“If Americans understood what Republicans are doing with this debt and deficit hoax . . . they would riot in the streets and dismantle Wall Street brick by brick.” Rmuse
The Nightwatch: Reports are again claiming that Obama is telling Democrats that “they must be open to entitlement changes”. For which read, caving in to Paul Ryan and gutting Medicaid, Medicare and the Social Security System. Good thing he won by a goodly margin in November or he'd have to give away the farm.
Half A League... Elements of the US 82nd Airborne Division are preparing to invade Syria and (try to) take control of that country's stockpiles of hundreds of tons of chemical weapons. Just a few thousand paratroopers. To start.
Waiting For... The system has failed us. Thirty years ago they told us that 401(k)s were going to provide us with a comfy retirement. The evidence is in, and they have not, do not and will not. They have provided a rich flow of fees to the financial industry. And the failure to live up to the propaganda is, they say, our fault because we do not save enough. Out of what, our falling wages? Our unemployment checks? Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid were created for a reason. We cannot afford to retire. Given health care costs, we cannot even afford to live. We have a societal problem, not a financial one. None of us can go it alone. We must rely on each other. We do not need to destroy the safety nets, we need to strengthen them.
Old Whine, New Bottle: The new and improved Pope is an enemy of marriage and adoption rights for gay men and lesbians because it would “seriously damage the family.” Same old, same old.
The Market Speaks: “What the markets are clearly saying, however, is that the fears and prejudices that have dominated Washington discussion for years are entirely misguided. And they’re also telling us that the people who have been feeding those fears and peddling those prejudices don’t have a clue about how the economy actually works." Paul K, of course.
Asked & Unanswered: What happened to a safety net that’s supposed to catch poor women and children when they fall?”
Doggy/Window:Oil industry lobbyists, conservative think tankers, and House Republicans (yes, redundancy abounds) are putting on a full-court press to kill the idea of taking the industry's tax breaks away and – even worse – taxing them for the global warming they are causing. How much are we talking about in tax breaks? In lives?
Hung Jury: Chris Matthews suggests that if we are ever going to learn the truth about how and who got the US to invade Iraq, someone would have to waterboard Dick Cheney. As appealing as it sounds, let’s not become one of the Bad Guys; waterboarding is not the way to “learn the truth” about anything - I’d settle for a public trial for treason.
Another Thing: Medical experts are concerned that if stringent measures are not taken, antibiotic-resistant superbugs will pose a catastrophic threat to the world's population, reducing our health systems to early 19th century levels of ineffectiveness. It wasn't clear where this threat fits on the peak-oil / global warming continuum.
Dangerous Idea: "The courtrooms of America should be open to the public, so they can see and hear what is being done in their name." Why is Daniel Ellsberg a hero and Bradly Manning facing life imprisonment?
Jelly Beans In A Jar: How long before we understand that the catastrophic global warming we've been warned about is irreversibly here? That is, when does the world-as-we-know-it end? It used to be thought that when we achieved a 2ºC rise in global average temperature our goose would be cooked. At our current rate, we'll have guaranteed a 2ºC rise within the next decade or so. Now we're pretending that 3ºC will be survivable, even as we set our smokestacks on a 4, 5 or 6ºC rise in the next century – which most certainly will do the trick.
Advanced Economics: The U.S. federal government doesn't actually need to balance its budget. Ever.
The Others: Most Americans (56%) support using drones to kill people in those places they can't find on a map, like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia,
Detroit and Yemen. It will take some terrifically boneheaded mistakes to sour the average American on the program – just killing Pakistani kids won't do the trick.
What Goes Around... The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the radiation from CT scans - done to detect cancer - is responsible for 2% of US cancer cases. All medicine comes with some level of risk, CT scans higher than most.
The Parting Shot: