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Links 2/22/13

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Lake Louise lynx refuse to be fenced in Calgary Herald (frosty zoom). OMG, so pretty!

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food New York Times

Why Beasts of the Southern Wild should win best picture – video Guardian. This is as crazy call, but I really liked that picture. I’m really behind on movies and might be able to run out and catch up this weekend. What one picture should I see (and I have seen Lincoln and Django).

USDA Economist: Sharp Drop in Commodity Prices Coming AgWeb

Are rates mispriced or are investors missing something? FT Alphaville

Lawrence Lessig Lecture On Aaron Swartz, Law and Justice In The Digital Age DS Wright, Firedoglake

Rep. Alan Grayson: Remembering Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013 YouTube

Satellite images reveal Bangkok is sinking Cocoanuts Bangkok (furzy mouse)

France freezes spending to hit EU targets as slump deepens Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

‘Gambling Away Trust’: Fears Rise of a Berlusconi Resurrection Der Spiegel

Revealed: al-Qaeda’s 22 tips for dodging drones Telegraph

Catfood watch:

Sequester of Fools Paul Krugman, New York Times

America’s military can handle anything … except a budget cut Guardian

A job should be a right, not a privilege! New Economic Perspectives

Ella Baker and the Limits of Charismatic Masculinity Pascal Robert, Black Agenda Report (Carol B)

What Led Chris Dorner to Go Off the Edge: Workplace Abuse, Racism, and Unfair Firing Mark Ames, Alternet

Representation without y’know representation Attaturk, Firedoglake

Deranging America Counterpunch (Carol B)

New York mom charged with child endangerment after hiring strippers to perform lap dances at her 16-year-old son’s birthday party, police say Daily News. Eeek, she’s probably toast. Child endangerment in New York includes “moral welfare” of the child. And the age limit is 17.

NYT Company to sell Boston Globe Guardian

Cost of Dropping Citizenship Keeps U.S. Earners From Exit Bloomberg

US unemployment claims increase amid signs of divisions within Fed Guardian

CFTC sues Nymex over information leaks Financial Times

Despite Aid, Borrowers Still Face Foreclosure New York Times. Apparently none of these people got the memo. 1. The mortgage settlement was not about helping homeowners. 2. Anyone who knows contracts knows that intent counts for squat. The banks have the choice of how to meet their obligations under the deal. The people who are bitching are bizarrely blaming the banks rather than Obama, Geithner, and Shaun Donovan.

MARC FABER: The Stock Market Has Peaked Clusterstock

U.S. Banks Would Look Scarier If They Were European Banks Matt Levine, Dealbreaker

Disclosure 2.5: Moving from the Lab to the Field Lauren Willis, Credit Slips

“Rational’ Totalitarianism Counterpunch (Carol B)

Antidote du jour:

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149 comments

      1. bobh

        So many people are repeating this meme–that the film Amour is moving and beautiful–that the film’s word-of-mouth marketing strategies should be studied by flacks working for the emporer who has no clothes.

        I saw the movie with four friends, all of whom have spent time in recent years nursing elderly family members with serious physical and neurological impairments during the final year(s) of their lives. All agreed–spontaneously, sitting in our seats while the credits rolled–that this silly movie was bleakness porn for trendy people who want to pretend they have have had a “meaningful” experience with end-of-life. There was nothing in it about the small acts of love and support that materialize from all sides in these situations. From the misleading trailer suggesting that the movie was in some way about music, to the fake, non-existent scary intruder footage, this cynical director was telling lies to the beautiful celebs who flock to Cannes. And now people are rushing to the mall to share in the beauty of disabled people in diapers and a husband smothering his wife with a pillow. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t say you weren’t warned.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          bobh, quite right. When real “Amour” is involved, it doesn’t work like this. But as a “feel good” end-of-life soap opera designed for the Culture of Death, it’s a mass-market “winner” encouraging uxoricide “When you just can’t take it anymore.” Let’s hear it for the pathetic weenies out there.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am still trying to catch up on old, sorry, older movies.

        The other night, I watched a good one, from Australia, Red Dog, from the 70′s or 80′s. It was very enjoyable, especially the showdown scene between Red Dog and Red Cat.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As good as that sounds, nothing calls forth a hanky more than watching the economy, the non-fictional economy, not its fictional counterpart, which is in a different aisle.

    2. Montanamaven

      Do you want to what to see or who will win? David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” is one of my favorites. Bursting with life and captures family relationships with reality and pizazz. If you like “The Fighter”, you will love “SLP”, but the first 20 minutes are a bit frightening if you know somebody who is bi-polar. The ensemble is fantastic. Love Jackie Weaver. Never know she’s Australian. “Life of Pi” is visionary and about something complex. So is “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. Politically, I suppose you should see “Argo” and wonder about why this movie now? Hollywood loves this movie. It’s about Hollywood, after all. And you don’t get many feel good movies about the CIA…well cuz you shouldn’t. For a great CIA movie watch De Niro’s creepy “The Good Shepherd” starring Matt Damon.
      “Argo” will win best picture. David O. Russell gets best director since Affleck wasn’t nominated. And deserves it although Ang lee deserves it for “Life of Pi”. He actually knows how to use all this new fangled stuff like 3-D. “Amour” will win best foreign film. I very much liked the Danish “A Royal Affair” about trying to bring enlightened ideas to Denmark in the late 1700′s when revolution was in the air. Like “Lincoln” it shows the behind the scenes machinations of the King’s council and the power plays. “No” is about Pinochet’s Chile. I want to see that.
      Glad you saw “Django”. I loved it. It breaks the mold. It shows the violence of slavery without the actual violence. If you think about it, you don’t see her get whipped, but you sure think you saw it and felt it. And the gun scenes are all very balletic like a Peckinpah with blobs of flesh flying through the air.

  1. timotheus

    “Amour” is a must, also check out “The Gatekeepers” to hear what the six former heads of Shin Bet think of their handiwork now and “No” for a very accurate portrayal of what happened when Pinochet ran for president alone and came in second.

      1. Montanamaven

        “Oh boy, that’s too bad.” Of course Pinochet’s loss was about years and years, decades of citizen resistance. But I’ll wait and see myself, but I’m not crazy about seeing a movie about a cute boyish skinny George Lakoff and his victory thru framing.

  2. Furzy Mouse

    Have not caught “Beasts…” yet, but intelligent and rave reviews abound…so on my list…I’m still 100% for “Life of Pi” (in 3D, a must)…and at the bottom of the list: “Lincoln” the dog, and “Les Mis”, dog of a dog….also getting a lot of press is “5 Broken Cameras” a documentary about the Palestinian occupation, and “Gatekeeper”…

    1. oregonchris

      I thought Les Mis was great. I saw Django and enjoyed it, but too gruesome for me to ever watch it again.

  3. JohnL

    “Child endangerment in New York includes “moral welfare” of the child. And the age limit is 17.” Which was her age when she had him. Which means she was likely 16 when she got pregnant.

    And why weren’t the “many adults who later said they were outraged at the sexually charged performances” outraged enough to do something at the time? Or did they only become outraged after the mom got arrested? And strippers can’t tell a 13 year old from an adult?

    But it’s OK, they got the bad person. Deranged America indeed.

  4. ohmyheck

    Don’t waste your time on Les Mis. Ugh. Argo or Silver Linings Playbook. Argo is a good action film, and SLP will make you uncomfortable, but the character-driven performances are terrific. My 2 cents…

  5. petridish

    Re: Military “budget” cuts

    The Defense Dept. is “unauditable” and has been for at least a decade. In other words, they have no record of how much they spend or what they spend it on. This is never mentioned in any sequester discussions.

    Exactly how is it, then, that they are CERTAIN that these cuts will be “devastating?”

    What is so maddening about articles like this is that it attempts to address the argument that defense always only needs MORE MONEY rationally.

    1. anyone

      Well, but any organization that goes by the moniker Department of Defense, whose primary mission is to invade, sack, loot, and plunder foreign sovereigns merely for the pleasure and/or profit of our imperialist gentry is pretty much by definition not entirely rational, now is it?

    2. different clue

      This is simply every department playing along with Obama to scare us with how very terrifying the sequester will be so that we will all “call our Congressman” to demand that Congress cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaide to save us from the sequester. That’s why Obama engineered the sequester to begin with, and that’s why he and the Catfood Democrats keep working with the Republicans to keep engineering “short-term fixes” so as to keep working the fear-racket.
      Maybe I will be non-lazy enough to “tell my Congressman” that I prefer the sequester to any changes of any sort at all whatsoever to SS/Mcare/Mcaide.

  6. financial matters

    Congress is complaining about the Fed but they have abdicated their own responsibility as have politicians in Europe. The crisis demands political solutions but the politicians are too enriched by the status quo to deal with the economies structural problems mainly related to too much debt chasing too little real earnings.. And ignoring things such as the fact that asset increases in real estate and stocks and bonds are fictitious claims on wealth rather than wealth itself as it is largely debt backed and has surpassed societies ability to pay that debt. And austerity programs exacerbate the problem by not allowing the necessary retooling for industrial growth.

    US unemployment claims increase amid signs of divisions within Fed Guardian

    and

    Ben Bernanke QE Documents Requested by House Committee Value Walk (j33)
    from yesterday

    From Michael Hudson’s ‘Beyond the Bubble’

    ‘Financial institutions have become the major economic planners of our epoch, usurping the former role of governments. What they evidently oppose is planning by elected officials with a broader set of social concerns than those of monetarist technocrats.’

    ‘Society therefore faces a choice between (1) saving the economy, by writing down debts to the ability to carry without stripping the economy; and (2) saving the financial sector, trying to preserve the fiction that debts growing at compound interest can be paid’

    ‘Financial capitalism has become a network of exponentially growing interest bearing claims wrapped around the production economy’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…it is largely debt backed and has surpassed societies ability to pay that debt.”

      I believe fof the society as a whole,

      Total debt = Total credit.

      And as a whole, we can always pay ourselves.

      The problem, it seems to me, is more that is has surpassed the 99.99%’s ability to pay debt.

      That is, it’s a wealth distribution problem.

      And the solution is a simple one – GDP sharing.

      1. financial matters

        It seems to be a wealth distribution problem and a resource allocation problem. The banks could lend out money to finance direct new investment and take an equity stake. Most of the money lent out instead uses already in place capital as collateral, such as real estate or income streams, rather than building new factories or helping industry create new income streams. This causes asset appreciation which eventually collapses as it is extrative from the real economy which supports this debt service.

        Wealth is taken from industry and labor and diverted to the financial sector leading to the wealth distribution problem. But the financial sector destroys its own golden egg by austerity programs that diminish the real economies ability to pay. At this point they get government bailouts and acquire the private capital (homes) and public capital (ie govt utilities) which they have lent against. But it still eventually collapses as the debt structures continue to be unsustainable. This is basic debt deflation.

        1. different clue

          Once the financialists aquire all the assets due to engineered debt deflation, they can then “forgive” all the debt. Why? They won’t need the debt anymore. It served its purpose transferring all the assets to the financialists. Yeltsinization.

      2. Lidia

        “Total Debt” = “total credit” is true, but only to a point (it ignores profit-taking and transaction costs). More important, what happens when debt/credit is extended unrealistically, as generally has happened periodically even without the hard resource restraints we are experiencing now and for the rest of time?

        It’s no good restricting our gaze to the silly box of “economics”. Nicole Foss, instead of just talking about debt, uses the very clear term “competing claims on underlying real wealth”.

        You can loan students $100k each, for example, imagining that you’ll be paid back once they embark upon their “careers”. But that’s not going to happen, and this is increasingly becoming the case for all enterprises: there are not enough real resources on the planet to repay 99% of the outstanding debt.

        It makes no difference whether we can write an equation stating “debt=credit” or not! Debt is almost always detached from reality.

    2. anyone

      ‘Financial capitalism has become a network of exponentially growing interest bearing claims wrapped around the production economy’

      I seem to recall someone alluding to a “Great Vampire Squid wrapped around the face of humanity” or similar…

      Finance: A pseudo-mathematical shell game masquerading as funding for the public/private interest. Or in common speak: just another sophisticated swindle by an ever more sophisticated class of criminal. Hey, since it’s all 1′s and 0′s these days anyway, let’s make the 1′s all 0′s again and start over. We’re headed that direction whether we like it or not anyway.

  7. JohnL

    ” The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”. The narrative reminds me so much of when I was the guy in the white lab coat talking about pollution and the CEOs in my industry didn’t want to hear it. Well, the industry, the jobs, and the pollution got offshored, and I changed careers. Nothing changes.

    1. anyone

      Unfortunately, “junk food” includes pretty much all industrial highly processed/highly refined (especially carbohydrate) foods, which eliminates most of your basic super-market staples as well. Just another gift from American style corporate capitalism to you and yours. Starving masses? Hell no! Not as long as we’ve got some eminently profitable empty calories to sell at least!

      1. JohnL

        Too true. I try to eat local real food that doesn’t come in a box, jar, or packet. I make my own bread, yogurt, beer, even dog food, grow veg, buy local, catch dungeness crab in the summer, collect and freeze or dry apples, pears, plums, blackberries, cranberries. The free stuff more than covers the cost of the local veg. Overall it’s cheaper, as well as healthier and a lot more sustainable. Oh, and I don’t eat meat. Just local eggs and fish. I’m about ready to be parodied on Portlandia.

        1. anyone

          Damn! Keep it up and some enterprising young capitalist is going to be chopping you and yours up for sale on the organic aisle. Step lively, or lose it altogether! LOL!

  8. Bunk McNulty

    See Argo. It is an antidote to Zero Dark Thirty–there’s a little voice-over at the start that explains that Iranians were in the streets because the Shah was a US/British puppet whose job was to keep the oil companies happy. And for the most part, Affleck tells the story straight.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the surface, it would appear that totalitarian governments are the most powerful governments around.

      And yet, it will always be that the governments more trusted by their governed (relatively speaking) will be victorious…at least one hopes.

      That would suggest governments should not go around saying we can do this or that by fiat unendlessly.

      1. anyone

        Ahh… But, can they maintain the lie for longer than you and yours can maintain your resistance? That’s the real question now, isn’t it? And rest assured it’s the only one prospective despots ever ask. Look around…

  9. jsmith

    Mike Whitney on the attempted power grab at the Fed

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/22/power-grab-at-the-fed/

    And in related news, here’s a puff piece of propaganda touting Stanley Fischer as Bernanke’s replacement in the WaPo:

    Seriously, if you can make it through entire piece before puking you’re better than I.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/15/stan-fischer-saved-israels-economy-can-he-save-americas/

    Adding:

    Funny, one would never know that old fascist Fisch is an Israeli citizen from the WaPo piece, huh?

    Here’s a Real News segment on this and how the economics of Israel might not be so great:

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=9700#.USeNITfyZ_8

    “JAY: So what have you been working on this week?

    HEVER: Stanley Fischer, the chairman of Israel’s central bank, just announced that he’s resigning from his position as the chairman of Israel’s bank.

    Stanley Fischer is a very interesting figure in Israel’s economic scene, and also a very important political figure in Israel. He’s—although he was not born in Israel and he only immigrated to Israel a few years ago, he came immediately to take the position of the central—the chairman of the central bank of Israel—a very important position.

    JAY: I mean, he was actually hired to be chairman before he was living in Israel. Is that right?

    HEVER: Exactly. And he used his ability as a Jew to immediately become a citizen of Israel. So he was actually offered the job before being an Israeli citizen; became an Israeli citizen; immediately took on this job.”

    And his Wiki entry:

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

    “Fischer was appointed Governor of the Bank of Israel in January 2005 by the Israeli cabinet, after being recommended by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He took the position on May 1, 2005, replacing David Klein, who ended his term on January 16, 2005. Fischer became an Israeli citizen but did not have to renounce his American citizenship, despite previous concerns that such a step was a prerequisite for the appointment. [4][5][6]

    1. jsmith

      Just curious but I’d thought I’d look at the some of the pedigrees of the more recent Bank of Israel governors:

      All from Wikipedia:

      Stanley Fischer:

      2005-2013

      From January 1988 to August 1990 he was Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist at the World Bank. He then became the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from September 1994 until the end of August 2001. By the end of 2001, Fischer had joined the influential Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty. After leaving the IMF, he served as Vice Chairman of Citigroup, President of Citigroup International, and Head of the Public Sector Client Group. Fischer worked at Citigroup from February, 2002 to April, 2005.

      David Klein

      Not much non-academic work.

      Klein received his higher education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, obtaining a BA in 1959 in general history and economics. In 1972 he obtained his PhD in economics from George Washington University with thesis titled Velocity of Money, Production Costs, and Short-run Price Level Determination.

      Jacob Frenkel

      1991-2000

      Frenkel earned a B.A. in economics and political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago. He earnt his Ph.D. in 1970 with thesis titled Money, Wealth and the Balance of Payments in a Model of Accumulation.

      Frenkel is currently the Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, which executes the international strategy of the American financial services firm.[1] He also serves as Chairman and CEO of the Group of Thirty (G-30), which is a private, nonprofit, consultative group on international economic and monetary affairs.

      Frenkel served from 2004 to 2009 as Vice Chairman of American International Group (AIG) and from 2000 to 2004 as Chairman of Merrill Lynch International, as well as Chairman of Merrill Lynch’s Sovereign Advisory and Global Financial Institutions Groups. Between 1991 and 2000 he served two terms as the Governor of the Bank of Israel. He is credited with reducing inflation in Israel and achieving price stability, liberalizing Israel’s financial markets, removing foreign exchange controls, and integrating the Israeli economy into the global financial system. During 1995-1996, Frenkel served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank and, during 1999-2000, as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

      Between 1987 and 1991, he was the Economic Counselor and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund, and between 1973 and 1987 he was on the faculty of the University of Chicago where he held the position of the David Rockefeller Professor of International Economics and served as Editor of the Journal of Political Economy.

  10. Jagger

    My thoughts on America have recently been going along the same lines as the “Deranging America” and the ‘Rational Totalitarism” articles. Is there any aspect of American society today that seems healthy? It seems every aspect of
    America society from top to bottom is devoid of any ethic of greater good but instead is simply dog eat dog.

    It is disturbing that I can’t think of at least one segment of our society that I feel is functioning in a positive manner.

      1. anyone

        I’d really have to question the sustainable Ag and permaculture Lambert. Both are decidedly niche activities, and both are only practiced for the most part by individuals who are either otherwise wealthy, albeit conscientious, or who are willing to totally shun the economic mainstream in favor of principle. Both, I might add, forced into their box by mainstream economic forces that are entirely odious, to say the least. Both are excellent reactions to the world we have at large, but I’d hardly consider them a major plus for Team USA at this point. We’ve got a LONG WAY to go at this point IMO before I’d consider moving those over to the plus column.

    1. Klassy!

      I hear ya. When I read the story of the shoot out in Las Vegas, the cynic in me thought “I bet the tourism board doesn’t think this is quite the PR disaster that you would imagine.”
      I mean, with the every citizen apparently now living within ten miles of a casino, Las Vegas has to hang on to every “advantage” it has. It likes to play up its bad boy image insinuating that a long weekend in Vegas is a chance to rebel. The fact that a tourist described the scene as a Hollywood movie come to life only confirms my view.

      1. Crazy Horse

        Another positive is the fact that we have the most universal system of social security on the planet. Just rob a convenience store or smoke a joint and you are instantly qualified. My only question is– how is the system going to continue to function when everyone is secure behind bars instead of merely 2.5 times as many per capita as the rest of the world?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Everyone behind bars.

          The planet is one big prison.

          You may also think of the planet as one big cemetary – everyone or every living thing that ever existed was buried here somehwere

          1. anyone

            Well, if you’re one of the “Jesus people,” you might look at that as a positive anyway… “Nearer my God to thee…” and all that.

  11. Bunk McNulty

    “About 932 people gave up their U.S. citizenship in 2012, IRS data show. That compares with 1,781 in 2011 and 742 in 2009.” In other words, the great Producer Overlords are in fact not running for the exits.

    1. Massinissa

      Is it possible the Producer Overlords could be running for the hills while still keeping their citizenships?

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          There should be a law saying that if you accept a foreign passport/foreign citizenship, you immediately forfeit your American citizenship/passport by default, permanently.

  12. Ron

    Deranging America: American culture has shown a strong attraction towards violence since its beginnings taking into account long term human rights abuse such as slavery,native Americans killing,Asians Americans imprisonment during World War 2 and our attitude towards the environment. The idea that American attraction to violence is new is not supported by history nor can be blamed on recent media. Violence is popular in American nothing new!

    1. jrs

      If one was to take American culture in the early days of the country or in the later days of slavery and compare it to say European culture at the same time and do the same with moderan U.S. and European culture would they find any common threads in “American culture”? I have my doubts, at the very least it’s whole academic exercise, I don’t think it can be assumed just because they were both ruled by a government called the United States government. I’m more inclined to use the subscripts from General Semantics – American culture subscript 2013, even that’s a generalization, but at least it doesn’t pack a hidden assumption of continuity of culture across time. I’m by no means arguing that past history doesn’t cast long shadows, not my argument, I just doubt there is any such thing as U.S. culture that is so unique and consistent across 200 plus years is all.

      1. jrs

        I realize lumping all of Europe into one is nearly as bad as trying to divine a culture of a place as cultureless as the U.S. across time. Aplogies, like many I write these comments off really hastily, mostly just after reading the counterpunch article.

      2. Ron

        The article wanted to blame the American attraction to violence on media personalities or as a new unique expression in America life which is a fabrication. History shows that our social ills related to violent expression is a fundamental part of our culture.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Ames is on solid ground re American slavery. He made extensive study of it (has an entire chapter in Going Postal on it). His big question was why the lack of any meaningful slave revolts (his research showed the ones that have been celebrated have also been exaggerated in terms of their scale and impact).

        The slave management literature of the era also has strong and creepy similarities to modern management literature.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s not just violence that kills.

      Love can kill too.

      So too does consumerism – it kills one’s spirituality and connection to nature/reality.

      But what does ‘kill’ mean physically?

      If you directly cause someone to die in a few second, it’s obviously you have killed.

      If you cause someone to die slowly, over decades, and not just indirectly, but directly, you have killed too.

      I think we have all killed in the latter sense. 2

      So, we ask – where is the cutoff? 5 minutes? 3 hours? 30 days? 26 months? 9 years? 2 decades?

  13. Lambert Strether

    It’s good to take a night off and go to the movies, but it would be even better to figure out how to stay in Sidney on the cheap and go there, or try for London via exotic Iceland. Eyes on the prize!

    “This is no movie. This is real!”

    1. Chris Rogers

      Lambert Sir,

      If you wish to visit Australia, you’d be better advised to hit the cities of Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth – that said, they have a property bubble and food prices are not as cheap as they once were.

      Given the flight time to Oz from the East Coast, perhaps another Asian destination would be more fulfilling – obviously, I’d advise heading out of any big city one day after arriving.

      I’ve nothing against Iceland and am told its both an unusual and beautiful place to visit.

      As for London, I’m afraid one’s at a loss as to why you’d like to visit a city which has much more in common with New York or Chicago, than with other European Capitals such as Paris, Rome or a multiple of towns in Central Europe, i.e., Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic or Hungary.

      Should you still desire to visit the UK, as with visiting Asian cities, have a day in London and then hit the road – as soon as you are out of the Home Counties you can visit multiple places that have loads of history behind them and a real sense of community, you may also visit, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – all great places that would offer a wonderful respite from your daily routine – the Internet would be hit and miss though, particularly given wifi connections are only available in a few places.

  14. diptherio

    Re: Disclosure 2.5

    I’m glad to see that consumer advocates are performing real-world experiments in the on-going fight against loan-sharking (payday loans). The system of disclosure described is fairly close to something we came up with for credit card solicitors on the Univ. of MT campus when I worked at MontPIRG. We got a student resolution passed requiring solicitors to place a disclosure form (created by us) on top of their credit card applications. We couldn’t do any follow-up to determine how effective it was at dissuading students, but it’s nice to know we were barking up the right tree.

    One thing not addressed directly in the article, but that needs serious work, is the lack of affordable credit options for payday loan customers. Sadly, if a po’ person needs a small loan, there aren’t much in the way of options. I did a number of interviews with payday loan customers while working as a consumer advocate and most people didn’t have a good answer for “what would you do if payday loans weren’t available?” (I don’t consider “not paying bills” or “reducing expenditures on essentials” to be good answers). I’ve yet to see a good solution for this (although here in MT, we were successful in banning payday lenders altogether and there doesn’t seem to have been any noticeable fall-out, but then again, any fall-out wouldn’t be that noticeable to the casual observer).

    Of course, the underlying problem is that so many people have a need for payday loans in the first place. Protecting folks from the loan sharks is important work, but I think the conversation should always come back around to the fundamental problem, which is that a person can work full time in this country and still be living paycheck-to-three-days-before-paycheck. Obviously, even cheap credit can’t make up for a lack of effective demand.

  15. Louise W. Flanagan sez pull up to the bumper baby!

    John Bennett takes care of his cutouts. Look how fake Judge Louise W. Flanagan obediently got down on all fours so Bennett could pop her personal-integrity cherry, doggie-style! Pretty slick, Nny! Whatcha got on ol’ Louise? Now let’s see you get Jose Rodriguez off the hook for the universal-jurisdiction crime defined in Rome Statute Article 8 bis 2(g)!

    No need, you say? Times change. There’s no statute of limitations.

  16. Greg Marquez

    Yves, my top movie recommendation is, Searching For Sugar Man, nominated in the documentary category. It’s the story of a late 60s early 70s Detroit musician, Rodriguez, who records two albums that inexplicably do nothing in the US, but unknown to him become major hits in Apartheid/Boycott South Africa.

    My wife, who knows these things, says he’s sort of in the style of Jim Croce. Rodrguez’s music is sort of protest type. But the story is about the good guy who wins, of the meek inheriting the earth. It is very powerful. I’d call it a Naked Capitalism movie. Available for streaming on Amazon and Vudu.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00B49L7JY/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1361555107&sr=8-1&pi=SL75

    1. Ms G

      Best movie in the last 10 years (at least!).

      I think Rodriguez is more of a cross between Donovan and Dylan than Croce … just my .02 musical cents :)

      His voice, lyrics and melodies are heartbreakingly beautiful, poignant and smart. Can’t believe we had to wait for this movie to learn about him.

      The Detroit backdrop, and how Rodriguez continues to live there just as he has his whole life, is one of the most interesting parts of the movie.

  17. Valissa

    Animal news antidotes…

    Sea otter slam dunks at zoo, but not for show–it’s for health reasons http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/blog/51088/sea+otter+slam+dunks+at+zoo+but+not+for+show–its+for+health+reasons/

    Bees Can Sense the Electric Fields of Flowers http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/21/bees-can-sense-the-electric-fields-of-flowers/

    The pig that thinks it’s a dog http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/9842893/Animal-pictures-of-the-week-1-February-2013.html?frame=2466058

  18. Valissa

    The contenders for best satirical news headline are….

    Burglar Hiding In Pistorius’ Bathroom Figures Now Probably His Best Chance To Escape http://www.theonion.com/articles/burglar-hiding-in-pistorius-bathroom-figures-now-p,31393/

    Cardinals Host Going-Away Party At Pope’s Favorite Vatican City Dive Bar http://www.theonion.com/articles/cardinals-host-goingaway-party-at-popes-favorite-v,31397/

    This one’s a true story, despite sounding like it’s from The Onion…
    Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/21/17045722-woman-shot-by-oven-while-trying-to-cook-waffles?lite

  19. diptherio

    Re: Disclosure 2.5

    I’m glad to see that consumer advocates are performing real-world experiments in the on-going fight against loan-sharking (payday loans). The system of disclosure described is fairly close to something we came up with for credit card solicitors on the Univ. of MT campus when I worked at MontPIRG. We got a student resolution passed requiring solicitors to place a disclosure form (created by us) on top of their credit card applications. We couldn’t do any follow-up to determine how effective it was at dissuading students, but it’s nice to know we were barking up the right tree.

    One thing not addressed directly in the article, but that needs serious work, is the lack of affordable credit options for payday loan customers. Sadly, if a po’ person needs a small loan, there aren’t much in the way of options. I did a number of interviews with payday loan customers while working as a consumer advocate and most people didn’t have a good answer for “what would you do if payday loans weren’t available?” (I don’t consider “not paying bills” or “reducing expenditures on essentials” to be good answers). I’ve yet to see a good solution for this (although here in MT, we were successful in banning payday lenders altogether and there doesn’t seem to have been any noticeable fall-out, but then again, any fall-out wouldn’t be that noticeable to the casual observer).

    Of course, the underlying problem is that so many people have a need for payday loans in the first place. Protecting folks from the loan sharks is important work, but I think the conversation should always come back around to the fundamental problem, which is that a person can work full time in this country and still be living paycheck-to-three-days-before-paycheck. Obviously, even cheap credit can’t make up for a lack of effective demand.

  20. frosty zoom

    people worry about strippers at a 16 year-old’s birthday party but no one says a thing about kids having “CSI DES MOINES” o

  21. kevinearick

    On the margin, where o’ where, EXACTLY, did California get that $4B to project a positive result from its tax increase, in a landscape of negative GDP?

    So, you have a pendulum, which is a virtual fulcrum with relative time and orbiting centers, from the implicit perspective. To switch scales, atomic, etc, simply change perspective, tune. The universe gives you an input and expects an output. So long as your feedback, tied into its limit switches, performs within its parameters, you can do anything you want within your subsystem. From the pendulum hinge, add elevators with relatively independent pendulums and gear each to give you differential torque…add GENERATOR dimensions to create the space you need for your development.

    The Fed subsidizes bad choices, which is the only possible outcome, in a system that proffers equality, reducing itself to the least among itself, the poorest possible behavior habits, and must steal the fruit of your labor to do so, which is why anyone with half a brain cell STEPPED out.

    The Fed cannot save both Boeing and Microsoft, and they are joined at the hip, along with everything else in the cycloptic hydra. The green curtain is majority peer pressure and the man behind it is just the latest scapegoat, throwing others off the cliff.

      1. craazyman

        What if you have a chance to go to any lake you want in the U.S. or Canada?

        Is Lake Louise still the top pick?

        Can you surf on Lake Louise? You can rip 7 foot waves on Lake Superior, but only in the winter when a storm comes through. It’s mostly a hard-core locals scene, understandably.

        1. Valissa

          Visiting Lake Louise and Banff National Park, and then on to Jasper National Park is a major vacation goal for my husband and I.

          Ever since I was a kid I wanted to go to Banff after watching an F Troop episode featuring the infamous burglar from Banff… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qUagJGeZhc (~ 1 min)

          In the US I would recommend Crater Lake as a most amazing lake. The quality of the air (and water) is awesome and has a wonderful effect on one’s aura.

          Bonus fearture… it’s a known bigfoot site http://bigfootwatchnews.blogspot.com/2010/07/yeti-attack-at-crater-lake.html AND http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_report.asp?id=32905

        2. kevinearick

          I would not go to Lake Louise, because I have already been there, unless it was simply a point of passage. Elk is my favorite, then blue fin.

    1. nobody

      limit switches, pendulum hinges, elevators, differential torque…


      THE WAY THINGS WORK

      is by admitting
      or opening away.
      This is the simplest form
      of current: Blue
      moving through blue;
      blue through purple;
      the objects of desire
      opening upon themselves
      without us; the objects of faith.
      The way things work
      is by solution,
      resistance lessened or
      increased and taken
      advantage of.
      The way things work
      is that we finally believe
      they are there,
      common and able
      o illustrate themselves.
      Wheel, kinetic flow,
      rising and falling water,
      ingots, levers and keys,
      I believe in you,
      cylinder lock, pully,
      lifting tackle and
      crane lift your small head–
      I believe in you–
      your head is the horizon to
      my hand. I believe
      forever in the hooks.
      The way things work
      is that eventually
      something catches.

      – Jorie Graham

    2. anyone

      On the margin, where o’ where, EXACTLY, did California get that $4B to project a positive result from its tax increase, in a landscape of negative GDP?

      I’m guessing from the same place someone of marginal means would find the funds to go hopping off to Lake Louise. Et tu?

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The extraordinary science of addictive junk food.

    We also have the junk science of extraordinarily addictive food.

    Perhaps it’s time for a science-control treaty, like we do with arms-control treaties: you don’t attack us with science, we won’t attack you with science.

    It would replace MAD science (mutually assured destructive science).

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A job should be a right, not a privilege.

    A more bottom-line oriented approach would be to ask what ia a job for and perhaps think about the possibility that GDP sharing is not a privilege, not a right.

    GDP sharing is on a firmer ground than corporate profit sharing, as corporations need no particular workers and can in fact replace you with another, but a country can not exist without all its citizens.

    1. anyone

      A job should be a right, not a privilege.

      In a strictly corporate world? Yes. Otherwise, it should be considered a ball and chain.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bangkok sinking.

    If only our engineers can steer the Indian tectonic plate a little to the right, it will stop bothering the Himalayas and help out the Thais.

    1. anyone

      Stopped reading all things The Atlantic a couple years ago. Cleared my head immediately, although “cleared” is obviously a relative term.

      1. Lidia

        I had a subscription in the early 1980′s since it seemed a vaguely literary and cosmopolitan rag. A bookish person, I can put away a volume a day when I’m on a roll, but The Atlantic consistently put me to sleep: a reader of cereal boxes, I had to force myself to finish Atlantic articles only a page long. There’s just something systemically turgid and unapproachable about the writing. More recently I’ve dipped back in to their offerings when pointed there, but continue to find that same fusty fog which renders their efforts, when not wholly impenetrable, unappealing to me.

        It seems as though they work very hard at cultivating this difficult tone, because it is consistent throughout the years and across writers and topics. The editors must undergo some sort of “fustigation” (opposite of fumigation).

        I really find it hard to imagine the sort of moribund people committed to supporting the endeavor. Harper’s is far snappier…

        1. anyone

          I find Harper’s definitely “snappier” (i.e.; more focused) when I read it, but I try to avoid all of the east coast shit altogether these days, including The New Yorker, in that it’s ALL just so much derivative/repetitive/MSM bullshit. Even NC I take with a LARGE measure of salt.

          ‘Cept for the comment boards. Real people saying real shit – for the most part so far.

  25. diane

    A job should be a right, not a privilege!

    Though I’ve done no research, I can’t help but wonder if the term “job” wasn’t cooked up somewhere along the line of human deviance to remind the worker/slave about The Book of Job … and how well meaning people suffer so deeply, … even when attempting to do the least harmful thing.

    Not, of course, that those who originally marketed that terminology had any belief in a god, let alone an ultimately benevolent god.

          1. diane

            I would love a world where a person could thrive doing those things they’re inspired by and talented at, which incidently serve the society they live among, along with themselves.

            Seems to me, the monetary system, and certainly capitalism, is an absolute, and utter, failure.

            (I would also love some of that dungeness crab meat, with some lemon and cocktail sauce, blackberries, or, better yet, boysenberries (Pacific Coast blueberries would also do just fine) for dessert! ;0). …Just sayin, in case there are any leftovers. …. siiiigh ….. )

  26. Hugh

    If the NYT’s much hyped wall and digital subscriptions strategy was such a success, then why would they need to sell the Globe? MSM outlets like the Times continue to shovel neoliberal in economic and neocon in international affairs garbage to its readers, always defending the status quo and the corporate line. Their content continues to deteriorate. They charge more and more to put out an increasingly inferior product. It’s a slow motion death spiral. But one that owners like the Sulzbergers prefer than actually putting out a quality product, that actually challenged the powers that be.

    1. diane

      You just brought to mind that, a while back, it was exposed that the New York[!] Times was so ugly nasty as to not note certain parents who had NO CREDENTIALS! (according to the NYT), in wedding announcements, …as if the other half the equations never existed, …..that they were far less than a teeny worker ant which might receive a huge headline in the NYT ’s Science{Eugenics!] section.

  27. neo-realist

    Re: film to be seen by Yves

    This may be coming out in the next few months–A sci-fi film called Elysium–the plot that revolves around a space station inhabited by the wealthy, while the rest of humanity (99%), live on a ruined earth. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, who also directed the fine apartheid allegory, District 9.

    A film that may be a topic of intense discussion among NC’s.

    1. wunsacon

      >> Elysium

      Holy s***. Like Philip Dick said when he saw some Blade Runner dailies: this isn’t “sci-fi”; this is futurism.

    2. Emperor Wang of Market Mongo

      After the fall of Ming The Merciless, my Liberation Army rounded up Ming and his rich minions and put them on Dreamliner One. That’s a nuclear powered jetliner we have that’s large enough to hold .01% of Mongo’s population.

      They were flown to exile on Mongo Commons. The jetliner landed and went 200 mph straight down the gullet of a 300 ft long sandworm.

      Shit happens.

        1. Emperor Wang of Market Mongo

          The sandworms on Mongo are very real. Arakis is a work of fiction by your sci-fi author Frank Herbert. He visited Mongo on sabbatical looking for writing ideas a few decades after Flash Gordon and Dale visited here.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Surely this has been their goal for decades. And if they themselves can’t make it, their DNA wlll. Success!

  28. Aldous

    I wonder how the Nobel committee will react? Shall we call this Altruistic Competition?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/feb/20/breakthrough-prize-silicon-valley-entrepreneurs

    Now, if Zuckerberg had formal training in life sciences, I would be a tad skeptical submitting any research to him. I apply to this breakthrough prize and the next thing you know Zuckerberg is making headlines for curing the common cold and Hollywood has a new premise for The Social Network 2.

    1. diane

      What is of course left unsaid is that this sort of Free Libertarian/Democratic! Market! Meritocratic! Philanthropy! was enabled by Trillions of Legalized! By The Big Four! (Audit Firms! (along with .guvfwends&bankers.con )) OffShore! Tax [Evasion]Avoidance! dollars, in the face of austerity for all others on the face of the earth.

      Of course, it’s also left unsaid that: increasingly, most people can no longer afford the medical bill that comes with a newly ‘common’ virus, or bacteria, let alone afford the obsessed over cures, for their own mortality, that psychopaths like Ellison, Gates, Jobs, Andreessen (sp?), Brinn, Page, Thiel, Bezos, Musk, Zuckerfuck (talk about Wonder Bread), etcetera, love to fund; … out of money they have been allowed to legally steal, from the populace at large.

      1. diane

        cutting to the chase, phrases such as The new 70 is 50 [years of age], are only intended to be a reality for about .00001% of the world population. For the vast majority under seventy, the new 70 will near be unreachable soon, at the rate we’re going. That’s not medical milestones philanthropy, it’s murder.

        1. diane

          admittedly, I may have exaggerated a tad on that percentage point, but only by about one, or two, places.

        2. anyone

          For the vast majority under seventy, the new 70 will near be unreachable soon, at the rate we’re going. That’s not medical milestones philanthropy, it’s murder.

          Actually, for most, it’s merely biology. Humans are simply not meant to live much longer than that and have anything “productive” to provide – other than to consume expensive American life extension health care technology based on their many years of “stolen” wealth privilege. Yes, we die. And yes, that’s a pretty appropriate age for it to happen.

          Any human living beyond the age of 70 should count themselves as extremely lucky, actuarially speaking at least.

          Murder? Better save that venom for the many species homo sapiens eliminates every day. Perhaps you’ll have a more sympathetic audience.

          1. diane

            I probably should have used a far younger age than seventy as a benchmark as you seem to have totally missed the point; which certainly wasn’t about wanting to live forever (which I thought I made fairly clear).

            As far as a “sympathetic” audience goes, I wouldn’t know how many might agree with my thought, but then again, neither would you. Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t mean no one else does.

          2. anyone

            No. I get your point perfectly. And my point is that humans aren’t meant to live forever, no matter their station in life. There is no “right” age to expect to live/die, no matter who you are. The subtext of which is (rich, assumed) Americans have somehow imagined themselves privileged above and beyond the rules of nature. We’re not. Don’t mean to be rude, just plainspoken.

          3. diane

            If you had actually gotten my point, you wouldn’t still be implying that I was stating something opposite to the fact that humans weren’t meant to live forever. You also would have understood that what I meant by murder was a handful of human beings creating an economic scenario where people will die a lot sooner than they would have otherwise, instead of heading off onto your own venomous (to borrow your description of my words) tangent about how totally vulgar Homo Sapiens is…

            (By the way, I didn’t say anything at all about you being rude, but now that you’ve mentioned it….)

          4. jrs

            first part: people should die and 70 second part: raise the social security age to 70 so noone ever retires. Remember “contributing” means slaving away at some meaningless job making a 1%er rich. If you aren’t doing that you should just die really, regardless of your age.

    1. Ms G

      This is what Mike Bloomberg is paying a lot of money to launch in NYC — “micro housing” — cubicles “for living” like the ones in the link you provide.

      Coming to a privatized city near you any minute now …

  29. Ms G

    I think the DOJ should get a Nobel Prize too. For keeping life very peaceful for the Kleptocratic and Banking Classes.

    Gee, but it is good to know that they are keeping busy in other pastures. How about jump in on an already-underway whistleblower case against a *really* *really* tough target like … Lance Armstrong + Doping! With all the evidence already wrapped up via a whistleblower!

    DOJ Motto: Aim Low, Pick Off the Low Hanging Fruit, Add Brownie Points to My Resume.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/france_tour_join_suit_against_lance_LI9Ml5RFBIujE1Ll1xrZ1N

  30. john bougearel

    Django had to be one of the best movies I have ever seen.

    Extremely tough to gut through some of the violence, but Tarantino does not disappoint from the viewpoint of telling a mythical story of a hero and his journey/quest to rescue his one true love.

    Quite impressive, and the tale is grounded in the historical timecapsule of 1858 just before slavery in the US was abolished.

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