Links 2/28/12

To Get at Treats, This Dingo Uses Tools Discover (hat tip reader Robert M)

Japan Weighed Evacuating Tokyo in Nuclear Crisis New York Times. Holy shit.

Engine room fire leaves cruise ship adrift off Seychelles Yahoo (hat tip Lambert)

Google Search Engine Software goes ‘Chemistry’ Nature (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Dogs’ feet give Japan scientists paws for thought Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

Co­lo­ni­al­ism in Africa helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago Washington Post (hat tip Lambert)

Gordon Gekko tells Wall St greed is not good Financial Times. A little late, no?

Five Key Developments Including Vote on Greek Deal 2.0 Credit Writedowns

Police cover-up of phone hacking revealed to Leveson inquiry Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Can China avoid the middle-income trap? MacroBusiness

Threatened Goldman Japan Workers Unionize Japan Times (hat tip DAH)

Israel, Kurdish fighters destroyed Iran nuclear facility, email released by WikiLeaks claims Haaretz (hat tip Lambert). So we can all make nice now, right?

Taiwan bubble set to burst MacroBusiness

Buffett: Banks Victimized by Excesses of Ousted Homeowners Bloomberg. Buffett makes clear he is either completely shameless or does not understand the difference between a servicer and an investor. Well, given that he also says, “The banking industry is back on its feet,” when that is due solely to the munificence of the great unwashed public, I think we know which is at work.

AIJ Tokyo Asset Management: Billions In Customer Funds Are Missing Jesse. From last week but still noteworthy.

Upper classes ‘more likely to lie and cheat’ Telegraph (hat tip reader Swedish Lex). Another reason to promote a more equal distribution of income. It keeps people honest.

Early customers find Boots closed Mid Sussex Times (hat tip Richard Smith). Aaaw, how cute!

The SEC Mulls An Investigation Calls Grow For John Boehner To Resign Politics USA (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Walker Won’t Contest Signatures in Wisconsin, Recall Virtually Assured Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

There Was No Bowles-Simpson Commission Report Dean Baker (hat tip Lambert via Atrios)

MASSiVE insider SeCReT dealing scheme with STRATFOR and G Sachs, maybe [Updated] FT Alphaville. The Stratfor response is silly.

Dividing Dimon? Analyst Offers Case for a JPMorgan Split New York Times

Banks Win Reprieve on Home Equity Loans in Settlement: Mortgages Bloomberg (hat tip reader Brian). You read it here on Feb. 6.

Pity the Poor Judges Cynthia Kouril, Firedoglake (hat tip reader Carol B)

BONY-Countrywide Settlement Removal Reversed by 2d Circuit Adam Levitin, Credit Slips (hat tip reader Deontos)

For the Costliest Homes, Foreclosure Comes Slowly Wall Street Journal. And here we keep being told it’s the borrowers’ fault that foreclosures take so long.

Federal judge weighs whether to let regulators rein in oil speculators McClatchy (hat tip reader Paul T)

Bending the Tax Code, and Lifting A.I.G.’s Profit Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times

YoBucko talks money for 20-somethings McClatchy (hat tip Lambert)

Eviction of Occupy London Begins: Livestream Firedoglake :-(

Antidote du jour:

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    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I’d love to see a cat run against a flower.

      It’s a known fact that plants are more likely to be non-violent resistors than animals.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is always an occasional rotten apple somewhere.

          But I still believe they are ‘more likely’ to be peaceful.

      1. scraping_by

        Plants are violent, but over longer time periods. They’ll tear down anything given a century or two.

  1. Middle Seaman

    Wikileaks with the “Iran destroyed nuclear infrastructure” goes surealist. It’s not even a funny joke.

  2. polistra

    McClatchy reports:

    Judge Wilkins, appointed by Obama, is ruling in favor of speculators, against any attempt by CFTC to apply even the tiny weak lame Dodd-Frank regulations.

    This should give ulcers to both partisans. R will have ulcers because they falsely portray Obama as anti-Wall Street, D will have ulcers because they falsely portray Obama as anti-Wall Street. Another one of those shared lies.

  3. Skippy

    Now for something completely different…

    A photo of a gay U.S. Marine, locked in passionate homecoming kiss with his partner, has gone viral online after it was posted on Facebook. The photo has collected over 14,000 likes and over 3,000 comments.
    According to, the Facebook photo shows Sgt. Brandon Morgan and his partner Dalan Wells, sharing a loving welcome home kiss in Hawaii. According to a post on the blog Joe.My.God., Sgt. Morgan expressed his appreciation for the support and love people have shown:

    Skippy… Should be brought up at the next Rep. debate methinks.

    1. Cynthia


      The Spartans set the standard for modern Western warfare, and they embraced homosexuality and incorporated it into their military training. Which makes me wonder why the warmongering Christian Right would oppose gays in the military. If anything, they should support it, just as the self-righteous and warmongering people of Sparta did long ago.

      What I think is going on here is that many right-wing Christians have wrongly lumped gays in the same category as those of us who oppose militarism and our hegemonic wars against the Muslim world. Perhaps if they would realize that gays are just as likely to love war and killing Muslims as they do, then they’ll finally come to realize that gays make great testosterone ass-kicking warriors when it come to gunning down rag-heads and then peeing all over them.

  4. crzchn

    RE: The dingo using tools…man, I hate those stories. What is so special about tool use? Isn’t it even more amazing for a species to flourish for millions of years without using tools?

    1. ArchLover

      I’m confused about your comment. Are you objecting to the use of the term colonialism? Or are you attempting to point out that there isn’t much difference between colonialism and the generally extractive and repressive nature of international trade/globalization, etc.?

  5. dearieme

    The spin on the HIV story is rather risible. How about “International trade helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago”? Or “19th century globalisation helped launch the HIV epidemic”? “Economic development helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago”?

    Or even “Those bloody Germans helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago”?

    1. aet

      OTOH, those “bloody Spanish” DID bring syphilis to Europe from the New World , back in the 1500s (and from that time onward, prostitution which had been common throughout Europe, became not simply immoral to the eyes of the faithful, but actually factually physically dangerous and unhealthy – leading in turn, to new calls for its outlawing/suppression!) – so history rhymes, and we see a pattern…

      Moral: People messing where they shouldn’t be messing leads to trouble!

      1. Goosegandersauce

        You saying that pre VD, the resulting pregnancies were a
        “blessing” in the eyes of the Church vs a sin?

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      dearieme – There’s a book called “The Disease Theory of History”. See:

      “DEADLY FEAST” by Richard Rhodes;

      “The Constant Gardner” in book and film.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        ALSO, search “Dr. Mary’s Monkey” on and take it from there. The *teaching hospitals* connected with *The Primate Center* in Covington, LA, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. Oh, what a web of disease and intrigue, especially of the *anti-Communist* variety.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        continued – connect dots:

        [0:17/10:53]”…the AIDS epidemic is completely out of hand. This is a crafted virus that was spread throughout the world to decimate the population.

        “Coming behind them, and we reported this about two years ago in our WORLD IN REVIEW news magazine, is the VIPRO19 Cholera Virus, a deadly killer–you get this cholera in the morning, if it is not immediately treated with massive doses of EXPENSIVE antibiotics you’ll be dead in a day and a half.

        [:51/10:53] “This epidemic swept India, carrying away millions of people–I don’t know if you’ve heard of it in the press, I doubt it. Behind that is a deadly strain of malaria. Some of our forces in Somalia contracted this disease, a strain of malaria that acts almost like the HIV virus.”

        “5/10 The Committee of 300 Conspirators’ Hierarchy: Dr John Coleman” [formerly MI6] (911truthncDotOrg on Nov 4, 2009.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          You see, its the Two-fer Plan: 1) genocide and/or 2)treatment with EXPENSIVE antibiotics. Recall that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was the CEO or Chair of a supranational Pharmaceutical company.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            PharmaWar for profit to the .01% and their .99% Agency in government is a DEADLY SERIOUS business. “The business of America is business.”

  6. Bill C

    Is the Boots Closed link some sort of British humor that Americans can’t understand ? All I saw at the link was a short announcement about lack of a pharmacist shutting down a local pharmacy…… the page not showing me something that it should ? or what ?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I thought this was great, you have a community so small and tame that they have to use a store not opening at its usual time as a news story!

      1. John L

        Our local police blotter – someone left a gate open and llamas were in the road, etc. Yup. Rural life.

      2. Bill C

        OK, thanks Yves, clearly I didn’t get it, and it was driving me a little crazy, thanks for clearing that up.

        Sometimes I feel the same way about our local news here, even though it’s not that small an area.

      3. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Yves, did you notice a *Hoover/Hotpoint Repair* ad in the sidebar to the right?

        Doesn’t that take you back to a time long gone in the U.S.A.?

  7. justanotherobserver

    how many error filled, propaganda pushing economics articles does the NYT have to publish before people understand that they’re not the “liberal media” ?

  8. Goosegandersauce

    Here’s how it happened in San Francisco, post Patient Zero:

    “but it’s clear that [ ] created massive new networks of sexual interactions — and massive new transmissions of infections. (In later decades, transmission through the reuse of hypodermic needles in medical care probably had some role in HIV’s spread as well.)

    To spread widely, HIV requires a population large enough to sustain an outbreak and a sexual culture in which people often have more than one partner, creating networks of interaction that propel the virus onward.

    To fulfill its grim destiny, HIV needed a kind of place never before seen in but one that now was rising in the heart of the region: a big, thriving, hectic place jammed with people and energy, where old rules were cast aside”

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Actually, it was the 1970;s. Can you imagine how this affected the swank restaurant business, the clubs, the theatre?

  9. AccruedDisinterest

    Humans like stories about animals using tools because it allows them to subconciously sneer at silly beasts struggling with sticks and stones while we- the masters of the universe, manipulate and cajole robots to operate our tools to perform ever more “intelligent” feats. But this snippet from the NY Times/Tokyo link pulls the curtain on the macro-stupidity of the human race: “The report also describes the panic within the Kan administration at the prospect of large radiation releases from the more than 10,000 spent fuel rods that were stored in relatively unprotected pools near the damaged reactors.”

    And BTW, if anyone has a draft plan of how the hell to evacuate a city of 13 million, shoot me that link, will ya?

  10. LeonovaBalletRusse

    RE StratFor and Goldman Sucks: “Identity Economics” in a can. Surely this is *insider trading* writ large: M-I/Security State meets Monopoly Finance in a closed system (if not hacked).

    But really, if you read that e-mail on the Alphaville link, can you believe anyone but a guy from Marketing wrote that content? Whoever wrote it is a dork.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Upper class more likely to cheat.

    More equal income distribution is desirable in and of itself. But I am not sure if it will help those already prone to cheating, especially those 0.01%-wannabees when stuck in such a better income-distributed-world. It might prompt them to try twice as hard.

      1. Valissa

        To get to the ‘alienated’ cartoon you have to copy and paste the link (some cartoons have hotlink issues so you can’t click through).

    1. SR6719

      Re: Mysterious Dog-headed Pig-Monster

      Yahoo news: “Residents in northern Namibia, on the southwest coast of Africa, have reported being terrorized by a bizarre dog-pig hybrid creature….. The beast was spotted chasing and attacking dogs, goats and other domestic animals in this arid region not far from the Kalahari desert.”

      But why would Larry Summers visit northern Namibia?

      1. Valissa

        LOL.. I guess his voodoo economics backfired on him, and he’s seeking a REAL voodoo shaman for a cure… OR he realized he needed to apprentice to a real voodoo shaman and that didn’t work out as planned…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Speaking of voodoo, this is from yours truly last year:

          It’s like that song from Triplets of Belleville – Voodoo can-can balais taboo…

          I know it sounds like Voodoo kaka hurray taboo or something like that. But I looked it up to make sure.

          1. Valissa

            Voodoo can-can balais taboo

            That has a very nice verbal rhythm/flow to it… add some drumming, and some animation and I think you’d have a hit on your hands :)

      2. craazyman

        ha ha laugh if you wish. But the reality is there are forces out there, powerful forces. they are rarely seen but they make our scientific world view something to laugh at.

        in Africa it is a dog headed pig sucking eyes out of goats.

        In the U.S. it is UFOs and cattle mutilations, sucking the blood and eyes from cows, without a trace of instrument or technique. Or a red-eyed bigfoot whose footsteps disappear.

        this is cutting edge consciousness studies and it’s not a laboratory. this is real. and we don’t have a clue so we repress the startling awareness and we laugh at it.

        remember the big black cats from that Tuscany story last year. did they ever find them? no. of course not. as predicted. haha

        1. SR6719

          Good one.

          I remember hearing about big black cats in Tuscany, although I was thinking there was only one huge cat (a panther?) terrorizing a small village, and they called it “Baghera”(sp?) or something like that, after the black leopard in Kipling’s Jungle Book.

  12. Susan the other Keystone Cops McConnell, Boehner, Kantor and Daniels. This explains their strange behavior at the SOTU speech. Boehner looked grateful that the Pres even shook his hand; Kantor acted like a lapdog as he followed behind in O’s entourage with an uncharacteristically pleasant demeanor, Kantor isn’t known for his sweetness; Mitch McConnell looked so grim it was frightening, as if he had finally been reduced to his one last dark idea; and Mitch Daniels was almost smarmy for a defiant R and so into his own lies in his afterword about how Rs want to get the economy going; it was a very bold pretense. It is worth watching SOTU speech just to read the faces. They should all 4 resign.

    1. John L

      That Boehner piece was great. Time he had something to really cry about. Is it even worth asking where the MSM is on this?

  13. abcd

    re: lying

    I didnt read the original research, but one angle seems obvious to me.. The poor believe in the systems of wealth and power, while the wealthy and powerful realize these are manipulable spaces, too. Nobody who knows how HR works will tell the “truth,” unless they are duped (maybe through inexperience) into believing HR reflects some kind of objective principle to which we are obliged to participate in by “being honest” like an economic version of catholic confession.

  14. Glenn Condell

    ‘Revealed: US plans to charge Assange’

    ‘In the emails, an Australian Stratfor ”senior watch officer”, Chris Farnham, advocated revoking Mr Assange’s Australian citizenship, adding: ”I don’t care about the other leaks but the ones he has made that potentially damage Australian interests upset me. If I thought I could switch this dickhead off without getting done I don’t think I’d have too much of a problem.”

    But Mr Farnham also referred to a conversation with a close family friend who he said knew one of the Swedish women who had made allegations of sexual assault against Mr Assange, and added: ”There is absolutely nothing behind it other than prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves.”

    1. Walter Wit Man

      What reason would they have for sealing the indictment?

      It doesn’t make sense.

      I assume these e-mails are fake. The company claims the e-mail where the CEO resigned was fake and says other documents have been faked.

      Would the company have committed any crimes by releasing fake documents from themselves (especially since they “warned” about the leaks not being factually accurate?)?

      These document drops are huge opportunities for American intelligence to throw a bunch of crap out there.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      And to be clear both of these things revealed in the e-mail could be factually accurate . . . I bet 90% of the leaks are factually accurate. It’s the 10% that is disinformation or misleading information that is really damaging and difficult to discern.

      I look for leaks that really benefit the U.S. but are cleverly disguised as reflecting badly on the U.S.

      There were reports of a grand jury meetings and some of the facts surrounding the allegations against Assange are suspicious.

      My best guess based on my instinct and the few facts I know:

      Both Assange and/or Manning are CIA assets/agents. Wikileaks is a disinformation source as well as a trap for would be hackers and leakers/whistleblowers. The U.S. subtly doctors many of the documents it releases to further a U.S. agenda.

      In this instance the “leaked” info about the sealed indictment of Assange and the weak case against him buttresses his renegade bona fides. Furthermore, both legal cases against Assange and Manning are fake, and to the extend there really are cases against them they are being managed and slow walked to maximize the utility to the cover for these two perps.

      Plus, this revelation may even help Assange’s legal case as he can point to this as proof the U.S. will seek to extradite him if he has to appear in Sweden, etc. He gets to play hero on the lam for a bit longer . . . [if the theory is correct] . . . so expect more document dumps.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          WWM, and don’t these guys always *appear out of nowhere*?

          Like Jimmy Carter, who *appeared out of nowhere* —

          Search “Dr. John Coleman” on the “Committee of 300” – The Pyramidion resides in London.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Hmm, I hadn’t heard the allegation that a specific Royal Institution picks our president. I have to say it’s even a bit shocking for me to accept.

            But I suppose it’s possible.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      Thanks for the link.

      Here’s the pertinent backstory from the link:

      “In December the Herald revealed Australian diplomatic cables, declassified under freedom of information, confirmed WikiLeaks was the target of a US Justice Department investigation ”unprecedented both in its scale and nature” and suggested that media reports that a secret grand jury had been convened in Alexandria, Virginia, were ”likely true”.

      The Australian embassy in Washington reported in December 2010 that the Justice Department was pursuing an ”active and vigorous inquiry into whether Julian Assange can be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act”.

      In recent answers to written parliamentary questions from the Greens senator Scott Ludlam, the former foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd indicated Australia had sought confirmation that a secret grand jury inquiry directed against Mr Assange was under way.

      Mr Rudd said ”no formal advice” had been received from US authorities but acknowledged the existence of a ”temporary surrender” mechanism that could allow Mr Assange to be extradited from Sweden to the US.”

      1. Walter Wit Man

        And then we have the private dicks now [supposedly] saying a secret indictment was filed in January 2011. This fits the time line from the previous story.

        I guess one reason to keep it secret would be to hide it from the British and Swedish courts . . . .

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WWM, the .01% and their .99% Agents cross borders as if they didn’t exist. Look at how they got to Baltazar Garzon for going after Bush et al.

  15. Lloyd C. Bankster

    Re: Sorkin article NY Times

    Sorkin has been on Goldman’s payroll ever since the summer of 2010, when he wrote that piece entitled, “Some Backup for Goldman on AIG”, linked below.

    But as of today, I’m putting Andrew Ross on notice. I didn’t read the article itself, he’s such a dull writer (how could anyone read him?) but I did read the comments following his article, and I have to say, they’re pretty skeptical and express a lot of hostility towards bankers as a result of all the bailouts, and I’ve been noticing this trend more and more.

    I’ll have my team speak to the NY Times and see if they can’t do something about getting better propaganda. Sorkin just isn’t cutting it anymore, I’m canceling his gold card membership at the Aphrodite Club, and putting everyone else at the Times on notice that their Aphrodite Club memberships could be in jeopardy as well. Unless they do better, then $100 gift certificates to the Toys in Babeland sex shop is all they’re getting from me.

    I know everyone on the NY Times staff is working hard and doing their best to promote Wall Street’s interests 24/7, but sometimes the best just isn’t good enough.

    We need better propaganda coming from the Old Gray Lady, and we need it now!

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Boy, if you’re noticing that kind of action on the NYTimes comments section the shit must be hitting the fan.

      I don’t trust any of these major comment sections anymore. Especially places like NYTimes and Yahoo or sfgate, etc. Places like reddit and dailykos are also suspicious and fat juicy targets for perps.

      1. Lloyd C. Bankster

        Some of the comments are good, some even applaud the AIG bailouts (these are probably written by Times staff), but if the Times was really doing its job, then how did the following comment (posted by Brennan from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Feb 28 at 2:58 PM), get past the censors:

        “This is OUTRAGEOUS! As Red Pill said below, “Our Government is corrupt at the highest levels and in bed with powerful corporations whose losses are socialized and profits privatized at the expense of taxpayers. This is the new feudal America, and if you haven’t figured it out, you haven’t been paying attention.” I welcome the criticisms of OWS. Say we don’t work? Let’s suppose for a second that WERE the truth: you’re the chump working to bailout AIG yet again so that a few thousand people can have fat paychecks at the expense of your sweat and hard work.

        Congratulations, serf – you’ve done well for your feudal masters.”

          1. Maximilien

            I don’t think so. The Times is the organ of the “big swinging organs”. They’ll shut down or censor comments the instant their Wall Street masters tell them to.

            In the meantime, they’re so desperate they’ll take whatever readers they can get—friendly or hostile. That’s why I almost never go to mainstream sites. I don’t want to be counted as a “reader” for advertising purposes. It’s my personal boycott/vendetta, and it makes me feel good. So thanks NYT, CNN, ABC, et al for giving me the pleasure of NOT reading you.

            (Btw, I think I used up one of my free articles going to Sorkin’s column. I think I’ve used just five this month, and February’s almost over. Anyone need some free NYT articles? Going once….going twice….)

        1. K Ackermann

          I think the Times is trying a new model – it’s called Freedom of Speech Plus+.

          You need a credit card, though.

      1. dan

        Had to google that. Apparently John le Carré writes in the book’s afterword: “by comparison with the reality, my story [is] as tame as a holiday postcard.”

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      dan, re first link: connect Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans with its Primate Center across the lake with “Dr. Mary’s Monkey” on YouTube and Dr. Alton Ochsner, with *anti-Communist* Conservatives and OSS-CIA (“Wisner Blvd.” runs along Bayou St. John) in New Orleans, and quest for disease to kill Fidel Castro; connect with CIA and Lee Harvey Oswald.

  16. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re SEC and John Boehner: bring RICO, cry TREASON. A Special Prosecuter is what’s in order, and William K. Black is the man for the task.

    We the People need to *teach Congress a lesson*.

  17. Externality

    From Breaking Views:

    Multinationals are constantly in search of cheaper workers. The one exception appears to be the most expensive staff of all, in the boardroom. Particularly in the United States and Britain, boards have shown little desire to get the maximum bang for their buck by insisting companies cast wider recruitment nets. Anglo-American companies continue to tolerate steep rises in pay at the top that far exceed returns.

    In 2010, compensation for the head honchos at American and British companies climbed 36 percent and 43 percent, respectively, dwarfing shareholder returns of around 15 percent, according to research firms GMI and Incomes Data Services. As recently as 1993, U.S. corporate bosses were paid some 130 times more than the average worker. Now they command about 350 times more, according to Duke University economist Dan Ariely.


    In fact, a domestic passport holder typically heads leading companies. According to a Reuters Breakingviews analysis of Fortune 50 companies, just a handful of CEOs were foreign nationals. And performance doesn’t explain the home bias. In a study conducted by Obermatt, a financial research company, roughly 42 percent of the largest U.S. firms surveyed paid their CEOs above-average compensation despite underperforming their peers.

  18. Maximilien

    “Upper classes more likely to lie and cheat”. Another reason to promote a more equal distribution of income. It keeps people honest.

    No, it just returns that which was stolen. Nobody’s character is going to be redeemed unless the entire culture is redeemed.

    Sans said redemption, dishonest pockets will soon enough be deep again, and honest pockets will have once more been vacuumed clean.

  19. Maximilien

    Re: AIG

    There’s one sure way to know when AIG is turning real profits again: when all of it is sold to private interests.

    You see, the way it works right now, the government is only allowed to own money-losing companies (I include GM in this), and for as long as that company loses money the government will continue to own it.

    The instant the company starts MAKING money, the government will hand it over to the looters for a song. Since it hasn’t done that yet, it is safe to say that AIG is still losing money.

    In this era of the “Looter-Baron”, answers are easy to find: Cherchez la monnaie.

  20. Maximilien

    Re: Warren Buffet

    Ya know, I don’t quite know what to think of Buffet. Yeah, he made piles of money in the stock market, but so too would lots of others if they’d got in after WWII, stayed in, and re-invested all their dividends. Many didn’t or couldn’t, perhaps because they suffered a financial calamity along the way or because they lacked Buffet’s legendary frugality and single-mindedness.

    So he got lucky in a way, by getting in at the right time and having the financial resources to stay there. In another way, he “earned” his luck: by
    living simply, believing steadfastly in stocks, and always avoiding the over-valued ones. Half luck, half smarts. That’s Buffet the investor. Nothing to criticize.

    What about Buffet the businessman? Here, I’ve got problems with the man, exalted as he might be. Three things:

    1. Buffett in 2003(?) called derivatives “weapons of financial mass destruction”. Turns out Berkshire (his holding company) has been dabbling in those very derivatives. Hmm….

    2. He recently purchased BNSF, a major rail shipper of coal. How can he invest in coal (albeit indirectly) with a clear conscience?

    3. He owns Geico Insurance. The Geico call-center in Amherst NY received $100 million in government subsidies. Is taking advantage of subsidies the mark of a savvy businessman—or of a profiteer?

    Then he turns around and starts talking about taxing the rich. Huh? Is Buffett a friend or a foe? A lamb or a wolf? I’m getting mixed signals.

  21. LeonovaBalletRusse

    NC readers:

    “On October 22nd, 2010, the first cholera case in Haiti in nearly a century was confirmed at the Haiti National Public Health Laboratory….

    “Several independent researchers studying genetic material from the bacteria responsible … graciously provided their results to us. Their results uniformly indicate that: 1) the outbreak strains in Haiti are genetically identical, indicating a single source for the Haiti outbreak; 2) the bacteria are very similar, but not identical, to the South Asian strains of cholera currently circulating in Asia….” –

    From The Huffington Post”

    “Haiti Cholera Cases Reportedly Drop” by Trenton Daniel 12/20/11 AP

    “Haiti has seen a steady decline in the number of cholera cases as the Caribbean nation settles into its dry season, humanitarian groups said Tuesday. … “The cholera infection rate has fluctuated through Haiti’s rainy and dry seasons, with the spikes largely attributable to the showers and and floods that cause the waterborne disease to spread more freely in an unsanitary environment. That was evident at a Doctors Without Borders treatment center….”

    The seasonal decline in the number of cholera cases is consistent with the findings of a report released Tuesday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.”

    “There had been no documented cases of cholera in Haiti before the outbreak began a yea ago. It was likely introduced to the country through a U.N. peacekeeping battalion from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.”

    Do you recall the words of Dr. John Coleman years ago?

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