May 15, 2010

Why did (does?) Kagan hate minority drug users

Guess who was behind the Slickster's push for the 100x disparity on crack vs. powder cocaine sentencing? Guess who told Clinton to make this decision on political needs?

Yep, that would be Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Ms. Elena Kagan? And, who in the now all non-black Senate's going to ask her about that?

Well, the NAACP, it turns out, DIDN'T ask her about that:
The nation's oldest and largest civil rights group voted unanimously at a board meeting in Florida to endorse Kagan, in line to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. It was an early endorsement by a major interest group for Kagan, who is solicitor general, the government's top lawyer at the Supreme Court.

The NAACP's president, Benjamin Jealous, told The Associated Press that the group initially was concerned because Kagan, who never served as a judge, had little direct evidence or a record that she would actively promote civil rights.
Well, she has a clear past record on one thing that FIGHTS civil rights!

Nor did Jealous and the rest of hte NAACP ask her about her pre-Solicitor General opinions on expanding the domain of corporate "free speech."

In other words, this is just a knee-jerk reaction to a Democratic president, and a minority one at that, running a nomination choice up the flagpole. I guess, collectively, per Matt Yglesias' vapid, tautological definition, the NAACP board is a bunch of good liberals.

On Harriet Miers, a group like Rutherford would have squashed Kagan like a bug.

Meanwhile, speaking of Kagan and conservatives, Media Matters for America claims all conservatives are ramped up against Kagan. It's a cheap fundraising ploy, or something to that effect, I'm sure. Bottom line is that it's not true.

The utterly failed War on Drugs

It's failed so miserably, that in this highly-read, in-depth AP investigative piece, even President Obama's own drug czar admitted it's largely failed.
"In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Gil Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified."
That said, he, like his boss has a wont of doing, told a big fib, claiming the Obama Administration is devoted to more work on drug addiction prevention, treatment, etc.

Well, it is, unless you look for the dollar signs. Then, it's not.

And, on the addiction prevention side, it's not trying anything new, even though programs like DARE are known flops. How is it a flop, and how badly?

We need a long blockquote from the story, that's how, and how badly:
Using Freedom of Information Act requests, archival records, federal budgets and dozens of interviews with leaders and analysts, the AP tracked where that money went, and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent more than:

— $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico — and the violence along with it.

— $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs. High school students report the same rates of illegal drug use as they did in 1970, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses have "risen steadily" since the early 1970s to more than 20,000 last year.

— $49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs. This year, 25 million Americans will snort, swallow, inject and smoke illicit drugs, about 10 million more than in 1970, with the bulk of those drugs imported from Mexico.

— $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana. Studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.

— $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone. Last year, half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses.

At the same time, drug abuse is costing the nation in other ways. The Justice Department estimates the consequences of drug abuse — "an overburdened justice system, a strained health care system, lost productivity, and environmental destruction" — cost the United States $215 billion a year.

Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron says the only sure thing taxpayers get for more spending on police and soldiers is more homicides.

"Current policy is not having an effect of reducing drug use," Miron said, "but it's costing the public a fortune."
Meanwhile, we can't stop Mexico ... Ten percent of the Mexican economy is built on drug proceeds, with $25 billion smuggled in from the United States every year. Out of that, only 25 cents of each $100 smuggle, or one-quarter of 1 percent, is caught at the border, the story notes.

Here in this part of the world, at least one politician welcomed the story.

El Paso City Councilman Beto O'Rourke is glad to see the in-depth expose, tiring of the drug violence of neighboring Juarez, Mexico. He wants marijuana legalization to be part of the attempted answer.

BP oil dispersal may hide a load of problems

Whether BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout is pumping out an Exxon Valdez every four days, or less than that, it's not dropping an Exxon Valdez sized mess on the beach at all right now.

That's a good thing right? Maybe not.

Since we don't even know right now where that spewing oil will settle, we have no idea what sort of problems it may be causing.
Because of the leak's extreme depth, and the effects of dispersants, (various groups) say this spill is breaking the maxim that oil floats. Instead, they fear it is settling on sensitive corals, or poisoning ecosystems that produce shrimp, snapper and sport fish -- all in places too deep for scientists to watch or help.
In Alaska, people could scrub oil off rocks, clams or other shore shellfish, or even try to help otters or seabirds. No chance, here.

That's why there's no need to hold back on labeling this for what it is.
"Let's see it for what it is: To me, it's a disaster already. It doesn't have to go up on the beach," said Ronald J. Kendall, a professor at Texas Tech University who studies oil's effect on ecosystems. He said the spill's impacts on underwater creatures might not be fully understood for years: "It's a massive eco-toxicological experiment underway."
I'm sure Prof. Kendall isn't fond of this "experiment."

But, what about BP's vaunted, touted, dispersants? Won't they break the oil up enough that it won't cause too much harm when it settles? Probably not:
"By dispersing the stuff at depth, it creates essentially smaller globules of oil (and) it makes the oil mire likely to be affected by even slow-moving currents," said James H. Cowan Jr., a professor of oceanography and coastal sciences at Louisiana State University. "We just don't know where it is, and we don't know where it's going."
In other words, some oil could smother a strand of coral for a while, until a relatively mild eddy releases it, and it then moves on enough, just enough, to drop on another strand of coral.

BP will face a real storm this summer ... a Katrina-like one?

Oops, oops, oops.

Forecasters are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season. Eastern Atlantic temperatures are already pushing record highs for this time of year, and there's little to no El Nino to shear off upper-level circulatory winds.

What might a few big storms do to that oil?
Storms may scuttle clean-up efforts, force containment vessels to retreat, or propel spilled crude and tar balls over vast expanses of sea and beach, scientists said.

Meteorologists say that climate conditions are ripe for an unusually destructive hurricane season, the storm-prone period that runs from June 1 to the end of November in the Gulf. Oceanographers say that could hurt the clean-up.
Storms? In the plural? It may only take one, right? Yep.
"It only takes one storm to wreak havoc," said Chris Shabbot, a meteorologist at Sempra in Connecticut. "The consensus forecast is for above average storm activity as the El Nino (event) decays and the Atlantic is as warm or warmer than 2005."
Let me see ... didn't the Gulf have another disaster in 2005? Oh, yeah, Katrina. And not just Katrina. 2005 was chock-full of monster hurricanes pounding the Gulf.

Meanwhile, since we don't even know right now where that spewing oil will settle, we have no idea where or how a hurricane will disperse it.

Bet that wasn't in BP's disaster planning either.

May 14, 2010

Obama lyingly promises to get 'tough' on offshore drilling

President Barack Obama promised today to get tough with the oil and gas drilling industry, claiming it was time to move beyond finger pointing:
“This is a responsibility that all of us share,” Mr. Obama said. “The oil companies share it. The manufacturers of this equipment share it. The agencies and the federal government in charge of oversight share that responsibility.”
He even promised an overview of recent offshore drilling leases permitted by the Minerals Management Service, including after the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon well.

Ahh, but here's what The One isn't telling you.

The MMS has been helping oil drillers deliberately avoid getting environmental impact permits from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“You simply are not allowed to conclude that the drilling will have an impact,” said one scientist who has worked for the minerals agency for more than a decade. “If you find the risks of a spill are high or you conclude that a certain species will be affected, your report gets disappeared in a desk drawer and they find another scientist to redo it or they rewrite it for you.”
AND ... Our Beloved Neoliberal Leader Obama's proposed reform of the Minerals Management Service apparently won't touch this NOAA work-around. (And, the "cozy relationship" he mentioned? Isn't that, too, part and parcel of neoliberalism?)

Update, May 15: Meanwhile, another government entity, the EPA, readily signed off on BP's never-before done, never-before tested, use of deep sea dispersents.

Oxygen waters on the seafloor around the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe have already fallen by 30 percent and will fall more.

Meanwhile, there are oil and gas plumes from just below the surface to 4,000 feet deep.
Researchers Vernon Asper and Arne Dierks said in Web posts that the plumes were "perhaps due to the deep injection of dispersants which BP has stated that they are conducting."
In other words, the dispersants may be contributing to the oil-caused deoxygenation.

That's why BP's "backup" plan to use dispersants in deepwater for the first time, without testing, is so criminal.
The decision (to allow this) by the Environmental Protection Agency angered state officials and fishermen, who complained that regulators ignored their concerns about the effects on the environment and fish.

"The EPA is conducting a giant experiment with our most productive fisheries by approving the use of these powerful chemicals on a massive, unprecedented scale," John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a news release.
BP. Blatantly Polluting. And, the technocratic neoliberalocity is cooperating.

The latest MMS fail on offshore drilling

It's been helping oil drillers deliberately avoid getting environmental impact permits from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“You simply are not allowed to conclude that the drilling will have an impact,” said one scientist who has worked for the minerals agency for more than a decade. “If you find the risks of a spill are high or you conclude that a certain species will be affected, your report gets disappeared in a desk drawer and they find another scientist to redo it or they rewrite it for you.”
AND ... Our Beloved Neoliberal Leader Obama's proposed reform of the Minerals Management Service apparently won't touch this NOAA work-around.

So, Obamiacs, quit defending him on environmental issues, or his response to this tragic, but quite avoidable, catastrophe.

Another Big Ag/GMO fail

Another danger of GMO crops, this time engineered for resistance to a specific bug. Farmers undersprayed or stopped spraying insecticides because of that, and other bugs got worse.

May 13, 2010

Another 'surge' that's not yet real

The New York Times trumpets a "surge" in Team Obama regulatory actions. But, most of the things listed are proposals, not actualities.

Oops.

And, the article also lets Obama benefit from the "soft bigotry of low expectations," namely the comparison with his predecessor.

Hey Armstrong and Cernan, get a few clues

Stop looking at today's space program and its needs and goals for the future as though we were still in the middle of the Cold War.

1. As long as it's done in a spirt of cooperation, which has been the case so far, to the degree it's been needed, what's wrong with relying on the Russians more for transport to the space station?

2. Manned trips to the moon again is just your romanticism speaking. If we want to mine the moon for anything, that can probably be done robotically. As for a way station to Mars, the space station will work better for that if we don't do a direct shot.

3. s for a manned trip to Mars, whether directly or via the space station, on a number of grounds, we're not ready for that yet. We haven't tested astronaut psychology enough yet, we haven't determined how to do a robotic pre-human launch camp set-up, and a bunch of other stuff.

I agree that Obama is expecting too much, outside of low-earth orbit stuff, from the private sector.

Otherwise, no, you're wrong, and dated.

May 12, 2010

White House 'interviews' Elena Kagan

No, really! You can see how something like this would hack off a news media already seeing new levels of media manipulation from Team Obama.

A cross, like a river, is never the same crossed twice

OK, the American Legion says it's going to build a new cross on the putatively private postage stamp of land in the middle of the Mojave National Preserve if nobody finds the one stolen yesterday that raised a Supreme Court ruckus.

But, ff the Legion rebuilds the cross, aren't we under a new setting, i.e., even if the Legion claims that a cross was a symbol of "civic religion" at the time of the original, that cross ain't such a symbol today. This ain't WWI. And, Nino Scalia et al have been told to their collective faces that Jewish veterans' graves don't have crosses.

(Not to mention Muslim veterans' graves, nonreligious servicemembers' graves, etc.)

So, since the land swap for a private parcel postage-stamp plot is still in limbo at the federal district court level, I dare the Legion to try building a new one.

Crime, a short story, non-fiction pun intended

No, literally, according to some forensic scientists. They wonder if, after "controlling" for things like family and neighborhood poverty, if things like short stature or extra weight, which do, unfortunately, affect one's career growth chances, don't then, in reverse, perhaps nudge some people into crime.

It's possible, I suppose; but, how much of a "bump" is it, and how much does it vary from person to person. Is this at risk of being Evolutionary Psychology-Beauty, a subset of Pop Ev Psych?

Think you have a food allergy? Think again

Due to shoddy testing and other things, food allergies are massively overdiagnosed, especially in adults.

The skin prick test? Accurate less than 50 percent of the time, for example.

I have figured this for some time, but it's nice to get detailed empirical confirmation of the shoddiness (and perhaps a bit of quackery, too).

Too bad the story didn't address the quackery angle, with orthomolecularists, suspect nutritionists and other alt-med types wandering around.

AZ Gov Brewer panders to racism (again)

The latest? Signing into a law a bill that targets ethnic studies in state public schools and school districts.

The myth of the Texas economic miracle

Four-day workweeks, or even forced furloughs, for state employees? A projected budget deficit, for next year, of 10 percent of the total budget, perhaps more?

We're in California, right? Arizona? Nevada? Or, if not in a Sunbelt housing bubble state, we're in Michigan? Ohio?

Nope, we're in Texas, and those dire warnings of state belt-tightening come from Speaker of the House Joe Straus.

Dire enough that a leading House Republican is both talking the truth, beyond Straus, about the degree of the deficit, and increasing his push for legalized gambling.

Gov. Rick Perry likes to talk about his jobs creation, the state's low-tax nature and other things, but here's the truth.

Texas may not have a state income tax, but it has one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation. At the local level, your city, county and school district property tax bill will be among the highest in the nation. And, in the years since the GOP has gotten control of both houses of the Lege, "fees," or taxes under another name, have increased, increased and increased.

As for income? Texas has one of the highest rich-poor gaps of any state in the country. It has the highest uninsured rate of any state.

It has a dysfunctional state government, with an anachronistic Legislature that not only is a part-time critter, but meets only every other year!

A part-time, but annual, legislature would be bad enough, but this is horrible. Yes, various committees are holding hearings, etc., but unless Tricky Ricky Perry wants to risk his re-election, and put his campaign fundraising on hold while it would be in session, there will be no special session of the Legislature. Texas will have to wait to officially address its problems by legislative votes until next year.

May 11, 2010

Nick Clegg, sellout?

Any talks the LibDem leader had planned with Labour officials must have been perfunctory, if even conducted. Labour leader and PM Gordon Brown has stepped up his resignation to be effective immediately, with Clegg's Lib Dems and David Cameron's Tories allegedly forming a coalition.

I hope the LibDem rank and file takes an immediate party leadership vote and deposes Clegg. There's nothing to indicate Cameron improved his original offering to Clegg.

If you didn't want to coalition with Labour, you didn't have to enter a formal coalition with the Tories. Just agree not to oppose the budget, if not egregious.

(In)famous Mojave cross stolen

Take THAT, Supreme Court and wishy washy, civic religion-supporting rulings!

Too little, too late on Minerals Mgmt Service?

NOW, after the Deepwater Horizon spill, Obama wants to split this agency into two.

First, the timing sounds suspicious. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement on Tuesday coincides with hearings about the disaster on Capitol Hill.

Second, MMS has long been understaffed. Will the two halves both get bigger budgets and staffing issues addressed? Nothing mentioned in the announcement.

Liberals SHOULD worry about Kagan

Liberals should worry about Elena Kagan not only in her own self as not being that liberal on the Supreme Court, but as symptomatic of an ongoing trend in that area.

Further proof of that? And of pseudo-liberal presidential cravenness? The NYT notes that not since Thurgood Marshall in 1967 have liberals really been jazzed about a SCOTUS nominee. (LBJ's biggest mistake outside of Vietnam was not nominating him, rather than crony Abe Fortas, to be the Chief a year later.)

Oh, and liberals SHOULD complain about Kagan:
“Why do the conservatives always get the conservatives, but we don’t get to get the liberals?” Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, asked the Web site Politico recently, voicing the frustration of the left when Ms. Kagan was considered a front-runner but was not yet Mr. Obama’s selection. “What the hell is that all about?”
More proof from that same story?
Richard A. Posner, a conservative appeals court judge in Chicago, and William M. Landes, his colleague from the University of Chicago law school, ranked all 43 justices from 1937 to 2006 by ideology and found that four of the five most conservative ones are on the current court. Even the moderate swing vote, Justice Kennedy, was the 10th most conservative over that period. By contrast, none of the current justices ranks among the five most liberal members, and only Justice Ginsburg is in the top 10.
Remember, Posner would have incentive to UNDERsell conservative bona fides to push the court further right.

Oh, and it's not just executive power to worry about from Kagan.

Her eptitude as Solicitor General is laughable, despite The One's claims about her brilliance, as posted on a blog at TPM. It's hard to imagine her having the skill, or the gravitas bestowed by other justices, to be able to form voting consensuses.

May 10, 2010

The unbearable lightness of Kagan

Well, as everybody has speculated for weeks, and I predicted for sure last night, President Barack Obama's choice to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court is the semi0-blank slate, semi-conservative accomodationist Elena Kagan.

Unfortunately, Matt Yglesias is probably right; there will be little liberal blowback (in part because, as I told him, many self-identified "liberals" aren't), and, Team Obama welcomes any such pushback to tout its centrist bona fides.
If you're starting an office pool on which word starting with the letter "P" appears more often in White House talking points this summer, don't bet on "progressive."
So true, Mike Madden, so true.

As for her "unbearable lightness," Glenn Greenwald continues to point this out ... not just hers, but that of the arguments on her behalf by many of her boosters.

Among those defenders is Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog, who continues to claim folks like Greenwald misread her on the idea of expanding executive powers.

Tom, I don't think that's the case. Also, that doesn't address the issue of her "thinness" or many other things.

As for defenders who say this could be the first gay SCOTUS justice? If the rumors are true, BFD. Rev. "Rentboy" Rekers also appears to be gay. So does Larry Craig.

Meanwhile, how far has the court fallen otherwise? When Anthony Kennedy is cited as the would-be leader of the liberal bloc, it's fallen far indeed.

Further proof of that? And of pseudo-liberal presidential cravenness? The NYT notes that not since Thurgood Marshall in 1967 have liberals really been jazzed about a SCOTUS nominee. (LBJ's biggest mistake outside of Vietnam was not nominating him, rather than crony Abe Fortas, to be the Chief a year later.)

Oh, and liberals SHOULD complain about Kagan:
“Why do the conservatives always get the conservatives, but we don’t get to get the liberals?” Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, asked the Web site Politico recently, voicing the frustration of the left when Ms. Kagan was considered a front-runner but was not yet Mr. Obama’s selection. “What the hell is that all about?”
More proof from that same story?
Richard A. Posner, a conservative appeals court judge in Chicago, and William M. Landes, his colleague from the University of Chicago law school, ranked all 43 justices from 1937 to 2006 by ideology and found that four of the five most conservative ones are on the current court. Even the moderate swing vote, Justice Kennedy, was the 10th most conservative over that period. By contrast, none of the current justices ranks among the five most liberal members, and only Justice Ginsburg is in the top 10.
Remember, Posner would have incentive to UNDERsell conservative bona fides to push the court further right.

LibDem-Labour deal closer with Brown stepdown?

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has recognized the obvious — he is stepping down as Labour Party leader.

And, he's doing so as part of a conscious effort to woo Liberal Democrats.

My tentative thoughts on a possible coalition.

Miliband should be the next Labour leader, and would become PM.

As a serious nod to Europhilia, as well as a serious cementing of the Cabinet, Nick Clegg gets the Foreign Secretary nod. (I'm assuming, for a variety of reasons, he wants that rather than Deputy PM.) One of the minor parties gets a semi-important domestic position like Home Secretary. Lib Dems get a couple of other Cabinet slots. The referendum on proportional elections does not move the UK all the way there, but does a German-style mix of proportional representation off a list and single-member seats.

If Clegg, and other top Lib Dems, don't jump at a deal like that, I don't know what their problem is.

Obama continues to sell out Constitution

This time, it's via the agency of Attorney General Eric Holder, who wants to do a "carve-out" of Miranda rights for terrorism suspects.

The comments of Holder, on Meet the Press, and "terrorism czar" John Brennen both were blanket statements; that is, they did not exclude from this desired Miranda carve-out terrorism suspects American citizens like alleged would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.

Part of the problem here is that, in the Shahzad case, we're relying on information from Pakistani intelligence agencies that surely were none too queasy about how they got the intelligence. Picture a future case, where the foreign side, in a country like Pakistan, supplies the first intelligence, and the U.S. then uses that possibly flimsy and definitely tainted information to justify not Mirandizing someone.

Or, let's go a step further.

Suppose a Shahzad is arrested abroad. And, then, he either actually is "rendered" to Pakistan, or at least the threat is made of that.

THEN, the U.S. government uses information gained from that to interrogate him here in the U.S. without Miranda protections.

Orwellian, no?

Oh, and if this isn't a lead-pipe cinch "tell" that Elena Kagan is Obama's next SCOTUS nominee, I'll eat my hat.

May 09, 2010

Fish depletion and biodiversity loss

Two studies headlined by World Science shows just how far downhill we have gone on ocean depletion.

First, it takes British trawlers 17 times as much work today to catch an equivalent amount of fish as in the days of sail.
“Over a cen­tu­ry of in­ten­sive trawl fish­ing has se­verely de­plet­ed U.K. seas of bot­tom liv­ing fish like hal­i­but, tur­bot, had­dock and plaice,” said Si­mon Brock­ing­ton, head of con­serva­t­ion at the U.K.’s Ma­rine Con­serva­t­ion So­ci­e­ty and co-au­thor of the stu­dy.
And, the same problems are presumed to be true around European fisheries, which is why the latest round of CITES talks' failure to put a cap on bluefin tuna hauls is so disconcerting.

Meanwhile, in the sea, on land, and in the air, world governments have failed to address biodiversity decline.

I said 'no," the bonobo indicated

Bonobos, the "half-siblings" of chimps and a first cousin to us, if you will, may shake their heads to, like humans, indicate a 'no' answer.

Will US draw wrong lesson from Pakistan-Times Square

Attorney General Eric Holder says that Times Square's alleged would-be bomber Faisal Shahzad has been linked to the Pakistani Taliban.

So, what are we going to do? Launch yet more drones against Pakistan's Waziristan and Tribal Areas lands, thereby potentially "creating" more people like Shahzad by upping an undeclared war? Are we going to do that to the point of potentially destabilizing the government in Islamabad?

The answer is probably yes.

LibDem-Tory talks breaking up?

At the least, they've cooled off. In fact, as of Sunday evening, British time, the Guardian reported that Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg had just met with PM and Labour leader Gordon Brown.

If the two can get enough minority parties on board, they can actually form a majority government, not just an alliance with larger numbers than Conservatives alone. That said, I'm sure part of the price has to be Brown's head, especially since more Labour leaders are saynig that.

That kid may be right on Tiger losing No. 1

Tiger Woods just withdrew from The Players' Championship with a bulging disc in either his back or neck.

Even if Phil Mickelson doesn't win the Players, it's clearly just a matter of time before Tiger loses his No. 1 ranking.

That said, let's look at the longer term.

Jack Nicklaus never had this type of back problem in his mid-30s. He also did not have three knee operations. Those driver pop-ups by Woods may well be caused at least in part by the back, and not rust.

In that case, Woods has more than hanging on to No. 1 to worry about; he has the chase of Jack's 18 majors taking a whole new turn.

And, if his golf game is suddenly diminished, while his competitive fires, and his quasi-juvenile focus on them, are undimmed or even strengthened, his life gets even more tumultuous. Even more so if Elin has filed for divorce.

Look at Michael Jordan's post-Bulls attempts to still play.

Oh, and, yes, there's one way for Tiger to have thrown out his back!

Of course, there's conflicting news as to whether this is a bulging disc or just a pinched nerve. That's a huge difference.

Hey, LibDems; not so fast on Tory bed-hopping

A secret Conservative Party policy memo, drafted by policy staff and sent out under shadown Foreign Secretary William Hague's name to party leader David Cameron, says that not only have the Tories not abandoned their Euro-skepticism, they intend to fight for it fully in Parliament.

The Tories claim they have no idea what this paper is, despite the Observer having it vouched for quite well as a Tory document. And, Cameron has yet to disavow it.

Note to Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg: I think your own party will depose you if you sign off on a coalition with the Conservatives, or even guarantee Cameron an "unmolested" minority government. (And, if you do the latter, you throw away what bargaining power you have right now.)

Teh (bigoted) stupid: Drug-testing welfare recipients

This is the latest socio-political meme going around Facebook, that welfare recipients should be drug tested as part of getting benefits. And, of course, it's not new.

Of course, it's totally wrong in its presuppositions and presumptions.

It's the financial class-based equivalent of racism, since repeated sociological studies show that drug use, by percentage, is almost equal across all socioeconomic as well as racial boundaries. In light of that, as far as how many people benefit from federal, or state, help ...

Should we drug test would be financial planners as part of their System 7 licenses? Student loan recipients? GOP (and Democratic) Congressional candidates? State legislators? White-collar workers getting unemployment benefits? Small Business Administration loan recipients?

You get the idea.

But, in case you don't, rhetorically speaking, why stop there?

Driving on streets built with taxpayer money? Drug testing, including alcohol via breathalyzer, before you start the vehicle. Etc., etc.

As I said above, this is nothing new. Of course, it goes back to Uncle Ronnie's time, showing that nothing is new under the wingnut sun except the possibility of persuading some gullible people who don't think this stuff through.

But, it's not just the gullible. It's the politically gutless of both parties, still pursuing the "War on Drugs," who are ultimately to blame.

Why Fannie and Freddie need more regulation

As Gretchen Morgenson points out, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still bleeding money, and the federal subsidies they continue to seek and get constitute an ongoing back-door bailout of the banks who wrote subprime dreck in the first place.

Of course, it is primarily for that reason that they're not likely to come under review for possible further regulation.

And, the GOP? In the Senate, it's just looking for a talking point of leverage, that's all, combined with its ongoing BS about how Fannie and Freddie overextended themselves to minorities in the first place.