The placebo effect is wearing off.
Finders, Keepers: Following the principles taught me by Mrs. Bartlett, that a ball that's thrown through her window becomes her property, Iran has no intention of giving the US back its drone. Yes, Mr. Cheney thinks we should bomb them, but that's been his solution to almost everything except gay marriage. The US also lost another drone, this one in the Seychelles, east of Africa. Theories abound.
Excitable Adolescents: The GOP-led House will soon pass a silly law making it illegal for the Administration to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Iran. Unless not doing so “would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security”. Like war, for example, which Ron Paul thinks this will lead to.
Sackcloth, Ashes: From this distance it is clear that EU leaders are wrong to put so much emphasis on austerity without any real plans to stimulate economic growth, pointing out that austerity budgets in Greece, Poland and Ireland have not accomplished anything except to rile the voting public. Sending Italy and Spain down the same path hoping for a different result is called leadership.
News, Mostly So-So: China has cut way back on killing its citizens this year, executing only 4,000 of them. Syria has done them a bit better, killing 5,000 so far this year in the name of peace and tranquility.
Republican Tax Math: Gingrich's tax plan is a lot like Paul's and Bush's - give the rich the breaks and the rest the taxes. Newt would give the top 1% about $430,000 each and the top 0.1% about $2.3 million extra. It would also drive up the federal deficit by at least $1 trillion the first year, more each year thereafter. More evidence that the Republicans simply are far less fiscally responsible than they pretend.
One Hand Clapping: Greece is having difficulty finding bondholders who are eager to lose half their investment. Without enough "volunteers" the haircut – which is coming either with 'em or without 'em - will become "a credit event" and trigger a round of musical chairs as CDS writers try to figure out who's holding the biggest bag and the rest of us watch the dominoes do what dominoes do best.
Good Government: California Gov. Jerry Brown says the state will cut another $1 billion from schools and social services, as the states tax revenues fell over $2.2 billion short of the wildly optimistic estimates that went into the budget. Brown said that making these cuts was a sign of California's improving fiscal health.
Going Bust: There's a lot of glib talk about one or more countries 'leaving the euro'. Here's the play-by-play: Over a weekend the banks are nationalize, a new currency issued, use of the euro outlawed & those not turned in within 24 hours will be confiscated, bank accounts are recalculated in the new, worthless currency. Not only are the banks broke, so is the country, which defaults on all of its euro-denominated bonds. The economy grinds to a halt, the local stock market drops 90% and freezes up. Then things start to go bad.
Shots to the Foot: Top counter-terrorism experts argue that indefinite detention and detention without trial, torture and the rest of the affronts to common decency and the Constitution that have become commonplace are increasing terrorism and mark significant losses in the war on terrorism. It's not that the enemy is winning, it is that we are defeating ourselves while they sit around the campfire, laughing.
Porn O'Graph: Your slice of the pie.