Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Plotline: Over a period of 20 or 30 years, not one but five groups of British MPs and high-ranking members of the Thatcher and Blair governments took part in sexually abusing minors, going so far as to occasionally kill their victims for sport and to kill witnesses who try to go to the police. The best part is that they keep it all quiet through the Official Secrets Act. Nah. No publisher would buy such an outrageous plot, even if it were true. Which it is.
Bread Crumbs: In the five years since the Great Recession reportedly ended, the US economy is still 5% below its potential and a full 10% below the level it would have reached if the housing bust had not have happened. Hmm, think this has anything to do with the slump in oil prices?
Merry Christiemass: All it will take to permit public water systems in NJ to be privatized without a public vote is the governor's signature on a bill now on his desk. Best part of the bill is the section that lets the folks who win the right to the system to bill the customers for the price they had to pay. Then bump up prices to cover their salaries and bonuses and political contributions.
Open Wide And Say Ah-ha! Genentech has a new and more expensive drug, costing $2,000 a dose, to replace an earlier version that iss equally effective but costs only $50 a dose. So why would a doctor prescribe the more expensive version? Can you spell 'bribes'?
Big Dog: The United Nations Security Council (Uncle Sam, prop.) has rejected a resolution denouncing Israeli occupation of Palestine. How many more decades will our collective shame over the Holocaust keep indemnifying Israel for obvious violations of international law?
Market Magic: The courts have cleared the way for a Florida for-profit charter school company to take over the entire York City School District in Pennsylvania. They promise to take all the state and federal school support money plus all the local school tax funds, pay themselves handsomely and teach the little brats on the cheap. It's becoming the American way, and depends on smoke and mirrors – like so much these days.
Credentials: Republicans really hate taxes and think they should be drasticly cut or even done away with, but outright tax evasion is frowned on – as former NY congressman Michael Grimm learned when Boehner invited him to resign.
Fire Up The Hot Tub: 2014 is the first year ever in which the temperature in Anchorage did not go below zero even once. The average has been 25 sub-zero days every year.
Trust, But Verify: Americans by and large support their local police, but 86% of us would like them to wear always-on video cams and 87% think having an independent investigation into incidents in which unarmed individuals are killed by the police. Even the black ones.
One-Legged Stool: All that good news for the customer at the gas pump isn't going over so well in places like Alaska, where oil revenue is supposed to cover 90% of the budget, Texas, where the bloom is off the oil shale, and North Dakota. Fill 'er up.
Famous Lost Words: “We’re looking at a Greece problem -- the euro crisis is over,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank in London.j
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 7:54 AM