Don't mistake motion for progress.
Stocking Stuffers : Bailed out banks have awarded $1.6 billion of taxpayer money to the incompetents who lead them so poorly . Maybe Santa could bring these executives little shame - they have none of their own.
All Greeks to Me: What began as a protest against some casual violence by Greek police has become a much wider protest, verging on a revolt against the system. This may be the most significant European uprising in over 20 years, especially if protesting against can be transmuted into movement for a new societal orientation. The leaders of the West should be watching closely, as should their still loyal subjects.
Until Prop 8 Do Us Part: The nuts in California now want to undo the 18 thousand gay marriages that were performed in perfectly legal ceremonies.
Hot Stove Sitting: The US, faced with a frozen credit system like Japan's in the early 1990's, has dropped interest rates to near zero, like Japan did in the 90's. Japan subsequently learned that cutting rates without disclosing and disposing of toxic assets had no effect. The US is repeating the experiment to confirm that the Japanese were right.
One Liner: Hedge funds, except Mr. Madoff's, will have access to $200 billion in government money under a Fed program designed to support consumer credit.
Back to the Future? This summer the International Arctic Research Center discovered methane escaping from underwater Arctic permafrost at the highest concentrations ever measured. If more than a tiny fraction of the sub-sea methane is released, stopping catastrophic global warming would become impossible. The massive Permian-Triassic extinction is thought to have been triggered by a massive release of sub-sea methane, similar to an event now apparently beginning on the floor of the Arctic Ocean. This may be the most harrowing data on global warming ever reported.
Kitchen Sinks: Psst! Need a few bucks 'til payday? See your local Fed, it's got $200 billion set aside for auto loans, credit card loans, student loans, payday loans, title loans. Well, for derivatives backed by such loans; wouldn't want Ben to step on Vinny's toes.
Fearing Fear: Homeland Security seeks to arm commercial flights with anti-missile lasers. Does anybody do a cost/risk analysis on these things? How's the odds match up with the danger of doing your Christmas shopping at WalMart?
Semantics: The Pentagon has decided to comply with the Iraqi Status of Forces Treaty, which requires all US combat troops be out of Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009 and entirely out of Iraq by January 1, 2012. This will be accomplished by reclassifying 70,000 soldiers as "support troops."
Sentence Completion: Waterboarding is a war crime. The US has hanged enemy personnel for this crime. Dick Cheney has admitted approving waterboarding at least one specific prisoner. Dick Cheney should be ________________ .
Secret Plan: Paulson says there never was a playbook, which we all suspected. But how were they able to screw up so much, so consistently?
Top This: While Madoff stole $17 - $50 billion (reports vary how much was stolen, how much simply lost), his 'investors' (better we should see them as unindicted co-conspirators) will be getting back some $17 billion they paid in taxes on capital gains Madoff told them they had made over the years. They hadn't really, so Uncle Sam has to give back the tax payments.
Fine Print: Iraq's parliament has voted to reject a law that allowing troops from Britain, Australia, and some other countries to remain beyond the end of this year.
Reasonable Observation: Civilization is a collective agreement to follow certain rules which groups adhere to as long as there is clean water, food, and some degree of security. Absent these basic requirements, the enterprise dissolves. Witness Zimbabwe. Or Greece... or Pakistan... or Belgium
Porn O'Graph: Money, supplied.