Cut Here. Invest There

Borrowing billions more from China to give ourselves more tax cuts does not qualify. Make no mistake, President Obama has enacted an enormous amount in two years. It’s impressive. But the really hard stuff lies ahead: taking things away. We are leaving an era where to be a mayor, governor, senator or president was, on balance, to give things away to people. And we are entering an era where to be a leader will mean, on balance, to take things away from people. It is the only way we’ll get our fiscal house in order before the market, brutally, does it for us.

To survive in the 21st century, America can no longer afford a politics of irresponsible profligacy. But to thrive in the 21st century — to invest in education, infrastructure and innovation — America cannot afford a politics of mindless austerity either.

The politicians we need are what I’d call “pay-as-you-go progressives” — those who combine fiscal prudence with growth initiatives to make their cities, their states or our country great again. Everyone knows the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging. But people often forget the second rule of holes: You can only grow your way out. You can’t borrow your way out.

via Cut Here. Invest There. –

Blame the Cold Winters on Global Warming

As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased.

The sun’s energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools. When snow cover is more abundant in Siberia, it creates an unusually large dome of cold air next to the mountains, and this amplifies the standing waves in the atmosphere, just as a bigger rock in a stream increases the size of the waves of water flowing by.

The increased wave energy in the air spreads both horizontally, around the Northern Hemisphere, and vertically, up into the stratosphere and down toward the earth’s surface. In response, the jet stream, instead of flowing predominantly west to east as usual, meanders more north and south. In winter, this change in flow sends warm air north from the subtropical oceans into Alaska and Greenland, but it also pushes cold air south from the Arctic on the east side of the Rockies. Meanwhile, across Eurasia, cold air from Siberia spills south into East Asia and even southwestward into Europe.

via Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming –

How To Mask A Robbery

A white man who robbed Ohio banks looked so convincing in a black-male disguise that an innocent man was held. That’s not exactly how SPFXMasks of Van Nuys had intended its masks to be used.

Mask before and after in a robbery

In October, a 20-year-old Chinese man who wanted asylum in Canada used one of the same company’s masks to transform himself into an elderly white man and slip past airport security in Hong Kong.

Authorities are even starting to think that the so-called Geezer Bandit, a Southern California bank robber believed for months to be an old man, might actually be a younger guy wearing one of the disguises made by SPFXMasks.

News coverage of the incidents has pumped up demand for the masks, which run from $600 to $1,200, according to company owner Rusty Slusser. But he says he’s not happy about it.Slusser opened SPFXMasks in 2003. His six-person crew uses silicone that looks and feels like flesh, down to the pores. Each strand of hair — and it’s human hair — is sewn on individually. Artists methodically paint the masks to create realistic skin tones. Slusser’s customers also include a few Hollywood celebrities who use the masks to fool paparazzi, but he declined to reveal their names.

via Masks so realistic they’re arresting the wrong guy –

WikiLeaks Reveals Saudi Party Scene

It begins by clearing the prince’s security detail. Next up was a coat-check area where women pulled off their head-to-toe black abayas. Inside, Filipino bartenders served up a cocktail punch using moonshine vodka. An American “energy drink company” – whose name was blacked out on the WikiLeaks release – helped bankroll the bash that included, the diplomat was told, some prostitutes mingling in the crowd.

“The scene resembled a nightclub anywhere outside the kingdom: plentiful alcohol, young couples dancing, a DJ at the turntables and everyone in costume,” the message continued.

Bottles of name-brand booze were behind the bar, but apparently only for display. A black market bottle of Smirnoff, the cable said, can cost up to $400 “when available” compared with about $26 for a bottle of home-brewed vodka.

Wild parties rage behind closed doors in Tehran even as Iran’s hard-liners tighten their grip. Conservative Gulf sheiks make sure their wine cellars are well stocked.Outside Saudi Arabia, it’s not unusual to see a traveler from the desert kingdom hunkered down at an airport bar or letting loose in Bahrain – a favorite party haunt for Saudis who can simply drive over a causeway and, sometimes, weave their way home

via Partying Saudi style: elite, boozy and secret.

China’s Next Generation

“Prison Break” is huge in China and its star, Wentworth Miller is not only mobbed everywhere he goes in China, he’s the frickin’ face of GM on TV commercials!

The show has never been aired on any Chinese TV network, only on the Web.

Xi Jinping (China’s next president and in his late 50s), for example, still remembers vividly being thrown in jail as a kid as a political prisoner on his dad’s behalf during the Cultural Revolution.  He’s China’s leader for the next decade, and his “Sixties’ were a bit different from the Boomers.

Conservatives in the West keep saying, Nixon went to China 40 years ago and look how the Party still rules! They say that because that’s all they want to see.  But we need to go back and read our history here.  The Cultural Revolution was a “long national nightmare” that trumps our Vietnam and Watergate by . . .  more than just a bit.  It was a national insanity and the bite it took out of the national psyche was closer to our Civil War than anything we’ve experienced since

So rather than expecting that much more  by the 50-something crowd, think of this more in terms of post-Cultural Revolution generations.  The first truly post-CR leadership generation comes online in 2022.

Read more: Thomas P.M. Barnett’s Globlogization – Thomas P.M. Barnett’s Globlogization

via Thomas P.M. Barnett’s Globlogization – Thomas P.M. Barnett’s Globlogization.

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