Links 7/10/10

Earliest evidence of pet tortoise in Britain BBC

Cohan’s Messy Goldman Apology Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review

Private Universities Spend Twice as Much as Publics on Teaching Bloomberg. The writing is less than clear, it appears they mean “providing education” not just expenditures on instructors.


European Bank’s Economist Is Optimistic on Sovereign Debt, but Critics Are Wary New York Times. The confidence game is on.

Big inflows into money market funds Financial Times

N.Y. Fed: AIG Put Forth Waiver Wall Street Journal. This does NOT smell right. Normally, you’d only offer a waiver to achieve symmetry, that is, to get a waiver from litigation. AIG was gonna get rescued regardless, why would if OFFER to give a waiver? Rule number one in negotiations is no free concessions.

The vanishing American consumer and the coming trade war Robert Reich, Salon (hat tip reader Conor)

China’s Exports Explodes – 140% yearly increase in trade gap The Economic Populist

About Those Virgins Ed Harrison

AT&T, Verizon get most federal aid for phone service Washington Post (hat tip reader Paul S)

Why we must halt the land cycle Martin Wolf, Financial Times (hat tip reader Don B)

Antidote du jour:

Picture 10

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  1. attempter

    Re AT&T and Verizon:

    The moral of the story of telecomm racket subsidies (of which this is just a small crumb; we the people paid to build the Internet itself, and it is in truth and right public property) is that the rackets don’t have a leg to stand on when they lobby against net neutrality, which is definitely the most pressing issue of the day in terms of something that, if it’s going to be solved at all, has to be done now, within this system. Otherwise the experiment in Internet democracy, the only really democratic space available (for those who can afford to access it, which is why expanded public access is also so important), will have been brief.

    The fact is that once again we have a racket oligopoly which shouldn’t exist at all, which is purely parasitic on public property, and which adds no capitalist value. It has consistently failed to invest in expanded, more efficient, less expensive infrastructure, choosing instead to extract rents and loot. Just like every other racket.

    Of course, as one might expect from the WaPo, the spotlight is on Republican spin (from Joe Barton, R-BP, no less). The existence of the subsidy is proof that the rackets have zero right to resist the formal enshrinement of net neutrality, but the WaPo-approved line would spin this into its opposite, that the subsidy proves any other government action would somehow be inappropriate.

    That’s exactly wrong. The one action (the subsidy) is anti-public and therefore invalid, while the NBP and net neutrality enshrinement would be in the public interest and therefore precisely what government is supposed to do.

    So I hope that rebuts the WaPo spin.

    Here’s a related piece from today’s NYT:

  2. joebhed

    re: the Bankruptcy Court decision of the nature that a party that does not hold title to(own) any asset cannot transfer any rights to that asset to any other party –

    may I remind us all of the somewhat abstract concepts behind fractional reserve banking, and in doing so, to suggest a google of the Credit River Decision in Minnesota in the mid-60s.

    The court there held invalid the obligation of the borrower of mortgage monies on the basis that the lender did have title and ownership of the monies used to finance the mortgage at the time the PN and mortgage/security agreement were executed, therefore did not possess a transferable “consideration” in the transaction.
    This, of course, goes beyond the legal to the practical consideration as to why any group of people have a cartel privilege to create the nation’s money out of nothing and lend it to the rest of us. It’s the same principle.
    How can you lend something that you do not own?

    1. aet

      Ever held something under terms of a strict trust?
      Who “owns” the property held in trust?

      The title to any property may be divided into legal, and beneficial ownership: the persons so entitiled are usually, but far from always, the same entity or person.

      That “split” into legal and euitable title can occur voluntarily or by action of law.

      1. joebhed

        that’s silly.
        SOMEBODY must first “own” the asset that goes into whatever type of trust and be divided into whatever rights that get transferred to whomever.
        In the bankruptcy case here, the court found the loss of the title to the asset, however that came about, ended the transferable rights.
        In the case of fractional-reserve lending, the bank owns nothing but has assumed the right to create the money – which the Credit River judge found failing of basic contract law – you can’t trade something you don’t own – in this case the money.
        It’s only if you think about the absurd powers assumed by the banking industry in “creating” the nation’s money out of nothing, and lending it to the people at interest, that the absurdity becomes apparent.

  3. i on the ball patriot

    About Those Virgins

    Smash the lens of your propaganda,
    And you will clearly see,
    That you are not you,
    Do you like what you see?

    You are a well shaped tool,
    Of the corporate thugs,
    With coarsened humanity,
    That views others as bugs,

    They have made you a psychopath,
    As they tell you each day,
    You are a grandiose champion,
    Born to rule the day,

    Your parasitic existence,
    Based on pathological lies,
    Insures your full belly,
    While another person dies,

    Put on the lens of perception,
    And you will clearly see,
    You must eliminate the propaganda,
    To restore humanity …

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. i on the ball patriot

        “E basta!”

        Sorry, I have just begun.

        “Deception MAY be the strongest NEGATIVE force on the planet.”

        “MAY” — I like that, keep thinking about it.

        “NEGATIVE” — That depends on whose deception it is and whether or not it is succesful. All externalizations of all organisms are made to get needs met and are deceptions — tools of dominance. We will never rise above our deceptive cannibalistic nature until we accept it and regulate it for the common good.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  4. john

    I thought MERS was the only system “managing” the whole scam.

    Haven’t they just said that basically all home sales in California over the past, I dunno, eight years are voided?

    1. Piero

      Cuba Gooding Jr. says, “Show me the note!!”

      Seriously. How is that not a tectonic movement shifting the ground beneath the entire mortgage industry in Cali?

    2. BondsOfSteel

      My problem with the whole MERS argument is that it’s a technicality being used to excuse the bad behavior of the ‘homeowner’.

      This will get over turned in appeal. It’s an unargued fact that borrower defaulted on the loan. The lenders don’t disagree who is being stiffed.

      The borrower is basically arguing that they are entitled to the house and don’t have to pay a mortgage because of a paperwork issue.

  5. Chunkton

    Well look, here is a thought as to why the Fed always takes care of the banks even if at the detriment of the rest of the economy. They are a private company owned by…the banksters. Not rocket science, just taking care of your own so that they will take care of you in due course. Basic Corruption 101.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Regarding Reich’s coming trade war, do I hear ‘Make trade love, not trade war!?’

  7. Valissa

    re: about those virgins

    A complete misuse of metaphors here! If the author had used the word “priest” the instead of the word “shaman” in the article the metaphors would make more sense (to anyone who has actually studied the history religion). The two archetypes are quite different… typically priests operate in a hierarchy and cater to and support an establishment whereas the shaman is, in a way, an “outsider” in their own culture and generally operates in the more egalitarian scenarios of the hunter-gatherers and mixed hunter-simple farming societies.

  8. Flimflamman

    Another excellent piece by Wolf, though not without its faults. In particular I take issue with one of Wolf’s last points; he writes that:

    “Socialising the full rental value of land would destroy the financial system and the wealth of a large part of the public. That is obviously impossible.”

    On the first point he’s probably right; it would certainly alter the financial system in radical ways but that’s no more than is necessary. On the second point it would destroy the large – ill gotten – wealth of a small part of the public, but the *large* part of the public would benefit greatly and quickly.

    It may all be politically impossible right now, but I’m happy to see the subject at least being written about by someone like Wolf. Our pathological handling of resource rents is one of the main ingredients of our economic woes, and it receives even less attention than the insights provided by MMT.



    Obama lost to BIG oil again!!! Yippie!!!!!!

    The Interior Department appealed, asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let the temporary ban stand until it ruled on the merits of the case. In New Orleans, a federal appeals court Thursday rejected the government’s effort to restore an offshore deepwater drilling moratorium, opening the door to resumed drilling in the Gulf while the legal fight continues. Salazar vows to impose a new moratorium in the interim.

    Gulf oil spill: Drilling moratorium rejected again

    A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected the Obama administration’s request to keep a six-month moratorium on deep-water oil drilling, saying the government failed to show it would suffer “irreparable harm” if work resumes on the approved well sites in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The decision, issued shortly after the three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a crowded New Orleans courtroom, was a blow to the administration’s plan to cease new drilling operations in waters deeper than 500 feet while investigators probe the cause of the devastating April 20 oil rig explosion and massive spill.

    1. Piero

      If the Obama administration is so hot to stop deep water drilling, why don’t they allow drilling in the ANWAR? The total area altered would be the size of a mall plus pipeline. If they really want to claim that they’re looking at the big picture and not just reacting emotionally, why don’t they allow it?

  10. /L

    Regarding Reich’s on looming trade war.

    I haven’t seen the latest numbers but here is an graph on some years on Chinas GDP-GNI vs Export – Import:

    2008 the GDP-GNI gap was 40% higher than the export surplus.

    That would indicate that the send away more to foreign investors than they had in export surplus.

  11. doc phasing out holiday

    I’m tired of hyperlinks and hyperbullshit. The internet is dead. Yah come here and it’s pretty sane, fairly calm, but few people really interact or expand and build on info — instead, we have more and more hyperlinks that take us all off topic and away from being focused. This post is a great example of yet one more stupid post that does nothing. Is the internet ultimately just a very large scale venting machine, where people blog just to rant and vent, and then — in the end, not be heard, or be able to bring about resolution to what’s bugging you?

    I’m tired of this game, and it can be seen for what it is, at even bigger, more successful blogs where the numbers and statistics explode to greater heights of stipudity — e.g., I have always enjoyed the atmosphere at Calculatedrisk — but now, as with Huffington or other larger sites, there might be 2000 posts to sort through — all of which are mindless ranting and cute comments, ad-libs, racist remarks, political bullshit and the essence of chaos — so why add to this and feel the need to keep up with the second-by-second updated RSS posts from fruitcakes like me that basically end up pissing off people or posting shit that doesn’t matter?

    Yves, do yourself a favor and tune all this shit out on your vacation and tune in to clarifying your writing; I think the world would be better off with another well thought out book, versus another webpage that has 40 links and 100 halfwit rants ….




    I’ve probably posted 60,000 things, is that enough?

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Doc, rest a while … it does sometimes get overwhelming, especially when you have made an extra effort as you have on the BP fiasco … and thanks for all your efforts!

      The net is sometimes very tiring but many are learning and thinking, and as for bringing about resolution perhaps it is time now to suggest and explore new net formats …

      Maybe its time for a multi-author, by invitation, ‘dynamic book blog’, to firm up and test a few abstracts on theory and also sort out the best ways to proceed on the policy side …

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  12. KFritz


    1) I’d alter #4 to read that we’ll have MAJOR regulatory capture and capture of government by moneyed interests as long as campaign finance is equated w/ free speech. In the years between WWII and 1976, when the Supremes first equated campaign finance and free speech, there was regulatory capture, but not as extreme as it’s become since ’76.

    2)A 5th assumption: the quality of markets, regulation, and analysis is governed by the quality of the human participants and especially the human leaders. This NOT an endorsement of the Great Man/Woman Theory of History. The most beautifully designed institutions and systems will be doltish if operated by dolts.

  13. Timotheus

    I have just read a most interesting note about the World Trade Organization’s meeting on the financial crisis in which several developing nations argued (complained, really) that the bailouts have distorted competition in financial services. This is surely significant for future trade negotiations based on the rich countries’ insistence that fragile domestic markets around the world be opened up to their mega-banks. There was also discussion by the Indian delegate of how large foreign banks, having carved out a sizable market share, abruptly cut lending when the home office had a liquidity problem, severely impacting an economy with better financial regulatory controls. I haven’t seen this discussed elsewhere. More at as well Globalization and Health working group, see

  14. Doc BP 24x7 Holiday

    Mysterious Second Pipe in Blowout Preventer Acknowledged

    Yesterday, the Coast Guard and BP acknowledged that there was a second piece of drillpipe stuck in the blowout preventer that is now complicating the installation of the latest effort to contain the blowout well.

    ==> Very interesting: Second pipe may have crippled BP well’s defense mechanism *>June 29, 2010 Exclusive: How Steven Chu Used Gamma Rays to Save the Planet

    By using penetrating gamma rays you can see whether the valves were closed.

    Very high-energy gamma rays can penetrate several inches of steel.


    The discovery suggested that the force of the erupting petroleum from BP’s well on April 20 was so violent that it sent pipe segments hurtling into the blowout preventer, like derailing freight cars.

    It also offered a tantalizing theory for the failure of the well’s last line of defense, the powerful pinchers called shear rams inside the blowout preventer that should have cut the pipe and stopped the rising oil and gas from reaching the Deepwater Horizon 5,000 feet above. Drilling experts say those rams, believed to be partially deployed, could have been thwarted by the presence of a second pipe.

    The doubled-up drill pipe joins a list of clues that is helping scientists understand the complexities of the Deepwater Horizon accident, and from that, craft changes in how deep-water drilling is conducted.

    “We still don’t really know what’s in” the well wreckage, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose team discovered the second pipe using gamma-ray imaging. He added: “If there were two drill pipes down there when the shear rams closed, or two drill pipes below, is it possible that in the initial accident … there was an explosive release of force?…Did it buckle and snap?…The more we know about this, the better we can know what to do next.”
    While the DOE is only referring to drill pipe and not well casing, many experts have said that the well casing was destroyed also.

    Indeed, the government is making back-up plans in case the relief wells don’t work. As the New York Times reported yesterday:
    BP and government officials are now talking about a long-term containment plan to pump the oil to an existing platform should the relief well effort fail. While such a failure is considered highly unlikely, the contingency plan is the latest sign that with this most vexing of engineering challenges — snuffing a gusher 5,000 feet down in the gulf — nothing is a sure thing.

  15. doc holiday

    “this well could fail on any given day”

    “We’re going to begin this call with brief remarks from the administrator andfrom Rear Admiral Landry, and then we will open it up for Q&A.”

    “We have never dealt with something where we have a well releasingoil 5,000 feet below the water, below the surface to the water. And we alsohave to make sure we emphasize to everyone that the situation we’ve been insince day one is that this well could fail on any given day. And the entirerelease, there could be a significantly more, a significantly larger amount thatcould be released to the environment.”

    Moderator: Adora Andy
    May 24, 2010
    3:30 p.m. CT

  16. Doc Holiday

    What’s in gushing crude oil? Question: How does it all react to Corexit?

    Read more:

    2-Propanol, 1-(2-butoxy-1-methylethoxy) – The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances lists it as a suspected neurotoxicant.

    ==> I was tired last night and tried to sort out some confusion with propylene glycol methyl ether (C1PO1) versus propylene glycol alkyl ethers, and I was hoping that maybe the people at BP had some reasonable people, with families, who are concerned about safety …. but, Corexit just does not look safe — Obama would not want his kids to be exposed to this shit — so why are the kids in the GOM any different than his children???

    I kept coming across stuff like this: “most ethylene glycol ethers with “methyl” in their names are relatively toxic” … so, one wonders why the EPA, FDA, CDC and BP all share the common interest in using 2-Propanol, 1-(2-butoxy-1-methylethoxy)

    ==> I’m glad to see that this info is getting out there, because it does matter, and people need to complain about things that cause harm, and question the on-going use of this Exxon product. One hopes that people who are involved in making decisions about the use of Corexit will be held accountable, fined and placed in prison.

    1. Skippy

      Hay doc you looking for something like this see:

      NTP Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies 2-Butoxyethanol (CAS NO. 111-76-2) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F1 Mice (Inhalation Studies).

      Genetic toxicology studies were conducted in Salmonella typhimurium, cultured Chinese hamster ovary cells, and the bone marrow of male F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice. 14-WEEK STUDY IN RATS: Groups of 10 male and 10 female rats were exposed to 2-butoxyethanol by inhalation at concentrations of 0, 31, 62.5, 125, 250, or 500 ppm, 6 hours per day, 5 days per week for 14 weeks. One female rat in the 250 ppm group was killed moribund during week 8; four females in the 500 ppm group were killed moribund during week 1 and one during week 5. Final mean body weights of females exposed to 500 ppm were significantly less than those of the chamber controls. Clinical findings included abnormal breathing, pallor, red urine stains, nasal and eye discharge, lethargy, and increased salivation and/or lacrimation. Due to vascular thrombosis and infarction in the tail vertebrae of 500 ppm female rats, the tails became necrotic and either sloughed off or were chewed off.

      Skippy…I’ve worked with allot of this stuff like MEKP etc and its all about the ppm ratio to exposure times, short but large dose or long low levels. It has to be monitored like lead levels in manufacturing with regular blood tests and enviromental site testing. How many SQ miles and what population numbers did you say again?

      PS. Thank god for the Bush clean air act, I feel protected now.

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