"It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality, and protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do." - United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Agreeing to be Disagreeable: European leaders Merkel and Sarkozy have reached “complete agreement” (mostly) on a new treaty that would restrict the budgeting and size of future deficits for eurozone nations. That such an inflexible approach is economic suicide in recessionary times does not seem to bother the inflexible Germans. And getting all those nations to accept the loss of sovereignty smacks of optimism, but the Merkel -Sarkozy agreement will certainly speed up multiparty negotiations by doing away with them.
Under the Radar: While BLS statistics show an ever growing shadow economy (where many of the uncounted struggle to get by but are not counted as part of the workforce), the monthly Gallup count of the underemployed (unemployed + "part-time for economic reasons") is up once more, reaching 18.1% of the labor pool, up from 17.2% a year ago. As employers more and more prefer temporary and part-time workers, the trend to lay off full-time employees and re-hire them as temps will grow. America continues to transition to a part-time, no-benefit society.
Recovery 101: The hotness of your waitress, the closure rate among Waffle Houses, and the sale of plain white cotton panties can apparently be used as a guide to the recovery.
If I Had a Hammer: The Pentagon's '1033 Program' has provided over $500 million worth of military gear to local police departments this year, and looks to quadrupling that next year. M-16s, APCs, grenade launchers, helicopters... And once the local bullies have the weapons, they'll find reasons to use them.
Modesty: Wannabee Romney, as a parting effort to hide his candle under a basket, spent $100,000 of Massachusetts taxpayer money replacing the PCs in the governor's office - in order to destroy all electronic trace of his presence. His aides, too, insured their privacy by buying the hard-drives of their state-issued computers. Wonder what it was they all were so modest about?
One View:The series of crisis from 1980's Latin America, Mexico, Sweden and East Asia in the 1990's, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy now, have all been attributed to different causes - but all have one theme in common: the financial sectors through caution to the wind in search of easy profits, failed to assess creditworthiness and to manage risk as they were supposed to do. In short, the financial sector behaved poorly and brought down their houses on their own heads. Maybe the search for a cure should start where the disease does, instead of always bleeding the poor.
On The Hustings: Documents detailing wannabe Newt Gingrich's ethical shortcomings are public property. Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) thinks public employees should not have any collective bargaining rights. Wannabee Rick Santorum (R) says that no one dies in the US due to lack of health insurance, they die because they make bad choices. He also knows that "almost everything" undocumented immigrants do is illegal.
Porn O'Graph: All in favor,say Aye!