Distant Early Warning: Anonymous says that two 'elite' US military units in Europe have been placed on alert to respond to “a deteriorating security situation” in Tripoli. glad some of them are Marines; it's traditional.
Words, Replacing Sticks and Stones: Judge Edward Korman is not amused by the administration's attempts to evade his ruling that emergency contraceptives be made available over the counter. Period. No qualifications or requirements, age or otherwise. He said the administration was “acting in bad faith... for political reasons,” and called its arguments “silly,” “something out of an alternative reality,” “an insult to the intelligence of women,” and “frivolous”. He referred to Secretary Sebelius’ conduct as “improper” and called her decision on Plan B “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent.” He also ruled against her motion.
Addendum: In reciting the ills of the GOP's “workplace flexibility bill” in yesterday's SAR, we neglected to point out that the bill lets – no, requires – that overtime pay be withheld until January 31st of the year following the year in which it was earned. Not only are they trying to kill overtime pay by letting the boss browbeat you into taking comp time, they're letting the boss hold onto your money for months – a tax free, interest free loan. What's not to like?
Observed: It is time to end the tax havens for the rich. Way past, actually.
Details Inside: “We are governed by outright morons.” In this particular instance, it's the Republicans (big surprise) blaming the administration for making across the board cuts in order to meet the terms of the sequestration, instead of picking and choosing where to cut. Never mind that the whole intent of the sequestration was exactly that: to make across the board cuts, without exception. Except for the things Republican big dollar donors do not want cut.
Asked & Answered: Does the health care industry (hey, it is an industry) respond to market forces? Why should it?
All Things Being Equal... Researchers from the LSE find that individual differences in skills and abilities account for only a minor part of our growing economic inequality. They cite “country specific effects” as accounting for the majority of the gap between rich and poor. This reinforces previous studies which have repeatedly found no correlation between differing abilities of people and the distribution of wealth. In other words, the rich are not rich because they are better at anything other than hoarding wealth – certainly they are not rewarded for their superior abilities, for they have none. The causes of inequality are found in a nation's ideology and the institutions that support that ideology, not in any basic difference between rich and poor.
Truer Words... “Financial activities tend to migrate from more-regulated to less-regulated sectors.” Ben Bernanke., who finally noticed.
More Democracy Inaction: Republicans, not wanting to play their usual role of filibuster bullies, decided to stymie Gina McCarthy's nomination to head the EPA by the simple tactic of not showing up for work. All eight Republican members of the Environment and Public Works Committee simply slept in, depriving the committee of a quorum and thus stopping all action on the nomination. Ah, the power of the democratic process.
Quoted: “The nation’s unemployment rate would probably be nearly a point lower, roughly 6.5 percent, and economic growth almost two points higher this year if Washington had not cut spending and raised taxes as it has since 2011... To put that it slightly different terms, if not for two years of deficit reduction, 1.5 million more Americans would have jobs, and the economy would be picking up nicely.”
Motivation: The IEA says that if we are to have a 50/50 chance of stopping global warming at 2ºC, then at least two-thirds of the currently listed fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground permanently. If they cannot be burned, then they have no economic value, which would mean the market value of fossil fuel companies is three times what it should be. No wonder they’re the ones funding the global warming denialist camp
Party Time!Instruments monitoring the atmosphere from atop Mauna Loa have recorded – for the first time in about 3 million years – atmospheric CO2 concentrations at 400 ppm. The last time CO2 concentrations reached this mark, camels lived in the Arctic, seas were at 30 feet higher
and television was worth watching. But not to worry, the measurement is like the temperature set on a thermostat; it'll take the furnace a while to catch up. Tell your kids.
Smile: Hidden in the immigration reform bill is a mandate for Homeland Security to build a 'photo tool', essentially a database containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID. Wear a nice shirt, remember to smile.
Porn O'Graph:Dirty pictures, the real deal.
The Parting Shot: