Conundrum: The White House is delighted that the House rejected the Amash Amendment – which would have curtailed the NSA's vacuuming up everybody's phone data 24/7 because there had not been an open, informed discussion of the amendment. There was no open discussion because the program is secret and no details can be discussed in public. NSA did brief some members of the House, in secret.
What He Said: Egyptian junta leader General Al-Sisi has called for "the people to take to the streets this coming Friday to prove their will and give me, the army and police, a mandate to confront possible violence and terrorism." By which he means he wants an excuse to crush the Muslim Brotherhood, sort of a popular referendum on the military dictatorship.
Aiding And Abetting: Estimates claim that – worldwide – criminal enterprises take in $870 billion a year. It wasn't immediately clear if this was before or after the big banks take their cut for laundering the money.
A Prize In Every Box: If you took your 5 year-old daughter to the ND State Fair, did you enjoy explaining to her why you took that cute little doll away from her? You know, the “the most realistic fetal model ever developed,” And the well illustrated pamphlet describing fetal development up to the moment of abortion, did you read that to her, or just help her color the pictures?
The Sadness of Ignorance: 53% of Americans think Edward Snowden should be charged with a crime, any crime. They'd rather be safe than free - so they're settling for neither.
Bell-Whether, Or Not: Caterpillar, usually taken as a good proxy for the world's economic outlook, reported earnings that were nearly 15% below expectations, then announced that "World economic growth slowed in the first half of the year, and we are revising our growth estimates downwards... we expect that world economic growth for 2013 will be a little over 2 percent." Then added "We expect weak growth, high unemployment and low inflation..."
Frisky: Ray Kelly, NY commissioner of police, says all those unconstitutional 'stop and frisk' insults to the citizenry's constitutional rights have prevented not only “another terrorist attack”, but an additional 7,383 homicides. Exactly.
Technically: MIT is attempting to quash a Freedom of Information motion seeking information regarding Aaron Swartz' Secret Service file. Curious, in that they are not a party to the motion - which MIT fears will cause it to look bad for its role in driving Swartz to commit suicide. Academic freedom at MIT apparently means that academics are free of the consequences of their acts.
Countdown: With today's CO2 levels, at 400ppm, matching those a few million years ago when the sea level was 65 feet higher than today; a significant rise in sea level is unavoidable. But no one knows how quickly the rise will occur (quite rapidly, in some past episodes) because atmospheric CO2 has never increased as rapidly before. Are you feeling lucky?
Food/Thought: "Our understanding of economics is stuck in the past, in a world of scarcity, a world without advertising, where making things rather than selling them was the fundamental economic problem."
Conditional Rape: If the rapist doesn't orgasm (or at least doen't leave evidence of same), then the act was not a rape - according to USC police. At UNC-Chapel Hill, co-eds who report rapes are threatened with expulsion for besmirching the school's good name. Even so, being female beats being black. Marginally.
Right To Know: The pharmaceutical industry is anxious to defeat legislation here and in Europe that would require they publish all the results of all their drug trials, not just those that will increase profits. They pay the band, they get to name the tune, that's the American way.
Understatement: The release of methane from a warming Arctic “is an economic time-bomb” that “would cost the world's economies $60 trillion” It would also raise temperatures dramatically and cause widespread hardships, massive migrations, widespread starvation and the death of millions. But let's worry about the money.
The Parting Shot: