Speaking of gun rights, do I have the right not to be shot?
Gone With The Wind: While the Cypriot government was dithering over accepting the EU/ECB/IMF terms of surrender, about 6,000 'entities' withdrew tens of millions of euros in cash and sent it out of the country. A parliamentary investigation into the massive money movement has been halted because the central bank declines to cooperate.
Au Contraire: Despite all the Washingtonians bleating that "America is drowning in debt," our combined debts – personal, financial, federal, state and local government debt, - come to about 350% of GDP. Scary? Depends. After all, we've got assets equal to about 1300% of GDP. And we owe only owe about 20% of our total debt to the dreaded foreigners. The rest we owe to ourselves, and we're good for it.
Perpetual War For Perpetual Profit: In what little serious discussion there is about budget, taxation and spending priorities, there is never any discussion about the real problem, the reason the US cannot afford the universal healthcare, decent pensions and free education that other industrialized economies have - our constant war against anyone we can find to invade, bomb or build weapons to scare. Our paranoid prostration to military security is why we have no civil security.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Attorneys for
prisoners detainees at Guantanamo are now being informed when their clients are “being force-fed to prevent them from starving to death”. Wouldn't do to let them off that easy.
Globalization: A new study has found that the global incidence of dengue (as in dengue fever) is far higher than previously reported, with as many as 400 million cases a year – more than malaria and about four times previous estimates. Dengue has been spreading with the spread of poverty, slums, unsafe water supplies and poor sanitation. Once a tropical disease, major outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease are now occurring in Portugal, Russia and the US, and it is now endemic in over 100 countries, up from just seven in 1970.
Smoke Signal? The continuing low (and falling) interest rates on 10 and 30 year treasuries suggests that the bond market believes the economy is still at risk. The aggressive monetary intervention programs (QE) by the FED, ECB, and BOJ continue to inflate financial markets, but they are doing little in terms of the real economy. These programs are "open-ended" because there is no way down from the tiger. Not yet and not soon.
Global Acne: Scientists have discovered immense craters on the seafloor east of New Zealand that were apparently formed long ago by sudden, violent releases of methane into the atmosphere. In days, perhaps just hours. [Check out the illustration.]
Temporary Relief: For the last decade, the earth's surface has not been heating up as much as predicted. It turns out that the oceans were absorbing more heat than models showed. There will come a day when the oceans' ability to absorb the excess heat will decline and at that point the rate of global warming will increase, as the oceans cannot absorb more and may well begin radiating the excess they have absorbed. There's no free lunch.
Democracy, Footnoted: When the US invaded Iraq and threw out Saddam's regime, they kept only one of his laws – the one banning public-sector unions. That's why the head of Iraq's oil workers' union is facing prison; Republicans really, really don't like unions.
Slow News Day: A Tennessee politician has been arrested for masturbating out his car window while going 90 mph. Habitually. In Florida, Republicans want to ban Sharia law and Jewish divorces. Georgia lawmaker who supported drug testing for welfare gets second DUI. And a former Navy chaplain wants us to know that Jesus was opposed to marriages between three women and a dog. Don't ask.
The Parting Shot:
Potentilla indica, Indian strawberry.