Silence is often the greater sin.
Progress Report: The Pentagon on Thursday said US-led forces are making headway against the Taliban, despite what it called an overly gloomy portrayal of the war shaped by media coverage, pointing out that after only 9 years of combat not only does the US control nearly 12% of the countryside, less than 78% of the Afghan populations wishes the US would quit an go home.
Authorized Vehicles Only: Governor Jindal leased some barges to vacuum up the crude oil that the Coast Guard was letting slip into the wetlands. But the Coast Guard made them stop, because they didn't have enough life vests. Same goes for the pelicans.
Silver Lining: By most reports, only a fraction of the mortgages originally thought eligible for modification actually qualified and were rescheduled. Just as well, 70% of those rescheduled are re-defaulting. Not a qualified success.
Papers, Please: In the wilds of Colorado a town has passed an ordinance requiring renters get a license before renting an apartment. Ain't this a great country?
Power is as Power Does: General David 'The Fainter' Petraeus ordered himself to secretly spread “clandestine military activity” throughout Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia – without seeking Congressional nor, apparently, Presidential authorization. That's okay, he'll take care of that oversight when he's president.
Summary: The ongoing public
shouting match debate between those who are obsessed with the effect of future deficits on the banking industry and those who are concerned about the effect of poverty on the living can be summed up thusly: Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous – or heads you lose, tails I win.
Civics 101: If you are born in the US, you are a US citizen, unless you are born in Arizona where the 14th Amendment will no longer apply.
Irony: So many German Jews have joined to in a humanitarian effort to break Israel's blockade of Gaza that a second boat will be needed. Maybe if they sew yellow stars on their clothing Israeli commandos won't kill them.
Empty Gesture: Initial unemployment claims increased to 472,000 last week. Why people are bothering to register for benefits the Republicans aren't going to let them get is a mystery.
Charity: The American Red Cross has been fined $16 million for inadequate screening of donated blood and for “mismanaging blood products” - by which Federal regulators meant cutting corners to save money. While theoretically a non-profit organization, the RC runs its blood operations as a profit center.
Supply vs Demand: By actual count there are a humongous number of houses on the market. By actual sales numbers, not many people are buying houses. Apparently in this case A plus B is going to result in C. C being another 10% to 20% drop in house prices over the next three years.
Options: Starting with Lehman Brothers and snowballing on through AIG and secretly handing billions to Goldman Sachs, the whole effort has been – we are told – to keep the financial system from collapsing. I don't recall much discussion of the positives of letting it do just that – collapse. Why not? That seems to be the ultimate destination anyway.
Half-Off: The 90-day delinquency rate on home loans worth over a million dollars hit a high in February at 13.3 percent, much higher than the overall rate of 8.6 percent – itself a record high. Cure rates after reaching 90-days delinquent are approximately none. One of eight borrowers in expensive homes is a foreclosure in process. Walk over to that snazzy development and count to eight.