Thursday, July 31, 2014

SAR #14210

The fact that most of us are average does neither explains nor excuses television programming.

Interesting: The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that Mississippi cannot impose a law that would close the remaining facility providing abortion services in the state because “ a woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion” and the state cannot deprive any woman of that constitutional right. Supreme Court here we come.

Yes: Some suggest that oil is the only reason the West has any interest in the Middle East. They're right. Washington went to war to protect Kuwait's oil and to 'save' the Iraqi oil fields, but doesn't care that the Israelis are invading Gaza under false pretenses. The US Congress threatened to go to war if Russia was found responsible for bringing down MH17, but says nothing about over a thousand dead civilians in Gaza – because they have no oil.

Need Not To Know: If you live in Rhode Island, you are not allowed to know what the hedge funders are paid to lose your pension, nor what they gambled it on. Trade secrets, where they trade your money for secrecy.

Inquiring Minds: How does the House Republicans vote to sue Obama for weakening the Affordable Care Act differ from an attempt at impeachment?

Political Logic: The White House continues to want to censor – geld, neuter, whatever – what the US public can be allowed to know about the torture program run around the world by the CIA for years. And which has theoretically stopped. If it has stopped and if it was, as they pretend, somehow legal, then what are they hiding? Oh, evidence of a crime, evidence of a crime.

Precedence: Michele Mad-Eyes Bachmann has explained that the reason Obama is not stopping the flood of immigrant children is because “he wants to experiment on them”. Yeah, he wants to see what the results feeding, clothing and housing the poor, the downtrodden, those yearning to breath free would be, if we actually tried it
Menu Item: NOAA says that climate change is threatening the world's supply of shellfish. Enjoy now, they'll cost even more before they're gone.

Trial And Errors: Everyone gets things wrong once in a while, but it takes a certain type of hard-money economist to be wrong consistently, year after year.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SAR #14209

Corporations can decide which federally mandated benefits apply to you. It says so in the Constitution. Now.

Fair And Balanced: “Death Toll Rises On Both Sides” Sure enough, now over 1000 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children. The Israelis have lost 46, 43 of them soldiers.

Sky, Not Falling, Again: Despite repeated promises by The Serious Predictors, Medicare is not going broke again this year. In 2010 it was supposed to expire in 2017. Last year the guess was that it would last until 2026. Now it won't be giving up the ghost until 2030. Ah, receding horizons. 
Twisted Plot: John 'Reality Challenged' Boehner now claims that the Republican calls to impeach Obama are “a scam started by the Democrats.” 

High And Higher: One out of three Americans (who have credit files) has a past-due debt in collection. The average household owes $15,000 [sic - this seems improbable] in credit card debt. Interest rates on credit cards are now at their highest in over a decade, while the banks' cost of funds is the lowest in history. The middle class is 20% poorer today than it was in 1984 and has lost 35% of its net worth in real terms in the last decade, so the only way we can get by now is by borrowing today to pay back yesterday's borrowing.
Scout's Honor: Former Chief Eavesdropper Keith Alexander is worth $1 million a month because... Well, I'm sure it's not because of anything he took with him when he left NSA, like blackmail files or other secrets. 
Our team: Retail sales (and thus corporate profits) are increasingly depend on borrowing, loans, and other forms of credit by progressively marginal customers. When they stop paying, and they inevitably will sooner or later because no one's gotten a raise in 20 years, the music will stop. Again. How many defaults are but one paycheck away? Again. 
Location, Location, Location: The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index reflected a 0.3% drop in prices nationwide. It was the weather, of course. It's always the weather. Or something. 
Passive Aggression: Facebook admits it manipulated its users, British Intelligence manipulates Internet users, a site called OKCupid admits messing with its users. If you use the internet (like you're doing right now) someone is undoubtedly running some sort of experiment on you. Mostly to make money, of course. 

No Sweat: Scientists have developed a malaria vaccine which gives children ongoing protection from the disease. Now if they could come up with something to protect children from their parents' misinformed fears of vaccines...

Investment Opportunity: Twitter reported losing $145 million in the last quarter, three times more than it had a year ago. So its stock went up over 26%. And check out Amazon. Nothing like losing money to boost your value.

Seriously, Folks: Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister says that a decent woman “will know what is haram and not haram. She will not laugh in public. She will not be inviting in her attitudes and will protect her chasteness.” Especially she will not laugh at him. Or else.

Porn O'Graph: Rich richer, poor... well surprise, surprise, poorer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SAR #14208

“Goodwill” is an accounting measure of how much lipstick the pig is wearing.

Simply Complex: Economic growth results from a large number of interacting factors – not just the level of minimum wage or corporate taxation. The idea that problems from eduction to unemployment, growing inequity, healthcare costs and availability, immigration, climate change abortion and so on can be cured or even significantly ameliorated by changing any one variable is simply wishful thinking. And there is an awful lot of that around. Too bad there's not a simple solution.

Doomsday Machine: Australia has moved another step closer to inflicting irreparable damage to the Great Barrier Reef as it rushes to profit from driving the last few nails into its coffin, making way for a humongous coal mine.

Manners: The question should not be “Did she say no?” It should be “Did she say yes?”

The Devil To Pay: Following the Hobby Lobby template, satanists from The Satanic Temple, who have a deep and abiding reverence for human health based on the scientific and medical evidence, say their believers should be exempt from anti-abortion laws because all such laws are based on factors other than objective evidence.

The Times They Are A-changin': In planning your children's path through life remember a few basics: The essential natural resources required in the economy are being rapidly depleted, especially energy. The economy now depends on ever expanding credit (which is debt) to fund essential consumption; this has obvious built-in limits. Computers and automation are reducing the need for human labor. What jobs are left are filled by low wage workers overseas, creating a surplus of workers competing for low paying service jobs. So tell 'em to get that degree and go out there and compete.

Monday, July 28, 2014

SAR #14207

“Legalize marijuana now!” New York Times.

Mirror, Mirror: Russia is accusing the US of “contributing to instablity in Ukraine” by supporting the more-or-less legitimate government. Russia, meanwhile, is “contributing to instability in Ukraine” by supporting the anti-government rebels. 
All Aboard! Norfolk Southern has sued the state of Maryland to prevent the public from finding out when, where and how much crude oil it is shipping through people's back yards. Because it is a commercial secret, at least until the train wrecks and blows up a few hundred people.

Translation:US sees 'crisis' in WTO over customs disaccord with India, others.” The term 'US' as used here means 'multinational corporations'. 'Crisis' and 'disaccord' means that these corporate entities are not getting their way. Boo and Hoo.

Guilt By Association: A human rights court has ruled that Poland was complicit in the rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects by the United States. Lucky we didn't get any of that on us.

Plus ça change: Workers at a Bolivian construction site have discovered the remains of a mass grave containing indigenous miners killed during the Spanish colonial period. US appeals court says Colombians cannot to sue Chiquita in the US over the death squads it used to keep workers in line and profits high. Chiquita, which is based in the US, has admitted paying paramilitaries but the court said it had no jurisdiction. This is the same court system that said Argentina must go bankrupt trying to pay vulture funds for their bad investments, because greed does fall within the US courts' purview. 
Bouvines: The Magna Carta established basic rights with the principle that no one was above the law, including the administration itself. It quaintly guaranteed the right to a fair trial by a jury of peers, with knowledge of the charges and access to the evidence. That was back in 1215; times have changed.

Comes The Dawn: Israeli police now admit that Hamas was not responsible for the kidnapping and death of the three teens, that the Israeli government knew this while Netanyahu was beating the drums of war and Israeli thugs were beating that American teen. All of which led to the current extermination campaign in Gaza – so it served its purpose.

The Human Condition: John Kenneth Galbraith: ‘Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof’….

Saturday, July 26, 2014

SAR #14205

It seems that Fifty Shades of Grey isn't about politics after all.

"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter." Paul Ryan has resigned his position as the GOP's “budget maven” and is trying out for the role of 'welfare reformer'. His great newidea is that in return for various social services, the poor will be required to sign contracts to live their lives in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by Mr. Ryan – including “specific and measurable benchmarks for success... and sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract." Sharecropping, in other words.

Now Boarding: The Libyan government warns the country may collapse as militia groups and government troops clash at the Tripoli airport – apparently they all want to be first in line for the next flight out.

Sizzle: Facebook shares are likely to reach record highs as the market bets on its improving earnings. The company sells billboard space to companies who hope their advertising does some good.

On Being Afraid: Things to worry about, more or less in order: Texting while driving, brain-eating parasites, Publisher's Clearing House, falling out of bed, flying Malaysian Air, pink slime in your hamburger, hospitals, autoertoic asphyxiation as an observer, Paul Ryan budgets, terrorists. 
The Quote: “I don’t think I have the mind or the temperament to tell myself stories about the transcendent meaning of suffering in an age of social collapse.” 
Close Doesn't Count: NASA, better late than never, released a warning today about the dangers posed by a 2012 solar storm, which could have “knocked modern civilization back to the 18th century’ but didn't. Hey, we're not playing horseshoes here, close doesn't count.

Real Americans: In Tennessee, domestic violence now will earn you a summons. Like rolling a stop sign. No arrest. No jail. No bond. No restrictions. Obviously, in Tennessee, no one cares if you beat our wife. Just like the NFL
Overkill: Some researchers claim that less than 10% of human DNA has any useful function. I wonder why Mother Nature has wasted so much effort carefully copying endless strands of useless DNA for thousands of generations. I'd even go so far as to suggest that Mother Nature knows something about that 'useless' DNA that we don't.

Blind Man's Bluff: Do not expect the financial establishment – the brokers, the bankers, various CEOs and their politicians – to give you timely warning about the next financial crash. One, it is in their best interest to keep the game going as long as possible, and two, they haven't a clue.

A Man's Gotta Do... A man in Minnesota man shot and killed a teenage girl after she asked him to stop riding his lawnmower in her yard. Serves her right for interrupting a great romance between a man and his machine.

Don't Try This At Home: The 'we like sex' argument is a winning one, so why are so many people afraid to use it?”

Porn O'Graph: Crashing bores.

Friday, July 25, 2014

SAR #14204

Reality TV isn't. 
Can You Smell The Recovery? The IMF says that the US economy, which fell 2.9% in the first quarter, will end up the year with a net GDP growth of 1.7%, the lowest 'since the recession ended' [ sic ].

Principles: You'' be glad, but unsurprised, to know that the US was the only nation to vote against an official UN inquiry into "all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law" in the Gaza conflict. 
Let Me Count The Ways... Taking a page from Paul Ryan's economics, Obama has expanded the net by which the average citizen can be landed on the Enemies of the State list – requiring neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence”, “fragmentary information” will do the job. Also rumor, hearsay and innuendo. Remember when, in the course of human events... 
Comparative Evils: We are generally dismayed to learn that – after years of austerity and associated looting by certain Northern European nations - one out of three Greeks are living in poverty. It doesn't trouble us near as much to learn that one-third of the Earth's population lives in poverty after centuries of Euro/American exploitation.

Fish/Barrel: Who bled Detroit dry?

Eppur si muove: In general, those who deny things like global climate change and evolution do not do so because they do not know better. Surveys show that they in fact do know the information; they just don't believe it. Speaking louder and more distinctly will do no good.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

SAR #14203

Naiveté does not make the world a better place.

Encore: Pro-Russia Ukrainian rebels have now brought down two Ukrainian fighter jets. Two out of three ain't bad.

The American Way: While cutting pensions and laying off teachers, cash-strapped US cities and states continue to subsidize professional sports stadiums for rich franchise owners. Viva capitalism!

Preventing Prevention: Studies have repeatedly shown that “programs such as Scared Straight increase delinquency relative to doing nothing at all to similar youths.” In other words they don't work. But they pander to our hopeful fantasies that they do, so we keep digging the hole deeper.

Graduation Pre-requisites: The NRA is proposing that all high schoolers be required to pass “shooting tests” before they are allowed to graduate. It is part of the NRA drive to create “gun-required zones” throughout the country. All paid for with taxpayer money.

Freedom 2.0: The US does not have debtor's prisons. You cannot be sent to jail just because you are hopelessly in debt to some predatory Wall Street banksters. You can, however, be sent to jail for contempt of court if you fail to comply with a judge's orders. Such as when the judge orders you to forgo eating and such in order to pay your debt to Wall Street. Results' the same, but you should feel so much better about it as you sit in jail, not earning any money and knowing you'll be right back in jail within a few days of getting out because – surprise, surprise - you don't have any money...

Now It Can Be Told: It's the Smart Phone, stupid. It rats you out. Apple put security backdoors in 600 million iPhones and iPads but, Apple says, it's not big deal. It just lets the government gather all the stuff you do. No biggie.

Freedom From Speech: A would-be Southwest Airlines passenger – one of their A-list passengers who get priority boarding – was invited to board early, but was not allowed to bring his two children with him. Words were exchanged. He tweeted his displeasure with the treatment. He was told he could not board the plane if he did not delete his tweet about the agent's rudeness. He was then tossed off the flight. Rudely.

Asked & Answered: How many cars are sold in the US each year? About 15 million. How many has GM recalled for defects this year? About 30 million. How can you tell if your car has been recalled? Walk around to the back and check the logo; if it was made by GM in the last decade, it probably has been recalled. At least once.

Privileged Communication: Given the progress law enforcement has made of late in co-opting your cell phone to track you and to intercept your private communications, it should come to no great surprise to learn that they will intercept the emails you send your lawyer from jail. Fifth Amendment? You have no expectation of privacy any more, anywhere.

Conditions: Either (a) the US is playing both sides in a number of Middle Eastern conflicts, or (b) we simply have no idea which way is up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SAR #14202

No system of mass surveillance has existed in any society that we know of to this point that has not been abused.” Edward Snowden
No Country For Little Children: Rick 'Round 'em up' Perry is sending 1000 Texas National Guards to repel the “assault” that Central American children have mounted against the Alamo, saying “We are too good of a country” to force these refugee children to remain in the US. At the other end of the country, Maine's Republication Governor Paul LePage has told the federal government that housing eight refugee children is a “huge burden” that the state cannot handle. A bit further south, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, has offered to host refugee children at state facilities.

Quoted: ‘No one’s got Christ more wrong than the Christians’ - Tom Petty.

Just Becasue: TN Republican county commissioner Mark Kelly admits he can’t prove his anti-Muslim smears against his Muslim-American Democratic rival. But so what, that doesn't mean they're not true, right?

The Great, The Bad and The Ugly: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is under stress from farm runoff, dropping water quality, and now an immense dredging project to enable coal to be exported. The reef has lost half its corals in the last 30 years and by 2050 will have become “pretty ugly” - a seabed of dead coral, large swaths of seaweed, and few fish. And no tourists.

Explanation: The CPI inflation rate for June was 2.1%, a bit above the Fed goal, but two thirds of the increase was due to the price of gasoline – which doesn't count. They say. But with real wages falling, it soon may. 
Gelding The Lily: A DC federal appeals court has ruled that those who live in states (27 of them governed by Republicans) which refused to set up insurance exchanges under the ACA cannot get their health insurance subsidized by the federal government, even though that was the obvious intent of the law. Before the right wing hate-anything-Obama-does crowd gets to celebrating they might want to think about how people are going to react when they learn their health insurance subsidies have been taken away by the Republicans.

Porn O'Graph: How long is long?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SAR #14201

Poor Me: Israel's PM claims Hamas is using the women and children killed by Israeli bombs and artillery to make Israel look bad. As if it needed the help.

The Biggest Loser: Increased sanctions, they cry. More and stiffer sanctions, they insist. Punish the Russians.... Except. Except the greatest damage produced by the American sanctions will be on American businesses. And they know it and are protesting. Second, of course is Europe, which simply cannot survive without Russian gas supplies. Russia, experts claim, will be only marginally hurt. 
As Advertised: Populations in the once prolific oyster beds off the Pacific Northwest coast are collapsing – and the most likely culprit is the increasing acidification of the ocean due to global warming, for short.

Don't Trip: In Ocala, Fl, if you are caught with your pants down 2 inches below your waist you can be jailed for up to six months. If you are a male, that is; women with low riding hip huggers are... sexy.

Point, Counterpoint: To those who thought 'we can do it' and are bewildered be Obama's seemingly ineffective and gutless presidency simply didn't understand the game and haven't been keeping score correctly. Obama’s presidency has been a continuous series of successes for those who bought and paid for his election. “The bailouts were the largest upward transfer of wealth in world history. Not single bankster executive has been prosecuted, let alone jailed, and the banks are bigger than ever. Unemployment has been kept high and hysteresis has set in. #Occupy was smashed. The President can now execute US citizens without due process. The government has openly become a surveillance state. And lots of faraway brown people got blown to pink mist.” A sterling record.

A Job... Well... Done: Duke Energy, having cleaned up nearly 8% of the coal ash it dumped into a NC river, says the job is done and the environment is as clean as it's gonna get. They should check with GE on the Hudson in NY.

Monday, July 21, 2014

SAR #14200

Because the EU needs Russia's gas. Next question...

Perspective: Despite the various conspiracy theories being tossed around, no one reasonably suspects that the shooting down of a civilian airliner over Ukraine was intentional. As the US can testify, these things happen. How much better it would have been if whoever screwed up had just said, 'Oops, sorry.”

Once Around: Surveys show that more people than ever oppose the NSA practices Edward Snowden revealed. Why, should he spend his life in prison?” Simple: Because more people than ever oppose those NSA practices.

Hopes, Dashed: Will Elizabeth Warren run for president? Nope.

Better Question: Why are there so many young refugees streaming into the US from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and nearly none from Nicaragua? And why are these refugees not called refugees? Ah, responsibility. Ours.

The Enemy: The US government doesn't trust at least 1.5 million of us. Thinks we're terrorists or likely to soon become such. That's why we're in the Terrorist Screening Database. Or might be, who knows?

Good Question: Why do we have blood types? We don't know.

Brier Patch: Faced with the twin problems of deteriorating highway infrastructure and Republican refusal to pay for fixing things, Obama is now urging states to enter into “private-public' solutions. For which read toll roads and bridges and privatization, privatization, privatization. In other words, a GOP victory. But not for the citizenry – just ask a Chicagoan about parking
Terminology: It's not called 'an offensive' for nothing.

Holy, Holy, Holy: In case you haven't noticed, professional sports have become mass religious orgies celebrating the homeland and its warriors. 
Just In: Pew pollsters find that Republicans are the biggest haters, but Americans in general and Christians in particular are downright intolerant of (and afraid of) religious views and practices different from their own. In the US, “hatred between religions, distrust and downright anger are the everyday norm...” In case you've been out of the room and didn't already know. 
Don't Ask, Don't Tell:Giant rubber duck lost in China flood.”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SAR #14198

Ignoring past performance does not necessarily guarantee future employment.” The Fear Factor.

Pudding: Research shows that children raised on a diet of “religious narratives” [Bible stories, for example] have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction. Which is the point, isn't it? Children not told that fairy tales are true not so indoctrinated are generally much better able to tell fantasy when they hear it.

Cranking It Out:[I]inflation paranoia isn’t a simple misunderstanding... it’s deeply embedded in the modern conservative psyche. Government action must, by definition, have disastrous results...” Which is why “the rare conservative willing to admit that we don’t yet have high inflation won’t admit that this suggests something wrong with models that predicted a huge inflation surge. No, it’s just a miracle.”

Historically Accurate: Four Pennsylvania lawmakers, three Democrats and one Republican, have had the plaques beneath their portraits updated to include the crimes for which they were convicted and their sentences, along with their other accomplishments while in office. Illinois should take note, create a Hall of Governors based on mugshots.

Microlean: Microsoft is cutting upwards of 18,000 workers in the coming year, 13,000 right away. Mostly to pay for the $7.2 billion the company spent on buying Nokia's handset business. The announcement drove up the stock price, as firing people generally does. 
Caution, Curves Ahead: By some measures of stock prices, US stocks are currenly abut 80% overvalued. Wouldn't want to be a party pooper, but bubbles happen – especially when stocks are 50% or more overvalued. And no working fund managers have experienced a bear market. But don't panic, the trend is your friend, until it isn't. 
Porn O'Graph: Plastic, plastic everywhere.

Friday, July 18, 2014

SAR #14197

Hey, Good Christians®? Why are you worrying about the refugee children when there are zygotes that need saving? Amanda Marcotte

Democracy, GOP Version: Following the newly revised minority rules rule, the GOP mustered 43 votes to defeat the 56 Senators who wanted to restore contraceptive access under the proposed “ The Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act”,which would have prohibited employers from picking and choosing which parts of various laws they would comply with. The Republicans, who don't much believe in the federal government at all anyway, thought that employer nullification was a Good Idea.

Geopolitics: The values and ideas once considered universal, such as cooperation, mutual aid, international social justice and peace are irrelevant in today's world. But International Trade Treaties are not.

Self-Defense: Seventeen members of a single family wiped out in a missile strike. A center for disabled people bombed. Four teenagers playing on a beach, killed by naval bombardment in front of a resort hotel. A half-million Gaza residents told to “leave” or be ground under the tread of Israeli tanks, as though there were somewhere in that little stretch of desert that wasn't already full of Palestinian refugees. A member of Israel's parliament decreed that Palestinian mothers “have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists.” Bill Clinton said Hamas was “forcing Israel to kill civilians.” And the US Congress sent another $352 million to top-up Israel's war machine.

Noted: Pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels shot down a commercial airliner, killing passengers and crew. It was a Malaysian Airlines Flight, which is now marketing itself as the Carnival Lines of the air.

Equal Protection: The Catholic Diocese in Missouri took a break from hiding pedophilic priests and fired a lesbian employee for getting married. On the brighter side, a judge in Florida ruled that just because the state's voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage didn't mean he would.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

SAR #14196

Economic data are best viewed as a peculiarly boring genre of science fiction. Paul Krugman
MA He's Making Eyes At Me: The volume of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is back to 2007 levels, largely as a result of global near-zero interest rates. These deals are based on the promise and assumption that 'value' will be created through 'synergies' and 'efficiencies' – which are code words for cutting labor costs. Can you say layoffs? Tens of thousands of layoffs?

The Emperor's Clothes: As Robert Reich notes, the children fleeing to the US are “refugees of the drug war we created.” 
Getting A Grip: The US population increases a tad over 2.2 million a year, and in 2010 (last year available) saw just over 4 million births. The expected 'flood' of refugee children crossing the southern border represents about 0.1% of our births and a whopping 0.02% increase in our population. Disaster, disaster, the children are coming!

Halt! Who Goes There: An Arizona GOP legislator and congressional candidate rallied a bunch of supporters to block a busload of children... headed for a YMCA summer camp outing in a school bus. Oh, well, his heart was in the right place.

Win Some... Police in the UK have arrested 660 suspected pedophiles. Not a one of them was a member of parliament or the government or a former friend of Margaret Thatcher.

Selective Hearing: The NSA says it cannot release the emails Snowden sent his superiors about his concerns because it “would violate his privacy.” 
Question Time: Louie Gohmert warns that Obama won’t ‘defend women from hundreds of thousands’ of immigrant rapists. Tell me, how many immigrants are there each year? What proportion are males? What percentage of those males are rapists? How many years will it take for 'hundreds of thousands of immigrant rapists' to get to your neighborhood?

Scoreboard: To date, investors have sued the too big to fail banks for $250 billion for various crimes, frauds and financial chicanery leading to the housing bubble and subsequent collapse. Go team!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SAR #14195

Tomorrow always comes. It is not always a blessing.

Irrelevant: Looking at what's going on in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Gaza, Egypt, Ukraine, Libya and so on, it seems the US has become a bystander, cheering on this or that side, but mostly irrelevant to the outcome. Makes one question the usefulness of all that money we give the Pentagon.

Self-Medicating: US drug makers and medical device manufacturers are buying smaller overseas competitors, merging with them, shifting their joint headquarters outside the reach of US tax collectors and profiting happily ever after. That's what's behind the rash of billion-dollar mergers in those industries. It's called 'inversion', which sounds better than “hiding profits”.

Fingerprints: Examination of the sources of entries on social media sites shows that the Defense Department and various intelligence agencies repeatedly try to manipulate the Internet, injecting propaganda and stifling dissent. Elgin Air Force Base, for example, seems to specialize in messing with Reddit. 
Beneath Contempt: The NYTimes reports Israelis are holding bomb-run parties, chomping on popcorn while watching the IDF kill Palestinians.

Quoted: "First, for anyone who thinks that the concept of intentionally crashing the stock market is the stuff of conspiracy theorists, that notion is now dead and buried. It’s extremely clear from the BIS’ language, that the concept of initiating a collapse is openly discussed as a policy measure." 

Inside Knowledge: Former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurleff have been arrested and charged with a total of 23 counts of soliciting bribes, tampering with evidence and such. If convicted, each could spend the next 30 years among friends in prison. 
Magic Kingdom! A six-month investigation has found that 35 staffers at Walt Disney World, five from Universal Studios Orlando and two from Sea World Orlando have been arrested in child sex stings or on child porn charges since 2006. You have to be shorter than this to go on this ride, the sign says.

A Burning World: For decades Washington has looked the other way while the Saudis have financed the spread of the most repressive form of fundamental Islam. This coupled with the decades of Israeli influence in formulating America's policies in the Near East, the chickens coming home to roost throughout the area are ours. What is responsible for the disasters now occurring? The US thirst for oil, the Saudi desire to kill the Shia, and the Israeli desire to kill nearly everyone not wearing a yarmulke, not necessarily in that order.

Don't Do This At Home: Anti-intellectualism takes many forms, from the Texas GOP platform stating, " We oppose teaching of Higher order Thinking Skills [because they] have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental control" to a Tennessee bill that "allows the teaching of creationism in state's classrooms." And there's always Kansas.