Saturday, March 22, 2014

SAR #14081

There is nothing quite so tempting as a poorly managed country with exploitable resources. Jesse.

Balancing Act: As the West and Russia enter into The Sanctions Game, it is hard to handicap the tit-for-tattiness. Western banks have lent billions to Russia and Russian firms. Europe needs Russia's natural gas. Russian gangsters oligarchs have billions tied up in the West. Putin needs the income from that gas. Europe can switch suppliers faster than Russia can come up with new customers. The neocons have been missing a really good villain...

The Paper Chase: The big tech firms can pretend all they want that they did not cooperate with the NSA in violating your privacy, but only if billing the government for sending them your data is thought of as not cooperating. Too bad someone got copies of the invoices.

Sounds Plausible: Jack Matlock, former US Ambassador to the USSR, says that in annexing Crimea, Putin may be at least partially reacting to years of provocation by the US, including the eastward march of NATO and the expansion of US military bases in Eastern Europe.

Full Service: Google is being sued for reading children's emails in order to show advertisers that their ads in Google's Apps for Education were working.

Level Playing Field: Living "paycheck to paycheck" is not the exclusive purview of the lower classes – those we think of as the poor. But about a third of American households have little or no liquid assets, no cash, no savings or checking accounts. They are not officially poor - they own things a house, cars, and have some money in a 401k's. But they have no excess cash, they live from payday to payday, just like the rest of the poor.

Unlucky: Research shows that the long-term unemployed are destined to be just that – unemployed. Forever. Their chance of getting a job, any job, are so slim that economically they are irrelevant. No matter how many resumes they send out, phone calls they make, ads they answer, they are not going to get a job and thus do not count as part of the labor pool. So it is entirely possible that a labor shortage could occur while millions of the long term unemployed are... unemployed.

Getting Really Real: The average US wage, in real dollars indexed to 1982-84, increased a bit last year and now is only 13.5% lower than it was in 1972. After 40 years, lower wages are beginning to look like a trend. 
'splain to me: "We’re doing worse than anyone could have imagined a few years ago, yet people seem increasingly to be accepting this miserable situation as the new normal. How did this happen?" 
Got Milk? Why? Milk was designed by Mom as a food for newborn calves. Period. No mater what the dairy lobby says, it was not designed for you. No one ever died of a dairy deficiency. Lots of folks – nearly everyone but European whites – are lactose intolerant by design. It is not a disease or a failing. Now cheese, on the other hand...

Slips Ahoy: NCIS, apparently just because they can, has a database tracking your parking tickets, traffic citations, and minor traffic accidents. And if you've been arrested (to hell with waiting for the conviction), or a cop has written up an encounter information card with your name on it, they've got that too. And they share all this with almost any federal, state or local law enforcement agency. Posse commetas? We don't need no posse commetas. 
Down The Drain: The last remaining stable portion of the Greenland ice sheet, the Northeast Greenland Ice Sheet, is stable no more. The northeast ice stream stretches more than 370 miles into the center of the ice sheet, where it connects with the heart of Greenland's ice reservoir. It has the potential of “significantly changing the total mass balance of the ice sheet in the near future.” As in “look out below.”

Confirmation Classes: 72 studies involving 600,000 patients shows that eating food high in fish oils/omega-3 does not reduce the risk of heart disease.

The Parting Shot:
 Caesar Grunts, Haemulon carbonarium.


Degringolade said...


"Europe can switch suppliers faster than Russia can come up with new customers"

I think that I missed something in the translation...I would love to find where/who is saying this, it would be a greatly funny read....

As a long time fan, keep up the good work.


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

The main subject is the Russian fantasy that Europe is dependent on Gazprom for natural gas to warm their winters. They are, but the Europeans have other sources of natgas than the pipelines through Ukraine.

Russia, on the other hand, does not have ready customers (nor pipelines to them) who could pick up the place in the Russian budget that lost sales to Europe would cause.

Yes, they need each other - but my guess is that the Russians need European money more than Europe needs Russian natgas.

Or at least Putin does, to stay in power. Even in Russia staying in power is dependent on keeping the rich, rich.

Which is not to say that Europe could in any way ship natgas to Ukrains; they cannot.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

To Whom It May Matter: Sorry about the ghastly blue cast to today's Parting Shot. It is, I think, the last of the SCUBA derived pictures.

Another adventure awaits, come Monday.


Degringolade said...

call me a cretin should you wish, but the "ghastley blue cast" is what I found appealing