Links 7/29/11

Plant has a bat beckoning beacon BBC

New Twitter Algorithm Could Out Dudes Pretending to Be Lesbians Atlantic

Bill Would Force Intel Chief to Renounce ‘Secret Patriot Act’ Wired (hat tip reader Robert M)

Tax Trio Would Put an End to Euro Arson: Perotti and Zingales Bloomberg (hat tip reader Tim C)

Republicans abandon vote on debt ceiling Financial Times. The unhappy reaction to this news is weird. This would seem to bring a deal closer. If Boehner can’t hold his block and the banks and companies are starting to freak out, this suggests some corporate Republicans could be picked off to join the Dems (particularly since the “plans” are so similar).

Obama Tied Against Generic Republican Jon Walker, FireDogLake

Lenders keep ‘zombies’ alive Financial Times. Zombie banks help zombie companies, just like Japan.

Lehman Case Hints at Need to Stiffen Audit Rules Floyd Norris, New York Times

Just Before Deadline, County in Alabama Delays Bankruptcy Move New York Times

Debt Ceiling Charade impacting Short-Term Credit Markets Calculated Risk

If we see no debt ceiling deal, the US will prioritise Treasuries Ed Harrison


For-Profit Higher Education Industry Sues to Block Weak “Gainful Employment” Rule
Credit Slips

From Outside the Beltway Tim Duy

Who Is In Worse Shape – the United States or Europe? Simon Johnson

How Greedy Corporations Are Destroying America’s Status as ‘Innovation Nation’ William Lazonick, New Deal 2.0

Dead Souls ClubOrlov (hat tip reader Scott A)

Kiwi readers take note: We will be on the Saturday Morning with Kim Hill show on Radio New Zealand National at 8:45 AM on Saturday.

Antidote du jour:

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40 comments

  1. Thorstein

    re: Dead Souls

    Although things may have changed in these two years, it’s not the web that shapes American reality, but tv. Recall this NYT graphic from 2009 and compare computer use vs tv use at any hour of the day.

    http://tinyurl.com/3vqctn9

    1. aet

      “Shape reality”?

      Seriously? Like the law of gravitation shapes reality, you mean?

      I don’t think they shape ‘reality’ so much as they shape perception, and perception ain’t reality.

      1. aet

        …because perception is the apprehension and observes reality.

        Again: tv (and/or the web) shapes perceptions of reality: not reality itself.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When someone drops his TV on his foot, it shapes a certain reality, not just the perception of it.

          1. Cedric Regula

            If a TV falls in a living room and no independent observer is there to witness it, did the TV really fall on one’s foot?

            Besides, feet are just anti-gravity devices anyway – on a quantum level, I mean.

            And, I might add, once you understand this, there really is no limit to how many feet we can have!

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s a known fact that when the feet travel really fast, as when you are running for your life, they get shorter.

          3. Cedric Regula

            They turn red too, you just can’t see it.

            But in Newtonian space, footyness is conserved. So if you get more of them, they get smaller.

            This is a convenient thing, because if this weren’t the case, one would float upwards, and possibly even reach escape velocity.

            This does happen to Sorcerers, however. The ones that remain on earth have learned to tether themselves to gravity objects.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Interesting observation…definitely much more fascinating than the usual ‘Reductio ad Tiredness’ stuff from MMTers.

  2. RebelEconomist

    Nice ideas from Perotti and Zingales, but, given the eurozone authorities’ view of CDSs and their experiences of using agency credit ratings for regulatory purposes, I somehow cannot see them accepting basing taxes on CDS spreads!

    1. Diego Méndez

      I just cannot see them doing anything meaningful.

      Electoral democracy is dead. It happens not to know it.

  3. alex

    re: Obama Tied Against Generic Republican

    Who cares? I know of no potential candidate named “Generic Republican”.

    Moreover I’ve become so disgusted by the Party Formerly Known as the Democrats, that I’d almost welcome a win by the R’s. Not that I think any potential R candidate would be better than Obummer, but in desperation I’m toying with the “things have to get worse in order to get better” idea. I’m not thrilled with the way that echoes Lenin, but what other approach is left? The D’s are corrupt and the R’s are just plain nuts.

    1. Cedric Regula

      “Who cares? I know of no potential candidate named “Generic Republican”.”

      They will make one. Robo Republican, methinks.

      He/she, or both, will be a staunch law and order guy-girl type, to the point of demanding world peace, and have a few nutty quirks just to make he/she seem human.

      One will be constantly telling voters that there is NO relationship between taxes and government spending. That point is always popular.

      Then, personally, I’d program in a twitch where Robo Republican will say “bank loans precede reserves and deposits” whenever he-she hears the word “hello” or another human moves within range of he-she’s receptors.

      Another nice touch is saying “we need more treasury bonds so we can increase our savings”.

      I think this may spawn a new programming paradigm. Object Oriented Quirkiness (OOQ).

      1. alex

        “Object Oriented Quirkiness”

        Nah, the correct software buzzword for what you’re talking about is Artificial Stupidity. So much easier than AI!

      1. Cedric Regula

        Yes, well, I think this time they will make Robo Republican look like a great big green and red parrot. He-she will look more pretty than scary that way and also project an image of listening to the public and speaking their language.

        He-she will also have all of he-she’s private parts covered in feathers, even when addressing the nation from the White House bird bath.

        This is important because Robo Republican will not want to alienate the evangelist/moral majority wing of the party.

        Did I say “wing”? hahahaha – sometimes this stuff just pops out without even trying.

  4. alex

    re: How Greedy Corporations Are Destroying America’s Status as ‘Innovation Nation’

    That article is dead on. A few points:

    1. Stock buybacks are a crock. The biggest reason for their popularity is that it benefits those who have stock options. Why not let the owners decide if they want to own a bigger percentage of the company? Tax capital gains and all dividends at as high a rate as labor income and require a shareholder vote for buybacks. If companies paid dividends, then current owners can always take that money and buy more stock if they think it’s such a good investment.

    2. As much as I like innovation, the real money comes when you manufacture the innovative products. Why spend government money on cooperative government/industry development work when the products will just be made elsewhere? It’s the US taxpayers subsidizing foreign industry. Unless and until sophisticated manufacturing is brought back to our shores, we should just admit that this innovation stuff doesn’t do much for Americans.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re “The View from the other side of the Beltway,” the author assumes that the Congressional Democrats will let the Bush tax cuts expire, given the chance. Unh, unh. As Yves’ “Third Way” post earlier today notes, the FIRE sector owns the party’s economic policy machinery and there will be more than enough Dem votes bought and paid for to extend them once again, perhaps permanently.

    1. Guy_Fawkes

      Just watched this just this morning.

      My state Senators and Representatives are finally “getting it.” I have started showing them the title documents in their OWN TITLES showing forgery, notary fraud, conflicts of interest, back-dating…..and when the shoe drops on their OWN INTERESTS…..they start understanding the need to protect themselves…..

      Funny, isn’t it? Until the problem affects them, they could care less.

  6. ep3

    yves, one of my clients here in lansing michigan is a men’s clothing store. sales in the last 3 weeks have dropped off to nothing. we specialize in older gentlemen’s clothing which means fear of not getting that SS check means making that pair of sansabelts last a little longer.

    yes, the debt catastrophe is already hurting the economy. Way to go Team Obama!

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Does Twitter have any algorithm that can out any looting banksters pretending to be too big to fail?

    Alas, science fails us here. Sorry, you science worshippers.

    We have to rely on bloggers’ good old human algorithm.

    1. Cedric Regula

      It can be done within the twitter character limit, but it takes the entire USG government writing hundreds and hundreds of thousand page reports to tell us everything is OK.

  8. Hugh

    Prioritizing Treasuries is in keeping with Yves’ earlier post about Democrats privileging bondholders generally. It also underlines how they put money ahead of people. But we knew that already.

  9. Cedric Regula

    File: Boehnergeddon – Making Up

    Mr. B announces Tea Partier freshpersons on board with Newbie Plan.

    Reid gets his plan ready for the Senate. Adds in a trillion for winding down I&A, even tho that was already in CBO long term budgets. But say it twice can’t hurt.

    Mr. O twitters a call to compromise.

    Completely unsubstantiated rumor divulges negotiations between Tea Partiest Cantor and Mr. B:

    Eric: John boy, we need some automatic stabilizers for war spending, defense spending and bank bailouts and my thinking is a balanced budget amendment(aka Safe Budget Act – SBA ) is the way to get there. Once ratified by the states, we already have a useless government shell bureaucracy, the SBA (Small Business Administration)and if we put any administrative duties there, that’s all my constituency needs to know. Then when tax receipts fall (I’ve got more on that plan later) we automatically can cut all that other crap we’re paying for and no one even has to vote on it.

    John: I could get to like you, Eric. Done deal. BTW, don’t worry about Mr. O’s veto threat. We’ll just agree at the last moment to up the ceiling enough to get us past 2012 elections. That’s all that wuss cares about. The Rs&Ds that are running want that anyway. Reid will fold like a cheap chinese lawn chair!

    Regurgatating the real news:

    Timmy says bondholders will be paid, but SS recipients better ready that cat food stash (suggests letting the cat fend for itself – they’re good at that).

    S&P 500 down,up,down,up then down, but still open at the time of this writing and have not been halted or flash crashed yet, either.

    Asian, euro markets down.

    Gold down, platinum down, by identical amounts.

    Elsewhere, AP reports banks in Asia still making loans before obtaining reserves/deposits. Not so much in Europe from the looks of CDS spreads.

    The Peterson G. Peterson Foundation issues an urgent message:

    Peter Peterson picked a peck of pickled peppers;
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Peterson picked;
    If Peter Peterson picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Peterson picked?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s crazy to think public sector deficit means only more spending when in fact, public sector deficit can be accomplished by cutting taxes to the max and spenindg nada, nil, zero.

      When there is inflation, just don’t cut as much.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In fact, the best way is for the government incur deficits is to spend nothing and hand out tax refunds that can easily created artificially out of thin air.

    1. Cedric Regula

      Down here in the SW, we used to ship our industrial toxic waste to Mexico. Maybe they are interested.

      France ships their nuke waste to the province of Siberia. But Greenpeace claims the private intermediaries used by France lose it in transit.

      But at least the USG is showing the cajones to deal with this matter in a free and open manner. No more complaints like “My neighbor can’t do that in his backyard”!

      Besides, this “dirty bomb” thingy is just a scare tactic to justify bucko bucks for Homeland Security anyway. Wouldn’t that be something if we could stick an Al-Qaeda front charity with the stuff?

      1. propertius

        Besides, this “dirty bomb” thingy is just a scare tactic to justify bucko bucks for Homeland Security anyway. Wouldn’t that be something if we could stick an Al-Qaeda front charity with the stuff?

        Maybe we could kill two birds with one stone and sell it to them. New revenue with no new taxes! What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Cedric Regula

        It’s not that difficult, really. We just declare mini-carmageddon along the routes the trucks w/ military escort take on the way to Carlsbad, NM.

        First we expand the military repository that’s there already.

        No one in NM will ever notice the difference. It will still look like Mars. Except the few residents there will never have to pay state taxes ever again, if the governor plays his cards right.

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