New Kid in Town: Senator Scott Brown, sympathizing with the Austin tax-bomber: ‘No one likes paying taxes, obviously’. Wonder how he feels about bombing Federal Buildings in Oklahoma City?
and Improved: The downward spiral for American workers that began with shipping jobs overseas and accelerated with globalization has produced a cohort of long-term unemployed/unemployable, the newly poor who used to be middle class and now are being forced onto the public dole – quite probably for many years to come. Demographers and social commentators will come up with a new name for them. Perhaps Busters instead of Boomers.
PS. I Love You: "Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require seven days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts... “ Citibank.
Redefined: Within Monsanto's executive offices GM has two meanings – it can stand for 'genetically modified' when applied to certain crops, or for 'greatly manipulated' when referring to the scientific research on those same crops. Or so says the man who ran their operations in India for eight years.
What A Strange Idea: Dutch sentiment against continuing their nation's part in the American war in Afghanistan caused the coalition government to collapse. Imagine, a nation where public sentiment matters...
14 June 1982: Argentina is trying to regain the Falkland Islands via sanctions on British banks with ties to the exploratory oil drilling now underway – which Argentina claims violates its sovereignty. Two things: (a) why not wait and see if there's any oil worth fighting over. And (b) Remember what happened the last time they tried to kick the Brits out?
Damned If We Do, More Damned If We Don't: Denialists want to do nothing to avoid the onrushing train wreck that is global warming, claiming scientists admit that the models are less than perfect. But what the denialists intentionally misunderstand is that the uncertainties (from the politically arrived at 'consensus forecast') are far more likely to understate future warming than exaggerate it. MIT's model now shows that there is no chance (a zero probability) of keeping this century's temperature rise to 3.6ºF - the supposed 'goal' of the failed effort in Copenhagen. The most likely (median) increase by 2100 is 9ºF, if we sit idly by. So by all means, let's sit idly by – it'll be a great adventure!
Bottled Water: Chesapeake Energy wants to truck 663 million gallons of chemical-laden waste water from its Pennsylvania 'fracking' operations to New York and dump it into a hole adjacent to Lake Keuka, one of the scenic Finger Lakes. Another argument for good fences.
Point of View: Either Saudi Arabia's oil production fell 274,000 barrels a day in December, or they increased their spare production capability by that amount.
Test: California's giant PG&E will spend over $25 million this year on a statewide ballot initiative that would mandate approval by a two-thirds majority before a local government could enter the electricity business. Guess which side they're on. Bonus: Guess why they want more than a simple majority.
Quoted: Stuart Brand – of Whole Earth Catalog fame – now says that it is too late for 'back to nature' to save us. "To survive now we need nuclear power, genetic engineering, giant cities. We must manage nature or lose civilization." Do I get to pick a side?
Porn O'Graph: Out of every $1 in income gain made in the last decade, 65 cents went to one guy, while 90 other folks fought over 12 cents. On average each got one tenth of one cent. The rich have won.