Links 9/25/11

‘First Irish case’ of death by spontaneous combustion BBC

Arkansas police want to talk to man about toe sucking Reuters (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). Is Reuters experimenting with the HuffPo strategy?

New Mac OS X Trojan Imuler Hides Inside Malicious PDF ThreatPost :-(

Ketchup killing proves sauce of fun for Brazilian town Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Creepy-crawlies may help heal diabetes wounds Reuters (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). Remember that scene in Gladiator?

Police recordings key part of Calif. beating case Associated Press. Buzz Potamkin: “Cop records himself murdering homeless man. Chilling.”

Noyer Sees ‘Absolutely No Reason’ to Use 2008 Backstop for French Banks Bloomberg. Per reader George P: “Note the powerful ‘denial'”

Banking Systems Most Exposed to PIIGS Nations – 3,2 trillion USD Asymptotix (hat tip Richard Smith)

Europe Seeks to Ratchet Up Effort on Debt New York Times

Geithner Says New Democracies Need ‘Inclusive’ Economies Bloomberg (hat tip reader chogra). Lordie.

VIDEO: FBI raids CA corporate, taxpayer-funded airport offices. “Is this the House GOP’s Solyndra?” Political Carnival (hat tip reader 1SK)

Small Donors Are Slow to Return to the Obama Fold New York Times. Quelle surprise! But Obama’s 2008 bid was much less dependent on small donors than his PR would lead you to believe.

Left vs. White House over mortgage deal Politico (hat tip Peter W). The myth of the mortgage settlement deal lives on. And Politico sells the spin that this would be an Obama talking point with average Americans, as opposed to a sop to the banks

We The People is Live! WhiteHouse (hat tip reader furzy mouse). Obama, the man who has done more to sell out the middle class than any president in modern memory, pretends he is interested in your opinion. I’m not sure whether to be deeply offended or laugh.

How the Modern GOP Is Like a Death Cult Alternet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Speculators Get a Break in New Rule Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

In Company Town, Cuts but No Layoffs New York Times

Commodity money: It’s back! (and it sucks) David Andolfatto (hat tip Rob Parenteau)

Why Small Businesses Aren’t Innovative Slate (hat tip reader Carol B)

Antidote du jour. I assume this did not end badly:

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  1. Skippy

    I need a song.

    Gene Kelly vs Garbage vs Richard Cheese

    Skippy…more Garbage…Push It…remember survival is about observing and understanding ones soundings.

    From comments

    It’s a dichotomy game:

    1. Son and daughter riding mom and dad (power relation inverted)

    2. Two Japanese people bowing, then wrestling (solemnity / loss of control)

    3. Female navy officer attempting to suck her toe (structure & discipline / childish behaviour)

    4. Woman coming out of a fish tank (womb / outside world)

    5. Little girl on a table rounded by a SWAT team (inoccence / opression)

    Too simplist? I can’t help it! As an ex left-wing-Hegelian I still see antagonisms everywhere :)

    1. Kathleen4


      Perhaps you should stop having any 1990’s Freudian infantile fantasies of overcoming God’s commandment to Honor Thy Father and Mother and Protector’s of Thy Nation’s Creed. Quit the psychoanalysis is my advice. Good choice of music though. I personnally would have chosen as an antidote for your miserable rain…

      1. Skippy

        As a human being I find the only overcoming I need to do, is with armchair ideologists and those that would seek to enforce it upon me. Critical thinking or replete.

        Skippy…I do not believe in any thing, theory is good enough, till the facts come in…methinks.

  2. Richard Kline

    Regarding the California police recordings, the officer in question beat a confused, non-resistant schizophrenic man to death, who he knew from prior contact. He likely didn’t mean to kill him, but then again he shot him four times with a taser and essentially beat his face in with the taser-unit. While his partner more or less assisted and twenty or so cops didn’t see it as their job to get in the way. Much of this was likely done because the officer so charged knew his chief would back him all the way and stuff investigation—which that chief did until the FBI started moving in and the chief resigned/was fired—creating a climate of impunity. The recordings are prima facie chargeable, and this particular bad cop is going to go away for a long time with Bubba and Loco for his new friends. The deceased’s father was a cop and he just kept pushing until prosecutors finally filed. This is what real police brutality looks like; not spraying protestors—which the cops are more or less hired to do—but executing undesirables under color of authority.

    I would support having all cops wired for recording at all times. If their conduct is in line, they have nothing to fear and everything for it as the recordings would back up their evidence. As for the ones rotten above the neck, ‘speak a little louder, into the microphone, please.’

    1. alex

      “This is what real police brutality looks like; not spraying protestors—which the cops are more or less hired to do—but executing undesirables under color of authority.”

      While the murder is a vastly more serious case of police brutality, I wouldn’t lightly dismiss pepper spraying protesters. It’s not so much about police brutality per se as the suppression of dissent – exactly the sort of dissent that our First Amendment is meant to protect.

      1. citalopram

        Neither would I. Anyone who as ever been tear gassed (myself included) will testify to the brutality of the burning that results after the fact.

  3. Richard Kline

    Canid: “I can eat you, or you can become my slave for life providing me with free meals, lodging, and medical. Time’s up: what’s your answer?”

    1. CaitlinO

      Agreed. Given the small ears and white arches over his eyes, I’d vote Malamute. Lovely dogs – intelligent and loyal. We had one when I was little.

      1. rjs

        ive had a malmute as well; it also could be a husky, or a cross…

        other topic; tried the white house site but after i logged in kept getting a 404 on their site…

        i was going to petition that obama start his next speech with “i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party”

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Wyatt had previously pretended to be a podiatrist in order to fondle and suck a Conway [Ark.] woman’s toes at a clothing store.’

    Well, there’s his mistake right there! A podiatrist needs a degree and a state license … whereas ‘shoe store clerk’ is an avocation without entry barriers. And the licensing requirements for a pedicure salon are fairly minimal, one would think.

    If Arkansas were to copy Georgia Works [allowing workers to try out an existing position, unpaid, while continuing to receive unemployment benefits], the highly-motivated Wyatt would be only too happy to volunteer.

    Hell, I might sign up for an internship myself at the Jimmy Choo store, in the ‘strappy sandals’ section!

  5. craazyman

    It just occurred to me what happens with these cases of spontaneous human combustion.

    I’ve heard of these and figured it was some sort of attack by murderous multi-dimensional spirit energies.

    But now I have another theory. I bet these are folks who were so drunk that the alcohol fumes in their lungs caught fire, like lighting up a cognac shot, and it went from there. That might explain why they’re always near a fireplace.

    1. skippy

      The wick effect theory essentially says that a person is burned through his/her own fats after being ignited, accidentally or otherwise. The clothed human body acts like an “inside-out” candle, with the fuel source (human fat) inside and the wick (the clothing of the victim) outside. Hence there is a continuous supply of fuel in the form of melting fat seeping into the victim’s clothing. Fat contains a large amount of energy due to the presence of long hydrocarbon chains.[1]

      Skippy…there is a good video doco on this. They used pig carcases to replicate the human body, alas its bed time for skippys. Good hunting if you seek.

    1. John M

      That article gives me the idea that we really could afford to elect one of the crazy Republicans, and it might even work out better than reelecting Obama. Would the actual powers that be really allow President Bachmann to do all sorts of crazy things?

      Actually, come to think of it, I’m trying to recall what kind of seriously crazy thing she has advocated doing, or what kind of policy might follow from the crazy things she’s said.

      1. bmeisen

        You’re on to something – it took a dem to crush the dems, it’ll take a rep to crush the reps. Bachmann would be horrible, cement shoes on an overboard GOP. Unlike Obama, a true softy who uses the Dems without destroying them, Bachmann would take the reps down where they’d never come back. She’d take the gov down too, and the economy, and the country by refusing to sign a debt ceiling extension or by vetoing budgets and shutting the gov down.

        1. Procopius

          Yeah, I’ve thought we aren’t going to solve these problems until enough people are suffering enough and desperate enough to actually scare the PTB. That’s why I’m thinking maybe voting for a rep is the best thing to do.

  6. financial matters

    I don’t think ETF’s by themselves are the problem. They just let small investors engage in trading variations. All trading is speculation to some degree. The problem comes when big traders are allowed to dominate the market by collusion and use of inside information. I think Bill Nelson hits it on the head here, there’s no reason a single trader should dominate a market, esp leveraged up and on an unregulated exchange.

    Speculators Get a Break in New Rule Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

    “”a bipartisan report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 2009 concluded that there was “significant and persuasive evidence” that skyrocketing wheat prices reflected high levels of speculation in that market.

    At the center of the debate are rules that would place a cap on how many financial contracts traders can accumulate for any given commodity. The idea is to prevent a small group from dominating an entire market.

    Hedging has gotten more expensive, and those higher costs have been passed on to consumers. Dodd-Frank determined that position limits were a solution to excessive speculation. “”

  7. Aquifer

    Seems to me it’s about time the medical field made leeches respectable …

    I remember in the 70’s, during training days, a poor fellow, a street person i think, came into the ER – hair neatly combed over the front half of his head – in the back there was a roughly half dollar sized hole in his scalp, down to bone, crawling with maggots. The wound was quite clean, well debrided. i remember it well, both because of our initial reaction (“yuck”) but also because of the condition of the wound …

    Mother Nature is considerably more efficient, and often tidier than Western “science” …..

    1. Aquifer

      oops, my opening sentence was supposed to read “make maggots respectable ..” of course the same is true for leeches, but they have been used to help evacuate hematomas in areas where it would be nice to avoid incisions …

      I suspect the biggest barrier is overcoming the knee jerk “no way are you putting those things on ME!” reaction …

      1. Binky the perspicacious bear

        Leeches are important in plastic surgery and digit/limb reattachment surgeries. Leeches inject saliva that contains anti-coagulants and analgesics into the wounded areas and extract pooled blood that would otherwise form into fibrin reinforced clasts, scabs that would prevent circulation. Also good for major contusions with extensive pooling of blood under the skin (big bruises).

        1. Procopius

          You know, I remember reading when I was a kid that maybe up to the 1930s or so you could buy leeches at a decent-sized drug store. They were used to cure black eyes because beef steak was too expensive. They must have been used for things other than black eyes, too, because surely that wasn’t a big enough market to support a sustainable supply. Drug stores when I was a kid sold all kinds of fun stuff — chemistry lab type glassware, for example.

    2. ted

      My mother, still alive, was a nurse in London during the Battle of Britain. She says maggots were a common treatment for gangrenous and otherwise nasty wartime wounds. She says they effectively cleaned up infected wounds and hastened healing. they would sometimes erect screens so that the patient could not see the maggots in his wound. This was an era before availability of many antibiotics – she says sulfa drugs were the most effective antibiotics at the time.

  8. Jim Haygood

    John Mauldin writes about Benny Bubbles’ merciless War on Seniors:

    Low rates might be good for the government and for those looking for mortgages, but they threaten to wreak havoc on pension plans, as the bond portfolios on which they are built are paying less and less, and that means they are becoming more and more underfunded, and stocks are not helping. The problem pension fund trustees have is that lower yields require them to raise their assumption for future liabilities, which must be discounted at a lower rate. Lower bond yields, like falling share prices, increase [pension] funding gaps.

    Not to mention what low rates do to people who are trying to live off their savings. How can you survive on 1% yields from a small income portfolio? That means you start reaching for yield in places that are not as safe or liquid, which is precisely what we do NOT want our retirees to be doing. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    An unintended consequence of this Fed policy is that retirees are being put at serious risk. And it is an important consequence.

    One has to go out beyond 5 years to get more than a 1% yield. Who is buying this stuff? Any pension plan doing so is locking in low returns and underfunding for that period. This is just a disaster in the making in the pension and insurance world. If you couple that with a recession, a Muddle Through Economy, and a secular bear market, it is a prescription for a pension-funding train wreck of epic proportions.

    Mauldin addresses the impact of low yields on private sector pensions. But his comments apply equally to government pension schemes.

    If there’s a weakness in Mauldin’s well-articulated thesis, it’s emphasizing where we’ve been, rather than where we’re going.

    Treasury yields have been abnormally depressed for a decade, meaning that Treasury prices are at record highs. An old saying holds that ‘they don’t ring a bell at the top.’ But sometimes they do. Benny Bubbles’ Operation Twist strikes me as a massive buying of the top tick of a 30-year secular bond bull market, by the world’s most clueless non-market trader.

    Much as Benny’s predecessor Alan Greensmarm wrung his hands in 2000 over a forecasted shortage of Treasury debt [the idiot thought fiscal surpluses would continue forever], it’s likely that Mauldin’s near panic over microscopic yields will be a problem that we’ll remember nostalgically a decade hence, as inflation and yields rocket skyward on the back of grand-scale central bank monetization.

    In all likelihood, with Benny Bubbles buying, Treasuries are the Short of the Century.

  9. BDBlue

    I’d say laugh at the White House. I really think pointing and laughing and its related tactic of public shaming are underrated. Obama appears to have a think skin (and like GWB shows no real tendency towards self-depreciation), so laughing at him may be much more effective than getting angry, which will only fuel his own sense that he’s doing the right thing since the right thing for him seems to be defined by making certain groups of people angry with him.

  10. justanotherobserver

    Re: maggots

    I saw something about this on public television probably 4 or 5 years ago in addition to using leaches to help healing during re-attachment of fingers.

    As usual the “news” isn’t.

  11. John

    FBI raids airport offices. “Is this the House GOP’s Solyndra?” No chance of this, at least publicly. Consider the summer of 2001. Did Scarborough/Klausutis become the Republicans’ Condit/Levy?

    “Police recordings key part of Calif. beating case”: An important fact of this beating and killing case is that the cop wasn’t concerned about committing the crime while wired for recording. He wasn’t concerned about being caught.

    Many cases provide opportunity to observe the context in which the crime is committed. Do they care about being observed, being caught, being prevented? The Rodney King beating and the 9/11 attacks both exhibit blatant lack of concern about being observed, caught, stopped, and so forth.

    1. Maximilien

      Re: Solyndra

      $535 million loaned, $8 million left at bankruptcy. Was this an oversight on management’s part or a perverse expression of gratitude?

      1. John

        Can’t say whether it’s oversight or gratitude.

        What were the numbers for the airport? I don’t recall now, but I’ll go further. Many billions, even trillions, went into the invasion of Iraq and to line the pockets of Halliburton and the other profiteers.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    For retirees, a decade is long time into the future, as in, ‘in the long run, we’ll all be dead.’

    The only thing they should rightly stare at is that 0.2% yield, not the coming inflation 10 years later…if they can make it that long without starving to death.

    And if you are retired and have a portfolio of 90% cash and 10% stock, for example, one day’s loss in the market could take up 10 or 15 years to recoup (2% plus down days have been quite frequent lately).

    That’s scary.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘If you are retired and have a portfolio of 90% cash and 10% stock, for example, one day’s loss in the market could take up 10 or 15 years to recoup (2% plus down days have been quite frequent lately).’

        Quite so. Thirty years ago, the late Harry Browne advocated a Permanent Portfolio consisting of equal allocations to T-bills, T-bonds, stocks and gold. With two minor modifications, here is its track record for 1972-2008: 9.7% compounded annual return; two single-digit losing years.

        Again with some modifications to Harry Browne’s original concept, this mix is available as an ETF which has returned 7.04% annually since inception in 1982, with lower risk than stocks:

        Even a quite risk-averse retiree could hold 50% cash and 50% PRPFX, with a very good expectation of recovering from the occasional dips.

    1. Maximilien

      Investing Made Easy (or, Riding the Storm Out): Just do the OPPOSITE of what Bernanke wants you to do. To wit:

      1. He wants you to spend. Ergo, you should save, save, save.
      2. He wants you to chase yield. Don’t. Preserve your capital.
      3. He wants you to invest in his bubbles, be they stocks, bonds, or commodities. Don’t. Stay in cash, if you’re conservative. If you’re gutsy, short Ben’s bubbles.

      And then sit back and prepare for a long, slow, rough descent. Even Ben, as incompetent and corrupt as he is, can’t tank the economy overnight. It’s probably gonna take him a while.

  13. Susan the other

    One day our lying and lied to president will be under such stress that when he stands up to speak he will not notice the strain in his own face muscles. Nor will we. We won’t have time. He will simply faint and fall to his knees. The Politico article: Left v White House… It was nice to learn that there is an organization 700,000 strong that believes in change enough to sign their name to some petition – the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Really the 2008 election was the referendum that should have established this in our “democracy.” But apparently not. We need to do petitions and referendums ad infinitum that get ignored ad infinitum. We do not live in a democracy. We live in a fuckoffracy. There is no way in hell that anyone wants to grant the fucking banks amnesty.

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