Links 3/30/10

Hyena laughs and giggles decoded BBC

Beyond ACTA: Proposed EU – Canada Trade Agreement Intellectual Property Chapter Leaks Michael Geist. What does sovereignity mean when you are bullied like this?

RNC investigating money spent at L.A. bondage nightclub The Hill (hat tip Jim in MN). Now we know why Palin has been dressing like a domme….

Judge Invalidates Human Gene Patent New York Times. About time.

The Rio Tinto Case and China’s Rule of Law Wall Street Journal. Reader Crocodile Chuck said this piece did a good job of highlighting the underlying issues.

Greeks, Romans, and The Permanent Committee to Save the World Forever Bill Mike Konczal

Elizabeth Warren: Half of commercial RE mortgages to be underwater Bubble Meter

The Ballad of GM James Kwak

Study: Chapter 13 bankruptcy little help in saving homes PhysOrg

HAMP = Foreclosure Loan Fraud Investigations (h/t Mortgage Implode-o-Meter)

Declining Progressivity in US Taxes Linda Beale

Krugman as Failure Archein

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  1. CB`

    Since we’ve been living in a giant ponzi scheme the past few decades, can we just impose a windfall profits tax on the filthy rich already.

    get Hogwarts on this shit.. *poof* sudden global agreement that the professional looters who’ve turned the poor (developing countries and low-income first world citizens) into debt slaves, need to give up just a sliver of their blood money so that the chattel class doesn’t have to commit the next two generations to the same hamster wheel life.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have no problem with windfall taxes or traffic tickets.

      But I do think that traffic tickets, especially from those cameraed intersections, should be 100% refunded back to taxpayers on a equal basis. I hate to see our finest and bravest personlly profit from writing traffic tickets.

      Again, if you want a new windfall tax, make sure the money from that tax doesn’t go into some government spending.

      Otherwise, the government is not a neutral party. Conflict of interest would require the government to recuse itself, sorry, himself (too much yang).

      Remember, we want a not-for-profit government, not a ‘for profit’ government in business to generate more revernues for ‘himself.’

  2. spc

    Yves, apropos IP monopoly, what do You reckon about ACTA ?? (yes, I know it’s abit off topic)

  3. Gentlemutt

    Yves, Thanks for the link to Joe Costello’s blog, Archein! Trenchant and funny stuff.

    Krugman as Failure

    1. tyaresun

      I agree. It is sad that the best that the progressives can find is Krugman. He was for the disaster before he was against it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think he’s more a defect than a failure.

      Unfortunately, universities and the Nobel prize committee have refused to recall their defective products and/or endorsements.

      It’s the biggest cover-up of all time!

    3. Yankee Frank

      Yes Yves, thanks for the Archein link. Poor Krugman. In over his head once again. This is why our country is foundering: how many times can the elites be wrong and fail before they lose all credibility? There is a huge disconnect in this country now between the elites and the people that is just getting wider. The elites don’t want to realize that they have invalidated themselves, and the wool is slowly being drawn away from the eyes of the American people. Sans revolution these changes take time, but we are in for a rocky road ahead. The signs are everywhere if you bother to look. The people are slow to wake, but watch out when they do.

  4. skippy

    RE: The Rio Tinto Case and China’s Rule of Law Wall Street Journal.


    A few blokes or a wing of shiny new F-18 super hornets….um.

    Skippy…never seen a deal reverse so fast and totally.

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  6. Joel Bellenson

    Dear Yves,

    Regarding the article about the gene patents in the NYT, i think your readers would like to hear the true story about how one company used enlightened self-interest to make history.

    This is almost precisely the 10 year anniversary of when Pangea Systems/DoubleTwist annotated and published for free the human genome.

    So, Pangea Systems/DoubleTwist didn’t have to heroically assemble, annotate and give away free access to the human genome to prevent it from being patented by Celera, Incyte, Millennium, and HGS after all?

    Where is the acknowledgement that the current expectation that genes should not be owned was fueled by the fact that our sacrifice stopped the human genetic enclosure movement dead in its tracks at the point where only 20% of the genome was patented?

    Let’s set the record straight!
    Pangea Systems/DoubleTwist leveraging the scattered, inconsistent and mediocre public data of universities all around the world amalgamated, refined, enriched and liberated 80% of the human genome.

    This court ruling only addresses the minority portion that we couldn’t get to in time.
    This court ruling comes after the cost of DNA sequencing a genome has plummeted from $1 Billion in 2000 to $4,400.

    Pangea/DoubleTwist invalidated the lion’s share of human gene patents by giving up ownership of properties that were worth Billion$$$. By providing our analytical tools to every university and company, even our competitors, so that everyone could assemble and annotate their own version of the human genome we played a pivotal role in catalyzing humanity getting closer to its biomolecular truth faster. The medical advances that have happened since then that might have been blocked by human gene patents were made possible by our vision and noble sacrifices.

    It wasn’t some elitist ivory tower judge in New York who liberated the human genome!
    No! It was hard working engineers and scientists in the great city of Oakland, who struggled mightily with nature in a brutal death march, which we only narrowly won, by 6 months against Craig Venter’s Celera, which had 10 times the financial muscle and even greater support in the halls of the federal government and academia.

    Let no one ever forget it was the workers of Pangea Systems who Programmed Power to the People!

    Best Regards,
    Joel Bellenson,
    co-founder and CEO, Pangea Systems Inc.

    1. tyaresun

      I second that. The race got a lot of publicity at the time but seems to have been forgotten. Full disclosure: I have zero links to Pangea, I don’t even work in that field.

    2. paper mac

      With all due respect- and as someone who hacks genomes for a living, I do have a great deal of respect for all biotech pioneers- this comment is not an accurate reflection of the court decision. Irrespective of who published the first draft of the human genome (and frankly, the publicly-available HGP sequences made the commercial drafts irrelevant anyway), the publishing of the sequences in the public domain did nothing to prevent their patenting. In fact, that is THE WHOLE POINT of that article!

      To be clear, what the article is describing is the cloning of a publicly available, well-characterised locus, inserting the cloned locus into an expression system, and patenting the recombinant DNA as a novel invention. I think, overall, the court decision was a good one, given that patents and onerous IP law have been a huge hindrance to the progress of molecular biology over the last couple of decades. I think it’s pretty clear that I shouldn’t be able to clone a human locus, slam it in my favourite plasmid, and go around suing researchers who are using that allele for other things.

      1. Joel Bellenson

        Hi papermac,

        Obviously I also support the court decision, but want to make clear that the provisioning of the assembled, annotated sequence of the whole genome to the world without restriction in 2000 was the seminal act of information liberation. The public data had primarily millions of fragmentary EST sequences prior to Pangea’s assemblage. And in fact, our tools were used by hundreds of public labs to make their own further assemblages.

        The existence of completed gene sequences as well as all flanking regions, etc. significantly raised the bar for DNA patent filing and required from then onwards not just the DNA sequence since that no longer fit the non-obvious criteria of the patent office, but also a particular usage of the sequence to be plausibly reduced to practice by someone skilled in the art. In many cases, future diagnostic patents had to be based around flanking oligonucleotide primers and contain explicit references to particular combinations of SNPs or InDel variations and their propensity for physiological outcome.

        To be clear, this article and court decision discusses the 7 of the 23 Myriad patents rejected which pertain to diagnostic usage of a sequence and did NOT at all discuss usage of the DNA sequence in an expression vector. You must have confused the Myriad patent decision with some other recent gene patent article probably concerning the NFKb patents, which never should have been granted even on non-obvious criteria, let alone broad statements about patentability of genes themselves.

        1. paper mac

          Thanks for the clarification, Joel. I looked at the decision briefly and the entire thing seemed to be based around the idea that removing DNA from its native context gave it sufficient novelty for patenting- I assumed this meant cloning and use in a recombinant system. If they’re just talking about diagnostic extraction and use of the human sequence, that’s particularly egregious and it amazes me that the patent was granted in the first place. Anyway, thanks again for your comments!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s nice to know there are people who believe knowledge should be for knowledge’s sake and that a diploma is not meant to be a career path.

  7. Hugh

    My suggestion re Krugman is to read Bob Herbert instead. Krugman is only willing to take the logic of his arguments so far, that is the point where mild criticism of the Estalishment becomes open opposition to it. At that point, Krugman folds like a cheap lawn chair. After you see him do this a few times, you realize this is not an accident but part of the design.

    1. Cynthia

      Paul Krugman complains about how “today’s G.O.P. is, fully and finally, the party of Ronald Reagan”:

      But if Krugman really and truly has the conscience of a liberal that he claims to have, he’d also be complaining about how corporate Democrats — from Alpha Obama on down the runtiest runt of the blue dogs litter — have hijacked the Democratic party and turned it into the party of Ronald Reagan, too:

      1. carol

        thanks for this youtube link!

        Interesting from 3:57 onwards, as it is claimed that a new corporatist movement is founded by so-called (misnomer) Wall Street democrates. The Hamilton project. Present at its founding meeting in 2006 just one single senator: the little known junior senator from Illinois.

        Further along in the clip it is stated: even before Obama was the front-runner, he was paid much more by Wall Street than the 2 candidates from the state itself (Hillary and Guliani).
        If true, then it might explain a lot of why we the people still do NOT have a regulated financial system.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I wonder if Global Warming and the rising sea levels have anything to do with many coastal mortgages becoming underwater?

    It would appear so if one looks at all the underwater mortgages in Manhattan, Florida and California.

    As I have said before, too much carbon dioxide in the air and people can’t think clearly about anything financial.

  9. Octavio Richetta


    I’ve been an orphan for a while but I think I may have finally found a new home:-)

  10. Anonymous Jones

    I fail constantly. I acknowledge it, hate it, embrace it, learn from it, and sometimes try to move on from it. I can’t believe how often I continue to fail. I think I know something reasonably well and then miss a crucial aspect. I can’t remember whether Santa Catalina Island is part of the Channel Islands or part of the Channel Islands National Park or neither. I mistype their and there and they’re, even though I definitely know the difference. I pick the wrong teams in my bracket (though I wrap up the pool with wins by Butler and WV…strange but true). I take for granted those whom I love. I get too wound up and start caring about things over which I have no control when I could instead be using my time productively.

    Failing is never more than a few steps away. Failing is an act, one that’s all around me. Funny enough, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t engage in this act from time to time.

    What makes a man “a failure?” What does this label mean? Who gets to decide what it means? Failure with respect to what? Failure with respect to whom? What was the universal goal again? That which failing is judged by? And who is in the best position to bestow the label once we establish the parameters?

    I hope I’m not ultimately judged solely on a harsh, condescending review I wrote when I was 40 or the fact that I ultimately decided that I didn’t want the perfect to be the enemy of what I thought was the good. An analysis of a few surface data points might be sufficient to establish the true state of nature. Then again, it might not. PK might be evil. He might be here to subjugate you. Then again, he might not. He might just be wrong about *everything*. Then again, he might not.

    This is not a defense. I don’t know the true state of nature. Then again, I’d prefer to see a bit more data and cogent arguments before I start making decisions. Yes, I need to *judge* to navigate the world, but at the same time, I’d like to limit that activity as much as possible.

    1. joecostello

      Oh please, it’s a big deal in elite circles today to admit how wonderful and freeing failure is, go ask the last person who lost their job for the equivalent of flipping a hamburger wrong about that.

      Paul Krugman’s failure has been as shill for the corporate globalization effort, and he’s made a wonderful life for himself making fairy tales to disguise the role of power in society, ignoring factual evidence in lieu of his latest “theory”, that needs no basis in reality.

      We need to change the power structure in this society, not simply allow them to say they’ve made mistakes, and then give their latest bs on how really though, everything works just fine.

  11. RN

    Wow, Yves has really shown her stripes this time.

    Fine, attack Krugman on substantive grounds.

    But to link to such utter crap as this article just takes all credibility you may have had away and puts you in the Henry Blodget garbage bin of econbloggery.

    1. reprobate

      So who exactly is engaging in cheap shots here? The post describes how Krugman pretends to be progressive but inevitably sides with the power structure. And it also shows how Krugman has changed his tune on globaliztion.

      You don’t address the substance, you just stand behind Krugman’s brand and try a drive-by shooting.

  12. EmilianoZ

    I like Chris Hedges’ new rant: “Is America Yearning for Fascism?”

    Some excerpts:

    “When someone like Palin posts a map with cross hairs on the districts of Democrats, when she says “Don’t Retreat, Instead—RELOAD!” there are desperate people cleaning their weapons who listen.”

    “These movements are not yet full-blown fascist movements. They do not openly call for the extermination of ethnic or religious groups. They do not openly advocate violence. But, as I was told by Fritz Stern, a scholar of fascism who has written about the origins of Nazism, “In Germany there was a yearning for fascism before fascism was invented.” ”

  13. a

    For links for the 31st:

    “Irish Banks Need $43 billion on ‘Appalling’ Lending”

    That’s 43 billion in a country of 6,2 million. To put this in perspective (but this is somewhat apples and oranges), Iceland voters rejected repaying 5,3 billion in a country of 320k. So the Irish numbers are about half of Iceland’s, but that’s still huge.

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