Links 10/19/13

We empathise more with our enemies than our friends – because we need to know when they’re at their most dangerous Daily Mail

A Wondrous GIF Shows the Most Popular Baby Names for Girls Since 1960 Atlantic (Lambert)

Thermal Wristband Keeps Your Body At The Perfect Temperature Popular Science (Robert M)

Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown New York Times

Britain sleep-walking into new energy crisis as Grangemouth shuts down, AA warns Telegraph

Saudi Arabia rejects Security Council seat USA Today (furzy mouse)

‘Our’ weaponized Wahhabi bastards Asia Times

US drone strikes may violate international law Guardian. Ya think?

Shutdown Showdown:

Anatomy of a shutdown Politico

Americans find little to cheer in deal to end fiscal crisis: poll Reuters

A debt ceiling hiccup on the way to a 21st-century American world order Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Top C.I.A. Lawyer Sides with Senate Torture Report New Yorker (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Facebook ‘stalker’ tool uses Graph Search for powerful data mining – security, HITB, Facebook Computerworld (Chuck L)

NSA Files: Decoded: watch the trailer Guardian

US Isn’t Collecting Only Electronic Data On You — Huge Biometric Database Under Construction, Too Jim White, emptywheel. Notice he considers only incompetent false positives, as opposed to malicious….

Obamacare Rollout:

Assessing the Exchanges National Review (Chuck L)

The Truth About the Obamacare Rollout New Republic

States Are Focus of Effort to Foil Health Care Law New York Times

Analysis: State Examines Media Coverage Of Health Exchange VPR (Vermont). Martha r: “You have to listen to the story, there’s no transcript. it tells of fed gov’t $$ pouring into vermont in an attempt to control the media coverage of the ACA rollout–at taxpayers’ expense–reported by Bob Kinzel, who is showing some heartening integrity here and has been reporting on the problems with the exchange. The amount of $$ cited may seem small but in this tiny state people do question how many impoverished people that much $$ could feed and house.”

US Judge Allows Big Oil to Corrupt Foreign Leaders Bud Meyers (Lysa)

BP oil refinery waste piles up on Southeast Side Chicago Tribune (Joe C)

It’s Now Official: New York Is Drowning in Bribes and Corruption Pam Martens

Wayne County school angers parents with impromptu gun lesson WTVD (Goldsboro, North Carolina)

Hit by Low Prices, Lobstermen Are at Odds in Maine and Canada New York Times

The abortion that could cost a mom her family Salon (Chuck L)

Wall Street Journal Reporters Sabotaged By Bosses On News Corp Phone Hacking Story Firedoglake (Chuck L)

Tentative Agreement, One Part of Broader Talks, Would Settle FHFA’s Claims Over Mortgage Bonds Wall Street Journal (Deontos)

3 Academic Studies Show that Quantitative Easing Doesn’t Help the Economy George Washington

Families With Kids Go Homeless as U.S. Rents Exceed Pay: Economy Bloomberg

History’s Greatest Monsters Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic

“Fix the Debt’s” “Fix the Debt Q&A” needs to be fixed Storify (diptherio). OMG, this is the funniest thing I have read in a LONG time!

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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And a bonus (Richard Smith). This is a video, so e-mail subscribers will get a black box, you need to come to the site to see it!

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79 comments

  1. Cb

    Given Pam Martens article about the rampant corruption in NY courts, it isn’t surprising that Lisa Mehos is being hammered in a custody case.

    1. Martin Elsbach

      I am sure the judge received a nice “gift” for her efforts. Civil courts in New York have always been corrupt. An adult friend was being adopted by her mom’s new husband. An unnecessary but lovely gesture. They were informed the paperwork would be approved for a small “contribution” to the judge or they could wait and wait and wait.

  2. from Mexico

    Re: “US Judge Allows Big Oil to Corrupt Foreign Leaders”

    This is tantamount to lying by omission.

    What the article leaves out is the role the US military and deep state play in installing the corrupt governments which the oil companies can then bribe.

  3. AbyNormal

    Love the Rat Tricks
    not sure what that says about me…
    i couldn’t even my kid to take out the trash or feed the cat :-/

    1. Emma

      The antidote du jour gives an adorable and welcome new meaning to ‘rate race’ doesn’t it?!
      Love it – and the meerkats too.
      Tnx Kichard

      1. susan the other

        Of Meerkats and Grandmothers. Forget those Georgian hominids. This is our real family portrait. Their brains are prolly proportionally bigger than those guys too. Anyway, I think I recognized my paleo-grandmother in that family portrait – she was sitting toward the front, to the right. Urgenealogy.

    2. evodevo

      I had pet lab rats for many years – excellent choice for apartment dwellers. They are smart, cheap to feed, and clean, but hard to housebreak. Very affectionate and easy to train, as you can see from the video.

  4. YankeeFrank

    That #fixthedebtqa twitter stream is hysterical, you are correct Yves. Oh those douchies really got “served”. My fave?

    If we sell the poor into slavery and train the young to be gladiators, will that fix our looming debt nightmare?

    Think of the savings if we raise Medicare eligibility to 106 years old! Oops, that’s not a question.

    Which condiment should seniors use to best mask the taste of catfood, after y’all finish robbing our social insurance system?

    Why should we trust billionaire oligarchs and CEOs to promote policies in the interest of the public and working people?

    When the proles are at the gates of my manse with pitchforks & torches, what’s the best way to have my people deal with them?

    If I’m ever bankrupted by medical expenses .. can I come live in your office?

    You can never have just one fave when it comes to mocking billionaire astroturf weasels (sorry actual weasels, you are not human weasels, which are a horrible, nasty creatures nothing like you).

    1. diptherio

      The hilarity continues on Twitter.

      ‏@VickiHartzler:

      #fixthedebtqa The way to fix the debt is to cut taxes, like a family reduces their income in order to get richer.

      @TTMitch:
      Laughed so hard Friskies came out my nose. No worries!! 5 second rule! #fixthedebtqa @FixtheDebt

      I was planning on doing a little trolling of the q & a session myself, but unfortunately I had to go work for the .01% (it’s kinda strange how I often end up painting for multi-billionaires, but I digress). Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one who had that idea. My faith in humanity has experienced a noted improvement due to this little event.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Cutting taxes for the 99.99% is good.

        Often the 0.01% will hide behind the skirts of the 99.9% to get the 0.01%’s taxes cut. This way, they can distract the various segments of the 99.9% – inciting their partisans to go at each other – and the next thing you know, no one is talking about taxing the 0.01% (no, we don’t need to tax the 99.9% any further).

      1. Susan the other

        Hiltzik is pretty sharp sometimes… I’ve been delighted by him of late, but his intro that the FixtheDebt site was “trolled”… I don’t think so, unless the site was a troll that was trolled… well, OK then.

  5. Brick

    Porsche is reducing the hours worked per week from 35 to 34 hours. The monthly wages will remain the same (hourly wages go up).

    Sorry German link, which might even for Germans a bit difficult to understand:
    http://www.automobilwoche.de/article/20131019/NACHRICHTEN/131019932/1276/arbeitszeitverkurzung-porsche-geht-auf-34-stunden-woche

    [The words that makes clear that workers will get the same monthly wage for 34 hours as they got for 35 hours are “voller Lohnausgleich”. If increasing the work week the very same words mean the opposite (hourly wage remains the same). German is weird.]

    Porsche is doing this eventhough they have sold 14.7 percent more cars this year than in the same time last year , according to the works committee head, to reduce the stress of the workers.

    There are still some companies out there which care about their workers and not only profits. So, also a bit of a “antidote du jour”.

  6. skippy

    Facing demands from India and other countries for banking details of persons with alleged black money in Switzerland, the European nation has proposed new rules for combating money laundering and mandating extra due diligence by banks before accepting clients’ money.

    Switzerland’s Federal Council, the country’s top-most policy making body, has proposed that these norms would be put through an extensive consultation process till June 15.

    The proposals come within days of Switzerland promising deepening of dialogue with India on administrative assistance and exchange of information about suspected illicit wealth stashed by Indians in the Swiss banks.

    At the same time, Switzerland’s Finance Ministry has also made it clear that it would not entertain any banking information requests that are based on stolen or illegally obtained account details, while it has also refused to consider any fishing expedition for Swiss bank details.

    In its latest proposals, Federal Council said it has adopted two consultation drafts – one for implementation of the revised international recommendations on combating money laundering and terrorist financing, and the second for putting in place and extended due diligence requirements should prevent untaxed assets from being accepted by financial intermediaries in Switzerland.

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/swiss-govt-proposes-new-laws-against-black-money-in-banks/article4471781.ece

    1. Glenn Condell

      If land-locked mountain bolt-holes begin to be prised open, 1%er loot will just be transferred to their sea-floor equivalents. UN backed international sanctions for all boltholes are required. Like Greece and Cyprus the really big kahunas will work out ways to stay ahead of those curves but eventually if we put up enough fences they will have to return to the fold with their ill-gotten, unless they are content to just sit and stare at it.

      How much pressure could India apply to a place like Switzerland? By contrast, what if the Russians demanded Swiss bank details of their crims and tax avoiders, on pain of energy starvation?

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Rents exceed pay.

    The Fed: Mission accomplished! Look mom, no inflation (wage inflation)…& house flipping back on!

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Now official, New York…corruption.

    The reality is that reality could exist long, long, long before it becomes official.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Thermal wristband…perfect body temperature.

    One’s being is more than body temperature. What does this do to one’s magnetic field, one’s aura, one’s energy flowing through Ida and Pingala?

    Can Big Brother adjust the temp. settings to cool down ‘undesirable’ people’s 7th charkra or heat up their 1st charkra?

    1. Jim Haygood

      At the claimed maximum heating rate of 0.4 deg. C. per second (0.72 deg. F./sec), you could raise your body temp from 98.6 F. to boiling in 2 min 37 sec.

      Who knew that long pig could be a fast food item?

    2. diptherio

      What?!? Then “undesirables” would just end up breeding! Wouldn’t that be counter productive?

      Wouldn’t it be better to heat up the 7th chakra in hopes that all the “undesirables” decide to spend their time meditating in caves and monasteries and whatnot, rather than causing trouble for their “betters”?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I need to review my notes again, but I thought in meditating, one would cool things down?

        1. diptherio

          See now, I thought that the idea with (hindu) meditation was to create internal heat:

          Tapas (tapas, Sanskrit: तपस्) means deep meditation,[2] effort to achieve self-realization, sometimes involving solitude, hermitism or asceticism;[3][4] it is derived from the word root tap (Sanskrit: तप् or ताप) which depending on context means “heat” from fire or weather, or blaze, burn, shine, penance, pain, suffering, mortification. ~Wikipedia

        2. aletheia33

          it depends. it can go either way.

          kundalini shakti has a way of its own but is definitely a strong erotic (not in the sense of sex but of the wider ”eros”) and creative force. it inspires creative work and insight on many levels. the physical manifestations can be very varied and somewhat intense at times. the wristband might help if you get a little too hot or cool when meditating, but you’ll probably prefer to endure the situation until it passes and just take it as yet another opportunity to practice strengthening and clarifying the mind.

          tapas is used kinda metaphorically (response to the below comment on tapas) for the hells the ancient teachers said you have to go through to refine your mental, spiritual, and physical being through meditation practice. the practice is the crucible in which you throw yourself so as to be re-formed into stronger, clearer stuff.

      2. J Sterling

        “Undesirable” only means socially, as in, you wouldn’t want to have to admit them to your country club. As labor, they are very desirable indeed; the more there are scrabbling at your door for employment, the less you need to offer them in pay.

    3. Jack Parsons

      One of the markers of longer-lived people is their bodies consistently regulate at the lower end of normal body temperature. If you want to be cold all the time, you can live longer!

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    We empathize more with our enemies…

    Let me see… we are just more vigilante about the abuses of banksters, which may include scrutinizing over their personal behaviors, and which may involve looking at their greedy motives – that is to say to trying to, at times, understand their feelings (about money, for example) – and that’s ’empathizing?’

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The 2013 class picture.

    The one in the middle, he is, er, leering, I think; and I see some faint smiles (look a little forced). Overall, a fairly reserve bunch. Often, under such placid surface, revolution zeal runs wild…I think. So I say, better watch these carefully. They might be plotting the overthrow of the Homo Sapiens World Order.

  12. anon y'mouse

    “She’s traumatized by the abortion I presume, or worse, if she wasn’t traumatized by it.”

    damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    a witch survives an attempt to drown her in a bag full of rocks, so we burn her at the stake.

    methinks she was traumatized by that abusive f%cktard of a husband trying to bash her head in, then dealing with his high-paid lawyer rigmarole and constantly hassling after she finally escaped.

    abusers: you might get away with it for a few hours, but you have to sleep sometime.

  13. anon y'mouse

    as a former employee of a property management agency, they licked their chops at the foreclosure fiasco, and haven’t stopped licking them either.

    their motto is to raise rents by 10% per year on residents, and to “whatever the market will bear” on turnovers. even if you move into a place that is somewhat barely affordable, eventually it won’t be. your pay will likely not go up that much, and the cost of everything else you must buy is also rising.

    they didn’t care if this increased turnovers. we’re in a high demand area, where college students and hipsters from all over the country want to move to. keeping people around is not their goal.

    i’d really like to know how long a person has to rent to recoup those turnover costs, though. they never shared those with me. not to mention the 2 month vacancy period between rentals trying to find a suitable tenant (3x rent in income verifiable).

      1. craazyman

        I’ll politely assume it was a typo. If not, please send a check for $0.000000000001 cents to:

        Royalties
        Faaaaak Incorporated
        PO Box 9
        Magonia

        Or my lawyer will be calling sometime, if he gets around to it, which he probably won’t. it’s like that in Magonia.

        1. marx bro

          everyone in fredonia loves everyone in magonia, especially craazyman. he is so polite. and generous.

    1. Walter Map

      They’re parking it in Bermuda. Crooks have to eat too, don’t they? Well, don’t they?

      Most government software projects are built on the “get it done, fix it later” methodology, which is very common in nearly all such software projects, including the financial industry. ACA actually meets IT industry standards for low quality and avoidance of best practices and won’t really be properly serviceable for years.

      You wouldn’t be so disappointed if you had only kept your expectations low. No, lower. Lower. Keep going. That’s it.

  14. anon y'mouse

    on Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

    this is the stuff of which my nightmares are made.

    reading the article and comments, does one get the feeling that they are viewing the mirror inverse of NakedCapitalism and its denizens.

    the new world, where everyone has their own set of fully believable “facts” is a terrifying Nebuchadnezzar. how to thread one’s way to the truth in all of this is sometimes too daunting in the face of the onslaught of data and talking points. how is a prole to decide what to believe?

    I don’t want to be brainwashed by my own moral and instinctual leanings. but it seems that we all are, to some degree. this seems like the Lakoff observation that one’s political leanings resemble closely how they would respond to a crying infant.

  15. Jess

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says:

    “This epic battle in Washington is evidence of a vibrant democracy wrestling with issues that are not easily solved. The parties are bitterly divided because the people are bitterly divided.”

    Say whaaat?! Instead of NC linking to him, he should be linking to, and reading, NC!

    “Vibrant democracy”…”Parties bitterly divided”? I wish!

  16. Pwelder

    wrt Obamacare rollout issues: I wonder how much it would cost to hire a half-dozen really good hackers to maximize chaos on the web site during this highly visible startup of a program that is still pretty controversial.

    Not that anyone out there would be so mean and unscrupulous as to actually do that. Would they?

    Although from what Lambert’s been saying, there’s no need for anti – ACA jihadists to go in for black ops and dirty tricks. The Grinch can save his money.

    1. Walter Map

      You misunderstand. The ACA software was coded by half a dozen hacksters, all with up-to-date antidepressant prescriptions. Plus 300 south Asian imports with faked programming credentials.

      1. craazyboy

        OMG. US citizen is NOT one of the choices! That explains a lot.

        Unexpired Foreign Passport
        Portuguese
        German
        Polish
        Vietnamese
        ‘This P.O. box isnt a valid address.
        ‘Asian Indian’
        Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor
        ‘American Indian or Alaskan Native’
        Refugee Travel Document
        ‘Other Pacific Islander’
        Puerto Rican
        ‘Native Hawaiian’
        ForeignPassport

        Being single, I never knew buying insurance could be so complicated.

        Grandparent
        Grandchild
        Parent/Step-parent
        Brother/Sister
        domesticPartner
        Child of Domestic Partner

        You cant enter people with the same names and dates of birth.

        Shit. There goes Bill and Bill for the twins names. But can you say cost plus contract for the next two years?

  17. Everythings Jake

    Amazing Rat Tricks is the most profound of today’s posts. It explains most everything. Victor Hugo got the elemental so right, even if he took 1400 pages to do so.

  18. diptherio

    The History behind the current Mi’kmaq stand-off with RCMP over fracking:

    In the mid-1700s, the Crown signed Peace and Friendship treaties with the Mi’kmaq. The Crown — the entity that puts the “Royal” in “Royal Canadian Mounted Police” — understood that to maintain their settlements on someone else’s traditional territory without worrying about attacks, they needed a treaty relationship with the folks who live here.

    Here’s what the Mi’kmaq warrior society says about the treaties:

    “Under the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1760 and 1761 in the Maritimes, the Mi’kmaq and the Maliseet signatories did not surrender rights to lands or resources.”

    Oops, that wasn’t the warrior society. It’s actually what the Canadian government said about the treaty. It’s what they have to say, because a long string of court decisions has upheld that the Mi’kmaq nation holds collective rights to the land they share with European settlers.

    http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/elsipogtog-clashes-300-years-making/19357

  19. optimader

    Tricks today, urban street vendor satay w/ peanut sauce tonight outside some bar in NYC at 2:00am

    1. craazyman

      faaak it used to be cocaine.

      things are going downhill. New York isn’t New York anymore. It’s like a big shopping mall. I don’t know where to go at this point. Maybe Paris or maybe someplace in Africa. Someplace like Dakar or maybe a tent in the bush. I don’t know, that might be an extreme move. Where would food delivery come from?

      something occurred to me just yesterday that’s bound to blow the doors right off the entire vault of economic thought. I’m not sure what’s inside, but it might be a projectile vomit, so we better duck.

      this is what occurred to me: everybody can be poor at the same time, but it’s impossible for everybody to be rich at the same time.

      how could this be? usually you think of things like a normal probability distribution on a Cartesian x/y axis. You think, well, if something has a z-score of 3, there must be something with a negative z-score of 3, like a mirror. But it doesn’t work that way with being rich.

      Some things are inherently asymmetrical. Not many things in nature are assymetrical. If you think about galaxies, snowflakes, trees, people (right and left legs and arms), they all have symmetries. But not being rich. That’s food for deep thoughts with the red wine and xanax. hahaaha

      1. JEHR

        Not-so-Craazyman: What if everyone was given a basic wage of, say, $40,000 a year. It would come from the government on a monthly basis. Everyone could live very well on that. But then the big corporations couldn’t find people to work for paltry minimum wage and would quit making products because they can’t make a big profit. That’s an experiment I would like to see the whole country engage in. What would really happen?

        See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincome

      2. Walter Map

        I don’t know where to go at this point.

        Right-wingers regularly make claims about an alternate universe where Obama is a liberal, even a socialist.

        I recommend renditioning some of these wingnuts and wring them out until they tell us how to get there. Or maybe just hire them as travel consultants.

      3. craazyboy

        Certainly ’tis a conundrum.

        The way rich people explain it is that if it weren’t for them, we’d ALL be poor people.

        I just figure it’s because they are way smarter than us. Way, way smarter – like they were born with quantum entangled brains and they can think faster than the speed of light. That’s what really intimidates me.

        1. Walter Map

          The rich are far more desperate for money than the poor. So desperate that they will rob the poor for whatever they can get. The real problem is not the desperation of the poor. It is the desperation of the rich.

          Some people with OCD hoard junk, others hoard cats, and still others hoard wealth, and the more they have, the more they need. Overweening greed is a psychiatric disorder.

          1. anon y'mouse

            crazy cat lady sez:

            I don’t need more cats. I need more catFOOD!

            where is that derned catfood commission I heard tell of? Sassy’s out of Science Diet & might chew my leg off if’n it isn’t procured somehow.

          2. craazyboy

            The more I think about that, it’s not that they horde stuff so much as that their favorite hobby is unbelievably expensive. They are competing with each in the annual Forbes 400 Billionaire competition.

            It takes about $1.5 Billion nowadays just to get the low rung in the rankings – so you can see why they appear so desperate about wringing more cash out of the economy and finding tax savings somehow.

            Now if it were me I’d think about playing golf or tennis instead, but that’s why they are rich and we are not.

      4. hunkerdown

        Not many things in nature are assymetrical.

        In fact, most molecules of significance to carbon-based life are indeed chiral. Their mirror images often have different, weaker, undesirable and/or no effects in vivo.

        As for rich vs. poor, poverty is absolute but wealth is relative, hence the asymmetry. Not everyone can be rich, but pretty close to everyone could certainly do better than mere subsistence if they would only build different sorts of wealth.

  20. Kim Kaufman

    @fixthedebtqa – most hilarious. Thank you for posting!

    Has anyone mentioned that companies that get government contracts are good at getting government contracts… not so good at doing the work?

  21. Jack Parsons

    Cats and Rats ended the show, astonishing the audience as rats rode peacefully on cats’ backs around a track, crossed tightropes, and for the finale, walked across a raised platform carrying miniature American flags.

    “However do they teach them to do that!” exclaimed Valerie as we worked our way out of the box and down the side steps.

    “They stuff the cats and starve the rats,” I said bluntly. “Come on.”

    http://marymiley.wordpress.com/tag/swains-cats-and-rats/

  22. optimader

    FYI Blog Dominatrix

    If I click on; Topics-> Healthcare(161)
    IExplorer does a meltdown , not so other Topics links…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Do you mean me or our WordPress maven Kristin?

      I sent your missive along. Sorry for the hassle.

  23. optimader

    http://vimeo.com/68558821
    Climate Model Smoking Gun: Professor Tim Stanton; Ocean Physicist

    from Documentary In Progress 4 months ago not yet rated

    One of many great interviews of Professor Tim Stanton of the Naval Postgraduate School.

    After describing in detail the instruments they will deploy beneath the PIG ice shelf, Professor Stanton states the ultimate importance of and final use for the data generated by his highly sophisticated probes

    1. optimader

      http://vimeo.com/68545519

      Drilling Summary Pine Island Glacier Antarctica by Camp Coordinator Salvatore Consalvi:

      from Documentary In Progress 4 months ago not yet rated

      A hot water drill was developed and built by Dale Pomeraning and run by Martin Truffer glaciers.gi.alaska.edu/people/truffer from the University of Alaska. The first of three holes drilled into the floating ice shelf was captured on video by the field coordinator (cook/ weather observer / logistics coordinator).

      The clip is a short excerpt from numerous attempts to summarize the operations which included Geophysics, Ocean Physics, Climatology, Glaciology, and Ice Physics studies.

      1. optimader

        Some serious-ass Pilatus flying, fkup your dead, do not pass go in here. http://www.pilatus-aircraft.com/#16
        This is the giant cleave in the Pine Island Glacier

        http://vimeo.com/66652932

        Calving Ice Shelf: An exhilarating flight into the crack

        from Documentary In Progress 4 months ago not yet rated

        A great trip to the crack of great concern. We will be hearing about the complete calving in a year, two, or three. This incredible flight into the crack only meters above the ocean was the highlight of the season for many team members who worked several months without a day off.

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