Americans still have situational freedom of speech.
"Sick and Twisted": Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for the US Senate from Indiana, says that pregnancy resulting from rape “is something that God intended to happen.” He went on to insist that this did not mean that rape was preordained – only those rapes that resulted in pregnancy are God's idea.
Oxymoron: Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, says that blowing up Iran's nuclear facilities would not be an act of war. I'm not sure about the oxy part, but I'm pretty sure about the moron.
Reduce to a Slow Simmer: The Mortgage Bankers Association expects there to be $1.7 trillion in mortgage originations this year, tapering off to $1.3 trillion next year and down to $1.1 trillion in 2014. Doesn't sound like a stampede, unlike the increase in renters.
Silly Season: AP energy writer Jonathan Fahey thinks “the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer.” You can stop reading right there, I did.
"L'état, c'est moi!" The PA legislature has passed a bill (as a favor to Oracle) that will let corporations that hire at least 250 new employees within the state keep 95% of the state income tax collected from these employees owe – passing only 5% on to the state. At year's end, will employees due refunds will have to file two tax returns, one with the state and one with the company?
Busy Bees: Hyatt Hotels puts electronic leashes on their housekeepers, to make sure they are keeping busy. Shake your head all you want, the future is here.
Another Bad Idea: The EPA, falling victim to the search for magic solutions, is about to approve growing Arundo donax and Pennisetum purpureum – two highly invasive, non-native grasses – as biofuel feedstocks. What could go wrong?
Misunderstanding the Problem: An article on liquid metal batteries asked “Can we invent our way out of climate trouble?”, which presumes there is an 'out'. Nope, we've already baked in about 4ºC, which is going to beat anybody's definition of 'climate trouble.'
White Noise: Another one of those liberal studies reports that federal employees, when compared to their private-sector counterparts in similar fields with similar education levels, showed that the public employees were “significantly” underpaid.
Step on the Scales: A new study reviewing the death rates of individuals getting or not getting routine physical exams showed that such exams had “no effect on the risk of death.” They did find an increase in diagnoses (for a variety of things) among those who had the physicals, but those additional diagnoses did not appear to have any impact on health outcomes. This – increased diagnoses and presumably treatment in the absence of improved longevity – would suggest that the main effect of physicals is over-diagnosis and over-treatment.
Accidentally on Purpose? In AZ, the Maricopa County Recorder's Office has twice used official documents to mislead Spanish-speaking voters about the date of the presidential election. Yes, they're Republicans – the Recorder's Office, silly, not the Spanish speakers.
The Parting Shot:
Streets paved with gold...