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NYT: Ssssmokin'

NYT: Oil Surges Above $81, Driven by Several Factors:

HOUSTON — A combination of frigid weather, expectations of an improving economy and new tensions between Russia and Belarus...

The technical term for this usless information is 'bullshit'. I mean, do these 'old-style media' types even read what they put into these articles? Jesus H. Christ, how many different reasons for oil price fluctuations can you blithely put to print before you become at least *marginally* aware you're printing doo-doo? Twenty? Fifty?

Like my ol' daddy used to say, gimme a puff on dat 'fore you throw it away.

Brake the Cycle


Image: USDA Press Release, 7 May '09

And now, for something completely expected and ordinary: nothing changes. Farmers get a few millions to split between two countries to help them grow food, the 'enemy combatants' get a coupla hundred bucks to kill anyone who accepts the cash, and - perfectly on cue - mercs get a few hundred million to kill them *and* their crops.

Idiot. Stop.



Jeremy Hilary Boob on the Sea of Holes @ Wiki

Marc Ambinder: Predictions 2012: The GOP Nomination

Pro'bly just me, but for a minute it looked like two-boobs-in-a-pod. You know, both, um, 'characters' putting out volumes of useless writings. Not so sure now. Jeremy's writing always had some value to someone somewhere. And he's never been mistaken for anything but a 'toon.

Can't say that about the other boob.

Fishwrap


Image ©DemotivateUs

NYT: U.S. Loan Effort Is Seen as Adding to Housing Woes

*Who*? 'Some'.

    ...some economists...real estate experts...borrowers...[financial] experts ...

'Some': derived from the Nor'Eastern 'some'rs', meaning 'somewhere'; a place or persons unknown to the writer. Commonly used by lazy reporters, copy editors, and editors to 'shade' articles in a manner designed to create bias, and/or advocate for a given position by hint and allegation. Fishwrap. One more:

AP: 2010 situation grows more difficult for Democrats

It's like, the idiots have lost their village.

Time Wasis



Image © RCA @ TV History.tv

See the tv. The entire device - including the case - was made here in the US in 1959. As were all of our vehicles, and all of the materials for our buildings, highways, roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals. Not to mention our clothes and food.

Today? Most of what we live in, wear, drive on, and eat comes from somewhere else, and it's the 'why' of those changes we need to understand. All of the reasons are simple, the view is unobstructed, the entire history available online, so go find out. (Hint: nothing changes.)

ID - The Movie


Image: Flying Jackalope © Dakotaland Postcards (1984)

LAT: California Science Center is sued for canceling a film promoting intelligent design:

"The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the American Freedom Alliance, an L.A.-based group described ... as a nonprofit, nonpartisan "think tank and activist network promoting Western values and ideals.""

In this case those "Western values..." include promoting ID as science. As if we could forget Kitzmiller v. Dover. And yet they continue to attempt to sell snake oil as science, and act positively wounded when anyone asks what's in the bottle.

The Delusion of Security


Image © Jim Gansle @ Mighty Optical Illusions

Abdulmutallab's near success, Lieberman said, argues that any concerns about passenger privacy should be set aside in favor of expanded full-body screening.

There ya go: one certifiable lunatic from Nigeria totally botches his 'mission from god', and this reprobate starts screaming about giving up more of our rights. Nothing changes. The deluded leading the delusional. And who TF protects us from *them*?

Taxing Shelter



Image: Cayman Islands © Destination 360.com

See the boat. The boat is old. The boat was built to take gold to a 'safe haven' in the Caymans. The 'new' boats are digital transfers. The were built to take gold to a 'safe haven' in the Caymans. Change you can 'count' on? No. Business as usual.

Go read Kevin Hall's story @ McClatchy (12/25) on what to do about the Bush tax cuts; and an earlier piece by Runnigan & Donmoyer back in March @ Bloomberg:

"As part of the economic recovery efforts, Obama created a panel to look into ways that tax restructuring could boost the economy. However, the panel failed to issue a planned report in December, Lim Rogers said, and was given very little room to work."

Sit, Volcker, sit. Good dog.

= = = = = = =

Also see: Perfectly Legal, Lichtenstein, and Halliburton Moves to Dubai.

Greeley Redux: Advise Going West to China. Stop.


Image: User Luddites © Magnitude Digital/UK

Katherine Bourzac/TechReview:

Applied Materials Moves Solar Expertise to China
:

Going forward, he says, "energy will become the biggest business for the company," and China, not the U.S., "will be the biggest solar market in the world."

With deep appreciation for their massive contributions to perpetual ignorance, we wish to thank Senator Mitch (Coal) McConnell, Cong. John (DrillBaby) Boehner, and the entire Republican Party, for convincing companies like Applied Materials - among thousands of others - to grow their markets elsewhere.

Brilliant.

Straightening Curves in Afghanistan



Image: D/11 © Caterpillar Corp.

Tony Perry/LAT:
California Guard troops attacked in Afghanistan (12/20/09)
:

The troops had gone to the village of Karay in Kunar Province to hold an inoculation program for 400-plus cattle, goats, donkeys and sheep. To get to the site, their convoy had to venture along a winding, boulder-strewn 60-mile road, which follows the wide, fast-moving river.

Better roads = better protection + (eventually) ease of transport to market. Send more ag experts, more CATs and Buffaloes, and fire the mercs.

Beat Reporters #3; Whiny Bloggers

Kim Minugh/SacBee: Little girl thanks officer, touches hearts:
A doctor had just told the little girl that her mother wouldn't be coming back home after she'd collapsed on the kitchen floor last month. .. And yet the 9-year-old managed to thank a police officer who had been called to the scene – apologize, even – that the officer had had to watch her mom die.

Every now and again these short-story news items remind me of the value of professional local reporters. Read, enjoy, and realize that the entire little movie that will run in your head - with the attendant large cast of characters - is less than 500 words.  Nicely done.

Critics on the Left, Idiots on the Right, Ready on the Firing Line


Image: The Critic, © Gabriel Von Max @ AllPosters.com

Did you ever walk onto a jobsite that was so poorly-run, with a level of workmanship so low, into an atmosphere so poisonous the only sane course of action was to lay off the crew on Friday, take the owner to dinner as an apology, and start cleaning up and repairing the damage first thing Saturday morning? No?

Didn't think so. But I have - been a part of the 'replacements' that is. Can't remember being that pissed - except for a coupla times cleaning up the medic's puke wars in the barracks - 'cause the original crew screwed the pooch so badly, with so little regard for the needs of the owner. Bad blood only cured with patience, time, and dedication. Make it right, whatever the cost, no matter how long it takes.

In Labor: Fools Happen


Image © BlackCommentator.com

"I get houses ready to be sold. I clean them up, repair them, and make them presentable. I'm looking for someone with the ability to take over a house and get it done. You will need to plan the job to my specifications, as well as direct laborers. You will work with sub-contractors. You should have skills in carpentry, plumbing repairs, light electrical work, painting, drywall, and tile. You need to have basic carpentry tools, saws, cordless drill, nail guns, and hand tools. Compensation: The starting pay is $15/hr. on payroll (no cash)

A Craigslist job listing today, Central Valley CA, in it's entirety.  By any definition the job requires journey-level skills in at least three crafts, your own tools and truck, and enough experience to run work on your own for an *effective* wage of around eight bucks an hour.  Let's hear it again for 'American Labor'.

I Zing the Detroit Electric


Image: 1912 Detroit Electric at B.C. Hydro's Stave Falls

Martin Lamonica/CNET: Detroit Electric resurrected as $25,000 electric car:
"Detroit Electric, an auto brand once favored by Thomas Edison, is mounting a 21st century comeback with electric cars aimed at U.S. soccer moms and Chinese city dwellers."

Wowsers, what a concept! And it's only one hundred years old! And with Zap! motors onboard, you may even get a 90-day warranty on those batteries-surrounded-by-a-car!! And look at the crew: the engineers are Dutch, the money is British, the manufacturing is Malay, and early distribution is in China.

Whither the Americans? Withered, and incapable of 'imagineering' the '21st Century'.