Saturday, July 16, 2011

SAR #11197

Generations pass, stories change.

Greatly Depressing: There is a cottage industry in claiming that (a) the US will not default even if the debt ceiling is not raised or (b) default will be no big deal. Both are false. Federal spending would instantly have to be reduced by about $100billion a month. Spending cuts of that size would reduce the US's 2011 GDP by at least -5% and possibly -10% and raise unemployment to at least 15%. And reduce the country to anarchy.

For Whom the Friday Bells Toll: After Friday prayers, hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets to protest the Assad government. Security forces fired into the crowds, killing 20.  In Yemen, tribal elements killed a regional security official as protests continued across the country. In Libya the US has recognized the rebels as the country's legitimate government – which will open the taps to Washington funding.

Sadly: Current research shows that black men live longer in prison than out. Go ahead, put a positive spin on that one.

Being There: Obama again urged Republican recalcitrants to back off their irrational demands and work together towards a compromise. He even put Social Security and Medicare cuts on the table. Instead the House Republicans plan a vote linking the debt limit increase with draconian spending cuts and a balanced budget amendment. Krugman captured the moment – a black comedy of “so many people who have been in denial suddenly waking up and smelling the crazy. This isn’t something that just happened... Anyone surprised by the extremism and irresponsibility now on display either hasn’t been paying attention, or has been deliberately turning a blind eye.”   Look into the camera and smile.

Fed Up Down:The NY Fed's Empire State Manufacturing Survey reports that conditions for New York manufacturers deteriorated for a second consecutive month. The general business conditions index remained below zero, at -3.8 and the new orders index also remained negative.

All You Need To Know: Most colleges are located in Lake Woebegone – where all of the children are above average and 43% of them get A's – up from 15% back in the days when you went to college to learn things.

Imperiled: A widely used & recently approved herbicide, Imprelis, is the leading suspect in the deaths of thousands of Norway spruces, eastern white pines and other trees on lawns and golf courses across the country. DuPont described the deaths as "unfavorable tree symptoms" and insisted that the herbicide was safe for humans...until proven otherwise.

Janus: Prime Minister and ruling oligarch Vladimir Putin says the global community must soon come to an agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. He also wants the state to to stimulate new production from Russian oilfields, which now pump 10 million barrels of petroleum a day – much of which ends up in the atmosphere.

Capture Released: A major utility has abandoned its efforts to implement a carbon-capturing process at a coal-fired power plant. So much for 'clean coal'.

Six of One... Forests soak up about 2.4 billion tons of carbon every year. Mankind, by cutting down forests, annually releases 2.9 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

Watering Down: The GOP has passed a bill in the House that would eliminate federal oversight of water under the Clean Water Act and leave water quality standards up to the states. Isn't this where we came in?

Binding Cuts: This week, no free underwear for prisoners in Florida's Polk County jail. Wear 'em if you've got 'em, buy 'em from us if you've got money, else do without. Next week they'll address the question of toilet paper.

A Modest Proposal: Here's a pipe dream – a federal law that says any business receiving taxpayer funds or doing business with the government cannot pay its senior officers more than 25 times what the janitor makes.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

Harold Meyerson wrote this in the Washington Post:

The Republicans, that is, have embraced market libertarianism at the very moment that America’s market capitalism is functioning worse than at any time since the Great Depression. Their timing is so perverse that we have to seek explanations for their radicalism that go beyond those of economic philosophy.

Republicans, to be sure, have long waged a war on government, but only now has it become an apocalyptic and total war. At its root, I suspect, is the fear and loathing that rank-and-file right-wingers feel toward what their government, and their nation, is inexorably becoming: multiracial, multicultural, cosmopolitan and now headed by a president who personifies those qualities. That America is also downwardly mobile is a challenge for us all, but for the right, the anxiety our economy understandably evokes is augmented by the politics of racial resentment and the fury that the country is no longer only theirs. That’s not a country whose government they want to pay for — and if the apocalypse befalls us, they seem to have concluded, so much the better.

Drewbert said...

Greatly Depressing - Unemployment going to 15% would be an improvement actually.... if we actually counted unemployment in a meaningful way.