Scientists discover oldest stone tool ever found in Turkey PhysOrg (Chuck L)
Tree Tipping Generates Cash and Seasonal Woes in Maine New York Times
How Putin Stopped the Ruble’s Collapse Bloomberg
Russia, China mock divide and rule Asia Times (Chuck L)
Ukraine moves closer to Nato bid Financial Times
Reacting to the Sony Hack Bruce Schneier
Sony to show ‘Interview’ in some cinemas Financial Times. Gawker reports 200 screens v. the 3000 originally slotted (Bloomberg now says 300). But note: Obama hails The Interview screenings BBC. This is cringe-making.
Why Iraq Paid for 50,000 Soldiers Who Didn’t Exist Peter Van Buren, Firedoglake
Big Brother is Watching You Watch
CIA Torture Report
Torture Without Orders: Hidden in Plain Sight Amnesty USA
Senate report being used to whitewash Obama’s rehabilitation of torture Nafeez Ahmed (Ron A)
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities Steve Kangas (Ron A)
CNN/ORC Poll: Obama ends year on an upswing CNN. Does this mean we can expect him to talk up Pet Foreign Enemy on a regular basis for the rest of his term in office?
U.S. State Department’s Guantanamo envoy resigns Reuters (EM)
The Official Biggest Losers Of 2014 Huffington Post
U.S. to review move not to charge ex-officer in Milwaukee fatal shooting Reuters. EM: “‘Mayor Tom Barrett called for calm protests and said that police officers throughout the U.S. should not be demonized.’ Even if they act like demons? Lost in all the PR-foo here is a discussion of just what ‘grave offense’ Mr. Hamilton had committed in order to justify the attempted arrest. P.S.: In case you’ve not been following this particular story, the answer to the ‘grave offense’ question is ‘sleeping in the park’.”
The Faux “Civility” of “Broken Windows” Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives
US notches up fastest growth in decades Financial Times. 2/3 of the gain came from delayed health care spending. So we can have growth or groaf but still pretend we are bending the health care cost curve?
Three Reasons Not to Panic About Oil Prices Texas Monthly. This is the sort of headline that gets written right before the bottom drops out.
Oil Crash: Don’t Believe the Happy Clatter Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Oil heavyweights differ on catalyst for crude price rebound Financial Times. We pointed out the Harry Hamm v. Saudi divergence yesterday. Hamm has this all wrong. First, the Saudis are bigger than he is. Second, they have a large sovereign wealth fund. They don’t need oil revenues to fund government spending. In fact, Moodys said that the Saudis plus three of the other five major Gulf states could fund spending for several years out of their sovereign wealth funds. And on top of that, the Saudi government has little debt and thus plenty of borrowing capacity. But if this is what the US shale industry is telling itself, they are going to keep pumping until the Saudis crush them.
Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs Economist. From May, still useful.
Dear Kids The Awl. While this is suitably upbeat, in an interesting contrarian way, I stil take issue with it. It’s one thing to be beset by external threats. It’s another to see the fabric of your own society being shredded for the mere sake of profit and bad ideology.
A VISIT FROM JANET YELLEN MacroMan (Scott)
Antidote du jour:
And a bonus video (Chuck L). An American alternative to reindeer: