Links 8/4/12

Hero Chihuahua Finds Missing Girls in the Woods Care2 (furzy mouse). I may have to revise my opinion of chichuahuas.

Cripes, get him off me! Dog becomes unlikely friend to white lion cub rejected by its mother – but it’s a test of patience! Daily Mail (Carol B)

Children Can’t Identify Fresh Vegetables The Food Channel (Aquifer; don’t bust my chops for using this address, for some reason the page on the site does not load)

Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions New York Review of Books

Richemont: waiting for the bullet John Hempton. Actually also about the Chinese luxury goods market.

Greece faces difficult odds with privatization Washington Post

Kofi Annan quits as UN’s Syria envoy. Is diplomacy at an end? Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Iceland Could Be First Western Nation Since Financial Crisis To Break Up Its Banks ThinkProgress (Chuck L)

Cut defense spending, but not mindlessly USA Today. Robert N. thinks this might be the first major newspaper editorial urging cutting defense spending.

Great News: Cass Sunstein Leaving Government Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Street Stops in New York Fall as Unease Over Tactic Grows New York Times. About time.

Economy Generates 163,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Edges Up to 8.3 Percent Dean Baker

Headline Jobs +163,000, But Household Survey Shows -195,000 Jobs; Unemployment +.1 to 8.3% Michael Shedlock

Bankruptcy Filings Still Falling Bob Lawless, Credit Slips

Why Are We Still Firing Teachers? Surprise: It’s the Housing Market Atlantic (Walter Mit Man)

A man walks into a bank Financial Times (Richard Smith). Nowhere near as exciting, but just a few weeks ago, a check made to my cat sitter went into the payment envelope to my health insurance company. Not only did Cigna’s lockbox operation deposit it, but my bank (TD) honored it. By contrast, my previous bank would occasionally call me if they thought my signature didn’t look right to see if the check really was made out by me.

London Interbank Offered Rate Indexed ARMs Freddie Mac (Aquifer)

U.S. housing policy: “Absolutely insane” Matt Stoller, Salon

California Passes Homeowners Bill of Rights Foreclosure News (Chuck L)

Goldman Sachs’s New York prison deal saves all the risk for the taxpayer Guardian (Aquifer)

When Did Sandy Weill Change His Mind About Too Big To Fail? And Why? Matt Taibbi

Antidote du jour (bob):

And a bonus:

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    1. leftover

      I appreciate your analysis, Hugh, especially the SA vs NSA, undercount along with real and disemployment figures.
      The only suggestion I might offer is to give a table or section reference to where in the BLS Summary the figures used in your calculations can be found. It would make navigating the BLS Summary a little easier, is all.

      Other than that…nicely done.
      And thank you.

  1. Rex

    “Sunstein’s departure is an opportunity for the Administration to reset its regulatory policy and embrace public health and safety protections that have long been stalled in the White House.”

    At least until shortly after the lying season closes with the election. Then, what well-reguarded doorstop can be found to implement the business as usual of doing nothing unless it benefits big money.

  2. David

    Some unexpected good news in the links which has led me to wonder if anyone will report a flying pig.

  3. Aquifer

    Cat and eagle “OK, which one of us is supposed to eat the other? Should we flip a coin? What’s a coin? – Oh heck, let’s just have a visit and call it a day …”

    1. Kokuanani

      I’d be rather worried if MY cat were hanging out with an eagle.

      Have you taken a good look at the talons on that thing? I can imagine the eagle thinking the cat is just an unusually large rabbit or squirrel.

      Coyotes steal cats; I’d bet eagles do too.

  4. Aquifer

    I would not “bust chops” over use of a web address – when i sent it, it worked, but i noticed later on when i tried another link to Real Food – it wouldn’t work – maybe the site is down or someone is messing with it …

  5. Aquifer

    OK – 3rd strike, then hit the shower ….

    I loved the bit about the check to the cat sitter – man, you must pay your cat sitter a lot if the insurance co accepted the check! LOL. CIGNA, huh? You need to sit down with Wendel Potter …. Course i expect they are all the same ….

    So the question is – did your cat sitter accept the check to CIGNA – betcha that didn’t work out as well :)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Ha, no, I just had this bizarre small credit on my monthly bill from Cigna, and called to find out what that was about (I have a cheap and good policy, except Cigna tries to deny coverage by pretending it doesn’t get my claims, so I am also sure that they’d love to cancel my policy if they could, so I keep on top of billing weirdnesses).

      And no, I just wrote another check to the cat sitter when I couldn’t find the check I had written to her.

  6. p78

    “Psychiatry is the only medical profession in which the illnesses are only based on symptoms…

    A group of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital just started calling kids who had temper tantrums bipolar. They shouldn’t have done that. But the drug companies loved it…
    … thousands of schizophrenics had their frontal lobes cut — until it turned out that it was a terrible mistake…

    …someone who cannot eat a bite in a restaurant because strangers could be watching them has a social phobia…

    We should distinguish these people from all the others who are anxious or depressed because of poverty, rejection, loss or failure. The symptoms may look similar, but the causes are completely different.

    Psychiatrists should begin to make diagnoses the way other doctors do: They should ask what the causes are….
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recently announced that one in 88 American children has autism. That’s absurd. …

    Congress was toying with the idea of national day care centers. Along with two colleagues, I got a big grant to study the effect of day care on a group of infants. The children in the control group were looked after at home by their mothers. At the end of 30 months, we found that there was no difference between the two groups. Nonetheless, to this day, 40 years later, people are still claiming that day care centers are bad for children. In 2012.”

  7. jest

    RE: Children Can’t Identify Fresh Vegetables

    I would argue that most adults are just as bad when it comes to what goes into our food.

    I made Thousand Island dressing once, and people were absolutely mystified that I could make it at home. It’s just tartar & cocktail sauce mixed with with oil & vinegar.

    Another time, I made strawberry ice cream. They were amazed that such a thing could be done without an ice cream maker; needless to say they had no idea what ingredients it would take to make it. Which is crazy considering at least one of the ingredients is in the name of the dish.

    It’s really terrifying that people have no qualms about shoving things they don’t understand into their mouths.

    1. citalopram

      Yeah, making your own salad dressing is really much healthier and more cost effective than buying it in the store. I made some Italian dressing that didn’t have any sugar in it at all, and tasted just as good.

      I’ve been making my own homemade bread, and it’s way more delicious, filling and healthier (no sugar or preservatives) than anything in the store. It’s cheaper to boot.

  8. Baldur Bjarnason

    “Iceland Could Be First Western Nation Since Financial Crisis To Break Up Its Banks”

    This article has two major omissions which turn it into, well, a lie. Especially given that the original author must have known about these omissions and that leaving them out would transform this story into a complete falsehood as it spreads.

    Omission one: The ‘measure’ is a non-binding resolution. It isn’t a law. It has no power. It means nothing because Icelandic lawmakers have a history of using those resolutions specifically to throw bones to the public without actually changing anything. The last major non-binding resolution was the one on being a free speech haven (the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative), authored with feedback from many members of Wikileaks. It too got spread around presenting Iceland as a forward thinking progressive country when in fact they’re passing laws that require EU/EEA citizenship for running a news website in Iceland and require all news and editorial websites, newspapers, magazines, etc. to register with the government. (More on the media law that has actually been passed here: )

    These resolutions aren’t legislation in any meaningful way and many of the things proposed by the IMMI media resolution would require a change in the constitution which is almost impossible for them to achieve, even if voters in Iceland cared. Unfortunately, they do not.

    Icelandic lawmakers have a tradition of not following non-binding resolutions up with laws. If they did actually care about the issues in the resolutions, they’d have passed the law in the first place. A non-binding resolution in Iceland is a way to dispose of difficult items you really don’t want to pass. So when the article says that a lawmaker is pushing a measure what it really means is that the Green-Socialist party is trying to win back their followers (who, like me, voted for them because we thought they’d regulate finance and the banks) for the upcoming elections.

    Because that’s omission number two: There’s an election coming and anti-bank sentiment was the bedrock that the Greens built their party on. They, as a minority party in the government, have no capability to pass laws that affect the banks in a meaningful way, but they can stick their tongue out at them. Which is all that this measure is.

    Most of the english language stories on Iceland are like this. They leave out important facts that make sure that the story gets turned into a pro-Icelandic falsehood as it spreads (like leaving out illegal index-linking, that most of the debt forgiveness goes to the 1%, the massive austerity cutbacks, the fact that the government has and continues to follow the IMF playbook exactly).

    Icelanders are using English language media to improve Iceland’s PR image (note the nationality of the Bloomberg piece). Progressive in the US and UK spread the lies without checking the facts because it suits their agenda. Most of the things you read in english about Iceland’s recovery are half-truths and not to be trusted.

    1. Hugh

      Thanks for this. I have heard a lot of contradictory things about what is going on in Iceland. I think this illustrates the point that there is no such thing as good elites and that we cannot expect real change ever to come from them.

  9. Lee

    Thank you Rachel Carson!

    In 1970, the effects of DDT upon bird populations was still much in evidence. A falconer friend of mine and I found and reported to state wildlife authorities one of only two Peregrine nests with live young to be sited on the California coast that year.

    They have made a tremendous come back. Recently I was much pleased to observe over a major urban area and aerial battle between a Peregrine and a Red-tailed hawk. Actually, it was more of a threat display in that the Peregrine dove and buzzed the hawk while the latter sought to defend itself by inverting and flying momentarily with talons up. The hawk finally flew out of the Peregrine’s territory, which evidently included a portion of elevated freeway.

    Neither bird was harmed in the execution of this magnificent aerial display.

  10. F. Beard

    re: “No aircraft invented comes anywhere close”:

    And if it is invented, it will have been INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      The most powerful argument against intelligent design of which I’m aware is that no intelligent designer would commingle the the entertainment and trash disposal functions. ;)

      1. F. Beard

        That serves a purpose too by making sex disgusting to the young? “Eau! Gross!”

        And if we’re only animals then why do you find it odd? But I reckon sex is only for the present age:

        For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Matthew 22:30

        Oops! Sorry Mormons?

        1. F. Beard

          What’s his name blows it within the first 30 seconds. The Universe is such that it allows life somewhere within it; it is not necessary for the Intelligent Design argument that the Universe be habitable for any other place but Earth. The rest of the Universe serves as a contrast for how special Earth is.

          Two non-theists wrote a book called “Rare Earth” in which they argue that Earth is probably the ONLY place in the entire Universe with intelligent life.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hero Chihuahua – my stat friends say we need a few more data points before we change our minds.

  12. WWIII

    That’s some hi-octane bullshit in that Monitor article.

    “The death knell of Annan’s efforts was sounded last month, when Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution on Syria for the third time in the course of the crisis.” The death knell of Annan’s efforts was the US program to negate those efforts by sending, on its behalf, armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against the sovereignty and political independence of Syria, to coin a phrase.

    “In response to that veto, the United States signaled that UN inaction would oblige it to bypass the UN to address Syria’s mounting violence and loss of life.” Here the US is announcing a plan and policy of criminal aggression. This is greater overt contempt for the UN Charter than Bush ever displayed – they at least used it as a backdrop for their photo ops. Rice and Obama are doing their best to shitcan the rule of law.

  13. Guy Fawkes

    No one has commented on the LIBOR ARM offered by Freddie Mac.

    “Obtain flexible options for your financially savvy borrowers who plan to move before the initial period ends.”

    Sounds to me like the Option ARM run up. Can anyone believe they are still selling “blowupintheirface” loans???

  14. kevinearick

    Valuation Perception

    Middle Class Dream: spend in excess of capacity and get more credit, until you don’t, and be replaced by the next robot, running from something for nothing, to something for nothing, ahead of the collapsing demographic ponzi, with a fractional reserve bank transforming and transmitting the energy.

    The republicans represent capital, the democrats represent middle class, and labor requires only nature to do its job. Accounting Law converts capital loss into middle class gain at the expense of labor, until labor can no longer be liquidated, at which point the middle class is liquidated itself, with great efficiency, by the tools developed in the so automated process, squealing louder and louder for lack of grease, as the participants throw each other under the bus, and then themselves.

    Out of their own mouths comes the prison, in a positive feedback loop, from generation to generation, to oblivion, waging war on the belief systems of others, accelerating the cancer to death, zoo critters in a rat race to the bottom, exchanging virtual FIRE as a means to control production, which it and its derivatives are not. That’s all make-work.

    A service economy by itself has no product, so it must be subsidized, and at some point, some where, some how, a product must come out of the pipeline, which serves both the human and natural economies, in a negative feedback loop to symbiotic equilibrium.

    At this point, why would anyone be surprised that governments the world over are buying cross-dressed autos and auctioning them off as defective, to ensure supply-side efficiency, unless they are paid accordingly. Global pension behavior only makes sense in a world of demographic ponzi operators, in which people are paid to be stupid.

    You get what you pay for, in effective labor, so don’t be surprised when the power goes out and there is no water, as the herd reaches its destination in the desert. Building a bullet train only serves to accelerate the process.

    Don’t rent from a bank, through government taxation, expecting the property mythology along the track to be fulfilled. Only liars require a derivative contract. Pigs are pigs no matter how you dress them, but they serve a purpose.

    Corporate has begun a new round of increasing product price and reducing labor cost, the last in this loop, as if people were not both the means and the end, pushing the paper profit into the equity market and real losses onto government, net to pensions, with waste flowing to the top. What’s new? Watch the Safeway union, traffic by entitlement disbursement day, and hours by wage.

    Whether capital is the voltage or the resistance depends upon your perspective, how you measure. The manufactured majority always assumes capital is all powerful, because the former breeds and trains the latter accordingly. If value is demand relative to supply over time, in a feedback loop, how f-ing stupid is a rote robot education system that rewards compliance? Is its result capital? Is its knowledge capital?

    Labor’s next move is not going to be returning to the Stone Age, regardless of majority vote. The robots only care about how many pebbles they have relative to their neighbors on empire TV, and who is not using pebbles a medium of exchange. For the issuing authority, it is always a game of cloak and daggers, beyond the easily regulated, peer pressure, divide and conquer horizon, and the dc computer is only the explicit side of the operation. Accept risk accordingly.

    Gold transmission is an extremely slow moving vehicle relative to increasingly diverse markets, the moneychangers have much more experience manipulating gold than digital script, and, like all empire mediums, a derivative market always develops to “account” for failures, in a positive bias feedback loop, which may only result in leverage acceleration, until collapse. It’s first gear.

    How much gold does the planet store, how fast is it being revealed, and what are the holdings in each event horizon? Currency is always a game of blind man’s bluff, caveat emptor has a lineage, and the sheep get moved from pasture to pasture, clipped, and finally slaughtered. Getting in is easy; calculating the stack exit before entrance is a little more difficult. Measure flow momentum against gate valve operation.

    Gravitational reduction, copying the behavior of others, does not create wealth. Only intelligent labor seeking the unknown can do that. You are not an accident of birth. Value your self as you would have others appreciate you, and aggregate. We do not all value a McMansion with a BMW in the driveway, despite what many have been led to believe, in the now imploding circle jerk among inconsiderable robots.

    Interest is not work to be balanced against employment; it’s a meal ticket. Money will never replace labor, no matter how many times the moneychangers try. Who do you suppose provides the impetus, like the dc circuit, at the beginning of each and every iteration? The passive aggressive applies extortion when it believes it has a weapon that it can control from the other side of the planet, with recognition delay, and every weapon has at least two edges. Speculate accordingly.

    The global economy is bankrupt, and all its operators are immobile relative to nature, which is collecting them, to complete your circuit. Building the future will never be less expensive. Empathy is one thing; stupidity is another. GDP stands for government directed production. Capital and middle class come from labor, and both are being left behind, with toys and a TV, for lack of adaptive fortitude, preaching nirvana and Armageddon as the digital rails to their prison.

    Do you really think the middle class can vote its way out of this black hole, and appreciate your children? Keep your distance and let nature do its job. Robots are incapable of consideration; that’s why money exists. If you can’t trust their word, why would you trust a derivative contract?

    Which is better, a dictator or a limousine liberal, wearing each other’s dresses? Romney didn’t stir up a Polish electrician by chance. Many of you didn’t realize you were labor when this process began. Welcome, but labor reserves the right to discriminate, at will. That’s always its prerogative, the difference between talking and doing.

    Capital opens Pandora’s Box; labor keeps a lid on it, until it doesn’t. Let nature take its course, knit the dress implicitly, and print your own script, in the process. How’s your elevator working now?

    (what do you do when Statey says “hey partner; put your leash back on. I’m in charge here.”? My advice is to leave him to his own death spiral and get on with your work. You have much bigger fish to fry. If he is stupid enough to follow you, so is his entire chain of command. Don’t waste your time on middle men. Be patient; your time will come. A reptile is a reptile is a reptile. It peers through the glass and sees only itself, through others, until it’s too late.)

    1. foppe

      Does Whalen really believe everything he writes there? It’s scary how uninformed this is..

      1. spooz

        I had to double check that it was the same Chris Whalen. I’ve enjoyed his financial reporting, but lately he’s been writing political pieces for libertarian leaning ZH. In this one he rejoices in the “New Austerity”:

        “In the event [that GS gets thrown to the TBTF wolves], we can take some small comfort that most of the folks at Goldman Sachs are really no different that the Krugmanite socialists who populate the world of American economics. They want something for nothing, this something stolen from the pockets of working Americans via the coercive power of the state. The New Austerity, far from being a disaster, is really about restoring American values and ending the liberal political choke hold of Washington over all facets of American life. Despite the very real pain that the coming adjustment entails, individuals who believe in personal and economic freedom should rejoice at the New Austerity.”

        1. enouf

          Thanks for pointing out the incessant ‘dichotomy’ paradigm insanity that permeates all culture, and which the sock-puppet MSM propagandists use to help maintain the Globalist Sociopathic-Pig agenda.

          List of people to read;

          — ….
          — ….
          Chris Whalen
          — ….
          — ….

          There, all fixed


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