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Links 3/31/12

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Diagrammatic excitement Language Log (hat tip Lambert). I diagrammed sentences every day in 7th grade English class. I’m still not clear what the point was.

This Creepy App Isn’t Just Stalking Women Without Their Knowledge, It’s A Wake-Up Call About Facebook Privacy [Update] Culture of Mac (hat tip Lambert). Confirms all my prejudices about social media. Why make all this info public?

FDA ‘Wrong’ Not To Ban BPA, Health Advocates Say Huffington Post (hat tip reader Francois T). So how do I avoid this stuff?

Self-healing plastic mimics skin Independent. Lambert: Finally, an explanation for Mitt Romney!

Economist Debate: Airport Security (hat tip reader ScottS)

Wait, Did CNN Just Lose HALF Of Its Viewers? Business Insider (hat tip reader Jim3981)

Affidavit: Kentucky man said he dug grave while co-defendant executed victims McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Two teachers caught taunting disabled boy, 10, as ‘gross’ and ‘disgusting’ after his mother bugged his wheelchair with recording device Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

America: The Two Empires Archdruid Report (hat tip Lambert)

Summers’ Colleague Criticizes Kim Bob Kuttner, American Prospect

Europe warned crisis not over yet Financial Times

Obama Plans Overhaul of Student-Loan Debt Collector Practices Bloomberg

Obama Campus Fervor Losing to Apathy as Students Sour on 2012 Bloomberg. Lambert: I knew this from my tenants two years ago.

How Does a ‘Common Citizen’ Know If They Can Be Target of NDAA? Kevin Gosztola Firedoglake (hat tip Lambert)

More Killings Called Self-Defense Wall Street Journal

Cancer v. the Constitution Dr. Jen Gunter (hat tip reader Carol B). Debunking the myth of emergency room as insurance for the poor.

A Health Law at Risk Gives Insurers Pause New York Times

All Parties Ignore the One Way to Reduce Health Care Costs: Single-Payer Truthout

Q&A: The Attorney’s Bizarre and Entertaining Motion Against BP Bloomberg (hat tip Lambert)

General Motors pulls funding from climate sceptic thinktank Heartland Guardian (hat tip reader John L)

Security breach hits U.S. card processors, banks Reuters

Krugman on (or maybe off) Keen Steve Keen (hat tip reader F. Beard)

Banking Mysticism, Continued Paul Krugman. OMG, Krugman puts foot in mouth and chews (reader John N’s e-mail header on same” “This howler just posted at Krugman’s site”). And his third comment points him to the important Borio/Disyatat paper which he has either not read or not assimilated.

Tax Rebates Lead to Bankruptcy Filings Bob Lawless, Credit Slips

Goldman Should Stop Saying Clients Come First, Levitt Says Bloomberg

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Carol B). OMG, the hippo is the size of a housecat! More details here.

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77 comments

  1. Doctor Brian Oblivion

    I had no idea that a young river horse would be so … cute. In an age of austerity the value of a good picture … is in need of recalculation.

    Yet another reason why Naked Capitalism remains at the top of my list. Pamphleteering in the classic tradition and always an something to catch the eye along with the current day’s entropy.

    There’s really nothing else like it.

    1. Richard Kline

      So dearieme, my exact reaction as well, and in the same sequence. That hippo thinks it’s got a nipple, but it’s vision will soon functionally improve it’s aim.

    2. Diogenes

      That hippo is so cute! I’m sure it would be a practical pet to have here in Los Angeles.

      That Romney-plastic skin reference is too funny.

      1. Cute Hippo Fan

        “That Romney-plastic skin reference is too funny.”

        Agreed. But then I remembered an Arsenio Hall monologue raging about how come there are no black band-aids?

      2. Fíréan

        Hippopotamus in their natural enviroment is much more appealing to some of us.( and maybe to the hippos too)

        1. Human Bean

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_hippopotamus

          “A rare nocturnal forest creature, the pygmy hippopotamus is a difficult animal to study in the wild. Pygmy hippos were unknown outside of West Africa until the 19th century. Introduced to zoos in the early 20th century, they breed well in captivity and the vast majority of research is derived from zoo specimens. The survival of the species in captivity is more assured than in the wild, the World Conservation Union estimates that there are fewer than 3,000 pygmy hippos remaining in the wild.[1] Pygmy hippos are primarily threatened by loss of habitat, as forests are logged and convertedr to farm land, and are also vulnerable to poaching, hunting, natural predators and war.”

          1. Fíréan

            ” The greatest threat to the remaining pygmy hippopotamus population in the wild is loss of habitat. The forests in which pygmy hippos live have been subject to logging, settling and conversion to agriculture, with little efforts made to make logging sustainable. As forests shrink, the populations become more fragmented, leading to less genetic diversity in the potential mating pool”

            An environment where both logging were to be sustainable and cohabitaton with the hippo, and hence the species able to survive, is still more appealing than that which eliminates the hippo and requires the hippo only able to exist in captivation.

  2. Richard Kline

    “Obama Plans Overhaul of Student Loan—” Oh please. B. Obummer made explicit promises to substantially reform student lending during the 2008 campaign; unequivocal, pretty good plan. Some Congresscritters even got the twitiching carcass of that plan up for a vote. Obummer not only didn’t help, he shot it down. Now he wants to ‘fix debt collection,’ doubtless to help the collectors come the actual proposal in 2013. . . . Anyone who believes a single, everlovin’ thing Obama says in this election cycle is an incorrigible fool.

    “Obama Campus Fervor Losing to Apathy,” well it shouldn’t: those students and grads should be flaming mad and out in the streets. They were lied to, exploited, robbed, jobbed, and billed for it; being angry in varying shades is the appropriate emotional response; depression is a psychological compensation, and self-injurious. But I kinda understand. The first time when your a youngster and the really cool kid who everybody wants to be like says, “Let me have your wallet and I’ll go to the store and buy us something nice,” . . . and doesn’t come back, you feel kinda, well, _stupid_ and like a loser. Which is exactly how the son-of-a-cesspool wants you to feel supposing he cares in the slightest. So yeah, apathy is the pretended response to hide mortification at having begged to be taken in and, yup, taken in.

    “Cancer vs. the Constitution,” actually sending ‘em to the ER isn’t the health care platform of the Repugnicant Party with regards to the poor and unemployed nowadays. It’s, set them adrift on floating islands of garbage with a couple of bibles and the advice to get right with god before the stuff’s adhesion let’s go. “Doing God’s Work,” if I’m reading their lips right in those 24/7 scrolling adverts.

    “Security Breach Hits US Credit Card Processor, Banks,” two weeks since, the world ceased to acknowledge the existence of my primary credit card. My bank can’t/didn’t explain it, and there is no monetary or credit reason. My number just is treated like it doesn’t exist. Hmmm; _I’ll_ be interested to learn the details of this one . . . Maybe I already know to much . . . .

    [Glad to see the NC site hack of the last few days sent packing. Yves, m'friend, yah musta hit Somebody's nerve.]

    1. Doctor Brian Oblivion

      Didn’t student debt hit a milestone recently? A cool $1 trillion in debt (and rising) to prepare the next generation for the hot careers in the race to the bottom. Another investment opportunity and orgy for speculators. Hoorah!

      1. Richard Kline

        Student debt: another capitalist plot! I had a long diatribe regarding my reading of the treacherous eruption of student debt some two weeks ago in the comments to one of Philip Pilkington’s posts here if you’re interested and want to archive-search it.

        Regarding Obummer and the “I’ll fix those debt collectors problems” ‘promise,’ let’s be clear folks: Obama isn’t trying to con the public with these statements. No really: he and his handlers know that we know they all lied. And that most of us aren’t about to forget that. But these statements have another function: they are subliminally active co-empathy plant repetitions.

        What did I just say, and what did I mean by it? The function of that article isn’t to ‘convince’ us President Beau Con really means something, anymore than the numerous statements about, ‘fixing mortgage errors,’ or ‘withdrawing from [hegemonic victim X],’ or the rest. The function is to have _the idea of doing so LINKED TO OBAMA’S NAME_ appear again and again in some news cycle headline or lead-in. “The President said to day he really cares about [cherry-sucker unwrapping], here’s more . . . .” We know he’s lying. He knows he’s lying. But what will remain as a memory trace for the public is ‘Obama cares about X.’ Having our ridiculously corrupt/enabling mass media repeat a substance-less screengrap of a ‘newsy story’ produces a memory of Obama’s interest that is hard to fight without a conscious will. So what is remembered is that ‘he cares’ because we keep hearing that.

        By contrast, we keep hearing from the very lips of all the little Repugnicants that “They don’t care about all of that liberal crap except to flush all it’s stupid poopers down the bowl of the justice system,” and so on. The Repugnicant’s flatly tell us that THEY DON’T CARE. Their 20% of the electorate wants to hear that again and again; “Tell them how WRONG they all are, oboy, I love hearin’ that.” But what most of us are left with as a trace on memory is ‘Obama cares’ ve. ‘that Repugnicant’ doesn’t care.’

        That is the goal of these statements; not that we believe, but that we believe he’s closer to our emotions than ‘they’ are. Because in this election, that will be enough. So this kind of soulless political electioneering crap isn’t strictly a cynical ‘they’re stupid enough to fall for it again,’ kind of thing (though there’s plenty that will bite the poisoned cheese even so). The point is to shape a sympathetic image against and unsympathetic one in a highly calculated political media strategy.

        Folks, we should all write in for Mike Check in November, and I know I’m going to. The Libertarian Party guy would draw his automatic 1.5% and be the next one sworn in (as those folks have no sense of humor and an exaggerated sense of destiny). That would be a riot, whether any of us laughed or not . . . .

        1. ohmyheck

          (round of applause from this side of the screen)

          PS-which “hack” are you talking about, Richard? There have been a few…

        2. gs_runsthiscountry

          “Folks, we should all write in for Mike Check in November, and I know I’m going to.”

          Richard I am with you on that. We all have a choice, and if we don’t like the candidates being served up on the ballot, we have a choice NOT to choose.

          I long for the day when an election will show a 15-20% write-in result. It would be a signal Americans have awaken from their zombie like state of voting. This would also be a signal to real and viable candidates it is ok run for election or finally ok to abandon party lines.

          Unfortunately, this shift may not happen anytime soon. The MSM and talk radios’ – relentless – mind programing might be a bit too much to overcome. [If I had a dollar for every political conversation with friends or family, or those overheard, that could be traced back to memes borne from talk radio...most uttered verbatim...YES, I would be retired.]

          1. Synopticist

            Yeah, go on, vote against Obama, cos he’s not progressive enough. Worked out really well in 2000.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Obama is a war criminal and a fascist.

            You might as well approach a child from Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, etc., and shoot him or her in the head. Supporting the Democrats is no different than supporting the Nazi party.

        3. optimader

          Are people that signed up for student loans unaware of what they signed up for ? I dont get it. Yeah, a fouryear university education is extraordinarily expense…soooo make sure you get a degree in a disipline that justifies the expense

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘Lambert: I knew this [student apathy toward Obama] from my tenants two years ago.’

      If you arrive to collect the rent and they’re screaming ‘KILL THE LANDLORD,’ it means the two-party paradigm is obsolete. Which has been obvious for some time …

      My college-age son summed it up two years ago: ‘Obama is a fraud.’

      1. lambert strether

        Yeah, I want to put an end to that set of relationships….

        * * *

        That’s pretty much what they said. Big hand-painted poster on the wall, so they were quite serious about it. I don’t know if the word “fraud” was used, but that was the general idea.

  3. Doctor Brian Oblivion

    Diagramming sentences in seventh grade? Either we went to the same school or the activity wasn’t merely a fetish indulged by my English teacher. I don’t recall if any rationale for the exercise was provided. Then of course nobody bothered to ask.

    A bit late now to ask sadly. If I could I also inquire if there was any explanation for how incredibly bland and distant history, American or otherwise, was when there’s every reason for it to be shocking and interesting or at least somehow inform the present.

    Considering how many people have lived and died in the world how is it that before Sept 11, 1973 changed everything, the day that neo-liberalism was introduced to the world for product testing, how was history reduced to a list elite heroes I guess.

    The significance of Wilsonian “idealism” and the Red Scare, the significance of Edward Bernays the father of modern commercial and political propaganda, the homogenization the public and its transformation from potentially disruptive citizens into insatiable yet passive consumers, the triumph of marketing over pacifism in time for the War to End All Wars. The twentieth century alone is staggering in terms of the loss of who they were what they had once struggled to achieve.

    At the end of history all that seems to remain is an empty shell. Looking back on it now, it seems like the current calls for austerity have come before. Isn’t this pattern of creative destruction familiar. After a period of unrestrained looting and plundering, and while still gorging on the spoils of acquisition the word goes out that the game is over.

    “Let them eat cake,” to quote one of history’s recent laugh lines.

    Something else happens involving pitchforks and rivers of blood. Presumably when the pitchforks came out in the past the pragmatic calls for austerity were rejected.

    I wonder what the answer will be to the technocrats this time. Serf’s up?

    On the one hand we have a group of folks who specialize in plunder who are to be respected and emulated. And on the other hand are the mass of useless eaters who are less interested in the hard work of smash and grab who just want to get through the day. It’s astonishing to me how much the public puts up with before resorting to guillotines. What a monumental waste!

    But then again I’m probably just trying to see patterns where none exist. Human beings are quite exceptional at that.

    This of course brings me back to the adorable little hippo…. :-)

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Good point re the teaching of history.

      All those things you mention should be included in the standard history. Bernays and the age of advertising and mass propaganda is really important, imo. As well as the start of secret government around WWII.

      In fact, as a student of history myself, I feel like I’m learning more than I have in a long time by researching conspiracies. The irony is that we would have a much firmer grasp of the real history if we seriously studied the things that are now classified as “conspiracy theories.”

      1. SR6719

        Thanks for the Jim Stone/Fukushima link you provided the other day. He raises a number of interesting questions, such as:

        Jim Stone: “Outside of the tsunami, the quake which supposedly hit Sendai with many times the power of the one in Kobe, did not destroy a single building there. Sendai was only 48 miles from the epicenter of this 9.0…..”

        And so forth…

        It’s almost becoming easier to believe in the myths attached to ancient societies than to believe anything that comes out of the Main Stream Media these days.

        As if immense energies are being deployed by the MSM to avoid confronting the public with anything that even resembles reality.

        Media information = total entropy

        And so you may be right that we’d learn more by studying
        the things that are now classified as “conspiracy theories”.

  4. vlade

    This Krugman/Keen spat is getting more amusing by the hour.
    Admitedly, the confusion is not helped by some posts/blogs which do imply that banks create money out of thin air – hint – they don’t, they still need to have positive nostro balance at their relevant CB at the end of day.

    CB’s do it for them though, via repo (make loan, flog it to your friendly CB as a security against cash, which of course gets deposited somewhere later on creating deposits and balancing the system). So you could claim that banks _initiate_ creation of money out of thin air, but that’s different. CB can – in principle – always tell them “sorry, no”.

    1. Richard Kline

      All true—for chartered banking institutions.

      Offshore dark pools, being significantly outside the gatekeeping of any particular CB, and do the same by ‘lending’ to each other, each treating the proceeds as security for further leveraging. In our bizarre, negative-curving financial space non-banks apparently CAN simply invent as much money as their counterparties will sign off on. That’s still a limiting mechanism, but one softer than a central banker’s indigestion I’m thinking.

      Unless you see that differently, vlade.

      1. Money Out Of The Stratosphere Guy

        CBs can lower required collateral quality, counter parties can lower required collateral quality, everyone can lie about collateral quality, CBs swap hardisk money electrons with each other when the oxygen gets thin in another country, rehypothication sounds cool – what’s that?, if all else fails do it illegally somewhere you can’t get caught, tell youself all is well – after all its the future income of the world and that’s a lot of money, if you are not sure about that – insure it…

        Hit a limit? Whoops – Been there done that.

        Agreed upon solution? Head for the Asteroid Belt and look for oxygen.

    2. skippy

      “positive nostro balance”… how many times can you swap spit until it mutates… horribly.

      Skippy… CB’s… one big STD clinic.

  5. Noni Mausa

    Hippo update — the baby is actually a Pygmy Hippo Choeropsis liberiensis, and once grown up she will weigh around 500 lbs. (Common hippos weigh around a ton.) They are rare, reclusive, aquatic and solitary, and some of them live in burrows (!) in riverbanks. “It is unknown if the pygmy hippos help create these dens, or how common it is to use them. Though a pygmy hippo has never been observed burrowing, other artiodactyls, such as warthogs, are burrowers.”

    Though cute, they’d be murder on the backyard.

    Noni

  6. PL

    RE: Creepy App
    What a wake up call. I am truly alarmed by the “Girls Around Me” app and even though an update to the article states it has been disabled by Foursquare, what’s to prevent a similar app from tracking people without their knowlege? Social media never seemed so predatory.

  7. walt

    “I diagrammed sentences every day in 7th grade English class. I’m still not clear what the point was.”

    You internalized it, and that was the point.

    Try not to be whiny.

    1. Bill C

      My major sentence diagramming came in the 8th grade, with a notoriously “lazy” teacher, who sat with his feet propped up on his desk as he gave us sentences to diagram and endless lists of verbs to conjugate completely ! (all tenses and moods — it struck terror into most students’ hearts).

      That’s where I learned forevermore the grammatical structure of English, and you’re right, it became internalized.

      It’s also where I became an English grammar Nazi! (I was already a spelling and pronunciation Nazi).

      None of those skills are particularly useful today, as the language becomes as debased as the currency; e.g. “recovery” = stagflation forever.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The government, being a language sovereign, can issue, print and promote any newspeak words it wants.

        If too many undesirable words should become a problem, the state can then tax (payable in jail time) those who use those undesirable words.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Why would you want language to be static?

        Evolution of language is natural. Might as well go with the flow and have fun!

        1. Maximilien

          I agree. I enjoy following the evolution of English, the computer-speak, the neologisms, the solecisms that become commonplace.

          I like “bling”. The word (not the stuff) that encapsulates so much in one simple syllable.

          I don’t mind the ungrammatical “flaunt the law”. So what if the majority start saying that instead of “flout the law”? That’s evolution of the language. I know, purists might say that that’s not evolution but devolution, but the fact remains that words and phrases (even so-called barbarisms) become accepted when they are commonly used. There’s no stopping it so no use crying about it.

          I don’t like the patchwork of English spellings and pronunciations. It’s completely irrational. That’s where, IMO, language purists should focus their attention. It’s a miracle anyone (let alone an ESL-er) learns to spell or read correctly. One particularly awful example:

          Dough…bough…tough…slough…thought. “Ough”, pronounced five different ways! Now that’s a mess in need of fixing.

      3. Procopius

        Hee hee! I had to give up being a pronunciation Nazi. I lived in too many places and met too many people from other places. It really helps to get over it if you live in a foreign country which has extreme differences in the local dialects (I live in Thailand now), or study a language that varies widely in different countries (I studied the Moroccan variety of Arabic in the Army not very many vowels).

    2. Walter Wit Man

      But we learn the structure and “rules” of language naturally, without having to tediously chart out a formal structure.

      I was a whole language child–I learned almost solely by reading. I hated diagramming and resisted doing it.

      It may have been helpful to have access to the formal rules . . . but Jr. High is too early. Hell, they are probably better off just writing as much as they can and trying to teach them by trial and error. And maybe at that age simply reading is better than writing or diagraming.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      1. I don’t see what is wrong with objecting to what seems to have been a long form makework exercise. I don’t believe in wasting people’s time. Do you?

      2 . I don’t think I internalized anything. I was very good at diagramming sentences and didn’t score as well on the grammar parts of those pre-college tests (forget which ones had it in them) as on just about anything else, which is where you’d expect any internalization to show up.

      1. ginnie nyc

        Diagramming sentences teaches grammar and parts of speech; it provides a template for learning the grammar of a second or third language. It also undergirds the formal study of logic, followed by computer language/programming.

      2. Anonymous Jones

        I mean, really?

        Is it that difficult to believe that other people learn in a different manner than you do? At some point, I literally cannot believe what I hear from the smartest people I know.

        The manner in which others learn is outside the limits of your knowledge. Just let it go. It’ll be ok. It really will.

  8. apathyapathy

    Interesting Bloomberg article, apathy apathy apathy, apathy. Apathy! Apathy apathy apathy? They’re trying very hard to make sure you don’t ask, What if it’s not apathy? What if people have decided to stop wasting their time? Could it be that kids today have lost interest in collusive duopoly parties that shut you up and tell you what you want? Maybe, instead of spending months choosing between two flavors of shit sandwich, people want to decide for themselves what they want.

    Not a word about Occupy. Yet Dems are blanketing Occupy and trying desperately to drive it down the party cattle chutes. The occupiers are thinking for themselves, deciding what they want. They’re associating freely, in accordance with their rights, and they don’t have a hierarchy subject to parastatal control. Their concept of civil society is not restricted to electoral politics.

    Last time the Dems got their asses kicked, the word for lost legitimacy was nihilism – with the same perseveration, you could see the spike on google. One of the tricks that the party hacks play is equating democracy with voting. But CPPR Article 25(b), supreme law of the land, requires states to guarantee the free expression of the will of the electors. Elections like America’s that fail to meet that standard have nothing to do with democracy.

    1. dSquib

      Didion has the answer:

      “Perhaps the most persistent of the fables from which the political process proceeds has to do with the “choice” it affords the nation’s citizens, who are seen to remain unappreciative. On the Saturday morning before the November 2000 presidential election, The Washington Post ran on its front page a piece by Richard Morin and Claudia Deane headlined “As Turnout Falls, Apathy Emerges as Driving Force.”

      [...] Accompanying the main story were graphs, purporting to show why Americans did not vote, and the Post’s analysis of its own graphs was this: “Apathy is the single biggest reason why an estimated 100 million Americans will not vote on Tuesday.”

      The graphs themselves, however, told a somewhat more complicated story: only thirty-five percent of nonvoters, or about seventeen percent of all adult Americans, fell into the “apathetic” category, which . . . included those who “have no sense of civic duty,” “aren’t interested in politics,” and “have no commitment in keeping up with public affairs.” Another fourteen percent of nonvoters were classified as “disconnected,” a group including both those “who can’t get to the polls because of advanced age or disability” and those “who recently changed addresses and are not yet registered”–in other words, people functionally unable to vote. The remaining fifty-one percent of these nonvoters, meaning roughly a quarter of all adult Americans, were classified as either “alienated” (“the angry men and women of U.S. politics . . . so disgusted with politicians and the political process that they’ve opted out”) or “disenchanted” (these nonvoters aren’t so much repelled by politics as they are by the way politics is practiced”), in either case, pretty much the polar opposite of “apathetic.” According to the graphs, more than seventy percent of all nonvoters were in fact registered, a figure that cast some ambiguity on the degree of “apathy” even among the thirty-five percent categorized as “apathetic.”"

      Whether one believes in voting (under the current regime) or not, those who castigate non-voters need to understand this. Non-voters are often characterised as “lazy”, for voting is very easy and convenient. Sometimes it’s actually not, but for those people for whom voting is indeed easy, critics of non-voters should see the answer in their very criticisms. Voting IS easy, and yet some people don’t do it. Very few people are THAT lazy that they won’t go down to their local firehouse to do something they think important. But they don’t think voting is worth doing even that, and protestations to the contrary are unconvincing to them.

      You could argue the disillusioned could clear up some of this confusion by going to the polls and ticking None Of The Above, I suppose, but that might indicate a willingness to engage with the current system, if there were better candidates.

      1. dSquib

        Corollary to that is, ticking a box every 2 or 4 years doesn’t necessarily mean you actually give a shit.

      2. Glenn Condell

        ‘“Apathy is the single biggest reason why an estimated 100 million Americans will not vote on Tuesday.”’

        So, apathy is the reason for all that apathy, eh? Penetrating insight that. In breaking news, flooding caused by heavy rain.

        Journalism in a free country is about providing a transparent medium through which people below stairs can see what the upstairs are up to. As freedom recedes so does the view into the corridors of power. They almost have it bricked up now; once that’s done there won’t even be a need to explain away the apathy, because there won’t be any. Officially.

  9. BDBlue

    If you want to know the point of diagramming sentences, ask a 23-year-old what an indirect object is. It is depressing how many otherwise well-educated people won’t know.

  10. jest

    The Krugman article was amazing.

    After the first bit of it, I began to think “Oh! He’s finally starting to get it!”

    By the end, I was banging my head against the wall.

    Why is he even mentioning the constraints on currency when most people pay with plastic?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I had a post on Money Mystics just the other day. I haven’t read Krugman’s piece, as I can’t imagine myself doing that, but I hope he’s not making Money Mystics out to be something they are not.

      Let me know if he has something about no buying/selling of vegetables. Maybe I will read it then.

      1. jest

        Well, then you have no reason to read it.

        It will only make you dumber and/or raise your blood pressure.

    2. craazyman

      they don’t even take cash anymore

      yesterday I flew from Chicago to New York and my arms were exhausted. uahaha.

      OK, seriously, I tried to buy a beer on the plane AND THEY WOULDN’T TAKE CASH!!!!!

    3. craazyman

      they don’t even take cash anymore

      yesterday I flew from Chicago to New York and my arms were exhausted. uahaha.

      OK, seriously, I tried to buy a beer on the plane AND THEY WOULDN’T TAKE CASH!!!!!

      THEY COULDN’T EVEN TELL ME HOW MUCH THE BEER WOULD COST!!! She said they hadn’t taken cash for two years! I had to hand her my credit card and she swiped it and said 6 dollars.

      I said, OK. Then I said “Well, I guess you guys don’t take checks anymore” (even though it wasn’t very funny). We laughed anyway.

      First they killed subway tokens and now this.

      1. craazyman

        It gets even worse.

        If you go into stores these days, they don’t even have cashiers anymore. You have to check yourself out, by yourself.

        Fumbling around with your pile of shit and some stupid machine.

        Some young woman walking around with a badge on told me it takes cash, but I don’t believe it. I lost 20 bucks once in a subway metrocard machine. And I don’t want to fumble around pushing one button after another getting a headache.

        It’s obvious Dr. Krugman doesn’t do his own shopping or drink beers on airplanes. Or he’d know that currency isn’t something people hoard when interest rates are zero.

        Unless they want to do something illegal and need currency. Probably.

        Currency is supposed to be legal tender for all debts public and private. I guess I could have argued on the plane and made a scene, but I just wanted a beer. I guess eventually I’ll have to check myself out of the store with all my shit, or find somebody to work the machine for me while I wait. That seems kind of embarrasing. So my demand for currency will go down no matter what the interest rate is.

          1. Anonymous Jones

            This is the best comment I’ve seen in a while here. Not surprising it comes from craazyman. Indeed, don’t I wish Chris were still alive.

      2. Maximilien

        As a cash-only guy, I fought the credit-card battle for many years. I remember plunking down $500 deposits on rental cars and $100 deposits on hotel rooms because I didn’t have a credit card. Rental agencies and hotels won’t even accept deposits anymore. It’s the Visa-way or the highway. Sorry, bud.

        Needless to say, I lost the battle (about ten years ago). I am now a dutiful credit-card user. Because I’ve learned if you have a credit card you are treated like a WINNER. If you have $1000 in cash but no credit card, you can only be a ne’er-do-well, a reprobate, an up-to-no-gooder. In other words, a LOSER.

        And that’s the story of how one conscientious objector against the proliferation of credit was turned into an obedient hamster on the wheel of big finance.

        1. Jim Haygood

          For most daily transactions, you can still pay cash and screw a bankster out of a transaction fee. Complain about the inconvenience when you can’t, or patronize a different business.

          It is one form of social resistance, to punish their gross looting in 2008/9.

          Shun VISA, MC and AMEX, and their oligopolized, overpriced, usurious plastic.

  11. briansays

    of course he wants to “reform” student loans
    understand a principal beneficiary is the educational industrial complex primarily led by teacher’s unions a key part of his base and the entire democratic party not only for votes but campaign dollars

    besides those art and liberal arts degrees make you stand out from all the other applicants at starbucks

    1. Procopius

      I thought they “reformed” student loans in 2005 when they “reformed” the bankruptcy law, so that now if you are forced to declare bankruptcy instead of discharging all your debts (student loans can’t even be reduced) your creditors can demand that you pay them 30% of your income until your debts are paid — and if they decide to charge you a high interest rate that might be the rest of your life and then passed on to your children.

  12. Clair

    BPA “So how do I avoid this stuff?”

    Don’t drink out of plastic water bottles unless the label says “BPA free”…do you really need to drink bottled water?

    Don’t eat canned food unless it says “BPA free” on the
    label. Eden Foods are the only brand that I have found that does this so far…

    Eat organic of course.

    Don’t know why there is such mystery about why they don’t
    ban the stuff…the FDA is staffed by industry insiders that go through the revolving door-industry-government-industry-government etc.

    Here’s a long, long list:

    http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Revolving-Door.htm

    then the USDA as well:

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/usda_watch.cfm

    More importantly than one chemical is the entire range of genetically modified food and its effect on the human body.

    If you are in California make sure to sign the ballot initiative to force the labeling of genetic food in the state. Here’s a long list of nasties that GMO foods cause:

    http://www.nongmoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/GM-Crops-just-the-science.pdf

    1. Bill C

      Re: the industry-govt revolving door: The rationale for it is that the people working in those industries are the most knowledgeable about them, thus should be best at making their regulations:
      Akin to making Al Capone Attorney General — Holder.

    2. Mary

      Got infertility?

      http://www.responsibletechnology.org/

      Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies

      More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller

      Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly

      By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies

      Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity

      Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen

      Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced

      The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to
      cancer

      Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.

      http://www.responsibletechnology.org/

    3. Jackrabbit

      tobacco
      transfat
      pink slime
      BPO
      GMO
      pesticides
      petroleum-based dyes
      etc.

      Consumers are myopic. Every issue is considered on its own merits. When will people connect the dots and understand that “eat shit and die” is a feature, not a bug of the I-Got-Mine economic regime?

      1. Wendy

        As the story I am sure points out, BPA is also absorbEd through the skin so wash hands (scrub) after handling receipts and plastics.
        It’s really mind blowing how they nonchalantly release so much toxic shit on us.

  13. Hugh

    Krugman is mired in gold standard thinking. He assumes there must be some physical constraint on money supply. If it isn’t gold, then it must be currency.

    As for Keen’s point, neoclassicals simply ignore the real world relationship between debt and depression because debt is neutral (one man’s debt is another man’s saving) in their schema.

    So if Krugman is sounding decidedly goofy in all this, it is because he doesn’t understand fiat money and its implications and he ignores the importance of debt and its link to depression.

  14. gs_runsthiscountry

    Synopticist says:
    March 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    “Yeah, go on, vote against Obama, cos he’s not progressive enough.”

    I am not voting AGAINST anyone. Synopticist, the problem is there is no one to vote FOR, dig?

    So, “go on”, keep voting for what this two party system keeps serving up and “see how that works out.” Both parties are captured and two sides of the same coin. What don’t you understand about that?

    1. Procopius

      Where did I see the wise saying, “This country has a single political party with two conservative wings.”

  15. MacCruiskeen

    Re: emergency rooms for the poor: yes, many people think that emergency room care is free for the poor. It’s a standard meme of conservative rhetoric. There are laws on the books that say that an emergency room can’t turn you away if you have no insurance, but that doesn’t mean it’s free. It’s how a lot of people end up with medical bills they can’t pay. And, as in the story, it doesn’t mean they’ll get access to needed treatments.

  16. Francois T

    Couple of points about Health Law At Risk.

    Should the ACA (Obamacare) be repealed, insurers will be bankrupt before 2020. The actual model is clearly unsustainable. What a lot of folks do not seem to grasp is how fast the debacle shall be. The math is very simple: Median U.S. household income for the period 2006-2010 was around $51,914. The average health care insurance premiums for the same households will reach $20,000 within the next 5 years.

    Any questions?

    We could also witness a mandatory mega consolidation of the whole sector. But for that to happen, a bevy of laws regulating insurance companies will need to be revised in depth. Think Federal v States, First Blood Part XXXVIII. I’ll leave to the readers to imagine the battles (read: freak shows) in CONgress. If anyone think the whole Congressional saga leading to the adoption of Obamacare was bad…you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    *evil grin*

  17. low thyroid symptoms

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  18. Rex

    Yves Smith said -”So how do I avoid this stuff?”

    Yves, it’s almost impossible. What most people do not know is that at least 50% or more of all cans use a BPA liner in contact with the food. These dissolve over time. Ask a company as to whether they use the BPA liner and they’ll tell you they don’t track that stuff (hence cans may contain the liner only some of the time.)

    Take a key or knife and scrape the inside of a suspect can. You should see material scape off.

    Solution: only buy food from bottles and jars. Filter your home water.

  19. F. Beard

    The Great Crash posed one question for this country: who would bear the losses? Would it be the banks that caused the problems? The officers, directors and shareholders of those banks? Their careless counterparties? The investors who bought the fraudulent real estate mortgage-backed securities and the complex spin-offs? The owners of capital who threw money into hedge funds and other exotic investments expecting a geyser of money in return? from http://my.firedoglake.com/masaccio/2012/04/21/the-central-question-posed-by-the-great-crash/

    No one worth considering need take any nominal losses if the entire population was bailed out ala Steve Keen’s “A Modern Jubilee”. And no one worth considering need take any real losses if further credit creation was banned and the bailout metered to just replace existing credit as it is paid off.

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