Friday, June 29, 2012

I Don't Get It

Why are people so stressed out about Obamacare?  Because people who couldn't afford it may be able to buy insurance?  It just seems so wrong for people to bemoan the end of America as we know it.  You mean the America where every time I turn around somebody is having a benefit for a person with cancer or some other illness they can't afford?  Or the America where thousands of people file for bankruptcy because of medical bills, even if they have insurance?  Oh wait, we'll still have that, because insurance companies are still involved.  Do people realize that we might be better off if employers didn't have to provide health insurance?  You know, people might actually get raises.  I have a hard time going on facebook and reading all the posts from people I know crying the blues about derelicts getting an opportunity to buy health insurance.  Or even worse, people complaining about how their freedom to free ride on others is being violated.

Just a reminder, morons, Mitt Romney did the exact same thing in Massachusetts.  Go vote for him, dumbfucks.  He's a giant lying sack of shit who feels no compunction to decency.  He wants the brass ring, and nothing will stop him, especially the truth.

Update:  Don't forget, most of the people opposed to this claim to be pro-life.  

A Bit of a Storm

We got some really strong wind today, along with a little bit of rain.  While 0.35 inches isn't much, I'll take it.  I could have done without the wind damage, though.

The Uncertainty Canard

Des Moines Register:
“This is going to go on for a couple more years just like the European debt crisis,” Zimpleman said. “We’re back to a continuation of uncertainty. The painful reality is that businesses tend to be conservative when they’re not sure what the rules are going to be.”
Uncertainty is an evil for business because it hinders future investment plans, according to Elliott Smith, executive director of the Iowa Business Council. The council represents the 20 largest Iowa employers.
“This decision is a little helpful in that the courts have made their pinion known,” he said, “but the legislative aspect of uncertainty is still very much in play because who knows what’s going to happen after the election.”
News flash, businesses tend to be conservative. Period.  The painful reality is that if I could predict the future, I'd be extremely rich.  Nobody knows what is going to happen, so shut the hell up.  If business leaders were half as smart as they thought they were, they'd foist the responsibility for insuring their workers on the government.  Instead, they've drunk the anti-government kool-aid, so they blame the government for their own limitations.  I'm sick of it.  Businessmen aren't some kind of superheros, they are just people who want to make money.  They only hire other people to work for them because that helps them make more money.  Period.  Uncertainty is what keeps most people from becoming businessmen.  They like the "security" of a 9 to 5 (nowadays probably more like 8 to 6) job.  In other words, that's why you get the big bucks guys.

What's The Truth About Fast And Furious?

Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It's a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson's anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general's report is submitted.)
Unfortunately, I am not surprised that this case may have been so grossly mischaracterized, but yet, it is still amazing.  My first rule of politics is to never believe what Fox News is reporting until you come across actual facts which say the same thing.  That tends to be an accurate way to get through life.  And the idea that NRA bullshit is what leads to this is totally unsurprising.  Also not a shock-Arizona is a total wingnut crazy place.

However, when my friend asked me last weekend what I thought about Fast and Furious, I assumed the storyline was accurate, and I said that the Justice Department has been mismanaged for years and years and is too political.  I still think that is true, but this story, if accurate, manages to put Republicans in a worse light than normal.  Anymore, that is getting to be a really tough thing to do.

Depressing Chart of the Day


I hate to say it, but this may end up worse than 1988.  The forecast looks horrible.

Wasting Taxpayer Dollars

The security state always wins at the expense of common sense:
In 2011 alone, more than 700,000 items were transferred to police departments for a total value of $500 million. This year, as of May 15, police departments already acquired almost $400 million worth of stuff. Last year’s record would have certainly been shattered if the Arizona Republic hadn’t revealed in early May that a local police department used the program to stockpile equipment – and then sold the gear to others, something that is strictly forbidden. Three weeks after the revelation, the Pentagon decided to partly suspend distribution of surplus material until all agencies could put together an up-to-date inventory of all the stuff they got through the years. A second effort, which gives federal grants to police departments to purchase equipment, is still ongoing, however. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, since 9/11, the grants have totaled $34 billion.
Which means billions of dollars’ worth of military gear are in the hands of small-town cops who neither need the equipment nor are properly trained to use it, critics charge. At best, it’s a waste of resources (since the gear still has to be maintained). At worst, it could cost lives.
Take the 50-officer police department in Oxford, Alabama, a town of 20,000 people. It has stockpiled around $3 million of equipment, ranging from M-16s and helmet-mounted infrared goggles to its own armored vehicle, a Puma. In Tupelo, Mississippi, home to 35,000, the local police acquired a helicopter for only $7,500 through the surplus program. The chopper, however, had to be upgraded for $100,000 and it now costs $20,000 a year in maintenance.
The Nebraska State Patrol has three amphibious eight-wheeled tanks. Acquired almost three years ago, their highest achievement has been helping with a flood last year and with a shooting a couple of weeks ago.
I think it is scary to think about all these George Zimmermans with actual badges having all this armament.  Local cops often have their heads way too inflated as it is, this doesn't help matters.  But, the military has to get rid of stuff so that they can stock up on new equipment to help support the welfare queens in the defense industry.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is Roberts Sandbagging?

Daniel Epps:
Chief Justice Marshall did something no one expected: writing for the Court, he ruled that Marbury's rights had been violated, thereby refusing to give a judicial imprimatur to Jefferson and Madison's actions. But his opinion did not issue a writ of mandamus that the Administration could simply ignore. Instead, it provided no remedy to Marbury, because of a technicality: The statute under which he had sought mandamus relief authorized such petitions to be filed directly in the Supreme Court. But Marshall concluded that that statute was unconstitutional, because in the Court's reading it could only authorize appellate jurisdiction over mandamus suits. In doing so, the Court built its own power and prestige by establishing that it had a power it was not necessarily assumed to have before: the authority the strike down federal statutes that violated the Constitution. But in doing so, the Court gave Jefferson absolutely nothing he could use politically: the opinion clearly rebuked his actions, but it didn't give him an order he could defy.
The parallels here are eerie. President Obama was ready for the Court to uphold the mandate -- in which case he would have trumpeted the decision as a vindication of the law and a rejection of Republican criticism that Democrats had overreached. And he similarly, was ready for the Court to strike down the mandate, or even the whole Act (apparently, he had three different speeches prepared for all the possibilities). He'll never read those speeches, but he almost certainly would have challenged the Court head-on and tried to make its conservative bent into a wedge issue in his campaign -- he has been quite willing to politicize the Court in the past. There was no prospect that Obama would have ignored the ruling -- as Jefferson might have ignored a mandamus writ -- but the ensuing political struggle could have damaged the Court's credibility. And it might very well have hurt Roberts's legacy in particular, given that there had been a focused attempt in the press to paint a narrative about him as the leader of a Court out to get Democrats and Obama.
So the president was ready for the Court to break right or break left. But instead, Chief Justice Roberts juked. He agreed with the challengers that the mandate couldn't be justified under the Commerce Clause or even the Necessary and Proper Clause -- thereby reinforcing the narrative that the Democratic Congress overreached in passing the bill. His opinion -- though not the result -- may provide much help in the future to judicial conservatives, as it suggests that, with the dissent, five justices are in favor of a more aggressive role for the Court in policing the bounds of the Commerce Clause (and the Spending Clause, which was at issue in the Medicaid legislation). And while Roberts ultimately voted to uphold the Act, he did so on a ground that, for Obama, plays terribly: that it's a tax.
I think this is the most likely explanation.  Don't be surprised if the conservatives bring a carefully crafted test case to cut the legs out from under Wickard v. Filburn and neuters the commerce clause.
Who knows what will happen, but it is funny reading a former high school classmate on Facebook saying this is the end of the United States as we know it, especially considering he works for the Postal Service.  Way to fight against the federal government there, champ.

Is Hell An Invention For Societal Relations?

Live Science:
While the researchers found stronger belief in hell was linked to less crime, the opposite turned out to be true for a belief in heaven. This suggests countries where citizens put more stock in heaven than in hell suffer from higher crime rates, and the bigger the gap, the worse the crime, the analysis revealed.
The findings fit with growing evidence that belief in supernatural punishment is a cultural innovation that spread across ancient societies, because it effectively motivated people to cooperate and suppress anti-social behavior, the research team writes in research detailed earlier this month in the journal PLoS ONE.  
I would definitely believe that as a partial explanation of the roots of  religion.  It definitely makes sense that the leaders of society would tell the poor that they should suck it up and behave because they'll get their rewards in the afterlife.  Throwing in that if they don't behave they'll face an even worse fate for eternity is just a bonus to keep them in line.

I Wish It Would Rain

But not quite like in Duluth or Florida.

This Is Our Planet

This is Our Planet from Tomislav Safundžić on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Supreme Court Preview

Right now, I'd give 3:5 odds that the crazy conservatives will overturn the individual mandate in spite of more than 70 years of precedent and in spite of, or more likely, because of the Pandora's Box of issues relating to federal regulation.  Actually, according to Tom Perriello, this fight goes much deeper than the New Deal:
This vision of a tiny, powerless central government has always been at odds with the U.S. Constitution, a document our nation's founders wrote explicitly to reject and replace the Articles of Confederation. George Washington once wrote that the weakness of the Articles, which lacked the Constitution's power to tax and spend for the general welfare, almost cost us the Revolutionary War. Disconnected and self-interested, the states struggled to harness the unity and cooperation necessary to defeat a world superpower.
The Founders addressed this by writing a Constitution that empowered America to "legislate in all cases for the general interests of the Union." Since the Constitution's creation, American leaders have enjoyed the power necessary to solve national problems, whether those problems were a Depression in the 1930s, a system of racial apartheid in the 1960s, or a costly and inadequate healthcare system in 2010.
But the Confederate legacy also lives on. As Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center notes, "The Tea Party's version of the Constitution has far more in common with the failed Articles of Confederation ... than with our actual, enduring U.S. Constitution." The Articles famously lacked our Constitution's commerce power. Similarly, the Confederate Constitution stripped the federal government's authority to "provide for the ... general welfare," from provisions relating to taxation and eviscerated the interstate commerce clause. These limitations would have likely doomed not only the Affordable Care Act, but also major federal programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
Unfortunately, as in the Citizens United case, it probably won't take long for the chickens to come home to roost if the radical activist Republican justices turn to revisionist history in their decision.  Hopefully, they will listen to the numerous more sensible Republicans on this one (I can't believe I typed that).  Actually, this case, more than anything else, might separate sensible Republicans from the nutjobs in charge.

McGuinness And Queen Shake Hands

On Wednesday, nearly 33 years after Mountbatten’s death, the Queen, who was reportedly close to her cousin, met with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in Belfast. Though allegedly with the IRA at the time of Mountbatten’s death, McGuinness is now an MP for Sinn Féin, the Irish republican party (which contests elections both in Ireland and Northern Ireland), and the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland. The significance of the meeting, as well as the handshake the two shared—labeled “historic” and “a milestone” by commentators—has resonated throughout Ireland and the U.K.
Peter Sheridan, the chief executive of Co-operation Ireland, a charity that focuses on fostering peace in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, saw the handshake as an “act of reconciliation.” Though symbolic, Sheridan felt the meeting between the monarch and McGuinness acknowledged a willingness to confront the conflict. “I think this generation has a responsibility to deal with these issues and not leave it until the next generation to address,” he says.
My, how the times have changed.  This meeting has ticked people off on both sides of the old dispute, but that is a good thing.  Well, at least as long as it doesn't motivate the Real IRA or some other splinter group to go kill some innocent people.  There's been too much of that already.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Physics of the Knuckleball

Scientific American:
A knuckleball is famously difficult to throw, hit and catch because of its erratic behavior. It seems to fly through the air with no spin and then break suddenly in any direction. The ball’s seams are key to this behavior. Not just tools to keep the leather together or leave impressive welts when you “catch” a ball with your shin, the seams affect the airflow around the ball.
Air drags along the smooth parts of a baseball surface, but the seams produce little vortices that allow air to travel more quickly over them. A fastball rotates 16 or 17 times between the pitcher and batter, and the rapid rotation means that the airflow turbulence caused by the seams is pretty evenly spread over the whole ball and the entire trajectory of the throw, so it travels steadily. On the other hand, a knuckleball rotates only one half to one time on its way to the batter, so the airflow turbulence stays on one side of the ball for a while before slowly moving to the other. The ball drifts in the direction of the leading seam, which slowly moves from one side to the other.
Slow is, of course, relative when it comes to pitching. Most knuckleballs poke along at a zesty 65 to 70 miles per hour, although Dickey’s have averaged 77 mph this season. By comparison, fastballs in the majors average about 90 mph. Dickey’s speed may be part of the secret to his success, especially when it comes to his unusually high strikeout percentage. Higher speeds mean less erratic movement, which helps him stay in the strike zone.
Dickey's speed on his knuckleball is amazing.  However, he was having some difficulty controlling it against the Yankees on Sunday.  I enjoyed listening to Terry Francona answer a question about when Wakefield would have a game when his knuckleball wasn't unhittable.  Francona said that he could be unhittable for four innings, then get pounded in the fifth, then be unhittable for two more innings.  That is part of the frustration of the pitch.  It can all of the sudden become meat.  That tempermental nature makes Dickey's streak so much more impressive.

The Nearly Fatal 899 Series

Michael Mooney (h/t Ritholtz):
He had 33 straight strikes entering the 10th frame of the third game. Out came the cell phone cameras. There were whispers, but as soon as Fong picked up his ball, it was dead quiet. He turned to look at the crowd behind him, now well over 100 people, densely packed from the end of the snack bar to the vending machines 80 feet away.

That’s when the magic left him. Fong began to feel nervous, like the world was watching him pee. He felt the buzz—whatever it had been—leave his body. As he stood in front of lane 28, he felt numb. He tried to push through it.

He lined up and threw a ball without much hook on it. As soon as it left his hand, Fong began waving at it, trying to will the ball left. It connected with the pocket but without the usual force. As the other pins dropped, the nine pin stayed up for what seemed like ages. But just as the gasp of the crowd reached a crescendo, one of the pins rolling meekly across the lane bumped the nine just enough to tip it. The room exploded with cheers and whistles. The sound was enough to shake one of the cameras now capturing the moment.

Causes of Death

New England Journal of Medicine, via the Dish

A Costly Mistake

Reuters (via nc links):
 Three weeks ago, while workers repaired a minor leak at the Port Arthur, Texas plant owned by Motiva Enterprises, a few gallons a day of so-called "caustic" was inadvertently seeping into the newly built crude distillation unit (CDU), the 30-story-high network of interconnected cylinders and latticed pipelines at the heart of the refining process.
While harmless when mixed with crude, the undiluted caustic vaporized into an invisible but devastating agent of corrosion as the chamber heated up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit (370 Celsius); the chemical gas raced through key units, fouled huge heaters and corroded thousands of feet of stainless steel pipe.
Now, just weeks after they commissioned the biggest U.S. refinery project in a decade, two of the world's biggest oil titans -- Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco, which own Motiva -- are rushing to repair the potentially billion-dollar glitch that has added an embarrassing and costly coda to a landmark $10 billion expansion.
After a five-year effort to double the plant's capacity, making it the largest in the country, they must now reassemble many of the same people and parts for a blitzkrieg fix that may exceed the original $300 million cost of the unit: corrosion experts are flying in from across the world; hundreds of workers are being hired; bespoke 30-inch (75-cm) stainless steel pipelines and 30-story cranes may need to be obtained quickly, according to sources involved in the repairs.
Sources familiar with the effort provided Reuters with the most detailed account yet of what officials believe went wrong at the 325,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) unit known as vacuum pipestill-5 (VPS-5), showing how a series of seemingly minor glitches crippled the vast plant.
Ouch, that is miserable.  Massive corrosion in brand new refinery equipment.  This is enough to make any engineer cry.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Infringement Of Religious Liberty

During the "Fortnight of Freedom," we may want to consider a little religious persecution even worse than forcing an employer to pay for a health insurance policy in which contraceptives are covered.

June 25, 1976:
Missouri Governor Kit Bond issues an executive order rescinding the Extermination Order, formally apologizing on behalf of the state of Missouri for the suffering it had caused to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the "Mormon Extermination Order" (alt. exterminating order) in Latter Day Saint history, was an executive order issued on October 27, 1838 by the governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. The directive was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Mormons and a unit of the Missouri State Guard in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the so-called "Mormon War" of 1838. Insisting that the Mormons had committed "open and avowed defiance of the laws", and had "made war upon the people of this State," Boggs precipitously directed that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description."
While the order is often referred to as the "Mormon Extermination Order" due to the phrasing used by Boggs, relatively few people were killed as a direct result of its issuance. However, the state militia and other authorities used Boggs' missive as a pretext to expel the Mormons from their lands in the state, and force them to migrate to Illinois. Mormons did not begin to return to Missouri until 25 years later, when they found a more welcoming environment and were able to establish homes there once more. In 1976, citing the unconstitutional nature of Boggs' directive, Missouri Governor Kit Bond formally rescinded it.
Nothing like forcibly removing people from their property because you don't like their religion.   While I understand that the bishops don't want to pay for something they are opposed to, but do Quakers have to pay their taxes even if the money goes to fund wars?  I'm guessing the answer is yes.  The Amish got out of Social Security taxes, but it was a damn big fight.  As for the Catholic Church, it just seems like the wrong fight to pick at the wrong time, but I think the bishops don't realize how badly this fight bothers a fairly large minority of the laity.

A Water Buffalo Dairy

But there are good bovine reasons, Mr. Ramini found, that there is little buffalo mozzarella in the U.S. Unlike in Italy, where water buffalo have long been bred to maximize milk production, most of the 8,000 or so water buffalo in this country trace to ancestors imported in the 1970s for a different trait: their appetite for aquatic weeds. They aren't native to the U.S. or related to the American Buffalo, which, technically, isn't a buffalo but a bison.
"The U.S. population is in borderline feral condition," says Kent Underwood, who worked on a water-buffalo dairy in Vermont that went out of business and now does consulting.
A water buffalo produces about 15 pounds of milk daily. A well-bred dairy cow can produce more than 50 pounds. The low lactation level is one reason other U.S. water-buffalo-cheese operations haven't lasted long.
And extracting that milk requires humoring the beasts, says Ron Klein, whose small Michigan water-buffalo herd stopped producing milk when the weather got cold. Mr. Klein says he sold water-buffalo Camembert for as much as $50 a pound. But rather than invest the time and money to keep his herd producing milk most of the year, he sold them and is focusing on goat milk.
I didn't realize that Italian mozzarella came from water buffalo.  Is it just impossible to get water buffalo heifers imported through Customs from Italy, or do the heifers just cost too much?  We send Holsteins all over world, I just figured you'd go buy some from Italy and, boom, get the water buffalo milk.

How Dry Is It?

Pretty damn dry:

Above is the current 30-Day Departure from Normal Precipitation map from NOAA which shows that much of the middle of the nation is lagging in rainfall by 1-4″.
Where we no-tilled corn into our wheat stubble, we've got some criminally bad looking corn.  It makes me feel ill.  It is so uneven and stressed looking, we're going to take a bath on those fields.  Most of our other stuff doesn't look hateful, but a lot of corn in the area is getting close to tasseling, so we need rain soon.  The forecast isn't looking good, either.  They're calling for 30% chance of rain tonight (two little cells in Illinois right now), then no more than 20% chance anywhere else in the 10 day forecast.  They're not even giving us the classic 60% chance on day nine.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fools And Their Money

Washington Post (h/t Ritholtz):
The tax reform plan that House Republicans have advanced would sharply cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and could leave middle-class households facing much larger tax bills, according to a new analysis set to be released Wednesday.
The report, prepared by Senate Democrats and reviewed by nonpartisan tax experts, marks the first attempt to quantify the trade-offs inherent in the GOP tax package, which would replace the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.
Those changes would benefit virtually every taxpayer, but they also would reduce federal tax collections by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. To avoid increasing the national debt by that amount, GOP leaders such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) have pledged to get rid of all the special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code.
Republicans have declined to identify their targets. However, some of the biggest “loopholes” on the books are popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and retirement savings, which disproportionately benefit the upper middle class.
So although households earning $100,000 to $200,000 a year would save about $7,000 from the lower tax rates in the GOP plan, those savings would be swamped by eliminating major deductions, according to the report by the Democratically controlled congressional Joint Economic Committee.
The net result: Married couples in that income range would pay an additional $2,700 annually to the Internal Revenue Service, on top of the tax increases that are scheduled to hit every American household when the George W. Bush-era cuts expire at the end of the year.
Households earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually. (emphasis mine)
“According to this report, while millionaires will receive a huge tax break, earners making under $200,000 will see their taxes rise significantly,” said Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), who chairs the Joint Economic Committee.
Anyone making under $200,000 (and most likely more like $500,000) and voting Republican is a fool in my book.  These guys don't give a damn about normal folks.  Of course, the article is only speculating at what Republicans will do.  In reality, they probably would give people under $200,000 about $300 off their taxes while giving people making $1 million a year would get that $300,000 (the plan must eliminate taxes on investment income), the deficit would skyrocket, and they'd start pushing to slash spending programs.  Then taxes would never be allowed to go back up to the lowest percentage of GDP since 1950.

I can't emphasize enough how criminally idiotic Republican tax policy is.  We've got a mass consumer economy that is predicated on lots of people buying lots and lots of relatively inexpensive, but collectively massively profitable, products.  For each decrease in disposable income (be it from wage cuts, increased health care costs, increased taxes, entitlement cuts, increases in commodity prices) they are less able to purchase these things.  Meanwhile, people who are already earning $1 million a year on dozens of millions of dollars of invested money just aren't going to spend a lot more.  They are sitting on huge piles of money, what the fuck is $300,000 more?  It may seem counter-intuitive, but rich people need income redistribution, because they aren't going to redistribute it themselves. 

Today, many of the wealthy have been piling into long-only commodity funds to "hedge against inflation."  But since these things have a tendency to drive inflation in commodities, they can create the problem they are trying to avoid.  Unfortunately for those investors, tons of dumb money pouring into commodity markets won't be able to hold up prices if the world economy takes another swoon, and increased commodity prices are a tax on normal people, consuming more of that always shrinking disposable income.  In this case, the rich are making another problem for themselves.  We're going to find out the increases in commodity prices wasn't sustainable.  It won't be pretty.

NASA Photo of the Day

June 23:

Northern Green Flash
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand
Explanation: As seen from Frösön island in northern Sweden the Sun did set a day after the summer solstice. From that location below the arctic circle it settled slowly behind the northern horizon. During the sunset's final minute, this remarkable sequence of 7 images follows the distorted edge of the solar disk as it just disappears against a distant tree line, capturing both a green and blue flash. Not a myth even in a land of runes, the colorful but ellusive glints are caused by atmospheric refraction enhanced by long, low, sight lines and strong atmospheric temperature gradients.