Directed Democracy: The oversimplification that is inherent in California's system of making laws via popular vote has backfired again; a court has ruled that Proposition 218, which prohibits a government agency from charging more for a product or service that it costs to provide means that the state cannot use a tiered approach to water usage fees. Once again it turns out one size doesn't fit all.
Rights of Passage: The US Navy appears intent on intercepting an Iranian convoy on the high seas... under what authority?
Sticks And Stones: Quicken, the largest FHA mortgage lender ($140 billion in 2013/4) says that the government's probe into alleged fraudulent practices (which involved more than 85,000 documents) is simply a pretext and the government is trying to bully them in to admitting extensive wrongdoing. Quicken says the sample was too small and they government hasn't proved enough fraud so far.
Group Punishment: Over 5 million Iowa chickens are likely to be executed because a few of them have contracted bird flu.
Nothing Runs, Like A Deere: You don't own that John Deere tractor you bought. Their lawyers say you have bought only the right to use it, “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle”, while the company controls what you do with it and what other equipment you can hook up to it. And you are not allowed to peek at – much less modify – the software that runs the damned thing. GM has the same theory about that car of theirs that is sitting in your driveway.
Fine Tuning: Corporations now spend more lobbying Congress than taxpayers do. And they get what they pay for.
Hypocrisy Rules: Europeans, upset that so many would-be immigrants are drowning in the attempt to cross the Mediterranean, plan on launching military strikes aimed at the smugglers because rescuing the desperate costs too much.
As Simple As Possible: Once again a massive study has shown that there is no link between MMR vaccination and autism. There never has been.
Runes: A major Chinese real estate developer has defaulted on its dollar-denominated bonds. Major miner Rio Tinto reports a big drop in iron ore shipments, mainly due to a drop in Chinese demand. Containerized freight rates for the China-US and China-Europe routes has fallen to all time lows. The governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia notes that “extraordinary world conditions could spark an abrupt sell-off.”
Distrust And Verify: TN state representative Sheila Butt (R, natch) killed an amendment to an abortion prohibition bill that proposed an exception for rape and incest because, she claims, such claims are “not verifiable.” Neither is her claim.
Endgame: US troops have begun training Ukrainian troops to fight pro-Russian forces. Just what is the optimum outcome of this exercise?
Wilder West: The Texas House of Representatives, not satisfied with their status as a running joke, has now passed a bill that will allow NRA members to wander down the middle of Main Street with a six-gun strapped to their Levi 501's.
Say “May I”: A JPMorgan Chase investment adviser has been arrested for stealing $20 million from customers and losing it in the markets. Hard to tell if the crime was stealing the money or losing it.
Oddsly: Republican Lindsey Graham says he is “91% certain” he will run for president. I am 99.4% sure he is full of...