Links 6/17/10

Bright sexy birds are poor fliers BBC

Research Suggests Water Content of Moon’s Interior Underestimated NASA

Push to Market Pill Stirs Debate on Sexual Desire New York Times. What every man wants, a way to make women hornier. Lordie.

Limbaugh’s solution to childhood hunger: Kids should ‘dumpster dive’ Raw Story. I never thought it was possible to make “Let them eat cake” sound good.

Obama May Get Political Boost From Pressing BP to Set Up Fund Bloomberg. Looks like wishful thinking.

China and America still march out of step David Piling, Financial Times

With Criminal Charges for Oil Spill, Costs to BP Could Soar New York Times. Note the estimate from Raymond James, $62.9 billion.

BP – a line in the sand? FT Alphaville

Fannie Suspends Some Mortgage Payments in Oil Spill Wake and CitiMortgage Suspends Foreclosures in Gulf Coast Region Housing Wire

U.S. Response To Oil Spill Falters Wall Street Journal

How to Prevent the Next Financial Crisis? Pop the Compensation Bubble New Deal 2.0

End Is Seen to Free Checking Wall Street Journal. This isn’t uncommon in a lot of other countries.

Antidote du jour:

Picture 61

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  1. Mike Kimel

    RE – Limbaugh… When I was growing up in Brazil, one of the better known comedians in the country had a character whose trademark saying translates roughly as “I want poor people to explode.” Presumably that would save them from dumpster diving.

  2. i on the ball patriot

    Re: NYT, Debate on Push to Market Credit Desire Pill …

    Oh Lordie

    Its what every banker wants,
    A pill to increase credit desire,
    To light up a borrowers greed glands,
    To set them all on fire,

    Its a real disease say the bankers,
    There is an unmet medical need,
    The side effects of bankruptcy,
    Are minimal indeed,

    Critics say the bankers,
    Make low desire a pathology,
    The benefits do not outweigh,
    The pleasure of being debt free,

    But scamerica will surge ahead,
    With its pill for the citizen folk,
    And soon they all will be …
    Exhausted, oppressed, and broke …

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  3. Cocomaan

    Obama’s speech may have been over the head of “most Americans” which, if it is true, is a horrible, terrible thing.

    (CNN) — President Obama’s speech on the gulf oil disaster may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday.

    Tuesday night’s speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor. The Austin, Texas-based company analyzes and catalogues trends in word usage and word choice and their impact on culture.

    Though the president used slightly less than four sentences per paragraph, his 19.8 words per sentence “added some difficulty for his target audience,” Payack said.

    He singled out this sentence from Obama as unfortunate: “That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s secretary of energy.”

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: nation’s best scientists

      He lost half of them with he mentioned “scientists”.

      Scientists = “believe in global warming” = liberal = “those people” = who ruined this great and glorious nation.

      You figure it out.

      1. Francois T

        Yeah…scientists huh? The same asshats who gave those brain dead cretins the cable TV, iPhones, the internet, antibiotics, modern medicine, cheap air travel, more fuel efficiency, less pollution, the personal computer, much cheaper food…

        One can truly measure the decay of this country by the number of thalamus-driven pretensions of human beings that harbor such simplistic, reptilian-like kind of mental reflexes.

        To paraphrase JF Revel, who was referring to the French: “One is left wondering by which miracle the average American can muster a coherent thought.”

        1. Dan Duncan

          Francois T…Interesting that your response was reflexively reptilian. [And it was.]

          Like an effete cobra (with an emphasis on effete, as you are French after all), sniping away at a croissant in a delusion of superiority…all you’ve managed to do is to direct your venom at a strawman created by NotaRealAmerican…which was a strawman created by Cocomaan…which was a strawman created by CNN.

          Yes, Obama’s speech could have been over the head of those “dumb Americans”…that sure is one possibility….


          Those dumb Americans could have interpreted Obama’s speech as nothing more than the bullshit of vague generalities and empty promises.

  4. attempter

    Hey BP, here’s how bad it is – you made it possible for Citi to pose as a good guy.

    Re Limbaugh –

    Part of Obama’s endeavor has been to push the entire framework of everyday thinking and discourse far enough to the right that these droogs will now openly scoff at starvation and death. He wants his own pseudo-compassionate liquidationism to be the “centrist” face on the death machine he’s constructing. Meanwhile he wants the most vicious kind of anti-human contempt to be a regular part of the discourse, so that he and the Democrats can claim “It’s either us or them; you can be slaves or be exterminated.”

    This kind of scabrous right-wing psychopathy (I read that as a member of Obama’s rape-the-people “fiscal responsibility” Star Chamber, Alan Simpson’s always cracking up the room by making jokes about old people freezing and starving to death) is yet another area, along with the hard-core assault on civil liberties and escalation of the Permanent War, where Obama’s own far right position has given cover to the extreme fascist right to openly strut.

    We can expect more and more of that.

  5. craazyman

    In an otherwise cogent article from New Deal 2.0 about financial industry compensation reform, we run across this pungent word-turd:

    “[Traders] are some of the most competitive and resourceful people on the planet. They will adapt so that they continue to earn huge bonuses by doing what they do best.”

    “Competitive?” Yes, in that stupid thoughtless way that seeks to ape the attributes of one’s neighbors and imitate their perceived successes rather than look within and cultivate one’s own self and soul.

    “Resourceful?” Puhh-leeeze! Back in the day before video games there used to be pin-ball parlors that satisfied the same instinct for minor and distracting self-challenges that kill the hours of a day. Such are the activities of a trader — staring at a screen and moving a mouse around as numbers flash up and down. This is not resourcefullness. This is a trivial and shallow occupation that offers society far less than do plumbers, bus drivers and electricians. Take away the money and the trader is revealed to be what he is. A useless appendage of other people’s savings. There is nothing inherently wrong in this, but to glorify it is mindless.

  6. Peripheral Visionary

    Re: End Is Seen to Free Checking

    I closed out my Bank of America account a few years back and my only regret was that I did not do it much sooner.

    All I have to say is, if banks are charging 18% on credit cards and have fee schedules that run into multiple pages–not to mention a massive Federal subsidy by way of ultra-cheap money–my checking had better be free.

    1. bookit

      I joined a credit union in 2007 and have never looked back. My only regret is I didn’t do it 10 years sooner.

      1. shargash

        I did it 20 years sooner, and I have never for an instant regretted it. A smile comes to my face every time I walk into one of the CU’s buildings. It is a mystery to me why anyone still has account with a TBTF bank.

  7. MarcoPolo

    RE: Obama May Get Political Boost…

    Am I the only one to see this as a win for BP? Now that Obama is directly on the BP payroll I would say to those of you who thought BP was dragging their feet on cleanup – you ain’t seen nothin yet. And BP want’s to sell assets to help pay for that cleanup? Read that to mean Tony is willing to plunder the company and isolate his liability.

  8. Valissa

    And now for some light hearted news… starting with this clever headline ;)

    World Cup officials: Women were dressed to shill
    More than 30 women showed up at the Netherlands-Denmark match wearing orange mini-dresses emblazoned with the name of a Dutch brewery — earning them a red card from World Cup officials who acted to quash what they called an ambush marketing scam. … In ambush marketing, non-sponsors try to sneak their logos or associate their brand names with a major sports event to reap free advertising. Imagine a pack of Bud Girls showing up at an event where Miller was the official beer sponsor.

  9. Ronald

    Obama May Get Political Boost From Pressing BP to Set Up Fund

    The political class is having a free for all blaming BP while they have been the gate keeper over the mining industry for the last 50 years allowing unlimited access to sensitive areas
    including vast road building projects in National Forest to allow better access. Its political theater at its best but voters show up in Nov and the unemployment numbers along with the rest of the dismal economic landscape will not escape voter attention.

  10. Jesse

    Rush Limbaugh is not a serious person, he is an actor playing to the emotionally immature. It is remarkable how many of these clowns play to the so-called conservatives.

    Rush Limbaugh is always and everywhere a self-indulgent pig.

    1. skippy

      Pigs put up with a lot, terrible accommodation (see: factory pig farms), being called dirty when in fact they are clean, put down by God followers (because of evolutionary foot wear/scapegoat unclean thing again), only to end up as_a side_ to eggs.

      VIRUS would be a better example me thinks see: animal viruses can be carried by blood-sucking insects. These disease-bearing organisms are known as vectors. Influenza viruses are spread by coughing and sneezing. The norovirus and rotavirus, common causes of viral gastroenteritis, are transmitted by the faecal-oral route and are passed from person to person by contact, entering the body in food or water. HIV is one of several viruses transmitted through sexual contact and by exposure to infected blood. Viruses can infect only a limited range of host cells called the “host range”. This can be broad as when a virus is capable of infecting many species or narrow.

      Skippy…and then it learned how to use broadcast media too spread its infection and multiply.

      PS. Pigs demand an apology!!!

  11. emca

    Many words have been spilled on the BP disaster, unfortunately many more are yet to come. Somebody(s) will write a book on this fiasco and it will be the size of three Bibles, but maybe we’ll understand out of those volumes, a little better all that has and is now going on.

    The Wall Street Journal’s short examination of BP’s/Federal government’s response to the crisis brings to mind a criticism I heard of Barack during his run to president; to wit, Obama needs three hundred advisors and three months to make a decision on anything and even then it so vague and compromising, one wonders what’s all the fuss about.

    Comparison have been made to Jimmy Carter’s energy speech many years ago, and Obama’s text today. While the tone is similar, one can’t help but notice the presence of specifics in the former, and the lack thereof in the latter. As another observed the content of the speech was like (and I paraphrase), “we need to do great things. I will work with anyone with a plan of action to do great things, but because I am inspirer-in-chief, I can’t get into specifics “. Obama though seems to have to avoided Carter’s political seppuku in calling for sacrifice, so overall I guess the speech was a success, despite misgivings.

    To return to words and with the view of not furthering the pile-on for Obama’s measured rapid-response to the Macondo Mishap, I offer, with apologies, these armchair observations on clean-up tactics:

    BP should never have been in charge of the clean up effort. Their efforts should have restricted and focused on stopping the oil from source. BP’s primary spill prevention effort’s role was and is check-writing. You can add as a team consultant with the caveat of being a team player.

    Such a team of consultants should have been broad in scope. Aramco has been suggested, Norway, the Netherlands or any other country having insight into remedial actions or able and willing to provide resources in the effort.

    This team prompt efforts would be directed toward immediate methods to limit the spill’s impact, but they themselves would only provide strategies, resources and suggestions to others coordinating and directing actual clean-up efforts.

    Those others would be state governments who would decide on local resource allocation based largely on what those individual states see as immediate priorities and the federal government as financier, coordinator and intermediary between knowledge, resources, support and action, arbitrator between state A and state B.

    Clean-up would initially be funded by the federal government, action directed by state governments with the assistance of federal agencies, all billed to BP.

    The ultimate decision on what to do still rests with an administration, but more importantly would support local efforts at remediation, and is not centered on a corporation with insufficient means, little preparation or planning in dealing with enormity of a worst case scenario, and whose bottom line is the return on shareholder’s investments.

  12. bob goodwin

    “What every man wants, a way to make women hornier. Lordie.”

    I don’t even know where to begin. There are lots of horny women, but they group more towards the young. My guess is that most men when want their mate – regardless of age – to have the hots for them. Although men and women are dramatically different in sexuality, I think they have approximately the same amount of sex, and exactly the same amount of hetero sexual sex. Making this sound like a perpetrator/victim dynamic feels both wrong and overly simplistic. I for one value intimacy beyond the prurient impulse.

  13. eric anderson

    Regular Limbaugh listeners understand that there is a context to his comments which was missed by all the comments on this site, in the linked article, and in comments to the original article. Part of what he said was serious, part was not.

    The “dumpster diving” part of the comment was in reference to a story years ago about advocates for the homeless teaching bums the fine art of dumpster diving. Therefore, Limbaugh was actually taking a jab at a liberal initiative, not seriously suggesting this as a solution.

    Limbaugh was mocking a *liberal* notion of compassion (i.e. to help bums be more proficient bums, not to help them clean up, get jobs become productive persons). Conservative compassion means freeing up the private sector of this country so that more jobs will be created and people can feed their own children without the aid of dumpsters. Anyone who actually listens to Rush understands this. Clearly the majority of his fiercest critics do not listen for any length of time to his program.

    Progressives jump to the most extreme conclusions sometimes. They will believe the worst about someone, simply because they do not like his ideologies about the role of government. Because people do not know the background, they haul off and make absurd attacks on Rush, and of course conservatives like myself are laughing at how uninformed his attackers are. I’m not a Rush addict by any means, but I do check in regularly to find out what he is actually saying, in contrast to what others claim he has said, or their misinterpretations of it. Rush himself is probably getting a big laugh right now at all the critics exploding at his comment, and he’ll explain it for all the numbskulls in an upcoming show.

    Let’s be clear now. Limbaugh does not think a solution to child hunger is dumpster diving. Conservatives believe that with a smaller and more responsible government, we can have more economic growth and more prosperity by which people can be responsible for their own needs. We also recognize that, as Jesus said, the poor will always be with us. We believe that the generous American public can take care of the poor without government attempts to solve the problem. We do not believe any child should have to eat garbage. Limbaugh does not believe this. No conservative of major political stature and influence believes this. I mean really, get serious!

    1. skippy

      Growth and jobs_are not_the fix amigo, that’s how we got here in the first place.

      Eric Anderson said…”We also recognize that, as Jesus said, the poor will always be with us.”

      WOW, just WOW…do you realize what *you*_just said_in totality[!], you have just condemned a section of humanity too poverty for eternity[!] added and abetted by your vaporous ideological belief.

      Skippy…Rush would be happy to let kids have a meal at his dumpster…for a price[!] and call it an educational experience!

      1. eric anderson

        No Skippy, when you say growth and jobs are not the fix, YOU are the one who is condemning people to poverty.

        Jesus was simply stating a fact of life, a fact of human nature. 1. Shinola happens, people are hit with calamity (even the richest people, i.e. Job) and become poor. 2. People make bad choices, ruin their lives, and become poor.

        This does not mean Jesus meant for them to stay poor. The Obama way is to keep them on the poor plantation. The Reagan way is a hand up, not a hand out.

        There is a clash of philosophies and ideologies here, Skip old boy, but it isn’t what you think.

        1. Skippy

          Ahhh…endless growth_that_always works, till you have 12 kids (or consume like you do) and everyone else follows suit.

          The Reagan way was to induce biblical spirituality to the markets, its working out just fine …eh? BTW he was not the author just the sales man, something he was polished at.

          Skippy…Where did Jesus say get a job[?] you poor dead beat slacker?

  14. grimmy

    What does ‘This isn’t uncommon in a lot of other countries.’ mean? That free checking isn’t uncommon elsewhere, or that it is?

  15. Bernard

    as long as conservatism thinks it has the answers to the economic moral question in society with the “help” of people like Rush, et al, those talking heads, i can no doubt be assured pigs will fly. it is just a matter of time, no doubt, but i doubt i will be around to see it.

    what i have seen is the continued denigration and successful destruction of the American government and society from a somewhat functioning status to one of complete and utter immobilization/incompetency captured by “savvy Businessmen” in the name of “smaller government”. Government: BAD, Drown Government, Rules BAD, Free market GOOD, Greed Good.

    we have now greater income inequality, embedded media, torture, spying, no wage growth for 30 years, the “outsourcing”(such labeling) of jobs from America to Mexico and China, corporate capture of and/outright buying of all aspects of American society, ideological control of the Supreme Court and the casino aspect of the financial services resulting in Goldman Sachs et al. we have had a “Government is the Problem” PR mantra planted in the reptilian minds of the undead Americans out there take rot. This “Government is bad” concept oozes from the Americans/zombies like humidity in the tropical rain forest. repeat, repeat until it becomes true.

    the success of the “government is the problem” PR campaign prevents any effort by Government to do anything, unless you follow the “right” way. lol. Government has been rendered spineless, useless and biased to the point of complete ineffectiveness and engrained incompetency. Government is now the providence of the “elite.” another indescribable irony there, too. the rot is may be too deep for change. ” For the worms ate through their brains,” to quote a song. we don’t even know how deep the rot is.

    the collapse of our economic system may be the only way out of the rot. the American idiots won’t care anyway. they haven’t paid any attention before, why should they now. they still aren’t paying attention. Not with American Idol and Desperate Housewives to divert their attention.

  16. Doc Holiday

    NOAA Partners With BP & Shrimp Lobby

    The NOAA and Homeland Security, “Your shrimp is damn safe campaign” has been beefed up with the new FDA approved method to smell every shrimp in America.

    No shit!

    ==> So, is seafood from the Gulf safe?
    Yes, says NOAA agency spokesman Scott Smullen. Samples are being chemically tested in labs and inspectors are using their noses to sniff out oil-tainted fish. “It’s effective,” says Smullen.
    Randy Pausina, Louisiana’s Assistant Secretary for Fisheries, told the press of the 7,974 samples of market-bound crab, shrimp, oysters and fin fish tested as recently as Monday, none had detectable levels of hydrocarbons.

    1. Skippy

      Composition by weight

      Element Percent range

      Carbon 83 to 87%
      Hydrogen 10 to 14%
      Nitrogen 0.1 to 2%
      Oxygen 0.1 to 1.5%
      Sulfur 0.5 to 6%
      Metals < 0.1%

      Composition by weight

      Hydrocarbon Average Range

      Paraffins 30% 15 to 60%
      Naphthenes 49% 30 to 60%
      Aromatics 15% 3 to 30%
      Asphaltics 6% remainder

      Ummm…Doc can you explane to us fools how the human ofactory is sutiable in determining contamination of said seafood products with Aromatics only compromising such a demninutive percentage of its total compasition.

      Thanks for that one, Doc.

      Skippy…they think us fools, me thinks.

  17. Doc Holiday

    Assistant Secretary for Fisheries smells like BP feces.

    ==> As Gulf fisheries close, restaurants cast about for other sources of seafood.

    “We were on the boat when the oil started coming in,” he says. “You could see the sheen.”

    While the state has been opening and closing oyster beds on both the east and west sides of the Mississippi River for five weeks now, testing waters before it allows oystermen to harvest their beds, this may mean the end of Louisiana oysters on menus around town.

    It’s not only oil that is cause for concern when it comes to Gulf seafood. John Tesvich, chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force, is equally dismayed by the toxicity of the dispersant BP has used for a month to break up the oil slick. “They’ve used more dispersant than any other spill, and we’re definitely concerned about it. Dispersants of those kinds, they are definitely not recommended.” Tesvich notes that none of the dispersant, Corexit, has been sprayed near the state’s oyster beds. “There’s nowhere that you’ll see that they will use it anywhere near the interior waters,” he says.

    The state is taking a proactive approach to dispel fear that Louisiana’s seafood is unsafe to eat. The Louisiana departments of Wildlife and Fisheries and Health and Hospitals are working to get a plan ready this week that calls for widespread, ongoing testing of Louisiana oysters, shrimp and other seafood to ensure their safety, combined with a marketing program to tell consumers around the country that the products are safe to eat. Locals are just as fearful and confused.

  18. Hrm

    1) Plenty of women are horny already. Plenty of women already like sex.

    2) Many women want this pill. So what?

    3) Many men want this pill. So what?

    Is there anything inherently wrong with any of the above? No.

    Please look up “sex positivity.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is an effort to pathologize sex drive. Since on average, men want to have sex more often than women do (this is not only pretty well know scientifically, but gay men I know who have low sex drives tell me they have had 600+ sex partners, and attribute it to the fact that it is much easier for them to find sex partners readily because men on average are hornier than women), this would seem to seem to be something men would appreciate quite a lot. Finding a willing woman is what constrains a straight man’s ability to get laid.

      In addition, I know of no women who have said they wanted to have more libido. Indeed, a couple of women have fessed up that they are not terribly interested in sex and are delighted not to have that source of drama in their lives.(It isn’t just women; Winston Churchill was famously “undersexed”).

      So now we are going to make women feel bad if they aren’t terribly horny and tell them they need to take meds? Please.

      1. Hrm

        I agree that it should not be medicalized or pathologized. It should be marketed as what it is: an enhancer. People should take it if they want more sex/orgasms; not because there is something “wrong” with them.

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