Links 5/4/10

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Fire In The Gulf: New Pictures Of The Deepwater Horizon Talking Points Memo (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck). This is all so awful…

BP now slicker than ever Crikey (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck). A very good piece.

Rise of the Superweeds New York Times. Thanks to….Monsanto, natch.

Too Big to Jail? Huffington Post

Pelosi: Bush Admin Barred Officials From Briefing Congress On Impending Financial Crisis in Fall 2008 Talking Points Memo (hat tip reader John D)

Ugly divorce reform bill threatens victims of domestic violence Kansas City Star. Sign of the times, “The Full Protection of Batterers Act.”

Apple faces US antitrust scrutiny Financial Times

Do a Good Job: Interview With Senator Ernest Hollings Chris Whalen

Europe’s Web of Debt New York Times. Serious graphics at work.

Huge National Debts Could Push Euro Zone into Bankruptcy Der Spiegel (hat tip reader Swedish Lex). In case you had any doubts about the position of the German media on this topic…as one astute commentator noted, the first country up for rescue (Greece) could probably get salvaged, but forget about the laggards.

The Predators’ Boneyard: A Conversation with James Kenneth Galbraith The Straddler

Is the Personal Saving Rate Headed to Seven Percent? Mark Thoma

Singling out Goldman Sachs Steve Waldman

“Reminbising China’s Assets” Menzie Chinn

Antidote du jour:

Picture 6

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  1. Amit Chokshi

    HuffPo has some ok content but seriously, totally ripping off Mother Jone’s title there. MoJo had one of the BEST set of articles in their mag a few months ago w/the cover story Too Big to Jail…

  2. fresno dan

    Singling out Goldman Sachs Steve Waldman
    “Nevertheless, there is a danger that we will make a ritual sacrifice of Goldman and pretend to have exorcised our demons, while other firms that have engaged in similar conduct continue undisturbed.”

    perfectly said – I love interfluidity

  3. DownSouth

    ► Steve Waldman:
    I have no reason to think that the government’s focus on Goldman is motivated by anything other than having discovered particularly bad conduct there. Nevertheless, the cynic in me cannot help but notice that, according to media reports, Jamie Dimon and the Obama Administration have been very close at times. Dimon’s bank, JP Morgan Chase, has much to gain from Goldman’s misfortune.

    The situation in the US is not unlike that in Mexico, where the government is owned by the drug cartels.

    But there does exist competition amongst the seven major drug cartels. So when a major drug bust goes down, the public is always left wondering if this was a major blow against crime, or simply bought-off government officials operating on behalf of one cartels to eliminate competition from a rival cartel. Given the endemic corruption in Mexican government, I think most Mexicans come down in favor of the latter.

    The amount of harm and suffering that American bankers cause, however, is several orders of magnitude greater than the amount of harm and suffering that Mexican drug capos cause.

    This raises an interesting question of semantics. If Mexico is a narco state, then what is the United States? A bankster state? Surely the US government’s capture by the banking cartel is every bit as complete as is the Mexican government’s capture by the drug cartels.

  4. Nick

    A question on the domestic violence link:

    There’s nothing in the bill to say the woman (and it assumes the woman is the victim despite all the evidence that DV is split 50/50) can’t LEAVE. It just stops her cashing out on her husband upon a flimsy pretext of abuse.

    There’s plenty of laws and protection already. Plenty of freedom for the woman to leave. She’s just not guaranteed to take her husband’s money, house and kids without being able to actually prove wrongdoing.

    No wonder the feminists are against the bill. It implies that some woman somewhere might be held responsible for her behaviour and have a burden of proof.

      1. Peter T

        There are plenty of studies, google for yourself. That we seldom see them quoted in the MSM shouldn’t surprise, the MSM miss many things that don’t fit into their world view, like a housing bubble.

    1. Free Man

      Actually, DV maybe 60-40 intiated by women these days. Women often will hit men knowing that if the guy dials 911, he will be arrested.

      Feminists are massively abusing DV laws to enable women to abuse their husbands with impunity. All this reform would do is reduce the chance that she can take all of the husband’s money. There is nothing to say that the woman (or man) can not move out if abused.

  5. NS

    I don’t know how to send a link to you. So I’ll do it here. My apologies as it isn’t germane to any you have posted but its important. Checked Bloomie and its not there. There are likely over 200,000 of these devices used in hospitals to deliver medications, fluids, etc. to patients. This release shows the kid-glove approach to regulatory action which have resulted in preventable deaths.

    This is outrageous. Suppliers like this are primary contributors to the double-digit yoy inflation in health care costs, part of the cabal. Lax oversight, overseas transfers of mfg keeping their costs (and quality) low but the profits high. This didn’t even make the news anywhere I can locate. Disclosure: I’m not in the markets and have never been. I am however a former health care professional that is totally and completely AGHAST.

    1. Francois T

      On April 8, 2010, Baxter submitted a proposed correction schedule to the FDA that stated that Baxter did not plan to begin the latest round of corrections to the adulterated and misbranded pumps until May 2012. The proposal also stated that Baxter does not anticipate completion of the proposed corrections until 2013. On that schedule, a device with known safety concerns would remain in use on patients needing specialized care until 2013.

      The nerve these assholes demonstrate is simply unbelievable!

  6. attempter

    Re Monsanto:

    It’s no surprise that glysophate is becoming ineffective not long after the patent expired. I don’t know how meticulously calibrated their planned obsolescence schedule is, but I have no doubt at all about the principle.

    So industrial agriculture will still need new proprietary herbicides, even as it has to redeploy old procedures like tilling which these miracle poisons were supposed to liberate us from forever.

    The Tower of Babel just keeps being built higher. I’m surprised the zombie soil doesn’t glow in the dark by now.

    Re BP:

    That is a good piece. BP sovereignty indeed. As I say in my own piece, the bailout’s already on. Deepwater drilling’s Too Big to Fail:

    1. paper mac

      There’s no way to reliably predict how quickly chemical resistance will evolve in plants in the wild, even today. I sincerely doubt Monsanto was thinking in any deep way about long-term evolutionary responses to its products in the 80s and 90s, when plant genetics was still in its infancy. As with many things, this has more to do with incompetence and greed than with conspiracy, I’m afraid..

      1. Anonymous Jones

        paper mac — You’re assuming that the story is accurate in its reporting of obsolescence. I have no idea whether or not resistance has evolved in the plants, but I certainly and surely know that it is in Monsanto’s best interest that the public believes that resistance has evolved (whether or not it is in fact true). This is just like when a drug comes off patent (e.g., a statin). “Oh yeah, that drug never really worked like we thought it would. This new one, which just happens to have received its patent three months ago, is *much* better. We have studies and everything to prove it.” Right…

        I really don’t know what the truth is, but I remain skeptical about anything that has to do with Monsanto. The company seems to have shown repeated disregard for anything other than profit and power, and it has been absolutely ruthless is using every possible technique to amass more of each of those things.

        1. paper mac

          Glyphosate resistance in weeds has been documented by independent, academic, peer-reviewed research, and they interview some of the scientists involved in the story.

          Glyphosate resistance in weeds is an enormous problem for Monsanto, whose business is built almost entirely around selling Roundup and Roundup-ready seeds. As the article notes, this is a big opportunity for Monsanto’s competitors, like Syngenta, to steal some market share. Whether or not Monsanto has a glyphosate-comparable GMO/pesticide system in the pipeline, I don’t know, but I doubt it. Glyphosate was a huge deal in its time, and if a comparable herbicide were discovered, it would almost certainly be generating a paper trail (toxicological testing, regulatory approval, etc). This is going to be a major problem for a lot of basic crops, hopefully some good comes out of it and we start moving away from trying to out-engineer evolution in order to support our numbers.

      2. attempter

        I said I didn’t know how calculated it was. But planned obsolescence is no conspiracy in the “conspiracy theory” sense of the term. It’s standard practice among companies far less evil than Monsanto, so it’s hardly a stretch to impute it to them as well.

        1. paper mac

          No doubt, my point is merely that “planned obsolesence” isn’t something one can actually do in this case, as least as described. There’s no way of ensuring that weeds will obtain the appropriate resistances in the desired timeframe without a truly gargantuan program to introduce the required transgenes into weed populations worldwide. Monsanto is a shitty, devious company to be sure, but they’re not known for being particularly innovative, and certainly not for having the kind of brilliant scientific personnel required to either forsee evolutionary events with 5-year resolution.

    2. skippy

      Corporate Anthem: Duty to the Future!!!

      Lifted from comments:

      chingonote Here at Monsanto we believe in the future fffuture fffffuterrrrr

      tjwdraws in BP, Walmart, Monsanto, and Goldman Sachs We Trust!

      loqutor As of yesterday, this should be our official national anthem

      finefilth long live our benevolent, egalitarian corporations, if there ever was such a thing.
      Dracula for president


      Skippy…For IOTBP we all go mental chapter 7 once and awhile…I’ve got some special Jeans Too:

      Discalmer: 7:30 Am AEST…posting, whilst watching devo, getting kids ready for school, folding clothes and cleaning house.

      1. skippy

        Pesky armed militants and In 2009, 13,900 metric tons of oil were spilled into the Niger Delta as a direct result of sabotage or theft, more than double the 2008 total and four times the 2007 figure, Shell said in its annual sustainability report. Shell also quadrupled its estimate of the amount of oil it spilled in the region due to accidents in 2008 to 8,800 tons following the completion of investigations.

        “One of these investigations involved an incident at Iriama in Delta State in November 2008, in which around 6,000 tons were spilled” after a pipeline that was undergoing repairs exploded, Shell said.

        Also see: Under the peace program that began last summer, the Nigerian government has essentially paid militants to lay down their arms. However, the delta’s main militant group recently called off its cease fire because of its unhappiness over how little money the government is putting into the region.

        Skippy…Nigeria’s new acting president, Goodluck Jonathan, is attempting to breathe life into the nation’s ailing energy sector just two days after assuming the duties of President Umaru Yar’Adua, who has been out of the country since November with health problems.

        *Goodluck* Jonathan…OMG so apropo, file under life intimates art file, comedy central must be in control of the worlds oil propaganda…ROFLMAO…help I’ve fallen down and can’t get back up!

  7. vlade

    With all due respect, the soverignity article on BP is bollocks. BP has a few billions of reasons (not to mention the bad publicity, which can’t be easily quantified) to fix things ASAP, and from all the people criticising I haven’t heard anything on HOW they should fix it faster. And rightly so – it’s a bloody hard problem to fix. IIRC, BP said “we will listen to any idea at all”, so you can talk to them – and it’s quite likely that they will listen, if your idea looks even remotely workable. When people are saying “BP should do more” – well, please tell them what more they should be doing. Vague criticism is nice and easy, but has zero constructive value.

    The different questions is whether they should have been allowed to drill in the first place, but that is not something that can be answered before we figure out why the blow-out protector failed.
    With five independent cut-offs it should have been pretty fail-safe. So there are at least three different possible problems:
    – negligence, in which case blame Transocean – they operated the rig and BP people had nothing to do with it.
    – fault due to bad estimate of what the well is like (i.e. wrong equipment in wrong place). Fault’s squarely with BP, Transocean can only operate on data BP provides
    – one-in-a-billion chance when everything just went against the machinery. Sh*t happens.

    The point of the above being that
    a) saying “do more” without specific suggestions doesn’t help anyone. Do you try to second-guess a brain surgeon, saying that more should be done? At least show that BP actively refused help from a qualified party – I think you will be hard pressed to do so, given that they listened to some pretty far-off ideas.
    b) When the immediate problem is fixed, we need to figure out what caused the problem, and they to try to fix it – which could well include banning of any deepwater rigs forever.

    That said, I have about zero hope of any rational debate on this from what I have seen so far.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      “That said, I have about zero hope of any rational debate on this from what I have seen so far.”

      Let me amend this with my snark.

      “I have about zero hope of any rational debate on *anything* from what I have seen so far.”

      Humans, rationality. These two don’t mix…and never have.

      You make good points, though. The thing about 1-in-a-million shots is that they do come in about once every million times. Odds to win the Mega Millions Lottery are in the hundreds of millions for any particular ticket, and any person who buys one ticket *knows* (with as much certainty as he knows anything else in his life) that he will *not* win (there is a much higher chance that he will not see tomorrow than that ticket will win); yet still, someone does in fact win every few weeks.

      You couldn’t leave the house in the morning if you were not willing to risk million-to-one shots. Sh*t happens.

  8. Gerald Muller

    The “Spiegel” article looks to me as one of the best analysis todate of the European crisis with extra comments for the US. I would like to know what the experts at NC think about the outcome of the Euro crisis. Not only do I feel personnally concerned but I would like to be able to give some advice to the coming generation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “as one astute commentator noted, the first country up for rescue (Greece) could probably get salvaged, but forget about the laggards.”


      The first mover advantage, if Greece can pull it off.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Does it look like the dolphin is jumping out of an oil slick?

    THAT would not be an antidote, but will definitely poison my day.

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