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Links 3/9/13

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Unintended Consequences of Journal Ranking mathbabe

9th Circuit Appeals Court: 4th Amendment Applies At The Border; Also: Password Protected Files Shouldn’t Arouse Suspicion techdirt

Hopes fade of Higgs particle opening door to new realms soon Reuters (Lambert)

Stubborn TB Exposure Grows Along the Border Wall Street Journal

Silicon Valley Reportedly Full of Stoners Alternet (May S). This is news?

The wonderful people of Oz National Post (Lance)

South Africa is an ‘angry nation’ on the brink of ‘something very dangerous’, warns Nelson Mandela’s wife Daily Mail (May S)

Is Canberra the world’s most boring capital? BBC

Another step towards an East-West trade war Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Germany’s New Anti-Euro Party Der Spiegel

Mondragon: Spain’s giant co-operative where times are hard but few go bust Guardian

The Life and Legacy of Hugo Chavez Real News. This is a useful overview.

IN PRAISE OF POLITICAL DYSFUNCTION Marshall Auerback, New Economic Perspectives

Blocked Bids to Fill Judgeships Stir New Fight on Filibuster New York Times

Don’t be fooled: 7.7% is likely a short-lived low in the US unemployment rate Dean Baker, Guardian

The Pension Fund That Ate California City Journal (May S)

STRIKE? Huffington Post. The artists are not making their case at all well, given this HuffPo write up.

The legacy systems problem Frances Coppola

“Some Of These Institutions Have Become Too Large” Simon Johnson

Goldman fails to block vote over chairman Financial Times

This Restaurant Chain Doesn’t Mind Giving Away Its Food Take Part (RC)

Expert Panel: Don’t trade away financial stability in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Triple Crisis. You can see what America’s priorities are: opening more markets to TBTF banks.

A Dangerous ‘New Normal’ in College Debt Charles Blow, New York Times

How Colleges Are Making Income Inequality Worse National Journal (May S)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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53 comments

  1. Ned Ludd

    There was an interesting discussion on Twitter on the topic of domestic assassination. It included Glenn Greenwald, Kade Crockford (a director at the ACLU of Massachusetts), Marcy Wheeler, and Julian Sanchez (a research fellow at Cato).

    Kade Crockford:To clarify: since we don’t have access to the kill memos, we don’t know what “engaged in combat” means to Eric Holder.

    Julian Sanchez:@ggreenwald @onekade @emptywheel In practice, whatever; domestic strikes would be so radioactive I’m not really worried they’ll do it.

    Glenn Greenwald:@normative @onekade @emptywheel I think that all depends on who was the target – few minded charge-free imprisonment on US soil (Padilla)

    Kade Crockford:@ggreenwald @normative @emptywheel the regime press will provide the necessary cover, if they ever do it. Look at Dorner. Burned him alive.

    Marcy Wheeler:@normative I just think domestically we’d never know. How do you distinguish FBI kill team from botched arrest? @ggreenwald @onekade

    Regarding Kade Crockford’s first comment, the Bush administration had a very broad concept of who it considered an enemy combatant.

    Though the Obama administration has (symbolically) abandoned the use of the phrase “enemy combatant,” the Bush Justice Department argued in 2004 that a “little old lady in Switzerland” who “gave money to a charity for an Afghan orphanage, and the money was passed to al Qaeda” might meet their definition of an “enemy combatant.”… Again, until we see the memos and have a fuller understanding of the [Obama] administration’s broader reasoning, isolated statements like Holder’s are difficult to interpret with much confidence.

    The Obama administration has refused to release the “kill memos”, which would presumably show how they define “engaged in combat”. Obama’s view of combat and combatants might be as broad, or even broader, then Bush’s.

    1. Euphemasia

      All this 20 questions shit about what the president can or cannot do conveniently draws people’s attention away from the real question, What has the president done? Has he broken the law with his extrajudicial killings, or not?

      We’re gonna find out. This fall. Two of the P-5 are right there with Pakistan demanding law & order.

      Drones or JSOC murderers or neutron bombs, nobody gives a shit, killing is killing. Nobody gives a shit what Obama’s party-hack lawyers say. Obama’s flunkies can’t get him off the hook for illegal use of force. It’s just the facts, and laws that he can’t twist. The world is going to settle this, and everybody knows it, except the blinkered legal experts of the benighted hermit kingdom of America.

    2. Bev

      Is this better?

      http://maxkeiser.com/2013/03/06/the-rand-paul-filibuster-gorandgo/

      Did I hear Rand say that there have been no use of drones on Americans on American soil in the past? Wouldn’t the following qualify in terms of being unmanned. And, Rand doesn’t mention that; he denies this history.

      http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/2012/01/aa-exposes-bushs-big-lie-flight-11-did.html

      AA Exposes Bush’s ‘Big Lie’: Flight 11 DID NOT FLY on 911!
      by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

  2. Richard Kline

    The Higgs boson will prove to be the greatest shaggy dog story that ever there was. That World’s Finest Fudge Factor has paperclipped together the fragments of the Stndard Model and its antecedents for heading on 50 years. Of course many physicists were hoping to snatch after a wealth of particles behind the still not really-truly-positively confirmed Higgs. Physicists push after particales for a living and a paycheck. Have a pretty formulation of what a putative particle might be, and you get tenure. Actually find one, and you get a Prize. So “more particles, please” has been the nightly non-prayer invocation from many of that profession . . . rather than having a really interesting idea instead. And SUSY? What a woozy tizzy, it’s just not on? Another two years of funding to maybe find something.

    The Standard Model has never made a lick of sense; it computes perfectly, but doesn’t make a lick of sense as a functioning system. “It _needn’t_ make sense; after all what does mere human perception comprehend of these things? (More funding please, we think we’re onto something particularly significant.)” A new Model is needed which has something useful to say about gravity. There aren’t one in a hundred physicists working on that while the ninety-nine others are praying for more particles . . . .

    1. from Mexico

      Yep. And nicknaming it “the God particle” had to be one of the gretest PR feats of all time.

      Most people, after all, don’t give a tinkers damn about physics. But they care very deeply about religion, morals, and the meaning of life. Without the implication that the Higgs boson might offer some insight into to these eternal conundrums, its funding would have dried up a long, long time ago.

  3. Jim Haygood

    From the City Journal article:

    CalPERS’s long-term pension debt is a sizable $170 billion if CalPERS achieves an average annual investment return of 6.2 percent in years to come.

    If the return is just 4.5 percent annually — a rate close to what more conservative private pensions often shoot for — the fund’s long-term liability rises to a forbidding $290 billion.

    By contrast, CalPERS itself estimated its long-term unfunded liability at merely $80 billion, using a lofty projected annual investment return of 7.75 percent. (The fund has recently cut that estimate to 7.5 percent.)

    Lots of numbers here, and some confusion as well. The sixes and sevens are nominal returns, including inflation. TIPS breakevens imply inflation of about 2.5% over the next decade or two.

    Long-term results since 1926 show that stocks earned 6.8% after inflation, while intermediate-term Treasuries earned 2.3% after inflation. A 50/50 mix of the two would be expected to produce a 4.5% real return — the number cited in the second paragraph quoted above. But a 4.5% real return would be 7.0% nominal — not so far from CalPER’s 7.5% assumption.

    CalPERS may be in trouble, but the unfortunate bagholders who really are going to earn barely 4.5% nominal are Social Security beneficiaries. Take the 2.3% real return on intermediate Treasuries, add 2.5% inflation, et voila — 4.8% nominal. Realistically, because the Federal Reserve has knocked down interest rates to near zero, returns are going to be lower than 4.8% owing to capital losses as interest rates rise.

    CalPERS certainly has serious funding and corporate governance problems. But by comparison, Social Security’s flatheaded Model T, all-Treasuries portfolio is mired in the freaking Stone Age. Save the dinosaur!

    1. from Mexico

      So you use the CalPERS crisis to launch an attack on social security. Why am I not surprised?

      Your comparison is bogus, however, as CalPERS has little in common with social security. Social security is backed by a nation with monetary sovereignty, and CalPERS is not. So the two are not even remotely comparable.

      You then go on to lecture us that:

      Long-term results since 1926 show that stocks earned 6.8% after inflation, while intermediate-term Treasuries earned 2.3% after inflation.

      [....]

      CalPERS certainly has serious funding and corporate governance problems. But by comparison, Social Security’s flatheaded Model T, all-Treasuries portfolio is mired in the freaking Stone Age. Save the dinosaur!

      The fact that SSI is an insurance program, and not an investment program, seems to be lost on you, as is also the fact that the US government ranks as the most secure counterparty in the world. What would those stocks you’re hyping be worth today if the US government had not bailed out Wall Street, and in fact continues to bail out Wall Street in the wake of the GFC that began in 2007? Those stocks you’re peddling so vigorously are on life support.

      And you also seem to have missed the part of the article that explains how those investments in stocks and other high-risk investments panned out for CalPERS; the part about “CalPERS’s three-decade-long transformation from a prudently managed steward of workers’ pensions into a highly politicized advocate for special interests;” the part about the “search for even greater investment returns in progressively riskier investment strategies.”

      1. Paul P

        Click the “links” on City Journal and you get a list of right wing think tank and advocacy groups. So, I wasn’t surprised the article described Calipers as “The Pension Fund That Ate California.”

        Teresa Ghilarducci was called the most dangerous women alive in a US News and World Report column for calling for a national funded pension system to supplement Social Security. Her book “When I’m 64: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them”, I guess, does make her a threat to inequality and class privilege.

        I’m glad some people have a pension backed by the government. It’s something everyone in the country should have. And, if some Calipers board member is stealing from the fund, put him in jail along with Bernie Madoff.

        1. Max

          Strange to see Koch propaganda linked to on NC. Hyperbole notwithstanding, CalPERS does suffer from a variety of issues. But don’t expect a fair overview from a think tank who’s mission is to “develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.”

  4. Bereshith

    Bereshith

    It’s impossible to convey the invisible terrors beneath which the city lay cowering at that time. Only later, when I learned of the true extent of the perversion of the law under the God Emperor, the acts of violence that were committed daily in the basement of the Petschek Palace, in the Pankrac prison, and at the killing grounds out in Kobylisy.

    After ninety seconds in which to defend yourself to a judge you could be condemned to death for a trifle, failing to salute a Goldman Sachs officer, or some offense barely worth mentioning. The merest contravention of the regulations in force, and then you would be hanged immediately in the execution room next to the law court, where there was an iron rail running along the ceiling down which the lifeless bodies were pushed a little further as required.

    The bill for these cursory proceedings was sent by Chase to the relations of the hanged or guillotined victim, with the information that it could be settled in monthly installments.

    1. AbyNormal

      Always mystify, torture, mislead, and surprise the audience as much as possible. don roff

  5. Can't Help It

    I think the best drug for coding is a really good night sleep. But what do i know really? I am far removed from college and nowadays I refuse to work beyond a certain number of hours.

    1. nick b

      Thanks for the link. That was nice to read and pleasant escape from what passes for ‘comments’ this morning.

    2. Eclair

      God, trucks and fighting men. Patriarchy, bless its heart, is alive and well in Orange County.

  6. Kos reader Jethro

    In those days Kos Youth (Kos-jugend) used to hold mass rallies to practice canoeing, hiking, singing, swimming, and other activities. Younger boys and girls were were taught the correct way of making the Kos salute and how to hold it for extended periods.

    At night time, while roasting marshmellows over the campfire, Comrade Mar-Kos told true stories about the God Emperor Obie One and his heroic adventures as a young man.

    When we left him the night before, says Comrade Mar-Kos, remember, Obie One was hiding in the cargo hold of a large packet boat bound for South America. Five days later, disoriented after a storm, the boat ran aground within sight of Mihu Island.

    The inhabitants of Mihu, fearsome Rethuglican cannibals, placed the castaways under heavy guard to gorge on their flesh; every day after a summary execution, one of the prisoners was devoured then and there in the others’ presence.

    Soon, only the youthful Obama remained, having seen his ill-fated companions disappear to the last man.

    When the time came for his own agony, he decided to attempt an impossible escape from his killers….[applause from Kos youth....]
    As the cannibals reached for him, he suddenly began swinging his rifle butt, clearing himself a passage through the crowd, then began fleeing blindly, followed by some twenty natives who chased after him in hot pursuit.

    After an hour of solid running, as his strength was beginning to flag, he saw the edge of the Vorrh, and made one last dash in the hopes of finding a thicket in the huge forest to hide him.

    The flesh-eaters, urging each other on with frantic shouts, managed to close in on the captive and it was just as they were about to grab him that the youthful Obama dove into the outermost foliage. The chase ended then and there, as the natives dared not follow him into the dark lair of the evil spirits.

    Obie One lived peacefully in the safe haven of the Vorrh, never venturing out for fear of being recaptured by fierce Rethuglican anthropophagi. He fashioned a small hut from branches and lived on fruits and roots, preciously guarding his rifle and cartridges in case of an attack by wild beasts….[applause from Kos youth....]

  7. PeonInChief

    One of the major problems with CALPERS is that they allowed employers to take a holiday for several years in the 1990s and early 2000s–they made no contributions to the fund at all. Much of the increase is that they now need to make contributions.

    1. ohmyheck

      Ha! At first I thought the title read, “It’s OK if Your Employer Does It”, .i.e., Silicon Valley CEO’s.

      Oh, and this one from the Onion—http://www.theonion.com/articles/god-worried-he-fucked-up-his-children,31597/

      It’s as good an explanation as any…

  8. SR6719

    “It is always the enemy who started it, even if he was not the first to speak out, he was certainly planning it; and if he was not actually planning it, he was thinking of it; and, if he was not thinking of it, he would have thought of it.”

    ― Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power

    1. SR6719

      Note: Canetti’s “Crowds and Power” is 496 pages and the reviews I’ve read so far (telling me how great it is) have persuaded not to bother reading it.

      First, the back of Canetti’s “Crowds and Power” has Iris Murdoch and Susan Sontag shilling for the book with absurd marketing language such as the following: “Crowds and Power is a revolutionary work in which Elias Canetti finds a new way of looking at human history and psychology. Breathtaking in its range and erudition … Canetti offers one of the most profound and startling portraits of the human condition” (emphasis added)

      Like I give a rat’s ass. They just want you to part with your money and buy the the book is all. Glad I checked it out from the library instead.

      And one Amazon reviewer (not that this means anything either) summarized the book like this: “Crowds and Power” is a massive – and for the most part massively entertaining – indictment of the human being at virtually every level of its existence. According to Canetti…. whether alone, in packs, or full-sized crowds, our goal is not just survival, but to be the last man standing beside a pile of corpses. No kidding. Crudely put, that’s the bottom line…”

      Great, so you’re a cynic, but this may or may not have anything to do with Canetti’s ideas.

      And another Amazon reviewer tells us that Canetti won a Nobel Prize (without mentioning what for), and at the end is an appeal, “Take it or leave it, but this book will never leave you once you begin it…”

      Thanks, but I’d prefer not to, I’ve decided to leave it… by the front door, in fact, to return to the library Monday…

  9. Jim Haygood

    The Times-Titanic voices its astonishment:

    In Washington, Code Pink, a leftist group of antiwar activists, showed up with flowers and chocolates at Mr. Paul’s Senate offices on Thursday to thank him for standing up against abuses of power. Known around Capitol Hill mainly for disrupting Congressional hearings, the group had found a new champion.

    “People say: ‘Oh, my God, Code Pink is praising Rand Paul. Hell has frozen over!’ ” said Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of the group. “But we were glued to C-Span to the bitter end of the filibuster. We were amazed to see the education of the public that was taking place, and that has never occurred before.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/us/politics/visions-of-drones-in-us-skies-touch-bipartisan-nerve.html?hp&_r=0

    There’s somethin’ goin’ on here
    But you don’t know what it is
    Do you, Senator McCain?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/expd/8231390435/

    1. scraping_by

      The leftist vs. rightist split has been covered up, taken over, replaced by, and otherwise mushed away by certain lifestyle wedge issues.

      Wedge issues were thought up in the early 70′s specifically to split FDR’s New Deal coalition. Affirmative Action created large working class that could be labeled racist. Abortion allowed Catholics and rural Protestants horror stories to share. The poor were defined as an enemy rather than less fortunate neighbors.

      The Presidential election of 2004 was all about the wedge issue subtext of eastern Ivy League hedonists vs rural state Evangelical moralists. Indeed, President Barry Headfake Obama keeps his few real supporters with gestures that might be interpreted to mean something for the ‘educated’ side of the wedges. Thus the divide and conquer is played out.

      Today, is the split the money party vs. the human rights party? The bully party vs the daily life party? The posture party vs the getting the job done party? One thing I do know –

      Many who think they’re Libertarians might wake up and decide that Uncle Milton created Bad Religion when he conflated money and freedom. Many who think they’re Creative Class might discover they can’t just let the uninspired lump go their way.

      I’m not sure the new split; but I know the side I’m on looks and sees we’re all pretty much in the same place.

  10. onafetsid

    For all you economists –
    Is there a difference between the money that comes from the Fed Reserve in the form of QE that goes to propping up assets and money that is appropriated in congress and dispursed to citizens (like the rebates a few years back)? Is the fed noney going to the purchasing of bank-issued bonds or is it going straight into the banks bottom line. How is the fed given its money? Thanks.

    1. joe bongiovanni

      Short answer. Yes.
      As the Bernank has often pointed out, that’s not money.
      Those are reserves, created by keystrokes.
      The banks don’t spend them. Or lend them.
      They just sit there and become ‘leverage’ against which banks can make loans – for the things you mention.
      To buy stocks and commodities and thus drive up consumer prices.
      Bush’s $600 per capita helicopter drop was a ‘circulation’ of quasi-real money – in the sense that everyone got that which the government itself borrowed.
      A circulation in the sense that since the government had to borrow the $600, the government has to tax the same amount back from the same taxpayers who got it, with interest.
      If they just roll it over – and they will – then just think about all that compounding interest building up for the monetary asset-holding aristocrats, as they say, forevermore.
      If you want real money to go for any real public economic good, it must come FROM the government direcly to that public good, without issuing debt to back it up.
      The government has the power to issue the money, rather than the debt.
      Google up the Kucinich Bill HR 2990.

      1. Bev

        Dear Joe,

        I wanted to let you know that I tried several times to visit your site, http://www.economicstability.org/ and google can’t seem to bring it up.

        Maybe you could talk to google to get this fixed.

        Thanks for your great insights. I learn a lot from you.

        Bev

  11. Ruben

    Re. the Mondragon article in The Guardian, I’d like to point out that this is the example that proves that the anarchist model of the economic unit works; it can survive, prosper, and grow resilient, even in a harsh environment populated by fast growing hierarchical units modeled according to the unequal rent maximizing principle.

    1. Michael

      I love Mondragon, but let’s be real, even in the article they admitted they needed to open up operations in cheap labor oases like SE Asia and Latin America. Maybe Mondragon treats people the best of any company, but the reality is that this world is so poisoned that even Mondragon cannot compete without stooping to finding cheap labor wherever it is cheapest.

      1. Ruben

        Yes Michael, that’s why I referred to the “harsh environment” where Mondragon has been born, growed, prospered, and got resilient. I guess my real point is not that the anarchist model of the economic unit works, but that it works inside a community populated by conventional capitalist economic units. To do this it has to implement the conventional model at the margins at this stage but while doing this it is establishing the principles at the core.

        1. Ruben

          That didn’t sound right! Sorry, it is “grew” :-D Or maybe I meant “groweth” … ha!

  12. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to the Telegraph article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Last two sentences were the tell: … “America’s M2 is already down €70bn over the last two months, and velocity has dropped to the lowest ever recorded. Tread carefully. ”

    Wonder if Smoot-Hawley Redux and other developments that rhyme with history aren’t in our collective future? The necessity of currency suppression for price competitiveness and “defending American jobs” are now being used to justify QE-Infinity, which is also a contributing factor to the decline in the “Velocity” of Money as the banks build reserves at the Fed ahead of austerity under “the sequester” (… whatever the H-E-double toothpicks that is, guess we’ll find out).

    The genie was let out of the lamp with the so called “elite’s” “Globalization” and “Offshoring” policies. When coupled with the implications of peak oil, it can’t be put back in.

    They have damaged us in so many ways, and difficult related issues remain in play. Readers’ comments to the Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s post were also very enlightening.

  13. Justine Sharps

    The article correctly observes that “higher education arguably now serves more to stratify than to dissolve class privilege” (though that’s just as true without the word “now”). But the piece is otherwise extremely misleading:

    It calls for bringing to higher ed “the accountability revolution that reshaped K-12″, while extremely understating the lack of evidence that the “revolution” has actually improved K-12 outcomes: “[t]he reforms have been imperfect & the outcomes uneven…” Apparently lost on the columnist is any possible connection between those “imperfect” K-12 “reforms” & college completion rates!

    It rightly makes a big deal of “exploding student debt”, but fails to mention a huge contributor to the problem, which an “accountability revolution” will likely leave untouched: the ballooning of administrative costs, including skyrocketing administrator salaries & golden parachutes. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57572580/as-student-debt-rises-perks-and-high-pay-for-top-college-officials/

    Critics of higher ed still love citing the 1983 “Nation at Risk” study, though they usually forget (as this columnist seems to) that it “drew intense criticism”: http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/a-nation-at-risk/

    1. Justine Sharps

      This post refers to the link titled “How Colleges Are Making Income Inequality Worse”.

      1. the idiot

        Just when I didn’t think I could despise big banks more, Wells Fargo goes and lowers the bar a little more.

  14. the idiot

    Politicians overestimate just how conservative their constituents are:
    http://upwithchris.tumblr.com/post/44939514962/a-fascinating-new-working-paper-from-two-political

    “This disconnect between politicians and constituents has, arguably, gotten worse over the past three decades. As shown in the graph above, the share of Americans describing themselves as “conservative” has remained largely unchanged since 1976, even dipping considerably in the 1990s. House Republicans, meanwhile, have become more conservative than ever before, according to the DW-Nominate scale, a system of rating the ideology of lawmakers devised by political scientist Keith Poole.

    1. Michael

      This could be– and in my few is– because more people who are conservative are not describing themselves as such. Instead, many of them call themselves liberals.

      1. the idiot

        Well there certainly are a lot of Democrats in Congress who are actually conservative. Oh yeah then there is our president. But consistently I think our country is more liberal than their representation. And I believe most data confirms this.

  15. Glenn Condell

    Re Canberra: back in 70s Australia the answer to the question ‘what’s the shortest book in the world?’ (after the Italian Book of War Heroes, of course) was either The Wit and Wisdom of Malcolm Fraser (taciturn Liberal Prime Mincer with a head from Easter Island), or What’s On in Canberra?

    My in-laws and several family and friends are there now I and enjoy the place a lot more than I once did, but I’m not sure if that’s down to its becoming more cosmopolitan (good food and wine, cafes, etc) or me getting older and preferring the relative calm over the Big Smoke madness I live in.

    Just as the article describes some people’s relief in taking the road back to The Life in Sydney after a week’s imprisonment in Canberra, so there is an equally jaded cohort of Sydney-siders happy to see the back of all the noise and crowds and expense, and the prospect of some civilised peace and quiet in our bush citadel.

    A German couple we knew couldn’t get enough of the place and my cousin’s German wife, who had planned to move back to Sydney at some stage has decided to stay.

    Canberra certainly hath its charms, but they would be compromised if better known… so I’m not telling you!

    1. gordon

      If you really like monster traffic jams, spending 3+ hours a day commuting, dirt, crowding, drive-by shootings, noise, and all such so-called “excitements” of city life, stay away from Canberra.

      But seriously, most of the criticisms of Canberra are made by yuppies and dinks who have plenty of money and whose idea of city life is confined to the up-market trendy and very expensive bits of older cities like Sydney and Melbourne. None of them know or care anything about the vast wastelands west and south of Parramatta (in Sydney) or in Melbourne’s outer industrial dead zone. It’s a very self-regarding and self-indulgent comparison of a few select bits of cities which taken as a whole are disasters with a city (Canberra) which taken in its entirety is a roaring success.

  16. hunkerdown

    re: Sillysmoke Valley…

    Cypress Semiconductor CEO and libertarian TJ Rodgers is reported to have said a decade or two ago that if he tried to institute drug testing at Cypress, he’d get a brick through his windshield and he’d deserve it. A wise man in at least one respect.

    Anecdata… of the two dozen or so people from the Valley dotcom boom with whom I worked closely or socialized, over 1/3 did partake, another 10% might or might not have partaken, and I have affirmative reasons to believe the others in my sample did not. Only about half of the partakers ever worked high (usually slipping out for “high tea” at 4:20), with the other half limiting their usage to off the clock as far as I ever saw. In no case did management care absent a bona fide problem with their work.

    Interestingly, not one of the known partakers was an engineer/developer. One was a designer and all the others were sysadmins or internal IT techs. Along these lines, a couple of mom-and-pop computer stores in a small town elsewhere in the state had >50% smokers on staff.

    I blame Windows for driving people to inebriants. :)

  17. tiebie66

    The stresses generated by formalized and institutionalized peer pressures (peer review of articles and grant applications etc.) undermine the very essence of tenure. Very few have the guts to venture outside the peer pressure box. Sadly, many do not even notice that they are trapped. Because IFs are calculated based on a 2-year period they also promote, like so much else we do, shorttermism.

  18. rich

    Wells Fargo Typo Victim Dies in Court

    But Delassus, a quiet man who suffered from the rare blood-clot disorder Budd-Chiari syndrome and was often hospitalized, didn’t owe a penny in taxes.

    One of his neighbors, whose condo “parcel number” was two digits different from Delassus’, owed the back taxes.

    In a series of painfully tragic events, Wells Fargo relied on its typographical error to double Delassus’ mortgage — from $1,237.69 to $2,429.13 — as its way of recouping the $13,361.90 in taxes Delassus didn’t owe. Delassus, a retiree living on a $1,655 check, couldn’t meet the mysteriously increased mortgage. He stopped paying, and soon was far behind on his mortgage.

    Delassus and his attorney did not discover until May 2010 that a mis-entered number had dragged Delassus into this spiral. As court documents obtained by L.A. Weekly show, after admitting its error, Wells Fargo foreclosed on Delassus anyway and sold his condo.

    http://www.laweekly.com/2013-03-07/news/wells-fargo-typo-victim-dead-larry-delassus/

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