Does being ugly make you poor? Telegraph
Miami Invaded By Giant, House-Eating Snails NPR (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)
Dwarf galaxies suggest dark matter theory may be wrong BBC
Drug deaths top traffic fatalities in U.S. Los Angeles Times
Irish Rupture With Vatican Sets Off a Transformation New York Times
Crise de la dette : l’Europe réplique aux Etats-Unis Le Monde (hat tip reader Steve A)
What Next For Greece And For Europe? Simon Johnson
Glimpses of the Next Great Famine Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
U.S. Economy: A Lost Decade Into The Great Middle Class Poverty? EconMatters (hat tip reader Carol B)
Standard and Poor’s US Downgrade Shock Doctrine; Lather, Rinse, Repeat Jon Walker, FireDogLake
The doofus factor Economist
If Frank Bruni Knew Arithmetic He Wouldn’t Write Columns Like This One Dean Baker
Police block ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters Raw Story
William Black: Why Nobody Went to Jail During the Credit Crisis New Economic Perspectives
Antidote du jour (hat tip George Washington):
Uhoh. Obama is going the populist(according to the nytimes) route.
Very likely because even he is starting to realize that he
needs to appear to be doing something if he wants re-election. Of course with Obummer, appearance usually has nothing to do with reality.
I suspect that appearance IS reality for the man.
And this is different from most other politicians in what way?
Well, the man did conjure upon the shade of Abraham Lincoln after all. High standards were set, and not met.
Funny how Obama’s going all populist now that there’s no chance of any of his “plans” being enacted.
If all this had been done in 2009, it would have meant something. Now, he’s just shilling for the marks and the rubes. Disgusting, and we’re going to have to endure a year of it.
Once a sucker always a sucker I say. Trot out the “Hope” meme and people will become all starry-eyed and call Obama their savior again.
I saw a link about how liberals will vote for Obama if he taxes the rich. They’re rubes if they do. Don’t do it! Make him pay for his crimes.
I don’t buy it. Most are so disillusioned, there’s little he can do to save himself.
Stick a fork in him.
I would say some are so disillusioned they won’t vote for him, which may be enough to make him a loser or a plurality winner. Obama benefited from the Palin VP selection and he’ll probably benefit from the Republican candidate, again. If ever a man was in the right place at the right time………. But, then, that’s what Gerry Ferraro took so much heat for saying.
Don’t be too sure of Obama’s tenderness if Rick Perry is the Republican Candidate: Let Elmer Gantry 2.0 go around the country and try to sell Social Security is a “ponzi scheme” to all the old folks that vote.
I saw a link about how liberals will vote for Obama for fear of Republican Supreme Court nominees.
That is one of the arguments repeatedly made, yes. It’s desperation time. The Democrats don’t have a good candidate. They don’t even have a Democratic candidate.
What a red herring. Kagan talks, acts and walks like a Republican appointee.
Looked in on the Raw Story site to see details on the “Occupy Wall Street” countermeasures. Nothing unpredictable there. Then cross linked to Raw Storys take on the Lesbian Congresswoman from Wisconsin declaring for the vacating Senate seat there. Good for her! Finally, saw a sidebar to that story saying Louisianna Governor Bobby Jindal endorsed Rick Perry for President. How low can my former state go? I must say, recent U.S. politics look to be some sort of replay of the “War Between the States.” Wealthy pseudo Aristocrats and their minions vs. Progressive Northern Egalitarians and “the People.” I hope it doesn’t come to bloodshed again, but every extra day of this ‘crisis’ makes me not so sure anymore.
Before reading the Kristof, I predicted:
He may touch on globalization and food commodification, but he’ll really place the blame on some local bad apple who will be taken out of global economic context.
This turned out to be too optimistic. He didn’t even bother touching on commodification. It turns out there’s “drought” and “Islamic militia”. Both evidently spontaneously generated, by magic, and have no socioeconomic context.
(I was mildly impressed that he didn’t blame the victims, implicitly accusing them of environmental depravity. That’s a common part of the corporate liberal argument.
The fact is that people naturally live in accord with the earth. It’s only when they’re forced into commerce and commodification that, out of desperation, they sometimes end up ravaging their environment. So this too is 100% the responsibility of the elites.)
Kristof is the biggest douche ever. Douchier than Thomas Friedman. Douchier even than David Brooks–and that’s saying something.
He’s a stealth douche, which is the very worst kind.
I’d be willing to pay off Kristof not to write ever again.
But then they’d just replace him with someone equally disgusting. Ultimately the New York Times is responsible.
Anyone who reads it is asking to be brainwashed.
when I think NY Times, I think Judith Miller and that f***ing war we’re still paying for….. really pisses me off, STILL!
Anyone seen this little bit from the Sunday NY Times (Mortgage – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/realestate/saving-on-mortgage-taxes-mortgages.html)
“Occasionally banks will not be able to locate an original loan and related documents. If the original lender still is operating, those documents can be recreated, said Stephen Chiaino, an associate in Mr. DiGiovanna’s law firm. The new lender probably will not accept the homeowner’s documents, unless they are certified copies, he added.”
Yeah, and when necessary, they just forge the borrowers signature. It’s routine. Then they certify that it’s a faithful copy of the original. Really all you need is faith. Courts don’t care, as long as it’s the lender and not the borrower who’s doing the forging.
If the original lender still is operating, those documents can be recreated, said Stephen Chiaino, an associate in Mr. DiGiovanna’s law firm.
And if the original lender isn’t still operating, we have other facilities for recreating those documents, Mr. Chiaino added.
Peter Boone and Simon Johnson:
The Greeks should cut public sector wages across the board and bring down other spending to make their budget deficit much smaller immediately. They and the IMF need to assume another recession in 2012 and no growth for five years.
LA DI DA! So the hoi polloi have no bread — then let them eat baklava! Here we have the classic IMF hair-shirt, bed-of-nails prescription: sweat the peasantry till they squeak. Adversity builds character, you know.
But no country in its right mind is going to sign up for a lost decade, just to keep French and German banksters whole. Long before that happens, cities will erupt in flames, as angered rioters smash everything in sight, cursing their buggery by Boone’s Peter and Simon’s Johnson [sorry, couldn’t resist a bit of bawdy ridicule of these fatuous clowns].
Just to ensure that their collective victims don’t latch on to any deviant notion of defaulting, the pitiless pair continue:
‘Do not try this at home!’ the bankster proxies grimly warn, wagging their sinewy, wrinkled index fingers for emphasis.
Well, B.S., dudes! Totally cut off from external financing in 2002, Argentina managed to discriminate between old debt which wasn’t being serviced and new local-currency issues which were — analogous to ‘debtor in possession’ financing during bankruptcy, if you will.
Greece can do the same, issuing new drachma-denominated debt. What can’t be auctioned can be purchased by the Greek central bank — an unhealthy swerve into depraved Bernankianism to be sure, but perhaps justifiable as a strictly temporary measure.
But this is only possible if Greece abandons the euro for a New Drachma currency. An attempted large-scale default while retaining the euro would be to no avail, leaving Greece without recourse to new financing. This is the implausible scenario invoked by Boone and Johnson. But Greece is hardly obliged to choose it.
If Greece has not yet started minting and printing a new money supply, it had better get cracking. Otherwise it shall surely be crucified on a cross of euros, as the Peterson Institute pair thoughtfully extend their writhing victim a vinegar-filled sponge clamped on the end of a frog-gigger, while piously urging Greece to save itself.
LA DI DA! So the hoi polloi have no bread — then let them eat baklava! Here we have the classic IMF hair-shirt, bed-of-nails prescription: sweat the peasantry till they squeak. Adversity builds character, you know.
Greek GDP is ~350 bn. Greek tax evasion is estimated to be ~30bn. Greece lied repeatedly to get into the Euro, and then continued to BS in order to say their deficits were within limits (which were less rigid than Greece thought they would be because France and Germany wanted to increase deficit spending). Greek GDP per capita is higher than New Zealand’s and comparable to that of France, Italy, and Britain (the country’s GDP is “small” only because of its low population). Why is NZ not unduly burdened at the moment?
The Greeks were out on the streets protesting having to issue receipts for sales (so that the government could tax them). Greek civil servants can retire in their 40s.
This hardly seems like a beaten down and highly downtrodden and mistreated peasant country, especially as they managed to be able to borrow money extremely cheaply up until recently thanks to the German’s indirect support (via the Euro). Instead of using that money to create lasting wealth, they spent it on consumption. Why is this their creditors’ fault?
Yes, the country will default. But to view them as a bunch of simpletons who were taken advantage of by the elite is completely backwards–they cooked their books and used German fiscal conservatism to borrow more than they ever expected to repay and to subsidize their high standard of living. They, in fact, took advantage of their creditors, not the other way around. “Austerity” in this case implies reverting to a condition where the country can no longer depend on foreign largesse. It’s hard to get outraged over that.
But this is only possible if Greece abandons the euro for a New Drachma currency. An attempted large-scale default while retaining the euro would be to no avail, leaving Greece without recourse to new financing.
Perhaps the Greek government should default and forego all future financing. There’s no God-given right to run up debt continuously. If Greece (or any country) can’t collect the taxes it needs to maintain a living standard and can’t be bothered to save for downturns, why shold anybody lend to it?
Incidentally, returning to the drachma also means that the civil service (no the elite) are going to get paid in a worthless currency and that any of the people in that country that tried to save are going to get wiped out. There’s no free lunch.
‘the civil service (no the elite) are going to get paid in a worth-less currency’
There — fixed it with a hyphen!
Now we’re on the same page.
Typing Monkey says, “Incidentally, returning to the drachma also means that the civil service (no the elite) are going to get paid in a worthless currency and that any of the people in that country that tried to save are going to get wiped out. There’s no free lunch.”
The Argentine bureaucrats are better off today than they would have been had Argentina not abandoned the dollar. So are most of the Argentine people.
Was there short-term pain? Of course. And the depositors who hadn’t withdrawn their dollars saw them converted to pesos overnight.
But Argentina has grown more than any other Latam country over the last decade, and this would not have been possible with the dollar as its currency.
The Argentine bureaucrats are better off today than they would have been had Argentina not abandoned the dollar
I’m not an economist and I am always happy to reconsider my views, but here are my thoughts:
1. Argentina’s dollarization was a problem primarily because Argentina’s economy is not in sync with the US. The economies of Greece and the rest of Europe are fairly in synch.
2. (maybe the biggest point) Argentina defaulted while the rest of the world was doing reasonably well. Argentina could therefore export to that world, and anyway there was a surplus of money and credit, which found its way back to Argentina. I think this is lacking this time around in Greece’s scenario (the whole problem is a lack of credit).
3. Argentina couldn’t keep its peg because during a crisis, there was a flight to the USD and away from emerging markets, forcing Argentina to pay ever greater amounts of interest to peg to an ever-increasingly inflated dollar.
Greece is not facing this, because the Euro is not shooting upwards (btw, long CHF/short Euro seems like a sort of braindead trade…). So i you’re Greek, just default, keep the Euro, and pay your bureaucrats in Euros. Inflation is contained because there’s no devalued currency (deflation will occur, but that might actually be a good thing). Your neighbors will still trade with you on a cash basis, because your currency is used in their country. You have a clean balance sheet which you can’t overly leverage (presumably people will not lend to you in great quantities), but that’s going to occur whether you use drachmas or Euros. It will also keep the government more honest, since they can’t rely on world subsidies anymore.
And the kicker is that all your neighbours, while annoyed, won’t berate you too much because the remaining PIIS countries will likely soon do the same thing.
The country that *really* gets screwed is Germany, and I guess they might just walk out of the currency union. But that’s not Greece’s problem (at least not yet).
All that, and not one mention of the very different geographical endowments (as in farms, mines, and natural resources) possessed by Argentina, as compared to Greece?
Well, I suppose that discussions of what economies actually produce, and from what materials, is otiose to this particular discussion of economic and financial management. But why is that?
Doesn’t the specific industrial and productive occupations which are available to and/or pursued by the nations under discussion have SOME effect on which specific economic policies would be to a given nation’s future benefit if instituted?
If not, why not?
Love that picture!
What is this?
Bambi Meets Tony the Tiger Week, fer chrissake?
What’s the matter? You would prefer “Bambi Meets Godzilla?”
Mutual debt forgiveness is a potential solution:
That has often been the saving grace of problems wholly concerned with human relations: for such have often been solved by a simple change of heart.
the article Does being ugly make you poor? Telegraph beginning with babes given preferential treatment where the cameras are around, like at tennis matches (although I couldn’t stomach reading the entire article), isn’t remotely off base.
More salient, making the same point, is the present Republican slate of potential presidential candidates who sound and look like air head GQ wannabes with powerful hairdryers, and the females the same; Vogue wannabes.
Its a setup. Election theatrics. It makes no difference who gets elected on that level. Waiting for Petraeus to come out from behind the CIA curtain, ow thoroughly behind the scenes working for the puppeteers is what I’m doing. Just imagine the puppet strings made of munitions and paper dollars.
Do they have a list of the highest ‘prettiness’ per square mile towns?
I bet they are all near the ocean and genuinely, though ill-gotten maybe, rich (in contrast to their articificial ‘prettiness’).
I found that Houston, around the JSC Space Center, had the prettiest women. But its a high price to pay for the heat, humidity and air pollution. Health and attractiveness have a high correlation so perhaps only the healthiest could stand Houston.
Rich on the Suskind book:
It confirms all my insights and suspicions; therefore, it’s totally brilliant. I expect Yves will feel the same way.
It confirms your suspicions but are you suspicious enough?
To me the most suspicious thing is that the book got the full cooperation of the White House. Since when does the White House cooperate fully on releasing information it doesn’t want released?
There is much more that you’re not being told and you’re not suspicious enough to wonder about.
I view your suspicion with suspicion.
Interesting…dwarf galaxies may prove giants of science and their dark matter theory wrong.
Do we need to know everything about nature?
Is it good that she should be naked in front of us?
How do we know some perverts won’t do some nasty things to her when she’s naked and defenseless?
Do we need to know everything about nature? MyLessThanPrimeBeef
The more the better as long as the info is acquired ethically.
I am disappointed that the funding for SETI was cut. The continuing silence was very instructive.
absence of evidence does not imply evidence of absence
To say that “all truth is simple” is to utter a complex lie.
Oughtn’t that be “provide”?
Re: Drug Deaths top Traffic Fatalities….
Lots about this is suspicious. People are abusing Rx drugs for anxiety and pain more than street drugs…why is that? I’m sure nobody will ask, but it would seem to me that the reasons are obvious: waaaay more social stress and anxiety over the past decade, the shredding of norms of behavior (starting at the top, which appears to want to turn our society into a Coliseum), economic stress that never seems to go away, etc. etc.
Yet I’m sure the “blame the victim” ideology will continue – there will be no call for treatment or answers.
Look for a “crime-control wave” to come to a City near you.
Adding to your point, a lack of proper healthcare as well. When you cannot afford to pay the outrageous entrance fee to get a prescription that will help you, you’ll turn to what you can readily get your hands on. Couple that with the stigma against mental illness and you’ve got a perfect storm. Think self medication.
Simon Johnson is just a neoliberal who believes in the system and thinks if he tweaks the math enough he can make kleptocracy work, or at least sell it to the rest of us. It’s interesting that while he lays out budget cuts in the public sector for Greece as a necessity (à la Pete Peterson) taxing the rich doesn’t rate a mention. And even if his prescriptions were adopted, all he can promise is a vague, and completely unreassuring, prediction that Greece’s private sector will “eventually” rebound.
As for the French article, it just seems to be finger pointing. Geithner tells the Europeans to increase their emergency fund and they tell him to enact a transaction tax for stocks. It’s all distraction to get us rubes to believe that they are addressing their problems when in fact they are blowing them off.
It’s interesting that while he lays out budget cuts in the public sector for Greece as a necessity (à la Pete Peterson) taxing the rich doesn’t rate a mention.
A default is an effective tax on the rich, as the poor are unlikely to be large holders of the state debt.
Actually, it effectively taxes the rich of other countries, which is even better from a Greek politician’s perspective, as they can’t vote you out of office.
A lot of the Greek debt I would assume is held by Greek and Northern banks and the ECB. Ultimately, it will be taxpayers who will bear the brunt of any default. This is not to say that some of this debt isn’t privately held but the extent of the bust up would depend on how they hedged their Greek bets.
Ordinary Greeks may not have the means to pull their savings from Greek banks and transfer them elsewhere. Rich Greeks can and to my knowledge have been doing this. So their holdings that they can move abroad will be protected in the event of a default or return to the drachma.
More importantly, their position is likely to be enhanced relative to ordinary Greeks. So if ordinary Greeks get slammed and wealthy Greeks get hit less. Relatively speaking rich Greek kleptocrats will come out of this stronger, at least that is I think their calculation. We have already seen this happen in this country after the meltdown in 2008. It is why I say kleptocrats don’t see crashes as things necessarily to be shunned.
You do know that Simon Johnson works at Peterson’s think tank, right?
Simon Johnson is often portrayed as an independent voice. So yes, I agree the Peterson connection needs to be emphasized and that was what I thought I was doing.
It’s all distraction to get us rubes to believe that they are addressing their problems when in fact they are blowing them off.
Perhaps I’m confusing articles from Le Monde but I don’t believe it was their problems they were blowing off, but Geithner. :)
Reading through the comments after the articles, he is no more popular over there than he is here. Ils le detestent!
Haha, this is absolutely brilliant. Europe has finally got its own “let them eat cake” politicians, only with a twist:
She later released a statement saying “If people felt offended, I am sorry.” (While refusing to retract the statement itself.)
It’s the deployment of anti-anti-semitism where there was no anti-semitism to begin with–the invoking of inapplicable historical precedents in an attempt to silence critics.
It sounds so ludicrous to any reasonable person’s ears that for her it is like pissing into the wind.
I think it was HDTV that has created the need for everyone on TV to be beautiful nowadays. HDTV has only been around since the late 90’s and the author notes that the rise in ‘beauty’ has only happened in the last 10-15 years.
HDTV allows you to see every flaw. I know that I was surprised out how bad-looking some of the TV news and sportscasters were when HDTV first came out.
I agree that you see less and less homely looking people on TV nowadays and I’m fairly certain that it is due to the rise of HD.
People still watch T.V.?
Re: Police block ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters
Guess the pigs in the C-suite are too craven to accept being confronted.
“The theft of the American pension”
MarketWatch: Why China would love ‘President Rick Perry’:
Interesting take. Goes along with something I read somewhere else (how’s that for sourcing?) which had Bush’s Presidency accelerating China’s rise to the top by twenty years.
the whole nonsense that any of the Rich will pay. Much if Anything. some Rich will lose a bit here and there with any fall. it is the taxpayers who always foot the bill for the Rich and their “Games”. The taxpayers always pay the bills. the Rich don’t pay taxes, only the “Little People” pay taxes. lol The Rich get that way(Rich) by stealing. lol. nothing else really changes.
Used to be Rich got rich off the labor of others, now the Rich just steal it. From everyone, and not just through the labor of others. nowadays, everyone’s fair game.
there really is a free lunch, but it’s only for the Rich.