Monday, June 30, 2014

SAR #14080

We don’t need to have this much inequality. Joseph Stiglitz

Baby Steps: The DEA has petitioned the FDA to “reconsider rescheduling” marijuana and removing it from the list of Schedule 1 drugs. This comes after the House voted to cut that portion of the DEA's budget that goes to marijuana enforcement. We'll face dealing with all the people we've foolishly and prudishly put in jail over the lost decades at another time. 
Multiply By Zero: The US has announced that it will extend the same privacy rights to citizens of the EU that are allowed to US citizens. Curb your excitement.

A Miracle: The Republicans running NC into the ground have passed a bill that lets students include their religious beliefs – as long as they are Christian – in homework assignments and in answering tests. This is expected to raise students grades, not knowledge.

... Not As I Do.” The US and the EU, both of which profess to believe in democracy and majority rule, are upset that a vote in the UN did not go their way. Specifically, most of the world wants to establish a treaty to regulate human rights abuses by transnational corporations, and the US and EU – whose rich and powerful control most of these corporations – think things are fine as they are and promise to do everything they can to obstruct the process. 
Same Song, Another Verse: BP wants US courts to force a “vast number” of business along the Gulf to give back part (or preferably all, with interest) of the compensation they received following BP's attempt to destroy them.

Reader's Digest Version: Back in 2002 when Argentina went belly up the last time, vultures at the NML hedge fund bought up a large amount of Argentinian bonds at enormous discounts and now want to be paid face value for them. Over 90% of Argentina's bondholders have long since agreed to steep haircut, but with the US court siding with NML it now looks like instead of working things out, Argentina – its economy and its citizens – will be kicked into the gutter so a bunch of drones can get even richer for doing nothing. 
Psst! Pass It On: Pope Francis says that Karl Marx “did not invent anything,” but stole his best ideas from Christianity. Takes one to know one.

Batting .300: Two-thirds of American youth are too obese, overly tattooed, excessively medicated or far too undereducated to be become part of the US military machine. Which is fine because the Army is going to be downsized soon unless we can scare up another war.

Needles and Haystacks: In 2013 the NSA asked the FISA court for permission to access the phone data on only 248 “US persons” after collection all the data on all of us, 24/7/365. But don't it's not a total loss because the NSA keeps all that data (and probably the original conversations...) forever, somewhere out in the desert. Just in case.

Precocious: In Surprise, AZ (you can't make these things up) a 5 year old kindergartner who pulled his pants down on the school playground has been charged with Sexual Misconduct. First in his class.

Oops: The Vatican's former ambassador to Dominican Republic has been defrocked after being convicted of paying for sex with minors. He didn't understand that priests are not supposed to pay for sex, just prey for it.

The Parting Shot:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

SAR #14178

If God made the world, how did Wall Street get possession?

Par For The Course: John Boehner is relentlessly attacking Obama for assuming dictatorial powers through his abuse of Executive Orders. Never mind that Boehner's claim that “President Obama is issuing more than his predecessors” is not true,” truth has had little to do with the ongoing GOP attacks against Obama.

Publicity Health: The government of Sierra Leone, acting in concert with it's tourist industry, has – overnight – drastically lowered the number of Ebola deaths in the country. By redefining “Ebola deaths” to include only those cases where there have been actual laboratory tests done on the dead to prove it was Ebola that killed them. Just as many people will die of Ebola, but the government will look better.

Different Strokes: A GOP candidate for MI state legislature say his “stool of conservatism” is held up by “faith, family and freedom,” and that voters should overlook his many convictions for masturbating on other people's cars. After all, he has “dreams.”

Volunteers: Some 600,000 Facebook dweebs were unwittingly the subject of experiments by Facebook in which the content of the news feeds appearing on the website was manipulated to see if there was experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks.” In essence, Mark wanted to see if he could play with your emotions. 
Phraseology: The United States says it will phase out its immense stockpiles of landmines designed specifically to target people. The move is designed to divert attention from the fact that the country has no intention of giving up landmines in general, even though they kill over 15,000 people a year, nearly all of them civilians. Hmm, “phase out”. Does that mean 'use up' or give them to various client regimes?

Victory Lap: The free, open-source operating system Linux is used on 94% of the world's 500 top supercomputers. It has many technical advantages that other (here to be nameless) operating systems cannot match. (Full disclosure: This blog is written on computers running Linux Mint 16 with the Cinnamon desktop, Firefox open source browser, Open Office word processing and Linux-based GIMP graphics. And in all probability, the webserver you are using to access this is also running Linux. Go Teams.)
Down The Drain: President Obama is seeking another $58.6 billion to piss away on our endless wars on top of the $500 billion already allocated for causing trouble wherever we can.

Dear Sir: Ms. Coulter thinks claims that the growing popularity of soccer in the United States is a “sign of the nation's moral decay. … If more “Americans” are watching soccer,” she claims, “it’s only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer.”

In Another Country: Three out of four American conservatives think that poor people in the US “have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything." While bankers have to ruin the economy and foreclose on millions of homeowners to earn their handouts. 
Test Tube: Kansas' experiment with lower taxes on businesses in order to spur job creation has resulted in a lower rate of job creation and a lot less income for the state. It's a lose-lose.

Obamacare Works! Profits in the healthcare sector of the economy are looking up as 8 million more people are paying for health insurance (greatly subsidized by the government) and are now beginning to take pills like Real Americans. 
The Parting Shot: 

Friday, June 27, 2014

SAR #14177

Our war against the jihadists is not nearly as important as the one we are waging against ourselves.

In Defense Of... Obama is looking for $500 million to send to the “moderate” armed rebels in Syria, as opposed to the ISIS type. Chump change, in more ways than one.

Criminal Conspiracy: The Supremes have ruled that Presidents Reagan (240 times), Bush I (77), Clinton (139), Bush Junior (171) and The Current Guy (32) all violated the Constitution repeatedly by making recess appointments when the Senate was pretending not to be in recess. The Republicans view this as a victory, but their relentless obstructionism that lead to Obama's few recess appointments were what drove Harry Reid to change the 'consent' requirement from 60 votes to a simple majority – thus neutering GOP's long-standing gambit.

Essay Question: Will the world's food system collapse from global warming, pesticide abuse, or GM crops?

Nag, Nag, Nag: Soon your doctor or your insurance company will call you up and remind you to get down to the gym because your attendance has been dropping off, or to lecture you about the size of your liquor bill, or for buying those cigarettes at the Grab and Run yesterday. It's called data mining, and they are doing it a) to protect your health and/or b) to increase their profits. Pick one.

Serving And Protecting: In Massachusetts, smaller police departments band together to collectively form SWAT teams. They incorporate these outfits as 501(c)3 tax exempt organizations and claim that this protects them from having to tell the citizenry anything about their training, use, or expenses. Sure they are cops, carry guns, have the power to arrest, injure or kill you, and draw a public paycheck, but they are also immune to requests for any information about them and thus any supervision by their supposed employers.

Where Housed? Over $15 billion in Chinese loans were (are?) backed by falsified gold transactions – either the gold doesn't exist or has been pledged multiple times. This goes along with the empty warehouses at Qingdao Port where it appears that copper and aluminum stockpiles may have been seriously over-used as collateral.

Headline of the Day: Greed Drove Barclays to Lie to Clients. Well, that explains it. 
Trading Secrets: The Red Cross says that giving money is your job, spending it is theirs. They don't ask you where you got your money and they are damned well not going to tell you where they spent it. It's a 'trade secret', as is how much they are paying their lawyers to keep it that way.

Porn O'Graph: Chickens, roosting.

The Parting Shot: 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SAR #14176

Consequences. An interesting word, that.

One For The Rest Of Us: The Supremes, in a 9 to zip decision, have said that the police must get a search warrant before they can peruse your cell phone or other personal electronic device – even after they have arrested you. The money quote: "The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought." Hope the same nine justices show up when the NSA's warrantless snooping gets a hearing.

Progress: Physicians in the UK have proposed that cigarette sales to individuals born after 2000 be prohibited. 
The New Up: The nation's 1Q 2014 GDP - which was pegged at a 2.6% raise in January, revised down to a -1.0% decline, then whittled down to a 1.8 decline in recent expectations - has been pegged as a -2.9% disaster. Worst since the 5.4% drop in 1Q 2009. The stock market didn't notice. Why? Because were talking about 1Q, not IQ. The market's IQ has dropped a lot more than 2.9%.

Check Out Time: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a Beirut hotel, rather than be captured. 
BFF: Chinese naval warships will join in US-led naval exercises off Hawaii in a symbolic and hypocritical display of cooperation between rivals.

Social Whirl: VP Joe Biden has declared that “protecting gay rights is a defining mark of a civilized nation and must trump national cultures and social traditions." Federal judges in Utah and Indiana did their part by ruling that those states' bans on gay marriage violate the 14th Amendment.
Don't Just Stand There, Sue Somebody: John Boehner, scrambling to remain relevant, is suing President Obama "on behalf of the House over his frequent use of executive actions that Republicans believe are reserved for members of the Bush family beyond his authority."

Magic Carpets Are Us: 25,000 Indian Shia Muslims are on standby to fly to Iraq and enter the religious war over holy shrines.

Contract? Law? A NJ judge has let Chris Christie's $1 billion looting of the state pension fund stand and implied he could steal another $1.5 billion next year despite the 2011 pension reform law's contractual obligations. A contract is obviously not really a contract in Christie's New Jersey.

Better Later Than Never: The NC Senate, responding to a massive coal-ash spill by Duke Energy has passed legislation urging Duke to close its coal ash pools. By 2029.

Laugh Test, Fail: UK Home Secretary Theresa May: "There is no programme of mass surveillance and there is no surveillance state".

Complete The Sentence: “Drones laden with drugs … “

Porn O'Graph: Number 17, with a bullet?

The Parting Shot:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SAR #14175

We need rich people because poor people don't spend enough money to keep the economy growing.

Temporary Victory: A federal judge has upheld NYC policies that prohibits unimmunized children from attending public schools, even if the parents pretend that it their religion and not their baseless fears that keep them from getting the kids vaccinated. The quote: “Religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations...” Now come the appeals, and eventually the Supremes. Place your bets.

Fat Lady, Tuning Up: The Social Security Administration has, at the very least, investigated closing all of its field offices and converting many (most, all?) of its functions to the private sector. 
Lay That Burden Down: Texas Republicans want to do away with noisome state licensing regulations for 18 separate medical professions, including X-ray technicians and the people who calibrate MRI machines and... Got a GED? Get a job! It'll be good to get those government bureaucrats out of our lives. 
Vindictiveness: At least 39 female inmates of California prisons were illegally sterilized - no, not a hundred years ago, but between 2005 and 2011. Another 105 ladies 'agreed' to be sterilized. The federal office that oversees medical care in the prison system claims it has 'no legal obligation' to see that the physicians they supervise follow the law. 
Democratic Partners: Egypt's lightly camouflaged military junta is back at the US aid trough to the tune of $575 million (part of the $1.5 billion annual bribe the US pays the Egyptians for something or other). Maybe as a reward for good behavior in only sentencing the three Al Jazeera journalists to 7 – 10 years in prison instead of killing them outright.

Countdown: A new report says we have but five years in which to save the world's oceans from pollution and overfishing. Mark your calendar. Schedule a fish-fry. Just because the oceans are the source of half of our oxygen and the base of the global food chain doesn't mean we are about to stop overfishing or converting much of our remaining petrochemical resources into plastic pollution. 
Trust US: Eighteen months ago, Germany decided to repatriate all 300 tons of the gold it had stored with the US Federal Reserve. Today, having managed to wrest 5 tons of gold from the Fed's vault, it declared victory and abandoned the program. Questions, questions. Not so much in the way of answers, but questions, questions. 
Small Steps: A federal judge has ruled that the No-Fly List violates the Constitutional rights of citizens, imposing an unreasonable penalty with no notification, recourse or trial. Expect Homeland Security to challenge this ruling by claiming that complaining about the No-Fly List is prima facie proof that an individual is a threat to good order and discipline and should be on the List, if not in Guantanamo. 
Here's The Catch 22: Title 18 U.S. Code § 1119 says that if an American kills another American overseas, that's considered murder under US law. But, Obama's lawyers argue, in heavily redacted text, that the AUMF that Bush used to sanitize' his invasion of Iraq allows government officials to break the law (by killing Americans at random overseas) because the AUMF trumps homicide laws. It is, they claim, like a cop breaking a speed law to catch a speeder, except you're dead instead of out $120 bucks.

Porn O'Graph: Location, Location, Location.

The Parting Shot:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SAR #14174

International politics is a chess game where each piece puts its own survival first.

The Message Was The Message: The Polish Foreign Minister who complained that Poland didn't get anything for the blowjob it had given the US is now complaining that an organized crime group had leaked the secret recording of his comments. No, he did not mean to imply that the US is an organized crime group. 
Math Class: This fall, Missouri schools will be staffed with teachers who, at $17,500 a pop, have received firearms training at a gun range that promises that in an emergency the teachers will only gun down students 10% of the time. Or maybe they meant that the teachers would only gun down 10% of the students. 
Bugging Out: A California-based study has identified a link between the use of certain pesticides and autism in children born to women exposed to these pesticides while pregnant. Big Ag is preparing a campaign to urge pregnant women and those who might become pregnant to move somewhere far, far away.

Made in America: More than one in 10 vehicles on US roads has been recalled since January.  Drive safely.
Check: The Supreme's declined to get involved – at this time – in the legal fight over Wisconsin's latest attempt to strangle abortion in the state, noting that the temporary bar to the law's implementation will soon be vacated by a ruling on the original challenge to the law. They're pretty confident that the issue, once decided 'finally' will be appealed to the court by the losing side and putting off actually hearing an abortion case for as long as possible seemed like a Good Idea.

The Parting Shot:

Monday, June 23, 2014

SAR #14173

The main function of Republicans in Congress is to keep Congress from functioning.

Fine Print: Wall Street and many of its friends have negotiated a secret trade agreement that gives them absolute control over what little of the world they don't already have, by making it illegal everywhere to pass any regulation that the bankers do not like. They are so proud of it that if the treaty is approved it must stay secret for five years and if it is not approved, it also has to stay secret for five years. Tell me again about how evil whistle-blowers are.

Standing Corrected: Rand Paul claims that Republicans have been ‘unfairly tarred’ as trying to suppress minority voters. Not quite right, they're trying to suppress Democratic voters; minority, majority, whatever.

Friends Like These: The United States' good friend Qatar, one of the main backers of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, has recruited and trained (and paid) 1,800 jihadists to be sent to join ISIL in the fight against one-time US puppet Maliki. The Saudi and Qatari governments pay each ISIL fighter in Northern Iraq $700 a month. Tax free.

Next Up: The religious right, having lost to science on evolution, global warming and new-earthism, and being in the process of losing to common sense and civility on gay rights, is now looking beyond gay marriage to the next issue they can be wrong about. 
Left Handed Compliment: Dick Cheney says he did not “intend any disrespect” when he suggested that President Obama was “guilty of treason.” Coming from him that's a compliment.

Mushrooms: Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association are suing Vermont to prevent its citizens from knowing what they're eating. You know, because profits...

Pinpoint Accuracy: Since 2001, the US military has accidentally crashed 418 drones into homes, farms, highways, and, even an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport in midair. Nearly half of the crashes involved damages in excess of $2 million or the complete loss of the drone. 
Evidence Locker: Everybody knows that the feds don't want Barney Fyfe to let on how they are helping local cops track your phone. What's new is some emails that show the Feds telling some locals in Florida to lie to judges about the monitoring. Need to not know, y'know.

Recurring Nightmare: Some of our Usual Suspects are once again touting Ahmed Chalabi to become our man in Baghdad. Chalabi, the chief panderer to Cheney & Co with 'proof' of Saddam's WMDs will be perfect for the job of hoodwinking America once again. The future is saved!

Six of One... The DC Federal District Court has ruled that Americans' Constitutional rights stop at the water's edge and that they do not apply when you are overseas. So? They don't apply much when you're at home, either.

Clarification: Rand Paul (Gynecologist – KY) vows to seek the presidency for the rest of his political career based on the firm belief that freedom and liberty does not extend to ladyparts nor to the ladies who have them. Because the GOP has never met a women's rights issue that they haven't sought to quash.

Just Like Wall Street: The VA refuses to take back bonuses from managers who were rewarded for lying. As if it were already privatized. 
One Step Forward, Two Back: While the House was voting to cut the NSA's funding for “backdoor spying programs”, the Director of National Intelligence was announcing that the NSA program that scoops up our phone call metadata in bulk had been renewed.

The Parting Shot:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

SAR #14171

It is not commitment I'm afraid of, it's performance.

Prophets and Loss: Under cover of air strikes, Shell is retreating from its Ukrainian shale oil misadventure, writing off its investment after exploratory drilling found that what gas there was would not be economically worth the effort – especially after it lost $2.4 billion on its adventures in US shale gas. The promise of a natural gas cornucopia from drilling purportedly immense shale deposits in Ukraine, like similar promises in Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Poland, have remained just that: promises. Total, Chevron and Eni have also fled from their shale projects in Eastern Europe.

O Happy Day! At the beginning of June, more than half of Germany's electrical power was supplied by solar installations.

Castor Oil: Google and Microsoft have agreed to put 'kill switches' in all new Android and Windows phones (Apple joined the Dark Side last September). The pretense is that it helps prevent theft of your cell phone. What it really does is give the government the ability to disable phones in the case of social protests and demonstrations. 
God, Moving Mysteriously: The Presbyterian assembly has voted, by an overwhelming majority, to correct the Bible and to accept same-sex marriage as a Christian sacrament. It's not quite the Council of Nicaea promoting Jesus to godhood and inflicting trinitarianism on the world, but it's close.

One From Column A and Two From... The main things to remember about your electronic health records are 1) they're not your records, 2) they're not about you 3) they are – like all computerized records – all about control. Control of costs, control of your doctor and control of you. Now, open wide. 
The Road Is Long... The problems at the VA are being enthusiastically embraced by those whose goal is to block nationwide health care reform and privatize the VA system. It is undeniable that US health care is far too expensive and delivers a shoddy product when compared to the French and British and Canadian systems. But the conservatives (backed by donations from insurance companies and for-profit hospital conglomerates) don't want a universal public health system that works – from their point of view the current American system generates profits quite nicely. Yes, the VA needs serious managerial house-cleaning. It also needs clear guidelines from Congress as to who is eligible, and enough money from Congress to serve those needs. But we shouldn’t let the greed for bonuses by a handful of VA administrators be used divert us from the goal of a single-payer universal health care system.

Sad But True: No one actually knows if all those damned annoying ads on the internet generate enough sales to be cost effective. But we have to endure them because they might.

The Whites of Their Eyes: Florida, where it is already legal to shoot girl scouts selling cookies if they knock on your door and it is still open season on black kids in hoodies, has now passed legislation suggesting that legalized firing a couple of warning shots before you kill 'em. 
Password: Israeli thugs have killed a 14-year-old Palestinian boy for not being one of the three missing teenagers they were searching for. It's hard to tell which is worse, the way Israel treats the Palestinians or the way the US treats everyone else.

The Parting Shot:

Friday, June 20, 2014

SAR #14170

More dead American soldiers may make John McCain feel good, they will do nothing for the families of those those already sacrificed on the altar of George Bush's vanity.

Goes Around, Comes Around: Now that Obama says he can “bypass Congress” in responding to events in Iraq, Congressional Republicans who thought giving Georgie Boy dictatorial powers was a Good Idea now wish they had not abdicated their power – who knew the Bush-Cheney Reich wouldn't last a thousand years?

What's Not To Like? The Saudis have warned not only Iran, but the US and GB, not to meddle in Iraq – things are going just fine, their co-religionists are taking over. The Saudis have been backing ISIS and the other Sunni fanatics for years, and cutting down Iraq's ability to market petroleum doesn't cause a lot of tears around the palace either. 
Sleepy Giant: Caterpillar reports sales declines of 22% in Europe and the Middle East, 23% in Latin American and a 30% plunge in annual sales to Asia (for which read China).

Call Me In The Morning: More people die from taking commonly prescribed painkillers than do from heroin and cocaine ODs combined - 16,000 in the US in 2010. And there is little support for the blame usually heaped on internet sales or errors by doctors and patients. It is a complicated problem involving doctors, patients, the health care system, and the social environment. Enough to give you a throbbing headache.

Cliff Note: If you would like to understand the long running legal tussle between Argentina and various blood-sucking bond holders (and Wall Street Banks and some particularly vicious hedge funds), here's the play to date: Over various decades of bad advice from the IMF, the World Bank and Wall Street (if these can be considered separate entities), Argentina ran up far more debts they they could reasonably afford. After a revolution or two and several changes of government, the Argentinians got most of their creditors – those who had miked the country dry for a long, long time – to agree to a mild haircut. But those who didn't agree have dragged the country into court after court, finally running to the Roberts court, which made a typical Roberts court ruling, requiring Argentina to bankrupt itself so the court's constituents can pick the carcass clean.

Campaign Pledged: Prosecutors say that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was part of a “criminal scheme.” No, not his actual governing, which is a travesty but not actually criminal, but his fundraising activities. Follow the money.

First Lesson: Starbucks isn't actually paying its employees' tuition costs. They aren't actually paying anything. Not one thin dime. Management today admitted that all they had done was to get ASU to lower tuition on on-line courses for Starbucks employees, who are then supposed to apply for Pell Grants and other federal funds to cover the rest of the costs. If they make it to their Junior year, when ASU will require full tuition, Starbucks will lend them the money. At the going rate. Creative Accounting should be a required course.

For Your Consideration: God Bless John Wiley Price. Wily indeed. 
The Parting Shot:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

SAR #14169

Inflation worries are generally... inflated.

Size Matters: Libya says that the US special forces that kidnapped the Benghazi suspect violated Libya's sovereignty. And committed a crime called kidnapping, too. The US says, “So?”

Sticks & Stones: Secretary of State John Kerry says the US may share information with Iran over Iraq, but will not cooperate with Iran over Iraq. Wonder if the Ayatollahs remember what happened to Saddam a few years after the US shared information with him...

Easy: How can you tell if your member of congress is a crony capitalist? Well, he or she is in congress, no?

The Parting Shot:


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SAR #14168

Want another helping of Freedom Fries?

Prime Rant: If you listen to the self-serving blather of the people who are responsible for the US invasion of Iraq, we are supposed to send even more Amerian soldiers to die while killing Iraqis because the foaming mouthed lying chicken hawks hate Barak Obama, and for no other reason.” How many more dead and crippled will do it? “Go ahead, put a number on it, give me a number, how many lives, how much money, how many years...” Yeah, let’s go back to Iraq. It was so much fun the first time. But this time put the talking heads at Fox News in the first wave, led by Rumsfeld, Cheney, and George W. Bush, with Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, Wolfowitz and Feith clearing the way. Make the Koch brothers and Mitt Romney pay for it, and when they run out of money we'll ship them to Fullajah. Fair's fair.

Standards: The IMF has reduced its estimate of US 2014 GDP growth to 2%, down from 2.8%, citing the extreme level of poverty in the US for the lack of economic activity and strongly suggesting that the minimum wage be raised significantly. Remember the good old days when we owned the IMF?

The Usual Suspected: Britain’s top counter-terrorism official has acknowledged that the government monitors every Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google user in the UK, and maintains that because they intercept this data outside the UK the spying is legal.

Doomed: Only 11% of Democrats want a more liberal presidential nominee than Hillary Clinton. Hillary, liberal? Hillaryous.

Getting Away With Getting Away: The Supreme Court says that homeowners in NC can't sue a company that contaminated their drinking water decades ago because the homeowners didn't file their lawsuit within ten years of the contamination starting. That they did not know about the contamination until after that time is just too bad. The lesson: you get away with screwing the public if you do it in secret. Under the Roberts Court: Corporations 56, Consumers zero.

Lines In The Sand: Qatar says that if the US intervenes to prop up Maliki, it will be seen as declaring war on Sunnis. Seems fair, they've declared war on the US, even our one-time friends the Saudis, who have been financing radical Sunni jihadists for decades. Even the US, in its ignorance, has been treating ISIS elements in Syria as friends until recently. When it comes to making bad situations worse, we're number one.

Down, Under: The climate change denialists running Australia are trying to remove World Heritage status from 74,000 acres of protected rainforest so the loggers can clear-cut their way through it. They've also given permission for a favored bunch to begin fracking for gas in the Kimberly region without an EPA assessment. Next door in New Zealand, the government has opened up the habitat of the world's rarest dolphin to oil exploration. 
Porn O'Graph: We are there. 
The Parting Shot: