Saturday, August 17, 2013

SAR #13229

All behavior has a purpose, thus the mystery of life.

Passages: When Obama said, a few days ago, that the NSA didn't “actually” abuse its ability to monitor everything you do, he lied was wrong. Its own documents show that in one recent year the agency had engaged in “unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications,” 2,776 times. Just in the DC area.

False Dawn, Part 34: The headline assured us that housing starts were on the rise in July. This is true as long as you define 'housing starts' to be multifamily projects, not single family homes; they were down 2.2% from June. Sometimes the facts ruin the happy pictures.

What Could Go Wrong? Ecuador has set aside an area of the Amazon eight times larger than greater Los Angeles as a nature reserve and oil field. The oil field part trumps the nature reserve part because the government needs to increase its revenues immediately, and what better way to do that than to despoil some pristine wilderness?

Quoted: "Never before has the manipulation of money counted for so much and the real-world economy of people and consumer goods counted for so little. And none of it is an accident."

One More Time: Would someone please tell Phil Gramm that poor people did not cause the Current Unpleasantness, he did. Or at least helped greatly through dismantling the federal regulation of the financial system and clearing the way for predatory mortgage products, out-of-control securitization and unregulated derivatives markets. Repeating lies does not make them true.

Collateral Damage: The State of Texas, being sued for the discriminatory nature of its newly crafted voting districts, maintains that it had no intention of discriminating against blacks and Latinos, only Democrats. If they were inadvertently harmed by the process it was because they were (or were suspected of being) Democrats.

Day's Best Headline: Doctors Report Assault Victim Feeling Better, Attribute Improvement to Vicious Beating.

Rant Of The Day: Yves' A Disturbance In The Force easily qualifies as the best rant of the day, with the following caveat: It is a meditation on the ongoing dismantling of the broad social and political architecture that served as the foundation for the Industrial Revolution with the aim of destroying the economic and civil rights ordinary people.

Life As We Know It: “Stock and bond prices tumbled after stronger-than-expected economic data …” We live in a world where good economic news causes the markets to fall. Strange.

Baked In... If you have been having trouble getting a good sense of what 'global warming' is all about, what it means to you and will mean to your children, try this: Let's define a severe heat wave as a three week period where the temperature is consistently three standard deviations above the norm. Now imagine that it is 2020 and such things happen twice as often as they do today. Then imagine that it is 2040 and they happen four times as often. Then think about the heat waves that are in the 5th standard deviation from today's norm - such things do not happen now, but by 2040 they will, with increasing frequency. And this is what is already in the works, in the CO2 in the atmosphere. Not 'if' but what is going to happen even if we never burn another lump of coal or gallon of gas. Going. To. Happen.

The Parting Shot:

Periwinkle. Vinca minor.

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