Life in the Sickest Town in America (jdargis)
According to Lindner’s calculations, five of the 10 counties that have the most people on disability are in Virginia—and so are four of the lowest, making the state an emblem of how wealth and work determine health and well-being. Six hours to the north, in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties, just one out of every hundred adults draws SSDI benefits. But Buchanan county is home to a shadow economy of maimed workers, eking out a living the only way they can—by joining the nation’s increasingly sizable disability rolls. “On certain days of the month you stay away from the post office,” says Priscilla Harris, a professor who teaches at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, “because that’s when the disability checks are coming in.”
“Middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change,” Mr. Obama told Congress and the public on Tuesday.
Still, regardless of their income, most Americans identify as middle class. The term itself is so amorphous that politicians often cite the group in introducing proposals to engender wide appeal.
Fitts predicts that 2015 is going to be “volatile and violent.” Fitts says, “I think 2015 is going to be a very rough year. I think you have to be prepared for wild swings. We’ve seen oil come down 50%.” Fitts also points out, “The creative destructive aspects are pretty scary. The thing that your listeners are struggling with is we’ve been through a lot of change. The change has been painful because the American leadership encouraged the taxpayer to misbehave.
An anti-austerity party has won a landmark election victory in Greece which critics fear could force the Eurozone into a fresh crisis. Official results from 96 per cent of polling stations gave radical leftist party Syriza 36 per cent of the vote – compared to just 28 per cent for the ruling conservatives of the New Democracy party. That would give the party 149 seats in parliament, just short of the 151 it needs to rule outright – a situation Greece’s current Prime Minister claimed would bring the nation to the ‘brink of catastrophe’, and which David Cameron said will ‘increase economic uncertainty across Europe’.
Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage.
In a documentary that aired recently on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular The Fifth Estate program, an allegory of Vladimir Putin was presented. The wily Russian president was described growing up in a shabby St. Petersburg apartment, where he would often corner rats. Now, punished by low oil prices and Western sanctions against Russian incursions in Ukraine/ Crimea, Putin is himself the cornered rat. Many wonder, and fear, what he will do if conditions in Russia become increasingly desperate. In the last six months oil prices have plunged over 50 percent and the Russian economy is hurting. The country now faces slowing economic growth, a depressed ruble, and runaway inflation estimated to be up to 150 percent on basic foodstuffs. The Kremlin is counting on austerity cuts to help balance its budget, which has revenues coming in at $45 billion lower than earlier projections. The exception, significantly, is defense. With the military exempted from the austerity plan, it begs the question of whether Putin will “play the nationalist card,” such as he did in Crimea, in an effort to strengthen greater Russia during a period of economic weakness.
Hedge Funds Bet Oil Will Fall Further (jdargis)
“There’s been a rush to call a bottom,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by phone Jan. 23. “The fundamentals are still stacked against a rebound.”
WTI rose 50 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $46.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the CFTC report period. The U.S. benchmark fell 25 cents to $45.34 at 9:22 a.m. Brent slipped 30 cents to $48.49.
One place it does occur is where floating glaciers calve large icebergs. These occur on the coastal outlet glaciers at the edges of ice sheets that are the most vulnerable to warming. The glacier thins towards its outer edge, and at some point it grows thin enough that it begins to float. The point at which it floats off the bottom is called the “grounding line”—from there out to the end of the ice is called an ice shelf. Ice shelves that grind against the shore (think of it floating in a bay or fjord) act to hold back the flow of ice behind them. These shelves gradually melt from below as they float in their seawater bath. But they can also melt from above and shed large bergs of ice at their outer edge.
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