Links 8/3/12

Sorry, you will never ride, see or pet a cloned dinosaur ExtremeTech (Carol B). So we’ll have to genetically reverse engineer one?

Here’s why we sneeze, says new research EarthSky (furzy mouse)

Forget Titanic: Women and children rarely first off sinking ships ars technica (Carol B)

Court Demands TSA Explain Why It Is Defying Nude Body Scanner Order Wired

Buckyballs fight back Washington Post

Of corn and Chinese pork MacroBusiness

Facebook Page Owners Can Pay $500 For 250,000 Eyeballs With ‘Promoted Posts’ Forbes. But how many of those “eyeballs” are bots?

Draconian ‘Wi-Fi police’ stalk Olympic Games Sydney Morning Herald (YY)

How local are labour markets? A look at the London Olympics VoxEU

European financial crisis has ripple effect on U.S. businesses Washington Post. Erm, we pointed this out a LONG time ago. 25% of S&P earnings come from Europe, for instance. So you were warned.

Congressional Probe Reveals Cover-Up of “Auschwitz-Like” Conditions at U.S.-Funded Afghan Hospital Common Dreams (furzy mouse)

Mitt Romney stops by Colorado to laugh about how he hates their jobs Grist

Massachusetts Legislature Approves Resolution, Calls for Curbing Corporate Power Over Elections

Infamous UC Davis ‘Pepper Spray Cop’ Finally Loses His Badge Alternet

Maps Of Extreme Income Segregation In US Cities Clusterstock (furzy mouse)

Fury Reveals Deep Rifts Near ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ New York Times. And Disney is part of the problem.

Goldman to Invest in City Jail Program, Profiting if Recidivism Falls Sharply New York Times

Neil Barofsky Gave Us The Best Explanation For Washington’s Dysfunction We’ve Ever Heard Clusterstock

How Job Insecurity Is Messing Up Your Love Life Alternet

FAIL | Lender Processing Services (LPS) Announces Settlement of CRIMINAL FELONY Case Brought by Missouri AG, Throws Former President of DOCX, Lorraine Brown, to the Wolves! ForclosureFraud

Cocaine Cowboys Know Best Places to Bank Jonathan Weil, Bloomberg

D – 34 and counting*

“We’re one, but we’re not the same We get to carry each other carry each other” –One, U2

Today, in very short, pre-getting-ready-to-pack form, I’d like to call out the Campaign Countdown theme of “Legacy Parties” (that is, the Democrats and the Republicans, as opposed to “emergent parties” like the Greens or the Libertarians. Or maladaptive, extinct parties, like the Whigs).

Partisans, whether professional, wannabe, or amateur, insist that there are great, or at least consequential, differences between the two legacy parties. From where I sit, outside the fray, this insistence looks like “the narcissism of small differences”: A battle over cultural and factional markers, and nothing more. I’m so old I remember when drinking PBR actually “meant” something! (Wikipedia entry on narcissism; readers please feel free to improve). The only real difference in social practice I’ve ever been able to find between the Democratic and Republican aristocracies is that the Republican aristocracy is rife with animal torturers. True, that’s a mark of sociopathy, but then again, “Two words: Predator drones.” It’s clear that both legacy parties are in “some kinda awful” [NSFW] mutually reinforcing symbiotic relationship; that’s why Obama gave the Republicans a hand up in 2009 after the Democrats had them down on the mat, instead of commencing to stomp them. One famous metaphor for such a relationship is “the ratchet effect”; I prefer The Drunk and The Enabler. The Drunk rolls home and takes off the side of the garage trying to maneuver the car into it, staggers into the house, smashes some furniture, beats up the kid who wasn’t quick enough to hide, then passes out on the living room couch with the lights on and Rush Limbaugh blaring. Then The Enabler gets The Drunk up in time for work, gives him the rent money to repair the car, and makes sure the kid wears long sleeves to hide the bruises in school. The parallel between Bush destroying Constitutional government and Obama normalizing and rationalizing everything Bush ever did is pretty close, isn’t it? So which rider on the Merry-Go-Round gets your vote?

We also have the “Romney” and “Obama” themes. I don’t like Romney’s chilly personality, his fealty to malefactors of great wealth, or his religiosity. And I don’t like the sleazoid campaign he’s running. Then again, I don’t like Obama’s chilly personality, his fealty to malefactors of great wealth, or his religiosity. And I don’t like the sleazoid campaign he’s running. So there we are. One thing I know: I’m not voting for evil any more.

* * *

So, readers, I’m now offline for three days travelling back to the States. I just hope nobody in the Stasi took offense just because I called the JFK Customs and Immigration area “dimly lit” and their personnel “happy.” Maybe I should head over to the backpacker’s district and get the following tatooed on my arm before I go:

On the advice of counsel, I invoke my right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. I am concerned that this grand jury [or whatever state organ] is seeking information designed to infringe or chill my associational privacy, and that of others, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that it is using information obtained without a search warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. I define the preceding statement as ‘invoke.’ and when I say ‘I invoke’ in the future I am referring to this statement.

Kidding! Or not. Love the meta of “I define the preceding statement as.” It’s like we’re wrestling our way through a thicket of Enabling Act-style legalese instead of claiming our rights as citizens under the rule of law. Or something.

* 34 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with tubs of Boston Baked Beans for everybody on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Miracle on 34th Street. If Charlotte has a 34th Street.

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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    1. Richard Kline

      Disney creeps me out. Their entire ethos about how to treat _real_ human beings is grossly deficient, and everything I’ve heard about the inside experience of their workplaces makes an involuntary vacation in a salt mine look balmy in compare. I’ve never set foot on any of their properties as a point of principle. Mike Davis should really do an book that corp; the rot in the Southland is his beat as a native son.

      1. citalopram

        The wife were down there last week and yes, she wanted to go to Disneyland. It was very expensive. Over 80 bucks per person to get in, and we spent $35 dollars on lunch in Tommorrowland. It was packed.

        The one thing I will say is that enormous attention to detail is paid to make sure everything looks nice. You won’t see so much as a single weed in the planter areas; everything is properly lanscaped to a T.

        The souvanirs aren’t Wal Mart junk either. The quality of the merchandise you can buy is top notch, and the food is all prepared by real chefs. Some of baked goods looked phenomimally good.

        But you pay for it.

        It’s fake happy, a manufactured happy. It’s happy that doesn’t compare to real things in life. I was rather ‘meh’ about the whole thing, because it was easy to see through.

        1. Curtis

          Think of the TV series, “The Prisoner”. The next time you go, look for a large white bouncing ball.

  1. Max424

    Regarding the antidote de jour, if I could be so bold, I would like to augment the golf course wrecking elk with some friendly animal stuff from George’s place.

    This is my favorite.

    Note: Just kidding about the gold course wrecking. As long as the bull’s don’t tear up my line when I’m putting, I’d be more than happy to share the course with them.

    Note II: Also, I hope they don’t take offense to getting hit in the ass with one my sculled, low screamers. That’s all I seem to hit these days.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Good post by Washington’s Blog. I like this part:

      In other words, the government has shredded our constitution and destroyed our freedom and liberties in order to fight Al Qaeda and associated forces.

      And yet the government is itself supporting – with money, arms, and logistical support – Al Qaeda and associated forces in a number of nations.

      The U.S. is supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorists in Syria. America funds terrorist groups within Iran. And we supported Al Qaeda terrorists in Libya (and here).

      Does that mean that American military and law enforcement personnel should arrest, indefinitely detain, label as “terrorists”, torture or assassinate those in D.C. who are authorizing the support?

      Just like major politicians did by supporting the Iranian terror group. And actually, it’s worse than that–Al Qaeda is a U.S. creation and probably still is and has always been completely under the control of the U.S. and friends. I doubt there is a single sincere leader of al Qaeda. They might actually have attracted a few wannabes, or more likely, weak people they can take advantage of.

      Anyway, it is indeed yet more proof of our unconstitutional government. That’s not hyperbole folks. This is prime evidence of an out of control fascist government. ALL the politicians participating are traitors. Obama and the Democrats have helped usurp our legitimate government. They work for a rich elite and not the people. What more proof does one need?

      Obama is getting ready to start his second major illegal war and the progressives are diddling themselves talking about whatever stupid shit they talk about (I am not going back to Daily Kos to do research unless it’s important–but I’m willing to bet the Dem Dipsticks are distracting themselves with foolishness).

      Just try to wrap your head around the fact Obama has okayed an attack on a sovereign country. Thousands have already died and many more will. Obama has unleashed terrorism and his proxy forces are terrorizing people. They are slaughtering civilians (and then blaming it on the government). They have killed thousands of police and army. They are attacking infrastructure and doing civilian terrorist attacks. Plus, the U.S. and its allies are conducting a propaganda war.

      This is the start of the next major war and Obama is doing it on the lowdown.

      Just like in Iraq they are using a fake UN process–pretending to find a peaceful solution. Just like Iraq the government and media are lying about WMD and many other events.

      Our fascist government is out of control. Every single Democrat and Republican is complicit (with maybe, Barbara Lee being an exception). Being a member of these parties is actually WORSE than being a NAZI party member (I would actually like to see this debated by good debate teams–my money is on the American Nazis ‘winning’).

  2. skippy

    Another sign post on the track line to dystopia see:

    Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, Edges Out “Citizen Kane” as the Greatest Movie Ever

    Ever since 1962, Orson Welles’s, “Citizen Kane” has been voted the greatest movie of all time by the British Film Institute’s much-respected Greatest Films poll, which it has been taken once every decade since 1952. Vertigo’s (trailer below this article) recognition as the best movie ever may have happened because those allowed to participate for the first time are part of bigger and more international list of voters than ever before.

    Using the internet for the first time as the main form of communication, 846 critics and 358 film directors all voted for their top 50 films of all time. The list differs between the two groups, because directors like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Mike Leigh ranked “Vertigo” #7, while they voted for Yasujirō Ozu’s movie,”Tokyo Story” the best of all time. The directors agreed however with the critics by putting “Citizen Kane” at #2. At the very end of the top 50 list I posted the top 10 directors choices.

    You will be able to see the full list of the top 100 in the next issue of Sight & Sound when it hits the stands on Saturday. They will be celebrating their 80th birthday with a revamped look and a new digital edition archive available.

    1. Neo-Realist

      No Wild Bunch on this list! I have grave doubts about a best of film list that ignores a brilliant poetic display of cinematic violence.

  3. LeeAnne

    Thank you Skippy. Now let’s see some news on the popularity of films. Something like ‘the smartest most creative people on the planet like this.’

    I was heartened to see once that my favorite ‘My Life as a Dog’ was also Kurt Vonneguts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One more fact why we don’t need to print more money.

      We have enough money in the world already. It just needs to come back and be deployed (or be made to be deployed), just like the offshore money the rich have abroad.

      1. F. Beard

        It just needs to come back and be deployed (or be made to be deployed), MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There’s no need to wait for that to happen. New money should be created as soon as possible and given to the entire population.

        But you don’t like the precedent that would set, do you?

        1. Don Levit

          You seem to know a lot about the Bible.
          What is the difference between God and our “ability” to create money in what seems to be an infinite supply?
          Don Levit

          1. F. Beard

            God creates what backs money.

            In the case of fiat, God has ordained the secular authorities and their authority to tax (cf: Romans 13:1-7).

            In the case of private monies, they must obviously be backed by what goods they can buy – eg. movie tickets are good for movie performances which are enjoyable because of God-given talent.

          2. Don Levit

            God also says that not paying back debts to others is like not paying back God.
            God also says you have no other Gods before me – including your so-called god of the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.
            What makes you so confident (arrogant)? Did you acquire those lovely traits from God, too?
            Don Levit

          3. F. Beard

            God also says that not paying back debts to others is like not paying back God. Don Levit

            Chapter and verse, please? From the Torah? Also, what debt? The banks lend what they don’t have; they thus engage in counterfeiting.

            God also says you have no other Gods before me – including your so-called god of the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. Don Levit

            You have me confused with someone else. Fiat normally should be legal tender for government debts only. However, since the population has been driven into debt slavery with counterfeit money that is legal tender for private debts then it’s not unjust if they are delivered with full legal tender fiat.

            What makes you so confident (arrogant)? Don Levit

            I am confident of the truth, not myself. But I read the Bible every day so that I might not be a fool – that is a person unwilling to learn.

            Btw, the name Levit, does that mean you are descended from the tribe of Levi?

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Money production (or creation) + money distribution = money available to various groups of people.

          If distribution is not functioning properly, more money created = more money accumulated by the 0.01% at their offshore accounts.

          Yes, let’s continue to print more money.

          That’s not ethical nor just.

          1. F. Beard

            Baloney. Money given to the population would enable debtors to pay off their debts to the counterfeiting cartel with mere paper or electronic bits instead of their homes. As for the non-debtors, they would be compensated for the erosion of their purchasing power by that same cartel.

            You’re not on the side of justice here. But you don’t need a Savior?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Even before modern banking, the rich had been able to take money from the poor.

            It’s about money production AND money distribution.

  4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Not to sneeze at the research, but understanding why we sneeze is not as interesting as understanding why we sneeze at something.

    1. Garrett Pace

      So the article says that a sneeze is our bodies rebooting like a computer does.

      Time was when we would analogize human functions to describe computing (“a thinking machine”). Now we are doing the opposite. Progress?

      1. Accrued Disinterest

        If sneezing is like rebooting to a computer, my wife is definitely a Windows-based PC.


  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Forget Titanic.

    So, what is the escape order then?

    1. strong young men
    2. strong youg women
    3. weak old men
    4. weak old women
    5. strong children
    6. weak children
    6. cute pets
    7. not-so-cute pets????

    Sorry, make that captain and officers first and everyone else moves down one spot.

  6. Eureka Springs

    Danger Will Robinson! Be very wary of Public Citizen. Whatever they, MoveOn and CREDO are pimping will definitely not be about getting money out of politics. If they were serious the most significant meme they would be pushing from bumper stickers to actual text in these local and state platitudes… would be Establish public omly multi party through campaign finance with proportional representation. And I am willing to bet far less than five percent of all candidates (and the D party) are saying this as well.

    1. P

      If they were serious they would review whether federal statutes actually criminalize trading in influence and abuse of function in accordance with the Convention Against Corruption, as the federal government claims. If they were serious they would acknowledge that this state has institutionalized trading in influence and abuse of function. This “money out of politics” crap is another Dem red herring, busywork for restive grassroots reformers. Dems are working hard to keep Occupy occupied with that so that they leave the real rot alone.

  7. Garrett Pace

    Lambert: “I don’t like Romney’s chilly personality, his fealty to malefactors of great wealth, or his religiosity. Then again, I don’t like Obama’s chilly personality, his fealty to malefactors of great wealth, or his religiosity…”

    Do you mean you are uncomfortable with their religions themselves, or the way they put beliefs into practice publicly? Or the mere fact that they both profess religious belief?

    Qua Romney’s religion vs Obama’s religion, a fascinating poll (if you haven’t seen it) that suggests more voters are “uncomfortable” with President Obama’s religion than with Mr. Romney’s.

    I would not have guessed that in a million years. Obama professes a very mainline and ordinary Protestant faith! My dad thinks it indicates that race trumps religion when it comes to bigotry, and maybe there’s something to that. For me, it also shows the astonishing effectiveness of the Republican machine: MORE voters think Obama is a Muslim today than did so in October 2008.


    Race still matters for a lot. For that matter, Obama is every bit as much “anglo saxon” as Romney or anyone else. (here are the surnames of recent ancestors on his mother’s side: Dunham, Payne, McCurry, Armour). But all people can see is his skin.

    1. F. Beard

      Yea, but Obama is 1/2 black so that means 1/2 of his “spirit ancestors” were too lackadaisical when battling Satan? Isn’t that Mormon theology?

      But a Mormon Republican is interesting. What will the Christian Right choose? To vote their pocket books or their religious convictions? My guess is they’ll just stay home or vote 3rd Party in protest.

      1. Garrett Pace

        “so that means 1/2 of his “spirit ancestors” were too lackadaisical when battling Satan? Isn’t that Mormon theology?”

        Some people have thought that. From 1849 to 1978, for reasons that have never been made public, people of black ancestry had restrictions on their participation in religious practice. They were permitted to be baptized and become members of the church, and participate in “communion” (we call it the sacrament), but were not permitted to hold the LDS priesthood or enter LDS temples.

        Since there never was (to my knowledge) a satisfying explanation of the policy, lots of creativity was expended to justify it, including the idea that blacks had not been sufficiently valiant in the pre-mortal existence before this earth life.

        I do not believe that, and current church policy (and policy before 1849) do not bear it out. Now there are no race based restrictions for priesthood or temple attendance.

        Three of my childrens’ cousins are of African descent, and they have all been inside an LDS temple.

        There is a documentary about the history and experience of blacks in the LDS church. I found it poignant and interesting. It was made by LDS members of African descent.

        I don’t see it posted online anywhere, unfortunately, but here is a panel program interviewing the filmmakers:

        1. jessica

          “were not permitted to hold the LDS priesthood or enter LDS temples”
          For those less familiar with Mormonism, the priesthood includes a much, much higher proportion of the population than among Catholics or Protestants. If I remember correctly, most of the adult male Mormon population is part of the priesthood.
          So this prohibition was more onerous than the similar prohibition against women priests in the Catholic Church.

          1. Garrett Pace

            That is a very useful clarification. Thanks for taking the time to make it.

            LDS Priesthood is held more or less universally among males above the age of 12. It is perhaps more useful to describe it as a requirement, one that carries a set of responsibilities for service and administration.

          2. Susan the other

            Ah… achieving the priesthood. That’s when you sink into the soft, fresh shit pile and the only way to escape is to leave your boots behind.

  8. BankStar

    The real estate looting must stop!

    “Fusco’s unit was one of 11 that were individually owned; another 97 were rental units. When the owner of the rental units failed to pay his mortgage, a company under the control of local developer Kevin Timochenko snapped all of them up for $7,200 at a foreclosure auction.

    The purchase gave Timochenko’s company, Water Polo I, LP, control of nearly 90 percent of the units of the complex, arming it with enough votes to dictate condominium association policy.

    The new condo owner called a vote to terminate the condo association altogether.

    Under Section 3220 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, when a condominium is dissolved, the condo association can put the entire condominium up for sale, regardless of who owns the individual units.

    The buyer? Another company controlled by Kevin Timochenko.

    Pennsylvania law states that in the event of a condominium sale, unit owners have the right to the fair market value of their homes as determined by an appraiser selected by the condominium association.”

  9. russell1200

    The last efforts to reinvent dinosaurs involve reverse engineering chickens. Birds are so closely related to dinosaurs (closer than we are to some other creatures that are called mammels) that arguably the dinosaurs never died out. A chicken with a tail is very close to a dinosaur.

  10. Eric Titus

    The maps of income segregation are much better on the Pew Website where they came from:

    Business Insider just grabbed some screenshots. Can’t stand that publication.
    I’m all for giving folks a second chance, but Blodget is basically a smaller, less effective version of Arianna Huffington. I’m more likely to click on a link to Fox than to BI.

  11. Walter Wit Man

    Here’s an astounding chart that shows a dramatic drop in the number of public teachers since Obama was elected.

    It’s no wonder we have these results when Obama cheers on teacher firings:

    “So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution. We’ve got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements. But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show signs of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability.

    “And that’s what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th graders passed state math tests — 7 percent. When a school board wasn’t able to deliver change by other means, they voted to lay off the faculty and the staff. As my Education Secretary Arne Duncan, says, our kids get only one chance at an education, and we need to get it right.”

    1. citalopram

      Bad teachers should be given a chance to improve, or be fired. Parents of troublesome students should be fired as well.

        1. Neo-Realist

          The Spartans were big on slaves–start’em when they’re young. The spirit continues in the prison industrial complex.

        2. citalopram

          Well, the problem is that shitty parents produce shitty kids, and then those shitty kids grow up impacting society in a shitty way.

          No man or woman is an island.

    2. Hugh

      The unstated subtext in all this is poverty, and to a lesser extent race. Do you really think that the teachers at this “failing” school were that much more incompetent than those say at a school in an upper middle class neighborhood? Do you think that if the teachers in two such schools were exchanged, the upper middle class school would fail and the other one turn into a success?

      My impression is that a lot “failing” schools are filled with students from low income families who may have limited English skills. Their families don’t have the resources or skills to help them. There often isn’t any push to emphasize education either at home or in the community. As I said, the students may not speak English or have only limited English skills. They are sent to a school that is underfunded and with large classes. Even good teachers would likely be overwhelmed or quickly burn out. Average teachers, and most teachers are average by definition, need not be incompetent to fail.

      Then there is the whole question of testing. What does the test actually test? What does it show? How can you have a one size fits all test when you so clearly do not have one size fits all schools?

      And then you have posturing politicians and school administrations which are often overstaffed, overpaid, and rife with cronyism demanding accountability. Of course, they are not going to blame themselves but teachers.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Job insecurity messing up your live life.

    Equally important for some, wealth inequality is messing up your DNA transmission.

  13. Susan the other

    About Missouri v. Docx aka LPS: Doesn’t Mitt Romney own significant shares in LPS?

  14. briansays

    politics and strange bed fellows

    Mitt Romney has been trying to paint himself as the family-values candidate, so he likely won’t be embracing his latest endorser. Porn star Jenna Jameson told a reporter Thursday night that Romney’s the guy for her. “When you’re rich, you want a Republican in office,” she explained. The endorsement comes at a bad time for the Romney’s campaign, which has been trying to discredit the idea that his economic policies would help the wealthy but not the middle-class. In the past, Jameson has supported Democrats, including Bill Clinton, because she felt they were more sympathetic to the porn industry.

    Read it at The New York Daily News
    August 3, 2012 2

  15. ScottS

    Re: Fury Reveals Deep Rifts Near ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ New York Times

    Buried lede alert! The last few paragraphs on the second page:

    Sgt. Juan Reveles has been with the department’s gang unit for nearly a decade. The unit has grown to 11 officers, more than double the size it was two years ago. Now, the city has roughly 30 active gangs and all but one are Latino, he said, with about half made up of relatively recent immigrants.

    During a community meeting after a police shooting earlier this year, Sergeant Reveles called the gangs “a failure of the Hispanic community.”

    “You would have thought I threw a grenade in the crowd,” he said in an interview. “But I am going to call it what it is, not pretend it’s different.”

    “The anti-police attitude now is at a level I have never seen before,” he said. But, he continued, “If officers start to say there’s just too much of a headache and we’re not going in there, it’s the residents who suffer. You can’t measure the quality-of-life differences when people are too scared to go downstairs to their own laundry room because gang bangers are kicking back there.”

    You hear that latinos? The gangs are (apparently) your fault, not the police’s or the corrupt city council members. And if you get uppity about the police shooting unarmed men, then the police will stop doing the civic engagement they already aren’t doing.


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