I hate giving apologies of sorts BUT Lambert and I spent a fair chunk of Wednesday on the phone with two different firms that might help with our tech mess. This is the first time we’ve felt cautiously optimistic that we might find service providers who could help. In the mean time, our current software guy will be making some changes over the next week that should improve performance (we need to work through that first before we can address the Mystery of the Disappearing Comments).
The Chinese Soft-Shelled turtle urinates through its mouth QI Elves. Yet another anti-antidote from Richard Smith.
For Some Drivers, an Electric Motorcycle Could Be the Best of Both Worlds New York Times (furzy mouse). I resolved never to own a car, but this might be an acceptable compromise. If you can carry a bag or two of groceries as well, it would be a great device.
Lance Armstrong accused in USADA files of being the ringleader of biggest doping conspiracy in sporting history Telegraph. I know this has been in the news a while, and I really hoped that Armstrong would prove his critics wrong. But the use of performance enhancing techniques is so widespread in sports, it’s hard to believe that many accomplishments at the very top end these days are real.
Europe Dispensing Wrong Fiscal Medicine, Economist Koo Warns Bloomberg. What is most interesting is that in the “for the masses” version of the site, this story has the most prominent placement.
Spanish Bond Yields Rise Wall Street Journal
The Nation’s deeply deceptive Obama-endorsement editorial Vast Left Wing Conspiracy (Lambert). A top notch shredding.
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, Ursula Rozum agree to four town hall meetings without Dan Maffei Syracuse. I know this is really parochial, but Ann Marie Buerkle is the stupidest person I have ever seen appear on television. A potted plant has a higher IQ. I can’t fathom how she has a driver’s license, much the less got into Congress. Reader bob (a local) writes: “Danny muffin decided he doesn’t want to play. Ursula is pretty brave, those “town hall meetings” that AMB organizes are notorious for a hand picked crowd and questions, and threats.” So if you are in the Oswego area and are free tomorrow at 6 PM, you might see if you can snag a seat.
When Conservative Republicans Loved Keynes and Expansionary Fiscal Policy Brad DeLong (Scott)
The Disingenuous James Bullard Tim Duy
Controversies over economics and genetics Tyler Cowen
Neil Barofsky on the Fed Stress Test mathbabe
E-Mails Cited to Back Lawsuit’s Claim That Equity Firms Colluded on Big Deals New York Times (Richard Smith)
Goldman’s ‘muppet hunt’ draws a blank Financial Times. The literalness is a cute distraction. And as Congressional investigations of Goldman show, the firm’s staff are far more careful about what they say in e-mails than staff of other shops.
Fed’s Tarullo Calls for Cap on Bank Sizes Wall Street Journal
Canadian bank goes after homes to collect credit card debts Bay Citizen (Lisa Epstein)
The Marshmallow Study revisited EureakAlert (Mark Thoma). This is important. Poor people are accused of being bad at math and/or deferred gratification (known formally as hyperbolic discounting) but this suggests that behavior may be a rational response to environmental instability.
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Mission elapsed time: T + 33 and counting*
“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” ~African proverb
Walmart actions. Deadline: “‘We feel like if they refuse to listen to our proposition we will make sure that on Black Friday we will take action inside and outside of stores,’ said Colby Harris, 22, a Walmart worker from Dallas, TX, and a member of OUR Walmart [here], a United Food and Commercial Workers-backed worker organization closely affiliated with Making Change at Walmart [here]. ‘We’ll make it known that Walmart’s deadline is Black Friday,’ he added.” An attack on the supply chain in time, rather than space. Interesting because it scales continentally, unlike previous Capitol and “square” occupations. … Association: “OUR Walmart [Organization United for Respect at Walmart] is a kind of return to labor formations of the 1930s. It’s an association–they aren’t looking for legal certification, they don’t claim to represent everyone. They’re a minority that is willing to stick their necks out” (good explainer). …. Spreading: “Until Friday, when about 60 Wal-Mart employees walked off the job for a day in LA, no Wal-Mart retail workers had ever gone on strike, the [United Food and Commercial Workers] said.” … Spreading: “Protests that began in Los Angeles on Oct. 4 have spread to at least 11 cities nationwide over the past week, including the Bay Area, Sacramento, Miami, and the Washington DC-area.” … Spreading: “The [UFCW] said several workers from a Wal-Mart store in Sacramento walked off the job early today and are now in Bentonville, AR, to join a protest of the retailer’s worker policies.” … Grievances: “‘People were really tired that any time they would speak out against the pay, hours, how much they would work, that management would cut their hours or not give them a schedule,’ said [Evelin Cruz, a department manager at Walmart in Pico Rivera, CA], who is one of thousands of members of Our Walmart.” … Bentonville, AR: “The director of the Making Change at Walmart coalition said he couldn’t confirm the number or Walmart workers participating in a ‘National Day of Action’ Wednesday at the company’s annual investor meeting at its headquarters in Bentonville, AR.” (See other Patch stories San Leandro, CA, Castro Valley, CA, San Ramon, CA, Laurel, MD, and Fridley, MN.) … Challenge: “‘We are more than happy to have our HR team meet with you on an individual basis that you have about you, your store or your team management,’ said David Scott, human resources vice president.” (I would be more than happy to live in a world where the term “human resources” was regarded with loathing and horror.) … Response: “‘We’ve come to them all this way to talk but as a group because some issues are not individual based,’ said Gregory Fletcher, Walmart associate.” (more) “‘I think as we move as one they can’t ignore us,” [Lori Amos, Walmart associate] said.”
CA. Media critique: “After being sold over the summer, the [Orange Country Register] is hiring about 50 editorial staffers and adding new print sections — because print’s where the money is.”
FL. Voting: “Pasco County Elections Supervisor Brian Corley earlier this month said many voters were confused about a recorded call from the Obama campaign encouraging them to visit their elections office, request absentee ballots, and cast them on the spot. He said some voters did not understand the difference between voting at early voting sites and voting in-person using absentee ballots, which is already under way.” Jeebus, who wouldn’t be confused?
IL. Walmart strike: “Striking workers at a Walmart distribution center in Elwood, IL won a victory this week when the managing subcontractor RoadLink rescinded the worker’s suspensions after they confronted the employer demanding better conditions. The 38 workers will return to work with full pay for the time they were on strike. Ted Ledwa, one of the striking workers, said in a press release ‘With this victory, we forced the company to respect our rights. We showed that when workers are united we can stand up to the biggest corporations in the world and win.'”(Elwood is where Imperial Troopers arrested 17 peaceful protesters [NC 2012-10-03]. So that didn’t work. But the conditions? …. Walmart strike: “‘I think there’s been a hit in Walmart’s armor,’ said Phil Bailey, one of the strikers who marched triumphantly back into the warehouse in matching Warehouse Workers for Justice t-shirts. ‘There’s been this expectation that they can’t be damaged at all. Not true!'” Of course, with Obama on the picket line in his home state… Oh, wait… Walmart: “Today workers and their supporters plan to protest at 35 different Walmart locations in Chicago, including the Walmart express at 570 W. Monroe.”
LA. About that sinkhole: “Shaw officials working with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources on the sinkhole told about 100 residents gathered for a community meeting Tuesday that the well north of La. 70 and another drilled on the same site would be linked to a flare to begin removing the gas gradually.”
ND. Control of the Senate: “In rural western ND, tens of thousands of men work in the lucrative oil fields. The residents of these “man camps” could decide which party controls the Senate. Only one or two races will determine the Senate majority in November’s elections — and the North Dakota race is one of the most competitive. But it’s the state’s lax voting requirements and small population that make nomadic oil-field workers politically relevant.”
NY. Greens: “U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle [R] and Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum said today they have agreed to a series of four town hall meetings without D challenger Dan Maffei. All three candidates have agreed to at least two televised debates that will be split up and carried by every broadcast station in Central New York. Rozum, who has consistently received support in the single digits — up to 7 percent.” Ha ha, a D empty chair! … Unions: “During negotiations on Tuesday, the Guild asked why members were offered zero raises in 2011 and a one percent bump for the final months of this year. Bernard Plum, the lawyer representing the Times Company, allegedly responded, ‘This is a declining industry and a declining business,’ and that it was common for management to ask staffers to make sacrifices, and ‘even more common to have zeros.'” Oh? How about the execs?
OH. Rallying the base: “In Mr. Romney’s three-stop trek across OH Wednesday, every destination is nestled in a county that McCain won handily in 2008 with at least 59% of the vote.”
PA. The new normal: “[Rick] Renz, a 58-year-old sales manager, said he had never felt so disheartened about his country. ‘Everyone says the job numbers are good. But my two adult kids are sitting at home'” (good interview piece). … Swing states: “A Romney campaign source, who would only speak if not identified, told PhillyClout that the campaign is shifting five of 64 staffers to OH to help organize efforts with early voting in that state. The source emphasized that all of Romney’s ‘victory center’ offices in PA remain open.”
TX. Walmart: “Walmart employees picketed the company’s store on West Wheatland Road in Dallas on Tuesday. They say the company retaliates against workers who speak out against low wages and cutting hours. The workers say wages are so low that some must rely on public programs to support their families.” … ObamaCare: “[I]f TX would participate in the mostly federally funded (90/10, when it rolls out completely) Medicaid expansion under the ACA, it would have an enormous palliative benefit for the justice system. Right now, the state’s approach is mostly to ignore mental health issues until they falls into government’s lap via the criminal justice system.”
WI. Walker: “[Kelly Rindfleisch’s plea deal to charges she conducted campaign work as an aide to Gov. Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive] means Walker won’t have to testify at Rindfleisch’s trial, which had been scheduled for next week. Walker was subpoenaed to testify by Gimbel. The plea deal also means testimony of several Walker campaign aides in open court won’t happen. ” Hold the popcorn.
The trail. Voting: “For the most part, opponents have been unable to win the crucial argument: That voter ID laws are an unconstitutional infringement on voting rights.” Losing the war. … Obama/Romney debate: “[M]ost Ds still refuse to admit what happened right before their eyes. While criticizing the president’s debate performance they were not willing to admit that the Obama who stood on stage is the real Obama. Stripped of a script he was laid bare before the world, an empty suit devoid of any conviction except the desire to stay in office.” Reversion to the mean. … Obama/Romney debate: “By cleverly exploiting Mr Romney’s tactical missteps, such as his failure to come to grips with the tax-return issue, and publicising his outright ‘gaffes’, Obama’s team had managed to outperform the fundamentals for most of September. But Wednesday’s widely-watched debate served as a focusing event, allowing voters to see the two men side by side. In effect, then, the debate helped recalibrate the race back to where it should have been all along.” Reversion to the mean. … Biden/Ryan debate: “According to research by the D pollster Stan Greenberg, Obama’s performance was viewed poorly by unmarried women, who wanted a more combative tone and a sharper critique of Romney’s views about the middle class. Unmarried women were a crucial constituency for Mr. Obama in 2008, voting for him, 70 to 29 percent, over John McCain.” (Biden, sponsor of VAWA, may help there.) …
Outside baseball. ObamaCare: “According to Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Coordinator Mark Dudzic: “The ACA has four tiers of benefits from a platinum plan down to a bronze plan. Most unions plans are actually above the platinum level. And I think the pressure will be to push people down that ladder into these lower actuarial plans” (DCB). Shocker! … Sequestration: “Though a trio of Senators has traveled the country warning of impending job losses caused by automatic budget cuts that take effect Jan. 2, industry insiders and budget experts say defense contractors are unlikely to need to lay off workers on the day the cuts are scheduled to begin. Assurances from the White House helped. [T]he guidance ‘takes away from the companies the requirement to [issue notices] in order to meet that fiduciary responsibility,” said Cord Sterling, the top lobbyist with the Aerospace Industries Association.'” “Guidance” is a very important word in official Washington. It will also be interesting to see if social insurance programs do lay people off.
Robama vs. Obomney watch. Flip flop: “The Obama campaign has shifted its emphasis away from attacks portraying Romney as a flip-flopper without core principles. Instead, its message has focused on painting Romney as a hardcore conservative — a label not easily applied to the former governor of MA, a traditionally blue state, who signed into law the template for the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.” So now the Obama campaign is going to flip flip on whether Romney’s a flip flopper. If the election is all that important, shouldn’t it be easy for them to make up their minds?
The Romney. Fear: “Romney isn’t an ideological moderate. He’s a pragmatic executive. When he needs to govern from the center, he does. When he needs to lurch to the right, off he goes. So if you want to know how he’ll govern, don’t listen to what he says. Look at who he has reason to fear” (Ezra Klein). A lesson here, for “progressives.”
The Obama. Headline you never want to see: “Obama campaign attempts to quell panic.” … Pollster: “Democratic pollster Tom Jensen: ‘I’m open to the idea of freaking out, but I’m not quite there yet.'” ,… Mêng (Youthful Folly): “Obama’s campaign is divided into two camps: impassive warhorses and anxiety-ridden newbies. Battle-scarred operatives have been doing nonstop psychic triage since the debate, calming nerves. That became easier on Wednesday when the first patch of internal polls came back from key swing states. They revealed that Obama was not in free fall, as some feared, but that his support has returned to where it was in July and August. ‘Voters haven’t switched from us to him,’ the strategist said. ‘But they are giving him a second look.’ In other words, in 90 minutes, Obama flushed a month’s worth of convention and 47-percent bounce.” Ha. So I guess we know which age cohort that leak to the Daily Mail came from. ….
* Slogan of the day: Learn From Comrade Mitt Romney!
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Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):