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Links 7/2/12

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By lambert strether

Exit polls show Enrique Peña Nieto winning Mexico’s presidency LA Times

Vince Cable calls for criminal investigation into Barclays bankers Guardian (RG)

Barclays chairman poised to resign FT. Sure, but why isn’t he in a holding cell?

Skimmers Lord Eschaton

The Libor Scandal and the Price of Prosperity HBR Umair Haque. Needs a translator!

Financial Services Chair Bachus: “This Is How the System Is Supposed to Work” [Is This Man on Bath Salts?] Wall Street on Parade (SW)

Esma probes agencies’ views on banks FT. Ratings “agencies.”

Fighting over Claims Rajiv Sethi

Update: Recovery Measures Calculated Risk

The revolution will be organized Hugo Dixon Reuters

10 Reasons Countries Fall Apart Foreign Policy

FOIA request forces DoJ to reveal National Security Letter templates (CL)

US Coast Guard Creates ‘Protest-Free Zone’ in Alaska Oil Drilling Zone Common Dreams

America’s Jaw-Dropping Shale Gas Boom Is Starting To Slow Down Business Insider

Natural gas liquids EconBrowser

Brazil tribes occupy contentious dam site Al Jazeera

The Drone Blowback Fallacy Foreign Affairs. It’s the economy, stupid. Not drones.

New Study: “Stand Your Ground” Laws Lead to Increased Deaths Alternet (Aquifer)

Russians bemused as parking fines shoot up Reuters

Knowledge Capitalism and the “Academic Spring” Truth-Out

Your E-Book Is Reading You WSJ

Giving up control of education Felix Salmon Reuters

Can Science Be Crowd-Sourced?  HuffPo

Graphene Can Improve Desalination Efficiency by Several Orders of Magnitude, Can Do Pretty Much Anything Geekosystem

‘Paint-on’ batteries demonstrated BBC

Improving Efficiencies in Fuel, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries Science Daily

Camper Kart is a Tiny Home That Pops Out of a Shopping Cart (jsn). Austerian architecture!

Kill Your Desk Chair—and Start Standing Business Week. Readers, have any of you tried a standing desk?

Binding neighbors together with tiny free libraries McClatchy

* * *

D – 70 and counting*

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.–James Madison, Federalist #51,

This Week with George Stephanopoulos, as told to The Bobblespeak Translations: “STEPHANOPOULOS: thanks for coming Paul Ryan: enjoy your last July Fourth outside of barbed wire losers”

Occupy. Occupy Philly activist on #NatGat: “I think this could be a turning point for the movement. Refocusing the movement, prioritizing things. [It won't be about] a list of demands, but starting to work together on a national scale.” “Occupy Our Food Supply is bringing together the Occupy, sustainable farming, food justice, buy local, slow food, and environmental movements for a global day of action on February 27, 2012.”

AL. Weather: “We were down most of Saturday because of a power outage at the Amazon Cloud data center where Left in Alabama is actually hosted. This e-storm, which also took down Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram and others, in addition to the entire Soapblox network, was caused by an honest to gosh hurricane-like storm in VA.”

CO. Fracking: “The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan to allow drilling on the Roan Plateau in Colorado …. has been stopped by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger for failing to adequately address environmental impacts.” Extractive economy: “The water sale [to Anadarko Petroleum Corp] comes just a few months after Aurora agreed to sell potable water to Niagara Bottling Co., and amidst growing concerns among residents about the potential environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing.”

DC. Weather: “Racing along at speeds over 60 mph, the bowing line of thunderstorms formed west of Chicago around 11 a.m. and by midnight approached the Atlantic ocean. It left a massive trail of destruction… This kind of fast-moving, long-lived, large, and violent thunderstorm complex is known as a derecho.”

FL. Voter purge: “98.4% of the 2,625 people identified by the FL SOS as “potential noncitizens” remain on the rolls because the Supervisors of Elections found insufficient evidence that they were ineligible to be registered voters.” Privatization: “[T]he initial set of maps showed the [St. Johns water] district-owned flood plains around Lake Apopka as having relatively little conservation value, an astonishing conclusion given their importance in bringing the polluted lake back to life. … [This] is an agency whose staff has been under intense pressure to make nice with developers.” Corruption: “A spreadsheet the state released by mistake reveals FL has pledged nearly $155 million in tax breaks and other incentives since January 2011 in return for promises to create up to 32,570 jobs.”

IA. Starting today, Iowa has a new Public Information Board that is supposed to help enforce open records law. [The law] would keep draft or speculative documents confidential until they are brought before a governmental board for consideration and action. I anticipate many more government documents will be labeled “DRAFT” in the future”

LA. Laissez les bons temps rouler: “Profits reign so supreme now that if we have to choose between earning 50 cents and educating a student, or making 51 cents and telling the kid to go to hell, we’ll gladly give the kid directions.” Privatization, corruption: “At another private school, the Upperroom Bible Church Academy, just 24 percent of voucher students hit grade level this year. The school is housed in a windowless building on Lake Forest Boulevard in eastern New Orleans. Administrators did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment. It has 167 seats open for the fall, which, at the existing tuition rate, would bring the school close to $1 million in public money.”

MA. ACA rebate check under the Medical Loss Ratio rule (with picture of check) Election year! Campaign hagiography from The Glob: “Scott Brown is at the stove, preparing bacon and cheese omelets, tossing eggshells into the sink with scarcely a glance, each one a perfect shot.” That’s actually the first sentence in the lead. 

NC. Fracking: “[Gov Perdue vetoed the fracking bill because she] was not satisfied that drinking water, landowners, municipal and county governments and health and safety were protected in the bill. And she demanded that the General Assembly put such protections in the bill for her to sign it. So, unfortunately, Governor Perdue doesn’t totally oppose fracking.” 

NJ. Decaying infrastructure. “New Jersey American Water, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management has lifted the precautionary boil water advisory for 18 of the 22 municipalities in Monmouth County which had been under the advisory since a bridge holding three large water mains collapsed at the company’s Swimming River Water Treatment Plant last Friday.

MN. Snark watch: “SPEAKER JOHN BUGGER: Members of the House Flies of Representatives, we now enter debate on HF-456zzzzzzz, the Americans for Responsible Repeal of Bugocare Act. Majority Leader Skeeter, you have the floor. SKEETER: Mr. Speaker, there is but one reason we must abolish Bugocare and it has to do with fiscal responsibility and freedom. If all bugs have access to Bugocare those who most deserve the abandoned lollipop lying in the street will have to jostle with the simpletons whose mother didn’t have the good sense to lay the eggs near the lollipop to begin with. I yield the balance of my time and my position of Majority Leader to my son Skeeter Jr. as my life cycle is complete. (Skeeter dies; younger mosquito pries microphone from his still-twitching sixth leg.)” Teh awesome.

OH. Fracking: “Loved ones aren’t the only thing buried in the 122-year-old Lowellville Cemetery in eastern OH. Deep underground, locked in ancient shale formations, are lucrative quantities of natural gas. Whether to drill for that gas is causing soul-searching as cemeteries – including veterans’ final resting places in Colorado and Mississippi – join parks, playgrounds, churches and residential backyards among the ranks of places targeted in the nation’s shale drilling boom.” Chain gangs? “The state of Ohio will use prison inmates to pick up highway trash and save some of the $4 million spent each year on roadside cleanups.” Redistricting: “The initiative [for a proposed state constitutional amendment], proposed by Voters First Ohio, a coalition led by the League of Women Voters of Ohio, would create a nonpartisan Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission to draw General Assembly and congressional districts.” Both parties hate this idea.

PA. Water: “Unfortunately, [unlike the Susquehanna] there is no river basin commission in the Ohio River basin, which includes the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers and their tributaries, keeping tabs on water levels in those streams. … Without a robust monitoring system, DEP has scant, if any, capacity to determine if drillers are complying with their water use restrictions. To date, DEP has never ordered gas drillers operating in western Pennsylvania to suspend their water withdrawals.” Corruption: “Newly uncovered emails in the Jerry Sandusky case show that Penn State officials were on the verge of blowing the whistle on him — but changed their minds after talking to coach Joe Paterno.” It’s like a Mafia State, and not because of Paterno’s name. “Forget the monstrousness of that on its face, the very ordinary ‘bad headlines are on par with being raped as a teenager by your fucking coach’ and just think about us. That’s where this went wrong. That’s how it all went off the rails. ” Stuart Rothenberg: “[I]t looks as if Keystone Democrats have decided this isn’t the year to run against incumbent Republicans in PA.

SC. Corruption: “SC Gov. Haley tells ethics panel she never used office for personal gain.” Perhaps not, but never the sort of headline one likes to see.

TN. Tinpot tyrants: “The welfare legislation — which passed the Senate 24-9 and 73-17 in the House — requires new welfare applicants to undergo a special screening process. If suspicion is raised after the screening, then the applicant will be drug tested.” 

TX. ObamaCare: “TX could save itself a pile of money by enrolling prison inmates on Medicaid [under ObamaCare].

VA. Hoo d’etat: “As the crowd roars its approval, Sullivan and her supporters celebrate. Dragas stands a few feet behind the president, her lips frozen in a tight smile. After a few moments, the rector turns and vanishes back into the Rotunda.” A five page blow-by-blow that doesn’t reveal who backed Dragas. [sings kumbaya] “How the board conducts its business and the way its leaders were nearly able to topple a university president without a full vote are among the issues that continue to puzzle the U.Va. community.” [sings kumbaya]

WI. Voter fraud: “The Government Accountability Board is investigating recall petition signature fraud involving last year’s recall Senator Dave Hansen committee.”We founded a second [group to recall David Hansen (D)] because David VanderLeest was hording all the signatures, wouldn’t let anyone look at them or to verify them if they were real or not or keep count of what we had and it got really strange, so we broke off,” [Chad Fradette R] said in a phone conversation.” So, the voter fraud frothing and stamping was all R projection? Say it’s not so!

Media critique.Izvestia and the Shadid matter: “The night before Anthony left for the area, he spoke to Times editors over the phone in a conversation that included ‘screaming and slamming down the phone,’ his cousin related.” )Izvestia acted in a “totally rights-respecting manner,” of course (and see here).) “I feel like companies like Journatic are providing the public ‘pink slime’ journalism.” (The SELECT ALIAS button reminds me of robosigning.)

HCR. Chicago’s Lynn Sweet: “Obama’s new chore: Yes, the penalty for not buying health insurance starting in 2014 is a tax. Yes, the Obama team has explaining to do about how Obama, who taught constitutional law, could have been so certain in stating the penalty was not a tax — only to have his law saved because his government lawyer sold the tax defense to Roberts.” Reconcialiation: “If Republicans take the majority in the Senate in the 2012 elections, McConnell said, he would use budget reconciliation to overturn the law – a move that would not be subject to the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. ‘Reconciliation is available because the Supreme Court has now declared it a tax, McConnell said.” So, Robert gave McConnel a gift, didn’t he? Market state: “The case raised entirely new issues of power. Never before had Congress tried to force Americans to buy a private product; as a result, never before had the Court ruled Congress lacked that power. It was completely uncharted waters.” That’s the story: The market state. Not that Roberts flipped. Though it looks like he did: “After all, it was R leaders — strateg[er]ists — who were warning their colleagues this week not to gloat once the ruling was announced.”

Grand Bargain™-brand catfood watch. “Members of Congress from both parties are increasingly mulling the unthinkable: going home in December without acting to avoid the $4 trillion in tax hikes and deep spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.”

Outside baseball. Former head of IRS Exempt Organizations division: “ALEC has deliberately and repeatedly failed to comply with some of the most fundamental federal tax requirements applicable to public charities.” Sociopathic rulers: “Folks in Washington tell me there is a general sense of ‘foreclosure fatigue’ in our [sic] nation’s capital.”

Policy. Extractive economy: “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the new program opens up the vast majority of known offshore oil and gas resources for development. But he acknowledged that many resource-rich areas overlap with environmentally fragile ecosystems. ‘We are going to go ahead and proceed,’ Salazar said, noting that he was confident that companies will implement rigorous safety standards.

Horse race. Battleground states: “President Obama has been pulling ahead. The gaps aren’t huge, but taken together, the numbers strongly suggest that Democrats’ relentless attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital have been taking a toll.” Youth vote: “[T]he president may face a particular challenge among voters ages 18 to 24. In that group, his lead over Mitt Romney — 12 points — is about half of what it is among 25- to 29-year-olds.” Stuart Rothenberg: “A dispassionate assessment of individual districts in all 50 states suggests Rs remain solid favorites to retain control of the House in November’s elections.”

Greens. “Jill Stein is the first ever Green Party presidential candidate, and as of July 1st, the only 2012 progressive presidential candidate, to secure the necessary public support to qualify for federal matching funds.” (aquifer)

Ron Paul. On June 11, a lawsuit was filed by 119 Republican delegates to the Republican National Convention, alleging that all delegates should be allowed to vote for whomever they wish at the upcoming convention, and also complaining about various instances when the Republican National Committee showed bias in favor of Mitt Romney and against other candidates for the nomination. 

Romney. Adelson: Sheldon Adelson denies greenlighting a ‘prostitution strategy’ at his Macau casinos.” Not the sort of headline one wishes to see. “Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate has so far given more than $30m to Republican candidates and says he is willing to spend up to $100m to get rid of Mr Obama.” Murdoch tweets: “Met Romney last week. Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful.”

* 70 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with White Castle sliders on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. In 70 years, copyrighted material enters the public domain.

* * *

clouded sulphur female

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71 comments

  1. Rik

    “Kill your desk-chair – and start standing”

    When I was a temp worker at ING, I preferred to adjust both my desk and the chair to their highest settings. One particularly tall employee did stand, at least some time of the day, but he also had some sort of barstool. Workers who suffered from RSI could easily talk with, call it their manager, to get their desk and chair more ergonomically adjusted.

    Last but not least, I don’t like working while standing at a desk at all. Before long my back will hurt. You know, those pains that start low but slowly creep upwards.

      1. Greg

        Um, yikes, that was a horribly written comment. What I meant to say was having a barstool for intermittent breaks when you first start is a great idea. Maybe start out standing for half an hour and sitting for half an hour.

        For those who can’t or is not practical to go with a standing desk, it’s important to get up and move around once an hour. Maybe go get some water from the water cooler.

    1. Jeremy

      I’ve been using a standing desk for over a year. I can’t recommend it enough. The first 2 weeks were absolutely awful, and then one day my body just got used to it. I don’t have a barstool and I don’t wear any different shoes (although I have casual shoes and not heeled dress shoes).

    2. William

      If people want to try standing for long periods, you gotta put one foot up on something about 2 feet high. Takes the strain off the back.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder a few days ago if they can make cars where the drivers stand, instead of reclining.

    4. 12 trees

      I made a very simple standing desk several years ago, based on a Metro style cart with keyboard shelf added. The additional space below is very handy for computer peripherals. Essentially it is a mobile workstation. With a large monitor it often travels to a team meeting area for presentations. I use it with a drafting stool — like a well padded office chair but taller — that I bought at a thrift store for $25.

      Also in my workspace is a walking motion exercise machine. It too is on wheels. When I watch online videos I pull the standing desk and the walking exerciser into proximity and exercise while I tube out. The exerciser was a Craigslist find — the entire office furniture/video workout budget was under $100, with a few handy hours thrown in. The value is quite substantial — I would never go back to a normal desk and chair!

      1. dearieme

        I sometimes use a standing desk when I’ve got a lot of hard copy to read: I just put a lectern on top of a filing cabinet, and off I go.

  2. Ned Ludd

    In Chile, protesters stormed the president’s house, calling for debt forgiveness. A “group posing as tourists ran through two entrances of La Moneda presidential palace, where security alerts forced the doors closed.” The previous week, they had tried a more direct approach:

    Around one hundred people crowded the palace, and twelve were arrested for trying to enter the second floor windows.

    Also, last Thursday, there was the largest student protest of the year: 150,000 workers and protesters marched in the cold winter rain “to protest education costs and profiteering Thursday.” Tactically, the protests in Chile have been remarkable. Strategically, when they had schools occupied for months on end last year, I wonder why they didn’t simply reopen the schools under the democratic control of the students and teachers.

      1. Ned Ludd

        Also, #91 – Refusal of government money. Once a mass movement of people starts to build alternative social institutions and refuses government money (instead of asking for it), you know that revolution is at hand (or about to be crushed).

        I watched a bit of Ken Burns documentary on Lewis & Clark. While travelling up the Missouri River, the first group to meet the expedition with hostility were the Sioux, who had already had to move because of the European expansion into North America. In his journal, William Clark vowed to destroy the Sioux – by making them dependent on the U.S. government.

  3. MacCruiskeen

    Re: crowdsourced science: this sort of thing has been going on in astronomy for a long time. The AAVSO and the IAU Central Telegram office collect observations from amateurs, have been doing so for decades. There’s a lot of routine “sky survey” work–tracking comets, asteroids, spotting new nova–that professional astronomers basically don’t have time to do, but somebody needs to do. So amateurs do it.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Mac, Academic slave labor finessed: “Join us! ;-)” – cheaper than grad students in bondage.

      1. MacCruiskeen

        I guess, if you equate “volunteer” and “slave.” No one makes the amateur observers do anything, they just do it. They want to be part of the process of discovery. There isn’t any money in it. Is that bad?

        1. ohmyheck

          Naw, it’s not bad. Personally, I prefer “Volunteer” to “Amateur”. “Amateurs” implies being “less than” than the Academics, when, in fact, many “Amateurs” are as smart or smarter than the Academics, they just chose, or were excluded from, the Academic route, for various reasons.

          Go with Volunteer, you’ll get less blow-back.

          1. Moopheus

            No, amateur just means freedom from continual grant-seeking. And, I have to say, in my short brush with the world of astronomy, the professional astronomers I got to work with were among the smartest people I’ve ever met anywhere.

          2. ohmyheck

            That’s pretty much what I meant, Moopheus. I have no doubt that professional astronomers are some of the smartest people in the world. As well as professional physicists, chemical engineers and mathemeticians.

            Since I cannot comtemplate 1 zillionth of one percent of what their minds are capable of doing, I hold them in all due respect, esteem and honor.

            My point was that a few of those amateurs might be equally as smart.

      2. lambert strether

        No, they are actual volunteers who donate their time, who do it out of love for the subject (ama-teurs).

        I would guess there is a surprising amount of that sort of data collection going on: Train and plane spotting, birdwatching, meteorology, etc.

        Astronomy is also of interest as an example of Big Data.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More practically, I think crowdsourcing can be applied to these following:

      1. cooking – why leave it to a few star chefs or burger flippers? We should all do it…everyday.

      2. creativity – why leave it to a few star ‘artists?’ We are all artists when we bring creativity into our own lives. Write your own poems. Sing your own songs. At least they mean something to you personally. And you will discover yourselves while you do it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You are setting a very good example.

          We have to avoid food from a few centralized sources, which means among other things, avoiding packaged food from factories.

          1. greybeard

            We bailed out of city life a couple of years ago. Polite folks call us retired, realist call us long term unemployed. Anyway, we’ve been doing what I’ve always dreamed of, raising a large vegetable garden and preserving our produce. As we’re 8 miles out of a small town with no restaurant worth visiting, we do all of our cooking at home. I can’t believe how much I enjoy eating what I’ve grown and canned or frozen. Today we’re making sour kraut. I’ve never been a big kraut fan but I bet I enjoy every jar of this. Sometimes getting squeezed out of the system has it’s upsides.

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘First, as long as drones target legitimate terrorists, Yemenis grudgingly acknowledge their utility. And second, the more Yemenis perceive the United States as a serious partner, the less drones will pique their national pride.’ — Foreign Affairs, ‘The Drone Blowback Fallacy.’

    Here, let me teletransport back to 1968, put on mah Lyndon Barack Johnson cowboy hat, and rewrite this piece of Foreign Affairs agitprop:

    ‘First, as long as napalm campaigns target legitimate Viet Cong, the South Vietnamese grudgingly acknowledge their utility. And second, the more the South Vietnamese perceive the United States as a serious partner, the less napalm campaigns will pique their national pride.’

    Foreign Affairs — where aging fascist intellects go to die.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      To be fair (and why not, it’s a nice morning) to Foreign Affairs, the scale of our drone strikes in Yemen is nowhere near Vietnam, and there aren’t several hundred thousands troops invading the territory. So it’s reasonable to keep the hypothesis that economic factors are also in play. After all, economic factors causes a street vendor to immolate himself, igniting the Arab Spring.

  5. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re today’s LINK to “TN. Tinpot tyrants.” The Southern Strategy marches in lockstep. Word is out in the halls of “Georgia Department of Human Services” locally that the SS will come into your home to DRAW YOUR BLOOD, to make sure you are not “on drugs;” and that draconian measures await those on food stamps or other largesse who might have left unreported a few bucks earned baby-sitting. This is FIERCE retribution against “other” AMERICANS. Is this not the MEANS to a criminal END: Citizen Slave Traficking for Private Profit?

    Call it the Southern Strategy System: it’s a positive feedback loop for the handling of “moochers” from childhood through adult “work prisons/concentration camps” based on the Angola Plantation Penitentiary model, promulgating the dictum: “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

    Those worn-out White Breeders of Southern Evangelical Mass will “FINALLY” be able to get “the help” they need raising their brood via the Prison Mammy System. GOT IT? The descendants of slaves BACK to their “strategic positions” in the System before “those Yankee Jews” ruined Anglo-Confederate Culture.

    “The Souls of White Folk” – in: “DARKWATER: Voices From Within the Veil” by W.E.B. Du Bois, with Introduction by Manning Marable (Mineola, NY; Dover Publications, Inc., 1999; orig. 1920, Harcourt, Brace, and Company, New York);

    “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History” by Plinio Correa de Oliveira, with Foreword by Morton C. Blackwell (York, PA; Hamilton Press; Copyright 1993 by The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP): a registered name of The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc.);

    “THE BUSH AGENDA: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time” by Antonia Juhasz (New York, Regan Books/an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2006);

    “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein (New York, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, LLC; 2007);

    “HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State” by Goetz Aly, translated by Jefferson Chase (New York, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2007);

    “THE MIND OF THE MASTER CLASS: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview” by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese (Cambridge, New York; Cambridge University Press, 2005);

    “FRUITS OF MERCHANT CAPITAL: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism” by Fox-Genovese and Genovese (Oxford, New York; Oxford University Press, 1983);

    “ATLAS OF THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE” by David Eltis and David Richardson, with Foreword by David Brion Davis and Afterword b David W. Blight (New Haven and London, Copyright 2010 by Yale University Press; “Middle Passage” copyright 1962, 1966 by Robert Hayden; 2010).

    Full circle.

    1. emptyfull

      My Mississippi heritage may make me cringe a bit at some of the stereotypes you throw out there Leonova, but I do agree that power structures and political methods (the “habits of power”) are resilient accross centuries. The Southern political dynamic of white aristocrats ruling (benevolently, of course) over working class whites and impoverished blacks has been a crucial (if often unconcious) psychological ideal for social conservatives in America for a long time. Wealthy conservatives have long known how to use race and identity with “real Americanism” to keep the white working class supporting the economic policies they desire. The Republican party absolutely mastered this while embracing the Southern Strategy. And yes, I am sure there are some contemporary politicians who hope to make the white working class feel better about its increasing impoverishment by returning blacks (and Mexicuns!) to virtual slave labor.

      But I doubt that that will prove a winning ticket in the long-term future. First of all, the aristocratic elites really are not that socially-conservative anymore. Now that they’re realizing they can return the white middle-class to cheap exploitable labor, they’re increasingly happy to exploit and screw over anyone regardless of race, gender, or sexuality. Secondly, we did just elect a black man president (caveat, caveat, etc.). So I’m guessing that, if the coming crisis really changes things and exposes the aristocrat-peasant dynamic more, we will actually shift into a more class-based politics that will not be as racially polarizing (and may be both more national and international) — once the white working and middle classes fully internalize that they are no longer that special. Of course, racial polarization may well get uglier here in the short term too, but I’m actually much more worried about race and violent nationalism in Europe right now.

  6. Jim Haygood

    By the way, did you catch this little jewel in the Foreign Affairs article –

    The Central Intelligence Agency recently sought authority [and received it, according to the NYT] to conduct “signature strikes,” in which drone pilots engage targets based on behavioral profiles rather than on positive identifications.

    Got that? Our eyes in the sky monitor Yemen’s human anthill, and periodically firebomb a few worker ants who appear to be malfunctioning, without even knowing who they are.

    That’s justice, Hussein O’Bomber style!

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Voila! the burden of strategic profiling shall be lifted from Arizona sheriffs. This is the ultimate “transfer of liability” American-style.

    1. LucyLulu

      It grabbed my attention, Jim. And it sounded awfully scary to me.

      First they came for thee.
      Then they came for me.

    1. some assembly required

      Hmm… This 11:36am post shows up — but not the prior one. I hope the earlier one wasn’t lost!

  7. Guy Fawkes

    I love the idea of a little neighborhood library. I have way too many books and never know what to do with them….it seems they breed and reproduce overnight! I will have to ponder where I could erect a small hutch for this very purpose. Thanks!

  8. Guy Fawkes

    Interesting to read the article, “Why Nations Fail.” And you will see one reason over and over…..clear lack of property rights.

    One comment I make over and over on this blog is our lack of title integrity that has occurred in the U.S. in the last 15 years.

    Do you think there’s a correlation?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “clear lack of property rights” – i.e. brought by MERS and such?

      1. Guy Fawkes

        The one thing I’ve read over and over regarding what has defined the U.S. as a nation, is our land record integrity. This fact that a property owner can be assured of the ownership has produced huge wealth here.

        The land records in the last decade have been descimated by the banks. MERS and fraudulent documents are riddled in our land records now. And title companies are writing title with many excemptions to what they insure. Their single goal is to not pay out. So, they are being indemnified by the banks on reconveyances and are exempting what are issues when they write policies.

        We should all be quite alarmed with what is happening.

        I am working in my legislature to protect these records and restore the integrity to our property ownership. I suggest the rest of the states get on board.

        1. LucyLulu

          Originally, Jefferson wrote “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property”. It was changed to happiness in a later draft.
          Jefferson had an agrarian view of economics, believed that only land had real value. Gold, in his view, was a worthless piece of metal that had no use.

          While MERS has contributed to the problem, I find that many people think that all mortgages went through MERS or that MERS was the sole, or even primary culprit. That’s not true. There are plenty of loans that were securitized that either were not recorded in MERS or had relatively insignificant issues with MERS. For example, missing (lost and destroyed) or improperly endorsed promissory notes had nothing to do with the existence of MERS, as MERS only registered mortgages, not the notes. In addition, I’ve found that mortgages, other than at time of origination and foreclosure if applicable, are rarely recorded whether they are held by MERS or not, and securitized or not.

          Guy, are you in NC by any chance?

  9. LucyLulu

    Please forgive if this is repeat material.

    While the Yemeni may not be joining Al Qaeda due to drones, the rest of the world is not so sanguine about their use, or other human rights violations of the Obama campaign.

    “Just this week, a UN investigator called upon the Obama administration to justify its use of drones abroad and clarify its policy on extrajudicial assassinations.” ….snip

    “Likewise, the UN also announced it will be issuing a report concerning the federal government’s lack of response to local police abuses of Occupy protesters’ rights.”

    http://www.constitutioncampaign.org/blog/?p=8446#.T_HCA_UWIXs

    Jimmy Carter’s op-ed from last week’s NYTimes criticizing US human rights record:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/opinion/americas-shameful-human-rights-record.html

    The U.S. isn’t winning any friends.

  10. Valissa

    GlaxoSmithKline… Drug giant pleads guilty, fined $3B for drug marketing http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/drugs/story/2012-07-02/glaxosmithkline-pleads-guilty-3B-fine-illicit-promotion-prescription-drugs/55979616/1

    Prescription drug giant GlaxoSmithKline will plead guilty and pay $3 billion to resolve federal criminal and civil inquiries arising from the company’s illegal promotion of some of its products, its failure to report safety data and alleged false price reporting as part of the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history, the Justice Department announced Monday. The company agreed to plead guilty to three criminal counts, including two counts of introducing misbranded drugs — Paxil and Wellbutrin — and one count of failing to report safety data about the drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What do they do with that $3 billion?

      Refund that equally to all individual taxpayers to stimulate the economy?

      Bonuses for the regulators?

      Pay down our national debt?

    1. sean

      I sat through an interesting presentation on “Mysterious African ‘Fairy Circles’” and they were of the opinion that they are the tops of ant colony. The ants clear the vegatation and the anti fungal substance they produce keeps plant grow to a minimum even after the ant colony dies off. The plants around the edges grow faster due to the lack of competition.

  11. charles sereno

    Good Government at Work: For a long time, I’ve enjoyed a daily morning briefing with coffee or juice from –
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
    Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis provides a Daily Image Update, a brief analysis, and a contextual historical graph. Come early September, there will probably be headline news in the mainstream media about the Arctic Ocean. Like most people, I never learned my geography looking down from the perspective of the North Pole so it’s been interesting and exciting learning about all the Seas, Gulfs, and Straits I had only a vague notion about. This season, sea ice started out thinner than ever and melting won’t be inhibited by La Nina. So, it will be a horse race if (minimal) sea ice extent beats out the 2007 record.

  12. F. Beard

    re Graphene Can Improve Desalination Efficiency by Several Orders of Magnitude, Can Do Pretty Much Anything Geekosystem:

    Aren’t you carbon-a-phobes ashamed of yourselves now? :)

    Technology is busy solving our resource problems. Now all we have to do is survive our money system?

    Well, there is still the Israel-Iran problem so The End may be near yet.

    Oh well.

    1. different clue

      Carbon-o-phobes is a disleading bit of verbal acrobatics.

      Making carbon into graphene is the exact opposite of burning carbon and airfilling the CO2 gas into the common overhead skydump.

  13. LucyLulu

    On Knowledge Capitalism and the “Academic Spring”

    This is only one piece of the turnover of property funded with public money to the private sector to be redistributed for profit. The taxpayer thus is privileged to pay a second time for the same product. Small government, “private sector is more efficient” advocates seem to fail to recognize the investment that has been made by the public sector in academic, scientific, and other research in this country, whether at educational institutions, non-profit organizations, or government funded laboratories. Charging for access to publications of the results of this research will only result in duplication of effort and increased obstacles to progress. Its silly and unnecessary in this electronic age. The overhead is minimal, the maintenance of storage space.

    The whole idea of publishing documents to the web was to make them freely available to everyone worldwide at no cost. I know, I remember clearly the vision. I worked on early software (writing files to parse input, e.g. graphics) back in 1997-8 for a former professor of mine who was affiliated with a project with Cambridge to get classics published online.

  14. LucyLulu

    What Felix Salmon’s piece, and most every article, on the failure of public education fails to mention is the role of poverty in student learning and performance. Nations such as Finland and Switzerland have no poverty so to speak. Meanwhile, since thee 1970′s, the U.S. has seen the decline of its middle class and its poor and working poor class expand, correlating with the same timeframe that test scores have declined. If you remove the results of the students, for example, that are on the free lunch program from the national test results, U.S. students’ performance is quite competitive with any other nation in the world.

    I’ve spent time in today’s classrooms, in my role working in the mental health field with children. It’s not the teachers that are incompetent. The classrooms today are very different than the ones I recall, at least in the poor schools where I’ve been. The children behave very differently. They are far more challenging to handle and behavior problems often make finding the time for lesson plans difficult to carve out. Meanwhile, they’ve had their authority to handle problems stripped from them. One teacher, when I asked why she didn’t send a child out of the classroom when he swore at her, told me she wasn’t allowed.

    Adding insult to injury, they get demonized by taxpayers for being “bad” teachers and them having to support the teachers getting rich. Geez, since when does $36,000 or $46,000 make you rich (they’ll get a job as CEO of IBM during their 10 week summer off? more likely closer to minimum wage if they find any job at all)? God bless some of these teachers for going back every day. Why would anybody want to be a teacher right now?

  15. George Hartzman

    Wells Fargo has hired Henry “Hank” Sanchez, Jr. Esq., with Oyster consulting, to independently investigate George Hartzman’s Whistleblower filing

    http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2012/07/wells-fargo-has-hired-henry-hank.html

    Could it be possible, for a small city stock broker and CPA ethics teacher to be completely ignored by any and all paid for press since June 12, 2012, after whistle blowing about Wells Fargo, the largest bank by market capitalization in the United States of America?

    http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2012/06/could-it-be-possible-for-small-city.html

    George Hartzman to Steven Butz, Director – Investment Adviser & Broker Dealer Examinations, North Carolina Secretary of State Securities Division

    http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2012/06/george-hartzman-to-steven-butz-director.html

    From letters sent to Michael Mashburn, SEC and Daniel Stefek, FINRA, from Tasha W. Sheehy, Enforcement Attorney, State of North Carolina Secretary of State

    http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2012/06/from-copy-of-letter-sent-to-michael.html

    On David Massey, Securities Director for the state of North Carolina, currently the highest regulatory authority who has been in contact with George Hartzman on his Wells Fargo Whistleblower case

    http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2012/06/on-david-massey-deputy-securities.html

    1. LucyLulu

      Mr. Hartzman,

      As a fellow Greensboro resident, might I help you summarize your case? I believe that one problem is the unwillingness of most folks to wade though the papers to discern what has occurred. People are rushed these days and have short attention spans.

      If I understand correctly, you are a CPA who has been working as an investment advisor selling financial products for Wells Fargo. You discovered that when they print the projected returns on the Envision annuity product for clients, they calculate the return using the expected annual interest but do not include any administrative fees, which run 2.5-3%, significantly affecting the numbers. You have brought to the attention of your superiors to no avail. In addition, you are claiming a Sarbanes-Oxley violation because Wachovia/Wells Fargo did not disclose the secret loans they received from the Fed in 2008. You have documentation to support all of the preceding. (Or…. You have attached supporting documentation and correspondence related to the above matter.)

      I would like to humbly suggest that you make any necessary corrections to what I might have gotten wrong and submit something similar to the media if you’d like to get their attention. Equally brief and to the point. Nothing to leave them overwhelmed. If they’re interested, then you can send more along. Alternatively, put the above in a cover letter, and everything else as attachments. Then they know up front what they are looking at when they read the attachments. Otherwise, one hasn’t a clue until at least the third or fourth, and by then, you’ve lost them.

      I hope I haven’t offended or insulted you. I tend to regurgitate torrents of too much info to others myself, so I’m hardly one to cast any stones. It’s easier to see one’s shortcomings in others though, so this is good practice. :) Good luck!

  16. Hugh

    Talk about lack of self-awareness in the Foreign Policy article on failed states:

    ” These states collapse because they are ruled by what we call “extractive” economic institutions, which destroy incentives, discourage innovation, and sap the talent of their citizens by creating a tilted playing field and robbing them of opportunities. These institutions are not in place by mistake but on purpose. They’re there for the benefit of elites who gain much from the extraction — whether in the form of valuable minerals, forced labor, or protected monopolies — at the expense of society. Of course, such elites benefit from rigged political institutions too, wielding their power to tilt the system for their benefit.”

    So glad that nothing like that could happen here. This is one of the many reasons we need to get rid of our elites. This is not some Third World phenomenon. It is kleptocracy and it dominates all the world’s economies and governments. But such an acknowledgement would result in the elites pointing a finger at themselves. So instead they point it at places like Somalia, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone.

    1. Jessica

      I agree with you. On one level, the article is unintentionally funny. But on another level, it is a quite good summary of different ways that kleptocratic degeneration can manifest.
      Because the article is safe within its ideological blinders and seems to not have considered that some readers might apply its lessons to countries like the US too, the article is much more honest and open than if it realized that it was talking about first-world kleptocracies too.

  17. charles sereno

    Ask your Doctor about Palix, Wellbutrin, and Avandia. Oops.

    “Today’s multi-billion dollar settlement is unprecedented in both size and scope. It underscores the Administration’s firm commitment to protecting the American people and holding accountable those who commit health care fraud,” James M. Cole, deputy attorney general, said in a statement. “At every level, we are determined to stop practices that jeopardize patients’ health, harm taxpayers, and violate the public trust – and this historic action is a clear warning to any company that chooses to break the law.”

    Translation: Any law-breaking corporation (sorry, person) will be subject to a fine which may begin to approach a noticeable fraction of illicit profits. So there!

    1. LucyLulu

      GSK is no JPMorgan. If they had to pay out $3B, I’m pretty sure they’ve been feeling the pain.

      I didn’t realize Obama was holding bigPharma accountable. The stuff they talked about in the article and these cases were brought under the Bush administration. Bush is the one who prosecuted companies for marketing drugs for unapproved uses and banning gifts to prescribers. We can’t even get pens and notepads anymore. We had it good. The reps would bring us fabulous lunches and stuff when they came. Those were the days. (I am a nurse.)

      Seriously though, there is another not so shady side to the story. The reality is that drugs are commonly used for non-approved uses. Why are they non-approved? Because approval for each use requires further testing and time and money. The drug companies know the docs will prescribe them anyways so why bother? The drug reps were an informal source of information for many docs on the latest uses and news of the industry. Sometimes the news turned out to be unreliable, e.g. neurontin, who was sued for marketing unapproved use for bipolar disorder, among other uses, was ultimately found to be ineffective for that disorder (but worked for others). But docs knew it was still experimental, or should have, and that they shouldn’t rely solely on a lay pharma sales rep for medical info.

      So, what has changed? Pharm reps no longer talk to docs about unapproved uses. The doctors still prescribe the drugs for them though, which many patients are grateful for. The blatant bribing has stopped, e.g. all expense paid 7 day vacations to Tahiti with guest, with 8 hr seminar on company’s products required, rest of time to self. Life is rough for doctors these days.

      1. charles sereno

        “Today brings to resolution difficult, long-standing matters for GSK,” said Chief Executive Sir Andrew Witty in a statement. “Whilst these originate in a different era for the company, they cannot and will not be ignored. On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made.”

        It would be interesting to learn in which “era” mistakes were made. If they happened in the Neolithic Period, e.g., I would think the statute of limitations should apply. In any case, Glaxo will undoubtedly have some leftover Paxil for their execs.

  18. kevinearick

    Go Get

    The empire enters into a contract, with a promise it has no intention of keeping, to keep you in its time, which it breaks every time, because nature, and God move forward at all times. The empire is a test of your intent. I call the humans behind the forward event horizon robots because they are in no position to make decisions, and the farther behind they are, the more desperately they want to make decisions, to assert control.

    The contract, for peer pressure, requires you to ensure that all your contacts stay in empire time, and that you report them if they do not. The process simply gets more subtle over time, so that the individual not only does not feel guilty for reporting others, but also actually feels REDEEMED, self-actuated, hence Apple, Google, and Facebook.

    The empire finances the operation by borrowing from Peter to pay Paul interest, then borrows from Fred to pay Peter interest to pay Paul interest, and so on, right up until nature destroys the empire and it starts over again. Fred is future generations. Krugman is absolutely correct; the empire can print to infinity, within the empire, and the robots will never see what’s coming, “act of God,” which is really act of stupidity.

    The US was built, like the Euro, to provide artificial demand for an ever-dying empire. Life is in the opposite direction, whatever dimension you choose to proceed forward. Let the empire have your body, to test intent. With spirit, you can always re-format your mind and body, which is required to adapt in any case. Turn the other cheek, once. When you have two points on a line, you may confidently expect the third.

    The instant robot actions do not match robot words, step forward, in spirit, leaving the empire to break the contract and destroy itself. You don’t have to physically or mentally do anything to bring down an empire because its masters are always “pushing” the edge, with increasing momentum, assuming your foundation will always be there, because it always is, until it’s not.

    The economy depends upon go-getters. All others are robots trying to pull each other into their own peer pressure black hole. The Church loses access to free money, its faith collapses, and the Ponzi economy crashes, surprise, surprise. Call the church Catholicism, Socialism, Capitalism, or whatever serves the purpose.

    You have an individual relationship with God, aggregated. Everything else is empire misdirection, middlemen, which may be added to or removed from at will, depending upon the gravity you want, to do whatever it is you want to do, aggregated. Funny, how big an effect the weather has on the economy…

    1. kevinearick

      If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.–James Madison, Federalist #51,

      build your quantum bridge…

  19. Jim Haygood

    From an NYT article on the boom business of jailing the indigent for fines they can’t pay:

    In Georgia, three dozen for-profit probation companies operate in hundreds of courts.

    “These companies are bill collectors, but they are given the authority to say to someone that if he doesn’t pay he is going to jail,” said John B. Long, a lawyer in Augusta, Ga., who is taking the issue to a federal appeals court this fall.

    The issue of using the courts to produce income has caught the attention of the country’s legal establishment. A recent study by the nonpartisan Conference of State Court Administrators, “Courts Are Not Revenue Centers,” said that in traffic violations, “court leaders face the greatest challenge in ensuring that fines, fees and surcharges are not simply an alternate form of taxation.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/us/probation-fees-multiply-as-companies-profit.html?_r=1&hp

    Hmmm, where did I just read about a putative fine being an ‘alternate form of taxation’? Oh, yeah — in the Chief Justice Roberts opinion on Obamacare last week.

    Just wait till the “nail ‘em and jail ‘em” industry is turned loose on folks who can’t pay their mandatory health insurance premium.

    At least they’ll get free health care in jail — won’t they?

    1. LucyLulu

      The health care was really bad when I worked in a jail about 20 years ago. Doc came in twice a week, only life threatening emergencies went to ER. If you broke you leg, it wasn’t life threatening. You got aspirin and a splint until the doc came. OTOH, they went to dentists which is more than I could get for some of my clients on the outside.

      I never understood jailing somebody for not paying bills. In the jail there were men who hadn’t paid alimony or child support. Now how could they pay if they were in jail? They were never white men either, always black.

      I really liked that job. The men were very, very nice and respectful to me. My last job had been at Boca Raton Comm Hosp with the rich folk. I couldn’t say the same for them. Bitches.

  20. oyez this, zzzip

    So, you can’t trust your rights and freedoms to the hairy papists, low-normal affirmative-action perverts, and convulsing fauntleroys of the crooked atavistic supreme court? So what, Who needs it? Now you can appeal to a functioning, legitimate, grown-up court to guard your rights – the ICJ!

    http://humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.se/2012/07/individual-obtains-reparation-at.html

    So don’t sweat the supreme court, in 20 years it will be a poignant reminder of an embarrassing dark age. They’ll turn it into a Raelian temple or a Yezonghui or something.

  21. Jessica

    “Murdoch tweets: “Met Romney last week. Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful.””

    Another data point supported Lambert’s contention that the Republicans are not serious about winning this time. Why should they be with the job Obama is doing?

    When we have a candidate of the 99% who has a real shot, then we will see how the 1% acts when its interests are actually on the line.

  22. kris

    At work I have both, a sitting desk for the computer and and standing one for non computer work, which is 1/3 of the day.
    I use the standing one each for non computer work. I love it.

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