1. It’s been funny to watch some of these politicians completely rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet…
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    President Barack Obama United Auto Workers conference speech kambui tumblr blog

    From President Barack Obama’s address to the United Auto Workers conference today, where he dinged former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who predicted the demise of the auto industry if the federal government completed its financial bailout plan for Detroit. A pretty hard slap when you consider Romney’s Dad was a car guy…

    song currently stuck in my head: “love from the sun” - roy ayers

    (Source: politico.com)

     

  2. While you absorb Janet Napolitano’s shocking announcement and say “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot,” keep in mind that The US Department of Homeland Security, like any ambitious business, constantly searches for new industry verticals to drive growth. Okay, in the name of “defending the homeland.” I don’t see much more revenue upside from taking the fight directly to the Jihadists who are planning to bomb malls, but ensuring your ramen noodles receive safe transit to your dinner table and at the same low price is an untapped market! The amount of infrastructure required to protect the world’s supply chain will be a much bigger business than training airport screeners to feel up your Grandmother.

    I’m not saying supply chain protection is a completely bad idea, but we are about to witness another US government agency graduate to Agency of the World status. Implications of my last statement aside, investors and entrepreneurs are having a collective orgasm right now…

    song currently stuck in my head: “all the things you are” – charlie parker

    [Video: DHS Secretary Napolitano - protecting the global supply chain (From TheUSEU's YouTube channel)

     


  3. Europe’s Iran Oil Embargo Fantasy

    As if major parts of Europe are not already living a Damoclean existence, the continent now figures that the time is ripe to introduce an embargo on Iranian oil to curb the nation’s nuclear ambitions, effective in July. There are a few reasons why Europe may have started something more irrational than its suicidal austerity program.

    First – Iran may decide to help Europe’s self-euthanization by immediately canceling all existing oil contracts without giving Europe lead time to source alternatives. I’m sure your response is “NOOOO! Iran would NEVER cut off its nose to spite its face. They’re not that dumb.” Imagine the look I’m giving you right now.

    Second – since Greece is already dying, I suppose Europe wants to amputate it by risking higher oil prices and increasing the failure rate of Greek businesses…

    Third – Greece is not the only European country approaching death spiral status. And the last time I checked the list of requirements for Western Capitalism’s survival, unobstructed access to an abundant supply of inexpensive oil ranks at or near the top.

    Fourth – an alternative supplier that is not BS-ing – more on that later – will look at Europe’s vulnerable state and increase the price of oil. Kinda like the convenience store at 2am with owners who know that every other neighborhood store is closed. $20 and that box of condoms is yours…

    Fifth – back to reason #4 for a moment, Asian nations do not currently have an embargo on Iranian oil. And guess who will buy Iran’s oil, only to sell it back to Europe at a sky-high price?

    Fifth – on the subject of BS, I’ve heard that Saudi Arabia is willing to fill any supply gap left by Iran. I’ve also been hearing for years that Saudi Arabia is full of crap since they’ve already reached peak oil. We will soon learn the truth, won’t we? Europe had better hope Iraq and Russia have some of the slick stuff to sell…

    song currently stuck in my head: “feel me” - cameo

     

  4. Two thoughts inspired my quick and dirty graphic about the history of US policy in Iran.

    First – I was looking for a different way to view history since I’ve been routinely dissatisfied with the way many “Dumb-it-down” media organizations and other sources present the background of current events. Multiple vectors with tails that extend for decades can shape a current geopolitical situation, which makes attributing a crisis to one event or displaying the background of a crisis in a simple timeline abysmally inadequate.

    Second – like some conflicts in our personal lives, we may blame the other person for why a friendship turned sour, but we should still take the time to examine ourselves and ask “Is there anything I did in the past that contributed to the situation we are in today?”

    As the saying goes “We make our choices, and then our choices…”

    Perhaps you have another way of displaying history. I’d love to see it…

    song currently stuck in my head: “was that all it was” – carleen anderson & full flava

     


  5. 20 Percent of Americans Suffered Mental Illness in 2010

    To understand why reading that one out of every five Americans suffers from mental illness is unsettling, take a stroll in your neighborhood and count the number of people you walk past. Say the word “Mental” to yourself after each fifth person you see. You’re eventually going to tell yourself “Damn, that’s a lot of people.”

    Here are my quick and dirty takeaways from reading the US Government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:

    • Joblessness and poverty are clear drivers behind the country’s deteriorating mental health. Fix the economy and plenty of brains will get fixed as a result.
    • 30% of 18-25 year olds suffer from mental illness. That’s nearly one out of every three 18-25 year olds you meet. Try that walking exercise again…
    • The most common reason for not getting mental healthcare is – no surprise – not being able to afford it.

    I know how Americans love to ask about racial breakdown: Asians – 15.8%; Hispanics – 18.3% among, American Indians or Alaska Natives – 18.7%; Blacks – 19.7; Whites – 20.6%; folks reporting two or more races – 25.4 percent. We can have a lively discussion about these percentages…

    I’ll compare the overall metrics with anything the good folks at OECD may have later, but it’s not good news to be the richest country in the world and have 20% of your citizens burdened with mental issues…

    song currently stuck in my head: “I cover the waterfront” – sarah Vaughn

    Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website