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Conflict, No Resolution

Over @ the Dish the team points to a photographic essay in Foreign Policy of 33 "conflicts". We'd be remiss if we didn't point to the "other wars" in the CIA Factbook's "Disputes":

 

This entry includes a wide variety of situations that range from traditional bilateral boundary disputes to unilateral claims of one sort or another. Information regarding disputes over international terrestrial and maritime boundaries has been reviewed by the US Department of State.

Fascinating the amount of issues that two people - or governments- can fight over. Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, every contintent on the planet, every human religion, a collection of a few billions lacking the common sense and pragmatic outlook to resolve their disputes.

I Me Me Mine

Evan Halper/LAT: Group fights plan to fine tax cheats:

The California Chamber of Commerce, the Western States Petroleum Assn. and the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn. are lobbying against the bill, SBX8 32. They argue that it would make businesses reluctant to claim tax breaks for fear of making an error.

Translation: The largest and richest corporations in the State officially accuse their well-paid lawyers and accountants of incompetence.

IRS on Contractors

Steven Greenhouse/NYT: U.S. Cracks Down on ‘Contractors’ as a Tax Dodge

...Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president with the United States Chamber of Commerce. “The laws are unclear in this area, and legitimate clarification is one thing. But if it’s just a way to justify enforcing very unclear laws against employers who can have a legitimate disagreement with the Labor Department or I.R.S., then we’re concerned.”

First, and just so you know, the IRS is exceedingly clear on the "contractor or employee" test. Second, the US Chamber of Commerce is the closest thing we've got in this country to an association of wanna-be-slave-holders, owing to their predictable opposition to any law, regulation, or message on a stone tablet that might have any benefit to the people who actually work in this country.

Just go read the article, then call your rep and tell them to increase cash for the IRS' enforcement division. Or put a few million in reward money on the street. Say, ten percent of the ultimate take. Let's see how far that "loyalty to the company" really goes.

Wrong Numbers? No. Idiots In Print

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 distributes the $787 billion as follows:

CNN: President Obama ...declar[ed] the $862 billion package an unequivocal success

sacbee: There's been much political debate on how much the $862 billion bill has helped the economy.

Thanks to those idiots and editors for the wrong numbers, I had to take a journey that led me on a winding path tracking back to a CBO "estimate of impact on page 113". Bah. I think I'll just stick with sources at the White House, Recovery.gov, and - more importantly - Leonhardt @ the NYT.

Ultrasound Breaker

Lauren Gravitz/TechReview: Busting Blood Clots with Sound Waves:

InSightec's high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) device is a bit like a helmet, lined with more than 1,000 ultrasound transducers. Each can be focused individually to send a beam into the brain of the person wearing the helmet.

For people like me who've managed to stay alert and breathing after an 'incident' last year, this is phenomenal news. Unfortunately, like everything else in ConservaLand, this type of advanced research has been crushed for at least a decade.

No worries now though. Our new administration and most-friendly Congress will undoubtedly answer the moral question of whether healthcare is a *right*, not a *privilege* with a resounding "yes". National single-payer will soon follow, and we will all live better and more productive lives.

Right? You betchum Red Ryder.

Zajac: Bring the Heat


Eric Wesoff/greentech: Improved Internal Combustion Engines: Zajac Motors:

The design of this engine allows Zajac to jettison timing chains, mufflers, plugs and catalytic converters...promises a dramatic increase in fuel efficiency (up to 50 percent more than conventional gas engines) and the ability to change fuels on the fly, without any alterations to the engine or its power rating. Modifications to the engine are entirely above the cylinder head.

Image © Zajac Motors. Worth the read.

Derivatives

de·riv·a·tive (d-rv-tv)
adj.
1. Resulting from or employing derivation: a derivative word; a derivative process.
2. Copied or adapted from others: a highly derivative prose style.

So much information copied directly from the front pages of the "mainstream media" to make the point that the "MSM" is failing in it's duty to educate and inform. Just bugged more than usual this morning by the glaring hypocrisy of the political progressive press. If I had a buck for every time I've seen "NYT" or "WaPo" on a blog, I'd be rich. Then again, I'm getting exactly what I paid for.

Stolen Country Stores

Abby Haight/SFGate-AP: Nurseries struggle with lagging economy:

A few, like Niklas' Clackamas Greenhouses, have gone bankrupt. "The family has poured money into it as we tried to restructure it and make new markets," said Niklas, who had to file bankruptcy after losing almost half his sales when his primary retailer was bought out. "Commercial lenders aren't talking to me because I'm coming out of bankruptcy. "They aren't even talking to GM, so why would they talk to a little nursery?"

Just so. If you have any questions about why and how we have been reduced to a "stagnation" nation, you need to look no farther than the confines of the White House, and the halls of Congress. The curious lack of interest and leadership has created anticipation of a coming Spring that looks like no relief for the masses. See, the f*cking financial industry already got theirs - and they don't produce anything, manufacture anything, or provide anything of any value to anyone anywhere. They grow . . . money.

Tell ya what, let's give the D.C. dipshits until somewhere around the 4th of July. No results by then, and I think we have to *fire* every single one of them and start all over again. You know: "Clean House".

Black Tar

Image @ Wiki

Sam Quinones/LAT:

A lethal business model targets Middle America [Part 1 of 3]
:

The dealers have been especially successful in parts of Appalachia and the Rust Belt with high rates of addiction to OxyContin, Percocet and other prescription painkillers. They market their heroin as a cheap, potent alternative to pills.

It's yet another kind of pyramid scam, only far more lucrative, and much easier to run. Get in for any amount, turn your neighbors and friends on, and *you* get back free product in exchange. And the damndest thing about the trade is, at some point the honcho at the top of that food chain has a nest egg in either a Swiss bank, or safely in the arms of, say, Goldman-Sachs.

You know, it's "god's work", and ya got to keep the customer satisfied.

The 'Atlantic's' Coast

The level of irrelevance increases daily over @ the Atlantic's "Politics" bar. They've gone from an 'ok', fast-food type of analysis, to this:

Question Of The Day: Cheney Vs. Biden--Who Won?.

The obvious answer is: 'oh look, a squirrel!'. But that's not important here - or there - which is precisely the point, isn't it?

Fear Itself


Image from Mars Attacks © Warner Bros., 1996

DEVLIN BARRETT and BEN FELLER are reporting on the administration's confusion - newly found - over the location and type of trial of the man who planned 9/11. The much-vaunted courageous New Yorkers have turned into a quivering mass of jelly, Eric Holder has devolved into a political sycophant, and on this particular issue, Obama is no different than Bush.

Maybe it's got something to do with that fancy new red bubbly weapon McConnell's pointin' at the Prez'? Some kinda disruptor 'r somethin? Nah. Just politics as usual.