Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SAR #14271

How we are governed is not nearly as important as how much.

Collateral Damage: In the US bombing campaign against ISIS, who actually is being killed? Do you care? Does Obama? Does the Nobel Committee? In the same vein, who are the people the US is holding in all those secret Afghan prisons?

Cock, Crowing: Inflation! Inflation is coming! Right Here In River City, Trouble with a capital 'I'. That's the gist of Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher's rationale for an immediate hike in interest rates, to prevent unemployment from falling below some magic number 7%, 6% and why the first thing you know the interest the rich get won't keep up. One of these days the sun will, in fact, come up, but not for a while. And Fisher's cackling will not be the cause.

Sticks & Stones: Russia says that the airspace of Syria is “under its protection” and that Russia will retaliate against the US if it continues to violate Syria's sovereign airspace. Okay, so just how?

Good News/Bad: Climate change is no longer a threat to our children's' future. It is a threat to us, today; it's already here. 
Playbook: The Republicans are turning to “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” as the main code-words for this fall's speeches. This is supposed to make them “more inclusive and welcoming” on social issues. They see it as a way of fooling women into supporting the GOP even though it holds them in contempt and votes against their interests most of the time. According to Rand Paul the nation is in the midst of a “spiritual crisis” and that “America needs a revival.” What the country needs, they claim, is the freedom to impose conservative Christianity on others, here and abroad, to require Christian prayer in evolution-free schools, to force Jews to wear yellow stars, Muslims to be dead and all Buddhists to be kindly old Asian guys.

Got Five, Do Hear I Six? Guy in Kansas didn't pay his taxes, so the state tax cops closed his business and confiscated his inventory and now the state is actioning off the material seized, which includes dildos, blow-up sex partners, porn videos, a variety of magazines, and condoms in assorted flavors.

Rights, Wronged: Collingdale, PA police decided to give a local couple grounds to get rich by issuing a citation to them for videotaping them inside their own home. Cops just don't get the concept that they are public servants doing the people's business and are subject to being recorded... and being sued if they get nasty about it.

Quit While You Can: Facebook is selling all the information it has on you (and it has a lot) to a new ad network, Atlas, which will inundate you with ads wherever you go, based on your Facebook info.

And I Quote: 'Littering — the death penalty is probably too strong — but it ought to be punished really severely.” Fox's Tucker Carlson, after arguing that only rich people care about global warming. 
True, True: Americans have no idea how much the Masters of the Universe are paid and vastly underestimate the concentration of wealth at the top.”

Location, Location: Sarah Palin claims that 'Truth is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.' And other places, too.

Monday, September 29, 2014

SAR #14270

Define 'Civilian': The US wants to impose a 'no-fly' zone over Syria in order to protect civilians from airstrikes. The assumption is that US airstrikes do not kill civilians.

Either/Or: Obama says that the public's mistrust of the police is corroding America. Maybe it's because the cops think nothing of medically paralyzing a person to conduct a 'cavity search'. Or that district attorneys in LA want to give the cops blanket authority to conduct warrantless hotel/motel registration searches to see who they can blackmail
Several Days Late: After sterilizing 39 female inmates without their consent in the last decade, California has decided that maybe they should ask permission.

Observed: Most of the poor have jobs. The problem is that even with jobs' many do not earn enough to get by. A Martian might conclude that either our bills are too high or our jobs don't pay enough. Democracy should not mean having the freedom to slowly starve while working full time. It should not mean having the freedom and the necessity to choose between groceries or dental care. It should not require that most of us to support the rich while depriving our children of their futures.

Back To The Future: The Turkish government, turning its back on Kemal Atatürk, has banned makeup, tattoos and piercings among students, but will now allow the wearing of headscarves – pending mandatory burkas for all females over the age of 3.

Factoid: Thirty-four percent of the US workforce is made up of “freelancers”, most of whom have no job security, no benefits, no future. And that's our future, too.

Easy Button: The US energy 'boom' is most likely to end a) when all the sweet spots have been fracked, b) when the Soviet Arctic comes on line, c) when interest rates rise, d) when the price of West Texas Intermediate drops below $90, or e) soon.

Irresistible: Four Peruvian anti-logging activists have been cut down.

In The National Interest: Australia has banned all reports of “multi-national bribery” because revealing the extent of government coruption would endanger the government's national security. In the same vein, in order to keep the Australian secret police happy, internet provider Vodaphone will now keep track of its customers' web history for at least 90 days, pretending that this is to "allow its customers to keep track of how much of their data allowance they are using on particular sites." 
Sorry, So Sorry: Comcast, admitting that its cusromer service is terrible, has promised to make improvements, and while it will start billing you for the improved service now, actual improvement “may take a few years.”

Jargon: The Air Force sergeant who pled guilty to multiple charges of rape has had his conviction overturned because military judges did no think confessing was a sufficient basis for a conviction. In the USAF “confession” obviously doesn't mean what says in the dictionary.

Small Business Start-Up: An industrious young man who secretly siphoned off 1.5 million gallons of water for his marijuana plantation has been arrested. Bad business plan, and he over-watered.

Porn O'Graph: Rich richer, etc.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

SAR #14268

It is not over, it is not nearly over. 

Keeping Score: While over 50 countries were giving in to US pressure to join the latest Crusade, ISIS was busy overrunning an Iraqi Army Base on the outskirts of Baghdad. And in Afghanistan ISIS wannabes beheaded 15 people just because they could and besides, it makes them feel important.
Definitions: The FBI is seriously upset with Apple and Google for locking them out of users' phones. According to the FBI it is every American's right to be secretly recorded by the Forces of Good.

The Winter of Our Discontent: Russia, having become tired of the Mickey Mouserie, made it clear that if the EU continued to supply Ukraine with gas while Ukraine still owes Russia for gas from last year and the year before, various EU countries would not get any Russian gas. Hungary got to go first, cutting off Ukraine to keep the hat on at home. So the EU is going to give Ukraine a few billion dollars to give to Russia and everyone will pretend the sanctions mean diddly. 
That Didn't Take Long: Short sellers have begun placing their bets against Alibaba's ridiculous valuations. Now for Apple.

Remedial Class: Remember peak oil? Thought it didn't happen, right. Thought it was just a passing fancy, right? But production of conventional oil did peak, back in 2005, just as predicted. The downward economic spiral came along right on time, too. It hasn't been as dramatic as expected, mostly because of the US fracking boom. But that's going to be but a passing fancy – good for a couple more years at most. And with oil down to $90 a barrel, a lot of would-be fracking wells, won't be. And the debts that made the last 30, 40 years of prosperity possible will be called. And then we'll be re-reading those peak oil prophecies. 
Proportion: The same MSM that warn us that ISIS is going to behead people on the A train are concerned that Kim Jong Un may have gout. Actually, the gout story is more likely true.

Victimization: In Louisiana a rape victim should check her insurance coverage before reporting the rape; the cops will charge her for the cost of the forensic medical exam and related hospital charges – even though both state and federal guidelines call for these services to be provided at no cost to the victim. But in Louisiana you are not a victim of rape until the test results come back.

Balanced Budget: Because cops in Montreal wrote fewer tickets this summer, the city wants the police union to make up for the budgetary shortfall that resulted.

Sampler: “Working longer and longer hours until there is no time left for anything else is not the best the way to get the freedom [you] are looking for.” Paul Krugman

Kill Them All: Michele Bachmann helpfully points out that Islam is the problem and the US must “declare war on it.” It says so in the Good Book, Far Right Edition. 
Porn O'Graph: Jobs, take two, they're small.

Friday, September 26, 2014

SAR #14267

“They are selling terror and boy are we buying.” Bill Maher

Lebensraum: In Germany a new anti-euro party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has won 10% of the vote in recent elections. The sudden strength of this Germany-first party (to be followed by a Germany for the Germans group and then one with the motto 'Lebensraum') in Angela Merkel's rear-view mirror is bound to affect her efforts keep the eurozone afloat. That the AfD is right only adds to the problem.

Tomb of the Unknowns: Obama reminded the UN General Assembly that “the cause of empire leads to the graveyard”. Actually, several graveyards. First those filled with the conquered, then the conquerors. 
A Big Bite: Over 20,000 police across Europe arrested more than 1,000 people from gangs involved in people trafficking, narcotics, gun trafficking and cybercrime. In one raid 30 children destined for the sex trade were rescued. The biggest surprise was the secrecy with which the operation was planned and executed. While more arrests are expected to follow, don't expect much to change.

Can You Hear Me Now? Russia has carefully explained to the EU that if the natural gas Russia ships to Europe keeps ending up in Ukraine, they'll have to stop shipping the gas. And a new law will give Russian courts authority to seize foreign-owned assets in Russia – an economic response to economic sanctions. Not retaliation, no, no, not retaliation. Diplomacy.

Long Division: The US Army is preparing to deploy the 1st Infantry Division's headquarters to Iraq. 
Carpe The Diem: Australia is succumbing (with the help of self-serving politicians) to another wave of irrational fear, giving their spy agency, ASIO, the power to monitor every Australian's every use of the internet, with special emphasis on harassing journalists. The goal is to identify and jail whistleblowers. Think of it as the out-of-town tryouts for NSA & the guys from our Heimatsicherheitsamt.

And I Quote:Man mistaken for squirrel shot dead.”

Fortune Cookie: “Democratic political systems are not supposed to end conflict, [but] given how self-reinforcing the country’s political malaise is, and how unlikely the prospects for constructive incremental reform are, the decay of American politics will probably continue until some external shock comes along to catalyze a true reform coalition and galvanize it into action.”

Correction: The pauperization of the US middle class is not something new. The median household income stalled out way back in 1980. Does know this make you feel better?

Moot Court: In what would seem to be (but isn't) a defense mounted by first year law students, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office claims that a civilian PA prison clerk who was raped by a prisoner after her workplace was relocated to an unlocked office in the penitentiary and who is now suing the state for contributing to the crime had "acted in a manner which in whole or in part contributed” to her rape. The old 'she-asked-for-it' defense.

Is Our Children Learning: Down in Texas the way you get your guys onto the school board is to pay voters either $10 cash or give them a “small bag of cocaine” to encourage them to vote for your candidates. Probably the family values/prayer in the schools/anti-evolution bunch.

Porn O'Graph: Death watch.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

SAR #14266

Thou shalt not speak ill of insiders. Jesse

From The Redwood Forests... The US Forest Service says that the media (? who, precisely are 'the media'?) must get a $1,500 permit before pictures of trees and ferns can be taken in any of the 100 million acres of national wilderness. This land may be your land, but they're in charge.

Bug/Feature: CVS now claims that a computer program that caused their pharmacies to routinely charge women illegal copays for birth control products was “a glitch”. Their profit projections have been adjusted.

WTF? The Nanny State, in the guise of national security, has been monitoring Huntsville, AL school students' Facebook pages and other internet use, looking for malcontent and non-conformist teens. Privacy? These are school kids, they don't got no privacy.

If Only: Facebook has joined Google, Microsoft and Yelp in leaving ALEC over its denial of climate change. Now if our politicians could Just Say No.

Hey, Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone: Hundreds of suburban Denver students walked out of classrooms to protest the dumbing down of their history courses, especially the re-targeting of the curricula to inculcate “patriotism and respect for authority” in lieu of lessons about the crimes against humanity that building and maintaining a capitalist society has required.

Price of Progress: That part of the Aw Shucks bombing of ISIS in Syria conducted by F-22 Raptor stealth aircraft (deployed to avoid ISIS air assets) cost $79 million. India's successful mission to Mars cost $74 million. 
Pot/Kettles: Proving that his grip on reality is slipping away, Turkish President Erdoğan is chastising other countries for “not doing enough” to stop foreign fighters from crossing from Turkey into Syria to join ISIS.

There, But For The Grace of God... A man who thought his merchandise was his after he paid for it and refused to show a Costco employee at the exit a receipt for the goods was 'detained', which involved breaking his leg. He's suing for $670,000. I guess I'll keep meekly showing my receipt to the retiree at the Sam's exit. But I don't have to like it.

Details: A report claims that “hydrogen cars show clean, green transport closer to reality”. Closer than what? And does this include the pollution emitted in generating the hydrogen? Free lunch, they've found a free lunch? Not likely.

Size Matters: The United States says it can legally bomb Syria because of the longstanding international tradition that permits the big Western countries to do whatever they want when it comes to impotent small countries, especially those without nukes.

Porn O'Graph: Less just seems like more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

SAR #14265

Impossible things do not happen. Improbable things happen all the while.

In The Garden: Officials in Sierra Leone say that there have been 10 Ebola deaths in Freeport, the capital, in the last six months. Records and gravediggers at Freeport's cemetery say there have been 110 Ebola victims buried in the last week. WHO says 20,000 could be infected by Ebola by November while CDC scientists, citing a 71% fatality rate, expect upwards of 1.5 million Ebola cases (and at least a million deaths) by the end of January and that Ebola will become endemic in parts of Africa
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler: A Louisiana judge has struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Clueless in Culloden: Under the banner of 'We Are the 45%', the unsuccessful secessionists, claiming voters were somehow 'tricked', now threaten to unilaterally declare Scottish independence. The banner ought to read “We Are the Bad Losers.”

Easy Does It: The National Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales 'eased' down 1.8% from July and down 5.3% from a year ago. The drop is due, they claim, because investors paying cash were no longer investing or paying cash. 
The 12 Step Program: Prices in the Eurozone continue their slide as business growth slows and the recovery needs recovery from too much austerity. Even Mr. Draghi is beginning to consider QE to boost things a bit. Too little, years too late.

One Stop Stopping: With increasing numbers of young adults, adolescents and the occasional child trying to make their way to Syria to join the jihadists, maybe the various governments should simply offer them simplified and expedited processing. Then when they show up, arrest and imprison them. Or summarily execute them. Look, these folks are not intellectual geniuses and this would save having to hunt them down and kill them later. 
Apples / Oranges: Texas' own Rick Perry says that if Joan Rivers had gone to a hospital for an abortion she would still be alive. 
Porn O'Graph: The Good, the Bad and the Actual.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SAR #14264

Not Taking No For an Answer: One of democracy's problems today is the outright refusal of the losing side to accept the will of the majority. In the US Senate this leads to minority rule. In Scotland, those who lost the referendum now claim that it was meaningless and that the struggle has just begun. Strange, if it had been even 51/49 the other way, they would have been deliriously triumphant.

Question Period: Is the answer to the ‘too big’ problem not more centralization, but less?

Unacceptable Tradeoff: PM Tony Abbott interrupted his campaign to destroy the environment long enough to warn the Aussies that they were going to lose even more of their civil rights, under the guise of external threat: "For some time to come, the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift.” I especially like “delicate balance” and “shift”.

Clueless In Congress: Senator Dianne Feinstein says there's no place for violence in the NFL George Will: has a far better grasp of the situation: 'The problem with football is football -- it is merchandising violence' 
Reality Check: What with all the demonstrations and the speeches about how 'fixing global warming will spur the economy” it is time for a quick peek at the way things actually are going to play out. Nothing is going to change. The real-world political and economic elites are not going to do a damned thing, for fear that it will cost them some profits. The CO2 load in the atmosphere will more than double before the end of the century and that will push up average global temperatures by about 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit). This will lead to all the other bad stuff that is regularly predicted: flooding seas, torrential rains in some areas, record drought in others, species extinction, massive refugee streams and water wars and starvation. That's really what is going to happen. The rest is just a walk in the sun.

First Place: Texas wins first place in petty cluelessness with its refusal to issue a drivers license to a married woman who took her same-sex spouse's name.

Move Along, Nothing To See: FIFA – the soccer folks – at the conclusion of their investigation into charges that they solicited and accepted bribes in awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups announced that no corruption had been found and thus there was no need to release the investigative report. This should at least get them a Yellow Card.

Be Careful Out There: Because of the increasing threat to US security by guys in stolen jeeps, the US is going to begin a major overhaul and update of its nuclear weapons. Just in case we have to turn the Iraqi desert into a desert.

Other Names: Larry Summers now, finally, wants the government to undertake a massive stimulus program “major” plan to boost the country’s economic growth by undertaking to repair and rebuild the aging and decrepit US infrastructure, calling it “a major growth strategy”. Anything, as long as it is not called “a stimulus.”

Consider the Possibilities: Wesleyan University has ordered its rape happy fraternities to admit women. Ah, education.

Argue the Affirmative: Alibaba is worth $230 billion. 
Porn O'Graph: The 'Ayes' have it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

SAR #14263

Negligent Homicides: Over 100 American children died at the hands of their parents last year when they did not get vaccinated against the flu. Nearly half of all kids between 5 and 17 years got vaccinated. That over 35,000 adults die of the same stupidity is their own fault, but it should not happen to kids. Sure, some who get flu shots catch the flu and some die. But mostly these are preventable, both the illnesses and the deaths.

Know Your Enemy: Wealthy Arabs, mostly Saudis, continue to finance ISIS (As they did al-Qaeda). Maybe we are targeting the wrong terrorists with our drones.

Potato/Potahto: Various headlines report that 45,000, 60,000, 70,000 or possibly 100,000 refugees, Syrians, or Kurds (or refugee Syrian Kurds, descriptions vary) have crossed into Turkey fleeing ISIS forces advancing on the town of Kobane. Turkey either opened its border to allow them in or opened fire on them with tear gas as they tried to enter the country. It's called the fog of war. 
Breaking Bad: GlaxoSmithKline admitted they had been bribing doctors and hospitals to prescribe and use their pharmaceuticals, but only in China. They paid nearly a half-billion in fines and promised not to get caught doing it again. In China.

Market Research: Which 'phablet' do you really need? Neither. Which is best? Probably the Samsung/Android version. Which one will you buy? Remember, an Apple a day makes you feel smug.

Debts To Society: Thirty-two FL Corrections Department guards have been fired in connection with “criminal wrongdoing” in the deaths of inmates in four different state prisons. By and large, there is supposed to be a difference between being sentenced to jail and being sentenced to death. 
Sneak Attack: After six years of austerity to kick-start the economy and prevent inflation from too much borrowing, Europe is now scrambling to staunch increasing deflation that is in danger of spiraling out of control. Hopefully not by another round of austerity.

Just So Story: ISIS has released the 49 hostages captured from the Turkish embassy in Mosul, apparently out of the goodness of their hearts, because the Turks claim no ransom was paid for the release - unless you count their continuing refusal to take any part in fighting ISIS.  Do you think it's going to rain?

Porn O'Graph: The 1%'s growth spurt.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

SAR #14261

What is it that the government is afraid we'll do if we are left unsupervised?
Scottish Upset: The historic Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland has voted to admit women to the club for the first time.

A Losing Bet: Shale fracking shares certain similarities with the subprime mortgage market just before everything went South. Drillers are having to borrow to pay for exploration needed to offset the steep production declines in wells they haven't yet paid for. Lots of loans are being made to folks who are spending more than they make and are not going to be able to pay back the loans – even while they'll have to come begging for more. It is a self-inflicted Ponzi scheme that depends on magical thinking to justify continuing the dance. 
Fun With Math: By averaging the net worth of Wall Street bankers, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates with the rest of us, the Federal Reserve discovered that household net worth had increased in the second quarter. Particularly for folks with a lot of money in the stock market.

What Did You Know And When Did You Know It? Both NFL and Baltimore Ravens top executives learned, in detail, about Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancée within hours of it happening – seven months before a publicity leak forced them to do something other than cover it up. 
Half A Loaf: US officials continue to assure Europe that it does not spy on them and anyway if it accidentally did it isn't spying on them as much as it used to.

DIY: Home Depot, do-it-yourself and save money place, apparently was doing it themselves over in the accounting department, where their antique Windows XPe system gave up personal data on 56 million of their customers. 
Old Yeller: For the 21st consecutive month, Caterpillar has posted declining global retail sales. Seem's no one is doing the heavy lifting.

Protecting & Serving: In Canada, taking a picture of oil storage tanks makes you a terrorist, while in the US taking a picture of police making arrests (which is absolutely legal, but can be injurious to your health) can get you arrested. If you make fun of public officials, they can send SWAT teams to break into your house and search the place. And if you get stopped by a cop, remember, he has a taser and you don't. 
Bad Hair Days: Donald Trump's Soho apartment/hotel development is being foreclosed on – two thirds of the units are vacant. Anybody recall the last time a Trump project didn't defraud investors and go bankrupt?

Friday, September 19, 2014

SAR #14260

Trends continue until the music stops.

Kill Switch: The House and Senate have approved arming and training 'moderate Syrian rebels' to fight against the IS jihadists, but they have to promise not to use the weapons against Assad. Or us. 

Theory & Practice: The government of the people, by the people, for the people has retaliated against over 1,400 whistleblowers. In the last year. 
Protecting & Serving: Another 200 unprocessed rape kits dating back to 1976 have been found in Memphis, TN. They join 12,000 similarly unprocessed kits that had been previously discovered.

Quandary: China, along with cutting its imports of iron ore and other raw materials from Australia as the Chinese economy cools, has now banned the import of 'dirty' coal. In that there is no such thing as “clean coal” - despite ads in the US claiming just that – Australian coal exports will also decline.

Vocabulary Builder: Define “integration” in the following sentence: President Hollande has declared that France is ready for “greater EU integration with Germany.” Submission? Grovelling? 
Just So Story: David Zirin notes that “the NFL is where racketeers condemn child abusers.” It has also been suggested that the NFL is tax exempt under the religious exemption. 
On The Up and Up: After 20 years of comforting reassurances that the world's population would peak at 9 billion in 2050, new projections indicate that population will continue to climb, reaching 11 billion by 2100 and continuing to climb thereafter. This seems unlikely – there cannot be enough energy available to grow enough food for that many people. 
Travel Planning: Vladimir Putin says his troops can reach Warsaw in two days – as well as Bucharest, Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius. I can't find this particular itinerary in my Royal Viking Lines cruise brochure.

Trendspotting: Projecting from the rate of territorial decline over the last two centuries, experts predicted Thursday that the British Empire will be reduced to an area of eight acres surrounding Buckingham Palace by as early as 2050. 
Gardening: If you've been puzzled by all the breadsticks and salted pasta hoo-hah about Starboard Value's blitz against Darden's Olive Garden, forget all the PR stuff and follow the money. And the money is tied up in the real estate that the restaurants sit on. The plan is to take over OG, split the restaurant from the land, sell the land, raise the rents and lower the wages and quality, liquidate the whole thing and smile all the way to the Caymans. 
Izzit True? Now they come traipsing along and tell us that salt is okay, but that sugar is even worse than they thought. Don't even ask about those sugar substitutes. Better just eat dirt. 
Porn O'Graph: What's the big deal about divorce?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SAR #14259

Why do so many stories about the economy have 'unexpectedly' in the first sentence?

Yesterdays: Obama makes the fourth successive US president to announce that the US would solve the world's problems by bombing Iraq. Why do we cling to the idea that death from the air will carry the day in the desert – against over 25 years of evidence to the contrary.

Plot Summary: A measure of homebuilder sentiment is at a 9 year high while mortgage applications are at a 14-year low.

The Downward Spiral: Turkey's newly re-elected Erdogan continues his Islamification of once secular Turkey by mandating that all school students at all grades must study Islam. It appears that the majority of Turks want their country dragged back to the level of religious savagery common in the middle ages – or in ISIS-occupied Iraq.

A Little Parsley: Ten percent of American workers between 35 and 44 get garnish with their wages – being docked up to 25% of their wages to repay credit card debt, medical bills or student loans. Often such debts go uncollected for years as the interest and fees compound, making repayment nearly impossible and providing an even larger unearned income stream to lenders.

Tense: Justice Sotomayor says technology has led could lead to “Orwellian world”.

The Low-Down: The US cost of living “unexpectedly” dropped by 0.2% in August. Excluding food and fuel, the so-called core measure was unchanged, the first time it failed to increase in almost four years. Let's hear it for the recovery!

Race To The Bottom: The $1.5 billion bribe Nevada extended to Tesla to get the battery factory brings up the question: Is this really a sensible thing to do? To bribe industries to come to your state or city, to pay their employee training costs, to build factories, roads and other services... for the promise, often not kept, of thousands of jobs at low wages. It is almost as silly as cities building professional sports stadiums. But no one dares be the first to quit.

Surprise! New reports indicate that as late as 2011 Citi, BofA and Deutsche Bank continued to launder drug money. Who thought they'd stop?

Fish Story: In the mid 2000's mackerel started showing up in the waters between Greenland and Iceland, which was not in their traditional range. By 2009 Iceland set a mackerel quota of 112,000 metric tons. In 2012 bluefin tuna weighing 220 pounds were being occasionally caught. In the last three months 21 tuna had been caught along with schools of mackerel. These waters used to be too cold for bluefins; no longer. 
Studying War Just A Little: The LA school system has decided to return the three grenade launchers it got from the Pentagon, as being in excess of their needs. They are keeping 61 semi-automatic rifles and a mine resistant armored personnel carrier.

Can't Win For Losing: Research (finally) has shown that using artificial sweeteners makes Type 2 diabetes worse, not better. While cutting the calories of sugar, the sweeteners do more harm than the real deal would, by increasing blood sugar levels. “Non-caloric artificial sweeteners may have directly contributed to enhancing the exact epidemic that they were intended to fight."

It's A Feature: New Apple devices come with kill switches that will allow the government users to lock the device and erase all the data on it. Something to deter theft, among other things.