Links 3/10/10

Researchers back cancer-fighting properties of papaya Associated Press

Sports Enhancement and Life Enhancement: Different Rules Apply h+ (hat tip reader David C)

Unionists make citizens’ arrest of insurance CEOs People’s World (hat tip reader John D)

Barney Eats Seconds – Or Blows Smoke – Or Both Bruce Krasting

Grayson Offers Medicare Buy-In Bill, Makes Impassioned Speech Huffington Post

Germany’s eurozone crisis nightmare Martin Wolf, Financial Times. One reader thinks the part of the article that discusses “the balance between income and expenditure in the private, government and foreign sectors must sum to zero” looks awfully similar to recent posts on NC, particularly one (here and here) by Rob Parenteau.

Alpert: Two years until we see market-clearing prices in housing market Ed Harrison

Econobloggers need their crisis back Ultimi Barbarorum. Whoops, this was on deck but didn’t make it into Links on a timely basis….still worth reading.

Why Is The Pentagon Worried About Consumer Protection? The Atlantic (hat tip reader John D). This post adopting a puzzled stance strike me as odd. It’s pretty well known that auto dealers get kickbacks, um, fees on loans they sell to car buyers. It is also a pretty good bet that most members of the armed forces are not very sophisticated financially, and hence could be steered into products that are not favorable to them. This isn’t the first time the Pentagon has intervened to protect its staff from predatory financial practices, see here for more background.

It looks like they might really ban naked CDS Eurointelligence

FDIC wants pension funds to prop up failed banks Raw Story

Goldman Sued for Overpaying Executives CBS (hat tip reader John D)

Also, per Lambert Strether, is running a poll on “ideas for change in America”. He points out, correctly, that single payer is on the list (as in, if you want to remind Team Obama that they blew it, this is one way to quickly register your unhappiness). The other one on the list I am keen about is “Move to Amend: Constitutional Rights for People, Not for Corporations – Abolish Corporate Personhood”. Vote here.

Antidote du jour:


A bonus, hat tip Richard Smith:

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  1. Ina Pickle

    It never ceases to amaze me that I’m up before 5:00 and the links are up. More sleep for Yves — do we need a petition?

    That is one adorable little hedgehog.

  2. Ignim Brites

    FDIC wants pension funds to prop up failed banks. I would feel more comfortable if the Congressional pension fund was first in line here. Frankly, since we are talking about capital controls maybe the Congressional pension fund should be legally required to invest only in FDIC assets. However, that isn’t going to happen. Neither will public employees pension funds backstop the FDIC or the FED for that matter. If we really want to make an impact we need to compel university endowments and the pension funds for the professoriate to backstop the FDIC. This is a relatively weak, naive and credulous group. Maybe fascist power should begin with the seizure of their assets. Nothing like the image of searching in dumpsters for your next meal to concentrate the mind.

  3. Martin

    To “Germany’s eurozone crisis nightmare”

    I disagree with Wolf. Most people in Germany don’t want to run CA surpluses. But they want no inflation. When Germany entered the Eurozone, the CA was in deficit, so there is no principle reason, why Germany always has to run CA surpluses. It is at least partially a side effect of the wish to have low inflation.
    When the Euro got down from 1,50 to 1,35 Dollar, there were serious economists arguing, the ECB should use its currency reserves to prop up the Euro. Obviously, this is not consistent with the idea, that Germany wants to have a CA surplus as large as possible.
    At least Wolf didn’t tell the non-sense, that Germany wanted others to have the Euro. At least in the population the Euro is seen as a price paid for the political agreement of France to the German reunification, not something that anybody wanted for economic reasons. And even the lobby group people from the export industry say, they want a strong currency for emotional reasons, despite a weak currency is good for the business.

    Another factor is the German self-hatred. Net domestic investment is lower in Germany than in France, and investment is as well a form of demand. But the banks don’t like to give credit to Germans, because they know, there are risks. But in the (unknown) foreign countries to which one can lend, of course everything is well. Former Sparkasse workers told, that they were in a culture, where every financial product from London or NewYork has to be great, because it is where ‘the real’ bankers are sitting. So you can buy it (or even better sell it to your grandmother) without having to understand it.

  4. velobabe

    “The questions that arise around sports enhancement — questions about the player’s quality of life, autonomy and freedom, or questions around gauging acceptable risk — can help to inform a wider debate on enhancement, as long as we keep those aspects related to arbitrary rules back where they belong — in pastimes”

    money can be perceived as an unfair enhancement.

    cycling has been extremely impacted, young europeans are questioned about use of unfair sports enhancement in various sports and it seems to be subliminally accepted and expected. americans just don’t understand these factors exists.

  5. Cynthia

    “The Pentagon’s concerns were raised in a Feb. 26 letter from Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. He said that “unscrupulous” lending by auto dealers has hurt troops — and has even prevented them from being deployed, as some groups have documented. That may blunt the sympathy the National Automobile Dealers Association members received during the House debate.”

    [It seems to me that top Pentagon officials want to prevent “unscrupulous” auto dealers from ripping off our troops, not because they want to protect our troops from these predatory lenders, but because they don’t want anything to stop our troops from being deployed to the war zone. But I must say that workers can’t be excused from work simply because they failed to make their car payments. So I’m not sure why troops can’t be deployed to work in war simply because they failed to make their car payments. But to me, even if this means more ill-gotten gains going into the hands of predatory lenders, I like the fact that this is preventing our troops from being shipped off to an unnecessary war against a questionable enemy where they are at great risk of being severely maimed or even killed!]

  6. kevinearick

    the speed of light is a frame of reference limit, for traveling ACROSS space. there are much faster communication pathways within the fulcrum of fulcrums.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeefz

    If Ultimi Barbarorum wants, he can be in permanent crisis mode like good politicians are always in permanent campaign mode.

    In this way, perhaps good econobloggers are just good politicians in disguise.

  8. Nostradoofus

    Abolishing corporate personhood: be careful what you wish for.

    Today, corporations can be sued in civil court — because they are persons. Do you want to abolish this? Abolish class actions? Product liability suits?

    Abolishing corporate personhood would require that we create a new, separate body of law to govern corporate liability. Congress, currently corporate-controlled, would write this new body of law. Who do you think it would favor?

    This meme is a corporatocratic Trojan Horse. Beware.

    1. anon

      “This meme is a corporatocratic Trojan Horse. Beware.”

      I agree with the idea that those who wish to abolish corporate personhood should be very wary and watchful; we need to make sure that any legislation or constitutional amendment is crafted in such a way as to limit the rights of corporations and not enshrine or even expand them. That doesn’t mean we should not try to end “natural” rights for corporations.

      But if you are worried that corporations could not be sued absent the fiction of corporate personhood, how could they sell products? They couldn’t enter into contracts so who would sell to them on anything other than a cash basis? Any contract they signed (including warranties, etc.) would be worthless. Neither Ford nor Walmart would have any suppliers. No one would sell to or (in general) buy from them. We wouldn’t have to worry much about class-action suits because commerce with corporations would be halted. That’s not going to happen.

      We need to decide what roles we want corporations to play in our society and then design and delineate corporations’ rights around those roles. We need to make sure that consumers and other actors are protected from the power corporations have due to their concentrations of wealth and ability to influence politics, law, the economy, and many other spheres. We need to be wary but not weak. We must be vigilant but we should not let our concerns that our efforts might be corrupted stop us from acting.

      (I put natural in quotes bc I don’t believe that the rights are natural but do think that term is a convenient shorthand for describing a set of rights that had previously enjoyed widespread, common endorsement as important entitlements that needed to be protected for biological human beings but not for legal persons like corporations.)

  9. linda in chicago

    That zebra finch video is just priceless! I wonder if its author knows that the male zebra finch is the paradigm bird for studies in how birds learn to sing.

  10. Ronald

    “This process will take two to an half years in his view.” The calls regarding the bottom of housing prices remind me of the “light at the end of tunnel” announcements during the Vietnam War, these occurred when we had the enemy surrounded according to the daily briefings.

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