Recent Items

Links 1/6/12

Posted on by

Cat caught smuggling phone into Brazilian jail Guardian (John L). Poor cat, looks like the stuff was duct taped.

Oldest Man Turning 115 Can Thank Lottery Win-Like Genes Bloomberg

NP’s Care Equal to Doc’s, Review Finds MedPage (Aquifer)

Remembering the 1998 Ice Storm in Upstate New York and Montreal Borderless North (bob). Weather porn.

Ending the Silence on Climate Change Bill Moyers (Aquifer)

Atoms Reach Record Temperature, Colder than Absolute Zero LiveScience (Valissa)

Inside the meat lab: the future of food Guardian (John L)

Rising food prices will reap a bitter harvest Telegraph

Don’t Let Math Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes Wall Street Journal (Aquifer). Ahem, see here.

Indian gang-rape victim’s blood ‘on clothes of accused’ Guardian

Pamplona’s locksmiths join revolt as banks throw families from their homes Guardian

An Empirical Overview of Modern Sovereign Debt Litigation Credit Slips

US Army joins battle to save stricken Shell rig Telegraph

Right-Wingers Who Think They Got ‘Rolled’ by Obama In Cliff Deal Are Totally Crazy Alternet

Health Insurers Raise Some Rates by Double Digits New York Times. As we said, expect overpriced insurance that does not cover much….

Ackman’s Herbalife thesis: someone from the government will help poor people and billionaire hedge fund managers… John Hempton (bob)

The Blame the Community Reinvestment Act Industry Dean Baker

Surprise, Surprise: The Banks Win Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. On the pending OCC foreclosure settlement.

JPMorgan: US recovery about to “hit a pothole” Sober Look

History of the Proof Platinum Coin Concept, 2010-2013 Corrente. Lambert has created an infographic! Cool!

The Paradox of the Wage Slave Metaphorical Web. I have quibbles with some details of the history (for instance, the regimentation of workers started much earlier, with the large scale factories in the 1800s, and schools, not wars, were the means of getting the public used to regimentation) but this is still a good read.

Antidote du jour (Dr. Kevin). And before you say this looks Photoshopped, I’ve seen pix of cats I know personally in the same pose (and their human can barely take pictures, much the less doctor them):

Print Friendly
Twitter13DiggReddit0StumbleUpon0Facebook9LinkedIn0Google+2bufferEmail

100 comments

  1. Ned Ludd

    Aatish Bhatia, a physics grad studant at Rutgers, wrote a blog post using financial transactions to explain negative temperatures – “What the Dalai Lama can teach us about temperatures below absolute zero”.

    However, Buddhism was a break from asceticism. A better example for his analogy would be Jesus: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Matthew 19:21

    1. David Lentini

      A key aspect of Bhatia’s post is the point that “negative temperature” is not some new phenominon that opens the door to perpetual motion and other New Age and Star Trek goodies, which the original article refers to. As Bhatia explains, absolute zero is still the lowest temperature–you can’t get colder than no motion at all. Instead, the idea of negative temperature refers to the subtilties of defining temperatures for small collections of atoms; under those conditions–as Purcell and Pound demonstrated 50 years ago–you can get contrive energy distributions in a population of atoms that correspond to “negative temperature”. But don’t start your warp drive or perpetual motion machie any time soon!

    2. Jessica

      Thank you for the link to Bhatia’s post.
      I found it very helpful and recommend it for anyone with a taste for science for laypeople.

  2. SR6719

    Excerpt from London’s Overthrow (by China Miéville)

    “London, buffeted by economic catastrophe, vastly reconfigured by a sporting jamboree of militarised corporate banality, jostling with social unrest, still reeling from riots. Apocalypse is less a cliché than a truism. This place is pre-something.

    15 October: Occupy LSX, one of the world’s proliferating hashtag movements, converges on the financial district that declares itself, in synecdochic presumption, the City of London. They’re aiming for Paternoster Square, the stock exchange, to protest those who brought us to this trembling. Entrance, though, is not a right: the square, like great and growing swathes of corporatized London, once public, these days only pretends to be, and that if you ask nicely. Police block entrance. The protestors set up outside, by a convenient next-door cathedral. St Paul’s, Christopher Wren’s post-Great-Fire masterpiece. A grassroots response to one cataclysm in the splendid shadow of another to another.

    The pay gap between the highest and lowest paid in the UK has grown faster than in any other developed country, spiking since 2005. In 2008, average income of the top 10 percent was 12 times that of the lowest. Their riches grow. We others are told to tighten belts. Tax rates for the wealthiest have dropped, even as the gap between the merely rich and the utterly wealthy has grown.

    One of capitalism’s defences is the outrage-fatigue it engenders.

    We’re approaching Victorian levels of inequality, and London’s more unequal than anywhere else in the country. Here, the richest 10 percent hold two thirds of all wealth, the poorest half, one 20th. A fifth of working residents in the London boroughs of Brent, Newham, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham earn less than a living wage. Unemployment in the city is above 400,000, and rising. Almost a quarter of young Londoners are out of work. A wrenching 40 percent of London children live in poverty.

    The numbers mean death. Travel the grey Jubilee line. Eight stops, east from Westminster to Canning Town. Each stop, local life expectancy goes down a year.”

    http://www.londonsoverthrow.org/

    1. Valissa

      WOW… “synecdochic presumption”, what a phrase! Of course I had no idea what that meant when I first read it, but one of the many benefits of hanging out at this blog is learning new words.

      After looking up “synecdochic” on a few online dictionaries and still not getting the full picture, I went over to Wikipedia where a much more thorough explanation can be found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche

      Then after finally grokking what synecdoche meant I decided it was not a very useful word after all, despite how interesting it is. Some literary terms are best left the literatariat (aka literati) ;)

      At one time China Miéville posted comments on this blog, which I thought was pretty cool. But unfortunately he didn’t stay around.

      1. Liberace wept

        Frantic self-promoter China Mieville? Gone? Yet some random fan quotes Mieville’s work, with helpful links? Come on. Mieville is the Ashley Dupre of blogwhores and NC is the Elliot Spitzer of the internet, the powerful VIP in nylon socks. He’s not going anywhere.

        1. Valissa

          My take on the writing styles of China Mieville versus SR6719 is that they are not the same person, FWIW.

    2. SR6719

      Thanks, Valissa. When I read the London’s Overthrow article I knew I’d seen the name China Miéville somewhere before, but until now I didn’t realize that I must have seen it on this blog.

      It’s interesting that in addition to being a three time winner of the the Arthur C Clarke award for science fiction, he’s also an academic who published his PhD thesis as a book on Marxism and international law.

      Here he is (unless it’s someone who borrowed his name) responding to something craazyman wrote back in April 2012.

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/links-41312.html#comment-689723

      1. Liberace sobbed

        Now this is the same little capsule vita he gave when he first showed up to hawk his books. Ask yourself, who else on earth gives a shit? This would be unseemly even for the dying Robert Louis Stevenson, desperately trying to make a last buck for his family.

        1. SR6719

          Yep, looks like you’ve exposed me. I’m really China Miéville.

          The hundreds of comments I’ve made over the last two or three years where I never once mentioned China Miéville, and the fake IP address, which makes it appear like all of my comments are coming from the USA (and not London) was to try and avoid detection, so I could promote my books here without anyone suspecting anything.

          But in the end you were just too clever for me, so I might as well admit it.

          Damn! Foiled Again!

        2. Chief Inspector Clouseau

          The crooks never sleep and neither does Closeau!

          Don’t worry, I’m on this, I typed SR6719 into NC’s search engine to look for any references to China Miéville.

          I’ll all the way back to 2011 and so far SR6719 has not made a single reference to China Miéville before today, but that in itself is kind of suspicious.

          And I haven’t searched 2010 yet. You must trust no one. The viper in our bosom could be anyone.

        3. Claire

          Liberace sobbed or Liberace wept,

          Just let me make sure I’ve got this straight.

          SR6719 posted a comment today which was excerpted from an article by China Mieville and then he/she linked to the same article.

          And so, based on this alone you would have us believe SR6719 is in fact none other than the award winning British novelist and professor of International Relations China Mieville himself, using this blog to promote his books and articles.

          Really?

          But anyone can use NC’s search engine and see that SR6719 has a comment history going back two or more years and he/she has never made a single reference to China Mieville before today.

          If that’s all you’ve got, and you can’t provide any links proving that SR6719 is in fact China Mieville trying to promote his books on this blog, then that’s f**king insane, and FWIW, in my opinion (which I realize isn’t worth much) you should be banned from posting further comments on this blog.

  3. Ned Ludd

    More politicians should practice this type of austerity:

    Some world leaders live in palaces. Some enjoy perks like having a discreet butler, a fleet of yachts or a wine cellar with vintage Champagnes. Then there is José Mujica, the former guerrilla who is Uruguay’s president…

    Visitors reach Mr. Mujica’s austere dwelling after driving down O’Higgins Road, past groves of lemon trees. His net worth upon taking office in 2010 amounted to about $1,800 — the value of the 1987 Volkswagen Beetle parked in his garage. He never wears a tie and donates about 90 percent of his salary, largely to a program for expanding housing for the poor.

    1. diptherio

      Yes! Now that’s what I’m talking about. I wonder how many others, political leaders or not, will follow his example? Not enough, would be my guess.

  4. sam adams

    Did anyone else have trouble getting the article, The Paradox of the Wage Slave from Metaphorical Web?

    1. JTFaraday

      I get a message about a script that stopped responding, click stop or continue. I get this message a lot. Most of the time I click stop and it goes away.

      For this article, I had to click “continue” several times before it would load, but it finally did.

    2. Susan the other

      It downloaded no problem, but I couldn’t figure out the menu. “Classical” meant classical format and once I clicked it it was clear sailing. And worth it.

      1. JTFaraday

        Cognitive inertia!

        Yesterday’s WSJ article on negative thinking, which a lot of people didn’t like, offered some similar advice:

        “”Research by Saras Sarasvathy, an associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, suggests that learning to accommodate feelings of uncertainty is not just the key to a more balanced life but often leads to prosperity as well. For one project, she interviewed 45 successful entrepreneurs, all of whom had taken at least one business public. Almost none embraced the idea of writing comprehensive business plans or conducting extensive market research.

        They practiced instead what Prof. Sarasvathy calls “effectuation.” Rather than choosing a goal and then making a plan to achieve it, they took stock of the means and materials at their disposal, then imagined the possible ends. Effectuation also includes what she calls the “affordable loss principle.” Instead of focusing on the possibility of spectacular rewards from a venture, ask how great the loss would be if it failed. If the potential loss seems tolerable, take the next step.”

        re: The Power of Negative Thinking, Wall Street Journal. How did I miss this? :-)
        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324705104578147333270637790.html?mod=WSJ_MostPopular_US

        1. Aquifer

          JT – hmmm, another one of my screws must have fallen out, because I don’t get the connection … somehow “consulting your gut” and “learning to live with uncertainty” don’t quite equate in my way of thinking, but then equations were never my string point …

        2. Paul Tioxon

          “…they took stock of the means and materials at their disposal, then imagined the possible ends.”
          Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/links-1612-2.html#3Ivq0REjKZg1mfMs.99

          This is straight up Reveille For Radicals by Saul Alinsky. HMMM perhaps she is an Obamacista? At any rate, organize around your resources, not what you don’t have. Use what you DO have, to get what you DON’T have. If people did this in their lives in general, as an operating principal, they would not have to borrow or go into debt. Business plans are the pre-req for venture capital funding, pre-mezzanine cash and angel investors etc. You give up power, control and equity and explain it all in yr plan. Trial and error would be a better move for most people, as this Virginia prof indicates is the case for the everyday world.

  5. run75441

    Interesting Dean Baker article on the CRA and the continued heaping of blame on it for the 2008 crash of TBTF and Wall Street. Most of the loans in trouble were ALT-A in design which typically go to the middle and higher classes in pursuit of Summer homes and that big boat. The CRA was in place for decades before the crash and with little detrimental impact.

    While there is nothing wrong with an ALT-A loan, many of the ALT-A were written in a fraudelent manner. The percentage I seem to remember was 80% of these loans were suspect.

    1. Jackrabbit

      CRA’s supposed role is used to bolster the myth that “we are all to blame.”

      Reformers and critics take issue with details of the crisis and rescue in a disconected way that fails to hit home with any but other would-be reformers. Whether you like it or not, The Powers That Be (TPTB) have defined the terms of the debate – encapsulated as the following ‘truisms’:
      1 – We are all to blame (false equivalence)
      2 – No one should get a ‘free house’ (moral strawman)
      3 – The heath of the Banks is paramount (TINA – blackmailing ourselves with public policy imperatives).

      1. Aquifer

        ISTM it is time to stop debating on their terms ….

        That is ALWAYS a mistake, IMO – never let the other side determine the terms of the debate unchallenged – and if you decide to use the same terms, insist on your own definition , as in, e.g. “entitlements = something one is entitled to because one has earned/paid for them” …

        1. Jackrabbit

          Yes. You are completely correct. It’s never a good idea to let others determine the terms of the debate.

          But what has happened is that Joe Sixpack has accepted these as truths. And evidence to the contrary is couched in narrow technical terms for the cognoscenti.

          You can’t win a debate by ignoring what the other side says.

          =====

          And, I misspoke. These are not the terms of debate, just the answers of TPTB. The terms are more like:
          - Who is to blame?
          - Is there a legal case?
          - What is the cost/benefit to prosecute?
          - What is the proper role of government?
          - etc.

          ====

          To say that CRA was not a major factor in the crisis is almost meaningless unless it is cast in terms of the larger debate. It is an important finding because it undermines the argument that “we are all to blame.” Bankers WERE NOT forced by Government/society/”All of us” to give loans to people that couldn’t pay.

          1. Aquifer

            ” ….evidence to the contrary is couched in narrow technical terms for the cognoscenti.”

            Well shucks, whose fault is that?

    2. evodevo

      I’ve gotten this CRA crap from every conservative friend/relative/acquaintance I know for the last 5 years. It’s been debunked by Barry Ritholz on numerous occasions – I keep emailing them his takedown – but to a fundie, facts are superfluous. Ideology is everything, and CRA is a comforting myth that those “other people” were ultimately responsible for the “downturn”, not our Financial Fathers. You can’t dig this out of their skulls with a pickaxe.

    1. Valissa

      LOL… great comedy routine! My favorite line…

      “… that’s funny, right? We’re a bunch of capitalists, borrowing money from a bunch of communists, so we can bring democracy to a bunch of Muslims who don’t even want it!”

  6. diptherio

    It’s interesting that Cagle can display such astounding cognitive dissonance when it comes to his future predictions, given that his analysis of the contemporary situation is otherwise quite sober and realistic. This paragraph gives a good idea:

    So how does a society get out of this trap [inadequate demand due to increasing automation, basically]? My own belief is that in the end, it decentralizes. Power production shifts from long pipelines of petroleum based fuels to locally generated power sources – solar, wind, geothermal, hydrothermal, small nuclear (such as small thorium reactors), some local oil and natural gas production, intended primarily to achieve power sufficiency for a region with enough to handle shortfalls elsewhere in a power network. This provides jobs – both constructing such systems and maintaining them – and insures that energy profits remain within the region.

    He goes on to give a whole list of things that he thinks we should do/will do as a society to get out of the wage-slave trap, and it all sounds fine: tax corporations for infrastructure and educational support, provide everyone a base salary, universal healthcare, etc.

    The problem with Cagle’s predictions/recommendations, however, is clearly explained by him just a few paragraphs prior:

    …the same corporate capture of the government provides a chokehold on the ability to impose such requirements on corporations. In effect the oligarchical control of the government continues to pursue policies that locally increase their profits, but at the systemic cost of destroying the consumer base upon which those profits depend. It is, in many respects, yet another example of the tragedy of the commons.

    Cagle seems to address this at the end of his essay when he says that we need to work at the state and local level (which I agree with), but most all of his suggestions for improvement are national in scope: most of them are not things states could do on their own, especially if only a few states do them. Tax increases on corporations, for instance, are not something any one state is going to do in isolation, since everyone is afraid of losing their tax-rate comparative advantage to a neighboring state.

    His analysis of the contemporary situation seems clear-eyed enough, but his musings on where we go from here seem overly optimistic, especially considering what he says in his analysis of the present. Cognitive Dissonance: no one is immune…

    1. Susan the other

      I liked and agreed with Cagle’s summary of where we are and how we got here. I’m encouraged by his analysis of the Millenials. Here’s to them. Sometimes old ideas just fade away like old fishermen, they become so useless. But I kinda differ on unions: I think we have had unions in other forms for all of our existence – in early feudal times the ragtag serfs all got together to make their “pleas” to the “court.” No? And why was there a power structure that made this necessary? That’s my question. It is self defeating – it takes a thousand years, but it’s self defeating. i’d love to see the day, soon, when all the office space is unmarketable and is turned into new living space. It goes without saying (imo) that productivity is totally divorced from real economics. I was glad he touched on it.

    2. Ed

      I thought the essay was disappointing, it seemed really thought provoking at first and then the argument sort of disintegrated as the essay went on (and part of the problem was that the essay was much too long).

      “The Paradox of the Wage Slave” seems to belong to the genre of futurism when the author makes about two dozen observations and predictions, based on no data, so that you agree where his intuition is on and disagree where you can’t follow it. There are enough observations and predictions that one or two of them at least will be correct, but if you look closely they don’t have much to do with each other and there is nothing to back them up.

      Judging from the comment Cagle posted to his own essay, he doesn’t seem like a charlatan and probably ha a fews ideas that would be worth a few separate essays, fully fleshed out and backed by data.

    1. JTFaraday

      “Schultz will help Django rescue his wife Broomhilda”

      Broomhilda? Seriously? You mean like this?

      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.thecartoonists.ca/images/BroomHilda.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.thecartoonists.ca/Index_files/2001pages/TC%2520-%2520Russell%2520Myers,%2520Creator%2520of%2520Broom-Hilda.htm&usg=__aTXaFzTjS_2e2PaJQ11oWOlpBDE=&h=165&w=211&sz=17&hl=en&start=12&zoom=1&tbnid=AmWeyOpaK-xcGM:&tbnh=83&tbnw=106&ei=68_pUPn-C-vU0gHoqIGoAg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbroomhilda%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1

  7. jack hepler

    All praises and thanks to Lambert and Yves for shining some light on Platinum Coin Seigneurage. Best single article on the subject is
    http://www.correntewire.com/the_presidents_leverage_he_can_go_platinum by letsgetitdone

    PCS begins with the simple notion that Pres Obomber could order up and deposit a trillion dollar coin to add to US Treausry account at the Federal Reserve, thus creating space under the debt limit— to borrow more money!
    Fine, this is a stopgap, a gimmick but looks legitimate in terms of economics (no inflation) and legality. Nice if an FDR jr had the guts to step up and do it. Drive a lively political conversation I’d say…..

    But it begs what I think is a huge issue here— are we better off with our present, private debt-based system of money creation or would we be better off with a debt-free fiat currency issued by the Government? This I think is the elephant in the room.
    A few facts: first, a Federal Reserve note is in its way a “fiat” currency, redeemable for nothing but another federal reserve note. So in terms of intrinsic or redeemable value, today’’s currency is no great shakes. Second, the Constitution mandates that Congress shall have the right to coin money. Looking at today;s Congress, one’s appetite for Govt issued money diminishes…. But still looks better than the alternative. Third, we are already, today, issuing about 4% of our US money supply as debt-free currency in coins and bills. The other 96% comes from the banks…. So we already have a precedent tho I do not know who really controls the creation of this 4%; specifically how much of a hand does Congress have in our current process.

    Without actually mentioning the clash between private, debt-based money and debt-free Govt money, letsgetitdone jumps into the next steps: why cant we just buy back all of our Govt T-bill debt that is held by the huge Fed banks? Apparently amounting to $1.6 trillion, most of these bonds have been bought on borrowed money from the FedReserve at .25% interest but pay 3-4% interest!! And guaranteed all the way round.
    [Apparently the FedReserve does not itself hold T-bills so we’d have to issue 100 billion dollar coins (or some such) to repay each Fed bank properly.]
    This looks completely sensible and legal to me.

    Letsgetitdone then proposes a next step: $6.7 trillion dollars worth of coins to pay back previously mentioned Fed debt AND normalize all other intragovernmental debt. Sounds fine to me but here I’m at the limit of my accounting & economic chops.
    Unfortunately letsgetitdone couches all of this in terms of the government being able to borrow more money. I scratch my balding head. I’d love to hear from my betters if this is an important point: That platinum coins could be the beginning steps of the government taking back control of the issuance of money and NOT have to keep borrowing for chrissakes. Notice that in this process, the Govt does not have to revoke the banks right to create money from debt…. Noooo its a perfect flank attack.

    Letsgetitdone posits other multi-trillion coin schemes that I would rather leave out of the argument for now. Because what we have here is legally doable, economically feasible and politically a firestorm…. But this issue needs to be revisited now 100 years after Jekyll Island

    Incidentally, gazing into my crystal ball, I see the main argument against this apart from the hurricane of obfuscation: Morality— We borrowed the money, we have to pay it back! Civilization would crumble!

    Thank you, letsgetitdone

      1. jack hepler

        At your Jesse’s Cafe link, his point

        >But what they forget, or rather, what they would like us to forget, that a
        >modern fiat currency is based on the full faith and credit of the issuer,
        >and the willingness of people in the market place to trust them, and the
        >integrity of their actions.

        No this is not forgotten: full faith and credit of the Federal Reserve, with th backing of the US Govt? Or full faith and credit in the USG direct? Havent they (Fed system) done a great job in the past 100 years? Enrich the banks and financial sector beyond their wildest dreams? Indebt the rest of the country including the Govt itself beyond what anyone thought possible? In Alan Greenspan, Tim Geithner and JippyMo YOU trust?

        In fact you and the vast majority of “our elites” do NOT take PCS seriously because it sounds too crazy. Why bother to read any further when a sophisticated sneer will suffice.

        I look forward to analysis by our Fearless Leader one of these days.

    1. Klassy!

      But why would anyone suspect photoshopping? Such embraces are an everyday occurrence in my household.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    My cat asks me to say this about the antidote: Nothing about cats is ever black and white.

    I think she’s saying cats are more sophisticated…or maybe she’s saying I look like organic catfood to her – it’s hard to understand her. My universal translater doesn’t always work.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Oldest living man…Lottery win-like genes.

    I notice he also doesn’t have a smart phone nor solar panels on his roof.

    Coincidences? Maybe not…

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Health insurers raise some rates by double digits.

    Yes, but I am thankful mine is going up only double digits and not triple digits.

    It’s the best of all possible health-insurance worlds.

  11. Ned Ludd

    Daily Kos has become a vacuous place even for loyal Democrats:

    However, we seem to be less and less engaged in activism. From my perspective, climate change is the existential threat of our lifetimes, and we seem to be less and less interested in environmental issues. With the exception of Animal Nuz (written by a long-time member of our community), the comics don’t add much to the site. With a couple of notable exceptions, the front-pagers have very little to do with us peons. (Thanks to DK4, we can see what folks are recommending, and many of the front pagers just recommend each others’ diaries.) For me, one my most recent concerns was the piece on luxury car shopping that appeared on the front page a few weeks ago. This is DKos, not GQ. Someone should be exercising some editorial judgement here. How about a piece on fuel-efficient cars instead?

    I searched for the post on luxury cars, written by a front-pager. It sounds like crass product placement.

    Everything that happened at the Lincoln dealership Friday seemed to fit in with this ethos. If Lincoln was looking for middle aged Xers who will not pay an arm and a leg for a luxury car, but still want to look like a grown up, they found at least one. They made me feel like I had graduated. The car seemed to fit me. Now I was about to do something more than just the simple act of buying some wheels. Hell, I don’t even need a car and they seemed to know that too. This is New York!

    The writer even included a link to the Lincoln site and embedded a video advertisement in the comments. The hand-wringing that follows reads like satire:

    I’m not the kind of person who regularly makes shopping out to be more than what it is. I too have had my bouts of condesension towards consumerism and consumption. But think of it like this: Some people … some designers, some engineers, some marketing people … a whole bunch of people earned their living figuring out how to get me to that showroom and buy so that they can earn a decent living. Perhaps that is why my parents and grandparents weren’t so cynical about buying stuff. These things … these things … they signify something about us. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so dismissive of consumerism, but instead we should take it more seriously.

    Go out and buy luxury goods to support all those hard-working designers, engineers, and marketing people. Democrats sound more and more like Bush.

      1. Ned Ludd

        Lifestyle liberalism! Reminded me of “The Perriello Way”, by Chris Hayes:

        Progressives nationwide fell for Perriello for a few reasons. First, he seemed to be one of us. Born and raised in the district, he had an eclectic background that included a Yale law degree, time in West Africa and Afghanistan working on issues of transitional justice and his founding an organization of Catholics committed to social justice… When I spoke with [Perriello] earlier this year about the mood of his district and voters’ distrust, he ran through a long, erudite analysis that name-checked Francis Fukuyama and Hegel before he stopped and said, “Boy, I’m a real man of the people this morning, aren’t I?”

        Perriello voted for war funding and for a bailout of European banks. He refused to pledge not to cut Social Security. But, for Hayes, he’s “one of us”. He went to an elite university. He’s a world traveler. He can name-check Francis Fukuyama and Hegel and follow that with a self-deprecating remark about how much smarter he is than other people. This is what it means to be a progressive.

          1. Ned Ludd

            Christopher Hayes:

            “I honestly can’t remember the last time I had an original thought,” he says, laughing. “It’s just like total pastiche. It’s like if you steal from enough different sources, you can look original.”

            He also revealed: “I did a lot of theater. That’s mostly what I did. I directed in plays, I acted in plays, I wrote plays.” I’d say Hayes is still performing; Hayes was hired by GE/Comcast and given his own show because they found him useful. No matter how conflicted he pretends to feel about supporting the Democratic Party, in the end, he will always model compliance.

            On Twitter, Matt Stoller made these comments today:

            • “Chris doesn’t talk policies when the dialogue matters. No talk of SS cuts during election.

            • “Chris was free advertising for Obama in 2012. Today he’s a critic. His role is to sell GE to liberals.”

    1. I am Kos

      As a sophisticated Kos reading progressive you are accustomed to luxury, so why settle for less in your car?

      The BMW i8 carries more progressive status than any of its competitors. Not only does ownership imply wealth but also a degree of superior taste reflected by the brand’s understated glamour. Starting at only US $122,800.

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

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Paradox of the Wage Slave Metaphorical Web. I have quibbles with some details of the history (for instance, the regimentation of workers started much earlier, with the large scale factories in the 1800s, and schools, not wars, were the means of getting the public used to regimentation) but this is still a good read.

    And no doubt our schools, especially our best-in-the-world, post-secondary schools, are better than ever at doing that public regimentation job.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Telegraph – rising food prices will reap a bitter harvest.

    Luckily, that’s not inflation. So, we should be OK.

    When the workers are getting paid more, that’s when we have to worry about inflation.

    Nothing to see or read here.

    1. frosty zoom

      remember you can substitute!

      packing peanut butter for skippy;

      crab grass for foie gras;

      cats for cat food;

      and mistake for shiitake…

  14. Valissa

    Vladimir Putin presents Gerard Depardieu with his Russian passport http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/9783711/Vladimir-Putin-presents-Gerard-Depardieu-with-his-Russian-passport.html

    Too funny… Gérard Depardieu’s Unlikely Ally: National Review http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2013/01/05/gerard-depardieus-unlikely-ally-national-review/

    Now, Belgium is so yesterday’s news… ‘Non’ to France: Depardieu stays in Belgium despite tax waiver http://rt.com/news/depardieu-tax-belgium-change-102/

    So will he live in Russia part of the year and Belgium the rest? Of course the 1% can pretty much live wherever they want.

  15. charles sereno

    Just my one-vote opinion that Links were slightly sub-par today (benefit, saving time), except for the final item, including the Antidote. Heart-shaped Black and White tails, not photoshopped or improvised? My faith holds me in abeyance.

      1. charles sereno

        How about this thought — As Downton Abbey Season 3 progresses, recruit Yves to portray an obscure lady economist in philosophic exchanges with John Maynard Keynes?

        1. Valissa

          Great idea… I nominate Beatrice Webb an English sociologist, economist, socialist and social reformer. … She coined the term collective bargaining. Along with her husband Sidney Webb and numerous others, she co-founded the London School of Economics and Political Science and played a crucial role in the forming of the Fabian Society.

          Another female economist, who would be time-period appropriate is Edith Abbott. Though she was an American, she did attend the London School of Economics prior to getting her Ph.D. in economics at the U. of Chicago.

          1. Valissa

            Another correction… Edith Abbot attended the London Scool of Ecnomics AFTER getting her Ph.D.

          2. charles sereno

            Your links to Beatrice Potter Webb and Edith Abbot were informative and very relevant to the role of women in non-traditional areas. I got distracted and refreshed my memory about Beatrix Potter (no relation to Beatrice Potter Webb or Harry), who could’ve become an outstanding scientist. Both Beatrix and Beatrice lived until 1943 and Edith Abbot until 1957. Edith, in particular, deserves to better known. Other entries of obscure, scientific women in my memory also popped out. The first two were Sor Juana and Marie Germain, also worth looking up.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Links are a function of news flow. Less news on non-crisis weekends means less underlying material. Unless there are good op eds or other articles, there’s often less good material. Plus Links also serve to flag a fair bit of the major news stories, so those won’t necessarily be inspired or inspiring either. Links ALSO take a lot of time which mean I can’t do as much original posting.

      1. DANNYBOY

        We’ve had “non-crisis weekends”?! Not in the loop, I guess.

        When’s the next one scheduled?

  16. Jackrabbit

    Ending The Silence On Climate Change

    Seems like more “we’re all to blame” claptrap. ‘WE’ can’t _see_ the problem! ‘WE’ *are* the problem!

    PLDBT

    1. Aquifer

      Sorry, Jack – but we all DO have a hand, or two, or a few feet …. in this. No one is holding a gun to our heads – we are all burning the stuff – even as crummy as TPTB are, that 1% couldn’t let loose all those greenhouse gasses all by themselves, even if they are bunch of old farts …

      1. Jackrabbit

        Sorry Aquifer, I think you’re wrong about this.

        It’s a global problem that requires a governmental response. What response has there been thus far? Whatever is has been, it has been severely inadequate.

        Who has the ear of governments? Joe Sixpack or those with wealth and power that don’t care to see any changes and believe that their money makes them immune to any problems?

        And who are the 8% that are so dead-set against climate change? What makes them so certain? Perhaps its simply that they or someone they know works in an industry that would be affected and thus side with the oil industry for economic reasons?

        AND if you have followed the climate change debate, you would be aware of shenanigans that seek to attack the science and forestall change. Governments knew about climate change over 20 years ago. The UN brought scientists together in, what 1992? so that they could make a more effective case – but they came together at that time because they could already make a basic case.

        Now, 20 years later, very little has been done and Scientists have upped their forecast from a 2 degree rise to a 4 degree rise (which many say is conservative due to knock-on effects).

        Is EVERYBODY TO BLAME? This is a re-run of subprime. Some said we ALL benefited from easy credit. Even if you didn’t take out a loan, the economy was supercharged by all the credit that was available. Yet we now know that it was a false prosperity that only set us for great hardship.

        And, there are WERE warnings about both of these systemic risks but most ‘leaders’ and other ‘responsible people’ ignored them or choose to believe self-serving industry shrills.

        1. Aquifer

          “It’s a global problem that requires a governmental response. What response has there been thus far?”

          And who elects the government? If you want a government that responds appropriately, you have to choose one that does … The D/Rs response, or lack thereof, to climate change is well known …. when we put them back in office we send the message “Climate change? Eh …”

  17. Westcoastliberal

    Regarding the Gretchen Morgenson piece, it’s also important to note the early pr regarding the OCC’s change of mind will allow the banksters to count “donated” properties as part of the $10 Billion. I’ll bet that real estate won’t be located in the Hamptons; more likely downtown Detroit.
    Like everything else related to the foreclosure fraud meltdown, this stinks to high heaven.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Right, the way the Elite offloads their RE crap to co-conspiring “universities” for a tax-deduction at “whatever the shill market will bear.” The little guy taxpayer ends up footing the bill for this “elite” arrangement, and also for “memorial” architecture at the “university” in exchange for a “tax-exempt donation” from the “elite” funder. Have you priced a tombstone in granite with Joe Blow’s name and dates of mortal existence thereon? Why doesn’t the IRS go after this “memorial” RACKET between donor and university?

    2. DANNYBOY

      any explanation for why foreclosed folks don’t just move into those nice Hamptons houses. I just got back, and can report that they’re mostly empty until Summer. Also, a potential solution for folks displaced by Hurricane Sandy, who’s government is giving the finger.

  18. JaniceMesh

    In Paradox of the Wage Slave, Mr. Kagle fails to mention the imporation of tens of millions of illegals and legals to undercut wages and destroy the ability of the Working Class to demand livable wages. Quite an oversight for such a meticulous author. Or, perhaps a willful omission.

    Thorium reactors? Looks like tin has been replaced by thorium for making foil hats.

    1. Aquifer

      The folks who “undercut wages” are the ones who pay lousy wages – if there were a minimum wage law that made it illegal to pay less than a living wage to ANYONE, “illegal” or not, there would be no problem of any worker undercutting any other. The answer is for all workers, “illegal” or not, to band together and refuse to work for less than that …

      Pitting one set of workers against another helps no one ….

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Aquifer, why shouldn’t States do the same, in solidarity agains extortionist corporations doing State-to-State “tax arbitrage”?

      2. diane

        I didn’t read that Janice is against (foreign people), if you were referring to her being pitted against other workers, versus being angry about the policy itself?
        I think she’s correct that the author certainly should have brought it up, and was referring to the fact that the employers setting up the pitting process, by deliberately replacing citizens with foreign workers, should be addressed. I may differ a little in her opinion, in that I think the Visas are a far, far larger issue, than illegal immigrants. There’s been an obscene push (and obscene bipartisan corpgov political support for) for more and more visas at a time of stunning unemployment, under the bogus premise that US workers are not experienced enough. Certainly an utter lie, as those same Multinationals have been insinuated into the US educational systems for decades, especially in those areas, such as Silicon Valley, were many of the only available jobs are offered.

        To offer an analogy, take a hypothetical town with a 10% employment rate, would it be okay to offer whatever jobs there are to foreign persons with the same educations as those unemployed? Of course not. I’d go even further and say that those citizens should be offered training before hiring outside of that town., if some weren’t as ‘educated.’

        Some links on the subject, which generally never hit Mainstream Noooz:

        07/12/2012 The Never Ending Science & Technology Job Lie http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/never-ending-science-technology-job-lie

        10/23/12 What Americans don’t know about H-1B visas could hurt us all http://www.cringely.com/2012/10/23/what-americans-dont-know-about-h-1b-visas-could-hurt-us-all/

        06/22/11 H1-B Visa Program Creates Caste System for Silicon Valley http://www.sfweekly.com/content/printVersion/2531269/

        For Silicon Valley, California – which ‘boasts’ in demographic charts, a stunningly racist and pathetic maximum 3% African American population in its core Santa Clara County communities(versus 13% countrywide average) – this issue is in addition to this ugly reality:

        Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.8 million jobs between 2001 and 2010

        ….
        The three hardest-hit congressional districts [Nationally] were all located in Silicon Valley in California, including the 15th (Santa Clara County, which lost 44,700 jobs, equal to 13.77 percent of all jobs in the district), the 14th (Palo Alto and nearby cities, 32,700 jobs, 10.20 percent), and the 16th (San Jose and other parts of Santa Clara County, 29,000 jobs, 9.55 percent). Of the top 20 hardest-hit districts, seven were in California (in rank order, the 15th, 14th, 16th, 13th, 31st, 34th, and 50th)

        (Link: http://www.epi.org/publication/bp345-china-growing-trade-deficit-cost/ )

  19. RanDomino

    “(for instance, the regimentation of workers started much earlier, with the large scale factories in the 1800s, and schools, not wars, were the means of getting the public used to regimentation)”

    I had no idea your analysis was so good! I guess it had better be, after reading all these articles for years.

  20. Bill Frank

    The climate change communication “expert” interviewed by Bill Moyer was a huge disappointment.

    First, he significantly understated the urgent/dire/drastic/etc./etc. need for immediate action. The ranks of real experts saying immediate action is necessary grows with the passing of every extraordinay season. Too many, like Moyer’s guest, are well intentioned, but fail at ringing the alarm bell as forcefully as circumstances warrant. He called California’s law a “model” to build on. Absurd. Even if the law survives major challenges in court, returning to 1990 levels is not going to cut it. 1990 levels were too high then and they’re too high now.

    Then, he says that change must take place from the bottom up. The bottom up approach always sounds good. It carries a populist tone that sometimes provides great inspiration. Sorry, we’re way beyond bottom up to fix the mess we’ve created. There are good things people can do, but anything short of a complete effort by everyone, bottom and top, will prove fatal for hundreds of millions of humans and countless species. And if a complete effort is postponed another 10 – 15 years, we will resolve any and all issues related to over-population. Perhaps forever.

  21. kadybat

    No surprise that JP Morgan is predicting a fall in the US economy shortly after they’re handed control of a large chunk of it by the SEC. Will none of these bankers’ criminal manipulations be punished? How long do we continue to trust their depravity and bow to their greed?

  22. Glenn Condell

    ‘Australia is likely to have posted a record average maximum on Monday, beating the previous high of 40.17 degrees on December 21, 1976, according to Karl Braganza, manager of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology.’

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/dome-of-heat-covers-the-continent-20130107-2ccno.html#ixzz2HHeTd0m9

    “Don’t just think, ‘Tomorrow is another bush fire danger day, tomorrow is another summer’s day’. Tomorrow is going to be the worst fire danger day in parts of this state we’ve ever experienced in history.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/fires-blaze-as-state-prepares-for-heatwave-20130107-2cbto.html#ixzz2HHeJsbjf

    43 forecast for Sydney tomorrow. So much for avoiding the heatwave. Still, Hay had 48 a few days ago and my birthplace Wagga is surrounded by blazes, most out of control. Could be worse.

    She’ll be right!

Comments are closed.