Debt Collection: We have, again, misread the situation between Russia and its neighbors. It is not an invasion, it is simply an effort on Mr. Putin's part to maker sure Ukraine keeps paying the vig on the $2 billion it owes Gasprom. When are we going to realize that the whole world does not revolve around US and that a whole lot of things simply are not our business?
Punched Line: US household wealth surged in 4Q2013 as stock market gains in and the increase in home prices rose. Which is good news for those who own stock or have house mortgages that are not underwater. And jobs. Jobs are good to have, too.
Because He's : The Republicans have refused to let Obama fill 33 ambassadorial posts – we have no Ambassador in countries as important as Canada, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as places where we are fighting al-Qaeda like Yemen. Of the 33 nominees, all but 5 have been waiting for over 100 days and over half for over 200 days. Because... Fill in the blank.
Rest In Plains: Among the dumb things The Donald said in his talk to the Conservative Political Action Conference was his reference to the "late, great Jimmy Carter". Two wrongs don't make a right.
Re-defined: There’s a growing meme wandering around in Washington to the effect that a) full employment means 6.5% unemployment and 2) the long term unemployed don't actually count. Ah, the new normal.
Fox/Henhouse: The USDA, in order to save money and not lives, is turning regulation and monitoring of the nation's poultry industry over to... the poultry industry.
You Don't Want The Truth... The Senate conducted an investigation into the intelligence and military's use of torture and produced a 6,300 page report at the cost of over $40 million. The main conclusion seems to have been that the report's findings are too disgusting to let the public read and thus were highly classified. Your Senator can't give you a copy, he's not cleared to know what was done in our name either.
Emphasis: As part of the public debate over the US response to the situation in Ukraine, I'd like to point out that half the public schools in the country are in dire need of repair and that 20% of US kids do not consistently get enough to eat.
Texas Taxes: The 'no income tax' states - those that rely on sales taxes - are in the smoke and mirror business, pretending to care for the poor by not taxing their income while letting the rich off lightly. In Texas, which has the fifth most regressive taxes in the country, the rich pay an effective tax rate of 3.2%, the middle class pays 8%, while the poor pay 12%. Most Texans pay more in taxes than the folks in tax-happy Californian.
Six of One... California leads the nation in both millionaires and food-stamp recipients. Correlation in not causation.
Porn O'Graph: Mean streets.
The Parting Shot: