigation, nor the $1,000 fine he agreed to pay the FEC to close out their investigation of him. Did I mention he was a Republican? Didn't think I had to.
Mouth of Babes: "If you're stuck with an unaffordable mortgage because some fast-talking guy in a suit told you to sign a bunch of papers you didn't understand, you are not going to be saved by another fast-talking guy in a suit who wants you to sign another bunch of papers you don't understand." From Tanta at Calculated Risk.
Alfred E. My wife asks why I am not in jail if the government is so repressive. I tell her that my continued freedom is not a sign of the government's tolerance but of it's incompetence.