Getting more information is seldom as comforting as you hoped.
Drones For Dummies: The president can (and does) approve a drone strike targeting an American (and those nearby) if his advisors claim the individual is “a senior operational leader” of al-Qaeda or “an associated force.” That's it. No suggestion that they intend to or are engaged in any act or plan aimed at harming the USA. The definitions of these terms is not specified and is deliberately vague. The phrase 'a drone strike targeting' could just as well read 'murder', for the complete lack of due process.
Unemployment Kills: The scandal is that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Not the PTSD Iraq/Iran veterans, not yet. No, it's the 50 and older vets. The Vietnam era. But veteran suicides as a percentage of all suicides are not increasing – the suicide rate is increasing across the board, at a rate four times faster than before the recession. Before unemployment became our constant companion; a rise of 1% in unemployment is accompanied by a 1% increase in the suicide rate. War is hell. So is unemployment.
European Flu: First Italian bank failures (and lies) and their stock collapse, then Greek strikes, and now Spanish protests spurred by austerity and the slush fund scandal. Europe is back at square one where the only thing fixed are soccer matches. “A nasty surprise is coming,” and it's beginning to leak into the streets of New York.
Tidbits: On Meet The Press last Sunday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the US is not going to leave Afghanistan in 2014, or at any other time in the foreseeable future. An "enduring presence" was his description. He also said there was no intelligence supporting the claim that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon. Go back and read that last one again.
Simple Solution: If the NFL really cared about the players and wanted to prevent concussions, the rules committee would outlaw helmets, facemasks, shoulder pads and the rest of the equipment that gets used as a weapon on the field. As it is, watching football is about as morally defensible as watching dog fights.
Protecting Their Investments: The rich, having spent several decades financing the Republican menace, do not want to see their creation turned into a tool for gun-toting survivalists and intend to protect their sitting Senators from Tea Party competition and to recruit and finance candidates to run against Tea Party crazies in the primaries. The Democrats are cheered by the prospect of another round of "lets you and him fight."
News, Apathy Inducing: In 2012, US CO2 emissions reached their lowest levels since 1994. This is good news no matter how it was achieved, and mostly it was achieved by the prolonged downturn in the US economy, especially manufacturing - whose emissions were outsourced to China. This is bound to give a boost to the business-as-usual bunch and increase the lassitude among Americans already apathetic toward any hint of privation in furtherance of a greener tomorrow.
Why Not? The US President, who already had the power to launch drone attacks on anyone, anywhere, anytime and to start pre-emptive wars at will, now has abrogated unto himself the right to engage in "pre-emptive cyber attacks" if
his popularity ratings begin to slip he claims some sort of imminent threat.
Horse, Then Cart: Solving the unemployment problem - by putting people back to work on stimulus funded infrastructure projects if nothing else - would create the missing demand that is keeping the economy in the dumpster. Picking up demand would generate more jobs and all of this would get people off the public rolls and increase tax revenue and solve the deficit. Stimulus spending will not cause inflation, because inflation requires money to chase goods and increased production/labor shortages to drive up wages - and the unemployed have no wages and no money. Inflation may come, but only when the economy gts back to running full tilt, which would increase tax revenue, etc. You've been told this before, but you weren't paying attention.
Lessons Learned: As Yves pointed out, the 34 minute electricity failure at the Superbowl in the Superdome is probably not an anomaly, but the future for us all, as our infrastructure shrivels and decays. This sort of thing does not happen at the largest
religious festival sporting event in any other advanced nation.
Porn O'Graph: Where do we go from here?
The Parting Shot: