Links 3/9/10

Humans found to have sixth taste – fat Sydney Morning Herald (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

Europe bars Wall Street banks from government bond sales Guardian (hat tip reader Steve L)

Strategic defaults on homes on the rise SF Gate (hat tip reader conryw)

High standards at The Washington Post Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Lies, Damned Lies, and Chinese Statistics China Stakes (hat tip reader Michael)

Antidote du jour:

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  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In addition to the newly discovered sixth taste, researchers have also uncovered the lost Fourth Law of Motion by Isaac Newton.

    His Fourth Law of Motion states that in order to advance, you have to retreat. The French army knows that pretty well. Lovers also know a variation of that law by heart, especially men – they know in order for them to stand tall in a relationship, they have to stoop first. And we already know that Columbus applied that law to discover a new East by sailing west.

    And unless you belong to the Ptolemy School of Economics and prefer your explanations complicated, you can also apply Newton’s Fourth Law to financial matters – to grow, you must liquidate stocks, liquidate labor, liquidate everthing.

  2. dearieme

    “fat is activating something in the oral cavity”: is “oral cavity” by any chance “mouth”? They would seem to have their cranial cavity up their anal cavity.

  3. fresno dan

    “People are acting against their own economic self-interest by continuing to pay off houses where they may not have any equity for decades,” he said. “They’re throwing away good money after bad.”

    Read more:

    People are realizing that a transaction is suppose to benefit both parties. Maybe there were a few “predatory borrowers” but the vast majority believed the government, real estate profession, media, banks, loan companies, and everybody else about buying a house, no matter that prices were irrational and insupportable. It is not a “home” it is a bunch of sticks, and when you pay too much you harm yourself as well as the economy. The sooner house prices fall to a sustainable level, the better for everyone.

    1. Moopheus

      That sfgate article really has a pretty broad idea of “walkaway” and “strategic default.” It includes as reason for default such factors as loss of job, divorce, and higher monthly payments, factors that could seriously affect someone’s ability to pay. It’s not really “strategic default” if you can no longer afford to pay for other reasons.

  4. charles

    To Yves: an article by William White

    Is financial stability enough?
    William R. White, Chair of the OECD Economic and Development Review Committee
    As regulators and policymakers continue to examine new rules for the financial services, stock markets are booming and bank bonuses are being paid out anew. A happy new year, or should we be worried that, without corrective action, another financial crisis could strike in the months or years ahead?

  5. Ina Pickle

    The Washington Post has become a huge disgrace. We tried to end our subscription a few months ago, and they practically threw the thing at us for free. I don’t think I’ll be dissuaded this time I call.

    Pro bono is called that because that is what it does. You don’t have to like it for it to be good for you, as any mother who has shoveled medicine down a child can tell you. And it is crystal clear that the Founders considered habeas corpus to be one of the cornerstones of our Constitution for good reason – some of them out of uncomfortable familiarity with the evils wrought when the writ is suspended.

    Is it extremely weak and vindictive of me to hope that Mr. Theissen is arrested and needs a defense attorney? I hope that it drains off every single penny he has. I won’t go so far as to wish him held incommunicado in a foreign jail cell and tortured – that shouldn’t happen to anyone.

    1. EmilianoZ

      I’ve been reading tweets from Nicholas Nassim Taleb. This one’s pretty funny:

      “The differences between Goldman Sachs & the mafia: GS has a better legal-regulatory expertise; but the mafia understands public opinion.”

  6. kevinearick

    the bankers and their economists only understand what they can see, the economic activity half cycle, represented by G + C + I, and most of them have too little experience to see all of that half cycle.

    if we remove all the symbiotic relationships, seperate the parallel circuit phase shifts, and isolate one economic activity half cycle from the economic profit half cycle:

    capital gets a battery, fully charged, from an economic profit half cycle. by mass trial and error, the economic slave economy, it begins to hook up processes to the battery. with a little experience, it becomes quite proficient, and energy consumption turns vertical, until it connects a process that swamps the battery. From that point on, it “waters down the soup”, until voltage from that battery falls to 0.

    capital’s “problem” is that it can only “know”; it cannot have confidence in the unknowable. so it creates a mythology to support its assertion that it knows best.

    at the end of a bull market, most can only maintain one frame of reference in their mind, because of the mythology overhead, and to do otherwise would collapse the system in a cascading loss of confidence.

    capital is having a particularly difficult time because it has never seen structural demographic deceleration into equilibrium, causing it to reproduce economic slave economies out of control, like an imbalanced wheel that gets worse with wear.

    waves within waves, and symptoms of symptoms.

      1. kevinearick

        sensible people grow enough for winter, and take prudent precautions;

        there are always people who grow no garden, and depend on stealing out-right;

        and there are people who grow just enough through the season, and come up with whatever psychology is sufficient to justify stealing in the winter.

    1. kevinearick

      they project the future based on the past, in a self-fulfilling prophesy, increasingly relying on coersion, and then force, to prohibit individual adaptation, in what becomes the classic too-big-to-fail enterprise, which always fails. democracy becomes tyranny.

      they drive, incrementally, looking out the rear-view mirror, constantly repeating history, instead of trusting net aggragate liberty to do the steering, despite the fact that they are completely protected from evolution, and therefore have absolutely no idea where it is going.

      in a probability distribution, with no difference between results and random outcomes, they choose the tail-end economists with tolerable records to that tell them what they want to hear, and then hire the next set of economists when things do not work out.

      the cartels agree to a middle class capacitor to survive errors. the middle class is charged to be discharged, with an internal combustion engine that appears to fire in sequence, but is actually controlled to fire in any order the cartels like. the cartels induce investment with loans, wait until capital is built, then move the economy and call in the loans, which can no longer be serviced.

      at the end of the day, the economy with the most talent moves forward. the cartels know that much. they just pick the low hanging fruit first. when they get hungry, they come around.

  7. Jack Parsons

    The lawyers doing pro bono work has a really interesting backstory: why the firms are paying to send their guys to Gitmo.

    High-level law practice has devolved into dealmaking instead of court time. So much so that high-end lawyers are spending far more time negotiating settlements than they used to. The partners running the big firms realized that their “farm league” talent had almost no time standing up in court, and the firm would not be able to, say, defend a giant corporate criminal suit (AT&T v.s. people spied upon) or a Columbian cartel guy.

    So, how do you give class A talent appropriately challenging court time? Ship ’em to Gitmo! Once they’ve been through the wringer in that Komplex of Kangaroo Kourts, they’re ready for anything.

  8. kevinearick

    authoritative doublespeak:

    Warren Buffet says that the problem with healthcare is that it pays for procedures instead of performance, but the healthcare bill is better than nothing, which protects his investments at the cost of further liquidating your position, to feed the AMA and maintain the old cartel contracts, as they continue to replace real work with make-work, in a catch-22 discharge.

    the work-week is falling, pay to unprotected labor is increasing, asset prices are falling, and protected labor is being exposed to evolution. invest in your own talents and mobility, and move to the locations where the need intersects with a rising ratio of return to unprotected labor(increasing) / asset prices(decreasing), where the nexus is receding. the tiles all have to be moved for the motor to turn over.

    stay mobile and set yourself up to be patient. if the tiles do not move, the grid will go down. do not be in a big city.

    more on symbiotic systems after congressional recess.

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