Links 2/26/11

Mouse heart ‘re-grows when cut’, study shows BBC. This is no doubt useful, but who dreams up these experiments?

Voodoo ritual sparks fatal New York apartment fire BBC

How My Smart Phone Got Me Out Of A Speeding Ticket In Traffic Court SkatterTech

WikiLeaks now selling merchandise TechBlorge. A reminder that a NC t-shirt is long overdue…but a site facelift probably comes first.

Libya: Gaddafi’s billions to be seized by Britain Telegraph (hat tip reader furzy mouse). Hhhm. He must not have gotten the money into the offshore part of British banking. If you do it correctly, it is apparently not traceable. Gaddafi seems to be very much in denial about the idea that he could be ousted.

‘The Revolution Is Not Yet Over’ New York Review of Books

“Shame, Shame!”: Dems Protest As GOP Rams Through Vote on Walker’s Bill AlterNet (hat tip reader furzy mouse). If the Dems in the Senate had any thought of returning soon, this should give them pause, big time.

Wisconsin State Senate Makes Budget Repair Bill Unamendable Dave Dayen

The Housing Bubble and Negative Equity are a Major Predictor of State Budget Gaps, Not Unions Mike Konczal

Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who ‘Contributes’ to Public Workers’ Pensions? David Cay Johnson

Silicon Valley hubris watch, Mary Meeker edition Felix Salmon

Tennessee bill would jail Shariah followers The Tennessean (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Transmission Channels Sarah Woo, Credit Slips

Corporate Profits Soaring Thanks to Record Unemployment Economic Populist

Retail Sales have not Recovered Normalized to Population John Lounsbury, Credit Writedowns

Oil price spikes set grim precedents Financial Times

Geithner’s Gamble Simon Johnson, Project Syndicate

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-02-26 at 4.54.03 AM

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  1. Ina Deaver

    OMG, cutest baby ever! I am not sure I want to live in a world without tigers. Please let’s figure out how not to kill them all.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s sad that it’s too late to save the dragons in China, but perhaps with internationla pressure, we can save the tigers there.

      1. Jack Parsons

        And for good reason: shooting all rattling rattlers causes natural selection towards rattle-less rattlers (yes, it’s genetic), leading to snakes who think they’re warning you off but are not.

        Oh, and they eat mice. Mice, Nature’s Snack Food.

  2. Richard Kline

    Gaddafi doesn’t do reality; he never has. If he’s still alive when they hoist him up, he’ll doubtless think its for better placement for the photo-op.

  3. kingbadger

    “If you do it correctly, it is apparently not traceable.”

    That’s what TPTB want people to think (I think).

  4. attempter

    Re corporate profits:

    There’s as good a rational proof as you’re going to see that

    1. Trickle down is a Big Lie. We should denounce and reject it once and for all.

    2. Corporations, if their existence ever did serve a purpose, no longer do. We should abolish them. For starters, we should refuse to recognize the existence of any contract where a corporation is a party.

    The Obama quote is also a good reminder how the truth about him was obvious from the start. On its face anyone who says anything like “we all need to sacrifice”, when all we have are criminals and victims, is obviously a criminal himself. In code, any such sacrifice-talk (including “austerity”) means the class war robbery will be escalated.

    Here’s a piece on some excellent resistance action in Greece. “I Won’t Pay.” And the infrastructure there hasn’t even been privatized yet.

    1. Michael H

      Thanks, interesting article on the “I Won’t Pay” movement in Greece.

      According to recent filings with the SEC, Boeing Corporation paid zero federal taxes for the past three years, yet instead of being penalized by the Federal government, they were rewarded with a $35 billion federal contract. Like so many US based corporations, they manage to avoid US taxes by holding subsidiaries in foreign tax havens.

      But instead of going after these corporations for tax evasion, our politicians want to impose austerity measures on the working class.

      Time for American citizens to stop paying as well, and to learn from the Greeks, and others, and start practicing civil disobedience.

      1. Cedric Regula

        Actually I caught wind of a rumor that Team Big O is dusting off the GWB “Let’s entice multinationals to repatriate foreign profits by offering a 5% tax on the money” plan and may re-launch that shuttle again this year.

        Course the GWB plan had a trojan stick along with the nice plump carrot. Whomever took advantage of the Treasury’s kindness was supposed to invest funds in the USofA.

        I never saw any followup in the news how this all turned out on a case by case basis, or whether any single corporation reneged on the investment part.

        But recently someone stuck a government report to the inside of my 52 inch computer monitor and it indicated we lost factories at an exponential rate this past decade.

        There is also evidence existing safely stashed away in FRED or some such place indicating biz investment was pretty much zilch (my term) the past decade too. But someone would need to add in negative investment for disappearing facilities otherwise we will never figure out what the problem is.

        So I’d rate this as ineffectual from a macro standpoint.

        BTW: I’m just posting this to score brownie points with attempter. I happen to think corporations are MetaPersons with powers only previously held by Greek Gods and the Greek Gods had to kill Titans to get them. Now all you need is a MBA or law degree. But if my electric company bill processor leaves for a better job, I want my contract to stay with the electric company. attempter has been thinking about the banking biz too much, methinks.

      2. lorac

        That’s not the only taxes that Boeing doesn’t pay. In the State of Washington, under HB 2294, Boeing receives $3.2 bil in tax credits and the State spends nearly another $1 bil in road improvements, ports, buildings, etc. in order to have the 7E7s built in the state. Boeing has to invest about $900 mil in facilities. They’ve laid off many workers (about 4000 I think) since the agreement was reached.

        The EU has challenged all the subsidies to Boeing.


      American experience is unparalleled. According to a July OECD report, the U.S. accounted for half of all job losses among the 31 richest countries from 2007 to mid-2010. (2) The rise of U.S. unemployment greatly exceeded the fall in economic output. Aside from Canada, U.S. GDP actually declined less than any other rich country

      Consensus agrees entirely. USA is at the top of the pile-on. We and Canadian Neighbors can afford more than ever to share with the unemployed who are now taking the rap for our economic efficiency windfall. We can now get them back onto career paths by generating enough profit for the rehiring process. Those of us with positions should start working, start generating that profit, go to work early, but leave after hours. We should tell our Congressional Rulers to stop taxing the hell out of the impoverished, close down the income-prisons, auction higher-interest-longer-term treasuries to penny-pincher-s who are afraid of buying the flaky stocks now being barker-ed by the Wall-Street-Shell-Game. Our tax code is the best that money can buy. We need to stop selling tax-code to the excessively wealthy. Stop corporate welfare. Stop idiotic-Congressional-overspending. We need a flat tax cut through $16,000 personal exemption and a $64,000 standard deduction. Do the preparers of tax forms have huge lobby to tell Congress not to simplify taxation? Then trash the IRS. Finance everything by bond auction, but close down the highly-political-income-prisons.

      We got to take our country back, all the way back to 1934.


      1. Paul Repstock

        Hmmm Groundhog… The ‘Employment at any cost’program is in full swing. This ties in with an earlier thread about government opening “New Markets”.

        Consider what the “Security Industry” has really accomplished: It has spawned the DHS and the TSA. These two entities have been created to counter nonspecific threats to our national and personal safety. All they have infact accomplished is to create employment for tens of thousands of otherwise unemployed people. If you had no job, would you complain that your new job was pointless and that it might threaten democracy? Probably not! Most people like to eat and feel that they are somehow contributing something worthwhile. Most people will take whatever opportunies fate throws at them and try to make the best of it. ie)They will seek advancement to protect that job.

        Therefore, we see the original idiocy of airport screening, now being extended to train stations and even bus depots?? Will we next have screeners at every taxi rank?? Don’t bet against it. I don’t understand. The infrastructure employments of earlier times at least had a logic, they created benifits for our generation in good roads and services. Security is so abstract and immeasurable, that it is the mother of all black holes.

    3. Lev Ridge

      sigh , the holy grail of capitalism in the USA , too big to pay taxes and to too big to fail , you know you have made it if you get to do both .

    4. leroguetradeur

      Amazing. Yes, trickle down is a lie.

      No, you can’t do without corporations and limited liability. And if you did, you would just have individual family wealth, it would be a return to feudalism. Corporations and shareholding may not be perfect, but they are better than that.

      I agree that they are not working well at the moment by the way. Absurd how the managerial class has come to take total ownership. But back to feudalism is not the answer either.

  5. Lidia

    Yves, I could have done without the “voodoo” story, which is pretty racist if you ask me. There are other religions who light candles as part of a ritual (I have a Russian icon that bears the smoke marks of earlier, faithful, owners’ candles), and there are untold numbers of people who light candles to set a romantic mood. So I’m not sure what the point of this story is except to titillate, especially when the last line (the candles were a “home-grown practice”) nullifies the connection to voodoo.

    1. craazyman

      I think you’re projecting. The thing that I found amazing is this guy found a way to get paid for what most guys pay for.

      You’ve no doubt never read James Frazer’s THE GOLDEN BOUGH or Sigmund Freud’s TOTEM AND TABOO.

      There’s nothing racist about humans doing crazy shitt with candles and sex. Really. Happens to everyone everywhere.

      But your point about the titillation. Absolutely agree. But that’s 98% of what passes for “news” these days. That’s why I never watch TV or hardly read the news anymore, unless it has to do with NFL football.

      Really, what’s the point, almost? Just channel it and you’ve got it without the sex and candles.

  6. Wild Bil

    The “Really Bad Reporting” story is a crock. The guy’s argument gets shredded in the comments section. Is that why you included that link?

    1. lambert strether

      I checked out the comments section, Wild Bil. Can you link to the comment that supports what you’re saying?

      Or does Koch incentivize you by the comment, as opposed to by characters?

      1. DownSouth


        I’m not sure Wild Bill does objectivity. He may lay claim to objectivity, but on the contrary his theories are entirely subjective. Could we call them faith based: If I believe strongly enough that it’s true, then that makes it true?

        To illustrate this, here’s a conversation between Bill and myself that occurred on this thread a couple of days ago. Wild Bill is arguing that the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the cause of the demise of labor union activism. But as I pointed out, following the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, there was a huge upsurge in labor union activism. It wasn’t until 1982—-18 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act—-that labor union activism fell below 1964 levels.

        And that’s just the timeline problem. Wild Bill of course never explains why it took 18 years for the alleged effects of the Civil Rights Act to show up, and he doesn’t even acknowledge the reasons for the demise of labor union activism that Yves cited. Here’s Yves from that same thread:

        I grew up in that time period and then went back to it to study it again it doing my book.

        Active organization against unions started with extreme right wingers, I name names of some of the key actors. This was an orchestrated campaign, one of the planks in a systematic program orchestrated by a pretty small group relative to the size of the US to shift the values as well as the laws. There was perilous little anti union sentiment in the 1970s, even among business managers and executives.

        As for the fall in strikes, did you forget about the names “Reagan” and “Thatcher’?

        Here’s the debate between Wild Bill and me:

        • Wild Bill says: February 24, 2011 at 7:57 am

        C’mon. What happened in the ’60s? I read the chart as a direct reflection of the civil rights laws that came into effect following that protest-filled decade.

        • DownSouth says: February 24, 2011 at 8:24 am

        What, pray tell, did the passage of the Civil Rights laws in the 1960s have to do with the dimiinshment in the number of strikes?

        • Wild Bill says: February 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm

        A quick Google gives you one of the most important laws ever enacted in our country. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Equal Employment Opportunities ( Applies to businesses with more than 15 employees. Now do you see?

        • DownSouth says: February 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

        No I don’t see.

        The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.
        According to the chart above, the precipitous decline in strikes began in 1980. That’s 16 years later, and coincides with the same time Reagan was elected president and decided to “liquidate labor.” Have you forgotten the air traffic controllers strike?

        So I don’t have the foggiest idea what you’re talking about.

        • Wild Bill says: February 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm

        The importance of Title VII in this context is that it afforded labor legal options to challenge employers. Thus, direct action went to the courts and to arbitration rather than into the streets. Prior to Title VII, there were few law firms that specialized in this area. Therefore, you see strikes/year drop from 400 in ‘68 to 250 by 1980, on the graph. Looks like strikes were tried again in ‘73, then less successfully in ‘78. By the ’80s, the tactic was largely abandoned. I think Title VII is the reason. And Down South, please don’t confuse my position with Chris’s racist screeds.

        • DownSouth says: February 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

        Wild Bill,

        Well it must be my lying eyes, but I still don’t get it.
        In 1964 the number of strikes looks to be about 180. That’s the year the Civil Rights Act was passed. Over the next six years, the number of strikes steadily increased to reach a peak of about 420 in 1970. Then there were wild fluctuations for the next 10 years, but nothing that came close to the 180 low set in 1964. It wasn’t until 1982 that the number of strikes decreased to what was then the previous low set in 1964.

        There was a huge increase in the number of strikes in the years following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The numbers are not consistent with your assertion. In fact, they say just the very opposite of your assertion.
        The only way you can make the graph fit your claim is to blot out everything between 1964 and 1982.

        • Wild Bill says: February 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm

        Here are some more facts, Down South. Union membership in the US peaked in ‘79 at an estimated 21 million. So as strikes fell during the 70’s, union membership rose. Currently, union membership stands at a little less than 15 million. So if union membership is 3/4 of the numerical amount it was in the 60s-70s, shouldn’t we expect 3/4 the numerical amount of strikes? Granted, the proportion of union members in the US has been cut in half over that period — perhaps because of the points Matt enumerates. But that fact has no bearing on the numerical question I pose. Why do we not see that relationship maintained? I say it’s because Title VII, one of the greatest legislative achievements in modern times, obviated the need for strikes. It took a while for the old guard union leaders to realize that strikes were counter-productive in the post-Title VII era, but once they did realize the facts they pretty much abandoned the tactic. I await your response, because I crush your arguments into a finer pulp each time.

      2. Wild Bil

        Terry’s point says it all. If I out-of-pocket pay 40%, then employer pays 60%. But I’m still paying 100% because that’s part of my “compensation.” Right? In the author’s scenario, everyone, always, is paying 100% of the cost of their benefits. So if government workers are paying 0% and the government is paying 100%, the workers are still paying 100%. Then there should be no problem with the workers paying 60% and the government paying 40%, because it still leaves the worker paying 100%. Right?
        Terry Moore says: “This is sophistry. By this logic, employees always contribute 100% of their benefits, even if they actually contribute a lower percentage than that. Consider a private sector worker who has 40% of the cost of his health insurance premiums deducted from his paycheck. Would you say he actually pays 100% of the cost of his health insurance, because he accepted the 60% employer contribution in lieu of increased wages?”
        Daves point clears it up for you.
        Dave Pinson says: “The workers DO in fact contribute 0% of their salary. They DO contribute a percentage of their total compensation. A reader will know their pre-tax income, but will have no idea what their total compensation is. People know they make 80k per year, not 80k plus 10k in social security contributions plus 8k in health care benefits. If the reporters compare a 0% contribution of the salary portion of compensation to x% of the salary portion of compensation for a private worker, it’s apples-to-apples.”
        Tom makes the ultimate point. Taxpayers pay the public servant’s health tab. States need to cut costs or raise taxes. They elected more Republicans than Democrats, so that means they chose to cut costs. That means cutting either benefits or salary or jobs. From an overall economic perspective, cutting benefits is much better than cutting salary or jobs.
        Tom Beebe says: “Wow, what fantastic leaps in logic and reasoning. This is the silliest argument I have ever heard.
        1. Is the computed hourly rate, without pension and health care costs the same, less or more than the private sector. I would guess equal to or more–esp. given the state of the economy
        2. Is each component computed and negotiated separately, i.e., base salary then pension, then health–probably. Are they less, the same, or better than private sector–I think we all know the answer to this
        3. The point: “chose to take as deferred income” –no negotiated separately ON TOP of the base wage (see point 1.) and they are outrageous.
        4. And no 100% comes from the taxpayer!!! not the employee. It is this type of entitlement thinking that the American public has had enough of.”

        1. Anonymous Jones

          It’s amazing to witness the disconnect between your belief about your own mastery of logic and the English language, and your absolute total failure to under the concept of “total compensation.”

      1. Wild Bil

        Don’t worry, it’s a math question. This author says each union member is already paying 100% of their benefit cost because it is part of “compensation.” If each person of the group pays 100% of their own benefits, then by definition the group itself must pay 100% of its own benefits. Right? Of course, it couldn’t be any other way. Say benefit cost is $10 mil and benefit payout is $10 mil, for 100% payout. Since group paid nothing, the government had to pay $10 mil. Next month, government pays $8 mil and the group pays $2 mil, for the same total of $10 mil. No change right? The group didn’t pay 120%, because the lender only got the $10 mil back that he put out. In each month, the group paid 100% of the total, right? Next month, government kicks in $2 mil and the group pays $8 mil. Hmmm. Three months in a row, each month the group is paying the same 100% of benefits, but somehow each member of the group is now bankrupt because they can’t afford the benefit premiums. That’s how math happens, Joe.

        1. Wild Bil

          Gotta bash DownSouth one more time, ’cause it’s so fun. Title VII of the Civil Service Act forbade federal unions from striking. In return, they got meditation to their grievances. That’s my whole point, strikes became out-of-favor when collective bargaining rights became assured under law. Oh, and the date on Title VII of the Civil Service Act conforms to your claim that strikes dropped precipitously in the ’80s. The act was passed in 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president.

          1. DownSouth

            You’re not bashing me. You’re bashing the facts.

            But of course that’s par for the course for neoliberals and other absolutists. When it comes to a contest between the truth and their dogama, it’s the truth that always bites the bullet. Neoliberals have license to do this because they “make their own reality.”

            Anyone can look back up this thread to see how the “facts” work for neoliberals. During our entire conversation you and I are talking about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In your 12:12 pm comment you specifically refer to “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

            But then when you get backed into a corner, you assert that you weren’t talking about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at all, but about Title VII of the Civil Service Act of 1978.

            According to Wikipedia “The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, (October 13, 1978, Pub.L. 95-454, 92 Stat. 1111) (CSRA), reformed the civil service of the United States federal government.” It deals strictly with the management and treatment of employees of the Federal government.

            What this has to do with the depth and breadth of labor union activism across the United States is anybody’s guess. Of course with the neoliberals’ knack for inventing stuff, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble making something up.

          2. Wild Bil

            The facts are that strikes have been reduced because of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “What, pray tell, did the passage of the Civil Rights laws in the 1960s have to do with the dimiinshment in the number of strikes?” This question indicates that you had no idea of the impact of Title VII. Understand that collective bargaining only became possible once Title VII mandated it. So collective bargaining, which I say has replaced strikes, sprang directly from the Civil Rights era. Now, you lived thru that era, DownSouth. You know that the adoption of the changes writ into law in the mid-’60s took years to become ingrained in public thought. It’s not like they passed a law, turned on the switch and things were different. So collective bargaining spelled the death knell for strikes, and then the ’78 act outlawed strikes by Federal union workers. Nowhere does the author claim that changes in Federal law were the reason for the decrease in strikes. As to the labels you affix to me, I am stating that you and the author are undervaluing one of the most important labor victories in history — the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights act. I say it was a major success, and led directly to collective bargaining becoming the dominant labor tactic instead of strikes. Lambert asks if I’m working for the Kochs, and you call me a “neoliberal.” I’m neither, in fact. I’m just an American who knows his United States history. And math, too.

          3. Anonymous Jones

            I get that you think these things about yourself. I meet many people every day who believe the craziest things. Your evidence does not actually match up with your bombast and vitriol.

            I can assure you that there are many people, some even who have advanced degrees in mathematics from the finest schools in the country, who disagree with you.

        2. Wild Bil

          Couple more death blows. On the chart, the peak appears to me to be ’68 and to you it’s ’70. So split it and say ’69. After the peak in ’69, six of the seven data points until ’80 are significantly lower than the peak. That seventh point is so far off trend as to be labeled an outlier. Absent the outlier, the trend is clear from the peak until about ’80. Here’s what you say about post-’80: “No I don’t see. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. According to the chart above, the precipitous decline in strikes began in 1980. That’s 16 years later, and coincides with the same time Reagan was elected president and decided to “liquidate labor.” Have you forgotten the air traffic controllers strike?” So I responded that yes, another swap of strike rights for collective bargaining had been accomplished in ’78, under the Democrat Jimmy Carter. That act forbade federal unions from striking. It was that Carter-era act that Reagan was enforcing when he fired the air-traffic controllers. So the reason for the precipitous decline in post-’80 strikes was because of another exchange of strike rights for collective bargaining rights, Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act. (Important to note that the second Title VII could never have occurred if it weren’t for the first Title VII, which established for the first time in US law the idea of collective bargaining.) As this legislation was accomplished under a Democratic regime, I’m sure you can go back and see that labor claimed it a victory. To recap: It took 4 or 5 years for Title VII of the Civil Rights act to gain traction, but once it did six of the next seven data points in the strike graph were significantly lower than the peak. Also, another precipitous decline in strikes occurred approximately two years after the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act. You’d think outlawing strikes among federal workers would contribute to the decline in strikes, wouldn’t you? Again, that happened in ’78 under Carter.

  7. DownSouth

    I wish I could be in Wisconsin to join the protesters today.

    I’m a long, long ways away though.

    But although I can’t be there in body, I’ll be there in spirit.

    “I would rather die in abject poverty with my convictions than live in inordinate riches with the lack of self-respect,” wrote Martin Luther King in 1957.

    King frequently recited the following words from the poet James Russell Lowell, which are most appropriate for the current situation:

    Once to every man and nation,
    Comes the moment to decide
    In the strife of truth and falsehood
    For the good or evil side;
    Some great cause God’s new Messiah
    Offering each the gloom or blight
    And the choice goes by forever
    Twixt that darkness and that light.

    Though the cause of evil prosper
    Yet ’tis truth along is strong
    Though her portion be the scaffold
    And upon the throne be wrong
    Yet that scaffold sways the future
    And behind the dim unknown
    Standeth God witin the shadow
    Keeping watch above his own.

    Truth forever on the scaffold
    Wrong forever on the throne
    Yet that scaffold sways the future
    and behind the dim unknown stands God
    Within the shadows keeping watch above his own.

    1. lambert strether

      Sheesh, I’m a citizen and I paid the White House for that photo to be taken. But check the IP restriction!

      (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
      This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

      So if I wanted to fill the wine glasses up with blood, say, I couldn’t do that?

  8. DownSouth

    → USA Today poll shows 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to the one being considered in Wisconsin. ←

    That from the MSNBC video linked in “The Housing Bubble and Negative Equity are a Major Predictor of State Budget Gaps, Not Unions” Mike Konczal

    Of course as dysfunctional, or should I say missing in action, as democracy is in America these days, I’m not sure it really matters what the American people think or want.

    In a functioning democracy, there would be no end of political entrepreneurs waiting in the wings, ready to jump on the opportunity to give the American people what they want. But we certainly don’t see Obama or any of the Democrats of national stature jumping on the opportunity.

    An even more egregious example of this was TARP, where probably 80 or 90 percent of both rank and file Democrats and Republicans were adamantly opposed.

    What this indicates is that the will of the people is really of no importance in the political process in America any more. Democracy has been so corrupted that what a majority of the people wants is of no importance.

    1. Francois T

      “But we certainly don’t see Obama or any of the Democrats of national stature jumping on the opportunity.”

      And we won’t see it as long as the DCCC keeps insisting of being a Blue Dogs recruiting machine for the sake of quieting the nerves of big money.

      It has become so bad within the DCCC and DLC that mentioning workers’ rights make you a freaking pinko-Communist, Wisconsin notwithstanding.

      There are very few problems in the USA that cannot be resolved by the occurrence of an economic depression with 30% unemployment and a year-to-year decrease of 10% in GDP for 3 years in a row. Such event would have the obvious merit of focusing the minds and hearts of everyone toward what really matters.

      Otherwise, everything shall stay honky-dory and peachy-dandy…for those with means and connections.

  9. Ignim Brites

    The one problem with Geithner’s Gamble (Simon Johnson) is that the premise of the critique of Geithner and the TBTF policy towards the banks is that it is unfair that US taxpayers should backstop these banks. It would be certainly unfair and outrageous that US taxpayers guarantee the liabilities of these banks, if it were true. But as the case of Ireland and Iceland make clear, it is often times impossible for governments to bailout the banks. Geithner’s gamble is not that the big US banks can successfully lead a deepening of the financial structures of emerging nations. Geithner’s real gamble is that another failure of the big US banks can be remedied by government action. The real guarantee is that it cannot. Geithner and Obama are putting the country all in on a guaranteed losing hand. People need to begin preparing for the collapse of the republic. Them’s the cards. Read’em and weep.

  10. Dave

    Check out Gerald Celante’s article on the World’s unrest at the Daily Reckoning today. “When too little money flows downhill, then blood starts flowing in the streets. The American MSM wants you to believe this about politics and the yearning for Democracy. Balderdash. This is an economic revolution, and it’s starting here too! The rich have too much wealth, and they better find a way to re-distribute some of it or else the blood will keep on flowing all over the world and here too!

  11. Eureka Springs

    I just want to pause and say thanks to Yves and all (except trolls) participants for another fine blog week. This has to be one of the most succinct informative places to read these days. No small feat, but perhaps to be able to do so, remaining small is key.

    Anyway, thanks so much one and all, NCers.

  12. psychohistorian

    How about if before you do the T-shirt thing you figure out how to get our copies of ECONNED autographed. At least for us West Coasties that have not had the pleasure of meeting you in person.

    1. Joe Rebholz

      I’d bet the Co. that does the Wikileaks store could do a line of Naked Capitalism stuff probably easily and quickly. I just bought a Wikileaks t-shirt and baseball cap. Next we need an ANONYMOUS store.

  13. notexactlyhuman

    I asked this before, but it hasn’t appeared:

    Is it just me, or does the SEC’s choice of Sean McKessy to “lead the new SEC arm responsible for handling whistleblower tips and complaints” seem a bit dubious, given his background as Corporate Secretary at Altria (Philip Morris), Securities Counsel at Caterpillar, and Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary at AOL, Inc?

    Philip Morris and whistleblower protection. Maybe I watch too many movies. Then again, whistleblowers are currently under heavy assault.

  14. Michael Roberts

    Mice are mammals that reproduce really, really fast – so we have a lot of different, interesting mutant strains that we wouldn’t have on convenient timescales for larger mammals.

    One of these mutant strains has some really interesting responses to healing, in that it’s capable of regenerating muscle (and nerve!) tissue without scarring – making those mice the only mammals with that capability. Even better: we know which genes are the ones that regulate it.

    Figuring out the actual changes in mechanisms regulated by those genes is where the payoff comes in – regenerate without scarring in one mammal, and soon you’ll be able to do it in other mammals, including the one particular mammalian species we care most about.

    And that’s why they dream up those experiments.

    1. paper mac

      The study was performed in wild-type mice, that’s why the finding is significant, as the regenerative capacity is present normally in neonatal mice. Unfortunately the problem of human regenerative medicine is a little more complicated than being able to get a rodent to regenerate tissue. This study is a good case- the presence of regenerative capacity at one developmental stage is no guarantee that you’re going to be able to get cells in that tissue to proliferate and correctly integrate into the tissue as an adult. That’s before getting into the issues surrounding selectively modifying human gene regulatory networks to activate quiescent stem cell populations or cause differentiated cells to de-differentiate and become proliferative again. We’ve still got a long way to go. Given the vicious cuts to basic research coming down the pipe, and the ever-accelerating accumulation of resources in the kleptocracy, it’s not at all clear to me that we’re going to see the promise of our work come to fruition in my lifetime, or that it will be available to anyone other than the very wealthy if we do.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Retail sales normalized to population…

    I have long argued for more – that it should account for the average human size as well.

    Bigger sized people eat more food and take more fuel to be transported for a given distance, use more cotton per unit of underwear, require more timber for the same L-size coffin (it’s wider than a few decades ago) etc…all reflected in ever more expensive commodities.

    1. Paul Repstock

      mltpb…One thing we do not need at this time is further divisions and distictions between individuals who are all Humans! What next?? left or right handedness, or do we go back to color??

  16. Leaner nazi agenda

    O’Malley said that with stimulus dollars no longer coming to help states balance their books, “people are going to see a strikingly different governing philosophy between the Republican governors and the Democratic governors.”

    “We all have to balance our budgets,” he said. “The Democratic governors do so in ways that protect the education of our people, that improve the skills of our people and that give our people a better footing in order to be winners in this changing economy.”

    Perry, without endorsing the specific actions Walker is pursuing in Wisconsin, said November’s elections sent a clear message.

    “[Voters] said we want you to have leaner, more efficient government,” he said. “[Walker] knows what he believes in, and he’s expressing that. And the voters in Wisconsin basically said this is the person we want running the state.”

    An unprecedented 27 of the 50 governors took office only in the last few months, all but three for the first time.

  17. paper mac

    “This is no doubt useful, but who dreams up these experiments?”

    Stem cell biologists. Repair after trauma is the hallmark of regeneration.

  18. emca

    The Economic Populist piece on corporate profits, “Corporate Profits Soaring Thanks to Record Unemployment” is a good backup and summation to many points made on N.C. in the past years; e.g. that U.S. growth is a one-sided affair involving the collusion of government and large enterprise at the expense of the general public.

    Of note:

    “Aside from job fairs, large corporations have been conspicuously absent from the tepid jobs recovery. But they are leading the profit recovery. Part of the reason is the expansion of overseas sales, but the profit recovery is primarily coming off the backs of American workers”


    “In November, temporary labor represented an astonishing 80% of private sector job growth…This year (?), 26.2 percent of new private sector jobs are temporary, compared to 10.9 percent in the recovery after the 1990s recession and 7.1 percent in previous recoveries.”

    Complement with this quote from the UPI article:

    “Chief global economist at Decision Economics Allen Sinai said the move to temporary hiring, which often deprives workers of any benefits, “hints at a structural change.”

    Temporary jobs “are becoming an ever more important part of what is going on,” he said.”

    In what being argued now by team Obama/Walker is ironic if not paradoxical. Reduced salaries (or the ability to negotiate wages in better times) by workers, whether public or private, to transfer wealth to corporations to enhance their profitability (by retained savings, tax avoidance, foreign investment and offshore operations) in order to promote an overall economic health based in large part by those worker’s ‘consumption’.

    Its hard to believe the people of Wisconsin don’t understand what’s going down and continually vote for a Reagan revolution that will never materialize (unless you define “revolution” per past communistic practice as mere teleportation and redefinition of misery or badness, then the Ronald’s revolution was/is a complete success!).

    (I’m reminded of a story mention yesterday by a commenter of the Russian proverb of the peasant and the mule….but I digress…)

  19. Paul Repstock

    I hope this is a positive development and a sign of things to come.
    Saturday’s surveys shows Fine Gael at 36.1, Labour at 20.5 per cent, Fianna Fail at 15.1 per cent, Sinn Fein at 10.1 per cent, Greens at 2.7 per cent and Independents at 15.4 per cent.

    I don’t know how much support independants usually get in Ireland, but if there is any hope for the continuation of present governing structures, we had better hope that there are many more independant (read local) candidates. Independant candidates are more responsive to constituents because they do not have party machinery to protect them.

    In Canada, independant candidates seldom win. They get run over by party money, and some sense of local inferiority complex brands them as incompetent (How they could possibly be more incompetent is beyond me). Also, there is a feeling that independants cannot be effective and that they cannot deliver the pork belly benifits common to established parties.

  20. emca

    Another link from Ajazeera on the financial crisis:

    “Will banksters get away with it?”

    A follow-up to Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”, albeit from a different angle.

    This quote sums the argument he’s making:

    “When financial institutions and services became the dominant economic sector, they, effectively, took over the political system to fortify their power. It was a done incrementally, over years, with savvy, foresight and malice.
    (emphasis mine)

    1. anon2

      Too bad I can’t get all of my news from Al-J. Then maybe I wouldn’t have had to smash my TV set and throw my radio out the window.

  21. Jimbo

    Regarding the T-Shirt, you should probably ask for reader suggestions re: logo/design. With a name like Naked Capitalsim, shouldn’t be that difficult to be clever.

    I recall a University of Chicago shorts with the writing: UC It’s Hard.

    1. Cedric Regula

      I saw one gal at the gym a while back with



      HTML tags on her t-shirt. But that’s not really what NC is about.

      1. Cedric Regula

        I was worried about that. Angle brackets get eaten by WordPress on the way in. Quotes are not escape characters. But I see others here do it somehow. Another mystery.

        So you’ll have to use your imagination a bit and insert tits_on and tits_off tags in the quotes above.

        Sorry for any inconvenience.

  22. 100 Proof

    In other words, the Catholic bishops and mainline pastors–as well as the Quakers, Jews, Buddhists, and others–who have been trying to convince the governor to shift course are pretty well preaching in the wind. Other than David Koch (fake or otherwise), Walker is listening to One Person and One Person only: Jesus speaking directly to him. God, evidently, has directed him on his current path. Scott’s just trusting and obeying. He bears no responsibility other than that.

    Unlike the Roman Catholics and traditional Protestants who have spoken on behalf of the laborers, Walker has no spiritual “check” on him, no authority other than the ones he hears in his own head, and no moral culpability in this situation. He’s the good Christian soldier, just following God’s lead.

    And this is why Scott Walker’s religion is actually dangerous in the public square. Because it lacks the ability to compromise, it is profoundly anti-democratic. Many faith traditions actually possess deep spiritual resources that allow them to participate in pluralistic, democratic, and creative political change. But those sort of traditions tend emphasize the love of God and neighbor over strict obedience to an unyielding Father God. Despite anything Scott Walker might say, the confident dictum of the old hymn, “Trust and Obey” is not the best way to govern a state.

  23. MarkZoe

    David Cay Johnson’s comments about state workers paying for their own pension benefits ignores four things: 1) The money initially comes from the taxpayer. 2) Public-worker unions are monopolies which can hold the state government hostage if their wage demands are not met. 3) State workers total compensation now exceeds the compensation of workers in the private sector. 4) State workers, if they are dissatisfied, can attempt to work in the private sector.

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