An Apple A Day: It used to be that a company became more valuable by making things customers wanted. These days companies up their value without making anything more or new or better or at all – just by buying their own stock up. Certainly beats wasting the money on stuff like wages.
Why We Do Not Have A National Single Payer Health System: The health insurance industry is looking forward to the ACA helping make 2014 an “unprecedented” year. It's pretty much like little Mary selling Girl Scout cookies to the family – they gotta buy 'em.
One And Done: By approving quotas for all types of immigrants, Swiss voters have effectively ended their participation in th European Free Trade Agreement, part of which calls for the “free movement” of labor. The EU, which has a history of being less than enthusiastic about democracy, is pushing back.
Big Brother Wasn't Watching: Nearly 9 million pounds of “beef products” are being recalled because they were made from meat from diseased and unhealthy animals which had not undergone “full federal inspection.” That's the company's entire year's output. A call to the company went unanswered; perhaps everyone was out sick. Let's hear it for smaller government, less regulation, and the efficiencies of the free market.
Red Zone: A national supplier is accused of using bribes and gifts to city officials in at least 13 states in order to get contracts to install and operate those annoying traffic light cameras. You know, the ones with the 10 to 50% error rate.
Say Goodnight, Gracie: "How could we endorse [Chrisitie]? Had we lost our minds? ... Yes, we blew [it]. Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund..." Now "we’ve had a front-row view of what a creep he can be." "But be careful. .... Now that Christie has been knocked back, the leading candidate for the GOP nomination is Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, recently famous for his bizarre rant about women’s libido. And when he fades, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas will be waiting to pick up the pieces." We've been warned.
Several Wrongs Make Things Worse: Not only did the US tell the EU to fuck off on an open telephone line, it did so because the EU was not undermining a democratically elected government in Ukraine as fervently as the US desired, nor were they solidly behind the puppet the US State Department had chosen to run the country.
Perspective: The Republicans, recoiling at the notion that people would no longer be coerced into working jobs they don't want for wages that are too low just so they can have health insurance, are now claiming that breaking the long term enslavement-by-insurance will simply let the lazy lower class stop work all together. Makes you wonder what goes on in their tiny little minds, doesn't it?
Chipping In: Having been complicit in enabling the theft of data from hundreds of millions of credit cards, the US credit card industry has announced that by late 2015 it will be adopting the late 20th Century technology known as chip-and-pin. About time.
Opposites Attract: Research suggests that if you are not sad to start with, listening to melancholy music can make you happy.
Shocker: The Washington Post reports that in health care here is little relationship between what you pay and what you get. Even more so when it comes to buying insurance, where you never know until you need it if it is any damned good. Mostly it is not.
Picture This: During 2013 – only the sixth warmest year on record – the earth's oceans soaked up heat equivalent to 12 Hiroshima bombs. Every second of every day of the year. For the mathematically challenged, thats 378,432,000 explosions, each the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT.
Porn O'Graph: Simmer until done.
The Parting Shot: