Monday, November 2, 2009

SAR #9307

Afghanistan will get America out of the empire business.

Long Halloween Season: Sears, Toys 'R' Us and Wal-Mart, scared of the lack of shadows thrown by shoppers, are cutting prices already. Sears is trying to drum up 'Black Friday' enthusiasm for every weekend from now until forever, while Toys 'R' Us plans to open several hundred 'pop-up' seasonal stores to encourage impulse indebtedness. Wal-Mart, of course, is cutting more prices, more often. Deeply discounted sales may ring registers, they won't help bottom lines much. Trick or Treat.

New Kid on the Block: The Chinese have launched their fourth naval task force to patrol the waters off the coast of Somalia to suppress pirate attacks on merchant vessels. Halls of Montezuma, shores of Trippoli...

Shibboleth: The talking heads keep talking about all the “cash on the sidelines.” It never occurs to them that an awful lot of folks have finally learned not to risk their retirement in the stock markets and that money is not sitting in money market accounts waiting for anything. A lot of that cash on the sidelines is perfectly happy watching others take the beating – like pro football.

Opinions: Oil is set for a surge to $90. Oil may fall as dollar strengthens.

Rape, Pillage & Burn: A human rights lawyer is alleging that the CIA provided medical care to detainees undergoing interrogation, so they could keep torturing them . The US military was less determined.

Strange Truth: Economist Paul Krugman points out that there is no valid political argument against deficit spending – statistics and polls show that “budgets play almost no role in real politics” - the voters wouldn't notice. Ah, democracy in in-action.

Rats, Trapped: Remember the experiment where the rat kept tapping a bar to get electrical stimulation – until it collapsed. Twitter, Facebook, Google, your Iphone and Blackberry are turning you into a dopamine addict. Lowers IQ – a lot. Linked to depression and ADHD. On the other hand, SAR is more like normal human interaction, vaguely annoying but necessary. Keep reading.

Interesting Concept: Former French President Jacques Chirac must stand trial – but just for corruption. But I don't recall France invading anyone of late.

Mark-Up: About 1/3rd of the US corn crop will go to ethanol this year, not into food products. As a result, certain foods will be more expensive at the grocery, even as filling up the car with tax-supported biofuels drives up the cost of driving.

Timing: British town councils are requiring parents to undergo police background checks before they can drive kids to soccer practice or play in the parks with their own kids. Not a bad idea, but maybe the police checks should come before they're allowed to be parents...

Change To Believe In: Scientists report that the ecology of the North Sea has undergone dramatic changes in the last half-century. The cod and flatfish that once dominated the food chain in the icy waters have been replaced by crabs and jellyfish as the waters warmed. These changes foreshadow what is in store around the world.

Non-Starter: Perhaps anarchy, rebellion, civil war and global conflict could be averted if America changed its political focus from profits to social concerns. We could start by eliminating the ridiculous notion that a corporation is a person and then go on to outlaw all lobbying. Then again, we could just wait and see how this movie works out

Porn: O'Graph: Revised and adjusted and depressing.


Anonymous said...

Krugman continues to demonstrate that IQ is overrated.

kwark said...

1/3 of the US corn crop to produce motor fuel. Last I heard ethanol production still had a negative EROEI. Yet more evidence (as if we needed it) that corporate bottom-lines take precedence over what's best for the country.

RFK Action Front said...

Thanks for the link! I just discovered your site -- it's fantastic! Thanks for all your good work.

fajensen said...

The cod and flatfish that once dominated the food chain in the icy waters have been

Fished into extinction mainly - the massive over feeding of the algae with nitrates and phosphorous causing algae bloom and massive poisoning of the sea bottom did not help either.

Canada did the same stunt of replacing Cod with Crab well before climate change was invented ... but it's better to setup a vast bureaucracy trading CO2 certificates to maybe change something in 140 years than it is to change something we can measure the results of changing NOW ... better for the useless and the incompetent that will retire in comfort on the proceeds.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

fajensen - yes there was serious over-fishing in both the areas, but the jellyfish arrived only on the warmer waters of global climate change. Over fishing created the ecological niche, but warmer waters depressed the cold-water fish stocks and created the opportunity that the jellyfish (and crabs, depending on species) took advantage of. Both arguments are right, first the one, then the other.