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Links 9/23/12

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late summer hitchhiker gardenpath (martha r)

Why I still shoot film Deus Ex Macchiato

Superweeds pose GM-resistant challenge for farmers BBC. A good overview.

Breaking: Drinking Sugary Sodas Makes Kids Gain Weight [Studies] Gawker. Quelle surprise!

A public service reminder: opt out of eBay’s arbitration agreement. Details here.

Verizon iPhone 5 secret? It works on AT Christian Science Monitor

Commander of the Apps, Except the One for Guilt New York Times. Hah, I refuse to get a smartphone, perhaps because I don’t have the sort of problems the author has. I also think leaving the Internet is important, and a smartphone makes that impossible.

Ecuador offers to send Assange to Sweden Financial Times

ECB in ‘panic’, say former chief economist Juergen Stark Telegraph

Time to Japanic? Noahopinion (Mark Thoma)

Australia Seeks to ‘Manage’ the Poor While Making Them Poorer Michelle Chen, Firedoglake. Australia is either extremely progressive and forward thinking or shockingly retrograde, particularly on policies related to the “abos”. You can guess which this is.

Romney’s real problem is a detachment from reality Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times. More proof the punditocracy is abandoning Romney.

Here’s what’s missing in the Romney tax reports Christian Science Monitor

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Neil Barofsky, Bailout: How I Watched Washington Rescue Wall Street While Abandoning Main Street David Dayen

Medicare Bills Rise as Records Turn Electronic New York Times

Double Amputee Shooting: Matthew Jacob Marin, Houston Officer, Kills Man In Wheelchair, Police Say Huffington Post

Wal-Mart Must Face California Bias Case, Judge Rules Bloomberg

Treasuries Recoup Most QE3 Losses Amid Growth Skepticism Bloomberg

Mortgage Market 2011 – Not a Pretty Picture Alan White, Credit Slips

C.E.O.’s and the Pay-’Em-or-Lose-’Em Myth Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Antidote du jour:

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83 comments

    1. GeorgeK

      The attorney generals of the states challenging Dodd-Frank are essentially financial birthers; trying to get a conseratvie judge to rule in their favor and hopefully allowing the appeals process to take the case to the Supreme Court.

    2. taunger

      It seems they want to kill any TBTF resolution powers granted by Dodd-Frank; one could assume that this is to ensure that future crises result in continued bailouts rather than effective resolution of bankrupt entities (which usually ensures that management and shareholders get the short end of the stick, unless, of course, management is on the creditor side as well . . . ).

  1. Joe

    About Australia: Terribly sad what’s happening to the Australian culture. If I think about growing up there, at that time, Australia was characterised by a certain roughness. Generally, this could be characterised by hard drinking, hard working, male dominated, racist society. But Australia, back then, was more than this one-dimensional list of descriptions– there was strong cohesion, sceptic attitude to power, healthy and active lifestyle, an over riding belief in fair play, and that we had the power to make the future better together.

    In the meantime we have become self-centered, individualistic, and as a result, fat, spoiled and short-sighted. In this sense, we have done little more than follow the lead of the US and UK. It has been somewhat modified by a residue of the good sense left over from a history based on self-reliance, but that is disappearing fast. Why work hard, when pimping gets you more lollies now?

    There’s no point in being sentimental though. Australia is one of the only countries in the world, where freedom still means being able to reject the mainstream. Where the wide open spaces are not just virtual/ ideological. Australia’s location in the world has changed, we are no longer remote– unfortunately, the oppertunities that this affords requires the loss of what are, in my opinion, our best qualities.

    And don’t forget our political system. It’s almost as screwed up as in the US.

    “Poor fellah, my country…”

    1. JEHR

      To Joe’s comment.

      I am feeling somewhat sorry for Canadian culture right now so I sympathize. We have a PM who is doing austerity for some reason or other. He is reducing public spending by 10% across the board including reducing money to our much-beloved CBC. He is firing public employees. He is rolling back the environmental laws that we have had for years so that the tar sands can roll along undeterred. He is busy remaking Canada into a neoconservative wasteland full of harsh laws for crimes and lots of new prisons. We will be in a big mess in the future.

      1. Roland

        The cultures of all the “English-speaking peoples” have become morally rotten. They are losing their old humane muddle-headedness, which used to be their saving grace.

        Canadians, as a society, are becoming vain, cruel, and boastful in a way that I would never have imagined possible when I was growing up. Canadians might end up becoming the nastiest of the whole Anglosphere bunch.

  2. Peasant Pinguin Society

    Alternative History, Part Five, Wherein Misfortune comes to the Peasants of Redgrave Manor.

    Disclosure: Major funding for the Peasant Pinguin Society is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. skippy Foundation, and by Ms G

    The Year is 1348, and the place is Redgrave Manor, a village and a parish in Suffolk, England.

    Well, all the Peasant children of Redgrave Manor were out planting trees one day, watering them and taking care of things, when suddenly the Trees all died. No one knows why they died, they just did. Something wrong with the soil perhaps. So now every Peasant kid who had his or her own little tree to plant was suddenly holding shriveled up brown sticks in their hands.

    Well, this was bad, but not as bad as the Rumours we began hearing soon, in Voices Disconsolate, of a Pestilence most Terrible, coming our way from Villages along the Coast.

    But we peasants did not have the Leisure nor Inclination to dwell on these Dangers. The animals had to be Tended, fields weeded, money earned and Goods bought. So to help the Children forget about the Trees, we let them take care of the Rabbits, while we went on with yoking the oxen and ploughing the Fields.

    One morning, as we were yoking the Oxen, a short, freckl’d lad named Edgar came running up to tell us the Rabbits had all died. Well this was bad, but still it wasn’t too bad, not compared to the Rumours of sickness and Death coming this way from the neighboring Village.

    So next we got the children a Puppy and they named it Sam. The children had lots of fun running after the Puppy and yelling, “Here, Sam! Nice Sam!” Then they’d laugh and say “Nice Sam, go fetch..”, and so we went back to Ploughing our fields.

    But I had a bad feeling about it, and sure enough, about a week later, the Puppy died.

    This was bad, there’s no denying it anymore, but no sooner had the Puppy died than a grey-bearded, wild-haired Prophet arrived in our Village, a most Holy man, with burning Black eyes. For many years, he had been living in a Cave, getting out upon Cold mornings, searching for roots and berries, occasionally trapping and killing animals with his bare hands.

    With a booming Voice the Prophet told us “Death is scything its way through the Decadent cities of England. It will Destroy London and Cambridge and Thetford and Bury St Edmunds then come right here to Redford Manor, followed by all the World.”

    Every few sentences he repeated: “And I looked and Beheld a pale Horse, and his name was Death.”

    Most disturbing. That’s when I began to experience this frenzied collapsing sensation of all that I thought I had always known, almost as if we Peasants were Condemned. But what could you do, there was no time to dwell on the Trees or the Puppy or the Prophet or the Rumours, animals had to be tended, fields weeded, money earned and goods bought.

    The next Day was when frekl’d little Edgar died, followed by his sister Susie, then Walter.

    We were all Grief-Stricken, but once again, there was no time to Dwell on these Misfortunes, so we went back to yoking the Oxen, tending the animals (the ones that were still alive) weeding the fields in order to earn money, in order to buy goods.

    The next thing we knew Death was Rampaging across the Whole Village of Redgrave Manor, sometimes taking as many as Fifty Villagers in a Single Day.

    No priests could be found to perform Ministrations for the Dying, so we Peasants took this task upon ourselves. as well. There no physicians, so we treated those with buboes ourselves, by applying a warm poultice of butter, onion, and garlic, until we ran out onion, butter and garlic, at which point we began treating buboes with lily root and dried toad.

    The peasant Children (the ones who were still Living) began to ask questions: Where did they all go? The Trees, the Rabbits, the Puppy, Edgar, Susie, Walter, our Mothers and Fathers and by now half the Village?

    And we said to them, we don’t know, we don’t know, nobody knows.

    And then one of the children, I think it was Geoffrey Rath’s son, William, asked us: “If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, will this enable me to free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and then will I be free to become myself?”

    Yes, perhaps, we said, but we had no Time to dwell on this question.

    We had to yoke the Oxen, tend to the animals that were still Living, and weed the fields in order to earn money, in order to buy goods.

    Here Endeth Alternate History, Part Five.

    Footnote: This story was partly inspired by a Donald Barthelme short story, entilted “The School”. The question posed by young Geoffrey Rath’s son, William, is based on a quote (translated from German) by the philosopher Martin Heidegger, slightly paraphrased.

    Disclaimer: Alternate history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world.

    1. Ms G

      Addendum.

      “We had to yoke the Oxen, tend to the animals that were still Living, and weed the fields in order to earn money, in order to buy goods and to pay taxes to the Lord of Redgrave Manor so that he could buy fine silks, gems, Arms for Hunting and for Defending his Manor, and the service of Knights to mobilize at the King’s Whim.

      As our numbers dwindled, with each new Strike of the Strange Death, the Lord continued to demand his taxes but there was not enough to pay him in money. And so he began to take the Girls, until they died or ceased to be borne due to the deaths of Child Bearing women in our small group. Then he demanded the Oxen, in lieu of taxes, and then could no longer yoke the Oxen and work the land to make any money yet. And so it went, until one day, there was naught left to give the Lord, as all of our oxen, beasts, women, children and men, had been offered up to the Lord or died. A few of us scattered into the forest of Redgrave Manor, each fending for self, until age or despair took us all.”

      1. Peasant Pinguin Society

        Yeah, that works better that way, so let’s make it the official version.

        I actually considered transporting Lord Dimon back to the 14th century, so the peasants could execute him again, but then I’ve already done that a number of times and didn’t want to go overboard, so let’s make your Addendum the official ending, thanks. :)

        Also thanks again to the John D. and Catherine T. skippy Foundation for making this possible.

        1. Ms G

          We have to insert the Lord’s name. Because he has one, and a face, and he is real. The Odyssey was long, but that didn’t stop Homer from following the stories of Odysseus through to the (book’s) end!

          1. Peasant Pinguin Society

            JEHR,

            Don’t worry, he’ll get what’s coming to him.

            Rumour has it that Lord Blankfein is about to be brutally dispatched by 14th century Mongolian hordes, some time in the next week or two.

          2. skippy

            “Rumour has it that Lord Blankfein is about to be brutally dispatched by 14th century Mongolian hordes, some time in the next week or two.” – PPS

            Could we postulate an alternative demise?

            Umm… Forced to star in a reality TV show, being Harem Lord over all the *REAL* wives – women of NY/Orange County/Texas/Kardashians et al.

            skippy…. To be – sucked dry – in so many ways… Dante approved!!!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0e10baH6cE&feature=related

          3. Peasant Pinguin Society

            Dear John D. and Catherine T. skippy Foundation,

            Considering that your Major Funding is what makes this all possible, I’ll definitely see how I could go about dispatching Lord Blankfein using a reality TV show/Harem Lord/REAL wives angle, and maybe limit the Mongol Hordes to no more than a dozen horsemen.

          4. Peasant Pinguin Society

            Robin Hood,

            Thanks for the tip. If Mongol warrior wives battling banksters doesn’t work out, at least I could try to fit this line in there somewhere:

            “Even though she is only a woman, what Yesui says is quite right.”

          5. Robin Hood

            Sure. Tho they have Mongolian Warrior Women – on horseback with bow, spear and sword. It may have been a term of endearment.

            But I think it needs a big film budget, to do one Survival style episode a week, killing off one banker at a time – however the Mongol Warrior Women see fit – until there is one left and then they give him a trophy just before finishing him off to.

            Then we’d have to get it rated and probably end up with a Mongolian Caligula.

            But if you can work the quote in, fine.

        2. Ms G

          Peasant Pinguid Society Sir,

          I remember a story (or was it an historical event) where All of the Lords were invited to [a hunt?] [a fancy dinner] where stuff happened and none of them ever made it home that night, never to be seen again. The Peasants were not just in it for just deserts, but to make room for the New Order of Peasants (by the Peasants), and had arranged in advance how to seamlessly take over all property cultivation operations, port and navigation operations, food distribution networks, money networks (to the extend needed), and so on.

          Here’s a prelim list of guests, which needs to be substantially allonged:
          ILord Blankfein, Lord Dimon, Lord Rubin, Lord Summers, Lord Greenspan, Lord Diamond, Lord (the Deutsche Bank guy), Lords Greenspan and Rubin, Lords Breuer and Holder, Lords [names of Pharma CEOs] [Named of Insurance Co. CEOs], Lord and Lady Mike Bloomberg and Diana, [to be completed.]

          1. Ms G

            Few more guests: Lord Obama, Lord Rahm, Lords and Ladies of the Editorial Boards of the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, all Murdoch owned tabloids and publications, Bloomberg News.

          2. Peasant Pinguin Society

            In order to get rid of this many people at once, I think I’m going to need the Mongol Hordes after all, although the skippy Foundation provides more funding than you, so I’m not in a position to ignore their suggestions.

        3. Tiresias

          Of course in this Universe the Black Death so reduced the work-age population for a couple of generations that even serfs were able to give two fingers to their Lord and move into the towns and cities knowing there would be work there, or to other estates where there was no-one left to harness the oxen and do the ploughing enabling them to bargain for tenure as freemen.

          1. Ms G

            Aha Teresias — indeed. Peasant Pinguid Sir, please take note!

            P.S. You and your most generous supporter are 100% right that a Mongol Horde is called for here. I was stuck in an Agatha Christie Rut (e.g., 10 Little Indians) when what is at stake is on the order of Thuycididies, et al.

          2. Ms G

            Blip. Agree 100% that in view of Generous (critical) supporter J.D. + C.T. Skippy Foundation’s proposal, the much anticipated installment on the dispatching of the Lords will/may involve Mongol Hordes as well as Reality TV + Real Wives Food/Vampire Fest.

        4. JEHR

          PPS, for a minute there reading all the ways the Hordes will dispatch the Lords, I had a great feeling of satisfaction. Oh, that it were so!

    2. John Merryman

      Tying this into scientific quackery and the nature of time, one of the points I raise in physics discussions is that time emerges from action as sequence, but the underlaying cause is action. To wit, the earth doesn’t travel a fourth dimension from yesterday to tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth rotates. Since physics treats time as a measure of sequence and correlates it to measures of distance, creating 4d spacetime, this is not a popular observation. What it means though, is that narrative emerges from points of perspective. So the effect is more a tapestry of interwoven timelines, rather than one universal time. Religions and nations largely define themselves in terms of a group narrative, yet the obvious reality is different narratives tend to conflict, leading to conflict.
      Consider that democracy was originally formalized by polytheists. When your gods argue, it gets reflected in political assumptions. Monotheism largely validates the singular narrative put forth by the ptb, but absolute is basis, not apex, so spiritual absolute would be the essence from which life arises, not an ideal from which it fell.
      This doesn’t mean groups of individuals can’t work together as a larger whole, but that it must have effective feedback to work. Like the brain has to listen to the feet, those in control can’t ignore and cannibalize other parts of society and expect it to continue to function.

      1. Ms G

        “Like the brain has to listen to the feet, those in control can’t ignore and cannibalize other parts of society and expect it to continue to function.”

        First Law of Social Arrangements! Very nicely put.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is Time really orthogonal to the 3 spatial dimensions?

        We know Time is not space, like memory, faith or mood is not space.

        But how do we know if any of those is orthogonal to the 3 spatial dimensions (as the 3 spatial dimensions are orthogonal to each other)?

        1. John Merryman

          Then again the three dimensions are really only the coordinates of the point of reference. We can have different points of reference in the same space, like two people, or even two eyes of the same person. Or like the Israelis and Palestinians. Then each has a slightly different narrative experience.

        2. John Merryman

          Then again the three dimensions are really only the coordinates of the point of reference. We can have different points of reference in the same space, like two people, or even two eyes of the same person. Or like the Israelis and Palestinians. Then each has a slightly different narrative experience.
          Damn phone double clicked on the send button, so I dont know if it rejected both. Hope this doesnt double..

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You are right. We can have a polar coordinate system or the more familiar x-y-z spatial cooridinate system. And if Time is more like mood, faith or, say, an index on brainwashing thoroughness, then there are even more possibilities.

        3. John Merryman

          Ps,
          Duration doesn’t transcend the present, but is the state of the present between points of measurement, so there is no physical “timeline.” It’s just that logic,ie. cause and effect, is emergent from this process, so sequence is a foundational assumption, rather than foundational cause.

      3. ZygmuntFraud

        John Merryman: “narrative emerges from points of perspective”, yes; as I would say, a history book is the history/story (narrative) of a particular writer in a specific period. A term has arised among some French historians, “historiographie” which is in English “the telling/recounting of History in past centuries” . So my hope is that more accurate, balanced history can be done by studying primary sources and the various old history books (l’historiographie). All those Treaties, secret or not, matter … The link below is to a long article at Wikipedia in French; I think it shows how the story-teller imbues the story with heroes, vilains, virtues, etc.: r.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiographie

        P.S. Fernand Braudel is mentioned in the section “L’école des Annales”.

        1. John Merryman

          A lot of which involves trimming and editing to create a plausible and compelling story. While this objectively serves to make it entertaining and subjectively serves to support particular biases, the result is still distortion.
          It is assumed the past is unchanging, but past events are subjectively perceived in the first place and as they recede further into the past, are constantly being viewed from a changing perspective. Often the original events are like the grain of sand in the center of a pearl. Just a point of convenient reference for others agendas and altered to suit.

    3. Robin Hood

      Yes, I remember that time. But myself and my Merry Band of Un-Trolls in Sherwood Forest realized that, if the trees all died, we are Blessed by the True Lord with an abundance of Tally Stick Liquidity. It was remarkably similar to how you Moderns crash your Stock Market to increase your Money Supply.

      We knew this was a Sign from the True Lord to spend these Trees into Existence.

      Following our Teachings we paid Taxes to the Sherrif of Nottingham in Tally Sticks – so that they will have value – and when he had them fashioned into Arrows and shot them back at us , we collected them for Future Taxes – knowing that we are increasing the Productivity of our Economy.

      When the Bubos did finally come, Friar Tuck suggested beating one’s self in the Armpits with a Tally Stick. Some of my Merry Men still died, but Friar Tuck wisely pointed out that, in the End, the True Lord Chooses who Lives or Dies, and the Contrafactual case for not beating one’s Armpits is we all shall Die.

      Little John suggested then, because we had our Bubo Cure, that we sautee toads in butter, garlic and onions. This turned out to be a Fine Idea.

      Many of us owe our Lives to Friar Tuck and the True Lord.

      P.S. We kill Sir Kenneth of South Forest over and over again too.

  3. Fred

    I regard myself as quite left wing, but I don’t have any trouble with income management if it means money isn’t wasted on booze and drugs and kids actually get something to eat. The article calls this infantilising. I’m afraid that in many remote communities people have already slipped deeply into addiction and crime. Until you get families eating decent meals you can’t address any other problems. Unless kids go to school with something in their bellies your just creating more social problems.

    1. Expat

      An reasonable “left wing” response to the “problem” of poverty is 1)recognize that poverty is created by our economic system and as such benefits the hegemonic class, 2) despite the economic system, people should be considered equals and 3)whatever you would want and need in such circumstances is closer to what people in poverty want and need than any finger-wagging politician could come up with. Would you want “income management”? If not, then it is not an appropriate program to impose on others.

      It’s interesting that successful social service programs in Western Europe are planned with the thought that providing these services enables people to work to the maximum of their ability because, among other things, the ready availability of welfare relieves anxiety. The moral imperative is to work, but the approach is pragmatic rather than punitive. Middle of the road, I’d say, rather than left or right wing.

      I guess we can thank our Christian forebears for the seemingly intractable notion that poverty is divine punishment. And, of course, our leisure class projected their own laziness onto the poor and working classes.

      1. taunger

        I think it is unfair to the early Christian revolutionaries to so vaguely put the ill-effects of the oligarchical church power on “forbears.” This morality is far from Christian, but entirely in line with the TBTB.

    2. Klassy!

      Until you get families eating decent meals you can’t address any other problems.
      I call BS on this argument. You can address the problem of not having enough money quite easily without telling people what foods to spend it on.

  4. citalopram

    Sugary softdrinks – If these kids were running around all day playing sports/tag/whatever, this wouldn’t be an issue. Parents are dilenquent here, not soda companies.

    1. abelenkpe

      Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve always been thin and active (swimming, jogging, hiking between one to two hours a day) and when I quit drinking soda I lost ten pounds.
      I have two nieces who are also incredibly active (martial arts, soccer, swim team) and they are getting chunky. They do love drinking soda….

      1. Sba

        Yes, this happened to me too! I cut out the sugary drinks and went from overweight to normal weight. Several hours intense exercise every week before and after this change in consumption and I didn’t change the food I ate either.

  5. Kokuanani

    Please note, Yves, Neil Barofsky’s hat tip to you & NC in his book salon @ FDL yesterday. [Comment # 159]. This was in response to a question re which writers/sources he most respected on financial matters.

    Congrats. I hope folks follow the link above to an interesting discussion.

  6. Goin' South

    Re: superweeds–

    “Scientists say the solution to the widespread resistance problem is a new type of GM that uses a powerful weedkiller that was once part of Agent Orange, the defoliant widely used during the Vietnam war.”

    Coming soon: “The Thistle That Ate Omaha”

    and the sequel:

    “Godzilla vs. Johnson Grass”

    Moral of the stories: Don’t mess with Mother Nature

    Or as Lambert would say: What could go wrong?

  7. Aquifer

    Agent Orange comes home – how appropriate ….

    Considering the mutations caused by AO, maybe this new GMO was made by AO – now that’s “progress”, GMOs making their own GMOs and turning the tables …..

    1. Susan the other

      And thinking about the Big Incompetent Pharma post. This is what happens when you don’t have a clue how nature will adapt. But then there might be a cure for liver cancer caused by Roundup in resistant superweeds. Now there’s some capitalist opportunity, er… ingenuity for ya.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Speak for yourself. I for one am sick and tired of living along a clear running river with so many green and blue heron, golden and bald eagles over my head. Why should I have to buy some straw bales from my farmer neighbor to mulch for weed control effectively when i can just spray my entire eco system away with a bottle of wal-mart monsanto special. If only they would dedicate .0001 percent or more of their sales/proceeds to Susan G. Komen to sabotage women or something. Oh wait!

  8. Ms G

    One of the highlights of NC (and it’s hands off policy to comments) is that Organized Troll Offensives are both visible, obvious and pitiful — and usually given short shrift by NC regulars in more or less effective ways.

    My favorite by far, to date, was Lambert’s in the recent Affaire McArdle:

    “Thank you for sharing your concerns. Your comment is very important to me. Please do not hesitate to comment again.”

    Brilliant.

    That said, I fully understand (and will not be visiting NC any less) if Yves resorts to brining in EXILED’s effective Troll Patrol. These people really do just specialize in sucking oxygen out of honest debate and thought. Enough is enough!

    1. Aquifer

      Ms G,

      I haven’t really been here that long – but it seems to me your comments are some of the more incisive ….

      However, I am always troubled by the threat to eliminate “trolls”. i have had a long discussion with someone else on another site about this issue, someone who wished to “protect the site” by eliminating trolls, and my question is, who would decide who is a troll?

      Sites “belong” to their administrators, no argument there, and they can kick anyone off for any or no reason, but this idea of labeling someone as a “troll” for purposes of legitimizing exclusion bothers me …. maybe i am sensitive to this because i have been called a “troll” for various and sundry reasons which, when actually enumerated by the accuser, made me LOL.

      Labels may be necessary evils in navigating through life, but they are 2 edged swords and some, it seems to me, produce more harm than value – in my lexicon, “troll” is one of them ….

      1. Ms G

        Hi Aquifer, I hear you and I think we don’t disagree. Yves seems to be contemplating a troll-patrol system that is very narrowly tailored to catch organized attacks (see her discussion about the objective tell-tale signs that show up in patterns when these are occurring). And she’s nothing if not hands-off in allowing a broad, diverse and very lively debate in the comments. More so than most. So, in sum, while I agree with the concern of “who decides” who is a troll or not, I’m quite confident that any gatekeeping that Yves might put in place will not catch “dolphins” (bona fide posters with opinions and views contra the primary post).

  9. Aquifer

    from the article re Apps: “In addition, small businesses, she said, could scale back on staff….”

    Ah yes, that ‘s the point now isn’t it – downloading apps enables one to download one’s employees turning us all into “just in time” appendages, “free” to function without a safety net (how “entrepreneurial”), our services atomized to the point where “collective bargaining” would be impossible even were it to come back into vogue – all the “benefits” of off shoring without actually off shoring ….

    “In addition” or “Btw” is always a giveaway to the real point of the exercise. NAFTA was, and “free trade” still is, sold to the public for its wonderful benefits of cheaper goods, as these Apps are sold for the wonderful benefit of convenience (does “labor saving device” ring a bell?) and the “BTW in addition” is left in small print – NAFTA’s “BTW” of massive off shoring and these APP’s “in addition” of in-house downsizing …

    How easily we are seduced into this race to the bottom – the delicious irony being that the “cheaper labor saving” products being offered to make our “living easier” work their wonders by eliminating the labor necessary for making a living ….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      …benefits of cheaper goods…

      What is the purpose of trade?

      I don’t think it’s about cheaper goods, even if they are better made.

      It may be about getting raw materials not available locally, such as obsidian then and oil today.

      No, the chief purpose of trade is to learn from your trading partners.

      So, the Chinese invented silk, but you also find silk made elsewhere later. The same with paper. You learn from your trading partners. We learned from the Japanese ‘Just in Time’ production. What are we learning from China or Saudi Arabia?

      1. Aquifer

        the purpose of “trade”, or the purpose of NAFTA/WTO, et.al.?

        Folks trade for many reasons – if it is to get something you need or want and cannot get without trade (or conquest) that is one thing, but if it is to increase your profit margin at the expense of another’s livelihood, that is something else …..

        We are being sold all this stuff by appealing to our desire for cheap goods and convenience and we grab at it without bothering to see where it is taking us until it is too late …

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I agree that it should not be all about desiring cheap or cheaper goods

          I always ask people the following qeustion.

          When you see something you like, do you

          1. try to own it or buy it

          or

          2. try to find out if you can make it yourself?

          So, for example, if I run into some delicious looking frog legs, I ask, Should I buy it or should I try to see if I can prepare them myself?

          In this case, no, but I always go through the exercise.

          1. ambrit

            Dear MLTPB;
            The entire thing can be approached as a question of self control. At present, and maybe always, others are controlling our selves. Detachment is the optimal solution.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Romney’s detachment from reality.

    I am not sure if that’s the real problem, as we are all detached from reality more or less, due to

    1. observer effect – we change what we observe so whatever reaity we observe is not the ‘real’ reality.

    2. recall distortion effect – everytime we recall reality, we distort it.

    The problem, from my perspective, is that we are in the Age of Billionarie Leaders. You got billionaire mayors, billionaire governors, billionaire presidents, billionaire messiahs, billionaire priests, billionaire dictators, etc, everywhere, in Asia, in the Americas, in Africa, in Euroasia, in Europe, etc…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The first is an input error.

      The second is an output error.

      Basically, we are not just Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens, we are Homo Errortus, or perhaps Homo Erros-R-Us.

      1. Ms G

        MLPB — is the “problem” of a World Controlled by Billionaire Leaders (or Scavenging Assassins, depending on who’s commenting) a necessary consequence of (1) and (2)?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It could be. I can’t say for sure, due to my own input/output glitches.

          I suspect our Billionaire Leaders have their own input/output problems.

          1. Ms G

            But I’m interested in your view of how our individual input/output issues might relate to the development of a Billionaire-Controlled world!

            Rhetorical nagging — feel utterly free to ignore.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            No nagging at all.

            I think the Zen intuition works here and, at the risk of the recall distortion effect, go with what I wrote the first time, that is, it could be, subject to my own input/output snafu.

            I also suspect that there is more to it than just the physical input/output issue…perhaps there is a problem with the processor (the human heart, the human mind) itself.

    2. Synopticist

      Romney’s spent the last thirty years firing people who tell him things he doesn’t want to hear. “Mitt, you really need to get rid of the swiss bank account, and the Caymans thing. Please, just pay your taxes like a normal for a few years”
      “Damn your insolence, you parasite. I’ll kill your dog.”

      This is the only problem he’s ever dealt with where him having more money than everyone else isn’t 100% of the solution.

  11. direction

    re: late summer hitchhiker

    Praying mantises are beautiful. I had a fat one jump on my leg this summer, they are fearless. I was also fearless, but found out later from a friend that they can actually bite. That was a little disconcerting. And then a couple of days later I found his fleshy body laying in the garden sans head.

    (sexy!)

  12. YankeeFrank

    Chris Caldwell. What an ass. I remember I used to read his stuff in the NY Press, I think it was, a decade or so ago. He wasn’t nearly as idiotic. I guess that’s what happens when you go to work for the Weekly Standard.

    One point — he uses as evidence that the American public is against homosexual marriage because, according to him, all of the states that have had a referendum on the subject voted against it. However, what states were they — let me guess, almost all of them are red states. And also WHEN were those referenda held. Every year the numbers in favor jump and the numbers against drop in national polls. Nationally, we are far more for it than against it (by around 10% on average, which is huge), so for him to pretend Obama is taking an unpopular stance is just garbage.

    That’s just one of the points where Caldwell has stuck his head in the sand and pretends he lives in one nation demographically, when he really lives in another, which is ironic considering his biggest criticism of Romney is for the same failing. What an ass.

  13. Karl

    Apoligies for double post…I can’t get this to go through.

    Superweeds with Roundup resistance?

    No problem, they’re now going to engineer corn, soy, beets, grass, and alfalfa be resist 2,4-D, the dioxin herbicide in Agent Orange.
    Not only will your children get leaky gut syndrome, colic and other gut related disorders and allergies from the bug stomach puncturing proteins expressed in every cell of every kernel of every ear of Bt corn that transfer to their gut flora, they will now get a nice dollop of 2,4-D with their corn based factory food.
    Parents, you don’t want your children to be lab rats for untested and haphazard genetic manipulation do you?
    If you live in California, you have taken things into
    your own hands and have put Proposition 37 on this Fall’s ballot to label genetically modified food.
    Here’s a phenomenal video that covers the issue from Apples to Zucchini. This is important.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odCSWY05u4Q

  14. Sba

    Dear Naked Capitalism,

    Your abbreviation of aborigines in the Australia post is pretty poor form. In my experience (30+ years living in Australia), this term is only used by racist locals or ignorant foreigners. Maybe things have changed recently, but it might be better to steer clear of this term.

  15. TANK MONEY

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