Supporting Our Heroes: Senate Republicans managed to kill a bill that would have provided $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for veterans, claiming that it was their patriotic duty to prevent the Democrats from undermining the tax breaks for the rich that the veterans had fought so nobly to protect.
Paraphrased: The euro economy is in a terrible mess. The euro itself was a bad idea to begin with and decades from now historians will marvel that educated adults ever thought it would work. Absent a united Europe, which is politically impossible today, “retreat from the euro is inevitable and desirable.” All these difficulties were predictable and predicted. The inevitable demise of the euro will be a disaster, one better faced sooner rather than later. Instead, Europe's leaders keep looking for ways to put off collapse for a few more months. Will w e look back on the euro as a mistake? Yes. - Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke, "Whither the Euro?" in the IMF's Finance and Development.
Olly Olly Oxen Free: Following the exposure of animal abuses at one of Idaho's largest dairies where workers were filmed caning, beating and sexually abusing cows, the state has made it illegal to care about such things, to ensure farmers' rights to
Knowing the Ending: Our fate is sealed. Knowing we are killing ourselves, our society, our future, day by day with carbon emissions and doing nothing about it is simple suicide. We know, have known for quite some time, that we must cease spewing CO2 into the atmosphere, but we have not done anything about it, are not doing anything about it, and will not do anything about it. Just ask the folks in Shanghai or Beijing. They say you cannot tell a story if you don't know the ending. Well, we know how this ends.
La Dolce Vita: Austerity measures have worked so well in Italy that unemployment has reached a record 12.9% and the Eternal City had to be bailed out. Again.
Basics Math: Why should any CEO earn 190 times the average wage? Obviously this is another proof of the myth of efficient markets. Years of corporate performance data clearly shows that these ridiculous wages do not translate into profits. These are in most respects ordinary men made special only by their greed and ruthless self-promotion.
Mugged: A drought in Brazil is making coffee expensive. Climate change may make it rare. And thanks to a combination of Starbucks and gullibility, we've long since run out of affordable coffee. Drink up.
Adaptation: "Christianity has been the mainstream religion in American society by calibrating the amount of racism and sexism build into their teachings to remain close enough to the mainstream to retain its status. It’s clearly happening again…”
Listen Up: The US economy sucks because American companies and their owners are greedier now than at any previous time in our history, which is why the economic recovery has been the slowest recovery in history. Our obsession with "maximizing profits" has made us a country of 3 million overlords and 300 million serfs.
Quitting Time: It is time to reconsider the proposition that everyone should go to college and to suggest that if one is going to go to the expense, it should be to a real college with a real campus. The for-profit institutions – think ITT and Appolo/Phoenix – exist for the benefit of the owners. They get up to 89% of their income from student loans – and at least 23% of their graduates default within three years (note that the graduation rate at for-profit colleges is about half that of four-year colleges.) Which is not surprising; the average salary (ITT class of 2011) was $32,000 not the $45,500 average of graduates of traditional 4-year public colleges. But one thing they do learn – they'd be better off if they were not indentured servants.
Field Trip: A criminal justice student in San Antonio was arrested while sitting at bus stop and filming police officers operating a speed trap. The charge was failing to provide her internal passport for identification as required by the Patriot act.
Minority Reporting: In Los Angeles the police are adopting the latest in surveillance technology and computer algorithms to track the movements of millions of Southern California citizens to determine if they have committed a crime, or are likely to do so.
The Parting Shot: