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Do the math — disasters loom

Try telling this to your typical gas-guzzling, climate change-denying, birth control-withholding right-winger:

World population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid “a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills”, warns a major report from the Royal Society.

Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says the study published on Thursday, which was chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston.

The assessment of humanity’s prospects in the next 100 years, which has taken 21 months to complete, argues strongly that to achieve long and healthy lives for all 9 billion people expected to be living in 2050, the twin issues of population and consumption must pushed to the top of political and economic agendas. Both issues have been largely ignored by politicians and played down by environment and development groups for 20 years, the report says.

“The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption … or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future,” it says.

Now for a few a few verses of Monty Python’s “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life…”

Cutting food aid to poor kids

It’s not just bleeding-heart liberal rhetoric. Republican politicians really are mutating backwards — devolving — into enthusiasts for the sort of social Darwinist positions popular among right-wingers in the Gilded Age. More here.

When the student loan bubble bursts

College students all over the country are in tens of thousands of dollars of debt for educations that would be largely subsidized in more civilized countries. Does anyone really think most of this debt is going to be paid off in an economy from which jobs are disappearing?

From Occupied Chicago Tribune:

Middle class families have seen their wages stagnate for decades, while the cost of college education has risen more than 300%. Lingering unemployment means new graduates are hard-pressed to pay off their burdensome debt, which now averages more than $25,000. In 2007, 50% of college graduates were able to find work immediately. In 2009, this figure had dropped to 20%. Increasingly, graduates and drop-outs are facing a lifetime of struggle and indenture-ship after leaving college.

However, far from being a narcissistic pet issue for the disproportionately young Occupy crowds, student indebtedness in countries without universal education systems is a symptom of the same underlying pathologies that brought down the housing market five years ago, and could soon be the cause of another sudden, catastrophic economic contagion…

Protection racket

The same people who are protecting us from explosives in our toothpaste:

Four present and past security screeners at LAX took 22 payments of up to $2400 each to let large shipments of coke, meth, and pot slip through baggage X-ray machines. Oh, we are so very, very shocked.

In one incident detailed in the 40-page indictment (Link), screeners plotted to allow eight pounds of crystal meth to get through—then one of them ducked into an airport men’s room where he was handed $600, the second payment for that delivery.


Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.


Spring fund drive

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Harder! Faster! Longer!

Great Britain and the austerity fairies.

My world is over

This pseudo-Sixties ballad from “That Thing You Do!” is a perfect example of the genre:

Drown in my own tears

Gennaro Porcelli, the “Eric Clapton of Italy,” covers Ray Charles:

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