Links 9/2/11

The Plane Truth: Boarding by Rows Is the Worst Possible Way, Says Physicist Discovery (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Superbugs Predate Wonder Drugs ScienceNow (hat tip reader Valissa)

U.S. newborn death rate tied with Qatar MSNBC (hat tip reader May S)

Firefighter Cancer Risk Seen From WTC Bloomberg

The Black Hole of 9/11 Foreign Policy (hat tip reader Paul S)

1 in 25 Business Leaders May Be Psychpaths Guardian (hat tip Philip Pilkington)

The Seneca Effect: Why Decline Is Faster Than Growth Oil Drum (hat tip reader Carol). Note that I’m not saying I agree with this prognosis, but I expect you’ll hear the “Seneca Effect” debated.

Global manufacturing slows sharply Financial Times

Big Government Picks a Fight With The eXiled MediaBistro

Hope and despair at a job fair Los Angeles Times (hat tip Joe Costello)

Fed governor urges more help for homeowners Financial Times. Note the problems cited are ones already leaked as being addressed by an expected new Obama program. In other words, this speech is Administration PR.

So arrogant and stupid they might bring us all down: Darling’s verdict on Britain’s bankers Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Mortgage Reality Distortion Field Robert Cringley (hat tip reader kurt h)

Fed Up With Bank Buybacks? Wall Street Journal (hat tip Joe Costello)

3 Questions on Financial Stability Simon Johnson, New York Times

Tell the Fed to fire Kathryn Wylde Credo. Please sign the petition!

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader James B). This is a Formosan Magpie:

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  1. attempter

    However fun it sounds, if Ames lets counterattacking Breitbart distract him from counterattacking Koch, then the Koches will have achieved their goal here.

    1. ambrit

      I’m wondering if the Kochs have any goals at all. A lot of their behaviour fits the definition of ‘Games Playing.’ I’d really be interested to find out if any of them, or perhaps their semi-mythical Dad, had anything to do with John Von Neumann in the ‘good old days.’

  2. ambrit

    I’ve just stopped laughing at that “I, Cringley” post. A clear elucidation of the Kafkaesque nature of the mortgage system. I’m really interested now to see what he suggests to clear up this mess. My money’s on societal disruption and semi-collapse. Maybe attempters relocalization scheme has a chance after all, just by being the ‘last man standing.’

    1. bmeisen

      Also enjoyed the Cringely piece. It illuminates an notable issue, namely that the banks could be making a lot of money off the bubble still, and if they are then so is Band of America.

      If 30 million is about 20% of all American mortgages then there are about 150 million mortgages out there. I had the number pegged at 100 million mortgages on about 65 million homes.

      1. aet

        Do the banks make any money at all from funding productive activities anymore?

        Or have they decided that, compared to the returns on those ghost mortgages described by Cringley, that to do so would be “too risky”?

        1. aet

          I see now why the so-called “Tea Party” and Rick Santelli (or whoever that braying CME trader was who made that inelegant rant) were SO outraged by any hint of legislating an end to the ghost mortgage gravy train -“mandated mortgage mods are an attack upon freedom!!” – Yeah, right….whose freedom? The freedom of the banks to continue overcharge their clients and customers, so as to rob those same customers of both their savings and of the returns those savings ought to be earning?

          Re-regulate interest rates, and teach children that only reasonable profits on productive activities are morally permissible.

  3. ambrit

    I just got it! The Kathryn Wylde Credo! Obviously one of the core beliefs of the Church of Moloch. It gives a whole new meaning to having a “Fire In Your Belly!”

  4. timotheus

    What ever happened to the old-fashioned mailing address to write them a letter? I am not persuaded of the impact of these “click-here” campaigns.

    1. lambert strether

      Online petitions have low impact because it takes no effort to click. The real purpose of online petitions is to collect the email addresses and then monetize the list. This business model derives from the famous “Dean bat” and was perfected by creative class “progressive” Chris Bowers, once of Open Left and now at Kos.

      If you really want to have impact, get a letter to the editor published in your local paper. That takes work, and staffers read them. That’s one way the single payer movement remained viable, after Bowers et al. tried to destroy it, on behalf of their funders, via an online disinformation campaign for the so-called public option.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Great suggestion. Could not agree more. Talk to friends and think through your argument, trying to be as civil and persuasive as possible, but also write the editorial from the heart. And not just newspapers, but any local forum through which you can reach people who know (or know of) you.

      2. decora

        are you fucking kidding? the last thing you want to do is let the local ‘business leaders’ know what you really think. they will put you on the blacklist faster than you can say ’99er’

    2. Moopheus

      Yes, individual letters have more impact than petitions, especially email and online petitions. And real letters have more impact than email.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More impact – delivery a hand written letter in person.

        Even more impact – attend and speak up in townhall meetings.

        Even more impact – give a speech before a joint session of Congress, which brings up a reminder: Why don’t we have a plumber or a barber, you know, ordinary working people, as the keynote speaker at the opening day of each Congress?

  5. LeeAnne

    Why fire Kathryn Wylde? She’s the poster child for so-called representative of the public interest -just another traitor.

    She’s worth keeping around for a bit longer for Counter- Propaganda purposes.

  6. Black Smith

    I want to share:

    Late Night FDL: LAPD Sends Out Cops over “Incendiary” Painting

    “Then a pair of Los Angeles Police Department patrol officers rolled up on Schaefer, who teaches at Pasadena Art Center and has exhibited throughout the city, as he was putting the finishing touches on his work which showed the Chase building with its roof aflame. Seems “someone” had glimpsed the bearded artist at work and felt “threatened.””

    He’d better get cracking on that BoA painting next.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Thirty-year Treasury yields reached a 52-week low of 3.35% today:

    That’s around the level of their 2009 yield low as well.

    Evidently Treasuries are anticipating a fresh Federal Reserve initiative to buy the long end of the curve, forcing down long rates to even more pathological, miniscule yields.

    Another fine example of futility: doing what didn’t work before, but on a larger and more reckless scale. When folks can’t earn an honest interest income, they go to speculating. Welcome to Ben’s casino … but remember that the house and the dealers always win!

    1. Jim

      Speculating into commodities, which will hurt the middle-class family, as it has seen stagnant wages for over a decade.

  8. Doug Terpstra

    From “Hope and Despair at a Job Fair”:

    The job fair felt like a combination church revival and political summit . . .

    It was, one woman told me later, “like going back to the old days,” pre-Barack Obama; “before black politicians got complacent and forgot they’re the ones that represent us.”

    The president who campaigned on hope is presiding instead over hopelessness. And doing little, it seems even to his fans these days, to rectify the economic malaise.

    After days of pre-scripted, distracting drama over scheduling (never mind new Wiki-revelations about US war atrocities*), Obama’s jobs speech is sadly predictable: lofty rhetoric about token infrastructure and alt energy programs, mourning in America,—almost certainly combined with more corporate tax breaks and rigged-trade SHAFTA contracts on America. And, in the ensuing theater, which do you suppose will survive the “negotiation/capitulation” act? Forget the banana republic; welcome to Africa.

    *See link by Susan the Other above. A question for pundit analysts otherwise engaged in the scheduling kerfuffle. Why handcuff babies before shooting them in the back of the head? This gets zero MSM coverage always, and the predictable blowback will mystify Americans (“why do they hate us?”), offering the perfect pretext for ever more war/surveillance profiteering.

    1. Susan the other

      Hi Doug, that wasn’t me. It was just Susan. She’s good. That’s why I became Susan the other. I agree with her.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Seneca Effect. Yeah, that would be the fashion phrase for a while, I suppose.

    Similar, but not quite the same, I have thought about the Doppler Success before – a Doppler Success gets louder and louder as it comes closer and closer towards you and as the Doppler Success is leaving you, it goes away ever more quitely that you don’t even notice it when it is gone completely.

    A person, a corporation or a country can experience the Doppler Success.

    Remember you read it here first.

  10. Kris

    Only 1 in 25?! In my experience the real number is closer to 1 in 8.

    “The survey suggests psychopaths are actually poor managerial performers but are adept at climbing the corporate ladder because they can cover up their weaknesses by subtly charming superiors and subordinates.”

    Perfect description. And it seems to describe the majority of our political leaders.

  11. rd

    Typical scientist approach to the boarding process. It sounds nice in theory.

    The reality is that the airlines let first class and super-elite passengers board first. They are usually at the front of the plane.

    Then they board the semi-elite passengers. They are a bit more randomly seated but tend to be at the front of the plane.

    Then they board people seated at the back of the plane who can’t get there because most of the previous passengers boarded are at the front of the plane still getting situated while the flight attendant is also at the front of the place serving drinks.

    At the very end, they board the few remaining people who sit at the front of the plane.

    Total boarding chaos through the whole process. Until the airlines want to eliminate the process of seating their preferred customers first, nothing will change.

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