Links Earth Day 2011

Ozone hole has dried Australia, scientists find BBC

Lab-Grown Synthetic Skins Could Replace Animals in Cosmetics Testing Ecouterre

Pesticide exposure in the womb linked to lower IQ in children Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

CIA Declassifies Documents from World War I Secrecy News (hat tip reader Buzz Potamkin)

Over 100,000 paid subscribers for AFP

Apple, Google Collect User Data Wall Street Journal. This is more serious Big Brother action than initially reported.

Bahrain’s secret terror Independent (hat tip reader May S)

Nation’s Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows New York Times. Some false causality here. Most of the commentary on national crankiness mentions the budget debate, which other polls show does not register as significant for the vast majority of citizens, despite the media focus on the issue. Rising gas prices are always lead to plunging Presidential popularity. That along with the continued crappy job market and lack of action on that front are the dominant culprits.

$76,000 protest disrupts swank Obama SF fundraiser: “We paid our dues..where’s our ‘change”? (VIDEO) SFGate

Wall Street, Banks Press to Shape Dodd-Frank Rules Wall Street Journal. The scale of spending is noteworthy.

As Consumers Cut Spending, ‘Green’ Products Lose Allure New York Times

States to Business: Give Our Cash Back Wall Street Journal. Notice the opening section:

To the list of those dinged by states’ budgetary woes—from Illinois vendors to Wisconsin public employees—add YUSA Corp., an auto-parts supplier in the city of Washington Court House, Ohio.

YUSA received a $35,000 development grant from the state of Ohio five years ago, pledging to expand a plant and employ 816 people. It’s only at 445. Recently, Ohio sent the firm a bill, demanding $15,915 back.

So borrowers are supposed to live up to their contracts, but we are supposed to be sorry for businesses when they are held accountable?

How You Can Have a Billion-Dollar Income in America and Pay No Taxes Alternet (hat tip reader May S)

Goldman Ex-Director Seeks to Have District Judge Decide SEC Case Bloomberg

JPMorgan to return $800m to Lehman trustee Financial Times (hat tip reader Hubert)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the AZ House of Representatives… After passing the Senate 28-2… S.B. 1259 Completely Disappeared Martin Andelman (hat tip April Charney)

Patients Are Not Consumers Paul Krugman, New York Times

Antidote du jour (hat tip Buzz Potamkin):


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    1. Richard Kline

      dearie, m’ chap, yer off yer head: This President clutches each and ever lobbyist in a full body embrace while feeling up their wallet. I’ might say “President freezes in alarm at a ball in his court.” I mean, he just was the token hire to between two flags facing a camera; actual decisions are made above his pay grade.

  1. DownSouth

    Re: “Bahrain’s secret terror” Independent (hat tip reader May S)

    Well it looks like the United States is up to its old tricks again, just like 35 years ago when the US government urged the US-backed puppet dictatorship in Argentina to initiate the Dirty Wars in which as many as 30,000 dissidents in that country were either killed or “disappeared.”

    And US-supported state terrorism, either through direct goading or a wink and a nod, is a lot closer to home than one might think. Apparently Mexico is embarking on a whole new round of Dirty Wars, as evidenced by a recent report by the United Nations which is discussed by one of the UN investigators here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

    1. dictateursanguinaire

      Arrgggghhhh the S&P did NOT downgrade it, they said there is a low chance (1/3) that they will downgrade it in the future. Thanks for settin him straight, Yves

      1. nullPointer deReferrence

        Opera has hundreds of parameters under preferences. He will need to change some of these to get his Opera to operate. Opera is a great tool once you orient yourself to the interface.

  2. Toby

    Re: “A funny thing happened on the way …”

    Weird reaction to obvious systemically generated corruption:

    “This proposed piece of legislation, which would have required banks and servicers to follow what are for the most part existing laws governing foreclosures and the transfer of property rights. Nothing particularly heinous… certainly nothing that makes me fear for the survival of free market capitalism.
    [ snip ]
    And they [banks] not only possess the power to make federal bills sing in the key of Wall Street… they are equally adept at reaching out to Arizona over a weekend and swatting away a bill proposed by an elected official without so much as a classified ad to herald its death… even though it had just passed the senate, 28-2. Perhaps next time, we should make a mental note to say “pretty please,” as opposed to just please.”

    “Free market capitalism” produces these results inexorably. The market is not a separate entity from the state, as the state is not separate from the market, they are in fact twinned at the paradigm, so to speak, yoked to each other by money and power. And the paradigm is about competing over necessarily scarce goods and services to become a ‘success.’ Well, some become so successful they have sufficient power to keep the playing field tilted massively in their favour. Such is an inevitable consequence of the system. It’s been happening since forever.

  3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Earth Day – a great idea.

    I hope Earth Monty, Earth Year, Earth Decade, Earth Millenium and Earth Kapla are coming soon.

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Yes, you can have a billion dollar tax free income, or rather you used to be able to…in a monarchy, if you were the king.

    Things were a lot more straightforward then.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Science is excellent at that – eliminating organic souls and replacing them with synthetic ones.

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘The New York Times Co. released its first figures on Thursday since it began charging for full access to, saying it has signed up more than 100,000 paid subscribers in three weeks.’

    Uh … is that a lot?

    Back in America’s Paleozoic era when people read news on inky sheets of printed papyrus, I seem to recall that large dailies had circulations in the one to two million range.

    My personal policy is never to subsidize the Mainstream Media. Particularly not the New York Times, whose compliant stenographers reliably agitate for war, socialism, big government, higher taxes, more aid for Israel, and assorted other useless and noxious causes.

    Why press one’s greasy dollars into the withered claw of the Old Grey Meretrix, when simply entering the title of an NYT article into a search engine and accessing it from there end-runs the pay wall?

    It’s an immense relief, after cracking Kurgman’s sniping ‘Patients Are Not Consumers’ screed with this simple hack, to heartily congratulate oneself for not having foolishly paid for such demented drivel.

    1. Jojo

      I got the prompt that I had reached my article limit on the NYT site maybe a couple of weeks back. I deleted the site cookies and no more problems since then.

  6. PeterG

    “This is more serious Big Brother action than initially reported.”

    I’ll disagree. As per the following links, it seems benign; the data may initially have been collected to create a virtual map of the best cell towers, to figure out where coverage is spotty. “It’s not GPS data…”, though it could be used in cell-tower-dense-cities to reasonably predict where you were.

    “This database isn’t storing GPS data. It’s just making a rough location fix based on nearby cell towers. The database can’t reveal where you were…only that you were in a certain vicinity. Sometimes it’s miles and miles off. This implies that the logfile’s purpose is to track the performance of the phone and the network, and not the movements of the user.” (Ihnatko)

    Apple’s software, unfortunately, isn’t designed well; it keeps records for months (maybe even a year) instead of weeks.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Even having the authorities able to know when I was in what city is more than I want them to know. The fact that they don’t drill down to street address level detail does not make this any less spying. Apple and Google have no business knowing about my whereabouts, even on an approximate basis.

      I’m thus very happy to still have a stupid phone.

  7. curlydan

    Earth Day is a joke. Landfills are strewn with Earth Day junk and assorted “earth” bags.

    “Humanity, you never had it to begin with” – Charles Bukowski

    1. Straßencafé Lebenskünstler

      joke. Landfills are strewn with Earth Day junk and assorted

      You got it, C! You have punched the Relevance Button at its most germane moment. What this World needs now is not another overpopulating, overweight, opulent, dung-dumpster-manufacturer. Having found the polluter, having discovered that it is we, we now need to shoot for less of Lester and his four of Ester. No more 4 wives, no more 40 thieves offspring. Genug schon!

      Any minuscule contribution to sanity we can make will soon be overshadowed by overwhelming overpopulation of the third kind. That said, I have one prayer for Earth Day. Namely, larger off button on each device. Not one, but multiple Off Buttons on each device. Tell me something!

      Have you every bought brand new state of the art device which will easily turn on but rarely turn off? Button is cool and svelte before you touch it for turn-on. Later, when warmer from use, the flip-flop-toggle refuses to work at the precise moment of enough already.

      Should we refuse to buy any widget without at least 2 of off-buttons, each at least twice the size of on-button? Just flat-out-fnikcug-refuse to buy the mother? Tell me something else!

      Do industrial-control-boxes always have gigantic-green-on-button that you can accurately target even with the-real-O-J-gloves on your large fingers? Even larger red-off-button at the top of the box? Traffic lights always have larger red-light at top of unit thus easier for stupid drivers like me to see even when we have had more-than-one?

      Why not 2 of large off buttons but smaller separate on-button on TV, bathroom-fan, etc.? Should fan also have delay-off-button? Also delay off button on many other things just in case you do not return for all-things-after-half-time? But what happens when one off button goes belly-up? Nooo problem! You have a back up button.

      Start thinking, People! You are our people, Populace. Start thinking, My People

  8. rps

    George Carlin has a humorous/insightful skit on Save the Planet

    “…. there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

    The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

    We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance…..The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic…..”
    Saving the Planet
    George Carlin

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    States To Business: We Want Our Cash Back.

    The risk of revenue-hungry governments seeking cash is that, inadverdently or inevitably, little citizens or should I say, small people, become victims of these for-profit governments through over-zealous traffic and/or building code violation enforcements, and other capitalistic endeavors.

    Perhaps governments are just for-profit corporations in disguise.

  10. Hugh

    wiki lists NYT’s print circulation at 876,000 as of 2010.

    So the Times signs up 100,000 for its online subscription. Their target was 300,000 in the first year. The question here is really where they are going to find those extra 200,000. I would think that most of those who wanted or needed to sign up would have done so early on to take advantage of the Times promotional offers. So this is looking like another Pinch Sulzberger inspired failure, much like the previous paywall he tried.

    The other question is will advertisers like it. If site hits go down, what will be the reaction of advertisers? Could the NYT lose as much or more from them as they gain from their online subscription program?

    Finally, as I always like to point out, the idea of the Times actually improving its content to attract subscribors and advertisers never seems to occur to Pinch. As it is, you have neocons like Bill Keller at executive editor and Andrew Rosenthal at the editorial page and you have a paper that basically follows the Establishment line as propagandistically as it can. Bob Herbert is gone writing a book or something so there isn’t even a good readable writer there anymore. The best they have now is the Establishment sycophant/apologist Krugman, and right there you can see their problem.

    1. DownSouth

      From your link:

      Yes, Rand was a staunch advocate of capitalism and limited government. She was also a staunch advocate of abortion rights and sexual hedonism, and an atheist to boot, which her conservative admirers have largely ignored. Rand and her characters maintained that morality wasn’t something that could be imposed by outside institutions, rather should be a consequence from individuals acting in their own rational self-interest. Which, obviously, steps way out of line with the thinking of the Tea Party, which encompasses the religious right .

      It’s always been a wonder to me how the Republican Party and its offspring, the Tea Party, have managed to unite Tories and Whigs under one banner.

      1. Philip Pilkington

        “We know those canters, says he, preaching and picking your pocket. What about sanctimonious Cromwell and his ironsides that put the women and children of Drogheda to the sword with the bible text GOD IS LOVE pasted round the mouth of his cannon?” — James Joyce, Ulysses

    2. Skippy

      Personally I have always thought Ayn Rands shtick was adolescent nubile pulp see: Atlas Shrugged-equals-The Summer of 42…cough young minds search for their first orgasm…lol.

      Skippy…she was the proverbial kid that refused to grow up writ large.

  11. Jim Haygood

    It took less than 24 hours for Peace Laureate O’Bomber to respond to the ‘$76,000 protest’ by the freshjuiceparty, who seek [I’m not making this up; visit their site and see for yourself] ‘sweet goodness in government.’

    To wit, the Drone Messiah just vaporized 23 more Third Worlders in Pakistan, turning their humble mud huts into a grisly charnel house. Hey, it’s Good Friday — let’s crucify some little brown people!

    The interests who are served by the Depublicrat political duopoly must laugh themselves sick when they read ‘protest’ lyrics like the ones sung yesterday at the Obama/DNC fundraiser:

    We’ll vote for you in 2012, yes, that’s true
    Look at the Republicans – what else can we do?

    DUH — folks who can’t think their way out of the ‘false alternative’ close featured in the first hour of any sales seminar can be fooled ALL the time. And they’ll still gratefully contribute to and vote for their oppressors. This is too easy!

    1. Michael H

      ‘protest’ lyrics like the ones sung yesterday at the Obama/DNC fundraiser:

      We’ll vote for you in 2012, yes, that’s true
      Look at the Republicans – what else can we do?”

      Unbelievable. Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Some retard paid Obama $76,000 out of her pocket in order to get into one of his fundraisers and then “protested” by singing a song that she’ll vote for him again in 2012?

  12. Philip Pilkington


    New Adam Curtis documentary out next month. From PopBitch (Curtis is on the steering committee, so its a reliable source):

    Would you Adam and eve it?
    I’m A Celebrity inspires BBC documentary

    Adam Curtis’ new documentary series starts
    on BBC2 next month. His title for it, All
    Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace,
    was rejected initially by BBC bosses as
    too long. How would it fit on the electronic
    programme guide etc?

    Then it was pointed out that this title had
    exactly the same number of words as I’m A
    Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. And so Curtis
    was allowed to have the title.

  13. kravitz

    Yves, not to put you and Richard in a non-holiday mood, but…

    Housing Wire. Can they be more pro banksters?

    Iowa AG slams report on campaign contributions

    “Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller dismissed a recent report on his 2010 campaign contributions from those involved in the banking industry, calling it “false and misleading at its core.”

    “Only one other person mentioned in the report, Elizabeth McCaul, who gave Miller $10,000 could possibly be linked to the foreclosure investigation. She works as a partner at the New York-based consulting firm Promontory Financial, and does some work for BofA. But, like Koplow, at the time of the contribution, was not involved in the case.”

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