Friday, August 31, 2012

SAR #12243

Of course things can change. They can get worse.

Convictions: Even after dozens of sources provided him with a correction, as late as Wednesday evening Paul Ryan was insisting that the GM plant in Janesville - Ryan's hometown - was closed because of Obama's economic policy. Obama, you may remember, over The Mitten's objections, rescued Detroit. But he could not save the Janesville plant, which had closed while Bush was president.

Whitewash & Hogwash: The Justice Department has just formally ended their investigation into Bush era CIA torture without bringing any charges. So now there's precedent.

Focus: Recent economic data from Germany suggests that its once invincible and recession-proof Homeland (the original, accept no substitutes) has become infected with the Mediterranean disease. Seems that imposing austerity on your customers impoverishes them and they stop buying the stuff you manufacture. How long before Hans and Gertrude decide they can go it along and it's another round of Germany for the Germans?

Rhetorical Question: Why do Keynesians think more spending will stimulate the economy? Because it will.

Trend: The latest in a string of rulings limiting the GOP’s war on voting has come down. A federal court has unanimously stopped Texas from instituting a voter ID law, joining the ruling that stopped Florida's ID law.

Sporting Chance: Michele Bachman, former Republican candidate for president and full time interstellar alien, says we should vote for Romney because President Obama is “extremely wealthy” and can’t relate to the “common man.”

Boring: Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims were unchanged. Again. And, at 374,000, higher than expected. Again.

Cut & Run: Citigroup has settled a class-action lawsuit with shareholders over the second-order fraud they committed in selling them fraudulently concocted mortgage-backed securities. Even on Wall Street two wrongs don't make a right.

Shock And Awe: The father of algorithm-based trading admits that high speed trading has no social value. As if anything else done on Wall Street does...

True Lies: Among the plethora of lies, falsehoods, misstatements and distortions of the truth being flung randomly about by the Rs in Tampa, there's this one: "“The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst.” (that was Ryan, but there have been lots of others.) But according to the definitive account of the stimulus, only 0.0001% of stimulus funds were wasted on fraud. Even the dedicated government and Democrat hater Darrel Issa was unable to find any in his Solyndra witchhunt.

Getting Out Of The Vote: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has fired two local election officials who voted to extend early voting to weekends so the working folks could vote.

Unclear On The Concept: Speaking in front of the assembled Rs in Tampa, small businessman Phil Archuleta claimed Obama's policies are “destroying us.” Apparently the $850,000 SBA loan he got wasn't big enough and the Republican cuts to the US Forest Service and DOE budgets has cut the number of signs they order from Archuleta.

Asked & Answered:Is the financial sector worth what we pay it? No, and it is not worth what it steals, either.

The Parting Shot:


Take an umbrella with you...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SAR #12242

Politics is a series of ever less defensible choices.

Convenience: Behind the podium in Tampa there's a giant debt clock so folks can see the continuing effects of the Bush tax cuts, the Bush wars of aggression, the Bush TARP stimulus spending. It does not include the added deficit that would be caused by the trillions in additional tax cuts Romney/Ryan promise to inflict on the country. Remember, the Republicans inherited a budget surplus from Clinton.

Excuses, Excuses: A new study reports that eating a chocolate candy bar once a week could lower a man's risk of having a stroke later on by 17%. Do Reese's count?

Shibboleths: Using the mask of "free trade", the Trans-Pacific Partnership (NAFTA for the Pacific) will be used to override domestic laws in a way that would be impossible through the normal legislative process. It will benefit large corporations. That's all you need to know to understand it won't be good for the working folks. We'd discuss it further, but the text of the agreement is secret. Secret from the people, but not from the corporations and their Wall Street friends. Why haven't you heard about this in detail? Ah, that's where the devil is.

Teaser: Pending home sales rose 2.4% m/m in July, up 12.4% y/y. Now if these folks can just get financing and sell the place they own...

Asked & Answered: Do Americans care about the civilians killed by American drones? No, they're foreigners and foreign deaths don't count. What are you, a troublemaker?

Let Me Count the Ways Lies: The R's claim: That Obama said individuals do not build their own businesses. That Obama gutted Medicare. That Obama abolished the work rules in welfare. That Ryan's plan will balance the budget. That Romney has a plan for economic recovery. Not a one of these is true.

Précis: Ann Romney took the podium to announce that some of her best friends are middle class. And she shops at Costco, too.

Future, Tense: “[B]y the mid-2020s, even with the most optimistic assumptions about economic growth, current trends indicate that the average American’s wages will drop about 20 percent.”

Monkey Business: Romney's Victory Council – those who have raised at least $1 million for The Mitten – held a party on a 150-foot luxury yacht that flies the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The Empire Strikes Out: The financial burden that will bankrupt the US is not Social Security or Medicare, it is the world-wide overreach of the American military empire.

Business Plan: Romney's business acumen is shown by his ability to borrow large amounts of money to buy up companies, loot them, and leave the debt for others to pay. Throwing people out of work, shipping jobs overseas, and closing plants were secondary.

Ounce of Prevention: In Alaska, poll workers have been schooled on the importance of the security seals on vote tabulation computers, and told that if they find a broken seal they are to immediately put on a new one and get on with the voting.

Vaccine: The Republicans go happily on their way, making up stuff – which they can do because their ideology insulates them from any contact with reality.

Porn O'Graph: Labor's got the blues.

The Parting Shot:


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SAR #12241

Sometimes when you wrestle with Satan, he wins.

Inconsequences: It is widely acknowledged that most of the several billions of dollars to be spent on this election will be targeted at a handful of voters in a small handful of 'swing states." If you are not one of them, your vote doesn't really matter, so why not educate yourself on the platforms of the emergent third parties and vote for one of them?

Cognitive Dissonance: Federal government-hating Bobby Jindal (R-LA) is already criticizing Obama for not sending more disaster relief money to the state. The President had already signed an emergency declaration, long before Isaac came ashore, which made federal money available for emergency operations. Let's talk about the deficit.

Prejudice: The headline announcing a sudden plunge in consumer confidence noted that it fell in the face of “record high stock prices.” Most consumers do not own stocks, do not follow the market and are far more concerned about being able to stock the pantry and fill the gas tank.

Black & White: The Republicans intend to move Medicare and Medicaid "away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model. Translation: Kill M/M as they now exist and give people vouchers to buy inadequate health insurance from Wall Street. They will "save" M/M by letting people die and call it fiscal responsibility.

It's A Feature, Not A Bug: An Israeli judge has ruled that crushing US citizen Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer was not an act of negligence by the Israeli army. They did it on purpose.

Potemkim Villagers: Those coal miners standing around at a Romney rally were there because it was mandatory, the mine had been closed for the day and the bosses told them to get on the buses and go. They were not paid for the day, say they went out of fear of retaliation, and claim they were made to contribute to the Romney campaign. A spokesman for the mine said “We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event.”

Fat Lady, Humming: The June (just released) Case Shiller report showed a 0.94% y/y increase in US house prices. Never mind that last week there was data showing that the price of new homes was falling, Shiller is talking about existing houses, which appear to be from a good vintage and appreciating.

Children, Left Behind: One out of four American children has chronic health conditions such as obesity or asthma, more than one in five lives in poverty, over half of America's post-secondary students will leave school without graduating.

Tin Ear: Gov. Christie (R-NJ) says the R's should not “cater” to women. Can hardly wait until they stop.

Another World:The Romney campaign, responding to charges of falsehoods in their ads, said their strategies are not “dictated by fact checkers.” Remember the Bush White House that made its own reality?

Essence: When Lexmark announced it will cut 1,700 jobs; naturally its stock jumped 15%.

Easy Choices: Which would be the safer thing for a government to do? A) Cut retiree pensions, public health spending and other social safety nets, or B) Loose 50,000 or more trained soldiers onto the streets to shift for themselves. Beta? Right.

Porn O'Graph: Code Blue.

The Parting Shot:


Crowd scene.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SAR #12240

No matter how bad times get, Wall Street can make them worse.

Picking Up Pennies: Unilever, which says it “makes decent money” selling individual packs of shampoo for 2 or 3 cents in Indonesia says “poverty is returning to Europe,” and plans to do the same thing in places like Spain. As they observed, it is difficult to sell a consumer a big box of detergent for €7 when they've only got €17 for the whole week's shopping.

Insert Foot Here: Romney claims that he is "very proud" that Obamacare his Massachusetts health care law has expanded access to women’s health care services, including contraception.

It's The Economy, Stupid: Virginia's public shools had 8,742 students who were homeless last year, a 75% increase over 2008. And that's probably an undercount. In Mississippi, 25% of the population struggle to afford their daily food. In North Dakota, the state with the best  food security, 10% have difficulty buying sufficient food for their families. Over 30% (15 million) of US homeowners remain underwater. Yet neither Obama nor Romney want's to talk about poverty in the US of A.

Sophistication: Only 11% of the highly paid, master of the universe hedge fund managers managed to beat the S&P so far this year. That's why they earn the big bucks. That, and the stupidity of their investors.

Burning The Commons: More and more parents are deciding not to vaccinate their children, often because of irrational fears or irrational religious beliefs. Your freedom of religion does not include sacrificing my child's life for your beliefs, nor do your “parental rights” overrule years of scientific research. The population as a whole has the right to defend itself from assault by its individual members.

Hope, Dawning: Surveys show that 80% of homeowners believe that their house will be worth more in a couple of years and over 60% say this is a good time to buy a house - theirs, for example.

Guns R US: Peace-loving Uncle Sam sold $66.3 billion worth of weapons overseas last year - more than twice the previous record - mostly to dictators and tyrants and those controlling our oil. That's 75% of the global arms market. Russia was a distant second with about $5 billion in sales.

Weapons of Mass Delusion, Or It's About Controlling the Oil, Stupid: While the United States and its allies keep talking about the threat Iran poses, US officials have repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

A Quote: "You can’t pay attention to the Party platform – those are just our fundamental beliefs that we don’t care about.” Let's just call it Anonymous - it could have been any number of senior pols from either party.

Quoted: There was a time, not long ago, when Republicans — whatever you might think of their other ideas — were not batshit crazy.

Porn O'Graph: Nowhere to go but down...

The Parting Shot:


Monday, August 27, 2012

SAR #12239

It is reassuring to know, no matter what the looming disaster, that "They won't let it happen." Who is this 'they' and what are they waiting for?

Fork In The Road: Romney is now presenting his economic plan to make it sound as though he now supports a more gradual approach to deficit reduction, postponing government spending cuts, and giving tax cuts to everyone in the country, instead of just the rich. Has Romney changed, or just his rhetoric? No, I'm not offering odds.

Protect & Serve:While protecting the public from a mad gunman who shot one person and walked away, NYC police wounded nine bystanders.  And also hit the gunman.  Enough times to kill him. .

Next: Canadian house prices have zoomed up 100% since 2000, with the average Canadian house no priced about $350,000 – double current US pricing. The big banks are tightening their lending policies, creating a large market for sub-prime lenders to fleece those being turned away. At least the Canadian government is trying to cool things down before the buble gets out of hand. But experience suggests that bubbles gotta grow until they blow.

Down Home: How is it that during The RecoveryTM median income has fallen 7.2% and is now 8.1% less than in January of 2000?

Devil/Details: Over 10,000 rape kits have been found in a police annex building in Wayne County, MI (think Detroit). These were used kits, collected during a rape investigation but never processed. The first 400 tested have found 21 serial rapists. Protecting and serving.

Unclear On The Concept: Romney says he's going to keep his Swiss bank account because “I’m not going to try and hide who I am and try and manipulate my life to try and avoid the truth.”  Which includes hiding his tax returns.

Down And Out: Of 6.1 million workers laid off in the last 3 years, after at least 3 years on the job, only 25% found a job paying as well, 30% took a lower paying job, a quarter were still unemployed, and about 15% had left the labor force. Only 56% of those laid off from 2009 thru 2011 had found a new job – at any rate of pay.

Fortune Cookie: Facing a growing (sic) economic slowdown, the Chinese government has reassured the country that they have the ability “to respond to near term risks in an economy facing significant downward pressure, but keep the broad policy focus on longer term structural adjustments.” Some things are universal.

Definition: Paul Ryan makes his position clear, he is against all abortion because “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.”

Makework: Canada's Minister for Public Safety says it is okay for the Mounties and Canada's Border Services Agency to share information gained by others (like the US) torturing people.

History Bluff: New Mexico RNC National Committeeman Pat Rogers claims that Gov. Martinez's meeting “with a group of American Indians 'dishonored’ Gen. George Armstrong Custer...” and his accomplishments among the Cheyenne on the Washita.

Protect & Serve, West Coast Edition: LAPD officers beat up and arrested a 20 year old man in front of his own home for skateboarding on the wrong side of the road. For extra credit, insert the words 'black' and 'white' in their appropriate places.

Disastrous Relief: Following Hurricane Isaac's visit to the south, I look forward to a bunch of Republican governors choosing to reject FEMA aid in favor of free-enterprise market solutions to the destruction and suffering.

The Parting Shot.



Saturday, August 25, 2012

SAR #12237

Too bad the lunatic fringe isn't.

The First Cut Is The Deepest: Romney’s energy policy calls for neutering the federal government and letting oil companies drill wherever they want – granting the states the right to determine the fate of federally owned lands. Some question the wisdom of letting AZ decide whether oil derricks belong in the Grand Canyon, but oil's oil – and this policy was drafted for The Mitten by the oil bidniz, which presented it to him along with a check for $10 million.

Your Results May Vary: Estimates of the turnout for the protests in Montreal range from a conservative 25,000 to over 100,000. The procession occupied much of the city's core for several hours. The movement is still strong.

Trial Seperation: The German Finance Ministry reportedly views asking Greece to exit the euro "temporarily" while it straightens out its finances is the best plan. Temporary, as in ten or twenty years, or a century or two. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says “... and I want Greece to remain part of the euro zone.” While the Obama administration is urging everyone to take it easy until after the election. Note: You don't always get what you want... but sometimes you get what you need.

Because We Can: The day after Pakistan once again protested the continuing US drone strikes on Pakistan, the US hit three different compounds with drones, promoting 18 dead Pakistanis to “suspected militant” status and diplomatically telling Pakistan to get fucked, that the US will continue killing anyone, anywhere and neither they nor anyone else has any say in the matter.

Up, Up, & Away: Today's Durable Goods numbers were good – a 4.3% increase. Today's Durable Goods number without the transportation sector was not so good – a 3.4% decrease. Seems the brief three-month blip in US economic activity was “a byproduct of seasonal adjustments.”

Now It Can Be Told: The good news is that Paul Ryan can read. The bad news is that he reads Ayn Rand.

The Other Cheek: While the West – or at least the US and Israel – was basking in the success of the Stuxnet invasion of Iran, others – the Cutting Sword of Justice – were busy designing one that would display a burning American flag on Saudi Aramco computer terminals. How much damage, if any, was not disclosed.

Cliff Notes: The problem with Romney's Medicare explanation is that the data he presents is is not accurate. It is false, misleading, untrue, and business as usual for the campaign.

Pile-it Program: The Chinese are facing growing mountains of unsold inventory – everything from steel to appliances, cars to apartments. These goods stand in the way of the government's efforts to reverse the economy's sharp decline. So far the only thing that sems to work is massaging the data.

Happy Days: The AGs from AL, AZ, GA, SC, NC and TX have asked the Supreme Court to rule that the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional because it prevents states from adopting laws to make it “more difficult for racial minorities to cast a ballot. Ah, what do these states have in common?

Red Queens: “... the key to continued production in a fracturing operation is a labor intensive continuation of drilling new wells to replace rapidly declining previous wells.”

Housing Rebound: “One in five Rochester houses that have gone into mortgage foreclosure the past two years are vacant today, according to the city. And of those that are vacant, two in three are not being maintained. Many of the vacant houses in mortgage foreclosure are in relatively good condition. But city officials suspect some banks are stalling the foreclosure process, wanting a buyer lined up before a judgment puts them on the hook for property maintenance.” Typical, one fears.

Qualification: Romney's obviously qualified to be president – he already “sifts through Americans’ personal information . . . to identify new and likely, wealthy donors.”

As Good As Gold: Forget their war on women, the RNC platform includes returning the US to the gold standard. That would be a real abortion. Obviously, as with so many other things, they haven't really thought this one through. The US has only enough gold to back 2.5% of the current money supply... so how you gonna get this one off the ground?

The Parting Shot:


Decisions, decisions.

Friday, August 24, 2012

SAR #12236

For a brief while, 'democracy' included letting even the poor vote...

And Another Thing... Now Romney says he isn't going to release his tax returns on religious grounds, because it would make public his donations to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. “It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church." So has he been giving them more than the standard 10%? Nah, I didn't think so either.

Numb-ers: Initial unemployment claims were up (4,000) for a second week of smallish increases. Existing home sales rose in July, for the fifth straight month, according to the NAR, and the median home price increased 9.4% y/y to $187,300.

As The World Turns: Someone asks, “Why are their no bankers in jail?” Which part of 'masters of the universe' and 'doing God's work' don't you understand?

Back At It: Thousands of students marched in Montreal – just as they have on the 22nd of each of the last six months – protesting the Liberal government of Premier Charest. There are two weeks left before Quebec's parliamentary elections.

Free And Independent: As many as 1 out of 3 US workers are “freelancers, temporary workers, on contract, or on call...” Which means low pay, no benefits, no security and no future. But given current trends, they are the future.

Bon Mot: Is Obama responsible for Isaac's heading towards Florida come Monday because he runs the National Hurricane Center? Do you think the Republican base will buy it? Don't Rush your answer...

Check's In The Mail: Opening the mid-Atlantic coast and the national parks to oil drilling and letting the states manage energy production on federal land will create 3 million jobs and make the US, Canada and Mexico energy independent within the next 8 years. According to The Mitten, "This is not some pie in the sky kind of thing." Nope, it's two or three pies in the sky.

Freedom Of The Press: Reporters may interview The Mitten, as long as no questions are asked about abortion, Todd Akin, or his tax returns. “The press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know how to use it.” Sherlock Holmes.

In The Hinterlands: In Alaska, candidate Mark Ewing wants the state to stop “spending millions and millions of dollars educating children that have a hard time making their wheelchair move...” Fella running for Senate in Washington state told a blogger via email to “go fuck yourself”. And a man that wants to be the sheriff in Hillsborough County , NH assures voters that if elected he will use deadly force “stop doctors from performing abortions.”

Porn O'Graph: Something's happening here...

The Parting Shot:


Beat it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

SAR #12235

Denying reality is at best a temporary solution.

Of Hats And Rabbits: The lady (Spanish sovereign debt, for example) does not really get sawn in half. She doesn't even get (or give) a haircut. When the ECB/EU loans Spain money to prop up its banks, the debt doesn't vanish, it gets reassigned - mostly to Germany and a couple of other northern European countries. Unless there is some forgiveness, some restructuring, some hair cutting, the debt just keeps growing. Which was the problem in the first place. And austerity, increased unemployment, decreased consumption, lower tax revenues in the face of higher tax rates and so on will increase the debt . And there's already more of that than anybody, much less Spain, Italy, etc, can ever pay back. They can't even make the vig. Let's sing it as a round, you go first.

Saving, Private Ryan: Even arch conservatives agree that fixing Social Security (assuming it is broken... ) is simple: remove the cap on payroll taxes that now lets income over $110,000 go untaxed. That would cover about 90 percent of the projected shortfall over the next 75 years. They know this is true, they just don't want to do it.

Everybody Panic! So far this year the West Nile Epidemic has resulted in 1,118 cases and 41 deaths. A massive and expensive effort is underway to combat this threat. But just for some scale, on an average day in 2010, 82 Americans were killed by handguns. In an average month about 40 active duty soldiers kill themselves and nearly 1,000 vets try to do so. Panic, quietly, and keep your eye on the kid who take a gun to school and the nuts who mistake massacre for social dialogue.

Tomato/Tomato: Obama's going to cut Medicare by $750 billion. I know because Romney told me. But... like a lot of things Romney's told me of late, it is at best misleading. Most of the Obama cuts come from reducing the money insurance companies are paid (mostly for those relatively useless 'Medicare Advantage' plans the R's demanded), as well as reducing reimbursement rates to hospitals. Will this hurt the profits of the insurance companies and the for-profit hospitals? Sure. You got a problem with that? Why are hospitals for-profit, anyway?

Asked & Answered: What's wrong with needing fewer people in manufacturing due to greatly increased productivity? Let's ask the question this way: When robots make everything, how are the consumers going to get the money to buy the stuff the robots make?

Porn O'Graph: Globalization defined.

The Parting Shot:


Verbascum thapsus  Quaker rouge.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SAR #12234

If we want to make a difference in schools, we cannot ignore what goes on outside them.” Richard D. Kahlenberg

Guilty As Accused: Todd Akin, Republican candidate for the senate from Missouri, will not back down on his rape/pregnancy comment because his “creator God” wants him to spread the message, which is – some say - backed up by Nazi death camp experiments. And besides, sometimes that's God's way of getting you pregnant, according to another Republican troglodyte. Are there any R's running who are actually fit to govern?

Spiraling:Pretty much Italy is doing everything wrong. It has a high debt to GDP ratio and is pushing austerity measures to bring down the debt level, but the austerity cuts will result in GDP falling 2.3% this year and 1.4% next. The economic slowdown in Europe has not skipped Italy, where rising unemployment has led to falling consumption. To raise more money to narrow the debt, the government has raised taxes on consumption (leading to less consumption leading to lower tax revenues and so on). Is Italy going to follow Spain down the drain? Who can save them, Germany? Note that this is what the R's want to do to the US. Who's gonna save us?

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: General Dempsy, newly appointed leader of the 200 acknowledged US troops and thousands of mercenaries still in Iraq, says he won't discuss Iraqi support for Syria with Baghdad, nor the help they are giving  Iran in evading US financial sanctions. He was looking forward to selling them military equipment to help bring peace to the area.

Money Wins: The DC US Court of Appeals has ruled that 34,000 Americans must continue to die every year so the coal industry can keep despoiling the earth and cooking the planet.

Long Ago... Once upon a time when politicians got caught lying in their campaign ads, they would pull the ad and, maybe, issue a limp apology. Not now. Not Romney. He's lying when he says Obama is “gutting welfare reform.” Everyone – Ds, Rs, MSM editors and journalists, policy wonks, probably even FOX – knows for a fact that Romney's blatantly lying. It is as demonstrably false as any claim ever aired by a major-party presidential candidate, which certainly qualifies Romney for the office.

Prioritization: Ideology trumps electability in the abortion plank of the Republican platform, which calls for a total ban on abortion – with no exceptions - and establishing the 'personhood' of zygotes and fetuses in an amendment to the Constitution (supported by both Ryan and the now infamous Rep. Akin). This would criminalize IUDs, oral contraceptives, in vitro fertilization and stem cell research. It would place the US in the exclusive “no exceptions” club with Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Another Twist: Perhaps it is not the income and foreign accounts and such that keeps Romney from releasing more tax returns, maybe it's because he claimed he lived with his son in a Massachusetts basement, not out of state (as he apparently did). Which would open him to charges of voter fraud.

Trail of Fears: Having fled the Colorado School of Mines to escape pressure from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, now the oil and gas folks have gotten him thrown out of University of Wyoming. Eppur si muove.

Porn O'Graph: Into the valley of death...

The Parting Shot:


In mint condition.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SAR #12233

It’s time for some rules on who owns our personal information. Mathbabe.

She Made Me Hit Her: Barclays CEO says that the bankers didn't want to rig the LIBO rates, but they were forced to because they couldn't charge the customers for their bank accounts. If we let them gouge us for the privilege of lending them our money essentially for free, they'll stop screwing us so openly on interest rates. Sounds like a deal.

Hope Floats: Apple has now become the most valuable (based on aggregate stock price) company ever. Put that in your iPipe and smoke it.

So It Begins: Belize, with one eye on Greece, says that its creditors can accept a 45% haircut, wait 15 years for another payment, or go without. The best part is that the government simply put a notice to that effect on its website. Watch this one – if they get away with it, Katy bar the door.

Good Question: “Who does the government intend to shoot?” asks Retired Major General Jerry Curry, pointing out that domestic government agencies have recently purchased enough hollow point ammunition to punch 5 holes in every American. How out of control does the government think we're going to get? For some scale, he notes that US forces used about 70 million rounds a year in Iraq compared to the 750 million rounds of hollow points and another 750 million 'miscellaneous' rounds that Homeland Security alone has ordered. This is serious ammunition and we must assume Homeland Security intends to use it for serious purposes here in the homeland. Against us?

How Bad? The German austerity measures in Greece have worked so well to revive the economy that 76% of Greeks wish they could emigrate. Today. To almost anywhere.

Thumb To Nose: It isn't just Standard Chartered that has been pretending not to notice the US unilateral injunction to the whole damned world not to trade with Iran nor help Iran evade the US sanctions against it for thinking it is an independent, sovereign nation. Iraq – you remember Iraq: no WMD, about 4,000 casualties, and we're not here for the oil – is helping Iran through financial shenanigans and petroleum smuggling. And India is writing insurance for tankers laden with Iranian oil. (India also is getting in bed with Russia for access to its Arctic shelf petroleum exploration.) Why don't these people behave?

Self-hoisting Petard: The new voter ID law in PA that the R's are so proud of will disenfranchise large numbers of the elderly - as many as 1 out of 3 in some counties. And elderly Pennsylvanians have traditionally voted Republican. Should'a done some homework.

Not Necessarily News: “Wall Street Sets the Rules for Regulators” and “Corporate Crime Does Pay.”

Politics Is Local: Cutting the budget is easy as long as it's a project in another state that gets cut, or a crop support for something I don't grow, or a defense program for useless and unnecessary weapons that are not built in our state. Oh, wait, defense contractors have spread out their operations so they are in everybody's state... and that's why cutting the budget is easy to talk about and hard to do. No, make that “impossible to do.” Not gonna happen.

The Parting Shot:


Making it to the top.

Monday, August 20, 2012

SAR #12232

The problem with paper ballots is _____ ?

Loose The Balloons! Der Spiegel reports that the ECB may (may!) set yield limits on Euro sovereign bonds by pledging to make unlimited bond purchases to force down yields. Where the ECB was going to get the unlimited euros to make these unlimited purchases was not immediately clear.  Never mind, the ECB let the air out.

It's For Desert: According to Number Two, he and The Mitten will gladly discuss the details of its tax proposals “in the light of day,” and “through Congress.” Which means after the election. But in that case, “we want feedback from Americans about what priorities in the tax code should be kept,” is the same as saying they don't actually have a plan.

Posthumous Promotions: The US conferred “martyred militant” status on 10 suspected militantsTM in a two-pronged attack that first targeted two vehicles and then sent missiles into a suspiciously militant house in North Waziristan.

Put A Fork In It: Germany's finance minister has flatly ruled out any further bailout for Greece. “It can’t be helped...” Wolfgang Schäuble said, “There are limits,” and the sovereign-debt crisis mustn’t become a “bottomless pit”.

Budgetary Conundrum: We the people currently consume 1.5 years of the Earth's renewable resources each year. We're eating our seed corn.

The Light of Day: Why are US and British regulators upset at Benjamin Lawsky's 'unilateral action against Standard Chartered'? Because he didn't play by the rules, the ones that say you don't do anything to upset the banks. Sure, Standard Chartered conspired for years to evade US law. Sure they're guilty of defrauding the US. But Standard Chartered is a Big Bank and they are by definition, above reproach. End of story. Can you say 'regulatory capture' and make it sound like 'spineless lackeys'?

Cross My Heart: Ann Romney insists "“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us,” and that there will be “no more tax releases given,” while insisting “there’s nothing we’re hiding and we're going to keep hiding it.”

Wanted: Is Romney's vow to step up coal production grounds enough to declare him a danger to civilization and unfit to serve as president?

Changing Times: Along rocky coastlines of the Arctic Ocean, existing algae are being replaced by warmth- and light-loving species. Before you say 'big deal', realize that algae is the base of the food chain, and this change is happening faster than complex organisms can evolve.

Evisceration 101: Romney's plans will bankrupt Medicare by 2016 (8 years earlier than now projected) but he will solve this little problem by brining “Medicare eligibility in line with the Social Security retirement age.” Sounds good until you realize that means kicking the 65 and 66 year olds off Medicare, and that it wouldn't make a noticeable dent in the financing program.

What Could Go Wrong? In Wyoming, UR-Energy plans to drill hundreds of wells through which to pump “a chemical solution” into uranium bearing formations to dissolve the ore and then pump it to the surface.

Okay, Then: Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO), explains that there does not need to be an exception for rape victims in anti-abortion bills because “if it is legitimate rape,” the woman doesn't get pregnant. He's also against feeding lunch to poor schoolkids.

The Parting Shot:


Saturday, August 18, 2012

SAR #12230

Super weeds, the food of the future!

Over/Under: The USDA says the drought will cause food prices to rise 3 to 5%. I'll take the over.

Evidence: The fact that (assuming it is a fact) The Mitten has not paid less than 13% of his income (however that might be defined) in taxes simply shows what can happen when you are rich enough to hire several very expensive tax lawyers and a couple of facile accountants.

The Other Half... There's an apartment for sale at 15 Central Park West for $95 million – by a bankster, of course. It'll be bought by one, too.

The A List: The CEOs of the following companies were paid more than their companies paid in US taxes: Abbott Labs, AIG, Anadarko Petroleum, AT&T, Boeing, Citigroup, Ford Motor, Halliburton, International Paper, Motorola, Newell Rubbermaid, Travelers, Tyco – and at least 13 others.

Been Here, Done This: Gasoline prices are up. Food prices are set to increase sharply. The last time these two rose like this (1Q2011) we had a zero percent GDP 'growth' rate for the next quarter.

Noted: Iron ore prices continue their decline. There is not futures market for the ore, so the price represents real demand, not manipulation. Real economies are built on and of steel and without iron ore there is no steel. If you are not building things, you need no steel. Draw your own conclusion.

Army Strong:In July, 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers took their own lives – a new record. But it doesn't come close to the 950 veterans who attempt suicide every month. Are these casualties included in the Iraq and Afghanistan numbers?

Dueling Headlines: “Spain's Rally Has Been Gigantic”, while “ Spanish Bad Bank Loans Have Hit A New Record High.” Tell me the one about 'efficient markets' again.

Getting Rich: Morgan Stanley's Facebook, Zynga, and Groupon IPOs have now lost $62 billion for those who eagerly gobbled them up. Morgan Stanley, however, made a bundle on them. The customers' yachts?

Bedtime Story: When a couple stepped off a Disneyland ride they were offered a souvenir photo of them on the ride – with his credit card info already for him to sign. The man was stunned because he had not used his credit card or otherwise given his name at the park. They were using facial recognition software coupled with data mining to obtain identification and credit card information. Sounds like a paranoid fantasy, except that it turned out to be true. All of it.

The Parting Shot


Another lost weekend.

Friday, August 17, 2012

SAR #12229

Prices change. Get used to it.

Vanishing Point: With the Extended Benefits program's end and the last 5,223 unemployed folks kicked to the curb, 1.03 million have been removed from the number of wastrels drawing subsistence money. When the larger Emergency Unemployment Compensation program ends at the end of the year, another 2.4 million idlers will lose their incentive not to work. The number of Americans receiving jobless benefits has fallen by 4.3 million during the past two years, and by January first that number will have shrunk by another 3.5 million without any of them getting a job.

Pigging Out: The percentage of disposable income spent on eating-out has fallen sharply in the last 2 months – the largest decline since Lehman days. This can't be good.

There Will Be A Slight Pause: The Federalies have decided that stealing a billion dollars of customer money was not a crime, just the result of “chaos and porous risk controls” at MF Global. The Twinkie defense for banksters.

The End Is Near: Cash-for-gold business in Lisbon are closing because Portuguese who had any gold have already sold it. Portugal’s gold exports have increased by more than 500% over the last 2 years.

Perspective: It's not that Jon Corzine is going to start a hedge fund that bothers me, it's that he's not going to start it from a jail cell.

Simple Truths: The object of the Romney/Ryan plan is to end Medicare as an effective program and to allow tens of millions go hungry, suffer and quietly die – without food stamps and without health insurance. Emphasis on the quietly - they've got to learn their place.

Brand New Numbness: The Labor Department reported that unemployment claims were essentially unchanged at 366,000. The Census Bureau reported that new housing starts fell 1.1% m/m but were 21.5% up y/y, but permits for new houses rose 4.5%. Blah, blah, blah.

Short Version: Spain's goose is cooked. Recipe inside.

Gateway Drugs: Police have identified making chalk drawings on public sidewalks as an early indication of anti-social terrorist impulses and will be arresting people possessing chalk at the upcoming national conventions. It is, they have found, very easy to progress from chalk drawing to taking pictures of public buildings, which leads to immediate arrest and interrogation.

Denominational Affairs: Priced in euros, Brent crude has reached a new all-time high. Regardless of the (mostly hypothetical) reasons given for the price, the increasing cost of petroleum will not do struggling European economies any favors.

Tin Ear: The Mitten says he can't understand why people keep asking about his taxes, saying that he finds it “to be very small minded...”

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A lady in Chester Township, PA faces a $600 a day fine for feeding up to 60 needy kids a day in her home (she's funded by the PA Education Department and the Philadelphia Archdiocese) because she needs a variance. It costs a non-refundable $1,000 to apply for the needed permit. The township said it wasn't about the money, but it's about the money.

The Parting Shot:


Collinsonia canadensis. Touchdown!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

SAR #12228

Forests once seemed so vast they were thought infinite.

The Price Is Right: Pepsi, Coke, Conagra, General Mills, DuPont and friends have scraped up $12 million to defeat a California proposition which would let customers know what they are buying. Wonder why they want to hide the truth about what’s in our food?

Shadow Boxing: Over the last five years, what have the EU and/or the ECB done that actually worked? Why would anyone think that the latest hollow promises are not hollow promises made by people who haven't got the wherewithal to make the promises good? Actually, no one, not even Germany, has got enough money to backstop the Eurozone's debts.

PPPPP: The Mitten's people scheduled a campaign stop for him at a Miami juice shop owned by a convicted cocaine trafficker.

For A Few Dollars More: Bet you thought the US was out of the TARP business, right? Nope, the US Treasury is still bailing out GM's former financing arm, Ally Financial, which continues to lose money – nearly a billion dollars in the second quarter alone. The cost to the taxpayers has been bumped up another $3.3 billion, while the auto giants continue to sell cars to those who cannot pay for them.

Only: Only 2% of Canadians do not believe in climate change. And they have better healthcare than we do, too.

Semantics: The National Republican Newspeak Committee has instructed GOP congressmen to use the words ‘strengthen,’ ‘secure,’ ‘save,’ ‘preserve, ‘protect' to replace the banned ‘entitlement reform,’ ‘privatization,’ ‘every option is on the table.’

Asked & Answered: Is the USDA a wholly-owned subsidiary of Monsanto? No, they share ownership rights with Cargill, ConAgra and DuPont.

Just Wondering: If the Republicans want to cut Medicare, why are they upset that Obama that Obama is cutting the cost of Medicare? Because the R's want to take the government's money (your taxes) and give it to the helathcare industry (incidentially, Bain owns a good bit of HCA), while Obama is trying to reduce payments and identify “best practices.” The Same But Different.

Always The Low Morals, Always: Walmart internal documents suggest that along with bribing Mexican politicians, the company's “questionable financial behavior” also included tax evasion and money laundering at no extra charge.

Rhetorical Question: “Must the poor go hungry just so the rich can drive?” Yes, of course. Why would you think otherwise?

Terminology: After a short decline, gasoline prices are moving up sharply – because (we're told) of rising crude oil costs and refinery problems. It seems likely that 2012 will end up being the costliest year ever for gasoline, especially if OPEC can get its members to keep to their quotas. Well, you say gasoline, I say recession.

The Parting Shot:



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SAR #12227

“Being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid.” Dick Armey

Takes One.. David Stockman says that the Ryan budget is an “empty conservative sermon” and a “fairy tale.” As Reagan's director of OMB, he should be familiar with fairy tales.

The Right of the People to Peaceably Assemble... The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act makes it a crime if you, on government premises, shout at or heckle or boo a political official. That's being disorderly and disruptive and it is forbidden.

Look/Leap: The head of Hungary’s far-right anti-Semitic fascist party just found out he's Jewish.

Geo Politics: Turkey, international oil companies, the US and other Western governments, Assad's Syria, the Ayatollahs in Iran and, last and least effectively, Baghdad, are all trying to make some sort of deal with the Iraqi Kurds. All but Baghdad keep nodding and winking and muttering “independent Kurdistan.” But quite where this mythical place will be and how is uncertain. Parts of northern Iraq and adjacent northern Syria and part of western Iran; but no Turkish territory. Forced relocation/cleansing?

Shocker! Hand counting the votes in Wisconsin keep coming up with different numbers than the computer tabulations showed. Sometimes significantly different. Imagine.

Fresh Numbers: July's retail sales increased 0.8% m/m and up 4.1% y/y, after June's data was cut from -0.5% to -0.7%. Producer prices rose 0.3%, which was the biggest jump in 6 months. Euro-area GDP fell 0.2% during 2Q2012 – with increases in the north and decreases in the Mediterranean states. In July, Spanish banks borrowed €375.5 billion from the ECB(Germany), a record. House prices in Phoenix are up 35% y/y while 23% of office space in Chicago's suburbs is vacant. Feel informed?

Just Say'n: The VIX closed at 13.7 and the first two times the VIX closed below 15%, the S&P fell 5.25% and 7.75% in the next two months.

Priorities: The biggest threat to a sitting president's re-election is the economy, not the opposition. And the drought could be the tipping factor this fall, especially if food prices rise significantly, because unemployment seems to have become simply another disappointing fact of life.

Candid Cameras: There's a new service(?) being tested that uses a camera at a store entrance hooked to facial-recognition software that identifies the incoming customer and offers them specifically tailored deals. Currently the marks have to sign up for “Facedeals”. You are already signed up for the government version.

In Hot Water: The Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford, CT had to be shut down because the cooling water was too warm. Wonder what other safety margins are... melting away?

Porn O'Graph: Installment plans, primarily sub-primarily.

The Parting Shot:


In the limelight.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SAR #12226

Most Americans say they are middle class - and fear they are not.

Spreadsheetism: While everyone's blubbering about what a Romney Ryan budget would do to Medicare - make it a permanently underfunded and inadequate voucher program intended to enrich insurance companies - the real excitement should be the 50% reduction in the government's 'discretionary' non-entitlement spending by 2022. Of course it didn't specify what would be cut by how much, but there's bound to be plenty for bombs. And drones.

Deflation: Belgium's central bank head Luc Coene said “"It makes no sense for the ECB to start financing those countries...It would only lead to the ECB taking on the whole public debt of Spain and Italy onto its balance sheet. That would in turn weaken the ECB and do nothing to resolve the underlying problems...” That brings to seven the number of ECB members who are trying to introduce reality into the hope-fest stirred up by the ECB's Draghi.

Follow Me! On Sunday Tracey Hepner pinned brigadier general's stars on her husband, the newly promoted General Tammy Smith, who became the first lesbian to serve openly as a general in the US military. Progress, but same-sex partners of active duty soldiers still do not receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples, even if their spouse is a general.

Point of Order: Under Ryan's plan, The Mitten would not have to pay any taxes at all for the next ten years – apparently mirroring most of the last ten – because unearned income such as capital gains, interest, and dividends would not be taxed. To offset these breaks for the rich, taxes on the bottom 30% of earners – those who punch a timeclock – would increase. But they don't earn enough to fund the government, so Ryan/Romney would eliminate all government spending outside Social Security and defense. And Ryan wants to privatize Social Security, too.

Asked & Answered: Will high oil costs permanently ruin world’s economy? Yes.

Some Numbers: Italy's public debt rose 6.6 billion euros in June, to a new record of 1.973 trillion euros, increasing the odds Rome will eventually have to seek a bailout, if they can find anyone with a bucket. Appointed PM Mario Monti is trying to shove a 20 billion euro austerity package on the populace as Italy's GDP fell for the fourth consecutive quarter. Greece continued its role as poster child for the effects of relentless austerity measures, as its GDP fell 6.2% in the second quarter.

Good Question: How is it that, in the middle of a record drought with massive crop failures, the presidential campaigns are spending upwards of $2 billion in advertising without mentioning climate change? The odds are they don't understand the odds.

Victimless Crime: The World Bank says that the banksters' rapacity has thrown 100 million people (or more) into poverty, cutting about 8 years off their life expectancy, and has increased infant mortality by 400,000 a year.

Remember: When a politician refuses to talk about something, there's a reason.

The Parting Shot:


Chamaecrista fasciculata Partridge Pea

Monday, August 13, 2012

SAR #12225

"This can't be right." Scott Stantis

The Twins: Romney's choice (?) of Ryan seems an act of desperation. Running on a platform that advocates privatizing Social Security, demolishing Medicare and Medicaid, and putting women in burkas is not a proven winner.  Will Romeny, who has been reluctant to acknowledge his most important  legislative accomplishment, now boldly adopt his VP’s  draconian budgetary ideas?

No Means No: Filling in for the vacationing Frau Merkel, deputy chancellor Michael Fuchs cleared up any question about further aid to Greece, saying that Germany had "reached the limit of its capacity" over additional EFSF payments to Greece. He also made it clear that Germany does not want the ECB to act as “a money printing press in disguise”. Their money, their rules.

Backgrounder: There are Kurds in Iran, in Turkey, and in Iraq. They all want a Kurdish nation – although not the same Kurdish nation. Those in Iraq are sitting on oil. They think it is their oil, although Baghdad disagrees. The Iraqi Kurds ship their oil to market through Turkey. The Kurds in Turkey – as part of a decades old independence struggle or simple political blackmail, your choice – from time to time blow up the pipeline. Turkey has taken to dealing with Iraqi Kurds as though they were the Kurdish nation (which, de facto, they are). Imagine the bargaining. Imagine the effects on the Middle East.

Hot Enough For You? Climate models predict that droughts will become an increasingly common feature of life in the US – and in most of the rest of the world's agricultural areas - in the coming decades. At this point it seems fair to point out that so far climate scientists have been overly conservative in their predictions.

Clear And Present Danger: A nationwide analysis of US election fraud since 2000 has found ten – exactly ten – cases where in-person voter impersonation was alleged. Not proven, alleged. This is the terrible threat to democracy (and Republican candidates) that the voter ID laws are going to prevent.

Faster Than Expected: Some 900 cubic kilometers of ice has disappeared from the Arctic so far this year – 50% more than was expected. The volume of Arctic summer sea ice has dropped 70% in the last 30 years. At this rate summer ice will disappear within a decade. The Arctic is very vulnerable to global warming's impact and the consequences include increasing volatility in US weather due to jet stream instability. Something's happening here, and what it is is increasingly clear.

Inconvenient Data: The CBO says that on a per-beneficiary basis costs of Medicare and Medicaid spending have grown less rapidly than costs for private health insurance in recent years, thus it is difficult to claim that government healthcare spending is “out of control”.

Studies Show”: Research reveals (hush!) that CEOs of large corporations face an entirely different legal system than the rest of us. Really?

Belly Up To The Trough: The American way of greed is now poised to capture the taxes that pay for public education, as they cheapen education as much as possible and pocket literally billions of ill-gained dollars. The golden moment arrived on the back of Bush's pseudo testing spawned by No Child Left Behind, and the destruction of Teacher's unions. Look at Louisiana and tell me you want your kid educated this way.

The Parting Shot:


Playing the field.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

SAR #12223

The forces that brought down Greece are not unique to Greece.

Attitude: Romney's insistence on not letting the American voter know whatever it is he is hiding about his financial transactions is simple arrogance. He oversaw tax cheating for five years at Marriott International – so questioning what he did with all those personal foreign bank accounts in tax sheltering nations is reasonable. Obviously the returns contain something he doesn't want us to know. Saying it's not our business makes it our business.

Shocker! The Justice (sic) Department has decided it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or its employees for their role in the financial crisis.

The Ins & Outs: In July, China's import and export growth slowed for a second month, raising questions about the strength of its economy. China's growth has been the result of relentless investment in expanding capacity, which has carried with it the fear of over-building and ending up with excess capacity. That seems to be happening, with their capacity utilization falling from about 80% before 2008, to near 60% in 2011, and lower than that now.

Markdown:The USDA has reduced its estimate for US 2012/13 corn stocks to 650 million bushels, down 45% since July. This is the lowest since 1995.

New & Improved: The folks who had fun with Iran via Stuxnet and Flame have cobbled together a new piece of malware, designed to steal customer information from Pay Pal and banks, specifically, Citibank.

Making A List: Things to worry about: We're running out of cheap oil and drinkable water. Global warming has moved from “the future” to now. We have polluted the land, the rivers, the oceans, the air, and ourselves – perhaps terminally. Our financial system has become malignant. Continued, endless growth in a finite, closed system cannot continue. Human population is far beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. We live in a finite world.

Expressly: Freshwater fish are going extinct in North America at a rate at least 887 times faster than the background rate over geologic time.

Here There Be Monsters Floating Islands: Before you set off to sail around the world, mark your chart – somewhere 600 miles off New Zealand is a brand new 10,000 square mile island. It could ruin your whole day.

The Parting Shot


Cantharellus ciberius. Just add butter.

Friday, August 10, 2012

SAR #12222

Elections do not resolve social issues, they simply record the current score.

Greek Chorus: The Greek government's racist crackdown on illegal migrants is an outgrowth of the latent xenophobia that a few decades of prosperity has masked in Europe – masked, not removed. At base the beautiful idea of a united Europe is a lie.

Say Good Knight, Gracie: The catastrophic collapse of the markets previewed for us by Knight Capital last week is inevitable. Pretending that the global financial system will continue to muddle along indefinitely is just that, pretense. “The international banking system is being kept afloat solely by political lies, stupidity, corruption, greed and, most of all, egregiously misplaced confidence.” To date we have survived the de facto bankruptcy of Europe; a US budget deficits that exceed a trillion dollars a year, the housing collapse, high unemployment throughout the industrialized world, and enough austerity to push Europe and the US back into recession if not depression. And yet the US stock market climbs on the hope that Draghi's drivel has some magic.

Blasphemy: Newt Gingrinch says that there is no proof to support Romney's claim that Obama had scrapped work/welfare rules. He has not. Romney's claim is a lie. Not a misstatement, not a difference of opinion. It is a lie.

Liberal Science: A Stony Brook University study reports that “Current wastewater disposal methods for water used in hydraulic fracturing could put nearby drinking water in the Marcellus Shale at risk . . ..”

Finally, Someone Goes To Jail: For the financial crime of grabbing an old lady's purse, a man in Texas was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Brother, Bigger: NYC, with the help of Microsoft, is trying to out London London – integrating 3,000 cameras (to start with, more coming) with all the information computers can dig up on everyone the cameras picture, - maps, city records, phone records, license data, criminal records, facebook profile, anything and everything. Live. In real time. And stored forever, of course. Just in case.

Takes One... Ann Coulter says that Obama's political base is "stupid single women".

What Part Of Fuck Off 'No' Don't You Understand? When asked whether he would want to see five years of financial information for a firm in which he might invest, The Mitten replied “I’m not a business.” Which, by the way, did not answer the question.

Sacré Bleu: Socialized medicine has controlled costs in France better than insurance company looting in the US has.

Forward March! Years of research data shows that US health problems caused by antibiotic resistance can be traced in large part to the rampant use of antibiotics to grow meat. And this is not news: the FDA's original findings on the dangers dates back to 1977. But changing their practices would impose large additional costs for the producers, so they have managed to keep the FDA sitting on its hands for decades. Finally a judge has ordered the FDA to do its job - sometime in the next few years.

Starting Over: Completed foreclosures have been falling, but foreclosure starts have increased for the last three months after 27 consecutive months of declines. Is the tide changing?

One Good Reason: White men with college degrees live about 12 years longer than those who do not finish high school. They have to, to pay off the loans.

Where Do These People Come From? video recently uploaded to YouTube, tea party activist and author Jerome Corsi said there was evidence that President Barack Obama was married to another man before he married Michelle. Republican Todd Akin, candidate for Senate in Missouri, says that emergency contraceptive pills should be outlawed, because abortion is abortion and is wrong – except that the contraceptive pills do not abort anything. The Romney campaign thought it would be a Good Idea to buy a few hundred thousand 'followers' for The Mitten's twitter account. Fox news moderator Greg Gutfeld says that “Obama is now out of the closet … he's officially gay for class warfare….”

The Parting Shot:


Weekend retreat.