Thursday, January 16, 2014

SAR #14016

Randomness is hard to accept.

Sound & Fury: A Bi-Partisan Congressional report says that the attack on the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi could have been prevented. Well, sure. With a huge amount of money - billions - and manpower - more billions on paramilitary contractors - and material - bomb-proof unapproachable fortresses at literally hundreds of locations around the world - that the Congress is not likely to ever approve. Take a bow.

Clip & Save: BP says the US will be energy independent by 2035 thanks to tight oil and natural gas from shale. Absent a crushing and enduring depression, this is not true.

Trojan Heroics: France's president Hollande, who didn't get the memo from Athens, the IMF or Krugman, intends to administer a series of 'electro-shocks' to the French economy and, for as long as they'll take it, the French. He promises to shrink the state's social programs dramatically, to 'reform' labor policies and to give businesses anything they want, including lower taxes. Theoretically a €100bn cut in taxes will produce a million new jobs over the next five years. More likely this will lead to a third installment of the long recession followed by massive street demonstrations and the departure of Hollande. 
Crib Notes: Thirty-four of those specially chosen and trained Air Farce Force officers who are responsible for manning the nation's nuclear launch sites have been suspended for cheating on the tests that qualified them to hold those positions. At least it wasn't charges involving drugs and lose women, like those that doomed their top commanders a month ago. Oh, wait; some of them seem to be subject of drug investigations, too. Lock up your daughters.

The Unseen Hand: The federal courts say the FCC does not have the right to regulate the internet and that the free market should be allowed to set prices and chose what you can and cannot do on the not-so world wide net. ATT and Verizon and the cable companies know best and if you don't like, it you can't go anywhere else. Remember AOL?

Dry Spell: Farmers in the nation's “food basket” say that the unyielding drought in California – 2013 was the driest year in a century and 2014 isn't starting off any better – will result in hundreds of thousands of land going fallow in an area that produces about half the nation's fruits, vegetables and nuts . Ah, a new California diet – eat all you can afford.

Under One Roof: Despite the claimed recovery, foreclosures of severely underwater houses are common in 15 states, banks remain wary of new loans leaving many would-be buyers on the sideline, and even with slowly rising interest rates, few investors are eager to tie up funds for 30 years at current rates. Mortgage lending has fallen 60% y/y at Wells Fargo and down 55% at JPMorgan. The refinancing boom has died off and the only real life in the mortgage markets seems to be with jumbo mortgages where credit standards have been slipping and in the home-equity loan business., which has increased by 70% as second loans have doubled.

Protecting & Serving: A couple of Fullerton, CA cops who beat a schizophrenic homeless man to death (on camera) while protecting themselves will not be serving any time for the brutal assault because "These peace officers were doing their jobs. They were operating as they were trained..." Which is the problem.

Austerity Rules! Don't say the EU/ECB/IMF-imposed austerity measures haven't helped Greece. It is doubtful that without them the Greeks could have achieved a record 10 successive months of deflation – the longest deflationary period in over 40 years. The austerity program has reduced the Greek economy by 21.3% while destroying employment, social services and political cohesion. Wowser.

Open Book Test: Why is the current recovery so agonizingly slow? Well, what's the price of oil?

Active Defense: The NSA has covertly inserted "tiny circuit boards and USB cards" in upwards of 100,000 computers worldwide, some were compromised before they got to the end users, others were covertly modified by agents "in the field:. The main thrust was to permit the NSA to monitor everything the computer did - even if it was never connected to the internet. And that was old, 2008 technology. Reasonable suspicion? Warrant?

Porn O'Graph: How big is yours?

The Parting Shot:
 Christmas tree worm, Spirobraanchus giganteus.


Tulsatime said...

Do you dive, as well as take a mean pickture in the woods?

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Yes, we're divers. Been at it so long that I have pictures of actual coral off the Florida keys, as well as schools of fish etc. The current series of photos were taken off Roatan (Coco View) in 1990 (and it is amazing how well they digitalize). We used to make at least two trips a year in the 1980's and 90's. Not so much, now that we're both sponging off Social Security.