4th of July – How are We Measuring Up?

I read a statistic in the Sacramento Bee that said that 71% of Americans feel the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be disappointed with where we are today.  So I thought maybe we ought to read the Declaration of Independence and see how we are stacking up.  Now the first part (When in the Course of human events … ) of the Declaration is basically setting up why they are writing this thing.  The part that basically lays out what we stand for then follows:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. …

The rest of the document is justifying the separation from the British government and a listing of the individual grievences that justify our breaking away.

So we have two things to consider in the passage above.  First, has government become destructive of these ends?  No we still have our liberty although the nutcases, even though they still have their vote and the government, all three branches, are working as the Founders designed, think they have been denied their liberty because they just don’t like the outcomes.  So I would have to say, no, we don’t have proper justification to dissolve the political bands due to a  long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.  No, we voted those nincompoops in and they are following the rules.

For the second part, are we living up to making sure that all men are treated equal and that their inalienable Rights, Life, Liberty, and the pursit of Happiness is being sustained?  Well on this one we have a mixed bag.  We finally got the black thing right after the Civil War, but even today blacks are still fighting discrimination almost everywhere.  But it is fair to say most of us are working on it.  The women got the vote in 1920, but sad to say they are still fighting a battle for equal pay for equal work and to control their own bodies.

On the plus side, gays are now equal under the law sort of.  They can marry except in state’s where they foolishly think their religious freedom trumps the law, but that is an insurrection, not the failure of government (on the federal level).  The other problem is that in many states they can be fired for being gay which again seems totally out of line with the Declaration.  The Feds could fix that, but Republicans will claim state’s rights (to discriminate) like they did during the segregation years.  But we are progressing, so for most of the country a thumbs up.

For the life thing, a mix bag also.  Thirtyfour states have abandoned the death penalty, but the Supremes decided that an unknown drug who may have unknown affects on the body, and having a case where an inmate work up while they were using the drug, is not cruel and unusual.  They also decided that with out a cost/benefit analysis we can dump toxic gases into the atmosphere to kill people more slowly. So I would say we have a way to go on this one.  Also there are still people in America who do not have access to healthcare and until we have a single payer system that says everyone deserves healthcare, we get a D-. 

Now where we really fall down is in the Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness (L&P). thing  How much L&P can you have when you can’t afford an advanced education, or if you get one, you are in debt up to your eyeballs?  How much L&P can you have when the economy is rigged so when it works, a very few people make all the money?  How much L&P can you have when our infrastruction is falling apart around us?  

How much L&P can you have when executives make over 300 times what the average employee does? How much L&P can you have when you ignore science and data that tells us the planet is heating and there will be dire impacts to our economic and national security, and we deny it? How much L&P can you have when all the stuff listed in the above paragraphs is mostly due to Republican obstructionism?

So I would have to say as a system, it still works.  Some of the outcomes are troubling, but that is not because the structure and framework the Founders created is flawed, but because we elect bimbos who are controlled by dollars and we do nothing.  Many in the electorate live in la la land.  I read in the paper today where one person claim that we are the greatest country in the world because in American you can still work hard and get ahead.  Actually that is not true in that most European countries are working better than we are in social mobility and real wages are stagnating along with social mobility.  

But in that comment is what is what is wrong with us today and it has nothing to do with what the Founders gave us to work with.  It is what nature gave us to work with, brainpower, which most are not using and we vote for the idiots who are tying up our government and making it dysfunctional.  They are called Republicans.  Happy Fourth.


Greece, What Hangs in the Balance

You are thinking the Euro, or the banking system, or chaos, right (See Greece in a Nutshell)?  Nope.  What hangs in the balance is whether we continue to solve insolvency problems over the backs of the working people, or we take another tact, growing the economy out of the debt problem. It’s really part of the economic inequality problem and whose side you take. Let me explain.

Whenever there is a problem with too much debt, we blame the borrowers and proscribe austerity until “confidence” is restored to the system, debts are lower, and then economies can grow as though confidence is the reason there is not more investment and growth.  It is the American protestant ethic applied to economics.  Someone has to be punished.  Problem with that is that those who suffer are at the bottom of the economic food chain, while the movers and shakers skate.  And growth is pathetic and joblessness rampart while we “restore confidence”.

But there is a bigger problem with it.  It doesn’t work.  Poor Paul Krugman has been trying to get people to understand Econ 101 for decades now.  When there is a berefit of demand, i.e. people do not have money to spend, you have to spend to create demand.  But that is the opposite of punishment that fits our protestant ethic and we never do it except in the run up to World War II and lo and behold, the economy took off. And there is another lesson from this period.  We ran up over 100% of our GDP in debt, but the economy took off, and we did not pay off our debt, we massively grew our GDP and the debt ratio fell dramatically.

Apparently those lessons are lost on Republicans and European economic ministers.  Their answer is austerity to drive down the debt and restore confidence, and as the IMF pointed out today, unless a great deal of the debt is forgiven so that Greece has money to spend growing their economy, they never will get out of debt and their ability to pay off their existing debt will just decrease.  Thus the death spiral.  

So we are at a crossroads both here in the United States and in Greece.  In the U.S. what may, just may, be taking hold is populist politics where we are starting to realize that we are going to have to start spending and growing our economy to create good jobs for the middle class.  That means a readjustment of who gets all the profits so we can afford a spending program with reasonable debt.  This will be a direct assualt on income inequality.  The Republicans will fight this tooth and nail.  

Also we have our own problem with Puerto Rico, so the question is do we forgive some debt and let them climb out of their problem with growth, or do we enslave them to the bond holders with hardship and low employment for years?  The protestant ethic boys and girls think the Puerto Ricans have to be punished so raise their taxes and gut their economy.  But what if we just forgave the debt, made some structural changes and help them grow?  What if we tried to put people to work instead of putting them on unemployment to grow their economy so they could become stable again?  Oh no we could not do that.  Somebody has to suffer for their prolifigate spending.  And of course that somebody is the working folks, not the bond holders.

In Europe, everywhere austerity has been the answer, they are in trouble.  See Finland, Spain, Ireland for how well austerity has worked.  While eventually things start to improve, the cost in unemployment and suffering is immense.  Now the finger wagging Troika wants to put Greece in a hole they may never climb out of.  Voting No begins the process of rejecting this proposition that the working class will be enslaved to pay for the sins of others. Voting No is a scary proposition because it upsets the whole status quo, but it is time to say no to these people and focus on employment, not the confidence fairy who doesn’t exist.  It’s time to realize that Econ 101 is still operative and jobs and people are more important than finger wagging.

So what is in the balance is a complete change in how we see the world and how we attack our problems.  We can solve it the old way by austerity and protecting bond holders over workers, or we can let them share the pain with the hope of growth and more income equality. Certainly wild borrowing and  spending should be curbed, but when the problem already exists, do we keep kicking a dead dog or do we start the process of implementing policies to lessen their debt load and let them grow out of the problem?  Vote no for a new way.  It’s your childrens future.


Why Are Republicans Not Just Stupid, But Dangerously Stupid

If you haven’t noticed, it is damn hot.  California and most of the west is suffering a major drought.  It’s hot on the east coast and sharks are attacking in North Carolina.  Things are changing rapidly.  Oh, and the data is piling up on global warming.  Even the Pope is raising the flag of warning..  So what are we doing?  

Well under the stewardship of Republicans, nothing.  The Chsirman of the Environment and Public Works Committee in the Senate where any real legislative action would be birthed, says global warming is a giant hoax (Sen. Inhofe, R-Ok). So trying to make an end run around Congress, the President is trying to take action through the EPA regulation of greenhouse and toxic gases.  So the EPA issued regulations limiting CO2 and the Republicans and their coal masters sued and got the Supreme Court to say you have to consider costs.

Now this is a giant joke because once global warming raises sea levels and changes commerce patterns, not to mention the impact of larger and larger storm systems, the cost are astronomical.  The result is Republicans delay any action whatsoever through the conservatives on the Supreme Court. Jon Stewart had the best take on the wins the conservatives had last week in the Supreme Court when they won the right to kill people quickly with an unknow drug, and slowly with mercury and toxic gases in the atmosphere.

But it would seem we have even more stupidity, as a Republican litmus test issue for your level of stupidity to run for president.  Here is from the NYT today:

Republican strategists say that rejection of Mr. Obama’s climate policy at the state level could emerge as a conservative litmus test in the 2016 election. Two of the governors who have said that they might defy the regulations — Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana — are among at least four Republican governors who are expected to vie for the presidential nomination.

Other governors who have issued threats over the rules include Greg Abbott of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.

The governors’ actions have come after the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, opened a campaign earlier this year urging all governors to refuse to carry out the climate change rules.

And people are so stupid they vote for these people?  What can I tell you?  The whole world recognizes the threat and Republicans undermine anything to do something about it to help Americans in the future.  “Well it costs too much and I don’t believe in it.”  I wonder when they get the real bill down the road if people will remember that it was the Republicans that sabotaged our future?

And of course the simple solution is a carbon tax and let the market place do its thing.  But Republicans could not have that.  First it would raise money to invest in infrastructure to ameloriate the impacts of climate change, and second it would make their masters, the coal and petroleum industry unhappy.  Damn the planet, let those campaign contributions keep rolling in.


Greece in a Nutshell

It all sounds very complicated and the easy explanation is they were bad, bad, bad, and now they must be punished and pay.  Except it is not quite as simple as that.  Think of it this way.  The Europeans went on the Euro and Greece got really easy money, so they took too much.  Now we have a problem here with the chicken and the egg.  Yes they got over their heads in debt, but why did Europe keep throwning money at them as they piled it up?

Okay now they hit hard times and in order to get money to keep the country afloat (pay their debts and still have some left over to grow their econom), they have to reform their system, cutting pension, investments, and everything that gives them spending money to start their economy so they can pay off their debts.  The Euro Troika, European Central Bank, International Monitary Fund, and the European Commission, have put harsh terms on Greece which is forcing them to shrink their economy to meet the payment terms, and in the process have less money to make the payments.  It is strangling their economy and is referred to as a death spiral.

Okay, here is the really essential part of this equation.  Normally when a country gets into this kind of trouble, their currency falls (less valuable than other currencies) and makes their buying power much less, but makes their goods and services more affordable spurring their economy.  The trouble is that the Greeks are on the Euro, so the currency can’t fall because all the other nations that are doing okay bouy it up.  So they are locked in to what has been referred to as a death spiral. The more they pay on their debt, the less money they have for their economy, and it shrinks, leaving less money to pay on their debt.

So the choice, at least in my mind, is stay in the Euro, accept the terms of the Troika, and continue your death spiral (vote yes on the referrendum), but what Euros you have are safe, or vote no, leave the Euro, print your own currency, which will fall and people will loose some wealth, but when it stabilizes you can actually start your climb back to health because now you have a currency valuated so that it makes your goods and services very competitive.

Europe has created this crisis because they ignored this problem of a common currency with out a strong central bank to stablize the bank structure and government investments as we have in the United States.  Think of it this way (again overly simple):  First, there cannot be a run on the banks because they are all insured.  Second, all the Social Security, Medicare, various aid progrms, and other government spending still goes on in a state that might have this problem.  

For instance if you look only at how much the federal government spends per person in each state compared with the amount its citizens pay in federal income taxes, South Carolina receives a whopping $7.87 back from Washington for every $1 its citizens pay in federal tax. Source:  The Atlantic.com.  In other words, the federal government bouys up spending and their economy until better times come along.

So what should the Greeks do?  This is a no brainer and I was amazed to see two usually conflicting economists, Peter Morici and Jared Bernstein on MSNBC’s The Cycle today both agree on this one. They should vote no and end the hostage taking.  Jared thought the no vote would give them better negociating position in the hope they could stay on the root problem the Euro, and Peter thought it was time to end it.  By the way, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz also say vote no.  

The sad thing is that the Euro and the European Union have had a unifying effect across Europe and lessened historical strife between the member nations.  But they are strangling Greece and have left them no choice.  Maybe if the Greeks leave, the Troika will finally face the fact that they are the problem.  Much of the debt payments should have been forgiven to give Greece a decent chance to get back on her feet.  But the austerity meisters who believe in punishment instead of good economics could not stand for that.  Vote No Greece. Shake off your chains. It’s is going to be hard, but your children will have a future.

UPDATE:  It would appear the IMF sees the folly in structuring  a solution that is unworkable and has split appart from the Troika.  This gets better and better by the moment.  This might go a long way to a no vote:  http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/02/imf-greece-needs-extra-50bn-euros?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2


Food for Thought – Sharks on the East Coast

There have been a bunch of shark attacks in North Carolina and more and more sitings.  We here the drivel about sharks don’t like humans and it was a mistake, not to mention you are less likely to get eaten by a shark than be in a car accident on the way to the beach.  Oh, and straight from Jaws, it is safe to swim.

But I can’t help thinking that just maybe shark behavior is changing.  With ocean currents and their food supply being disrupted by global warming, is it not possible that what we are seeing is a response to that?  Humans could be what is left of the food chain in shallow waters.  Maybe we ought to think about that.


The Bernie Factor and Performance Art

Bernie Sanders attacted over 10,000 people to an event yesterday in Wisconsin.  The mainstream press is starting to take note, but sadly still sees him as a wackodoodle from the left.  Bernie is anything but.  In fact he is and has been for years presenting and holding positions that while they are against mainstream politics, are pretty much what most of us want.  And Bernie has been speaking truth to power for years while the mainstream media has focused on those who spout the conventional wisdom, and nothing changes.  And people get that nothing changes.

Think of all those years watching Meet the Press and you never saw Bernie.  But you saw the typical he said/she said from the usual suspects, and nothing changes.  So he is attracting big crowds and the press is starting to take note, but they have not focused on his ideas yet.  There is this kind of attitude that Bernie is pie in the sky so we will pay attention to more serious candidates that don’t want too much and we hear the same old drivel.  Except everything Bernie wants has been done elsewhere successfully.  And as evidenced by the crowds, people are hungary for it.  Maybe, just maybe it is time to consider real alternatives to our issues and Bernie is offering them. These should be mainstream debate points, not far left ideas.

Now on the performance art thing, that would be Donald Trump.  Everyone is getting excited and he gets a ton of coverage everytime he says something outrageous, and people get offended, mad, or if you are the Republican base, you get gleeful.  I just laugh hilariously.  I think he is one of the funniest commedians on the stage right now, if you get the joke.  Since so many of you don’t, I will explain it to you.  Donald is not running for President, he  is doing shitck on the other Republican candidates.  Let’s take his so far most out rageous statement about Mexicans coming across the border.

Basically, all Republicans want to build the wall.  “Secure our borders first!”  That is the chant before they will even consider immigration reform.  So what are they really saying?  That very bad people who can hurt our country are coming across the border and they have to be stopped. Now that is just factually not true, most are looking for a better life and a job, and many would not settle here if they could tranvese the border freely, but that is lost on the Republican base.  So Donald takes the “very bad people” that is implicit in the Republican rhetoric and makes it explicit.  And at one time or another don’t tell me you haven’t heard these claims before.  But now it is out there and poor Republicans, yes even Republicans, will have to distance themselves from this stuff although that is what they have been implying all along.

Take Donald’s claim that he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS.  This really is hysterical, because so does every other Republican running for office except Lindsey Graham who has told us exactly what he would do.  But the rest of them, while critical of how we got here and what we should have done, are fairly secretive about what our next move would be other than to act tougher in the region to gain respect.  Act tougher how?  That they don’t answer.  So Donald takes their cue and just calls it his secret plan which he will reveal if he gets elected.  See the parallel? He is simply calling out the other candidates who so far also have secret plans because they don’t know what they would do.

Well you get the drift.  That is what is going on.  Watch a clip of his campaign speeches and they are hilarious.  And Republicans are terrified.  Democrats can call out this stuff and nobody notices.  Donald simply takes it to the next level and everyone is appalled.   He is exposing the ridiculousness of most Republican positions by taking them to the next level.  He is decoding the code. They don’t want him anywhere near a debate stage because he calls their bluff.  He says outrageously what they are saying implicitly.  Hey!  Your fired!  Isn’t that exactly Scott Walker’s record with labor?  Enjoy it while it lasts.


Rant:  They are So Ignorant it Hurts

They refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay people because it is against their god.  Then get another job.  You don’t work for God, you work for the government, you know that thing created by the Constitution to take religion out of government.  Further you are in an implicit (and explicit) contract to honor the laws of that government.  Your personal feelings don’t trump legal orders.  But that is the rub, isn’t it?

You think your religious beliefs trump the Constituion.  And once that happens you are no longer a citizen of the government, but a citizen of your god.  Your god may not be my god and the bottom line is that chaos results.  That is exactly what the Englightenment was about, taking god out of government, but most of you who take that position are so ignorant of history, this is lost on you.  These folks need to be fired, and we need to understand their religious stance undermines the very basis of our government and the rule of law.

What if I believed that heretics should be burned at the stake?  Is it my right to burn them?  What if instead of Leviticus 20:13, you decide to get all mushy about Deuteronomy 22:21 where if your daughter has screwed around the townspeople can stone her to death.  It’s all ancient nonsense (although still practiced by conservative Muslims).  If you want to believe this fine.  If you want to act on it, you will go to prison for the rest of your life.  Your religious life is private and when you bring it into the public square, you are no longer a citizen of the United States, but a citizen of some superstituous nonsense and you have crossed the line.

Oh, and while I am blowing off steam, you anti-vaccination people out there are also so ignorant it hurts.  Your claim that only a parent can decide what is injected into your child is correct if he/she lives in a convent.  But if she lives in our public space, then she must comply with rules and regulations that involve the common good, which trumps your private freedom.  That is the contract you live under to be in the United States.  So you have loved waving your personal freedom flag, but when the people who make that flag possible limit your damage to the rest of us, you are shocked, shocked, shocked.  Grow up, oh, and take a college course in science.  You do not have the right to put the rest of us at risk because your personal freedom and ignorance of science trumps the public good.


Proud Southern Heritage

For me as an amateur student of history and the civil war, I always was confused why many in the South have a “proud Southern heritage”.  Now there may be many things to be proud of in their history that I don’t know about, but the Civil War is not one of them.  Some are proud of the bravery of their Southern men who fought that battle, but with a war about white supremacy and slavery, and the fact that those “brave soldiers” cost the lives of over 350.000 union troops (most to disease, but that was the nature of war in those days), it is hard to remove the cause from their actions to celebrate their bravery.  Would you call german soldiers working for Hitler brave to the point of celebrating Hitler’s WWII?

But as pointed out in the Washington Post by James W. Loewen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont, the proud Southern heritage may be their success at rewriting history.  I have cut some exerts from his post and the link above gives the full story, but basically they have pulled the wool over the eyes of our nation and reinvented history quite successfully to the point of making many Southerners proud:

The Confederates won (the war) with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause of white supremacy and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation that they spread, which has manifested in both our history books and our public monuments.

Take Kentucky. Kentucky’s legislature voted not to secede, and early in the war, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston ventured through the western part of the state and found “no enthusiasm as we imagined and hoped but hostility … in Kentucky.” Eventually, 90,000 Kentuckians would fight for the United States, while 35,000 fought for the Confederate States. Nevertheless, according to historian Thomas Clark, the state now has 72 Confederate monuments and only two Union ones.

Perhaps most perniciously, neo-Confederates now claim that the South seceded for states’ rights. When each state left the Union, its leaders made clear that they were seceding because they were for slavery and against states’ rights. In its “Declaration Of The Causes Which Impel The State Of Texas To Secede From The Federal Union,” for example, the secession convention of Texas listed the states that had offended them: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. These states had in fact exercised states’ rights by passing laws that interfered with the federal government’s attempts to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Some also no longer let slaveowners “transit” through their states with their slaves. “States’ rights” were what Texas was seceding against. Texas also made clear what it was seceding for: white supremacy:

“We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”

… Teaching or implying that the Confederate states seceded for states’ rights is not accurate history. It is white, Confederate-apologist history. It bends — even breaks — the facts of what happened.

So the South does have a proud Southern history if you count the amazing job they did on the rest of us in rewriting history.

Thanks to my friend Tom Griffin for pointing this article out to me.


How the Press Distorts

They don’t mean to, but where there is smoke, the press is all over it.  Yesterday Grovernor Brown signed a vaccinattion bill that only allows medical exemptions.  This was a response to an outbreak in measles due to  the low rates of immunizations in some cluster neighborhoods (mostly white and weathly) who bought into the pseudo science, since discredited, that immunizations cause autism.  

As Vox points out, there are only 3 states in the U.S, that now have these kinds of restrictive vaccination laws and two of them are in the South, so so much for stereotypes.  At any rate there was a vocal, well organized (these people have money) campaign against this bill and the public welfare.  My point here is that they were making a lot of noise and from the media coverage you would have thought they was a great public outcry over parental rights.  In fact it was a small minority, albeit loud and well finance who have spent too much time on the internet and not understanding science (which is most of the nation).

As Vox pointed out over 90% get vaccinated without this bill and as they pointed out ( if you really understand the science about herd vaccinations), “…which isn’t great for herd immunity but it does mean the majority of parents willingly sign up for shots. The opposition in California was coming from a small, albeit vocal, minority. That’s a lesson for other states.”

Now this kind of thing is more the rule than the execption in our media today.  If you watch the coverage of elections, candidates who have absolutely no hope of being elected (Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Mike Hukabee, etc.) get enormous coverage and most of what they say it simply bullhorned to you without rebuttal.  They hold minority, yet inflamatory views, so they get covered.  This election is about issues and plans, not charisma, but political reporters focus on the charisma (see how Casey Hunt of MSNBC goes on about Chris Christie’s chances and not a word about his distortions), and rarely a real discussion of where they stand on fixing the economy or solving any of the other problems we face much less their actual record on such things.

So if you want news coverage, light yourself on fire, escape from a prison, or shoot up a church.  There will be 24/7 news coverage of that, but not about the real problems that face this nation.  Well the church thing did get a focus on the Confederate flag, but the jury is still out on whether anything substantial in race relations will be accomplished.


Some Comments on Headlines Today

Drones Find Russian Base Inside Ukraine – The only people who don’t think Russia has invaded Ukraine are the Russians.  Suppose they will ever see this news report?

22 Alabama Counties Refuse Gay Marriage – Let the Religious Wars begin.  This is just another side of discrimination as a way of life for many in the South and not fully being part of the United States.  Remember that the Confederate Flag was resurrected from the museums to symbolize the South’s proud refusal to follow another court order, integration.

California Makes Vaccines Mandatory – Real science wins over pseudoscience and ignorant people who think they have the right to put other peoples kid’s at risk for their failure to grasp science can just pound sand.

Christie Promises Cringeworthy Campaign – What could be more cringeworthy than seeing his family playing ecstatic during the announcement and knowing this is probably killing them, right up there with having an enema. 

America’s Drunkest States – Clearly there has been a mistake.  The new beer capitals of the world (California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington (Go West Young Man) account for 1/3 of all brewing companies in the U.S.) did not make the top 5.  However what was really suprising was the bottom 5, 4 of which were in the South.  If I lived in the South I would sure as hell drink more.

Finance Minister:  Greece Won’t Pay DebtBoth Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman (two Nobel winning economists) are asking why Greece would want to pay debt.  What the European Union did was put them in a position of making the lenders whole while making sure Greece never recovers.  I think they should walk away to quit rewarding austerity thinking over the backs and bodies of hard working people by making recovery impossible.

California Paid Sick Leave, Fracking, and Phone Kill-Switch Laws Take Affect – Who would have thought that these good ideas would take bills to force corporations to do what consumers want.  No we don’t need no stink’in government regulations.