A Fool And His Money: Everyone's got an explanation for the drop in oil prices: It's the Russians, or the Saudis. Or those fracker guys. “Here’s the basic picture. The current surplus of oil was brought about primarily by the success of unconventional oil production in North America, most new investments in which are not sustainable at current prices. Without that production, the price of oil could not remain at current levels. It’s just a matter of how long it takes for the high-cost North American producers to cut back in response to current incentives. And when they do, the price has to go back up.” With charts. Read the charts.
Pacifier: The FBI and federal prosecutors want judges to force Apple and others to help the government bypass the encryption on phones. Sort of makes encryption pointless, which is the point.
Sound and Fury: Every year on the Monday following Black Thrusdayfriday the fate of the universe, the US economy and retailers' Christmas profit-taking season are revealed. This year it is, once again, disaster. Sales are down 11% from last year. Consumer spending fell to $50.9 billion from $57.4 billion in 2013. The average shopper was only able to drop $380 on stuff they don't need and can't afford.
The Play's The Thing: A Pakistani court has sentenced Bollywood star Veena Malik to 26 years in prison for blasphemy her character committed in a movie. Apparently she gave a great performance.
Pro-life: Where abortion laws are strict and strictly enforced, the results are not always quite what those nice gray headed authoritarian men have in mind. One example: In Senegal, desperate mothers kill their own babies due to strict abortion laws and heavy societal pressure. "They leave the infants out in the middle of the forest to starve to death or get eaten by wild animals. Others strangle them or throw them in the septic tank." No, it's not likely to happen here. Here we have dumpsters.
Day Late, Lots of Dollars Short: They're holding another one of those conferences, this time in Lima, to announce that we are in great danger from Global Climate Change and that This Time something or other will be promised. The promise will be voluntarily effective about 2020. But we've already got over 2ºC baked in, which scientists assure us will be decidedly unpleasant with a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding. That's the good news. But without action now, yesterday – and certainly long before 2020 or 2030, we will easily pass 3.2ºC on our way to 5.4ºC by the end of the century, and that will make the planet uninhabitable.
Self-Hoisting Petard: Research shows that cops who dress like cops and treat protesters with respect and are far more effective that over-militarized Star Trerk Storm Troopers who try to stamp everyone into the ground.
Marley Lives: In at least 33 US cities it is illegal to be a follower of Jesus, for he said to feed the hungry and the city father say it is a crime to do so. And if you spent part of the Thanksgiving weekend feeding the homeless, ask yourself where all those folks are eating today.
An Excellent Vintage: If you've got one of those old flip phones that is pretty much just a phone, the NSA can still track you, but they can't rig your phone so it turns on by itself and sends all your personal data to Fort Meade. Hang on to it.