Links 6/25/12

Lonesome George, last member of species of Galápagos giant tortoise, dies Guardian (Chuck L)

Trending: Random clicks of kindness in an age of trolls Independent. The cat rescue photo is prominent, but still no story!

Stonehenge Was Monument Marking Unification of Britain Science Daily

Scientists developing device to ‘hack’ into brain of Stephen Hawking Telegraph (Chuck L)

In Documents on Pain Drug, Signs of Doubt and Deception New York Times

Google, The Smothers Brothers, and “The Freedom to Hear” Lauren Weinstein (Chuck L)

Australian banks most profitable in the world MacroBusiness

Shock at the BBC as reporters are told to start making money Independent. Lambert: Deceptive headline. If they want reporters to be marketers, what does that say? More insane managers regarding “human resources” as interchangeable parts.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi declared president of Egypt Guardian

Soros: We Have 3 Days to Avoid ‘Fiasco’ Bloomberg

Debt seniority and the Spanish bailout VoxEU

Stimulating Europe Triple Crisis

The Great Abdication Paul Krugman, New York Times

Romney Stares Uncomprehendingly At $1 Bill Onion

Mitt and the junk bond king Boston Globe. His history with Milken.

Shock as Nazi flag soars over Long Beach Jewish community Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Robert Shiller Goes Off The Deep End With His New Housing Proposal Clusterstock

Charlie Rose Endorses America is ‘Not Greatest Country’ View of Aaron Sorkin Show mcrTV (Swedish Lex)

How Christian clubs in schools turned into faith-based bullying MinnPost

Insight: In hours, caustic vapors wreaked quiet ruin on biggest U.S. refinery Reuters

JP Morgan: Eight Challenging Questions Global Economic Intersection

Bank chiefs enjoy double-digit pay rises Financial Times

Stabilizing prices is immoral Steve Waldman

US Government Backstops Most Derivatives masaccio, Firedoglake

* * *

Lambert here:

D – 76 and counting*

“It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it.” –Thomas Jefferson

Occasional word of the day. Agnotology: the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt (via). Readers, suggestions?

Meet the Press, as told to The Bobblespeak Translations:. “GREGORY: you never even introduced a bill in Congress RUBIO: that was my tactic to expose the hypocrisy of Democrats

Montreal. “#Manifencours will be taken care of by local police stations this evening. Therefore, we will not follow the demonstration on Twitter. #GGI” Quebec City: “A day of protests yesterday in Montreal and Quebec. The two rallies in continuance with March 22nd brought together 15,000 and 10,000 people respectively, showing that the contestation can still be heard at the beginning of school holidays.” Quebec City: “In the crowd, Quebec flags were side by side with red squares and signs against shale gas, but the most common targets remained Jean Charest and the mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume. The rule that the latter brought to a vote this week to restrict protests did not go unnoticed.” Fête nationale in Quebec City: “[P]eople came out in less impressive numbers than in the past. The [organizers] also asked for a private security agency to confiscate all casseroles at the entrance of the site of the concert.” “[Student] groups are planning to launch a series of meetings around Quebec in mid-July to increase outreach and engagement with student associations in other provinces.” “Large gatherings are also expected for 22 July and 22 August.” “It seems likely things will be quiet until the theoretical August resumption of the winter term envisioned in Bill 78. Then, election or not, things may get interesting.” “The future of the protests is said to depend on whether an election is called for this autumn, as students are determined to focus on unseating the Charest government.” Uh oh. However, I find that dubious. Perhaps a faction. Corruption: “Michèle Ouimet also spoke to Duchesneau about his precarious situation at the end of the week. He says he’s hiring private security because he’s sitting on information that could shake Quebec’s establishment to its foundations, information touching billion-dollar construction deals, corrupt contractors and major political parties (the PQ as well is touched by the claims about party funding).”

Occupy. “The U.S. media has been writing an obituary for Occupy, but in fact Occupy is active all over the country and is just being ignored by the corporate media.” “Occupy has organized some significant actions, including the May Day protests, the NATO protest in Chicago, an Occupy G8 summit and G-8 protests in Thurmont and Frederick, Md. There are a number of ongoing actions—Occupy Our Homes, Occupy Faith, Occupy the Criminal Justice System, Occupy University, the Occupy Caravan—that protect the embers of revolt. Last week when Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, testified before a U.S. Senate committee, he was confronted by Occupy protesters, including Deborah Harris, who lost her home in a JPMorgan foreclosure. But you will hear little if anything about these actions on cable television or in The Washington Post.”

AZ. “At the June 12, 2012 [Tucson] City Council meeting, they voted 7-0 in favor of abolishing corporate personhood and supporting a Constitutional amendment.”

FL. Florida real estate: “Under current projections, the Atlantic Ocean would swallow much of the Florida Keys in 100 years. Miami-Dade, in turn, would eventually replace them as a chain of islands on the highest parts of the coastal limestone ridge, bordered by the ocean on one side and an Everglades turned into a salt water bay on the other.”

IL. “For the past four years, [University of Chicago] professors or administrators have dismissed questions about whether the campus should be home to Obama’s library with a wave of the hand and an admonition not to ask again until after the November election. … All discussion is going on under the table.” The University of Chicago Way!

MI. “The state is putting up an 8-foot-tall, chain-link fence to block a homeless encampment from returning to a nearly 9-acre site on a state highway median west of Ann Arbor.”

MT. “[At the Montana R Convention, Rs finally removed the platform plank endorsing the criminalization of ‘homosexual acts.”

PA. Fracking: “Three northeastern PA families have reached a $1.6 million settlement with [Chesapeake] over contaminated water wells. … Last year the PA DEP fined Chesapeake just over $1 million for contaminating the water supplies of 16 families in the area … [E]xperts from DEP agreed that faulty cement casings on the wells allowed gas and other substances to migrate from deep underground and pollute the water wells.” Blowout preventers, anyone? Tinpot tyrant watch: “’Let me explain something to you,’ said Jim Weslager, Vice President of PNC Bank Corporate Security to the Cruz family and several of their supporters outside of PNC’s corporate headquarters. ‘You’re all put on notice. You’re not to enter any of these PNC properties. If you enter a PNC property, we’re going to ask the police to arrest you for criminal trespass.'” The Cruz’s had gone to PNC to renegotiate their mortgage.

TN. Corruption: “Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett’s wife wrote six checks to herself totaling $15,053.56 from his mayoral election fund that were not included on the campaign finance disclosure statements as required by law.”

VA. WSJ editorial page nationalizes the story. The first outright lie is in paragraph two: “UVA’s trustees [sic] dared to fire a president who was working against the priorities that it is ostensibly their job to set.” Statement from President and former President of Thomas Jefferson Society of Alumni: “We call upon the Board of Visitors to reinstate Ms. Sullivan as President to complete her current term of office without prejudice. We call upon Rector Helen Dragas to resign as Rector and Board member. In the event she does not resign, we will ask Governor Robert McDonnell not to reappoint her when her current term expires June 30, 2012. Finally, we support the faculty’s request for one voting member on the Board to give the Board the opportunity to have faculty input and participation in its future deliberations and votes.” Fairfax State rep: “We need independent Boards for our state institutions. There has to be some institutional control. But we can’t keep appointing people just because they laid down a five-figure check at a cocktail party for Governor X.” Student Council waffles: “Council members stated they ‘look forward to the Board having a resolution.‘” Commenter: “Umm, shouldn’t headline read: ‘Student leaders fail to back Sullivan’?” Rally for Honor Sunday afternoon on the lawn (pictures) High noon on Tuesday, BoV meeting. The catch 22: “The Board of Visitors, apparently confident of a majority favoring Sullivan’s reinstatement, has called a meeting for Tuesday. The governor, in a three-page memo to all board members, has instructed them to bring “final action” at that meeting or he will ask for the resignation of every one of them. Alas, there is no way for them to do that without action by him. Should the board vote to reinstate Sullivan, she will not agree. She has made it clear that she would gladly return to the presidency, but only if Rector Dragas were no longer on the board. Dragas has made it clear she has no intention of resigning. She will chair Tuesday’s meeting.” “Dragas has virtually no support for the decision on U.Va.’s Grounds. But she does have a key supporter in Paul Tudor Jones, a Connecticut billionaire and U.Va. alumnus and donor. Support also came from another Connecticut billionaire, Peter Kiernan, a former Goldman Sachs partner who was chairman of the Darden School Foundation board of trustees until his email about ‘the project’ to replace Sullivan was leaked.”

Given that the country is ruled (as opposed to governed) by oligarchs, it seems reasonable that billionaires Jones and Kiernan are the principals, and Dragas and other UVA functionaries are the agents. But despite prolix emissions of B-school jargon (“strategic dynamism”), no clear reason for Sullivan’s firing has ever been given. What do the putschers want done that Sullivan is not doing? There has to be a reason, and presumably it’s money. But nobody who’s tried to follow the money has succeeded; the GS angle (here also) came to nothing. So I wonder if this tweet from the Cavalier’s FOIAed email trove is a place to begin. Kington to Dragas: “Bob Bruner is at the top of his game – we are so fortunate to have him. As you said today Darden is a near and visible template for much of what we seek” (never explained!)

Here’s a breathless post from Darden’s Dean, Bob Bruner on the future of the university. It’s a business model for a MOOC: “Imagine “pay per view” for lectures, textbook chapters, tutorials, etc. The Khan Academy is already doing it for primary and secondary school students. iTunes did it for music. Netflix and Hulu did it for home entertainment. … It used to be that a degree program was the unit of consumption: you could only take courses if you signed up for a degree program. Now, we are seeing the delivery of courses on demand—but why stop there? One could opt for individual classes or tutorials on specific topics.”

So, let me put on my tinfoil hat and try to think like the finance person I’m not. Clearly, all these “units of consumption” represent a future revenue stream. But UVA would have to make a significant upfront investment in facilities, technology, planning, administration, and staffing — even if they use ill-paid adjuncts — to realize that revenue. So, exactly as the Jippy Mo’s William Daley sold future revenue streams from parking meters to a private company in exchange for a lump sum payment up front, why shouldn’t somebody, a billionaire, say, purchase the future revenues from “pay per view” education for a lump sum to UVA? UVA invests the money in the facilities, puts the rest into the endowment, gives the billionaires naming rights to this or that, and the billionaires, and their heirs, settle back to collect a stream of rents in perpetuity. Would something like be sufficiently motivating for Paul Tudor Jones to order the institutional hit on Sullivan?

VT. “Despite overwhelming public turnout against having nuclear-capable F-35 stealth fighters based at Burlington Airport, city councils in the nearby cities of Burlington and Winooski failed to decide for or against the escalation and voted instead to seek more information. While anti-F-35 community organizing has the biggest presence, there are also pro-jet groups. But the cities choose to ignore both.”

WI. WI DNR page still lists mine that was voted down in March (after which the company bailed). Or does the DNR know something the rest of us don’t?

Outside Baseball. Maureen Tkacik: “Friendster engendered all the trust and sense of community the Internet today seems poised to destroy: one, its software would furnish, on command, an intricate diagram of the degrees of separation between you and any given user; and two, the “wall” was designated for more formal “testimonials” to the user’s friendship abilities, which generally read something like uncensored wedding toasts. For each friend you had access to hundreds of friends-of-friends’ testimonials, and when a stranger tried to friend you there was a complex web of accountability to help you assess the degree to which you could trust him.” Unlike FaceBorg. Black Box Voting Gets DMCA Threat from Accenture. 1% lawyer: “High-net-worth individuals are making decisions that having a US passport just isn’t worth the cost anymore.” Let them go ruin some other country, then. Partisanship: “Under America’s separation of powers, parliamentary-style discipline will bring the system to a halt.” Everything but the sausage: “Scout allows anyone to subscribe to customized email or text alerts on what Congress is doing around an issue or a specific bill, as well as bills in the state legislature and federal regulations.”

Policy. I’ve got mine, Jack: “22% of children in the U.S. are living in poverty.”

HCR:. Court watching: “It is a good bet that the health care decision will come on the last day [of the session], which may be Wednesday or Thursday.” The mandate: “To defend the health-care mandate, for instance, the government could have cited past measures such as a 1792 law signed by President George Washington requiring able-bodied men 18 or older to purchase a musket and ammunition.” Today, drones! Life’s little ironies, Kennedy advisor John McDonough: “[Romney] thought [RomneyCare] would be a ticket to ride to national fame and glory. He took a position on the mandate that was Republican orthodoxy in the 80s, [which was] the policy position that was held by the elite in the Republican party which had not ever been tested with the base. Finally it was tested with the base, and [by that time] it was identified with the Democrats and Obama so it was a very bad time.”

The trail. Money: “If they meet their target of $400m for this year’s presidential election cycle, the Kochs will have surpassed the $370m that John McCain had at his disposal as his entire campaign funding in 2008.” Teebee: “Last week, the Richmond-Petersburg [VA] area was the top media market in the nation for advertising in the presidential election by the Obama and Romney campaigns and outside groups.” Royal progress: “Durham [NH] Town Administrator Todd Selig says the Obama campaign should pay the $20,000 to $30,000 in police overtime costs it will take to provide adequate protection for the president’s visit to Oyster River High School on Monday afternoon” (CB). That’s the half of one plate at a high-roller’s fundraiser.

Green Party. “While it’s still entirely possible that the Greens will win their battle for matching funds at the last minute, it will require a significant quickening of the pace in the remaining states.”

Independent Party. “On June 23, the Independent Party, which is a ballot-qualified party in New Mexico, held a state convention and nominated Rocky Anderson for President.”

Libertarian Party. Ballot access: “On June 20, the New Hampshire Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, said that the only parties that will have their own party column on the November ballot this year are the Republican and Democratic Parties. He said all other candidates will be in the ‘Other’ column.” Novel argument, platform: “Legalizing marijuana will reduce border violence and illegal immigration significantly, decreasing the U.S.-Mexican drug trade by 70 percent. Without a monopoly on the marijuana trade, Mexican drug cartels will have vastly diminished incentives to violate U.S. law and risk capture.”

Ron Paul. “[PAUL:] We should not be disruptive, but we should also not be pushed around” at the Republican national convention in Tampa.

Romney. Snark watch: “Before [Obama] was president he never managed anything bigger than his own narrative.” True (though government is no more like a business than it is like a household.) Sociopaths at play: “[At Romney’s fundraising retreet,] Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz told reporters both Rove and GOP strategist Mary Matalin were making the crowd howl, telling them about when Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a friend with bird-shot pellets on a hunting trip.” Two words: Predator drones. Donors: “While the guest list of high-profile Republicans is known, the arguably more important list of donors is not.” “‘They’re our major investors,’ a senior Romney advisor said, declining to speak openly because of the campaign’s desire for secrecy.” Indeed!

Obama. “Republicans of ‘good will’ who want to work with President Obama will be ‘liberated’ by his reelection in November, says Obama chief political strategist David Axelrod.” Oh, puh-leeze.

* 76 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with toast and jelly on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 76 trombones in the big parade!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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  1. ambrit

    Does anyone know just when ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ crosses some threshold to become a ‘Civilized Society?’ Put another way; What is our responsibility to each other, in the personal and public realms?
    I’ve been wrestling with that question all of my life.

    1. Birch

      “What is our responsibility to each other?”

      Uh, anything so small it doesn’t inconvenience you to do it (bumming a light), anything so big that it doesn’t matter what it costs (saving someone’s life in an emergency), and many gray-dations between.

      When does it become ‘civilized’? I suppose when helping someone out is the default position; when there has to be some specific, unusual reason not to.

      Just a guess.

  2. Sam

    Bankers in New York City and the private bank cartel should be kicked so hard when they land, they have eagles’ nests built where their arse used to be.

  3. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Lambert, thanks for splendid coverage of the UVA war between faculty and “businessmen” racketeers seeking to transform UVA from a “University” (originally defined/valued in terms of Faculty present) to an “Automat.” This war gets to the very HEART of the MEANING of Universities everywhere. The Faculty of UVA has a golden opportunity to turn the tide against Predatory Alumni.

    Can you imagine how those “significant upfront investments” will redound to the Marketing Department-in-Formation, to be the leading Profit Center of the “Business School” by any august name (e.g. “The Paul Tudor Jones Ad Hoc College of Star Faculty Slipstreaming” according to the designs of the Connecticut Finance Mogul)?

    Clearly, this is a matter of life or death to the very MEANING of a great UNIVERSITY. The UVA Faculty should fight for their professional lives, and PROVE their absolute difference between a great public university and the tawdry set of “for-profit” ersatz universities-NOT that have devoured public money for private gain. Such as the “University of Phoenix” should be FORBIDDEN to use the very name, “University” to describe their racket for profiteers exploiting the ignorance of the People and the U.S. Treasury for the profit of “investors” that likely “invest” in our Private Plantation Prisons.

    This is a Winner Take All Dirty War that the UVA Faculty must win. They must insist upon the re-instatement of their Scholar-President on her terms. The VICTORY of the UVA Faculty and their Scholar-President will be a VICTORY for bona-fide Universities everywhere, and it must be DEFINITIVE right now.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      I call on Indiana University Bloomington, another great PUBLIC University and my “alma mater” (Ph.D. ’73), to join the UVA Faculty in this War Against Predators seeking to transform UVA into a Racket for Rentier Private Profits in Perpuity.

      Recall the poignant significance of the phrase, “alma mater,” and RE-VITALIZE HER as the Model of Public Education in America, with a Universal Transfusion of Faculty Energy “from sea to shining sea.” May all Faculties of Public Higher Education unite in common cause with the Faculty of the University of Virginia, as ONE grand American Institution capable of TURNING THE TIDE against Rentier Racketeering through PLUNDER of our great Public Universities.

      “Lux et Veritas” surely is a superior force against the dark purpose of the Rentier Godfathers driving “The Shock Doctrine” into the heart of Public Education in America. Will the University Faculties of America STAND UP against this obscene predation by private profiteers right now?

      Or will “Education in America” be thrown to the junkyard dogs?

      1. tyaresun

        As an IU alumni and ex-faculty memeber at UVa, I support Sullivan, and demand an end to the corporatization of US universities. The fee inflation is just the tip of the iceberg. The university charter has been decaying from within for more than a decade now.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        AND if Faculties everywhere do not revolt against this usurpation, then WHAT IS TENURE FOR?

        1. tyaresun

          Well once you get tenure you have to get in line to become XYZ Co. chaired professor. No chaired professorships for people who speak out of turn.

          Once you start chasing money there is no end. We need a culture where you are respected for your knowledge, not just your bank balance.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      I call the publisher of “The American Scholar” and the Presidents of all chapters of Phi Beta Kappa to support the Faculty of UVA in their drive to re-install their choice of Scholar-President on her terms ASAP.

      (Member: Phi Beta Kappa, 1965, when this meant something really important)

  4. Rex

    Did anyone else get creeped out by todays antidote picture?

    When I glanced at it I saw an optical illusion where the corner of the mouth seemed to be an eye so I saw a strange animal with no ears and a deformed face below the eyes looking generally toward the right edge of the picture.

    My brain said, “huh? Eeww, what is that?” And then I looked harder and figured out that it was a lion shaking its head and that wasn’t a startled eye looking at me.

  5. YesMaybe

    “Shock as Nazi flag soars over Long Beach Jewish community”

    Deceptive headline. VERY deceptive. What’s next, “Nazi Buddha displayed in art museum”?

  6. Ned Ludd

    The word of the day reminds me of Gramsci’s concept of cultural hegemony. The dominant social class manipulates “societal culture (beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, mores) so that its ruling-class worldview is imposed as the societal norm, which every social class then perceives as a universally valid ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo — as natural, inevitable, and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class.”

    Culturally induced ignorance is one way the dominant social class controls society. If people had a clear-eyed view of the financial crisis, they might question at what point the pursuit of profit becomes unchecked greed and selfishness. Misleading information has to be propagated in order to obscure reality.

    1. Rex

      I almost turned off the video before it got to part two and the anti-punchline.

      Change… gag. The vid was posted Dec 30, 2009, before we could prove that Change(tm) was just another empty advertising slogan. Wass-up-side-down!

    1. Lambert Strether

      More on NatWest:

      Stephen Hester, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, has rebutted union concerns that 30,000 job cuts and outsourcing had led to the six-day computer problems and pledged that management bonuses next year would take account of the inconvenience suffered by customers.

      Oh ha ha ha. Why do they still have their jobs?

      1. CB

        Because the elites consider themselves all in it together and they’re willing to throw every police and military resource they have into defending themselves.

  7. Garrett Pace

    Stonehenge Was Monument Marking Unification of Britain

    More compelling if by “unified” they mean, “all under the power of a warlord capable of compelling the enormous labor required to build Stonehenge”.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      As a theory, this rates up there with “Mozart died of ______.”

      Stonehenge is, or was, an earth battery. Think of a stack of lead and zinc, replace the metals with blue stone and Sarcen trilithons, carefully quarried from exotic locations far away, take a guess that columns and lintels have some sort of meaning, plop the whole thing down in the Salisbury plain and watch what happens.

      Proof of concept: The structure was no sooner completed than it overwhelmed everyone and enough of it was pulled down to disable it. Why can’t we sense anything now? Because it’s old and has run flat over the centuries. Just like any other battery.

      Meanwhile there were Greek temples with columns and Romanesque and Gothic churches filled with columns all of which were enormously expensive to put up and in which people were deliberately paraded, often bearing superconducting materials, i.e., gold.

      I keep repeating this and maybe someone will be inspired to get fresh stones, set up a small model and see if neighboring ground fertility is enhanced. Stonehenge was not constructed in isolation. Avebury is nearby, and throughout England are standing stones and myths of milch cows, which gave an inexhaustible supply of milk.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Try this around Tuscaloosa, AL, around which is a huge energy vortex that draws the stars to earth on a clear night. Ley lines run from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa. Certainly the stores of iron underground have something to do with this. This may have given rise to the lyrics of “When Stars Fell on Alabama.”

    2. Valissa

      Yup, the glorification of unification always underplays what/who must be quashed to make way for it.

      Some cartoons dedicated to the ongoing quest to understand and explain Stonehenge…

      The original Stonehenge Planning Committee

      Victorian era Stonehenge cartoon

      What was that again?

      The challenge of timing

      How silly can you get

  8. Ned Ludd


    A stray sentence from the Romney section got inserted into the Libertarian Party section:

    He said all other cand“Before [Obama] was president he never managed anything bigger than his own narrative.”idates will be in the ‘Other’ column.”

  9. Garrett Pace

    School church clubs article…what a weird and tendentious piece:

    “This one mom in Kansas told me at her son’s school every single day, kids from a particular youth group leave religious literature on his desk. He would tell the kids to stop and they wouldn’t. So finally the mom went to the pastor of the youth group whose kids were doing this and said, “Look, we know you mean well, but we’d really rather you didn’t do this.” And the pastor said, “We don’t care about you, lady, we want your kid.””

    Yeah, so the lady approaches the pastor and kindly admonishes him about, uh, literature based bullying and then the pastor aggressively tells her off with a weird non-sequiter about how they don’t care about her?

    I don’t think that conversation happened, certainly not in the way described.

    Incidentally, I don’t know if there are many or any LDS student clubs out there. I wouldn’t doubt it, but I don’t remember any from my high school experience, and don’t hear tell of them either.

    Many LDS teens do attend “Seminary”, one school hour of church-sponsored instruction held during (or before/after) the school day in church facilities that are often built nearby the school, to kids can walk over. The ACLU describes the yeses and no’s of what’s allowed here:

    1. Garrett Pace

      (And I should expand on this: My commentary is on the conversation between adults. I don’t mean to belittle any kid who complains about stuff being left on his desk. Bullying can be subtle and insidious sometimes, and what seems to us to be simple and harmless can have a very different effect on youth interactions”)

    2. Ned Ludd

      The story is not particularly at odds with Luke 14:26:

      “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.”

      I one time went to an evangelical church and the propaganda was intense. The pastor recounted numerous stories about Christian missionaries sacrificing their lives to preach Christianity. Behind him was a slideshow showing pictures of these loving missionaries, taken before their lives had been cut short by third-world heathens. The pastor told the congregation that it was up to us to save our friends, family, and coworkers by telling them the Good News about Jesus.

      Even though it would be awkward and uncomfortable talking about Jesus at work or in the carpool, just remember all those missionaries sacrificing their lives for Jesus, and think of how little God is asking of you.

    3. Jessica

      A friend raised Southern Baptist in Salt Lake City told me that the reason the Mormons are fine with science is that they don’t have to pretend not to be in order to wedge their way into the schools. Since they have their own after-school schools right across the street.
      Also, if I remember, there is some type of release time system – LDS students get out of school early to go over to the LDS school.

      1. Garrett Pace

        “don’t have to pretend not to be in order to wedge their way into the schools”

        I have no idea what you’re talking about. Science is marvelous for describing the physical world, a subject I love learning about. It will be interesting to see how much science can reveal about metaphysics…

        As for time-release, it is described in brief in my link above. In Utah students can have one of their school hours dedicated to a variety of non-school purposes, one of them being religious instruction in the church of their choice. Some kids opt for a full class schedule and do the religious thing before or after school.

  10. Zeke

    “How Christian clubs in schools turned into faith-based bullying” is a very deceptive headline. The article goes on to talk about an author’s book on the legal growth of a christian movement to spread their message in public schools. The ONLY example of “bullying” in the article was a single student continuing to receive paper pamphlets on their desk after expressing disinterest.

    I understand the pursuit to separate church and state, however, this article is fear mongering and twisted in its representation of the facts. Why didn’t the article reference a correlation between the influx of christian clubs, and attendance, or other markers for student behavior. There is ZERO evidence in the article for the writer to make the assertions stated in the title other than to insinuate that faith in any public venue is inherently evil, destructive and out of place. This despite the fact that Christian Faith is called to be lived in public mission of service, good deeds and open sharing.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Anybody who’s ever run into Christianist operatives like this knows the author is spot on. People can believe what they want to believe, but they should stay out of my face. Christianist progadandizing should be classified as marketing and banned from schools, exactly as corporate marketing is, as a child protection measure.

      Lots of sounding of trumpets, very little praying in secret (and, of course, given the authoritarian power structure, plenty of looting by insiders and child abuse). Followed by the destruction of the curriculum in the name of creation science, and so forth. A thoroughly pernicious operation, and, of course, very well funded.

      1. F. Beard

        Abolish the counterfeiting cartel, bailout the entire population and then most every family could afford private schools but if not then add a BIG to the above.

        Then the parents could choose how their children are educated.

        As for Creationism, science has still not solved the problem of the Origin of Life. Plus, the Theory of Evolution does not rule out a Creator since the Creator Himself could have evolved.

        As for the value of religion in general, I recently read that a belief in Hell is a great deterrent to criminal activity.

          1. F. Beard

            but we know enough to know that it proceeded in a manner rather different from the fairy tales of bronze-age nomads. MacCruiskeen

            This guy, Dr. Hugh Ross (Phd Astrophysics), disagrees. Here’s his site if you’re interested:

            Btw, Dr. Ross says that the Bible is the only holy book that he could not dismiss wrt modern science among those books that actually make verifiable claims. The Hindus, for example, believe in an oscillating universe. However, that has been disproved by astronomers who have discovered that the universes will continue expanding forever.

          2. cwaltz

            It wasn’t but a year or two ago that science got spanked on the backside when they found a skeleton that disproved the “missing link.” I wouldn’t be crowing about how much science “knows.” In the big scheme of things we probably know less than you (or Stephen Hawkings) think.

          3. skippy

            @beardo… per your link.

            Reasons To Believe uses the term model in reference to our effort to summarize physical (observational) and biblical data relevant to creation into a coherent explanatory framework. The following foundational beliefs help shape how we interpret the data.

            The Bible (including Genesis 1–11) is the error-free word of God.

            The creation account of Genesis 1 follows a basic chronology.

            The record of nature is also a reliable revelation from God.
            The message of nature will agree with what the Bible says.

            The Bible contains a selective summary description of God’s creation activity (e.g., no mention of dinosaurs, bipedal primates, quantum mechanics, or the existence of other solar system planets).

            God gives humans the privilege to fill in the details, carefully, through patient, ongoing exploration and increased understanding of the natural realm.

            We build our model by collating all that the Bible says about God’s creative work and integrating the individual accounts into a coherent picture. We then present this interpretation in the form of a scientific model, one that anticipates, or “predicts,” future findings. We can then evaluate its accuracy in light of scientific advances.

            We believe God’s two revelations (Scripture and nature) will agree when properly interpreted. When apparent contradictions arise, we reexamine the data—both biblical and scientific—recognizing that our understanding is incomplete. Sometimes the scientific data seems an unclear or awkward fit with the biblical data. But we see such instances as an opportunity to study both of God’s revelations more deeply.


            Skip here…

            “The Bible (including Genesis 1–11) is the error-free word of God.” – link

            That alone refutes him/them from having a scientific approach. All the site does is take a position in sum and jigger data to fit that summation, the out come of inquire is already known.

            If this is the kinda dag you swallow, what good is the rest of your observations. Totally a garbage in – barge out thingy. A ECFA evangelical Christian apparatus. Global harvest ministry’s aka – now – Global Spheres and NAR – NAC see:

            Surprisingly, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has recently become a topic of discussion in the political media. I noticed some mention of it in connection with Sarah Palin’s run for Vice-President, but I considered it relatively insignificant. Then more talk of the NAR surfaced around Michelle Bachman, but it soared to a new level when Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican nomination for President in August. The best I can discern, the NAR has become a tool in the hands of certain liberal opponents of the conservative candidates designed to discredit them on the basis of their friendship with certain Christian leaders supposedly affiliated with the NAR. To bolster this attempt, they seek to accuse the NAR of teaching false doctrine and paste on it the label of “cult.” For example, Forgotten Word Ministries posts an article by Marsha West expressing concerns about Rick Perry’s prayer assembly in Houston on August 6, that uses the title: “Texas Governor’s Upcoming Leadership Event Includes Cult Members.”[1]

            Soon after the event, nothing less than Al Jazeera News picked up on the theme and posted an article on the NAR under the title “America’s own Taliban.” My name comes up in most of the Internet postings on NAR, but in this one I am called the “intellectual godfather” of the movement.[2] When I read that, I felt that I had a responsibility to attempt to bring some clarification as to what the NAR is, what are its goals, and how these goals are being implemented. That is why I am writing this brief paper. – snip

            I am rather fascinated at the lists of individuals whom the media glibly connects with the NAR. I’m sure that some of them wouldn’t even recognize the term. In many cases, however, they would fit the NAR template, but since the NAR has no membership list they themselves would need to say whether they consider themselves affiliated or not.


            The New Apostolic Church (NAC) is a chiliastic church, converted to Protestantism as a free church from the Catholic Apostolic Church. The church has existed since 1879 in Germany and since 1897 in the Netherlands. It came about from the schism in Hamburg in 1863, when it demerged from the Catholic Apostolic Church, which itself started in the 1830s as a renewal movement in, among others, the Anglican Church and Church of Scotland.

            Premillennialism and the Second Coming of Christ are at the forefront of the New Apostolic doctrines. Most of its doctrines are akin to mainstream Christianity and, especially its liturgy, to Protestantism, whereas its hierarchy and organisation could be compared with the Roman Catholic Church.

            The church considers itself to be the re-established continuation of the Early Church and that its leaders are the successors of the twelve apostles. This doctrine resembles Restorationism in some aspects.


            Skippy… Barf!

        1. cwaltz

          Creationism is not science. Even if creationists were to disprove evolution that would not prove the existence of God or the truth of creationism. It would disprove evolution. That’s it. Science requires proof. Religion/spirituality requires faith or belief without proof so the two are technically at odds.

          I’m cool with creationism, it just doesn’t belong in a science based class, it belongs in philosophy where it can be analyzed with other belief sets not able to be tested by scientific means.

          (and I say this as a Christian)

    2. Bigots & Ignoramuses

      By the weeping chancres in the rectum of the Christ, what’s all this fuss about bullying, anyway? A week of lunchtime swirlies is just what the doctor ordered to restore the critical thinking skills of these Junior Snakehandlers of America.

      1. Zeke

        Yes, Christians are hypocritical, of which I am the worst. My high school years were pot-marked by overzealous, uncaring, pride filled obnoxious faith. Thank God he forgives me my constant immaturity.

        Yes, once someone says “No thank you” its appropriate to give space, but please understand that at its best, the motivation to share faith is born of a selfless love and concern for others. Christian Evangelism is a gentle pursuit of others born of the new perspective brought about by conversion. Although timing is an art, the selfish, unloving Christian would always remain silent.

    3. cwaltz

      What alot of Christians don’t seem to understand is that it is past “open sharing” when a person has told you “no thank you” and you persist in trying to convert them to your belief set.

      I know alot of people who are turned off by Christianity and God because they find a good portion of their followers annoying and often hypocritical( a woman on her third marriage probably shouldn’t be collecting names for a petition to protect the sanctity of marriage from gays:true story.)

      1. F. Beard

        I hope you don’t mean me. My interest is ethical money creation though I will rise to the bait on occasion to defend my beliefs. And it does tick me off that the Left is so Biblically ignorant that the Religious Right walks all over them. And I do mostly limit myself to such supposedly non-controversial items as “Thou shalt not steal.”

        But whether you do or not, I won’t stop. We are in an ethical and moral battle. How can a major foundational document of Western Civilization be left out of it?

      2. CB

        And a woman on her third abortion probably shouldn’t be counseling pro-life anti-abortion. Also true story. Her younger sister, the source of the story, was beyond disgusted.

      3. Zeke

        Yes, Christians are hypocritical, of which I am the worst. My high school years were pot-marked by overzealous, uncaring, pride filled obnoxious faith. Thank God he forgives me my constant immaturity.

        Yes, once someone says “No thank you” its appropriate to give space, but please understand that at its best, the motivation to share faith is born of a selfless love and concern for others. Christian Evangelism is a gentle pursuit of others born of the new perspective brought about by conversion. Although timing is an art, the selfish, unloving Christian would always remain silent.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Before I went to bed last night, I thought for sure we would hear that life was discovered in another planet. I thought today would be the day.

    Oh well. At least we know they can hack into anyone’s brain. Time for tin-foil hats.

    1. Valissa

      Tin foil hats… more popular than ever, and so many cool styles to choose from!

      Warning sign

      Kitty classic

      Doggy styles

      The Dish version

      Contest winners

  12. Frank

    I’m rather surprised by Chuck L’s link to the post on Google, The Smothers Brothers, and Freedom.

    The link condemns Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten” law in absolutist terms, casually analogizing it to censorship. The author, Lauren Weinstein, fails to truly engage with the leading literature on the topic, such as Victor Mayer-Schonberger’s book Delete, or the many defenses of and elaborations on the concept.

    Sure, a badly implemented right to be forgotten law could have seriously negative consequences for freedom of expression. But the author condemns such privacy law in such sweeping terms that her logic has many unfortunate consequences. It would, for example, support total deregulation of credit reporting. Why not give credit reporting agencies the right to say anything they want to about you under the First Amendment, if you are so repulsed by the thought of, say, Google being required not to put links of cyberharassment and hate speech as the first result for harassed individuals like Kathy Sierra and Lena Chen? (Danielle Citron’s work on Cyber Civil Rights tells their, and many other, stories, about people who could be helped by a Right to be Forgotten.) This is the same First Amendment absolutism that animates the rating agencies’ immunity and the Citizens United decision.

    2) That linked to article also includes this line: “Search engine users can freely and easily choose between Google, Bing, Yahoo, and numerous other search services, each with their own take on how to best order search results and present information in useful ways.” Reading that, I’m wondering if I stumbled onto the links section of one of the libertarian websites Ames and Levine are always lambasting at Exiled Online.

    Does the author seriously believe that if a Google user, having invested years in personalized search with Google, suddenly uses Bing the next day, the results will be as good? Or that advertisers (the real source of search engine revenue) are going to give up on Google’s enormous advantage in data collection to take what amount to comparatively blind shots in the dark on by advertising on Yahoo?
    In his book Planet Google, Randall Stross suggested that the company was using up to a million computers to index and map the web. Beyond the infrastructural challenge, many other factors make it extremely difficult for competitors to emerge in the general purpose search space. Google’s secrecy is not only designed to keep spammers from manipulating its results; it can also prevent rival companies from copying its own methods, or building upon them. Unlike patents, which the patent holder must disclose and which eventually expire, it is possible for trade secrets to never be revealed, let alone enter the public domain.

    Innovation in search is heavily dependent on a base of users that “train” algorithms to be more responsive. The more search queries an engine gets, the better able it is to sharpen and perfect its results. For example, if a search engine finds that everyone in a given area clicks on the third result instead of the first result in a given day, it can tailor results for that area to elevate what was once merely the third result. If other firms were able to observe this process, they might be able to develop rival, and better, computational strategies. Instead, the data is kept secret. The self-reinforcing “Matthew Effect” described by Robert Merton takes hold: to those who already have much, more is given. Incumbents with large numbers of users enjoy substantial advantages over smaller entrants.

    Competition may not lead to less secretive search engines unless the dominant search engine—Google—becomes more open about its own data and algorithms. It is impossible to find better interpretations and applications of data without access to it. As long as Google’s search data store is secret, no would-be rival will have access to this critical “raw material” for search innovation.
    Quantum leaps in technology capable of overcoming these brute disadvantages are unlikely. Search is as much about personalized service as it is about technical principles of information organization and retrieval. Current advantage in search is likely to be self-reinforcing, especially given that so many more people are using the services now than when Google overtook other search engines in the early 2000s. And even if Goliaths like Facebook and Apple manage to squeeze Google out of the burgeoning worlds of social and mobile computing, they will likely raise the same concerns that Google has.

    Finally, even if you doubt everything I’ve said above (prediction is hard), the relevant issue should not necessarily be “is competition possible,” but instead “is there competition?” Some media tycoon could sweeped in to the US in the late 1960s, lobbied the right people, assembled enough capital, and built an alternative network. (Indeed, some would say that conservative media tycoons have done exactly that with the rise of News Corporation around the world and Fox News in the US in particular.) The mere fact that, in a world of vast inequalities, spare capital is always at the ready to engage in some massive project, is no reason to think that it’s also always already on the verge of becoming a deus ex machina in a Schumpeterian drama of creative destruction. A key US rival of Google, Microsoft’s Bing, is hemorrhaging money.

    3) That said, I have long admired this blogs suspicion of speech suppressing activity. But before it sees fit to highlight another one-sided attack on privacy law and encomium to the ongoing expansion of “corporate speech” rights, it might want to consider the path of the ACLU in its opposition to campaign finance reform. That seemed like a principled, centrist position in the mid-1970s, as might total First Amendment protection for search results of massive corporations seem today. But I have little doubt the two positions lead to similar endpoints.

  13. DEJ

    Betcha this is not the whim of an alumnus. When the truth comes out, we’ll probably find that UVA was carefully culled from the herd. When you want to do experiments on syphilis, you get impoverished Southern negroes to infect. When you want to experiment with commodifying prestige, you get the likes of UVA: a measly $5B endowment invested with hair-raising desperation and a second-tier rep increasingly at odds with its aristocratic pedigree. A pushover.

    1. JTFaraday

      So, you think this was dreamed up in the Home Office, eh? It does seem weird that, Kiernan (former Goldman Sachs), the head of the Darden alumni foundation (and thus no stranger to university politicking) fell on his sword in such an outrageously stupid manner. If it were something he (and, say, Tudor-Jones) had come up with on their own, would he have proceeded this way?

      No, clearly whoever is behind this is next to certain that they can bully their way into any place they want. This could be Tudor-Jones, he does seem to think his $100 million prospective donation is worth all the money in world (for some unfathomable reason, as opposed to the piddling nominal amount it is in terms of university endowments).

      On the other hand it is also possible that this cabal, composed almost entirely of MBAs, really is that insular and no smoking synergistic strategic partnership deal will emerge from the wreckage when the news vans have gone home.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      This explains the “one-child” policy leading to abortions. Cannibalism lite.

  14. Hugh

    Krugman is as usual wrong. Our elites are not abdicating responibility. They are simply pursuing policies which advantage themselves to the detriment of the rest of us. What they are trying to do is abdicate accountability.

  15. DragQueen Capitalism

    I don’t know if it was a repeat, but Yves was fantastic on Bill MOyers yesterday with Matt Taibbi. If she had said the same thing 5 years ago, few would’ve understood her. Despite the continuing cluelessness of the GP (gen’l Public) they are actually more educated now about their own economic system than they have been in decades.

    That is a direct result of the work of people like Susan, and for that I am truly grateful. Good work!

    PS, Why was it such a thrill to see you on TV? I fear it’s because the adage “nothing’s real until it’s on TV” is truer than I like to believe. In any case, a much deserved “Congrats!”

  16. skippy

    Collapsing U.S. credibility
    Condemning foreign governments for abusive acts while ignoring one’s own is easy. But the U.S. leads the way

    “UPDATE: A related point was made by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, when he delivered an extraordinary speech designed to address complaints that his anti-war activism was distracting from his civil rights work, and he explained why the latter was impossible without the former (h/t Duncan Mitchel)

    As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action.

    But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.

    Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” snip

    Skippy… Sigh…

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