Street Sweepers: The Egyptian military says at least 30 pro-Mursi supporters were killed when security forces surrounded and cleared an area where thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters had held a sit-in for over a month. A second camp was also quickly cleared. Brotherhood spokesmen say that "hundreds" were killed. Government security forces announced the arrest of "a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including El-Beltagi, a senior leader of the movement. This will, of course, bring dissatisfaction with the military rule to a happy end.
Previews: It's not getting much play in the media, not yet, but Washington expects the budget/debt ceiling brawl coming up in the fall to be serious. Very serious. Sure, the Republicans want to posture and pose and threaten, as ususal, but this time the Democrats are inclined to let them. The electoral math suggests that if the Republicans shut down the government, the Republicans will be blamed for shutting down the government. And the Dems are willing to help the fringe nuts get their way.
No Comment: “Authorities worried testicle-eating killer fish found in Swedish waters pose threat to skinny-dippers.”
Warm Enough For You? A historic heat wave from southern Japan through Korea and into eastern China has enveloped probably over one hundred million people, with over 40 cities reporting temperatures above 104ºF (40ºC). Just the cities of Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Changsha account for over 50 million people. The extent of the deaths will probably never be known, but undoubtedly a major climate-related catastrophe is underway.
Ups & Down: Goldman says that "without the boost from housing, real GDP growth would fall below 1% this year," and that house prices have begun to decelerate and that they “expect a slowdown from the 10%+ pace observed over the past year.”
Under Siege: Implementing a program as complex and extensive as the Affordable Care Act would be a challenge at any time and in the best of circumstances. Given the Republicans' relentless drumbeat of misinformation, outright lies, and attempts to confuse people, the task faced by those trying to bring healthcare coverage to 30 or 40 million Americans is immense. I wish them well.
Druthers: The Air Force says the sequester cuts are forcing it to shut down the surveillance system that tracks all the junk circling the earth. To bad budget cuts can't force NSA to shut down the surveillance system that tracks us.
Q&A: “Does the US pay families when US drones kill innocent Yemenis?” Define innocent; they're Yemenis aren't they?
The Cocktail Hour: There could be an informative debate over the existence and/or role of Fannie and Freddie, but the discussion should not include the Republican claim that their mandate to assist lower-income borrowers was the cause of the subprime misadventure, because the claim is false. The greater proportion of blame for the subprime misadventure – and its lingering after effects - belongs at the feet of Wall Street's greedy financiers and nowhere else.
Salvation, Limited Edition: About that cornucopia; over the first year, shale oil wells decline 10% to 15% faster than shale gas wells. In the Bakken, decline rates above 90% over the first year of production are common for shale oil wells. Good news for the guys selling gold pans and denims.
Will Work For Food: Bill O'Reilly, aghast that 15% of Americans qualify for food stamps, thinks that at least “some of those people are conning the system.” Maybe so, but if a single mom with a child needs to con the government out of a maximum of $367 a month, let her. The Department of Agriculture says she can buy a month's worth of healthy food with that. Care to try?
Words: Seems we no longer have a sense of humor about tasteless, politically incorrect humor. The rodeo clown who poked fun at Obama has been banned from appearing at the Missouri State Fair, and the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association personnel and performers must undergo sensitivity training if they are to work with the fair again. How come clowns like Limbaugh don't have to take some sensitivity training?
The Parting Shot: