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Links 4/18/11

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Neutrons could test Newton’s gravity and string theory BBC

Researchers argue ‘addiction’ a poor way to understand the normal use of drugs PhysOrg (hat tip reader Paul S)

File-Sharers Await Official Recognition of New Religion TorrentFreak. If they acted more like Joseph and the Scientific People, they might get further.

Posner on the Economics of Theology Legal Theory Blog. Late to this…

Sick of remembering your online passwords? Let the White House manage it for you News.com.au (hat tip reader May S)

Sendai Airport reopens, but Japan still lacks plan to end nuclear crisis Christian Science Monitor (hat tip reader May S)

“To Work at Fukushima, You Have to Be Ready to Die” TruthOut (hat tip reader May S)

U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition: report Reuters (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

The endgames of our empire never quite finished – just look at Bahrain Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

The Great Israeli Security Scam Ira Chernus, Tomdispatch

Europe’s long road of tears to fiscal union Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

A new angle on Greek state bonds John Dizard, Financial Times. What a Greek restructuring might look like

After Pledging to Not Raise Taxes, Walker Proposes Hiking Taxes and Fees on the Poor and Students TruthOut (hat tip reader May S)

Gov. Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin Forbes

The case against performance-related pay Richard Layard, Financial Times. Hah! NC beat the FT op ed page. We wrote on this topic last week.

Fed to signal end of monetary easing Financial Times

Let’s Not Be Civil Paul Krugman, New York Times

Antidote du jour. Skunks are supposed to have nice personalities. If you don’t have to be afraid of anything, it’s probably not hard to be easygoing.

Screen shot 2011-04-17 at 1.02.01 AM

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52 comments

  1. Philip Pilkington

    In other news…

    Finnish Eurosceptic party ‘True Finns’ — probably full of child-eaters with mind-control powers — get a big vote:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/apr/18/portugal-bailout-election-gains-anti-euro-true-finns

    While, following on from that story on Irish bank deposits yesterday, Moodys cut their ratings to junk (I have no doubt that this is the fault of Yves and the NYT — both should feel terrible about themselves):

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0418/breaking9.html

  2. DownSouth

    Re: “Posner on the Economics of Theology” Legal Theory Blog

    Here’s how the linked abstract sums up Posner’s position:

    For example, a deity might demand some act of sacrifice, reverence, or obedience and then threaten to punish creatures that do not satisfy these demands. Such threats might be made credible by actions that demonstrate the power of the deity to create plagues, floods, and other natural disasters visited upon those who are disobedient or irreverent.

    There’s not a whole lot of difference between Posner’s theology and that of the televangelist Pat Robertson in this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ4dA6kZsEs&feature=related.

    Of course Posner and Robertson’s prosperity gospel doesn’t meet the acid test of human experience and observation. Bad things happen to good people, and conversely good things happen to bad people.

    It should come as no surprise, however, that Posner and Robertson, along with Richard Dawkins, are all on the same team. For the banksters, it’s full court press. They have all the bases covered with their celebrity preachers, economists and scientists.

    The antithesis to Posner’s and Robertson’s prosperity theology was articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr. in My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence:

    First I rejected their materialistic interpretation of history. Communism, avowedly secularistic and materialistic, has no place for God. This I could never accept, for as a Christian I believe that there is a creative personal power in this universe who is the ground and essence of all reality—-a power that cannot be explained in materialistic terms. History is ultimately guided by spirit, not matter.

    [….]

    Communism…should challenge every Christian—-as it challenged me—-to a growing concern about social justice. With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, communism grew as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged. Communism in theory emphasized a classless society, and a concern for social justice, though the world knows from sad experience that in practice it created new classes and a new lexicon of injustice. The Christian ought always to be challenged by any protest against unfair treatment of the poor, for Christianity is itself such a protest, nowhere expressed more eloquently than in Jesus’s words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

    [….]

    But in spite of the shortcomings of his analysis, Marx had raised some basic questions. I was deeply concerned from my early teen days about the gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, and my reading of Marx made me ever more conscious of this gulf. Although modern American capitalism had greatly reduced the gap through social reforms, there was still need for a better distribution of wealth. Moreover, Marx had revealed the danger of the profit motive as the sole basis of an economic system: capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity-thus capitalism can lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the materialism taught by communism.

    1. curmudgeonly troll

      A utility-maximizing deity would fit Pat Robertson’s business model quite well.

      Before anyone gets into too much of a lather, the abstract is dated April 1st.

    2. Tertium Squid

      Maybe it’s a quibble, but is “prosperity theology” really where the action is when there’s so little prosperity actually being spread around?

      I think a religious movement that will be more useful to TPTB nowadays would be one that teaches the proles to accept their chains passively.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The belief, to quote a highly spiritual economic lama, is that if you behave (that is, don’t whine), you will reincanate as a rich banker in your next life; if not, a member of the middle class.

        Everything happens for a karmic reason.

        Stop complaining, you middle class people!!!

      2. DownSouth

        Tertium,

        If one takes time to think it through, Posner’s theology is quite useful in teaching “the proles to accept their chains passively.” For upon closer inspection, what it boils down to is a revival of the medieval Christian religion which formed the moral, theological and intellectual foundation upon which feudalism was built.

        Posner’s theology is a regurgitation of Augustinian theology, which basically holds that human will causes bad things to happen when it is irrational; and God’s will, which is always rational, causes good things to happen.

        As William Manchester explains in A World Lit Only By Fire, “the followers of Jesus were widely blamed for bringing about Rome’s fall.” And in response,

        One Catholic prelate, the bishop of Hippo—-Aurelius Augustinus, later Saint Augustine—-felt challenged. He devoted thirteen years to writing his response, De civitate Dei (The City of God), the first great work to shape and define the medieval mind. Augustine (354-430) began by declaring that Rome was being punished, not for her new faith, but for her old, continuing sins: lascivious acts by the populace and corruption among politicians.

        As Michael Allen Gillespie goes on to explain in The Theological Origins of Modernity:

        Augustine was the first to assert that the will can supersede reason, arguing that the will can do evil even when reason tells it this is wrong. In making this argument, he built on the idea that reason can become enslaved to libidinous passions first suggested by Cicero and Seneca… [Augustine asserted] the independence of the human will not as a foundation for human dignity but in order to show that the source of evil lay not in God but in man. God grants humans freedom, and they freely choose to do evil. In this way Augustine was able to make divine unity or simplicity compatible with divine goodness.

        Augustine’s theology, however, flew in the face of the early Christian gospels which asserted that man was a sinner who was saved not by his own deeds, but by the grace of God. As Gillespie continues:

        The problem with the attribution of such freedom to man is that it might be construed to imply that just as humans chose to sin and therefore merited damnation, so they can choose not to sin and thereby earn salvation. This was precisely the conclusion that Pelagius drew. This idea, however, was anathema to Christians because it implied that Christ and his sacrifice were unnecessary.

        Despite its inconsistencies with the early gospels, however, Augustinian theology (the “rationalist solution”) was to go almost unchallenged until the early 14th century, when William of Ockham ignited the nominalist revolution. Here’s how Gillespie describes nominalist theology:

        If God has not created the world for man and is not even bound by his own creation, then he does not act according to human standards and cannot be comprehended by human reason. There is no immutable law or reason. Every order is simply the result of God’s absolute will and can be disrupted or reconstituted at any moment.

        Nominalism laid the foundations for the Renaissance, the Reformation and for modern science, and was anathema to scholasticism and the “rationalist solution.” Here’s how Gillespie puts it in Nihilism Before Nietzsche:

        The effect of the notion of divine omnipotence on cosmology was equally revolutionary… As a result, only material and efficient causality remained. The relations between the various material beings can be determined only by efficient causality and this causality can be known only by observation. Moreover, since each event is the result of the meeting of two unique entities, no necessary generalizations are possible. Therefore, science at best can be merely hypothetical.

        Ockham in this way establishes the foundation for a science that is based on experience and hypothesis… While Ockham did not actually develop a science on these principles, they remain the indispensible ontological and epistemological presuppositions of Renaissance and early modern science.

        And Nominalisim packed a liberating, revolutionary, and democratic political subtext:

        Moreover, since everyone is directly and uniquely related to God, there is no definitive or privileged interpretation of revelation. Each is ultimately bound only by his own conscience. As a result, papal authority in matters of faith is nil—-indeed, there are no better or worse judges of the moral law and, therefore, no basis for clerical authority of any sort in moral matters.

        There is even less occasion for papal authority in political affairs. Each individual is free and unique… Human beings are born free and have the right to choose their own ruler and therefore ostensibly their own form of government.

        The bottom line is that what Posner is advocating is a return to the theology (the “rationalist solution”) that reigned almost unchallenged in the medieval world from about 400 A.D. to 1300 A.D. This should come as no surprise as Posner is one of the leading lights of the Chicago School’s “third generation.”

        1. DownSouth

          Tertium,

          Now let me put Posner’s theology in plain Enlgish.

          Those homeowners who have lost their jobs and can’t make their house payments? That’s their punishment because they have sinned.

          And those bankers knocking down multi-million dollar bonuses? That’s their reward because they are right with the Lord.

          1. Jim Tarrant

            Actually that’s Calvinism: know by their pretenses; the well-off are blessed by God, the poor are cursed by God. An early GOP theology.

          2. Nathanael

            DownSouth, I still don’t get why you keep lumping Dawkins, who is totally different, in with the neo-Calvinists such as Posner and Pat Robertson. (And yes, Calvinism is the key feature of their belief system.)

            Dawkins, in contrast, has merely described what he sees as evolutionary processes — and like every evolutionary biologist, warned against treating them as moral instructions. He’s most certainly an empiricist, unlike Posner (sigh) or Robertson (no surprise), who believe that when the world conflicts with their beliefs, the world is wrong. And I haven’t seen a trace of Calvinism from him– perhaps you’ve got quotes I have overlooked. If so please provided them.

    1. jimmy jones

      Ben Bernanke is my name
      The US is my nation
      A helicopter’s my dwelling place
      Viva la hyperinflation

  3. DownSouth

    Re: “Let’s Not Be Civil” Paul Krugman, New York Times

    Krugman said: “The point is that the two parties don’t just live in different moral universes, they also live in different intellectual universes…”

    Krugman is still peddling the fiction that there is some fundamental difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

    In order to dispel this fiction, let me once more put in a plug for Scott Noble’s latest film, Lifting the Veil, which can be seen for free on the internet here.

    1. ScottW

      Thanks for the reference–just watched the film and it should be required viewing for everyone. It cogently sums up the feelings so many of us have against Obama. Obama is an opiate for the masses who formerly were counted on to object to war, financial inequality/corruption, poverty, etc. The financial titans and war profiteers could not have gotten a better man to advocate their policies, while neutralizing their opponents.

      It would be interesting to discuss this film with a pro-republican, or tea party, person and hear his or her reaction. Since the film primarily takes aim at the Obama administration it cannot be condemned as liberal propaganda. How would they react? As for the Obama supporters, the only refrain is, “Well, he is better than the other party’s candidate.” Wall Streeters must sleep well at night knowing the supposedly bad alternative is Obama.

      1. DownSouth

        ScottW,

        I just got through watching Inside Job for the first time.

        It’s another must see.

        I live in Mexico and have for the past 10 years. There was a time that I was quite confident that the U.S. government was far superior to that of Mexico. I’m not so sure of that any more.

        1. Nathanael

          Mexicans are now moving back to Mexico from the US (better economic opportunities).

          Mexico’s court system was rated as having greater access to justice and a greater chance of getting justice for the poor than the US court system by an international analysis (this, I can believe — the US court system is like the British court system was in Dickens’s time, only more corrupt).

          The *right-wing* government in Mexico is actually talking about ending the war on drugs.

          And you actually have a left-wing opposition party, though it seems to have just as little chance as our left-wingers (trapped in a party run by right-wingers) do.

    2. Mighty Booosh

      I’m sure it takes little imagination to conjure up the world of wonders that a McCain-Palin presidency would have offered the world.
      I suspect that you are throwing out the baby, the bathwater, the bathtub, all the soap and shampoo, and tugging out the fixtures in order to equate the two parties. I’m disappointed in Obama as well, but this is a democratic republic for good or ill and until somebody does something besides complain and snark on the internet, we will keep watching American Idol there will be no revolution, no change, no justice, and plenty of low cost entertainment.

      1. ScottW

        Did you watch the film? It provides the best analysis to date I have seen concerning Obama’s pre-presidential rhetoric and post-election performance. I found the film much more illuminating than “Inside Job,” and it covers an enormous amount of ground. Also, the last 20 minutes, or so, provides examples of what real “hope” means, as opposed to the faux hope peddled by Obama.

      2. Toby

        Please consider that America is in no meaningful way a democracy. Please watch the film DownSouth links to. Please remember that your ideas about how the system works come directly from the system itself. Propaganda or ‘public relations’ is an art form/science of exquisite control, deftly manipulating symbols, aspirations, fears, and sex, pitched at us all just below conscious awareness from all corners of the media (and elsewhere) night and day. Night and day. We are constantly pumped full of carefully engineered information so as to be kept in a form the system requires; obedient consumers. Mighty Booosh, are you not an obedient consumer?

        What we are presented of the system is fake from top to bottom. The only things we have left are hope and our ability–our obligation actually–to free our thinking from the prison of ideas in which it has been so carefully ensnared. It really is up to us, since the ‘leaders’ and owners of the system, in their insatiable greed, will milk us to our graves, taking much of the planet’s other living systems down with them. (I know how corny this sounds.)

        And after watching “Lifting the Veil” watch a BBC documentary called “The Century of the Self” available on YouTube (4*1hr shows), then, if you’re feeling suitably supple, try “Zeitgeist, Moving Forward”, also on YouTube.

        What we need to do, all of us, is find our way towards democracy from the decaying sham poisoning us today. If we succeed, the society we can build will be so different from today’s as to be unrecognizable, so much has to change.

    3. auskalo

      Than you very much for the reference, DS.

      I’ve downloaded it, and it’s more impressive than “Inside Job”.

      I’ll spread it out as much as possible!

      Chris Hedges speech about hope at the end is an impressive lesson to Obama and its supporters.

    4. Nathanael

      You are simply wrong.

      There is a fundamental difference between the modern Democratic Party and the modern Republican Party.

      The former is run by a combination of fools and kleptocrats and those who are both, while also containing genuine good guys (who are suppressed).

      The latter is run by fairly blatant fascists who openly persecute any deviation from the party line, and demand cult-like repetition of insane dogmas.

      Yes, this is bad and worse, but it’s certainly different. I’ve described it as the difference between the Centre Party in Weimar Germany (look ‘em up if you haven’t) and the Nazi Party. It made no practical difference which you voted for, but they were in fact quite different.

  4. Ignim Brites

    In “Let’s Not Be Civil” PK writes: “Eventually, of course, America must choose between these differing visions.” There is another option. That is to recognize a right of secession so that the individual states could follow their individual democratic stars.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      That’s only going to get us more Scott Walkers.

      Me, I think I’ll call my local Cripps & Bloods. Invite them over. A gang-infested neighborhood is one without cops, without sheriffs, without repo men, without banksters. Sure, they want money. I’ll give ‘em half my monthly mortgage payment and stick the rest in the local S&L.

        1. Nathanael

          Given that that’s what the banksters have been demanding from many people (all their monthly payment plus illegal “fees”), and that the banksters have then been seizing people’s houses if they don’t pay up (including the invalid and illegal fees), the gangs would be no worse, eh?

    2. Matt

      Sure, let ‘em secede – essentially every one of the states currently whining about it is already a Federal welfare queen anyways. We’ll send them a bill for their part of Shrub’s wars and tax cuts…

  5. Philip Pilkington

    By the way, am I the only one that has a serious problem with Munchau and many of the FT op-eders’ views on the Eurozone crisis. Consider this:

    “I think the same political considerations will apply in 2013 as today. Default would cut the country off the capital markets for several years. It would risk contagion to other countries. It would require a recapitalisation of the European Central Bank and trigger immediate transfer payments under the rescue umbrellas. My hunch would be that the next generation of political leaders will be just as cautious about default in 2013 as they are in 2011. They will give Greece, Ireland and Portugal another bridging loan. By 2015, a large chunk of the peripheral debt will be held by the various EU rescue schemes.”

    I mean, do Munchau et all read the news? One of the most important factors in the Eurozone crisis is citizens of various countries putting their boots to the necks of the Euroboys.

    In short, the peripheral populations don’t like austerity programs that ruin their economies — and the core populations don’t like giving the periphery what they see as a free ride.

    Munchau and his ilk seem to write in an ivory tower of abstractions — all the while acting as if the Eurocrats had complete autonomy in their decision-making. I would go on to accuse Munchau of beinf anti-democratic, but that might be crass — at the very least he is grossly unrealistic.

    1. Jimbo

      Philip, I emphatically agree with you. I can’t understand why a few EuroPhiles can’t come to terms with the possibility that the EuroZone should be dissolved.

    2. Jimbo

      I’d also like to add, I can understand why a EuroBureacrat in Brussels would continue to insist on the integrity of the Eurozone, as they are probably even better remunerated than Mexican bureacrats (the president of the Mexican Supreme Court makes over 650K a year).

      But for a columnist to continue to do so, that’s altogether different. Makes you want to go hmmmmmmm……..

    3. Glenn Condell

      Well said Philip.

      ‘Default would cut the country off the capital markets for several years. It would risk contagion to other countries. It would require a recapitalisation of the European Central Bank and trigger immediate transfer payments under the rescue umbrellas.’

      This scare scenario is being assiduously peddled from the top down, and it is not trickling down either, it’s bucketing. The banking cartel have opened up the floodgates of fear, intimating that failure to tick their every box will result in catastrophe for countries with governments who dare feed their people rather pay fealty to crony capital. This torrent of conventional wisdom washes through the financial press down into the MSM, into the government and bureaucracy and so on into the skulls of millions of confused punters hampered by a touching faith in the idea that their media tells them the truth.

      It is a naked threat, an exercise of massive but unelected power, but it is cleverly cloaked in a raiment of almost academic purity, painted not as another raid by a corrupt financial elite on long-suffering taxpayers, but as a law of nature, inevitable as the rising (or indeed setting) of the sun.

      On the one hand there is the idea that these decisions are dutifully made by appropriately qualified initiate priests, according to unchallengeably eternal axioms, implicitly doing the Right Thing and ultimately acting on our behalf (the Lord does move in mysterious ways!), the whole shebang reeking of respectability, every skerrick of raw greed safely smothered by this apparatus of phony legitimacy.

      On the other there is the corollary notion that, while admittedly not very pleasant, the people must make the sacrifices necessary to make senior bondholders whole because They Have No Choice. They must accept borderline penury for generations because otherwise they will be eating their own children inside of a month. That is the menu of choices citizens, so suck it up.

      It is sad though not very surprising to see the media faithfully parrot both of these memes, even in sharp-end nations like Ireland. I watched a lively discussion on an Irish current affairs talk show yesterday, which featured a characteristically rude and obstreperous Max Keiser joining forces with a panel of less colourful guests, all trying to get the presenter to understand that his stance, a Xerox of the standard-issue scare doctrine, was reinforcing the problem rather than helping to scope solutions. Max told him he had Stockholm syndrome.

      The kernel of the issue is what is never discussed in depth; why senior bondholders are a protected species. Why, when we face hardship unknown for generations, are those who with their limitless appetite for risk-free profit and capacity to suborn legitimate oversight largely created this situation and who let’s face it are now far better equipped to handle a hit to their net worth than virtually everyone who ever lived, why are they not just unscathed but permitted, even licensed to continue their pillage? Why can there be no identification of those who stand to lose in a default and what they would lose, in order to provide a counterpoint to the austerity taxpayers are being asked to wear so that we can make informed choices about how the bill for the bondholders’ speculation can be paid down? Why can’t the idea that savage haircuts to bondholders, while they might spook some investors momentarily, would actually facilitate the forward debt sales of freshly debt-cleaned nations, arguably making the crash scenario less likely than if conventional wisdom won out?

      http://maxkeiser.com/2011/04/17/max-keiser-in-ireland-on-tonight-with-vincent-browne-15/

  6. IdahoSpud

    Yves,

    Thanks for the Alfred Bester reference! I am a huge fan of that particular book :) These times are similar to the times of Gully Foyle, are they not?

    1. Ptaquiloside Pteridium


      not the family farmer.

      It is the tax collector who takes a cut from each of the suspects. But is the tax collector the prime suspect in this mysterious case?

      Oh!
      No
      !

  7. Tertium Squid

    Reviewers argue “addiction” a poor way to understand the normal use of drugs:

    “Muller and Schumann’s article, ‘Drugs as instruments – a new framework for non-addictive psychoactive drug use’, introduces the concept that drugs are being routinely used by many as helpful ‘instruments’ in their lives.”

    Since everyone gets a pill for everything that bothers them, it’s not surprising to see the medicalization of every chemical everywhere. Why do something the hard way when there’s something out there that will help you feel the way you want to feel?

    “after a long working day, having a last coffee to awake and refresh the mind may enable the driver to drive home more safely. In this case, caffeine is the instrument that improves the mental state.”

    Never mind that people who need chemicals to be able to function fall much closer to “addict” than a recreational user – this statement is obnoxious for the unspoken assumption that the problem here isn’t the overcommitment, the long working hours, the lifestyle choices, or even the debt-fueled wage slavery that sends the exhausted worker home for a few hours to rest his muscles and get ready for more work. No, it’s the treacherous human body refusing to do its part and cope with these physical, social, and mental pressures.

    Chemicals, as envisioned by the reviewers, are most useful as masking agents to cover up the harsh side-effects of modern life and help the user rise to meet even the most prosaic of challenges. Just as you give morphine to a patient dealing with the pain kidney stones, you give beer to a sexually frustrated nerd to lubricate his conversation and improve his mating prospects.

    I would take it the other way. If I can’t keep my eyes open on the way home from work (or to work!), there’s something WRONG, and the goal shouldn’t be finding a chemical that lets me cope with a withering schedule – it should be a new schedule. If a man has mommy issues and a fear of closeness and commitment, don’t addle his senses so he can talk to girls! Let him clear his senses and his thoughts, learn about himself and grow.

    1. Philip Pilkington

      “…..after a long working day, having a last coffee to awake and refresh the mind may enable the driver to drive home more safely. In this case, caffeine is the instrument that improves the mental state.”

      Here — let me have a go…

      “After a hard night’s drinking, guzzling down two or three quick beers the next morning with breakfast to awake and refresh the mind may enable the worker to work more effectively. In this case, alcohol is the instrument that improves the mental state.”

      …hey, you might not like it — but it logically follows.

      1. Tertium Squid

        I belong a long way from here
        put on a poncho, played for mosquitoes
        and drank till I was thirsty again.

        If it makes you happy
        It can’t be that bad
        If it makes you happy
        then why the hell are you so sad?
        -Sheryl Crow

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        After a hard day of looking for non-existing work, reading a couple of comments in the blog numbs the soul and may enable the job-begger to limp out into the bleak world again. In this case, blogging is the instrument that improves the mental state.

    2. MikeJ

      It’s like a pharmaceutical version of Gresham’s Law: chemically “enhanced” workers will drive out the clean.

      We saw it in the sporting world with steroids and HGH, and we saw it in the doped-up children of striving, anal yuppie boomers. If it’s acceptable to use certain drugs to remain productive through your workday, then it soon becomes implicitly necessary.

    3. ChrisPacific

      “I would take it the other way. If I can’t keep my eyes open on the way home from work (or to work!), there’s something WRONG, and the goal shouldn’t be finding a chemical that lets me cope with a withering schedule – it should be a new schedule. ”

      I can’t tell whether or not this is satire.

      Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that this is a realistic option for me – maybe I’m financially secure, don’t have a large family to support on limited means, and/or I work in a field where employment opportunities are plentiful and thus have a range of options in this regard. So I quit my job and make an appointment with a recruitment firm for first thing tomorrow morning. What now? I still need to get home. My 9:00am appointment isn’t going to do me any good if I doze off and drift into oncoming traffic tonight.

      In brief, this is a false dichotomy. If someone had an impacted wisdom tooth, we wouldn’t give him Novacaine in lieu of proper dental treatment, but neither would we extract the tooth without anaesthetic.

  8. Tertium Squid

    Posner on religion:

    “This model … suggests new ways of looking at such practical issues as the design of religious institutions that can produce human behavior that will avoid the deleterious consequences that attend punitive actions by omnipotent deities.”

    I think the more practical issue at hand is adapting religious institutions to “produce human behavior that will avoid the deleterious consequences that attend punitive actions by omnipotent bankers and politicians.”

    There are careers to be made by the clever churchmen who recognizes the moral and spiritual patina that their preaching can give to powerful secular institutions.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Skunks are supposed to have nice personalities. If you don’t have to be afraid of anything, it’s probably not hard to be easygoing

    ———

    Some of the nastiest dictators and ruthless corporate leaders are known to be easygoing as well.

    Those who are not animal-chauvinists (you know who they are) know this is also the case with the Durian fruit. I swear to my rhubarb god and my Idaho potato god this is true, on this the 18th day of the month of the cabbage, in the vegetable-zodiac-year of the bittermelon.

  10. curlydan

    Well, Walker didn’t raise taxes at least from the info in the TruthOut article. He did the same thing that Obama did when he passed a healthcare bill without any additional _taxes_ for the middle class.

    Walker reduced credits and bumped up fees and tuition.

    Obamacare cut tax credits that subsequently increase middle-class tax liabilities.

    It’s all a game, and in terms of semantics, both parties are winning while the middle class loses.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Isn’t there a Middle Class Musuem where impressionalbe students can visit to discover what middle class people used to look like?

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