Links 3/4/12

Nordic trees ‘survived Ice Age’ BBC

The Department of Homeland Security Searches Your Facebook and Twitter for “Marijuana,” Other Keywords Alternet. Someone should remember on May Day to swamp social networks with suspect words like….”exercise”! We could have limerick and haiku contests to see who can get the most bad words in a single work and circulate them.

U.S. Backers of Israel Pressure Obama Over Policy on Iran New York Times

China’s defense spending on the rise Raw Story

Why are Irish taxpayers bailing out unsecured bank creditors? Edward Harrison

Spain’s “Debt Crisis” Was Created by the ECB Dean Baker

Politics Gets Dirtier: Attack Ad Goes After Cat NPR (hat tip Lambert)

This week in the War on Voting: Manufacturing ‘voter fraud’ Joan McCarter, Daily Kos (hat tip reader Carol B)

How good a case do the Koches have in the Cato flap? Alison Frankel, Reuters (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

When States Abuse Women Nicholas Kristof, New York Times. The people behind this hate women. Wonder how long it will be before we have stories of deaths due to botched amateur abortions.

Another Failed Housing Program: Hardest Hit Fund Pays Out Just 2% in 16 Months Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (hat tip reader Carol B)

Beyond Blue 6: The Great Divorce Walter Russell Mead (hat tip furzy mouse)

Hurricane Katrina flood ruling upheld by federal appeals court Nola (hat tip Harry Shearer)

Illinois judge: law barring recording police is unconstitutional ars technica

Los Alamos Residents Brace for Layoffs at Lab New York Times. I’ve been to Santa Fe a lot, and out to Los Alamos. The vibe there is very strange, I’m sure craazyman could explain it further.

0.2% Interest? You Bet We’ll Complain Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. This is “Let them eat cake, um, principal.”

Trying to Feel Like a Million Bucks, Too New York Times. Wow, even rich people can be snookered. I can give you one simple reason why this is not what it is what its users think it is. See any pro athletes or Olympic competitors in his clientele? The managers of pro sports teams are not only scouting for talent, they also are relentless in looking for top trainers and rehab experts. And the pro level trainers in turn are on top of the medical research, which has gotten impressively scientific in weight training in the last 15 years (for instance, one top coach, Charles Poliquin, already read French and learned German so he could read the medical research in German).

Credit demand, supply, and conditions: A tale of three crises VoxEU

Antidote du jour. Reader furzy mouse sent us some thematic pictures. The cats look more nonchalant:

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    1. Ignim Brites

      Thanks Matt. This illustrates that the market participants are minimally factoring into their risk assessments that the Draghi put is limited. Ed Harrison provides a neat summary of the issues discussing the plight of the Irish taxpayers. The analysis is somewhat marred by the repetition of the liquidity/solvency distinction. So long as their is a Bernanke beneficence and a Draghi put, market participants will continuously misjudge and mis-price the liquidity of their assets/counter parties. As Chuck Prince stated succinctly: “As long as the music is playing you have to get up and dance”. Misjudgment and mis-pricing of liquidity is a principal aspect of “moral hazard”. This has reached the point that many demand the lender of last resort lend against any collateral at gratuitous rates.

  1. psychohistorian

    Thanks for the antidotes!!!!!!

    That table was meant for cats looking out the window; not plants, silly.

    The 2nd one reeks of….Hey boss, you know that shoe fetish I had; …..Its gone.

      1. CB

        Friends have a two level platform arrangement parked at a window just to keep the cats amused.

        1. aet

          One day, we’ll have home computers which will – automatically – “sense” when the solitary pet needs to be entertained, amused or otherwise paid attention to, and then take the appropriate action, in order to to help to prevent this kind of mis-behavior.

          Just a thoiught. Brought on contemplating the arrival of machines which actually “perceive” and then adjust to – that is, respond to – the emotions of its user:

          1. Jane Powell

            The best remedy for cats walking on the keyboard is Pawsense, a program which recognizes “cat-like typing” and diverts all that input. I believe it won an award several years ago for being “the worst software of the year”, clearly an award bestowed by people who do not have cats. You can download it from

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s hardly mis-behavioring.

            It’s natural for them.

            I have long advocated ‘Cage Day’ where humans cage themselves once a month or so in the jungle in order that animals can bring their children for educational visits. You know – getting to know the masters of the universe better.

            Then, we will appreciate each other better.

          3. Cujo359

            Actually, I think a device that keeps the pets from being bored is a lot more useful than one that prevents me from being bored.

            Re: Pawsense: “Now available for Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7.” Which makes it useless to me. It would be nice to have something like this, though. These big old paws of mine don’t always manage to hit one key at a time, either.

          4. Yves Smith Post author

            You can train kittens not to walk on keyboards. I’ve now done it with three cats.

        2. ambrit

          Dear CB;
          You are onto something. Our cat, when she ‘really’ wants attention, will jump up on the computer table and start pushing keys, or paw sized clumps of keys, to get a rise out of you. I’ve always been unconvinced by the ‘all animals are lineal thinkers’ meme. I entertain the thought often that some animals ‘get’ humour and absurdity.

          1. CB

            They certainly have a keen sense of what annoys you. A woman I worked with has a cat who pees under the piano when she’s frumped about something.

          2. F. Beard

            Cats do know how to annoy. A girlfriend had a little dog that hated her cat. The dog liked to lay under the bed covers while the cat liked to lay on top of the covers – right on top of the dog! Grrrr!

          3. ambrit

            Dear Beard;
            Our cat will occasionally climb right on top of me in the middle of the night. Never the wife, always me. I think I know how that dog felt.

    1. Still Above Water

      I’m pretty sure that’s the hardest I’ve ever laughed at an antidote. :)

    2. Richard Kline

      Yeah, it’s obvious that table was placed there for the cats. But their house domestic inadvertantly left plants on it, so the cats relocated them to save that harried servent from having to move the stuff.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s possible these cats are natural born interior designers.

        I’ve heard of violent reactions by these visual artists to bad taste.

  2. skippy

    OK… Cats. Whom would put plants on a small table ( not big enough for starters ) at window height and the best sunning spot in the house? Cats and windows, its a constant in the universe.

    The dog… well in his/hers defense… OMG that wall paper ( head spins ) and the Mauve Taupe underneath it all ( inverted head spins ), know wonder its such a random pattern of destruction, revulsion, more revulsion.

    Skippy… The dog is clearly in shock, hope help was forthcoming. And I hope the cats personal assistants have got their act together, one of those pots could have harmed a kitty!!!

  3. CB

    Dogs need structure and interesting activity. Out of sheer boredom, my border collie ripped the shingles off the side of the house as far as she could reach. My fault, really, and I vowed I would never have another like her because I’m not the type to give an animal like her a suitable environment. Carelessness on my part for not paying more attention to the breed characteristics.

    I’m dismayed at how many people repeatedly have the wrong animals for their lifestyles and habitats.

  4. CB

    I’m waiting for the opinion pieces advocating female genital mutilation to curb wayward female sexuality. I will bet it’s been discussed privately in some circles and a decision taken that it’s not quite time to propose openly.

    1. Max424

      Interesting theory. Never thought about it, but I agree; it probably has been brought up in right wing circles, and my guess is, the mutilation idea has met, with only enthusiastic glee.

      Most especially, I suspect, by those frigid southern belle wannabes. A proper right wing Daughter of the Mayflower may only have extremely dispassionate sex in the missionary position; all while repeating the Holy (Moley!) Montra:

      God! The Lost Cause! The Flag!* — and sex for procreation only. God! The Lost Cause! The Flag! — and sex for procreation only …

      * The Lost Cause, AND the Flag? As they’re not smart enough to be hypocrites, I’d say they’re idiots.

      1. CB

        There’s a world of conceptual difference between enhancing sexual attractiveness and curbing sexual expression, altho I wonder at what point one might shade into the other. Elisions are hell, law of unintended consequences.

        1. Foppe

          well, in that regard it is I think useful to keep in mind that the “corrective measures” often result in nerve damage and desensitization of the entire area; as such, promoting the idea that the most important thing for a woman to be is “beautiful” in all conceivable ways is a great way to get them to mutilate themselves (more or less) willingly.

        2. ambrit

          Dear CB;
          Ah ha! And what is the evolutionary purpose of ‘enhanced sexual attractiveness’ pray tell? Oh, yeah, to procure superior mates to produce and protect superior children.
          Absent that, what part of ‘self image’ is really ‘reflected social expectations?’
          As for abortions, I always pose this question: “If I give you anti abortion powers, will you give me free and unfettered birth control? For everyone, regardless of age and socio-economic status?”
          An interesting take on this subject is Brian Heberts “The White Plague.”

          1. CB

            The anti-abortionists always made their anti-birth control agenda clear. They have never tried to hide that and I have never understood why people didn’t hear them long ago.

          2. ambrit

            Dear Brites;
            An interesting observation, but one that poses an essential question: “Without a base of reference, how does one develop a workable set of ethics?”
            I will not presume to give an ‘answer’ to the above. It seems my entire life is a striving to come to grips with that question.
            Come on NC Philosophy Department! This question is not trivial!

          3. Ignim Brites

            I doubt is possible to develop a workable ethics based on evolution. Evolution alleges insights into the genetic forces that account for life as we know it today. But really most of these “insights” are pretty naive. What appears to have conferred a survival benefit may just be an illusion. Evolutionary science is far from providing definitive answers to what genetic endowments were decisive in accounting for life as we know now. And even if it were, was accounts for life as we know it now is not necessarily relevant to the future. The poor dinosaurs seemed to be on top of the world until the asteroid hit.

            Even the search for valid evolutionary based ethics smuggles in a moral precept; viz. that survival is an unqualified good. We assume that survival is what evolution is about. But that assumes a purpose. And as I noted, evolutionary science, which is really just natural history, cannot admit of an any purposes.

          4. ambrit

            Dear Brites;
            I think I get the idea, but wonder how ‘rules for social relationships’ are mediated. Is it a level of complexity issue? No one I know has come up with an un-falsifiable theory for how “intelligence” comes about.
            Absent a descent into pure nihilism, how do we get along and progress? (I think I’ll leave the argument over what constitutes ‘progress’ for another time.)
            I would argue that pure “Rugged Individualism” is an anti-survival strategy for any society much above the brute level. Which leads me back to Ethics.

          5. mookie

            brites is correct, there are no purposes in natural history, nor meaning outside of what we create. Meanings, ideas: as far as we know these only exist in human thought.

            There is no need to “develop a workable set of ethics”. Nearly all of humanity share a common morality developed through evolution. We do not need to puzzle it out or be taught it, it’s part of our nature.

          6. Ignim Brites

            Yep wysiwyg or as Satre said: “Reality is all that counts”. From human sacrifice to slavery, to soup kitchens, to the welfare state all are equally ethical.

          7. mookie

            “all are equally ethical”

            depends on your frame of reference. if you’re imagining a non-human observer this statement is probably true, but nearly all humans would agree that charity is good while unjustified mass murder is bad.

    2. Dave of Maryland

      A week ago I had a spirited back and forth with a guy who was gay, born that way, and was proud of it. Two interesting points emerged. These are from him, not me.

      One, there’s a “male g-spot” just inside the anus that gives mind-blowing sex. Way better than anything a guy can get from a girl. Gays might be born that way, but hey, if you try it, you won’t go back to girls. Who says you can’t be converted?!

      So far as that population/procreation thing, his view was that women are receptacles. He’s 28 and wants a kid. He’s going to get some girl for that.

      Now from me: As the gays get stronger, will women get weaker? Wasn’t it 30 years ago that to be a liberated female meant giving up guys for girls? (How did that turn out, again?) Now it’s the boys’s turn. Hey guys! Boys are better than girls!

      1. Ignim Brites

        When will this insight be included in the standard sex education of public schools? Civil rights lawyers?

      2. Bill C

        Dear Dave, I’m afraid you’ve been taken in a bit, and your naivete is showing.

        Men don’t need another man to provide anal stimulation during sex. It can be provided by a “butt plug”, even during masturbation, or his girlfriend can use a “strap-on” penis so they can change roles…….

        I am far from a prude, but I am blushing at saying this on NC!, a site as see a so purely intellectual, pun intended.

        Reading ZeroHedge, you’ll find their comments section has all manner of sexual procedure innuendo.

        And of course almost always equating having anal receptive sex and fellatio as the depths of degradation (while using the terms so frequently their obsession is transparent).

      3. LucyLulu

        Giving up guys for girls?

        Must have been sleeping during that part, and glad of it. There’s a couple things men are better for.

      1. ambrit

        Mr. Strether;
        I am almost afraid to Google the Brazilian Wax subject. I hope it isn’t what my morally compromised subconscious thinks it is.

    3. F. Beard

      As a Christian male I am horrified at female genital mutilation. You’ll find no Biblical warrant for it. Circumcision is for males only and as far as I am concerned is not mutilation.

      1. justanotherobserver

        you have an interesting definition of mutilation then.

        3. To make imperfect by excising or altering parts.

        A male is born with a foreskin. removing it is mutilation, especially when done as some idiotic obediance to mythology.

      2. Neo-Realist

        Circumcision/foreskin removal has always struck me as a cosmetic procedure regardless of the mythology associated with it.

    4. Justified Ancients of Mumu

      These sorts of laws remind me of the “virginity tests” security forces have been using in Egypt to intimidate female protesters. I imagine something similar here isn’t completely unlikely. Women’s rights is apparently an important enough topic in Virginia to warrant input from the SWAT team.

  5. Max424

    Agree with the attack adds against Hank the Cat. A Maine Coon running for the Senate in Virginia does indeed smack of carpetbaggery.

    Besides, no Maine Coon should be forced to live south of the Mason-Dixie-Treason line.

    Coon’s are animals built for snow. Have you ever examined a Maine Coon’s paws? They’re perfect snow pads. And my own Maine Coon, Max, right now with his winter coat full in, looks like a Yak, his fur hangs down so long over his flanks.

    Although, up here in Buffalo, we didn’t get any snow-to-speak-of this winter (just a once in a millenium/squared coincidence. No need to panic), and it sure has been puzzling, for both me and Max.

    If fact, just the other day, Max and I were outside, and where there have always been deep snow trenches, there was only brown grass and muck. And Max looked up at me and said; “Maaaooooowwwww!”

    Which means; “What the hell is going on out here!”

  6. Ned Ludd

    Given the warmongering around Iran, it’s notable that the president of Cato described his organization as an advocate for peace:

    Cato has indicated it does not intend to go quietly. “Mr. Koch’s actions in Kansas court yesterday represent an effort by him to transform Cato from an independent, nonpartisan research organization into a political entity that might better support his partisan agenda,” [Cato President] Crane said in a statement. “We view Mr. Koch’s actions as an attempt at a hostile takeover, and intend to fight it vehemently in order to continue as an independent research organization, advocating for individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.”

    Cato’s foreign policy analyst, Malou Innocent, was on the Alyona Show last week. This is part of what she said about war and the military industrial complex:

    “[Bureaucracies] always want more money, more resources, and more time, especially when it comes to something like the DOD, or when it comes to something like war… It’s a huge cash cow for many Congressional districts, as we know with the military industrial complex.”

    With establishment liberals lined up behind Obama, ready to support or justify every drone attack and bombing campaign against a foreign nation, it would be a great loss to lose Cato as an advocate for peace.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Cato has an analyst named Innocent? Too much.

      That said, with all the career “progressives” ready to run interference for The Droner no matter what he does, even if it’s just the same as what Bush did, “strange bedfellows” like Cato can play an important role.

  7. John M

    Los Alamos has employed several creationists, including Russell Humphreys. Hopefully they will be the first to go in the layoffs.

    1. Praedor

      Ah…didn’t know that. Any “scientific” operation that employs non-scientists/anti-science types (creationists and the like) SHOULD be shut down. They have strayed from their purpose, their function. Good riddance.

      1. John M

        Strange as it sounds, it is possible for someone to work competently in nuclear physics, nuclear engineering, and nuclear weapons and still believe in creationism. They compartimentalize their thinking, and creationism and nuclear physics are mostly separate, although they intersect at radiation physics.

    2. ambrit

      Mr M;
      Well, considering all the VfR boys and Peenemunde personnel originally at White Sands, the Creationist connection seems about par for the course. Take a look at Sir Isaac Newtons Alchemical Writings to see just how close pure science and ‘nutcase’ disciplines really are.

      1. John M

        I have no problem with Isaac Newton being a creationist, or working in astrology, or alchemy. In the case of astrology, he probably knew where the money was. In the other cases, that was the level of science back in his day. Science has progressed enormously, and we can’t blame anyone for being ignorant of later discoveries.

    3. craazyman

      I think the Greys are running the show now from the underground base. Nuclear is so 20th century. Time and space are so 20th century. Fossils or creationism? Who cares? We’re talking formal emanations from beyond space/time, multi-dimensional stuff and alien/human hybrids.

      You need to keep yure skills up ta date in this fast-paced world! Maybe a certificate in channeling from University of Pheonix would be a good career move.

      Never been there, but would like to visit & do some landscape photography. Hopefully soon. This year even, if I can make it happen.

    4. F. Beard

      Bigot. The evidence for design of this universe is so overwhelming that non-creationists have to postulate an infinite number of universes and we just happen to be in one of the lucky ones else we would never know it.

      But hey, if life can evolve from non-life then how does that rule out the Creator evolving from non-life?

      “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. Isaiah 43:10

      1. skippy


        A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern English refers to persons hostile to those of differing sex, race, ethnicity, religious belief or spirituality, political alignment, nationality, language, sexual orientation, and age; and to those from a different region, with non-normative gender identity, those who are homeless, and those with various medical disorders, particularly behavioural and addictive disorders. Forms of bigotry may have a related ideology or world views.

        Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. described bigots with the following quote: “The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.”[1]

        The twelfth century Anglo-Norman author Wace claimed that bigot was an insult which the French used against the Normans, but it is unclear whether or not this is how it entered the English language.[3]

        According to Egon Friedell, “bigot” is of the same root as “Visigoth”. In Vulgar Latin, the initial v transformed into b (a phenomenon today encountered in Iberian languages, such as Spanish and Portuguese; visi had truncated into bi in Vulgar Latin (a phenomenon common in French and Portuguese).[2][3]

        The French used to call the English les goddams after their favorite curse, Clément Janequin’s “La Guerre”[4] which is about the Battle of Marignano, similarly uses the Swiss German curse ‘bigot’, i.e. “by god!”, in a context about the Protestant Swiss.

        Skip here…. Ok beard how many examples of bigotry residing in your cannons do you think I can exhume?

        Wowzers, more than I dare place here[!], but, lets see a few.

        My personal favorite…

        20Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard;
        21and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent.
        22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.
        23Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
        24When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him,
        25he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.”
        26He also said, “Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.
        27God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.”
        28After the flood Noah lived three hundred and fifty years.
        29All the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died. (Gen. 9:20-27)

        22And if you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things come upon me?’ it is for the greatness of your iniquity that your skirts are lifted up, and you suffer violence.
        23Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
        24I will scatter you like chaff driven by the wind from the desert.
        25This is your lot, the portion I have measured out to you, says the LORD, because you have forgotten me and trusted in lies. (Jer. 13:22-25

        1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (Prov. 20:1)

        4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink;
        5lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. (Prov. 31:3-5)

        7These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment. (Isaiah 28:7)

        13also that it is God’s gift to man that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil.

        Skip here…. Drunkards? Noah? The first tiller of the soil, a vineyard to boot, whom samples his ware with relish! God given chub, tent orgies, Canaanite sex slaves? That mob party’s hard… eh,

        2Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
        3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
        4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. (Rom. 13:2-4)

        A man may take a wife as the spoils of war.

        11and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you have desire for her and would take her for yourself as wife,
        12then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and pare her nails.
        13And she shall put off her captive’s garb, and shall remain in your house and bewail her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her, and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.
        14Then, if you have no delight in her, you shall let her go where she will; but you shall not sell her for money, you shall not treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her. (Deut. 21:11-14)

        Heck beard there’s heaps more, go check it out.

        A good book to read, see: The Bible Tells Me So: Uses and Abuses of Holy Scripture


        “The Bible Tells Me So: Uses and Abuses of Holy Scripture,” by Jim Hill and Rand Cheadle, is a compelling book. The co-authors have collected excerpts from a huge body of historical documents in order to show how the Judeo-Christian Bible has been used to support a variety of positions, many of them contradictory.

        As Hill and Cheadle show, verses from the Bible have been used to justify both slavery and its abolition, to promote persecution of the Jews, as tools in the deadly witch hunts in the 16th and 17th centuries, to both persecute and empower homosexuals, to support both Afrocentrism and white supremacy, to both justify and oppose war, to “prove” that the earth is the center of the universe, and more.

        The book includes numerous quotes, sidebars, and illustrations. There are extensive bibliographic notes on each topic for those interested in further research.

        This book should be required reading for all Christians (and for those non-Christians who may find themselves the targets of Bible-justified bigotry).

        Sadly, the narrow-minded ideological fundamentalists who use the Bible to justify their positions will probably not be moved by this book; they will probably write it off as a Satan-inspired deception. But for the rest of us, this is a fascinating resource. Next time you hear someone use the phrase “But the Bible says…” in an argument, whip out this book.

        Skippy… the inherit contradictions are staggering, yet, here you are… 20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge,
        21 for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith. Grace be with you. (1 Tim. 6:20-21)

        Back away from the knowledge beard, its pure evil, it is commanded.

      2. skippy

        These are pure *gold*.

        3But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
        7For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
        8(For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.
        9Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) (1 Cor. 11:3, 7-9)

        8I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; (1 Tim. 2:8)

        11Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness.
        12I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. (1 Tim. 2:11-12)

        0The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” (Matt. 19:10)

        12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” (Matt. 19:12)

        1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is well for a man not to touch a woman. (1 Cor. 7:1)

        25Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
        26I think that in view of the present distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. (1 Cor. 7:25-26)

        1. F. Beard


          I won’t take time to refute all your charges (smaller portions next time please) but as for women I have always looked up to them maybe because I have three older sisters. So believe me when I say that I too wince when I read that women are to be subject to their husbands.

          That said, I also wince when I realize that most women like it that way! And as usual, the Bible provides balance such as:

          There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

          And while women are only commanded to respect their husbands, men are commanded to love their wives.

          Sunday school over.

          1. skippy

            *** I won’t take time to refute all your charges ***… beard.

            Or does the fog envelop as your opines are not what matter, but, the hole and what they portend.

            “And as usual, the Bible provides balance such as”… beard.

            Umm… schizophrenic? Greek roots skhizein (σχίζειν, “to split”) and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-; “mind”), “split mind”

            Ok its not applied in that manner professionally, but, “word salad’s” can do that too ya.

            “Sunday school over.”… ahhh… the obligatory dismissal to wrap it all up… nice argumentation style beardo, faultless, one verse to dispel them all with.

            Skippy… Beard does that have religious continuations ie. is an abstract representation of the control state of a computer program ( cough biblical program )? Inquiring minds would like to know.

      3. craazyman

        u r so rite Beard, their is no way evolution alone could produce a spectacle like this:

        you have to have something climbing up through the genes, come kind of “music of the sphere’s” directing traffic, and then why take 4 billion years?

        because it must be somebody’s lab experiment. some high school kid in the nth dimension has created planet earth and all mankind as his experiment, and we call him God. But even he is ruled by a higher power, just like the birds sing, or the dolphins, or even the crickets. The song runs everything. The Greeks were smart enough to realize this, but then they had evolved beyond the tribal unit and so weren’t stuck with the Angry Omnipotent Man in a robe as their archetype. Even John was lucid enought to called it “the word”. He Knew. I’d say let the creationists keep their jobs at Los Alamos. Who cares about fossils? What difference does it make now? The fossils are only the sketchbooks and not the painting. We have to see who the kid in the lab is first, and then figure out the music. Then we’ll know. How can we do this? Well, probably through channeling with just the right combination of thoughts and chemicals, functioning like a telescope. haha.

      4. mookie

        The evidence for the creator of the universe is equal in amount and quality to the evidence for the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

        As for a creator in the christian sense evolving, it’s difficult to imagine the selection pressures that would lead to the existence of such an eternal, omniscient omnipotence, but my favorite whimsical attempt is the <a href=""ancestor simulation hypothesis. ymmv.

      5. Rex

        Hafta say Beard’s monotonic performance art is becoming a bit tiresome.

        Beard, get some new material or get used to the occasional shower of over-ripe veggies from the audience.

        Gotta admit, though, the bugger’s got determination.

        1. F. Beard

          the bugger’s got determination. Rex

          I mostly enjoy what I do and it’s been a great learning experience so little determination is required except to restrain myself sometimes.

          But hey, even if you don’t believe the Bible yourselves you should at least know it well enough to defeat the Religious Right’s misuse of it and to point out their hypocrisy.

          As for everyone else’s replies, Sunday is over and so is Sunday school till at least next Sunday. Your reading assignment is Proverbs 8.

  8. SR6719

    Two reviewers take-down Steven Pinker’s new book on violence (excerpted)

    Ed Herman (for the March edition of Z magazine):

    “Steven Pinker’s new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, is a propaganda windfall for the leaders and supporters of the U.S. imperial state, currently engaged in multiple wars, with over 800 military bases across the globe, asserting and using the right to kill untried “terrorists” any place on earth and still operating a torture gulag abroad and a record-breaking and abusive prison system at home. It is not surprising that the New York Times greeted the book so warmly, with a flattering front-page Sunday book review by the philosopher Peter Singer, who called Pinker’s tome “supremely important” and a “masterly achievement” (October 9, 2011), along with other positive responses.”

    [Pinker]…swallows whole the old “containment” model in which U.S. policy from 1945 was designed to limit the expansionism of the Soviets and China (“The Cold War was the product of the determination of the United States to contain this movement [of the two great Communist powers] at something close to its boundaries at the end of World War II”). Even the huge Vietnam war death toll was, for Pinker, a result of the “fanatical” unwillingness of the Vietnamese to surrender to superior force. (“The three deadliest postwar conflicts were fueled by Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese communist regimes that had a fanatical dedication to outlasting their opponents.”) This is pretty crude apolo-getics for aggression and mass killing.

    Note also that…[according to Pinker]….a million Vietnamese “died in the fighting.” Apparently there were no Vietnamese civilians killed by direct assault rather than fighting in battles. Elsewhere in this book, Pinker is explicit that “at least 800,000 civilians died in battle” (italics added; referencing Rudolph Rummel’s estimate of 843,000 civilian battle deaths).

    There is a major problem for Pinker in the brute facts of a massive postwar global expansion of the United States, its immense military budget, all those bases, NATO’s steady enlargement, and its taking on of “out of area” responsibilities, all despite the disappearance of the main power allegedly needing containment (the Soviet Union).

    “Pinker does explain that the United States has been “containing” the big bad states. He claims that in recent years we have only engaged in little wars, largely against the “uncivilized.” In Iraq, “the interstate phase was quick, [and] most of the deaths in Iraq were caused by intercommunal violence,” obviously not our fault and death counts are usually inflated by biased folks like the veteran analysts who produced two consecutive estimates of “excess mortality” rates in Iraq for the British medical journal the Lancet in 2004 and 2006…….”

    In the 18th century, Dr. Samuel Johnson said that, “When I take up the end of the web, and find it pack- thread, I do not expect, by looking further, to find embroidery.” As the illustrations here suggest, readers of Pinker’s pretentious work will not find enlightenment there.

    Andrew Brown (of the Guardian):

    “I may as well admit that I haven’t read all of Steven Pinker’s new book….., but quite enough of it to see that the mixture is the same as in his previous bestsellers – a great piece of theatre in which half-truths do battle with straw men while the reader watches in safety, defended by barricades of apparent fact against any danger of actual thought.

    Quote from Pinker: “Wars in which a great power tried to hang on to a colony could be extremely destructive, such as France’s attempts to retain Vietname between 1946 and 1954 (375,000 battle deaths) and Algeria betwee 1954 and 1962 (182,500 battle deaths). After what has been called the “greatest transfer of power in world history”, this kind of war no longer exists.”

    Andrew Brown: “This must come as news to the inhabitants of Iraq.

    Soon they will wake up and be reunited with their loved ones in the discovery that the last 10 years have all been a bad dream of a kind of war that no longer exists.

    What about the second Vietnam war, the one that Rambo fought in? That cost, he says, 1.6 million battle deaths. But it is briskly redefined as “a war between states”. It’s not colonialism when Americans do it, you see.

    And he concludes his review of this “comfort blanket for the smug” as follows:

    “In his earlier works, Pinker was a great populariser of the just-so stories of evolutionary psychology; in this, he has moved on from prehistory to give an account of history, which is still stitched together from just-so stories, but this time illustrated with graphs, and lots of numbers. This kind of thing tends to impress arts graduates. But it’s still just a bedtime story and the only serious conclusion to draw from Pinker’s work is that a culture that regards him as a great intellect is one already in serious crisis.”

    1. Foppe

      But.. but.. the great moralizer Peter Singer likes it! In fact, he liked it so much that he fellated the author for writing it in his nyt book review. It simply must be good.
      Why else would you want to pay a fortune to buy admission to an elite college where Singer will teach? (Guess who else is on the board of that uni? Could it be S. Pinker?) What a joke.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Thanks, SR. Great takedowns. “‘…the only serious conclusion to draw from Pinker’s work is that a culture that regards him as a great intellect is one already in serious crisis.’” Indeed we are.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      Excellent comment.

      John Stockwell, a former intelligence officer, alleges in 1980 that at least U.S. secret wars after WWII was the third bloodiest war in known human history and that over 6 million died in the third world by 1980.

      Of course the numbers have gone way up since then.

      It’s amazing testimony.

      And it’s no wonder that the U.S., the true global terrorist monster, can come up with propagandistic hacks like Steven Pinker.

    4. Valissa

      … a great piece of theatre in which half-truths do battle with straw men while the reader watches in safety, defended by barricades of apparent fact against any danger of actual thought. – Andrew Brown

      What wonderful wordsmithing… and so true about many books out today!

      Thanks for sharing those reviews.

    1. Susan the other

      It was. I enjoyed it for the nostalgia and a reminder of old fashioned conservatism. He’s preaching to the choir with me because I have always been annoyed and offended by “consumerism.” But his plea for a solution whereby we match production and consumption (ie eliminate credit and debt) left out the finer point to be made. That production must fall to a level that is sustainable and then demand must be controlled by equitable distribution (or social chaos). Because we have trashed the earth in our quest for growth and we can’t go back.

  9. Max424

    re: Beyond Blue 6: The Great Divorce

    Those 19th century coal mines were grrreat! A great place to work, a great place to find true love … and eternal family happiness!

    What a load of horseshit. Mead, another neo-liberal globalist excuse maker for that grrreat leveling agenda.

    Yes, we bring to you low wages and underemployment, and with these fine tools we are going to cut apart and then crush the middle and working classes, but think how deeply gratifying life will be when all those out-of-work spouses and their starving kids are … back in it together; just like families were on the prairies in the 1880s!

    btw: There’ll be no need for a simple and comprehensive health care system, either, ’cause lifesaving Granny will be there, to provide the homespun remedies!

    1. JTFaraday

      Yeah, I experienced low level irritation the entire time I was reading it. He did make 2 very good points though:

      1). Given the 20th c division of labor (and, I would add, the silencing of employee input in organizational management), “jobs” are all too often deskilling.

      2). With the development of the bureaucratic state, we have evolved a passive “consumer” model of politics that is likewise de-skilling.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In a Neo-Neanderthal utopia, everyone is his/her own boss.

        No one has to depend on the kindness of strangers to survive. I mean, it will be nice but not necessary.

        Question, if you kill a mammoth every 2 weeks, getting all your food, clothing and shelter needs from that giant animal, and you have clean water, fresh air and nice view of the valley from your cave, how much is that earning when you translate that into today’s dollars?


        1. craazyman

          if there was a good chinese take out and a dry cleaner near the cave, I’d say $250G, at least!

        2. JTFaraday

          Well, if part 6 annoyed you, then you really don’t want to go back and read part 5. I skimmed it, and his dystopian future has everyone starting a small business or going freelance (without a national health insurance plan).

          If he thinks he can suddenly engender that petit bourgeois totalitarian vision, I got news for him– a lot of people will just drop out and go crap on his lawn.

          Beyond that, I really don’t follow your neanderthal tableaux. Do you honestly think that our passive dependence on the narrowly prescribed roles (increasingly grudgingly) granted to us by large employers and on (increasingly captured) political parties has enabled any genuine human progress over the past 40 years, and do you think that continuing in that essentially passive “consumerist” mode is going to get us anywhere in the future?

          Frankly, I think this habituated dependence, that de-skills and *even worse* shuts down the mind, has put us *at the mercy* of some of the nastiest economic and political predators that this country has ever seen–or, at least, not seen for a long time. The 1929 – WWII crowd were pikers.

          I don’t think it should be controversial to say this.

          I also don’t, upon reflection, find it particularly shocking to discover that the chosen radicalism of young people today is anarchism.

          We are, in fact, in desperate need of more imagination with regard to how we are to live. This rats in mazes crap isn’t working even for a lot of people “privileged” enough (or drugged up enough) to still be running around trying to do it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I use the Neo-Neanderthal theme as a koan to let myself break free from today’s ways of thinking.

            It’s not Neanderthal. It’s Neo-Neanderthal.

            What have we lost in arriving at where we are today?

            What are some of the things we can learn from a time that we deem ‘not quite civilized,’ assessing today’s situation not in reference to a century or two ago, which is certainly worth looking into and many are doing it, but to a much earlier time?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am going to be busy for the next 6 hours so you will excuse me if I don’t respond right away.

            Regarding national health plan, that’s one aspect of a better world. We should also be talking about healthier ways of living, a more equal society (thus causing less stress), etc. I personally gain a lot thinking about how the Neanderthals lived.

          3. JTFaraday

            Oh, okay! In that case, the burgeoning anarchist youth movement will love you– you can go freelance as a post-modern business consultant-guru in neo-neanderthalian culture. In return, the libertarians will see to it that you pay no taxes on your free rent in a commune in Oakland.

            “In a Neo-Neanderthal utopia, everyone is his/her own boss.

            No one has to depend on the kindness of strangers to survive. I mean, it will be nice but not necessary.”

            Hm. But, doesn’t dropping a three ton woolly mammoth take a village? Kind of like, a barn raising in reverse?

            Of course, today we have all those empty buildings, so we don’t even need to raise the barn– we can just continue in our slothful modern ways.

            We just have to take the building and fortify its defense– but after that, we’re free to garden all we want! (provided we then do no violence to the plants).

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Hopefully, there are no strangers in the valley or village for the more advanced Neanderthals.

            I believe Neo-Neanderthalism is still being formulated as of now; it’s kind of like a rasa tabula waiting for more input.

            Currently, I am working on food classification. Instead of saying some food is organic, GM or pesticide-laden, it is probably better to distinguish between Stone-Age food and Industrial food.

      2. Max424

        I found a lot to agree with, too. That’s what made the insidious piece so dangerous.

        Webs of deceit. It reminded me of something Matt Yglesias might write (although Matty is more of a technocrat, and he LOVES consumerism).

        “Sorry, but those 22/hr assembly line jobs –with full bennies– are gone. But you didn’t want them anyways, because they were soul crushing.

        Now, things will better, as you learn to operate as a highly skilled corporate individual (are you highly skilled? Well, if you’re not, go broke and get you’re fucking Phd already!).

        As for the rest of you, become entrepreneurs. Open up a hot dog stand, or become yoga instructors. You might starve, but you’ll feel grrreat about yourself.”

        “And never forget, your suffering is benefiting the industrial slave laborers of China, who have it so much better now, as they used to have to work on a farm!”

  10. K Ackermann

    Obama should see how committed Israel is to the idea that Iran is an existential threat.

    He should tell Israel all they have to do is pick a date and the US will take out Iran’s known nuke sites in exchange for a permanent freeze on all settlements and Jerusalem being handed over to the Palestinians.

    1. ambrit

      Mz Ackermann;
      Heavens lady! I sure hope you meant that as snark. Who ever heard of a sovereign government living up to any of its treaty agreements?
      Besides, Israel and Iran? Two theocracies, and opposing ones at that! Let us just get out of the way and hope the ‘fallout’ doesn’t do too much collateral damage.

        1. ambrit

          Mr. Strether;
          Ever hear of the Second Masada Option? A total Bitter Ender Gotterdamerung. Most of the Saudi refineries and oil fields are within the fallout pattern.

        2. docG

          You’ve got it exactly right, Lambert. I can’t think of many things Israel could to that would be more self destructive than provoking a war with Iran. I guess they’re feeling pretty confident their “missile defense” shield will protect them. Sure it will: from the first salvo of dummy missiles the Iranian generals have prepared for just such an occasion. Israel has prevailed over some pretty hapless opponents, but Iran ain’t one of them. If they were smart enough to capture a US drone, they’ll be smart enough to deal with the Israeli “missile defense,” guaranteed.

          You don’t need atomic weapons to lay waste to nation whose population is roughly the size of a major US city. Conventional weapons will do the trick quite nicely, and all the sophisticated weaponry of the US and Israel combined won’t be able to stop those missiles once the “missile defense” system runs out of steam.

          I do think Israel is on a suicide course, for sure. Save Israeli Jewry! Get them the Hell OUT of Israel.

          1. LucyLulu

            Only way that Israel attacks Iran is if they think the US will do the bulk of the heavy lifting. I agree with Lambert. Tell Israel if they’re hell-bent on attacking Iran, we won’t stop them. But don’t expect any help either.

            A tiny Jewish nation, surrounded everywhere by Muslim countries, launching a nuclear attack? Yep, the Palestinians would immediately start to pack boxes.

  11. JTFaraday

    Bad kitties! Psychopaths show no remorse, either, doing violence to those two potted plants like that. Tsk. Tsk.

      1. JTFaraday

        I was so shocked out of my wits at the violence the dirty effing hippies perpetrated against the potted plants at Zucotti Park and against the lawn at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston last fall, that it completely revolutionized my thinking and altered forever the color of my mind.

        When I heard that Andrew Breitbart finally fulminated himself into a heart attack last week, I sobbed for hours.

        Life has been just one big Greek tragedy lately.

  12. brian

    although a lifelong democrat i won’t vote for obama
    the corruption level as evident in the mortgage settlement was the final straw

    was thinking about writing in my boy kitty Tarka (the name of the street he was found on as an orphan)

    but that was born in Johannesburg so not eligible

    1. TMC

      What took you so long? I didn’t vote for him in ’08 when he flipped on FISA and said he’d fix when he got elected.

    1. JTFaraday

      “Some of the same activists that persuaded advertisers to boycott Glenn Beck’s television show on Fox News in 2009 are now mobilizing against Rush Limbaugh in the wake of his verbal attacks on a Georgetown University law school student this week…

      Two mattress companies, Sleep Train and Sleep Number, made similar statements on Friday. A representative of Sleep Number wrote on Twitter, “Recent comments by Rush Limbaugh do not align w/ our values, so we made decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.””

      You have to laugh.

      A similar campaign targeted at advertisers also knocked off Don Imus in–what? 2007 or so?

      With the untimely demise of Breitbart this past week, wouldn’t that leave the butt-ugly conservatives spitting!

      Makes you wonder what would sprout up in its place.

      1. Norton

        Rush Limbaugh’s show, aka Mr. Anal Cysts Draft Deferment from the war he believed in cavalcade, is just emotional filler between commercials. Take away the commercials and it’s like anti-matter.

  13. MountainHome

    Thanks for the good write up. I think I’ll just keep my dog. At least my dog understands me.

  14. ambrit

    Re. the Hurricane Katrina ruling: Having lived in the region for nearly thirty years, this is pure Louisianna. Pettifogging at its best. A little old lady who lived just down the street from us in Pearlington MS, on the state line opposite Slidell LA, had her home washed away. All that was left was the concrete slab. Her insurance company agreed to replace the roof, because they claimed they were not responsible for the flood waters damages. The roof got blown off, and was thus covered. We were all told, even by banks underwriting mortgages, that flood insurance was not required. The area had been zoned a Class C Flood Risk. Now, everything south of the Interstate 10 is maximum flood risk, and homeowners insurance is prohibitively expensive. That’s one reason we moved inland to Hattiesburg. So, seeing that there is a legal wrangle going on about just where the water that wiped out the Lower Ninth Ward came from does not surprise me in the least.
    Let us be somewhat logical about it all, just for a moment. Like many great coastal cities, New Orleans is now mostly formed from reclaimed marsh and swamp. It was a bad decision in the first place. If your economy is in the doldrums, what better Public Works Program than to relocate all those ‘swamp critters’ to high ground? Move New Orleans to the High Ground! Let Mother Nature have her way. She will, sooner or later.

      1. Bernard

        anything below Interstate 12 in S. La. is flood prone. try buying insurance for anyting below interstate-12. i pay more for my house insurance than anything else. just a matter of time before the next one hits.

  15. zephyrum

    Regarding the Walter Russell Mead, Beyond Blue, he repeatedly takes quite a departure from reality.

    Mead writes, “We looked to be headed for a generation of wage stagnation among blue collar workers.”

    Uh, another one? Actually we saw stagnation for over 20 years, and now are seeing deep decline. Perhaps he doesn’t know any blue collar workers.

    Also, “But it was exactly their ability to sell shoddy products at high prices that made so many American companies so profitable in the golden age of the blue model – and it was those profits that underwrote the wages and benefits that gave blue collar workers lifetime security and middle class incomes.”

    What about Apple? Great products at high prices and very profitable. Or HP, back in the day. Or 3M, Kodak, etc. etc. His assertion that profitabily can only come from mediocrity is far too forgiving of the executives running the car companies in the 70’s and ensuing decades.

    Let’s be clear; blue collar wage stagnation did not come about because companies were forced to produce better products, but because the malignant growth of the FIRE sector of the economy–and the associated high density of psychopath executives–squeezed the life out of businesses actually making things.

    You can only be this ignorant as a tenured professor, theorizing at your computer without any attempt to correlate your writing to reality.

    1. Jim

      “blue collar wage stagnation” resulted from the cowardice of Dem and GOP politicians to better redistribute the rents of globalization. Of course wages will stagnate/decline as trade barriers come down. But the overall pie continues to get larger. Politicians can do something about this, but have decided not to.

  16. Susan the other

    Gretchen Morgensen on Sarah Bloom Raskin. Nobody mentioned CDSs? As Das reiterated here 3 days ago: the rocket scientists at the investment banks sold multiple-fragmented securitized securities to investors incentivized with credit default insurance contracts in some absurd multiple of the multiples of the unidentifiable underlying security. All the big banks are gone. They cannot participate in any sort of banking as we imagine they should. And their suicide plans, asked for by Bernanke some time ago, are probably being put into action. Why else would he ask for them? Interest rates will be kept low because TINA. And it’s not TINA because the consumer will have more money. It’s because the banks will implode too fast. Gotta take this one step at a time.

  17. Doug Terpstra

    About Israel pressuring Obama on Iran policy, the propaganda is getting really sloppy. But I suppose it needn’t be too sophisticated when serving our key client. Repeated relentlessly in every venue, time and again, is the theme, with little paraphrasing, that Netanyahu is frustrated with Obama and vice versa. The link cites “the often-fraught relationship between the president and the Israeli prime minister.” And from the Guardian:

    “…the White House is frustrated by what it sees as political interference by Netanyahu to mobilize support for Israel’s position in the US [Knesset]… ‘They are poles apart,’ said one diplomatic source.”

    Poles apart? On what planet? Appearances of disagreement between Israel and Obama are purely for public consumption, as is starkly revealed by his immediate blessing of illegal settlements, occupation, the ongoing annexation of East Jerusalem, and every war Israel has demanded. It follows the nauseating pattern of every one of Obama’s all-too-familiar “negotiation-‘capitulation'” events since the inauguration.

    Let’s be clear: there is no daylight between Israel and the moneychangers on Wall Street, nor can a single photon can squeeze between them and Obama. Obama works for Israel and Wall Street and all noise to the contrary is only diversionary drama in the mythical theater of democracy.

    Overpaid propagandists can now phone in their scripts. In perception management and the manufacturing of consent, the Israeli-Wall Street moneychangers have found their champion in Obama—who puts B-movie actor Reagan to shame. It is astonishing to witness the very large number of people who still buy Obama’s good intentions, despite years of abundant hard evidence to the contrary. This is based largely, I believe, on his exceptional neuro-lingual hypnosis skills and his practiced warm and fuzzy sincerity. This basilisk phenomenon is one which, IMO, could only be accomplished by a narcissistic sociopath whose messianic ego liberally quaffs its own Kool-Aid.

    IF, big IF, Israel really wants the “US” military to” bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”, using McCain’s cute sing-song about war crimes, then it most certainly will — after an appropriate false flag rallying incident — just as it used 911 to attack Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, etc.

    1. SR6719

      Doug Terpstra: “It is astonishing to witness the very large number of people who still buy Obama’s good intentions…”

      Good comment overall, but just to single out this one line….

      It’s true there are large numbers of people who still believe in Obama’s good intentions. Makes you wonder what he’d have to do to convince these people he’s not acting in good faith. If we take “some of the people” to mean millions (and perhaps tens of millions), then it looks like P.T. Barnum was right when he said “you can fool some of the people all of the time”.

      1. psychohistorian

        I think it is not so much fooling people that is at play but fear of the alternative is causing cognitive dissonance.

    2. K Ackermann

      False flag? That’s old skool. There is no need for pretense anymore. There is no need for appearances, or doubt, or continuity, or justice.

      Every single policy, and all government actions only benefit the 1%, and they no longer pretend otherwise.

      Remember Colin Powell holding up that vial of air in front of the UN? It was only air, and he said so.

      Remember Condi Rice saying the title of the memo was “Bin Laden to Attack the US with Commercial Aircraft?

      Remember Alberto Gonzales swearing under oath that he never could find his ass even using a flashlight and a map?

      Cheney claiming Rumsfeld was the greatest SecDef in history?

      Obama stopping torture/GitMo/Whistleblower persecutions?

      Romney explicitly telling us that corporations are people?

      Wall Street reform?


      Benevolent world leader?

      Champion of human rights?

      Shining city on the hill?


  18. DC Native

    At the end of the day, one of the prime driving forces behind conservatism is the idea that women should be subservient to men. Much of that stems from silly, ancient fairy tale books [e.g., the Bible, Qu’ran], but the other part stems from repressed (and not-so-repressed) sexual frustration.

    The guy who secretly wants to have sex with a woman will, in many instances, think the woman is a “slut” if she has sex with another guy. Yet, if that same woman had sex with the original guy, he would never think to call her a “slut,” even though her actions have been no different…the only difference has been her sexual partner.

    To put it another way; reproduction is the sole natural “reason” for existence, and that quite natural fact is built into our DNA. Sex is the [very, very enjoyable] means of reproduction. A certain ideology ::cough:: conservatism ::cough:: demonizes sex. Trying to put a lid on the driving force behind life and existence is bound to lead to some VERY disturbing results.

    1. Norton

      Short version:
      A woman that sleeps with lots of guys and you is a slut.
      A woman that sleeps with lots of guys but not you is a whore.

  19. NickTheBlade

    I have a solution to the disenfranchisement of the young, the war on women, voter empowerment and a few other issues:

    Since fetuses or feti, are proclaimed to be human beings,
    then we should give them the vote. Now obviously the most likely guardian ad litem of their vote would be their mother. This means that every pregnant woman gets two votes, or three if she is carrying twins.

    I bet that the pregnant moms of the country are going to be more likely to vote for health care, parks, schools, infrastucture and peace than the dads.

    The GOP and the Hillbilly Theocracy should rush to introducte this bill in congress, no?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does the mother lose the vote when the baby is born, assuming you don’t have twins (or more)?

      Who should vote – the father or the mother of a 2 year old?

      If you have 6 kids under voting age, does your family get 8 votes?

      Do you adopt kids before an election in order to increase your votes only to ‘un-adopt’ them afterwards?

      Deos a grandfather get to vote for a grandmother when she’s on life support? Can that be done with power of attorney?

      1. Darwin

        Don’t be silly.

        According the Hillbilly Theocracy the
        kids don’t matter once their born, thus they lose their vote.

    2. propertius

      I want to be able to vote for my dead ancestors. If they can be baptized after death by the Mormons, I see no reason to deny them the franchise over an accident of biology.

    1. Darwin

      “Catches up with social and cultural change?”

      You mean when a small vocal minority screams loud
      enough to get laws changed to enshrine their choices?

      1. Valissa

        Did you read the article? I did not post this link because of political-cultural issues (likw opinions of anti-gay groups or trad family values crap), but because I think it’s interesting to see how new legal viewpoints come out of the combination of technical and social change. Obviously both moms should have some sort of rights, but how will they be decided? If there are any lawyers out there who have any insight into this I would find that very helpful.

  20. propertius

    Mr. Sitaris is to be commended for relieving the kleptocrats of their hoarded lucre and putting it back into circulation.

    He’s a regular Robin Hood. ;-)

  21. Klassy!

    Class warfare thing got me thinking about reading the Cross of Gold Speech.
    Anyway, here is an interesting tidbit I found: From the early days of psychiatry, “alienist” diagnoses William Jenning Bryan as crazy in letter to NYT editor (1896).
    From the letter:

    A perusal of Mr. Bryan’s speeches shows an increasing intensity of conviction that the real evils of this world are:



    Wall Street.



    Gold dollars.


    Rich people.

    Idle men having idle money.

    On the other hand the good things are:


    Poor people.

    Silver dollars.


    Free silver.

    In his Philadelphia speech, Sept. 22, he says: “The free-silver cause is true—”because every enemy to good government is against ‘free silver.’”

    If Mr. Bryan believes this, no further evidence need to be quoted to show a delusional condition of mind.

  22. i forgot about ClearChannel

    NEW YORK—A flower company is the seventh advertiser to pull its ads from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s radio program in reaction to his derogatory comments about a law student who testified about birth control policy……..

    Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks Inc. hosts Limbaugh’s program, one of the country’s most popular talk radio shows. The company is supporting Limbaugh, whose on-air contract with Premiere runs through 2016.

    Clear Channel’s parent company was taken private in 2008 by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.


    hence no doubt a partial contributor to Mitt’s lukewarm rebuttal of Rush.

    1. Valissa

      The trend of ever increasing authoritarianism continues… very sad indeed.

      This paragraph says it all…

      The bill—H.R. 347, or the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011”—was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, while only Ron Paul and two other Republicans voted against the bill in the House of Representatives (the bill passed 388-3). Not a single Democratic politician voted against the bill.The virtually unanimous passage of H.R. 347 starkly exposes the fact that, despite all the posturing, the Democrats and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder with the corporate and financial oligarchy, which regarded last year’s popular protests against social inequality with a mixture of fear and hostility.

      Another good reason to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican Primary here in MA on Tuesday.

      I went to Google News and searched on “H.R. 347” to see how many news sites bothered to report on this.

      Here is an interesting article with more detail on the rationale for the bill

    2. ambrit

      Dear wunsacon;
      No, you are not overreacting. I remember the riot at the end of the ’72 Republican convention on the Beach. That was when the Constitution was still respected somewhat.
      Now the elites have their Enabling Act, we’ve already had our 9/11 Reichstag Fire, and I’m quite sure Krystall Nacht II isn’t far behind.

    3. Klassy!

      Wow. Calling my senator– you know, the progressive one that voted for the defense reauthorization act.

  23. a crude disinterest

    If you’re vacuous enough to watch Extreme Makeover, at least let the dog out first.

  24. Wallyz

    As a Los Alamos native and LAHS graduate (Go Toppers!), I’d like to provide a bit of background for the Plutonium facility , budget woes, and Los Alamos weird.

    For most of it’s existance Los Alamos was run by the University of California system, with Lab Employees being UC system employees, and paying into the UC retirement system. The largest numerical growth of lab staff members happened in the 1970’s and early 80’s- the height of the nuke rush in the cold war. All these staff members had put a huge amount of money into the UC retirement system. In the 2000’s, the for-profit defense industry created pressure to relieve the UC system of their burden. There were a number of manufactured incidents and poor media coverage that built a case to kick UC out of the contract. Somewhat unsurprisingly, when they formed a partnership with Bechtel, they were exonerated of mismanagement, and everything was deemed both hunky and dory.

    Bechtel was able to get a sizable chunk of the retirement money and convert it all to defined contribution plans, with the exception of a significant number of holdovers near retirement age (like my father) who were vested in the UC system, and could retire there, but were still staff members with seniority at the lab, (Many with grants attached to their names) Many of these men are very conservative, which gives rise to the silly reality of the Los Alamos Tea Party steering committee consisting mostly of double dipping federal employees.

    The Plutonium facility was being planned during this time, so the private companies and their congressional and bureaucratic lackeys increased and expanded the scope of the project, and the requirements for security( Iranian hijackers sneak over the border at El Paso, seize a plane flying to Denver from ABQ, etc, etc.) until it grew from a 900 Million building to a 5 Billion building.

    After Bechtel took aver the management of the lab, in part to improve efficiencies, they management costs at the lab multiplied 4x. This was not a problem until two things happened. First, the Bush administration left. Second, Pete Dominici retired. When looking to cut budgets, a quasi defense, quasi research station in the middle of a state with only 5 electoral votes, a less powerful Senatorial delegation, and a recent, obvious, track record of overspending was too fat and too reasonable a target. More than that, there are serious scientific concerns about the Plutonium facility actually being able to do what it is supposed to do, replace the decaying plutonium storage and research facilities it is supposed to replace.

    The strange vibe in Los Alamos is that of a generation of people who were very successful in doing what they wanted to do: meaningful work, raise their children in a safe place, well educated; and they want to retire there while having it largely unchanged. They realize that what they want is impossible, they realize that the important work they once did is now bloated and politicized, and the lab effectively functions as a huge federal subsidy for their town, their way of life, and for Northern New Mexico. This is unnerving and frustrating for many of them. They do not want to become a tourist town, but understand that tourism and retirement communities will be all that is left after the Lab shrinks to a sustainable size.

    I love Los Alamos, I love New Mexico, but they are dependent on federal handouts that are outsized compared to what the Lab produces. Even in ’93, President Clinton could only come up with two areas that LANL could uniquely carry into a post cold War era- SUpercomputing and Stockpile maintenance. Hardly a $2.5 billion mission, or a 5 Billion facility.

  25. TMC

    The cats and the demolished plants had me laughing for the first time today. What was their person thinking?

    But it was second picture that had me really rocking with laughter. I had a Labrador Retriever who loved to shred and was very proud of his accomplishments. But then he had a couple of good teachers, the cats.

    Thanks, I really needed the laugh

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