If your civilization depends on consumerism,
you don't actually have a civilization.
Be Careful What You Wish For: California's survival requires eliminating or greatly reducing children's health insurance, welfare-to-work programs, children's welfare, mental health services, college loans, state park maintenance and operation and the dismissal of thousands of teachers. "Women and children first" used to have a different meaning.
Walks Like A Duck: Another bunch of fools have been recruited and trained by the FBI to be fall-guys, this time it's blowing up a synagogue and using a single missile to shoot down military aircraft. Today's phrase is 'agent provocateur'. Can you use it in a sentence?
Do-Over: The health insurance folks would like to explain that what they said (at a press conference with Obama) and what they meant (in their mean, tiny hearts) are not quite the same. Instead of actually supporting changes in the system, what they meant to say was they would try to ramp up savings somewhat in the future. Besides, there wasn't a Bible in the room.
Failing State: Mexico's petroleum exports fell 18% last month, to 1.17 mbd. But Mexico also imported 300,000 bpd in gasoline, lowering net exports to only 850,000 bpd. To the lack of oil revenue, add the drop in tourism, the drug wars, the decrease in remittances from the US, the endemic corruption and Mexico looks to be headed for civil unrest and eventual collapse.
Two'fer: China's burgeoning car culture is not only gobbling up petroleum and spewing carbon dioxide - it's also causing immense tracts of forests in SE Asia to be leveled and replanted as rubber plantations to grow tires for all the new cars.
Essentials: There is no actual evidence to support the headline claiming 1 in 7 detainees' had rejoined the jihad on release. In the first place of the original 700 or so probably only 1 in 7 were actually jihadists - the rest were turned in for the reward, picked up by accident and so on. After being tortured and confined in cages for years it is understandable that some might seek revenge. The innocent do act that way. And the "rejoining" some of those 1 in 7 did was to write editorials criticizing US torture. And even the writer of the original story has come to disavow it.
Magic Tricks: The GAO says that mismanagement and a lack of investment in new satellites will lead to failures of the GPS system as early as next year. The first of the replacements was due up in 2007, but has been delayed. Out of sight, out of mind.
Tag Sale: JD Powers estimates that only 10 million cars and light trucks will be sold in the US this year - lowest number in over 30 years; damned few of them will be made by Chrysler or GM.
Geography Lesson: Is Obama but Bush in blackface? We've a Petraeus-invented surge underway in Afghanistan, where US money and munitions continue to be diverted to the enemy - just as in Petraeus' Iraq. General McChrystal, fresh from secret camps and prisons in Iraq, is now in Afghanistan. A huge Bondsteel-type mega base is going up in Helmand province. And all this to gain control of the rug trade in Baluchistan - along with pipeline right of way and a port.
Good Question: 'Why don't we stop hurting the planet?'
Daisy Cutter: The RNC is running Goldwater's Daisy ad in an attempt to convince the American public that the prisoners at Guantanamo are capable of superhuman feats of strength and are too scary to be held in the puny prisons in the US. (Presumably including Omar Khadr, a Canadian-born 15 year old when he was taken in 2002, who has grown up in a cage). Actually, the Republicans are afraid that if these prisoners are moved to the US they would have to be treated as humans, with rights and all, and that, they believe, is not right.
Recidivism: A year after being 'helped' by the government's Home Saver Advance (HSA) program, 70% have redefaulted on their mortgages. You can lead a horse to water, but if it's not alive it won't drink.
Angels on Pins: The difference between the Paulson Plan and the Geithner Plan is that Paulson wanted to save the financial system with taxpayer money and Geithner wants to use taxpayer money to save the financial system. But Geithner will cost more than Paulson's, so his plan's better.
Porn O'Graph: Peeking at the Peak.