Fat Lady, Singing: The sad part is that the 80 or so Tea Party 'conservatives' think they are winning and are doing God's work, when actually all they are doing is creating havoc at the Koch Brothers' behest. (No, it's not about Obamacare, that's a smoke-screen.) At this point no one can back down unless everyone backs down, and there is no way that will happen. Nothing will happen until just before midnight on Monday, and most likely not even then. The shutdown will last longer than you think, because the immediate effects will not affect may people in obvious ways – unless the market tanks. That's probably the best thing that can happen at this point – a thousand point drop in the Dow.
Memo For File: “The Republican Party is bending its entire will, staking its very soul, fighting to its last breath, in service of a crusade to… make sure that the working poor don't have access to affordable health care. That's it. That's what's happening. They have been driven mad by the thought that rich people will see their taxes go up slightly in order to help non-rich people get decent access to medical care. … That's a pretty stirring animating principle, no?”
Talent & Hard Work: Last year the 400 people at the top of the heap took home more than the 150,000,000 people at the bottom of the pile put together.
Dance Card: If your cell phone and my cell phone visit the same coffee shop at overlapping times a couple of times a week and you do something NSA doesn't like, I and all my friends will go on a list of probable co-conspirators. It's the magic of massive analysis of massive amounts of data on everyone, their on-line habits (we visit the same website?), email and cellphone calls (you know Sally, too?), stores we shop in, libraries we visit, purchases, and where we go – based on our cell phones. It used to be called guilt by association, now it''s just just association; the guilt is assumed.
Fairness Doctrine: The real income of the bottom 40% of Americans has fallen 6% in the last 4 years, while the top 1% have gotten a 31% raise.
Italy, Being Italian: Berlusconi, angry that the high court has upheld his tax fraud conviction, has set about bringing down the government by having his party pull out of their coalition with the Democratic Party if the Senate strips him of his seat. He claims it is about his drive to revoke an increase in the country's VAT, others suspect Berlusconi wants to become PM again so he can pardon himself again. As in certain other countries, being a crook is a qualification for public office, not a bar.
Noted: Unless they are named Horatio, 42 percent of kids born into poverty will stay there.
Proportion: In Nigeria, at least 28 students at an agricultural college were slaughtered in their dorms. It is being blamed on the group Boko Haram. A car bomb has killed at least 37 people in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the US, if the Tea Partiers have their way, another 44,000 uninsured Americans will die for lack of medical care.
And: In 2011 real median household income was 8.1% lower than it was in 2007.
Limits To Growth: The IPCC says that no more than one trillion metric tons of carbon can be burned if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming. We're already half-way there and at our current rate we will reach that amount by 2040. So we can go along happily until September 2039, then we'll stop burning all carbon based fuel. Easy. Right?
The Parting Shot: