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Links 3/16/12

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The Northern Lights and the Flying Squirrel: Ten Incredible Stories From the 40th Iditarod Sled Dog Race Indian Country (hat tip Lambert)

Rebuffed for sex? Deprived male fruit flies turn to alcohol, study says Washington Post

A “Shocking Disproportion” in Funding of Young and Older Scientists Science (hat tip Lambert)

Google Faces New Privacy Probes Wall Street Journal

Natural Born Drillers Paul Krugman, New York Times. I agree with the sentiment, but from what I saw at the Atlantic event in DC, the big Dems are pretty keen about drilling too, and I don’t sense any real commitment to environmental safety.

More signs of a bumpy Chinese landing MacroBusiness

Pentagon officials: ‘No smoking gun’ in Afghan rampage McClatchy (hat tip Lambert)

The PIIGS Strike Back MacroBusiness

Italy Said to Pay Morgan Stanley $3.4 Billion Bloomberg

DISPATCH FROM GREECE: YOGURT AS A FORM OF POLITICAL PROTEST Kostas Kallergis eXiled

The Liberation of Willard Romney: A Game Plan Esquire (hat tip Lambert)

Romney: No ‘secret deal’ with Ron Paul The Hill (hat tip Lambert)

MoveOn weasel and Obama lifer Ilya Sheyman tries to hijack Occupy brand in Illinois Tenth District House run Corrente

Illinois’ lost decade: The sorry spirals of a corrupt governor and his broke, broken state Chicago Tribune (hat tip Lambert)

White House Pours One Out for All the Dead Journos, Waterboards the Living Gawker

Why Larry Summers lost the presidency of Harvard mathbabe. From a few days ago, but still important. Larry took a gracious pill before he presented at The Atlantic Economy Summit. He clearly wants the World Bank job badly.

Whistleblowers Reaping Rewards in U.S. Mortgage Suits Insurance Journal (hat tip Lambert)

Netizens Deride Foreclosure Settlement AOL (hat tip Lambert)

How a Whistleblower Halted JPMorgan Chase’s Card Collection American Banker (hat tip Lambert)

Rivals fear Goldman backlash on Wall St Financial Times

Wealthy Families Skip Waiting Rooms With Concierge Medical Plans Bloomberg

In powerful Citi ruling, 2nd Circuit stresses deference to SEC Alison Frankel, Reuters. This is on Rakoff’s rejection of the SEC v. Citi settlement. This went before a motions panel, and its practice is to give thumbs up or down with no explanation. This is not just a procecural ruling but a ruling which comes close to attempting to decide the case. Huh? There is also some amazing bullshit in the ruling. The panel objects to Rakoff’s argument that he can’t decide anything (there are multiple tests, such as fairness and adequacy) because no facts were found. The decision argues that facts were presented. Again, huh? A court is a finder of fact. All Rakoff got was the SEC’s side of the story. He can’t take that as gospel. Since Rakoff can’t be fired, I think the odd are good that he is going to continue to issue rulings that drive the SEC nuts until the ruling on appeal circumscribes his ability to maneuver (this ruling looks to be an effort to contain him now).

This Is Your Defense of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street? Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Does Morality Have a Place on Wall Street? New York Times. Robert Reich, John Bogle, yours truly, and others.

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) Wired (hat tip Lambert). Important.

Lan Pham Letter to Chuck Grassley. Aargh, I should write this up really pronto but I need to turn in. This is a big deal. She told the WSJ she was fired for not accepting the Wall Street party lines, which was that foreclosures don’t hurt home prices or household wealth, and there is no chain of title problem.

Antidote du jour:

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49 comments

    1. Ned Ludd

      According to Dave Dayen, the attempt to muzzle – and subsequent firing of – Dr. Lan Pham happened in the fall of 2010, while Dr. Douglas Elmendorf was the Director of the Congressional Budget Office. Who appointed Elmendorf?

      January 22, 2009

      This afternoon, Dr. Douglas W. Elmendorf was appointed Director of the Congressional Budget Office by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Robert C. Byrd.

      If it turns out that Dr. Pham’s allegations are true, then Pelosi – who is the most “liberal” member of the Democratic leadership in Congress – helped choose a director who runs a dishonest CBO. With both parties captured by the financial industry, Chris Hedges is right: “there is no way within the American political system to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.”

  1. Middle Seaman

    Allocation of research grants disproporsonately to older biomedical researchers is not only discriminatory but it also wastes money and is stupid. As the post implies, science is a young people’s led activity. There are always older scietists who are highly productive at older age, but they are an exception and, by and large, rare.

    Despite NIH rigorous and well refreed grant proposal awards, human biases are clearly at work here (and many other places). NIH will do well to try to mitigate the influences of such biases.

  2. Jessica

    A “Shocking Disproportion” in Funding of Young and Older Scientists

    This is one of the many ways that trying to run the knowledge economy by the rules of the thing economy (and the monopolistic, rent-centered ones at that) hamstrings us. This article does not discuss it, but the funding discrepancy also means that the aging lions have more ability to decide the research topics of the young turks. Which is good for replicating orthodoxy, even incorrect orthodoxy, but bad for innovation.

    String theory dissident Lee Smolin has a good description of how this affects physics in his “The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next”.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      By the time you’re 50, you’ve got position, experience and power. I’m 60, I know this full well. I can flex my fingers and get more attention than a 20-something can. Young scientists need to suck up to their elders, like it or not. Because something else that arrives with age: Most of us are suckers for compliments. While we are impossible to blow down, we are easily manipulated. Learn the ropes. We did. (How do you think we got here?)

      Scientists waste their time anyway. It’s a faddish discipline, always has been, always will be. Go read old copies of Science. Pop music of the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s and 90′s has a longer shelf life than scientific theories.

      1. JTFaraday

        “Young scientists need to suck up to their elders, like it or not.”

        Oh, okay. That’s exactly how I want the so-called professions to function– especially those that claim to be “scientific.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a good science research project – why science is or is not a faddish discipline.

        Write a proposal and let young people make the grant decision and old people do the hard research work.

        1. Dave of Maryland

          Scientists have egos like anyone else. They want their name to go down in history, like Pasteur or Lister or Einstein, etc. They eagerly look for theories that might give them the big break, just like actors look for parts for the same reason.

          The best theories are those which sound really good, but which can’t quite be proven one way or the other. The combination of “sounds really good” with “can’t quite be definitively proved” becomes entrancing, and, hence, long-lasting.

          The best disciplines are those which, because they are fundamentally remote, cannot be proven one way or another. Chief among these is astronomy. After 350 years of being a separate discipline, astronomy now has the extreme belief that the majority of matter in the universe cannot be discovered or measured by any means whatever. It is “dark” in the darkest sense.

          The worst disciplines, so far as making your mark are concerned, the ones that are hardest to crack and which require real genius, are the ones based purely on mathematics, such as mathematics itself. In numbers, they either add up, or they don’t. After that, engineering. In engineering, it either works, or it doesn’t. Strictly speaking, neither of these are “scientific.”

          I’m sorry, but having read old science manuals, I simply cannot fall down and worship these people.

          1. Richard Kline

            So Dave, all too true, and good to hear it in plain words from an insider. Grant-getting is all about politics; senior scientists are there by virtue of getting the politics wired. They always get the ‘senior tranche’ on grands, and always have. Smart senior scientists recruit hot young talent to their departments or teams, then bask in the reflected glory as ‘lead authors.’ Big-headed senior scientists keep trying for one last big hit themselves, and nearly always achieving nothing but shuffling papers, in essence. Good young scientists find smart senior scientists and fly wingman/person until they make their own name. Other young scientists or those whose personality doesn’t fit that templet get buried in the wrong topics and/or unfunded. That’s the way the game works. It’s not about ‘doing science,’ it’s about doing scientists.

            And I’m completely in your camp regarding the complete uselessness of the very large majority of scientific hypotheses, theories, and programs. The historical trajectory on that is blatant, just as you say; even in the popular literature one can see innumerable dud ‘next great things,’ from as recently as two decades before, let alone a few generations. It is my view, having spent several years considering _how_ one can go about making good theories and framing deep insights, that science even more than most advanced disciplines, is absolutely TERRIBLE at theory-construction. Hyper-specialization and narrow proof to prescribed probablity are methods entirely antithetical to penetrating insight. It’s not that scientists are stupid per se but that their method makes then think stupidly from the get-go. Finding anything under those conditions is, almost literally, a fluke. The entirety of the last sixty years of physics is an endless demonstration of that, but one could pick almost any discipline to the same result.

            Sooo given that a) senior scientists control the funds _and_ the agenda, b) they are inherently conservative in insight and program having spent decades and built reputations defending particular interpretations, and c) that scientists are just no damn good at coming up with really good ideas (as opposed to ‘interesting’ research topics ‘meriting funding’), what would one suppose is the cumulative product quality of institutional science? Well research breakthroughs is NOT the answer to that multi-variate question, I’ll be kind and stop this there.

          2. James Sterling

            Dave’s criticism sounds clever and sophisticated, but it’s dishonest; it’s taking science’s greatest strength and rhetorically spinning it as a weakness. Science has an astoundingly good track record of disproving everything that can be disproved. As a result, after four centuries of this onslaught, the only frontiers science has left are the ones extremely resistant to disproof.

            Making this out to be an evil clever scheme by scientists to gain a cushy job where they don’t have to work is turning the facts completely on their head. Scientists are working harder than ever to find ways to disprove the currently undisprovable. Dark matter is the arena of one of those efforts.

      3. Jessica

        As a solution for the individual younger scientist, what you say makes sense.
        For society as a whole, having too many of the decisions made by people with decades of their lives invested in the current theories could easily stifle innovation.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We should all thank the god of science that there are no fanatics screaming ‘Advance science at all costs!’

            Personally, I hope science doesn’t advance at all if it can only do so with people (or animals/plants) dropping dead like flies.

  3. aet

    The Court is a finder – not a presenter – of fact; if the parties are agreed as to the facts to be presented to the Judge, the the Judge must accept those facts as presented.

    In private litigation, it is the parties’ who initiate and conduct the process whose satisfaction is important, not the Judge’s! Her job is to settle otherwise intractable disputes – not to start new ones between the parties, on her own intiative.

    By way of contrast, in Europe, the Judges ARE TRUE “finders of facts”, as the European Judges can omn their own intiative suppoena (and question) whomever they choose so as to investigate and determine the facts, kinda like a US Grand Jury can do: but in the Anglo-American systems, in a Civil Lawsuit between private parties, the Judge does not have any power whatsoever to commence her own investigation, especially if the parties to the lawsuit have already agreed as to what the facts are. Or even if they haven’t!

    The Judge ONLY gets involved as to the facts IF there is a DISPUTE as to the truth of an allegar tion of fact between the parties to the suit: it is NOT the Judge’s duty in the Anglo-American legal system to START a dispute, on her own initiative, where NONE exists between the parties seeking the Judge’s ruling.

    This is NOT a criminal matter; in those cases, a Judge may with justice be more “investigative” as to the facts presented to him by the two sides, in order to help balance the accused individual’s rights against the limitless funding and resources of the State prosecutors. (Seems fair, as the poor accused has much much more at a stake than the wealthy and powerful State does!)

    Bottom line: the “finder of fact”, so-called, is NOT the “presenter of facts” in disputes which have resulted in private litigation, and therefore the Judge must not seek to go beyond the undisputed evidence presented before her by the parties, where those parties have already reached a settlement of the issues for the judge’s formal Orders.

    Or would you rather that judges routinely rework all divorce or commercial settlements agreed by litigants, if the Judge just feels that the settlement “isn’t right”?

    The US does not have an “investigating judiciary”, as many European countries do, capable of calling and compelling and questioning witnesses on their own intiative and without the consent of the parties to the dispute – but in the Anglo-American tradition, such investigatory powers in the hands of the Judge is considered to all too apt to be partial to the State, to be corruptable.

    There are debates about whether that is really so.

    The Euro system may be more to some people’s tastes in technically-complex commercial matters, with specialist Judges, who have much greater evidence gathering powers which she can exercise independently of the parties to the dispute.

    Be that as it may, the US system ain’t the Euro system.
    And it should take more than just one trial judge’s decision to remake it!

    1. wunsacon

      >> Or would you rather that judges routinely rework all divorce or commercial settlements agreed by litigants, if the Judge just feels that the settlement “isn’t right”?

      It’s a slope, yes. But, is it really that slippery?

      If it’s up the judge’s discretion, s/he can decide whether there’s an exceptional case before the court. I doubt judges have the time or inclination to rework all divorce or commercial settlements.

  4. Brent Musburger, Jr (news anchor)

    Re: Lan Pham Letter to Chuck Grassley

    Breaking News! This Just In!

    Speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Senator Chuck Grassley said he’s been tipped off by Lan Pham (formerly of the CBO) that there is a pattern of suppression at the Congressional Budget Office “to prevent public writings about the damage wrought by the banking, financial sector and housing collapse”!

    For presenting a truthful and correct assessment of where things really stand, Lan Pham was fired, and this is why Senator Grassley has decided to go public with the suppressed information….

    Story developing….

    1. Neo-Realist

      Ms. Pham has also shared her story with Zero Hedge–you have to scroll down a bit to find it.

  5. EmilianoZ

    Re:Summers and Harvard
    Very interesting. Shows Harvard is a mini banana republic inside the banana republic.

  6. Lambert Strether

    On the drilling, the idea would be that the Ds are fully in agreement with Palin “Drill, baby, drill!” but just don’t say it out loud, or lie about it? Say it’s not so, Yves! Say it’s not so!

  7. Susan the other

    NYT: Room For Debate. Does Morality have a Place in Wallstreet? The panel was unanimous. Without greed tempered by morality there will be no Wallstreet at all. Keeps me thinking that greed and profit are synonyms. And still wondering what profit really is? In a world that has accomplished a lot of well being via investment from “capital formation,” profit has curiously become just a rigged windfall from a rigged set up. At least when it is taken in the form of money which can be skimmed away. But when profit is in the form of universal good and achievement, it isn’t thought of as profit at all. Where is the driving greed to trade shares in education and welfare?

  8. Hugh

    Re scientific funding, researchers run labs with grad students and post docs. Grant money, the “best” (but also the most conformist) students gravitate to the most established “named” labs. It is a question of branding. The head researcher may be nothing more than a glorified office manager. But they can still put their name first on articles essentially written by their students and work those students as hard as they want. The payoff for the student is that, hopefully, they can use their association with the lab and researcher to snag a good position down the road. I agree with Jessica and Middle Seaman that this generally keeps most of the money in more orthodox channels of research and with older, more established researchers.

    Nor am I particularly sanguine about the refereeing process for grants. Again you have to ask yourself who is doing the refereeing. It is generally by established types who know the field well enough that even if you stripped out all of the personal identifiers could still place which proposal went with which lab. And of course being established they are going to steer money to other established types because this is the research and people they are most familiar with, the most like themselves.

    1. propertius

      All valid points, but let’s also not forget that “grantsmanship” is a learned skill that improves with practice – a factor which gives experienced applicants an inherent advantage which has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of their research (or lack thereof).

    2. Roger Bigod

      I haven’t kept up with the gossip in a while, but I doubt that things have changed. The consensus is that the NIH review committees (who hand out most of the money) have integrity. But they are committees and they tend to favor the conventional. One workaround is that investigators take a small amount of the grant to pursue an off-the-wall idea that might be a breakthrough. That’s within the rules.

      The racket of people putting their names on other people’s work has been recognized. Many journals require a statement of who did what and print it with the paper. It’s not perfect, but it does make people stop and think.

  9. Hugh

    The NSA story is important because it goes to the heart of the construction of the surveillance state. The surveillance state is not really aimed at external threats, but against its own citizens. Face it despite all the propaganda and the War on Terror, there are really no significant threats from foreign states or actors that confront us. Sure, there are some nuisance threats but nothing that comes close to the existential one we faced during the Cold War. Nothing.

    So why else build an otherwise pointless surveillance state? Why target it at Americans? Quite simply “Total information awareness” is the totalitarian dream of total control by knowing everything about everyone. It is Big Brother on steroids. It is how our elites mean to protect themselves against us, us being the 99%.

    1. EH

      Heh, I’d like to see a spec of Poindexter’s TIA to mark how close we’ve gotten to implementing it.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I’ve been going over some of our posts 2005-2006 on this. Looks like — and I know this will surprise you — The Drone King consolidated and rationalized everything Bush did. And threw a ton more money at it. Obama voting to grant retroactive immunity to the telcos for their felonies in enabling Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance should have told — and should still tell — anybody who isn’t Kool-Aid addled exactly what Obama was and is. “They are who we thought they were.”

      Note that if NSA is indeed Hoovering up everything, that doesn’t mean the data’s any good or that they can relate it correctly. After all, similar “degrees of separation” visualization and analysis techniques were used in Iraw, and we all know how well that turned out. However, for the purposes of citizen compliance in peacetime, accuracy is not important in terms of the primary goal, which is getting everybody to keep their head down.

      1. primo piatti

        There could be a different primary goal — civil seizure, confiscation of property held by “dissidents”. The police state receives badly needed funding, through auction of confiscated belongings for pennies on the dollar to the usual financial parasites. No doubt to be securitized (bullish, that!).

        1. lambert strether

          Securitized property seizures! Now there’s a set of incentives that really sits up and works…

          * * *

          Rather like that CCA contract I saw the other day where the state has a contractual obligation to keep the prisons 90% full. One bloody hand smears the other, you might say.

      2. citizendave

        Note that if NSA is indeed Hoovering up everything, that doesn’t mean the data’s any good… – LS

        Their problem is three-fold. First, they want to be able to intercept everything. Second, they want to be able to store everything they intercept. Third, they want to be able to analyze everything they’ve stored.

        They don’t want any holes in the net. If you can’t catch a message, you can’t do anything with it. Fiber optic cables are tricky to tap. There’s an old joke about the spooks having a special place in their hearts for backhoe operators. Every time a fiber bundle is severed during some construction activity, it provides an opportunity for the spooks to insert their taps during the repair work. The goal must be to always strive for universal intercept.

        Collection, storage, and retrieval poses a huge challenge. Imagine all the communications data that flows around the world these days. If you could intercept all of it, could you manage to store even five seconds of it? Not likely. But logically the goal must be to develop ever-greater storage and retrieval capabilities.

        Decryption and analysis of what is collected must be a huge challenge as well. You can imagine they look for patterns and signs of intelligence in the spread spectrum background noise of the universe, not to mention randy conversations between a grunt deployed in Iraq and his wife back home.

        James Bamford’s “Body of Secrets” is an excellent source of information on NSA.

        Public policy has not yet caught up with NSA’s mission. Rational public policy would probably allow something like TIA — universal intercept and collection. However, actually looking at the data should be handled very carefully. The law that says NSA should not do domestic spying could be interpreted to refer to analysis. Don’t try to analyze everything you Hoover up. Our privacy rights (if we have any left) would be maintained. But if law enforcement or the intelligence community develops a suspect, the pieces would be in place to be able to gather and analyze communications intelligence.

      3. proximity1

        RE: (L. Strether’s):

        “Note that if NSA is indeed Hoovering up everything, that doesn’t mean the data’s any good or that they can relate it correctly. After all, similar “degrees of separation” visualization and analysis techniques were used in Ira(n)(q)(?), and we all know how well that turned out.”

        ———-

        You’re comparing very different things. The surveillance programs targeting U.S. citizens–at home and abroad–could be extremely effective even as the same people and techniques do a much poorer job keeping tabs on others. I think it’s very naive to suppose that because the Rights-and-Privacy-Violating Agencies did or do a bad job in some cases concerning foreigners that they are therefore fairly uniformly incompetent when it comes to tracking Americans.

        With Americans’ “gadget-mania,” they are among the world’s most constantly trackable people; they’re also wildly complacent about their personal privacy and absurdly ignorant of the means available to authorities to track them–in addition to being often resigned and fatalistic about the usefulness of taking care to protect their privacy. It’s a cocktail made to order for a snooping apparatus which runs virtually unopposed, unchecked and unhinged.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Fair enough on “the world’s most trackable people.” But that’s data, and not relationships. The “degrees of separation” problems are graph problems, and graph problems are hard, before we get to the semantics of knowing what subjects of interest are really talking about (“skim milk in his diet”). The Wired article talks of some massive breakthrough; maybe that was a solution to a graph problem previously thought to be NP-complete. Who knows? And it would make sense, from some perspectives, to throw a ton of money at a new data center, because back in 2005-2006 the NSA’s demands for power were causing brownouts in Baltimore (really).

          That said, the national security state is really about rental extraction on an almost cosmic scale, and not necessarily about, like, actually delivering any goods in terms of military or intelligence capability. If Iraq was a victory, I somehow missed the parades, and if the situation in Afghanistan is full of win, I didn’t get the memo. Is there any reason to think the intelligence “community” is any better? (After all, I’d bet for less money, the spooks could put an informer in every bowling team in America, like the East Germans did. Wouldn’t that be more effective than Son of HAL in the Utah Desert? Modulo the personnel issue. It’s always so much easier to manage professionals like cryptographers and bent programmers.) I go back to TSA as a precedent (thanks, Joe Lieberman! [waves]*). Everybody knows TSA is security theatre, that it doesn’t “work,” that it’s a complete and utter boondoggle. But it does work. It extracts enormous rents and directs them to the right people. And it trains the peasants in compliance, which creates so many pleasant opportunities for extraction. It’s just like the mortgage mess. It doesn’t really matter whether the people who foreclosed on own their homes or fell behind in their payments or whatever. What matters is that a set of financial projections, in the aggregate, are met. Similarly, it won’t really matter whether the people who get sucked up into this system are “terrorist threats” or not; what will matter is whether enough of them are sucked up to create compliance in the population at large. [Adding... After all, everybody's guilty of something!] This will be especially important when NSA information is integrated into the debt collection process. Hey, kidding!

          NOTE * Lieberman as Gore’s VP should make really make people think twice about the excellence of a Gore administration, but for some reason it doesn’t.

    3. Up the Ante

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

      Reminds me of S.A.G.E. and its prodigious power requirements rendered unnecessary by the invention of the modem,

      http://www.factbites.com/topics/Semi-Automatic-Ground-Environment

      When the Joint Surveillance System (JSS) is so easily defeated, as on 9/11, perhaps the enemy is ‘within’, your own ranks, that is? A typical fascist terato-response is to place the blame upon the people.

      http://www.radomes.org/museum/documents/JSS.html

    4. primo piatti

      The United States has become a colony of a trans-national “enterprise”. This group is stateless. Nations are simply herds that they farm. The pre-Egyptians began as herders, domesticating the wild auroch by learning how to gain their confidence and then castrate the most ferocious. We are now as livestock, meat on the hoof to our unseen controllers. Yves often mentions the “veal pen”. We are there.

      So, Hugh, I disagree — there are significant threats from “foreign actors”. They are in our midst and farming us. We all know who fits that description. Teh problem is that our government is complicit.

    5. turnkey

      Everything depends on whether the transparent democratic element of the government can maintain control over the secretive part. Not only do I doubt this is possible in the future, I think it is not possible in the present. Therefore, what the NSA is accomplishing is a totally new system of governance that will wear the system of democratic transparency like a mask, in the same way some parliamentary systems wear monarchic power to claim legitimacy.

  10. Up the Ante

    Speaking of bad jokes,

    “Rakoff’s analysis of the SEC’s policy of entering settlements without insisting on admissions of liability, the court said, didn’t offer sufficient deference to the SEC. ”

    “Deference” ?

    The super-FAIL SEC deserves deference ?

    http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2012/03_-_March/In_powerful_Citi_ruling,_2nd_Circuit_stresses_deference_to_SEC/

    Lincoln-like promotion of “rubber stamping” of fraudulent business models.

  11. hermanas

    1,Ned Ludd at 12:42.
    2.Brent at 3:01.
    3.Hugh at 1:31.
    As the Beatles said,”1 and 1 and 1 is three. Got to be good looking ’cause you’re so hard to see.”

  12. Thomas Barton, JD

    RE the NSA Utah Data Center, it is more government folly and fraud talking about green energy and doing diddly squat about making strides forward. In 10 years that gargantuan electric bill could have easily paid for a 50-100 megawatt solar facility. Peak demand and off hour could have been met with current energy storage technology. It could have been a real boon to see the DOE design a forward-looking solar based alternative for that gargantuan embodiment of Big Brother in the yottabyte age. My own modest proposal for the expansion of terminology in the supra-yottabyte age is a real salute to the Seinfeld Yada yada yada episode: 10 to the 27 th is a yadabyte, 10 to the 30th is a yadayadabyte and 10 to the 33rd is a YadaYadaYadabyte. Remember that the NSA is our helpful all-seeing Eye in the Digital Sky, yada, yada, yada.

  13. :(

    from romney’s ‘no secret deal’

    “No, there have not. Ron Paul is a very independent sort as you know. We have only seen each other briefly in halls; we have never had a sit-down discussion,” Romney said on Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends.”

    from nyt feb16.

    The candidates’ spouses, Ann Romney and Carol Paul, “know each other better than any of the other wives,” Mr. Paul said. He and Mr. Romney talk “all the time” and “we’ve met all their kids.” Once he telephoned Mr. Romney just as Mr. Romney was calling him. “Sometimes I’m never sure who issued a call,” he said.

    poor guy, his pal won’t even admit to talking to him :(

  14. catharsis

    Hear, hear for Lambert’s whirling, twirling, Warner Brothers cartoon Tasmanian Devil fed-upness with shit-eating Dem casuistry. Having recently had to tell four people running for office that I can’t sign up to support their candidacy because I’m no longer registered to vote, it’s interesting to see the gears grinding when I explain why I’m not registered. These candidates are idealists. They’re clearly hearing something they never thought about before, and they’re struggling to grasp it with none of the glib salesmanship or reflexive aggression of the party hack. But there’s a deeply-ingrained mental block. People can’t get their head around the idea that a free and functioning civil society is a prerequisite for genuine electoral politics. That there’s no point choosing until the choices reflect the will of the electors and not the centralized control of the state.

    We want to think it all comes down to voting – as if rigged forced-choice votes in a predator state will help. It took years of organizing before Bolivians could vote for what they want. It will take years here, too – years of state intimidation and repression – before my vote is worth casting again. We have more important things to do.

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