Just because something sounds good does not mean it is true.
Offensive Defense: In 2012, the US spent $682 billion on defense, out spending everyone else combined: China $166 billion, Russia $92 billion, UK $60 billion and so on. Some tens of millions of that went to Hamid Karzai – in backpacks and shopping bags. Some of the UK money went to him, too. And that's on top of the $4.5 billion we know was first shipped to Afghanistan in 2011 and then spirited out of the country by Karsai's compatriots. The White House and CIA had no comment. No one has asked the cancer victims who can no longer get their treatments because of the sequestration what they thought of this investment in good government. Why is it we can afford to bribe Karzai but can't keep our pre-school programs funded?
Happy Days: Exxon, not happy to be fall behind in the race to destroy life on earth, has begun production at its Kearl oil sands mine in northeastern Alberta. It expects to produce 110,000 barrels of whatever you call that stuff, on its way to producing 4.6 billion barrels of “recoverable oil” over the next 40 years.
Perspective: You are nearly 6,000 times more likely to die from a medical error than from terrorism. Your prescription drugs are the most likely source of injury. If you must obsess, obsess about the right things.
All Over But The Jeering: By mid-May, CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa are likely to reach 400 ppm (they're 399.72 now...). Atmospheric CO2 concentration will pass 450ppm in a few decades – up from the pre-industrial 280 ppm. The increase is nearly completely due to our continued burning of coal, gas and petroleum. The last time CO2 levels were this high was about 5 million years ago. No global agreement to reduce emissions is expected to even be reached until 2015, to take effect in 2020 – and there is no reason in past experience to suggest that any agreement will actually be honored. So the next time someone blathers about keeping global warming to 2ºC,don't believe them. Scientists have argued that atmospheric CO2 levels must be reduced to 350 ppm to prevent disruptive climate change, but no one knows how to do that. Unless we shut down the power plants and the cars, we are headed for 4ºC by about 2075. We probably won't be around to see if it makes a 6ºC rise by 2100. It hardly matters, because the temperature will keep rising for a few hundred years, as will the oceans as all the ice melts. Have a nice day, recycle something.
The Price Is Right: We routinely spend far more to rescue people after a disaster than we would be willing to spend to prevent the disaster. Why?
Anti-Science At Large: Lamar Smith (R-TX) wants to do away with science, but can't do so at one fell swoop, so he's starting by trying to abolish peer-review for NSF grants and to prohibit any study that would attempt to replicate previously published research. Translated, this is an attempt to get junk science (or theology) published by the NSF, after which it could not be challenged by NSF-funded scientists.
For Extra Credit: Why is Bush not on trial for war crimes? And Cheney? And the rest?
Slip Sliding Away: Alfredo Saenz, head of Spain's Banco Santander, has resigned and taken €87 million into retirement with him, just ahead of being banned from banking for life. He needs the money because it's pretty tough to get a job in depression-era Spain, what with 27% unemployment. Shame? No, he's a banker, they know no shame.
Republican Plan: “Relentlessly pretend to be an ignorant simpleton.” Pretend? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever works. Either way, our political parties have fundamentally different visions of what kind of country we should have – it's the great majority of Americans vs. the Republicans.
Porn O'Graph: Where the Btu's are.
The Parting Shot:
“There is grandeur in this view of life..”