Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SAR #11088

If there's no answer, maybe it was the wrong question.

The Road: Baseball season in Japan has been pushed back, and when it does start there will be no night games. The idea is to keep people from wasting gasoline driving to the stadium and for the stadiums not to waste electricity lighting up ballparks. Likewise Tokyo's pulsing electronic billboards have been switched off and trash goes uncollected to save on diesel fuel, while factories are closed due to electrical shortages. Think of it as previews.

Stopped Clock: Senator Joe Lieberman suggests that the US may have to intervene in Syria if President Al-Assad begins killing protesters in noticeable numbers. As the senator points out, “there’s a precedent now that the world community has set in Libya, and it’s the right one.” As usual, Joe is half right.

So True: A Pogo moment.

Interesting, Very Interesting: I was pleased to learn that Portugal supports the US Africa Command in West Africa's drug wars. I was not quite so pleased to learn that drug interdiction in West Africa was a mission for the US military.

The Alfred E. Neuman Market: Stock markets around the world keep rallying; “there's lots of bad stuff out there, and nobody seems to care.” Tomorrow comes soon enough.

American Mutawas: As ever-vigilant as their Saudi counterparts, Republican thought police are ever ready to read your emails just in case there is something they can use to bully you into supporting them, or at least stop criticizing them.

Revolting Developments: From 2000 to 2007 (latest data available) the wealthiest 10% of Americans received 100% of the average income growth throughout the nation. All of it. Better yet, they convinced the rest of us this was a Good Idea. In 2009, the richest 5% claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. And got a tax cut. What's on TV tonight?

Freedom From Information: Another area where Obama mirrors Bush is in providing non-responses to FOI requests. The political interference is ‘meddling,’ ‘crazy’ and ‘bananas’. Not to mention non-responsive and illegal. “They don’t like to abide by the law or be reminded that they are breaking it.”

Playing Phone Tag: Yes, we know you know that the cops can find you via your cell phone. But did you know that the phone company keeps a record of where you were – every 7 seconds of every day for the last six months? Any idea to whom they sell the info?

Except: The more inflexible an American's political belief, the more likely the person is to believe that “We're Number One!” The best in everything. Here's a few things we lead in, among industrialized nations: The highest poverty rates. The greatest income inequality. The lowest amount of GDP spent on social welfare. The lowest rank on the index of material well-being of children. The highest mortality rate for infants. The highest rate of obesity. The highest portion of GDP spent on blowing things up and killing people the military. Lowest tax rate on the rich. What could be better?

Nutshell: Productivity and profits are growing, payrolls and wages, not so much.

All Over, For Now: NY's Gov. Cuomo & the legislature have agreed on a budget that closes a $10 billion deficit – mostly via smoke and mirrors. There are no draconian cuts to Medicaid and social programs, and the 8.79% excess greed tax on incomes over a million dollars a year will not be extended even though 71% of NY voters wanted it continued. Some of the money to close the deficit will come – hopefully – from increased tax revenue stemming from “continued economic revival.” But if the state's unions do not agree to $450 million in cuts, come April Cuomo says he will fire nearly 10,000 of their members.

Discouraging Encouragement: Consumer spending increased in February, but more than half of the increase was due to higher prices for gasoline and food and not because consumer discretionary spending improved.

Porn O'Graph: Remember when....

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