Links 1/10/12

Rhinos’ feet tested to see how they support heavy loads BBC

There Are 5,000 Janitors in the U.S. with PhDs Gawker (hat tip Lambert). My uncle the lobsterman has a PhD. But that doesn’t count since he got it when he was 74, and then in lobstering (marine biology, and his dissertation was on lobsters).

The Very Real Danger of Genetically Modified Foods Atlantic (hat tip Lambert). Monsanto is the most evil company, despite the intense competition.

Law Blog Fireside: The Personal Injury Lawyer in the Mountain Dew Mouse Case Wall Street Journal

The history of cancer Tehelka (hat tip reader May S)

Slow Growth In Health Spending And Utilization Continues Health Affairs (hat tip Lambert). Quelle surprise! Broke people can’t spend much on medical care.

German Yields South of Zero Wall Street Journal

UniCredit’s Weak Share Offering Is Poor Omen in Europe New York Times

Picasso painting stolen in Greece during art heist Christian Science Monitor. Were they really stolen, or liberated to protect them from being hocked like the Parthenon?

Poll: Readers believe the latest deal in Europe will not solve the debt crisis Ed Harrison

Afghanistan: ‘Slave-like’ conditions at Swedish army base revealed World Star (hat tip reader May S)

Iran sentences American to death in spy case CNN

Geithner Seeks China’s Support on Iran Bloomberg. WTF? This would traditionally be a State Department issue. And it’s not as if the US and China have much common ground on this issue.

Nigeria’s oil disasters are met by silence Michael Keating, Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

China Import Growth Slumps, Deepens Global Risks Bloomberg

Emerging markets’ golden age is at an end Peter Tasker, Financial Times

Blow to Obama after chief of staff quits Financial Times. And before you get too excited at Jamie Dimon’s loss, remember: Jack Lew: Obama’s OMB Pick Oversaw Citigroup Unit That Shorted Housing Market Huffington Post.

US consumer borrowing jumps in November Financial Times

Wall Street Weighs Pay Limits for Junior Bankers Bloomberg. The way you’ll know a real sea change is underway is when townhouses that were reassembled from multi unit rentals are broken up again into apartments.

Promises that proved ultimately empty John Gapper, Financial Times

Bank of America building facing foreclosure MSNMoney (hat tip Max Gardner)

More Firms Enjoy Tax-Free Status Wall Street Journal

The Fed on Mortgage Servicing Adam Levitin. On the speech by Sarah Bloom Raksin, which while encouraging, looks like an outlier at the Fed.

Occupy is the 2011 word of the year American Dialect Society (hat tip Lambert)

Antidote du jour:

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  1. hondje

    “Remarkably dry and warm winter due to record extreme jet stream configuration”

    I live in Southern Colorado, and my lilacs are already budding, and I saw a small black bear in my yard yesterday morning (I couldn’t get a clear picture with my cell phone) when she shouldn’t have been. wtf?

    But, it hasn’t been unusual according to my link. Could it just be because of the strong chinook randomly coming up? Plus ‘usually’ when you get to 9000 ft or so, you can use the lower part of aspen trees to tell how hungry the critters are because they’ll eat the bark (also a fun way to tell snowpack levels) … more damage means hungrier and / or population surge. This year the critters are living fat because not a tree was munched, and then when I get around 8k ft the Ponderosa sap is already running. Wtf part 2? Fun fact, Ponderosas smell like vanilla from late May until fall. I’m going to go on a tree-whiffing expedition this spring and see if they perk up early.

    1. aet

      Ooooh that early-budding lilac may be bad and tragic news, for I once lost a nice lilac bush after it too had commenced to bud during a late January warm spell a few years back – and it did not survive the subsequent, and inevitable, cold snaps, the poor thing.

      I hope that your lilacs do not end up the same way as mine!
      Perhaps you could wrap it in burlap or similar if the weather threatens to go cold on you again.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Dr. B may indeed be a quack, but you clearly don’t know what you are talking about re clinical trials. There are real MDs with pretty well validated “experimental” treatments that can’t begin to get funding for clinical trials because their protocol involves a generic drug. No patent, no big money for Big Pharma, no $ for clinical trials. Tom Brown (not just board certified but formerly on the national board for rheumatology) who developed a treatment for so called autoimmune diseases (which he thinks are really due to a pathogen no one tests for, mycocides, normal labs can test only for a specific pulmonary mycocide when this is an entire class of pathogen). The treatment involved tetracycline, one of the oldest and least pernicious antibiotics. Despite successful small scale trials, he couldn’t begin to get funding together for clinical trials AND the orthodoxy went after him.

        My father who had an autoimmune disease in an advanced stage when he died was deterred by his rheumatologist from trying the Brown protocol. He lost over six months finding a way to get his blood tested for mycocides (only a few labs in the US do it and it is remarkably difficult to get your own blood transported across state lines for testing). The out of state doctor (a retired friend) who helping him get the test done called him with the results before his death” “Your blood is swimming in mycocides.”

        1. Dave of Maryland

          If you want cancer cures, go to the old texts. The Smith Family Physician, of 1871, if memory serves. An excellent one volume reference with none of the modern gibberish.

          Also, A Healer’s Herbal, by Brother Aloysius, a Dutch monk writing c. 1900. Writing what he knew and practiced. (Weiser, 1998, out of print but available used) Specific cures for cancer, stuff you’ve never heard of. The first of them uses oak bark, sage, wormwood, tormentil and horsetail. Twenty-two more cancer formulas follow.

          There are even older medieval sources with some astounding cures. Modern drugs and surgery are the last things you should try. Watch the TV show House. Watch carefully at the end, the list of credits for machine makers. The show is an hour long commercial.

          1. Ed

            Wait, so because House, a fictional television show, is a vehicle for advertisements from medical manufacturers; therefore REAL doctors using surgery, chemical treatments, and other methods are false? That makes little sense.

            “Specific cures for cancer, stuff you’ve never heard of. The first of them uses oak bark, sage, wormwood, tormentil and horsetail. Twenty-two more cancer formulas follow.” I don’t understand this reasoning at all. What makes these treatments effective? The fact that they’re specific? (Are you implying that surgery is not a specific remedy?) That they’re ‘natural’ in some way, because they are found in nature? This just sounds ridiculous. Treatments are effective because they’re *effective*, not because they were once written in books or made up of items found on the back of a horse. And the way to determine the effectiveness of a treatment is to study it in a scientific way.

            Just because a book written a long time ago advocates a treatment, doesn’t make it right. If that were the case, I could cite a number of blood-letting, or leech therapies, or other ridiculous nonsense written a long time ago.

          2. craazyman

            Yes Dave there’s some weird juju going on that we know nothing about, or not that much anyway.

            I read about a dude with a split personality. One was diabetic, the other not. When he was one personality, he tested for diabetes in his blood. When he was the other, his blood tested negative. I mean really. I heard from a mainstream doc once that when he was a resident in the pysche ward a homeless drunk dude would come in from time to time, in a big mess, but he’d entertain the ER staff by projecting pictures on polaroid film with his mind. True story.

            Some of Edgar Cayce’s cures were weird — rubbing motor oil in the hair, rabbits fur, I mean God KNows what the hell that was all about, but they worked.

            I don’t believe everthing I read, but I read enough I do believe to know there’s realms of reality we hardly even comprehend, that weigh on us daily and we have no language or conceptual understanding that describes them, except in the most metaphorical and tentative ways.

            The curing by laying on of hands and bioenergetic therapies also can create miracle cures, but not always. It occurred to me that’s why they used to paint the saints and other angels with golden halos and hands held palm forward. It’s a way of illustrating the power of their energetic healing field. It’s a way of saying, this person had the power, they could channel the power through them and project it.

        2. rcyran

          Re – Burzynski

          Agree, it is far too difficult to get funding for therapies that don’t have patent protection. But that’s no explanation for why no one has been able to replicate his results and why the doc isn’t publishing (and instead just collecting money from desperate patients).

          Or take the offical line. This warning letter from the FDA strongly suggests Burzynski’s research methods are lacking. The language is rather dry because it’s a regulatory document, but allowing tests to be performed on people before requested tox screens on animals and not getting proper informed consent is really bad.

        3. Anonymous Jones

          I can’t find anything on mycocides in the blood. Google returns antifungal cream. Can you point me to any literature on this? I’m very interested in investigating this for a friend. Thanks.

          1. ginnie nyc

            Try looking under (phospho)lipoglycans, or mycobacterial lipoglycans – mycocides in immunology. Mycoplasmas are a type.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            The title sucks, but here is the book:


            And to the commentor above, myoplasmas do exist and can be found in blood tests. By contrast, there is no medical research supporting the “autoimmune disease” designation, it’s made up from whole cloth to justify the fact that certain drugs can suppress symptoms for 2-3 years, typically.

        4. nolachief


          I’m an engineer, not a doctor. I made no claims about knowing anything about clinical trials, but I try to be faithful to evidence. I was simply trying to rebut the notion that Burzynski himself is anything but a quack by providing examples of the credible evidence that exists against him.

          I have no doubt that there are many lone voices such as your Dr. Brown crying in the profit-driven wasteland that is modern medicine. Humanity has a particular talent for ignoring evidence when profit is involved, regardless of whether the field in question is medicine, energy, or banking. We’ll move forward when we’re ready to accept reality for what it is. Until then, people like Burzynski and the banksters will exploit our collective denial in order to make a quick buck.

        5. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Yves, related:

          “The CALCIUM BOMB: The Nanobacteria Link to Heart Disease & Cancer” by Douglas Mulhall and Katja Hansen (Cranston, Rhode Island; The Writers’ Collective, 2005);

          “STEALTH GERMS IN YOUR BODY: How Hidden Infectious Organisms Can Jeopardize Your Health by Erno Daniel, M.D. (New York/London, Union Square Press, 2005);

          “DEADLY FEASTS: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague” by Richard Rhodes (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1997).

  2. Tony

    The latest ‘innovation’ in GMOs is frankencorn that can withstand being sprayed with Agent Orange:

    Another ‘innovation’ is frankenplants which produce pharmaceuticals and industrial solvents which are being grown out in the open and can therefore contaminate (via air-borne pollen) crops eaten by people.

    Dennis Kucinich is planning to introduce bills which will try and reign in the extremely evil practices of Monsanto and the GMO industry as a whole:

    I feel that GMOs are the number-one threat to humanity as the GMO companies are working on some extremely scary stuff without any concern whatsoever for the affect on human health.

    1. Brian

      There might be concerns about GMO crops but your post is complete BS. And makes it harder to have a debate.

      1. Susan the other

        Clearly the concern about GMOs and frankenfoods is not BS. It is the exact opposite of BS. It is truth. It is so interesting that it took the Chinese to discover the connection between MicroRNA and modified DNA in GMOs. Who in their right mind would argue that “substantial equivalence” is a legitimate concept. It is totally laughable. It is the blatant subversion of science to profit. So is Monsanto laughable and subversive. Monsanto deserves the corporate death penalty, as per Barry Ritholz.

      2. Rex

        “… your post is complete BS. And makes it harder to have a debate.”

        Thanks for sharing that detailed critique. Hard to debate a post when is contains nothing but an empty call of, “BS.”

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Tony, does this mean that if We the People eat frankencorn we will not be harmed by Agent-Orange-in-a-spray-can weilded by the Polizei?

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      But, Tony, doesn’t the Daily Kos claim that Kucinich is a *nutter*?

      Maybe we should call Kucinich *HyperNuts* for standing up for the rights of We the People, in spite of the derision and insult he receives from the *HardLeftNot* that hypes and loads the party propaganda.

      Maybe the Daily Kos is the Daily Dose?

      1. ScooterLiddy

        The “Daily Kos” has several thousand posters on their board, and about ten staff that populate the main page. They don’t think Dennis Kucinich is a “nutter” that I have ever seen.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s a fair question to ask.

      Do all Monsanto executives feed their un-GM children genetically modified foods all the time?

  3. fresno dan

    ‘Prof Philippon says that this growth in trading has not been accompanied either by sharper pricing in securities markets or by better financial insurance for industrial companies. “Bankers such as J.P. Morgan were doing just as much as today’s industry in the past but they were more efficient. The more I look at the rise in trading, the more I conclude that society gets nothing from it. It is empty.”’

    Reminds me of the book “Where are the customers’ yachts” – where is society’s benefit from “financial inovation”? When the FED insures “banks” for free, what is the benefit? When the FED encourages destructive behavior, where is the outrage? I remember all the talk about new financial “inovation” ensuring cheaper credit – turns out it wasn’t so cheap (well, cheap for the banks, but not so cheap for the taxpayer….OH, I forgot, we made a profit on TARP…when do I get the check???)

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      fresno, YouTube cartoon re MFGlobal and silver/gold tells us the correct name of JPF. It is *J. P. Morgue* — to go along with *the Goldman Sack*.

      *J. P. MORGUE* — spread the word.

    1. tyaresun

      The poor poor Swedes grow up in a womb to tomb protected environment and cannot handle the real world.

      Forget Afghanistan, go to any middle east country and find Indians slaving away. Their passports are taken away the moment they land, they cannot practice their religion, they get executed if there is even a suspicion of sexual contact with the Arab ladies,…

      Yet they do this because they can make more money than in their villages in India. Such is the real world.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        tyaresun, and to think: “democratic India” is the model of the Brave New World of MonopolyFinanceCapitalism!

        The Brave New Potemkin Village must be leveled unto Sheol.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        This has happened to me. I think it sets boundaries for our own good. Look at what we do get away with! NC is a most valuable site for free thinkers and speakers expressing ourselves in an open forum. But at times we do get carried away, in spite of ourselves. Also, Yves does have a right to protect her property. Maybe the Monitor is the Good Witch of the North.

        The comments on this site are so free and diverse, and so QUICK, that the Daily Kos can claim, after perusing who knows which comments on what day/time, that this is a “Bircher” site. LOL! I do recall that there was a comment set not long ago that seemed wholly devoted to arguments about religion and the meaning of Scripture. Well, it’s a free world here.

        NC separates the quick from the dead, thanks to the Uppity Yves Smith.

          1. Valissa

            ASAIK, any link from Zero Hedge puts a comment in moderation (it’s happened to me). But can use the words Zero Hedge NOT in a link, so some people just give the title of the ZH article so you can go over there and find it yourself. There are a few other link sources that can put one in moderation as well (many blogs flag specific link sources and/or keywords for moderation). Also I think that more than 3 links in a comment puts you in moderation (many blogs have that rule too).

              1. Aquifer


                Yes, site is acting weirdly today – already interjected a comment of mine placed today (1/11) before several placed yesterday (1/10). Who knows where this one will wind up ….

            1. Aquifer

              A friend of mine periodically sends me a link to a ZH article in my e-mail. When I open up the e-mail message itself, even before clicking on any link in the message, an entire page of computerese prints out before the article reference appears. When i mentioned it to her – sent her a copy back of what printed out with her e-mail, she was nonplussed, totally unaware it was happening and said no one else she knew had that problem …. So maybe that’s what is happening here?

  4. someofparts

    “The way you’ll know a real sea change is underway is when townhouses that were reassembled from multi unit rentals are broken up again into apartments.”

    Oh yes. I’ve been eyeballing the huge new houses built adjacent to open parks in my neighborhood. When they get broken up into rentals those units will be have big sunny windows with lovely views.

  5. PL

    Always entertaining to read hypocritical comments in the WSJ. So it’s not OK to sue over a defective product involving a mouse in your Mountain Dew, but it’s perfectly fine to sue when it’s a worthless mortgage backed security purchased by your pension fund. Kudos to the young lawyer in the mouse case.

  6. aesop

    A Cardinal was once boasting to a Crow about her birth. “I was once a princess,” said she, “the daughter of a King of Athens, but my husband used me cruelly, and cut out my tongue for a slight fault. Then, to protect me from further injury, I was turned by Juno into a bird.” “You chatter quite enough as it is,” said the Crow. “What you would have been like if you hadn’t lost your tongue, I can’t think.”

  7. tyaresun

    On janitors with PhDs:

    How many of these degrees were received from for profit mail order/internet universities? How many received MBAs from Soutwest Corner of Northwest State University?

    It is appaling to see an article in the Chronicle that does not make any distinctions. Perhaps this article in an example of work by PhD a from a “University” like Soutwest Corner of Northwest State University.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      tyaresun, it’s best not to assume too much. In “Anti-Intellectual” America, the critical mind that comes with an earned Ph.D. from a fine university is all but a disqualification for gainful employment in the USA!USA! Unless, of course you have a Ph.D. in one of those *suck-up-to-the-corporation* fields.

      Maybe the Ph.D. who is a janitor is thinking about how to *Occupy the Halls of Academia* during his/her mindless rounds. Didn’t William Faulkner’s day job in the Post Office permit him to occupy his mind with “The Yoknapatawpha Country?”

      “Beware the idle Ph.D.s” is the admonition of every politician who knows history.

      On the other hand, the robot class is being manufactured hourly through “schooling” for corporate slavery, notably by infamous Corporate Handmaidens, the “for-profit” universityNot system that KILLS critical thinking, especially the SELF-CRITICAL thinking advocated by Karl Popper.

      For the last forty years, if you have not been servile enough, or programmed enough, or crooked enough, or “corporate” enough, you will have found it difficult to prosper as a *working* member of the Corporate Regime. But, If you have earned a Ph.D. in critical thinking about anything, you know that your freedom to think and be/become, even unto death, is worth more than a million bucks earned under the yoke of greedy fools and criminals.

      “Oh, death, where is thy sting?”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would also point out that there are 2 different types of PhD’s.

      One PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy.

      The other PhD stands for Phony Doctor.

      Always ask the guy which one he’s got.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Of course, ‘phony’ here is used to describe something of, relating to, or characteristics of a phone.

      2. Birch

        Don’t forget the working man’s PhD: the Posthole Digger. Very useful tool if you need to dig holes for posts.

    3. TSTS

      Actually, the claim about 5000 PhD is simply incorrect. The original article said “Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.” (I am not sure which professional degrees are included.)

      I don’t think fraudulent or mail-order degrees are the issue. My guess is that many of these degrees will be foreign degrees earned, sometimes a long time ago, in countries such as Russia, Vietnam, or China. Once the people moved to the US, the degrees were not recognized and/or the holders did not have enough English skills (at least at first) to use them professionally.

      I know some cases myself, for example medical doctors who got their degrees in China in the 1960s, then immigrated about 15 years later. They know a lot about medicine and studied hard, but you probably wouldn’t want them working as doctors in the US without a lot of additional training. (They ended up working as some sort of assistants to US doctors, often doing home visits to other immigrants — probably helping a lot of them but also sometimes coming close to acting as real doctors.) Lots of Russians in Brooklyn have advanced degrees in engineering or teaching that are no use in the US. Law degrees also don’t travel well.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        In New Orleans, M.D.s from Cuba after the Revolution survived stamping cans in Schwegmann’s, the first real Supermarket.

  8. chunga

    For Immediate Release FROM Senator Bethany Moura [R-RI] Jan. 10, 2012

    Freshman RI Senator levels serious allegations at Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac – Jan. 10, 2012


    Senator Moura has actively fought for this to stop. She communicates with the Department of the U.S. Treasury Office of the Comptroller of Currency and the policy advisors of the FHFA (oversees Fannie and Freddie). She has met with Senate leadership, the Governor and his policy staff, as well as fellow legislators. “In fact, I’m working on forming a bi-partisan coalition with legislators in both chambers to stop this from continuing in our state”, Moura says. “My intent is to enact change any way that I can, and am committed to being a resource for leadership in the General Assembly. I’ve seen the devastation first-hand, and had my own experience with a dishonest loan servicer and a foreclosure. It’s a battle I’m still fighting, but have turned my frustration and experience into motivation.”

    Moura states, “Watching them beat families into submission, to eventually surrender their homes is something you have to see to believe. They rip families and communities apart, destroy property values, and leave in their wake a sea of emotional wreckage that cannot be measured. It is unbelievably cruel and despicable.”

    This first-term Senator is so confident in her suspicions, she’s challenging the top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to appear in Rhode Island in a public forum to defend her allegations – head on and face-to-face. Her message to them is simple. “Bring your attorneys and your staff, and I’ll have my notes, files and homeowners from Westerly to Woonsocket. Since you believe you are entitled to their money, I believe they are entitled to your answers”, declares Moura. “In this arena, I am a force to be reckoned with. Whether this fight takes a day or a decade, I will not retreat. They can bank on it (pun intended).”



  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I think the most evil thing Monsanto can possibly do is to create the world’s first genetically modified corporation…either that or the world’s first genetically modified vampire squid.

    But maybe they are not that evil. Maybe they will just try to genetically modify the word ‘occupy’ to ‘unoccupy.’

    1. patricia

      I heard they’re working on a genetic modification of “occupy” to “octopi”.

      Not sure about the evil-quotient on that.

  10. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re Timothy Geithner and his plea to China.

    As William K. Black avers, it’s past time for Geithner to be fired. Doesn’t anyone else speak Chinese, someone WE the People can trust?

    Doesn’t Evan Osnos speak Chinese, and isn’t he over there already? Why can’t he be an interpreter for William K. Black as Secretary of the Treasury RIGHT NOW?

    Doesn’t history show that We the People cannot trust Timothy Geithner? Moreover, how good can his Chinese be, given he can hardly speak English?

    1. Susan the other

      Geithner going to China (instead of Hillary re Iran relations) appears to be a direct reaction to Japan breaking ranks and going to China and signing a deal to do cars which (no info here yet) seems to be aimed at cutting both Germany and the US out of the Chinese domestic car market. Time will out. About Timmy asking China to go along with sanctions against Iran: it seems to have fallen flat. The Chinese do not see the need to do so. Timmy did not offer a justifiable rationale to them. So does this mean that China and Iran will deal in oil using the yuan – the undervalued yuan? And won’t this bring the precarious price of oil down even faster?

  11. Don Levit

    In the aricle about Slow growth in Health Spending, private health insurance premiums went up 2.4%.
    I wonder how the author defines private health insurance.
    Our premiums went up 10%.
    Is the difference because several million more people are uninsured?
    Don Levit

  12. craazyman

    Deepy Troubled by the Things I Read

    I have been deeply troubled in recent weeks at how the word “competitive” is so casually used to describe national economies. I find the word to convey more an absence of thought than a presence of meaning. The situation has become intellectually intolerable, and I am reluctant now to even read a piece of economic journalism out of fear I will encounter this symbol of mental decadence.

    As fortune would have it, I am not alone in my sensibility, and for this I am deeply relieved.

    This gentleman ( seems to share my suspicions, and conveys the distinct impression by his articulate analysis that he knows far more than I do about the topic.

    However all the essential questions about the validity of this word remain unanswered. We will be forced to perservere in our refusal to accept the conventional wisdom on this matter until we achieve a clarity that not only reveals the errors of contemporary thought but constructs a new foundation of understanding. That may take a while. But so what.

    Meanwhile, if you know what the word “competitive” means when used to describe a national economy, please enlighten the editors so they can use a synonym.

    1. mk

      are you referring to this?:

      “…it is the fractionally reserved banking system and its ability to create money from thin air that is at the root of the problem.”

      1. craazyman

        no I don’t have a problem with fiat currency and fractional reserve lending. Money is nothing but cultural imagination and if it weren’t banks it would be formed through some other agency of creation, not necessarily better either.

        I mean “competitive” like “Germany is competitive and Greece isn’t competitive.”

        It comes with so many unstated but innately attendant and dependent ideas that if you state them all out they exhaust and deflate the entire structure of its meaning.

        Put more simply. It’s a lazy bullshit word when used like that. I am troubled by it daily when I ride the bus and only escape with Chote du Rhone and xanax. If you have half a bottle or 3/4 of a bottle plus 1 mg of xanax you’ll understand but don’t think hard, just let your mind float and see what comes into it-preferably with the old style light bulbs in your lamps, not halogen, they’re too sharp and they’ll mess with your vibration level and jangle you. If the light is low — I’d go with two 60 watt bulbs nicely balanced — Youll see it all in a mind flash within 20 minutes and then you just need to unpack it and assemble it when you get back to normal mentally.

        1. Valissa

          Money is nothing but cultural imagination and if it weren’t banks it would be formed through some other agency of creation, not necessarily better either.

          What a FUN and fabulous idea! Works for me…

          on the other hand, wine and xanax not so appealing (though Cote de Rhone is one of the few wines I drink)… I prefer a good whiskey (or tequila) neat and some herb :)

          When it comes to “competitiveness” I think of games or sports… so-called competitiveness between countries is often a euphemism for relative wealth & power.

          Some cartoons about competitiveness (it doesn’t need to make sense to be amusing)…

          Reinvention as the key to success

          Competitive meditation?

          How to remain competitive–new-yorker-cartoon.jpg

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US consumer borrowing jumps in November.

    Total spending = cash spending + non-cash (borrowed) spending.

    Is consumber borrowing going up because they have less cash to spend or it is going up while cash spending is holding steady/going up as well?

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bank of American building facing foreclosure.

    There is a reason why we the people don’t borrow against the White House (the bldg + the land it sits) or the Capitol Building. Let’s try to apply that to our personal lives.

    Let’s hope also that we don’t sell their naming rights. It will not be pretty to read about the Monsanto White House or the Goldman Sachs Capitol Buidling. THey can own the people doing business there, but NEVER the buildings!!!

  15. mk - human sacrifice near Fukushima

    The Minamisoma blogger ,Numauchi Emiko, is on Ustream right now.

    Independent journalist Iwakami Yasumi had an interview with her.

    Q, Do you believe the government ?

    A, No,I don’t even doubt. I know they tell just lies.

    Q, Why do you stay in Minamisoma ?

    A, To prove government is killing us by using my own body. On 3/14, I thought that was already too late to evacuate, taking it into consideration that the reactors had already exploded and Tepco had released tons of radionuclides by venting. My place is not in the evacuating zone. Government still keeps telling us it’s not dangerous, so I wanted to prove how a human becomes if they live as the government tells us to do. Everyone dies. I thought this would be my best way to burn the rest of my life. This is why I recorded details of my health problem, but honestly it was faster than I thought.
    ~~~~~~~~~~rest of interview and video at link above. Realizing it was too late for her, this woman decided to “burn the rest of” her life for the survival of others. This is a real hero, a real role model. This would be a great reality TV series, sad but informative.

    too much reality for TV though. I remember the moment I lost interest in watching Work of Art is when one of the participants did a piece on the earthquake/tsunami in Japan and didn’t refer to Fukushima at all. thought that was very interesting and wondered if the producers told him he couldn’t or if he self-censored…

  16. Aquifer

    “The news that we’re ingesting information as well as physical material should force the biotech industry to confront the possibility that new DNA can have dangerous implications far beyond the products it codes for.”

    – 1/9/12 Atlantic article on GMOs

    “Just to give you one number to hang your hats on: the annual budget of the National Cancer Institute of America, just to use one example, is $5 billion. The annual budget of the Food and Drug Administration in America is $4 billion. The United States spent more per month more in Iraq in 2008 than the combined annual budgets of the National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration. That’s just to give you one example of the kind of resources that are being expended in areas in comparison to very fundamental things about health.”

    – Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee interview

    Hmmm, wonder if there’s a connection ….

    Between GMOs and FMOs (financially modified organisms), both being WMDs, looks like we are pretty screwed. Even chicken soup is now corrupted with alphabet soup.

    With regard to “alt med”, i am becoming more and more convinced it is indeed true that 1) you are what you eat, 2) Mother Nature has a cure for everything that evolves out of MN. So the problem is what happens when the diseases are invented by man? Perhaps the answer is still – MN has a cure for the disease of man ….

    i have found it of no small interest that many of the crappy chemicals out there have been found to be endocrine disrupters, affecting the fertility of many species, including our own – MN knows what she is doing …

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