Saturday, January 12, 2008

SAR #8013

Government threats of repression are rarely carried out.
They don't need be.

Deadbeat : Moody's said it would lower the US government's AAA bond rating if it does not take "radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending." This wouldn't be politics thorough the media, would it?

Keeping Tigers Away : The GOP claims voter fraud is a major problem, despite the fact that every study of the question has concluded that voter fraud is all but unknown in the US. In Indiana, where the test case is, not a single case of "voter impersonation" (legal term) could be found. Documented voter fraud is almost exclusively confined to absentee ballots, where the GOP has traditionally out-organized Democrats. The GOP sponsored voter ID laws make no mention of the absentee-vote system. Go figure.

Saving Lives : Chinese coal mines killed 3,786 miners last year, a 20% decline from 2006, while producing 8% more atmospheric pollution, indicating the effectiveness of an ongoing safety campaign.

No Secrets : Big Pharma mines insurance data and pharmacists' records, finds out what your doctor prescribes, then uses that information to bribe the doctor into prescribing their product, and more of it. Big Pharma says this is protected First Amendment speech. The speech here being the conversation between the data mining companies and Big Pharma. Jefferson never suspected invading privacy was 'free speech.' Tom probably didn't think corporations were people, either.

New Hobby : Look at the credit card receipt in your pocket. XXXX's and the last four digits, right? Look at the next one. Keep looking until you find one that shows the whole number. Write to the company and mention Title 15 USC § 1681c(g) and they will send you $100.

The Future of Housing Futures : The Chicago Mercantile Exchange's housing index (CMX) forecasts housing prices to drop 15.9% by the end of 2010. The Radar Logic Residential Price Index (RPX) suggests a 25% drop by the end of 2010. Folks with money are betting these tradeable indexes are accurate. Of course they would have had more money to bet on the price decline if they hadn't lost so much betting on price rises earlier.

1040 : Bank of America will be able to use Countrywide's losses to offset its own income. The tax break is limited to about half a billion dollars over the first five years. After that Countyrwide's losses, which will carry forward, can be deducted without limit, reducing BofA's tax bill to zero, year after year. Taxes that BofA doesn't pay, you will.

Sticks and Stones : Some 24 officials in central China ganged up and beat a blogger to death for exposing their corruption. I'll be good, really. I promise.

Facts of Life : After being told she should downsize her lifestyle, pay down her debts, and get to the non-discretionary side of the economy, she said, “You’re not from Dallas, are you? No one raised in Dallas would ever talk about living below their means.” Yep, we're all Texans now.

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