Prophets and Loss: Under cover of air strikes, Shell is retreating from its Ukrainian shale oil misadventure, writing off its investment after exploratory drilling found that what gas there was would not be economically worth the effort – especially after it lost $2.4 billion on its adventures in US shale gas. The promise of a natural gas cornucopia from drilling purportedly immense shale deposits in Ukraine, like similar promises in Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Poland, have remained just that: promises. Total, Chevron and Eni have also fled from their shale projects in Eastern Europe.
O Happy Day! At the beginning of June, more than half of Germany's electrical power was supplied by solar installations.
Castor Oil: Google and Microsoft have agreed to put 'kill switches' in all new Android and Windows phones (Apple joined the Dark Side last September). The pretense is that it helps prevent theft of your cell phone. What it really does is give the government the ability to disable phones in the case of social protests and demonstrations.
God, Moving Mysteriously: The Presbyterian assembly has voted, by an overwhelming majority, to correct the Bible and to accept same-sex marriage as a Christian sacrament. It's not quite the Council of Nicaea promoting Jesus to godhood and inflicting trinitarianism on the world, but it's close.
One From Column A and Two From... The main things to remember about your electronic health records are 1) they're not your records, 2) they're not about you 3) they are – like all computerized records – all about control. Control of costs, control of your doctor and control of you. Now, open wide.
The Road Is Long... The problems at the VA are being enthusiastically embraced by those whose goal is to block nationwide health care reform and privatize the VA system. It is undeniable that US health care is far too expensive and delivers a shoddy product when compared to the French and British and Canadian systems. But the conservatives (backed by donations from insurance companies and for-profit hospital conglomerates) don't want a universal public health system that works – from their point of view the current American system generates profits quite nicely. Yes, the VA needs serious managerial house-cleaning. It also needs clear guidelines from Congress as to who is eligible, and enough money from Congress to serve those needs. But we shouldn’t let the greed for bonuses by a handful of VA administrators be used divert us from the goal of a single-payer universal health care system.
Sad But True: No one actually knows if all those damned annoying ads on the internet generate enough sales to be cost effective. But we have to endure them because they might.
The Whites of Their Eyes: Florida, where it is already legal to shoot girl scouts selling cookies if they knock on your door and it is still open season on black kids in hoodies, has now passed legislation
Password: Israeli thugs have killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy for not being one of the three missing teenagers they were searching for. It's hard to tell which is worse, the way Israel treats the Palestinians or the way the US treats everyone else.
The Parting Shot: