Compassion used to be a virtue.
Retroactively: The US Court of Appeals in Washington has ruled that even bin Laden's driver cannot be convicted under a law that was passed after he was 'detained', and that providing “material support for terrorism” has no standing in international law. 'Material support' is a common charge for US guests at Guantanamo.
Fortress America: Despite Republican theory, embassies and consulates cannot function housed in bomb- and mob-proof fortresses. It would be nice if every government in the world could guarantee absolute safety to diplomatic missions, but that world does not exist.
Blood/Turnip: Hostage negotiations in Athens between The Troika and Greece have been adjourned after breaking down twice during the day, citing "complete disagreement" between the two sides on key issues.
Fleeting Fame: Vikram Pandit, who was brought in to rescue Citi and did so, was paid $260 million over 5 years – including 2010 when he earned just $1.00. He has suddenly resigned (he says) or been fired (almost everyone else says). How soon they forget.
We Are Not Amused: Paul Ryan and his perfect little family showed up uninvited and unauthorized at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, OH, where Ryan grabbed a clean tray, pretended to clean it for benefit of the cameras he had brought along, then left. The soup kitchen was not amused, which is funny because the same pretense worked quite well for him when he played budget and tax guru.
Wait, Wait: President Vladimir Putin's party scored a big win in mayorial and regional elections, although independent observers said “the vote was openly rigged.” Smirking and the shaking of heads is not permitted until November 7th.
Cheer Up, Things Could Be Worse: Social Security checks will increase 1.7% come January. That's the cost of living adjustment. It averages out to be $21 a check – but will be reduced by an increase in the cost of Medicare. In real terms, over the last four years recipients have lost income. But the Scrooge folks in Washington want to change the formula so future COLAs are not so wildly generous. Of course the Romney/Ryan plan is a lot worse, so celebrate now.
Clarification: Economists Reinhart and Rogoff say that they “take issue with the gross misinterpretations of the facts” by Romney's economic advisers. Hey, it's only politics, lighten up.
Slowly, Slowly: Portugal's 2013 draft budget applies at least two more turns to the thumbscrews – a 35% increase in income tax and cutting 2% more public sector jobs.
Porn O'Graph: Ask Willard about the nursing homes...
The Parting Shot: