Links 8/8/12

Call for training to tackle anti-social behaviour BBC

Capturing the Winter Songs of Rare Whales New York Times (furzy mouse)

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking Wired (Lambert)

Epilepsy Drug Reverses Memory Loss in Animal Model of Alzheimer’s Disease Science Daily (furzy mouse)

True Story: What Happens When You Buy 70,000 Twitter Followers Clusterstock (Scott)

Gen Y Eschewing V-8 For 4G Threatens Auto Demand: Cars Blomberg. Hah, one of the few ways my behavior is not old fart like. I’ve never owned a car and hope never to have to own one.

Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Becomes Everyday Reality Michael Klare, Tom Englehardt

Electricity Use Seen Overstating China Economic Slowdown Bloomberg

China’s leading indicator slides on MacroBusiness

Where is Prince Bandar? Asia Times (furzy mouse)

Mitt Romney cleverly waits until he’s back from his trip to insult Israel Daily Kos (Scott)

Interview With the Green Party’s Jill Stein, Candidate for Organizer in Chief Truthout (Aquifer)

Chesapeake and the price of gas Joe Costello

US consumer credit: back to sideways FT Alphaville

Was Sacha Baron Cohen Impersonating Sandy Weill? Bloomberg. Ace Greenberg weighs in.

Bernanke Says Student Loans Won’t Cause Crisis Bloomberg

Record Penalties for Fraud, Few Charges for Executives New York Times. Notice how the NYT misrepresents the Stoker decision to push the “Oh, it’s too hard to get these guys” Administration party line. The foreman in interviews made clear they thought Citi’s conduct was terrible (as in the disclosures didn’t cut it) but the SEC failed to explain liability basics: even if you aren’t the mastermind, you are responsible if you help execute.

Fraud is Easy to Do (Doesn’t Hurt if You Work in Fraud Prevention) New York Observer (Richard R)

Missing Chapters of Monopoly Capital: Some Theoretical Implications Monthly Review (nathan)

Chart of the day, HFT edition Felix Salmon

D – 31 and counting*

“You can’t be a successful Dictator and design women’s underclothing.” — P. G. Wodehouse

Montreal. Carré rouge: “Even though the election campaign has stirred the news pot here, we’re in for a lot more noise once the putative return to class (to resume the winter term, in theory) in the course of next week is rejected by students and that rejection is supported by professors who have vowed to respect the student strike.” … Elections: “[Camille Robert, CLASSE:] We’re talking about access to higher education, management of natural resources, and the crisis of democracy. [E]lections alone cannot resolve this conflict, regardless of which party comes to power.”

AL. Municipal bankruptcy: “A Jefferson County Commission committee voted this morning 3-2 to close inpatient care at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital in 30 days. The closing will be placed on the Commission’s agenda for a regular vote next Tuesday.”

CA. Municipal bankruptcy: “After the [San Bernardino] council declared a fiscal emergency on July 18, vendors began trying to seize material and equipment from city facilities, before the bankruptcy filing froze city assets. A  copier was seized from the Fire Department office. The department filed a police report. About a week later, the copier was returned.” … Extractive economy: “More than 560 people were treated or admitted at Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center and Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo on Monday and Tuesday for respiratory problems, eye, nose and throat irritation and other health problems linked to the [Chevron refinery] fire that sent thick black smoke all over the Bay Area, hospitals officials said.”

CO. Fracking: “The ink was barely dry on Longmont’s new oil and gas regulations when the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission directed its attorney to sue the city. ‘Members of the COGCC have called me and told me this isn’t about Longmont,’ [Councilman Brian Bagley] said. ‘They’ve told me this is about keeping the cities in line.'” (mr)

FL. Obama’s mortgage settlement: “[BONDI: ] ‘This isn’t a tax appropriation, this is a settlement agreement.‘” Meaning her AG’s office should distribute FL’s $300 million share, and not the legislature.

ME. Transparency: “[Peter] Vigue’s 230-mile [private] East-West Highway would follow the Stud Mill Road haulroad from Calais to Costigan where it would cross the Penobscot River. From there it would strike out northwest cross-country, running south of Dover-Foxcroft and Guilford and crossing the Appalachian Trail somewhere in the vicinity of Blanchard. Though he has a huge, detailed map rolled up in his Pittsfield office, Vigue is reluctant to be too specific about some sections of the route for fear that opponents will try to persuade property owners not to sell.”  “Highway” is a misnomer; it’s a private right-of-way. Anything could go down it, including pipelines and power lines.

NY. Fracking: “For those desperately hoping against hope that high volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing for natural gas will be blocked from coming into New York state, sorry. For you, the end of the world arrives before Labor Day.” Another view. … Corruption: “The man in charge of keeping the books for the Troy Housing Authority has been double-dipping for the past five years”

OH. Fracking: “Stow Council decides against leasing mineral rights needed for gas well. Environmental concerns and the proximity of the drilled natural gas well next to the Church of New Hope on Darrow Road were among the reasons Council members gave to support their decision.” (danps) …  Term limits: “By squeezing the experience a legislator has in OH’s House or Senate, term limits make lobbyists (and legislative employees, however outstanding most are) the ‘deciders’ in Columbus. They, not rookie legislators, know where the bodies are buried. They know Ohio’s budget has nooks and crannies like Thomas’ English muffins.”

OK. Ballot access: “Americans Elect activists in OK organize the party in their state, elect officers, and nominate Gary Johnson for President.”

PA. Regulatory capture: “‘All the times the companies apply for these permits [for ethane cracker plants] they know exactly what they have to do and what those requirements are, we certainly don’t have to educate them,’ [says PA’s Secretary of Environmental Protection Michael Krancer].” … Fracking: “The Marcellus Shale is about to become the most productive natural gas field in the United States, according to new data from energy industry analysts and the federal government.” …  Fracking: “If only 10 percent of the Marcellus Shale region was developed, that could equate to 40,000 wells. Under the best-case median risk calculation that Rozell and Reaven developed, the volume of contaminated wastewater ‘would equate to several hours flow of the Hudson River or a few thousand Olympic-sized swimming pools.’ That represents a ‘potential substantial risk.'” … Unions: “Union leaders from Philadelphia gathered this morning to preview their ‘Workers Stand for America’ rally, expected to pack 30,000 organized labor members on the Ben Franklin Parkway Saturday. John Dougherty, leader of Local 98 of the IBEW, made clear that labor is feeling taken for granted by traditional D political allies but denied that the rally is a ‘shadow convention.'”

TN. Money: “In a Metro school board election cycle that saw unprecedented amounts of dollars flow to candidates — more than $400,000 overall — [Amy] Frogge knocked off the one with the most: Margaret Dolan, an Ingram Industries executive who used her network of heavyweight support to build a campaign war chest of $113,000, the highest figure ever collected for a Metro school board race. Outspent 5-to-1, Frogge beat Dolan in school board District 9 by a 2-to-1 ratio — 3,524 votes to 1,725.”

TX. Police blotter: “She grabbed a pink, steel stripper pole and tried to hit him in the head, the affidavit states.” … Fracking: “The EPA said methane—what natural gas is made of—is a highly potent greenhouse gas. The agency blames oil and gas production and processing for ‘nearly 40% of all U.S. methane emissions.’ [O]f particular concern is ‘flowback’, one stage of drilling a well when a mix of natural gas and [Volatile Organic Compounds] comes to the surface ‘at high velocity and volume’ for three to 10 days.” … Fracking: “If you live in the Barnett Shale around Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, you may have noticed the ground has become a bit shakier in the last few years. And a new study by a Univeristy of Texas seismologist says that the wells used to dispose of fracking waste water are responsible. What’s more, there have been more than eight times as many earthquakes in the area than previously thought.” … Social media: “Cruz had twice as many Facebook fans as Dewhurst, 86,507 to 43,355. And he tweeted to his Twitter followers 5,117 times through runoff day, versus 597 for Dewhurst.”

VA. Kumbaya: “[Ousted then restored President Kathleen] Sullivan wrote in a statement on Tuesday that [COO Michael] Strine ‘recently determined that it would be in the best interest of the university that he step down and allow me to do some necessary internal restructuring.'” Ouch! We still have no idea what the real story at UVA was, do we? … MOOCs: “While prestigious institutions like the University of Virginia engage in controversy and soul-searching over how to integrate online education, upstart institutions like [Falwell’s] Liberty are racking up market share.” …  Privatization: “Eleven organizations sent a letter to VA’s governor Monday opposing offers by two companies to operate a state facility that detains violent sex offenders for treatment after their sentences are completed.” What could go wrong?

VT. Wind: “Six protesters against Green Mountain Power wind project arrested on Lowell mountain.” Ages: 50, 56, 63, 64, 66, 71. … Pipelines: “Activists who say they were repeatedly shot with rubber pellets during a [tar sands pipeline] confrontation with police last Sunday at the [Burlington] Hilton Hotel have filed a public records request with the Burlington Police Department.”

Outside baseball. Market state: “We now have our smallest government in 45 years.” Only Nixon can go to China. Only Obama can drown government in a bathtub. … Market state: “School reform has generated a marketplace, and a profitable one at that.  Michelle Rhee’s standard fee is $50,000 an appearance, plus expenses. In Michigan, Clark Durrant is paid over half a million dollars a year to run five charter schools. Eva Moskowitz, Geoffrey Canada and Deborah Kenney all make between four and five hundred thousand a year running their New York City charter school organizations. And these are the minor players. The real money is corporate.” …  Extractive economy: “A natural gas liquids boom stemming from development of US shale plays will spur investments in export-related petrochemical plans targeting Latin American market, Energy Security Analysis Inc. (ESAI) said in a recent report. With US demand for ethylene derivatives growing modestly, expanding petrochemical capacity will be export-oriented.” Because no aggregate demand here?  … Extractive economy: “The coalition of 10 Ds and 34 Rs from AR, LA, OK and TX said the expansion of domestic shale gas production in other parts of the country has given the United States a need to find markets outside its own borders.” … Violence: “For the past 15 years, [UConn’s Peter Turchin] has been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and applying them to human history. He has analysed historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence in the United States, and has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way1. The peak should occur in about 2020, Cliodynamics is viewed with deep scepticism by most academic historians,”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood watch. Bipartisanship: “President Obama on Tuesday signed a law requiring the White House budget office to reveal exactly how automatic budget cuts looming in January 2013 will be carried out. The administration must issue its report to Congress in 30 days.” (Signaled by Politico in unsourced squib July 25.) Only Nixon can go to China. Only Obama can gut Social Security and Medicare.

The trail. What It Takes: “The Gephardts were also overwhelmed. ‘It was like camping without the woods. Without the privacy. And with lots more stuff.’ That’s how Iowa was for Jane Gephardt.” … Especially about the future: “the FiveThirtyEight model — where Obama’s probability of winning the Electoral College recently ticked above 70 percent.” … Teebee: “If television ad spending is any guide, the White House race will come down to nine states that have absorbed an eye-popping $350 million in commercials so far. CO, IA, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, VA and FL are where the ad dollars have been concentrated. Obama carried all nine states in 2008, but polling and the ad crush indicate all are highly competitive this time. [T]he rest of the country is virtually ad-free.” So if you’re in one of the “lower 41” states, and not seeing any ads, feel free to vote for an emergent party like the Greens. Your vote has already been “thrown away.” …. Linky goodness: Links for following the election.

Robama vs. Obomney. The real voters: “Each candidate devoted a majority of his July events to collecting money, placing each in contact with smaller, elite groups of donors more often than larger public gatherings of voters.” … Kabuki: “Romney has opened up a new front in his battle for the US presidency, accusing Barack Obama of planning to ‘gut welfare reform’ by watering down requirements for beneficiaries to work or do training in return for their cheques. Obama’s re-election team responded by saying that Mr Romney asked for even greater flexibility to waive the central part of the law while he was governor of MA.” Same as ObamaCare/RomneyCare!

Green Party. Ballot access: “On August 6, the WA SoS said the Green Party [Presidental ballot] petition is valid.”

Romney. Too much information: “You know how boys liked to go through their dad’s top drawer, just sort of to see what he has in there, maybe find an old coin he might not miss?” … Losing the political class: “By early 2011, it was apparent that many reporters viewed Romney as inauthentic and were selecting anecdotes to report that were consistent with this narrative. the best comparison for the Romney/media dynamic is the way the press covered Al Gore in the 1999-2000 period.” … Losing the political class: “Good morning and welcome to our Tuesday politics live blog coverage, in which Mitt Romney brings a dancing pony to a horse race.” Sure, the Brits. But still. … Negative campaigning works: “[O]n dimensions related to wealth and empathy, Romney is perceived less favorably than Obama. Other public polls, such as those of the Washington Post and Gallup, confirm this.” … Veepstakes: “Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia page was updated at least 68 times the day before John McCain announced her selection, with another 54 changes made in the five previous days previous. By contrast, the other likely picks — Romney, Kay Bailey Hutchison — saw far fewer changes.  [I]f Wikipedia changes offer any hint of what’s coming, then today might be a good day to bet on Ryan. ”

Obama. Tax returns: “[Reid] made a flat statement of fact. He said he has an “extremely credible source,” which in this context means someone with direct knowledge of Romney’s taxes who decided to pick up the phone and dish about it to Harry Reid. Does anyone really believe this? Really?” It’s the “He said, she said.” Then again, Mormon infighting? A “double-bubble” operation? [Caution: foil ahead]. … War on women: “Obama will draw fresh attention to his administration’s decision to require most employers to offer free contraceptive coverage, when he’s introduced in Denver Wednesday by Sandra Fluke, the young woman who came to prominence for supporting that policy.” … Teebee: “This week, the Obama camp has five campaigns on the [WSJ Presidential Ads Chart], while Romney has two, conservative groups also have two, while a liberal group has one.” … The Big Dog: “Clinton is being given an exceptional piece of prime time to speak, the night before Obama makes his acceptance speech, a slot usually reserved for the running mate.” I thought both Clintons were racists. Did I not get the memo?

* 31 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. All the rest have 31.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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    1. JTFaraday

      “Prof. Hudson: Latvia is applauded as a model for which Europe should emulate. So you can expect your wages to be cut by 30%, you can expect people will have to go into a lifetime of debt in order to buy housing. They will have to have to inherit money if they want to get an education.

      Dr. Schirrmacher: That is what you say about Europe?

      Prof. Hudson: I said, if you follow the Latvian model. This is the ideal. The basic principle when I talk to bankers is: You don’t know how far wages can be pushed down until somebody pushes back. And so far, nobody has pushed back.

      Dr. Schirrmacher: But what is with the unions? Normally …

      Prof. Hudson: The communist countries did not have unions because they were supposed to be one big union. So the working conditions in the Baltic States have the worst accident rates, the worst workplace conditions, and their workers report the most abusive treatment by their employers. The workplace conditions in the post-communist economies are much worse than those in the capitalist economies, where there has been a symbiosis between labor and capital, a symbiosis between the private sector and the government.”

      1. JTFaraday

        Ah, and Hudson is calling the neoliberals the “new nomenklatura.”

        I think he has a point.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’m surprised more jobs have not been outsourced to those ex-communist nations.

    2. Susan the other

      Hermanas, this edition of the FAZ article was a bit different from the German one (I think excerpted from the original) I read here- not only was this one considerably longer, it completely reworded the bit about Stalin and FDR and attributed it to a quote from Hermann Kahn. Is this censorship a little when it reports Hudson talking about Russia not having unions because the government was one big union, which makes sense of course – but then it goes on to give the weird story attributed to Kahn that Stalin cut a deal to keep the US communists from striking during the war if FDR would “prosecute” all the Trotskyites. Why make that deal at all? I think something has been edited out of this interview. Stalin had a much more efficient end in mind for the Trotskyites. And FDR didn’t need Stalin to control communism or the unions in the US. Anyway, I’m probably misreading it but if not, it makes me wonder why the two versions are a bit different.

  1. Richard Kline

    Yves: ” . . . I’ve never owned a car and hope never to have to own one.” Did I tell you that I’ve never owned a car either? I do become covetous when I’m around certain models of Porsche, but I get on the bus, go somewhere else, and the mood passes. I do like to drive, tho’ . . . .

    1. craazyman

      I saw the future of personal mobility two days ago right here on this web site — and it’s called “Rollerman”.

    2. Bill the Psychologist

      Living in NYC, particularly Manhattan, a car is definitely a liability.

      When I lived there in the 80s as a grad student, one of my fellow students paid as much for her garage space as I paid for my admittedly cheap apartment.

      And when I needed a car to get to northern Westchester for an internship (while doing a practicum also in Manhattan), it was burglarized at least 3 times in the 2 years I had it.

      1. enouf

        Please .. oh please .. explain to us please;
        What is NOT a liability?!

        ‘Insurance’ is the hemoglobin of the (all powerful, oppressive) ‘State’

        When will we realize this axiom and acknowledge it as Truth?


        1. enouf

          I proffer; the ability to “defer liability” is (one of) the major underscoring reason(s) why our western ‘societies’ are truly “uncivilized”

          Got anything to prove me wrong?


        2. Bill the Psychologist

          It appears I have my own personal troll; how nice.

          I didn’t think I was that important. Now I’ll have to work on deflating my narcissistic self-importance……sigh.

        3. enouf

          Bill the Psychologist says:
          August 9, 2012 at 8:13 am
          It appears I have my own personal troll; how nice.

          They didn’t teach ya ‘appearances can be deceiving’?

          what a dump reply Bill – I was hopeful you weren’t one of those maggots that came about from another’s maladay, but i guess the infection is more than skin-deep – talk about *sigh* …


    3. Neo-Realist

      I never owned a car in NYC either, however in Seattle, you have little choice since we don’t have a 24 hr transit system which means that the bus service is crap after rush hour. If you went out to see live music or theater, you would not get home at a timely hour around here without a car.

      I know there are people around here who pride themselves on not having a car, however, many of those people use zipcar for the places they can’t reach by bus in a timely manner which are quite a few outside of the center of the city. Some bike, but it’s a pain going uphill, doing it in the rain, and potentially dangerous at night–drivers don’t see you all that well, nor respect your presence.

      They’ve come to their senses around here–later than they should have–and built some light rail, but it is limited in scope and I don’t foresee the political willpower to greatly expand it in the future.

    4. Maximilien

      Well Yves, ya got me beat—I’ve owned one car. In 1987, for one year, a 1974 Ford Maverick. I HAD to have it—I lived ten miles from the nearest town (too far for an easy bike-ride) and there were no buses.

      Before and after that year, I walked, cycled, or bussed everywhere. When I was first out of university (1974) I rode my bike five miles to work and back every day and was considered a bit of a weirdo. Few others did it in those days.

      That being said, there are certain circumstances which make owning a car almost mandatory: Try living in a rural area (I don’t), try transporting kids (fortunately or unfortunately I’m an aging bachelor), try being old and infirm (I’m not yet) without one. It’s hard to do.

    5. skippy

      Not a chance of not owning with same day 1000 Klm round trip drives down under, wife does relief work in the bush, here and there. And if that’s part of your job you better have something that’s up to the road and weather challenges, never mind the brothers that bound, out of no where, in front of you. Lets not even get into the wombats or emus.

      Skippy… highly recommend a Q-7 3.0TD, wish it was other wise…

  2. PaperMoon

    It’s strangely depressing how it’s become a point of pride for people to not own a car, one of humanities great technological achievements. Freedom to move from place to place in a totally unprecedented way.

    As more and more people become too poor to own a car i wonder if that pride will remain, and i wonder what are the other characteristics of poverty that we can take pride in?

    1. Susan the other

      I don’t see it as depressing. I just see change coming. But the idea of having the freedom to move around won’t change, the vehicle will. Technology will turn to something sustainable like Segways. The premise of this Bloomberg piece was that GenY gets a better sense of freedom and a better high by being connected electronically. Some new kind of inner freedom going on. I’m a boomer, but I’m going to enjoy seeing the demise of the automobile.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A car driver is taught right away to obey…rules.

        He/she is then told to permission.

        Then, he/she is placed under the sword of the point system to ensure sheriffs and deputies are addressed to with respect. Nevertheless, in times of municipal financial crisis, he/she is expected to help out via involuntary contributions such as extra parking tickets and/or minor moving violations.

        I think it’a a great model and sometimes wonder why they haven’t thought of requiring all all net surfers to get a license in order to surf the net.

    2. Maximilien

      “It’s strangely depressing how it’s become a point of pride for people to not own a car, one of humanities great technological achievements. Freedom to move from place to place in a totally unprecedented way.”

      It’s strangely depressing that everyone doesn’t own their own personal executive jet. Now THAT’S unprecedented freedom!

      1. craazyman

        You are limited, of course, by the inconvenience of requiring an airport for take off and landing.

        For me, it’s not total freedom until it’s your own jet pack. I’m seeing indications that technology is evolving.

        I am thinking soon, there will be not only a jet pack but some form of foldable wings for cruising once you’re at jet speed.

        At that point, it will be a new world. Consider the possibilities. And if you add a Rollerman suit, you may even be able use the highway at full interstate speed. You are totally and completely free for unlimited mobility hundreds of miles in every direction — as long as the weather holds out.

        1. Robin Hood

          I’ve been pretty impressed with how Spiderman gets around. ‘Course it only works in NYC and maybe parts of Chicago, but what’s more green and sustainable than squirting some sticky web stuff at a skyscraper and swinging to your destination?

          I bet Yves would even try it!

          1. craazyman

            those ads at the bus stops crack me up.

            Spiderman has some hot babe in his arms and she’s looking searchingly at him.

            The problem is, he has no mouth. How are they supposed to kiss? It looks awkward and I can imagine the scene and start laughing, staring at the poster, she moves closer and then stops, paralyzed with confusion. Does she kiss the mask? How satisfying can that be? It looks like some kind of stretched laytex or polyester. It probably tastes like a fire-retardant chemical. Where can this relationship go if they want to get down to business?

            I haven’t seen the movie. So maybe they figure it out. I hope he doesn’t look like the monster from Alien with the mask off.

          2. Robin Hood

            You have a point there. I guess you might say it’d be like kissing a condom. French kissing is definitely not gonna happen.

            Actually, I haven’t seen the new Spiderman yet either. I was just remembering the old one and figured it didn’t change that much. But I do plan on seeing maybe on Friday.

            Batman was last week, and with the cowl thing going, looks like he’s doing pretty good with Catwomen.

  3. Lobo

    Ever wonder how the generations of the 20th and the 21st century will be regarded by future generations, consuming the one-time fossil fuel inheritance to power personal 4000-pound vehicles?

  4. ambrit

    All this b—-ing and moaning about automobiles. Place the blame where it belongs; on the shoulders of G.M., Firestone, and Standard Oil. America was doing fine with Urban Transit, aka trolley cars, until this earlier ‘Evil Troika’ started their campaign to buy the Mass Transit companies up and shut them down.
    On the other side, personal mobility is one of the greatest boons to humanity ever devised. Look to see reliable Electric Cars start coming online as the oil economy winds down. Those evil corporate types will extract every pound of flesh they can from that source too.
    “The more things change…”

  5. Paul Walker

    The American administration has little difficulty labeling anyone caught near a target for drone strikes and killed as a result of the strike an unidentified accessory, infants and small children included. This conduct renders excuses for their egregious failures before the bar more than simply questionable and raises them to the level of accessory to the charges brought and most likely much more.

  6. ambrit

    Oh, by the way, did anybody, except Gulf Coast types, notice the GAO announcing an investigation into ‘irregularities’ in the use of funds, $650 million, slated for water and sewer projects after Katrina? Mississippi in particular has been a hotbed of corruption post Katrina. All that Federal money and so few trustworthy eyes to keep track of it. It kind of reminds you of one of those Banana Republics you keep hearing about. (No, I do not mean the French Quarter.)

      1. ambrit

        Mr. Strether;
        In the tradition of Internet Neanderthals everywhere, here’s a typed out version of the link to the Sun Herald, the Mississippi Gulf Coast newspaper. They say the story comes from AP.
        Also have fun reading about the peculations attendant to the Port of Gulfport Expansion money from a few years back. Haley and his henchmen took another $600 million or so, but the Feds made them give it back.
        We used to joke that Louisiana was the northernmost Banana Republic. We never suspected Mississippi would claim that dubious title.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I dont know if it’s an accounting identity or a theory of humanity but it goes like this:

      More printed federal money = more federal money stolen via corruption

      1. F. Beard

        More Federal money creation is EXACTLY what we need.

        How do you manage to be wrong so often?

        Never mind, I already know.

  7. Cj Jones

    Ant-Social behavior. If they put an end to that how many artists, musicians, writers, engineers or scientist would be left?

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      You are conflating antisocial behavior (which is considered a generally non-treatable personality condition) with other non-psychiatric conditions such as idiosyncratic lack of high social skills and/or shyness and a condition called schizoid personality which entails avoidance of social contact.

      Any of us can have schizoid traits (I do), or be shy, but do not manipulate and prey on others like antisocial personalities do. They are also known as sociopaths and psychopaths.

      1. enouf

        Thanks for that self-diagnosis Bill ;-)

        Hrmmm… seems the one advantage socio- psychopaths have is they can easily recongnise each other; all this Facecrap hullabaloo seems to be centered around that meme “We can’t allow any of that so-called Competition! in our (pseudo-free-market) society — how would we ever maintain our monopoly?!”.


        p.s. the DSM needs to be updated to include Psycho/Sociopaths acting Collectively, i.e.; Cartel, Mafiaso, Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy, RICO. …heh

  8. Oopsie the two-headed fetus

    Fascinating fracking study there, . Where’d the funding come from? The method is he-says-she-says with numbers, rigorous subject to the input assumptions. My favorite variables are P sub FL, the probability of cracking open an aquifer by mistake, 1e-6 in the industry’s objective opinion, and the probability of well failure, 2e-8 in the industry’s expert opinion. Those two factors determine the probability of contaminating an aquifer, an irremediable event potentially affecting multiple wells in a period of intensifying water insecurity. But we should study wastewater instead, because the, ah, epistemic uncertainty is greater. (Whatta ya know, wastewater also happens to be the easy problem.) I’ll reserve judgement till I review their next study, “System-theoretic reliability analysis for probabilistic impact assessments of hey look over there, a naked lady!!”

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thanks for finding the study. However, I’m inclined to believe it’s not bullshit (but MEGO when I see equations, I admit). And if it’s bullshit, the conclusion that there’s a substantial risk posed would mean that the risks are worse than we can possibly imagine, and I don’t think an admission against interest is the set point the industry would be happy with. Here are the authors’ credentials:

      … [D]octoral student Daniel Rozell, P.E., and Dr. Sheldon Reaven, Associate Professor and Director of Energy and Environmental Systems Concentration in the Department of Technology and Society, Stony Brook University.

      I can’t find who funds the study (readers?) but this is not an engineering department; and the recent funding scandal was at SUNY Buffalo, not Stony Brook.

      The problem with risk assessment is that we’re in the midst of a giant uncontrolled experiment right now, given that the industry started massive drilling operations with no monitoring or testing. So, mock all you want, but I’ll reserve judgment on their methodology ’til I hear a little bit more than pulling a few buzzwords out the paper and making fun of them.

    2. Oopsie's left head

      The real magic is always in the scope. Static not Dynamic is a perennial favorite ever since the glory days of the Wh[ar/ore]ton Applied Research Center. Assume away the correlations, that another. But this is novel and ingenious in vaulting beyond the result, bearing on simple uncertainty bounds, to direct further research in convenient directions. I wouldn’t even have looked, except for the fishy framing in the linked article (jobs and economy but impacts) made me wonder about the whole publication.

      1. Aquifer

        As i said below – methinks that the admission that aquifer contamination is very much in play is one that should put the kibosh on the activity.

        Their “conclusion”, it seemed to me, was that further study should be directed at wastewater disposal. That is what makes the study “suspect”, IMO – taking as indicators of where study should be directed the numbers, ?”p values”, generated by their equations. Typical of “modelers” i suspect. Even though the risk of aquifer contamination is real and serious, it’s harder to get “the numbers”. Rather like the drunk looking under the streetlight routine, it seems to me ..

        But i think this study is quite useful, not so much for its conclusion as for the data that can be “mined” from or “drilled” out of it – even if it was intended to distract with a “naked lady”….

        I call it “poor man’s research” – actually perusing the documents put out often enables one to point out that the “conclusions” may not be justified by the data, or based on faulty assumptions, e.g study where you can get numbers as opposed to study what really counts …. It’s amazing how often the studies belie the authors’ “conclusions” …

        1. Oopsie's right head

          The beauty part is, the p values are inputs. My favorite is those 1-in-a-million odds on breaching an aquifer. That doesn’t sound like it’s pulled out of David Koch’s buttery-smooth ass, not at all.

          1. enouf

            what?! are you saying in essence;

            We don’t need to worry about terrristas contaminating our fresh water reservoirs, we can just pay the BigOil/Gas industry to do it for them?



    3. Aquifer

      Thanx – you are right, the potential for aquifer contamination is the most serious and intractable one, IMO, and the fact that it is not “impossible”, as admitted, coupled with the fact that, even if detected at an early stage (highly unlikely), it will be basically impossible to “clean up” for all useful intents and purposes (as source of drinking water) – should be more than a sufficient reason for forbidding the practice ….

    4. Rex

      A little bit off topic from the paper; does anyone know where it is described what purpose the nasty chemicals serve in the water they pump down to do the “fracking”?

      There must be an engineering reason why they feel they need to add a nasty formula with potential of pollution and problems of disposing in “waste wells”. What advantage do they gain by pumping down a mixture rather than just water?

      1. enouf

        IMHO (In my humble opinion), without getting all scientific on ya, in a nutshell

        KaBOOM! poWAH!


        p.s. heh; Skippy says; Shock and Awe that shale into submission .. at all costs!

        1. skippy

          Hay, if you can’t observe it, it does not exist… eh.

          Skippy… just try too imagine, rendering all that geology fractured via *hydrological explosion* (fracking lol@ wordsmithing), on such a scale and down deep too. Shock and Awe. Yeah, in peoples heads as they confront living on top of it down the road.

  9. F. Beard

    “It’s individuals and their entrepreneurship which have driven America,” Romney said. “What America is not a collective where we all work in a Kibbutz or we all in some little entity, instead it’s individuals pursuing their dreams and building successful enterprises which employ others and they become inspired as they see what has happened in the place they work and go off and start their own enterprises.” from Mitt Romney cleverly waits until he’s back from his trip to insult Israel [emphasis added]

    Building successful enterprises with the stolen purchasing power of their employees (among others) via loans from the government enforced/backed counterfeiting collective, the banking system?

    1. citalopram

      Actually, he forgot to call them parasites who suck up around 3 billion of our tax dollars a year in defense gifts.

    2. LucyLulu

      instead it’s individuals pursuing their dreams and building successful enterprises which employ others and they become inspired as they see what has happened in the place they work and go off and start their own enterprises.

      All by them lonesomes, like Mitt??? Being offered the opportunity to take over Bain with no investment and no risk had nothing to do with his success, right? Which in turn had nothing to do with having a dad who was a governor and successful businessman and who could send him to Harvard B-school either, right? If he’d been born in Harlem to a single mother and had ebony colored skin he’d still be worth hundreds of millions, no doubt. All that pure talent can’t help but shine………

      Given his lack of social skills, he surely had somebody else to put deals together for him, at minimum. He’d blow deals right and left with his penchant for pissing people off. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some Asperger’s type disorder. He’s too clueless to be “normal”.

  10. jsmith

    “Though its origins date from before the Second World War, kibbutzim are a vibrant symbol of the pioneering, selfless spirit that allowed the state of Israel to rise from the ashes of the Holocaust.”


    Only a sputum-lapping Kosian sycophant could have actually written that tripe.

    Hey, should we ask Rahm Emanuel about all of the “selfless” and “pioneering” actions his father was engaged in with the Irgun?

    Let’s not mention that Romney was fundraising in a foreign country, one that has a lonnnnnng history of spying on American soil and stealing nuclear secrets.

    Let’s not mention that Obombney both fully support the full-blown genocidal fascist apartheid police state that is today’s Israel to the detriment of their purported American constituents.

    And let’s certainly not talk about how it’s Israeli interests that have been behind the crises in Iraq, Syria and soon to be Iran again to the detriment of the American people.

    No, let’s instead play toddler slap-fight and talk about how it’s weally, weally naughty to talk about bad about the kibbutz.

    Give us an effing break, Kosites.

    The fact that the Kosite author couldn’t bring himself to include the word “socialist” in his description of the kibbutz really shows what a bunch of swill-swallowing, pantywaist losers inhabit the Great Orange Satan.


  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Capturing the winter songs of rare whales.

    Do we use more energy in winter or summer, in the northern hemisphere?

    1. Aquifer

      I have mixed emotions about the study …. Though Roger Payne introduced a whole generation to the wonderful world of whale song and raised awareness, i am afraid that if these folks find there are more bowheads than previously thought, that will be used as an excuse to OK drilling activity “see, there are enough whales!” Better we should think them rare …..

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s sliding leading indicators.

    How to get China going again – more ghost city stimulus? Debt forgiveness for cash paying Chinese individuals, but not their corporations?

  13. rich

    Why a Romney victory would equal a big defeat for MS patients

    The article goes on to say:

    “To the degree that Mrs. Romney brings attention to the disease, that’s extremely positive,” says Ted Thompson, the vice president for federal government relations at the National MS Society in Washington. But he acknowledges that her husband’s health care platform is not helpful.

    Thompson is later quoted as saying that to repeal the whole plan, as Romney has been fiercely advocating, “would be a real setback” for people with MS.

    MS patients need a significant amount of healthcare to help them deal with the disease: up to or beyond $70,000 a year according to the article.

    Obama’s health plan is extraordinarily helpful for MS patients and its repeal would be a major calamity for MS patients.

    The MS Society is actively opposing the repeal of Obamacare, which it enthusiastically supported (just as it did with Romneycare in Massachusetts). “There are so many provisions in the health law that are beneficial to people with chronic illness, including MS,” Thompson says. “To do a wholesale repeal would be a real setback. MS is a very expensive disease to have, unlike cancer, where you either get cured or pass away.” He explains that MS can cost sufferers about $70,000 a year, half of which is attributed to medical costs. That’s one reason why the new health care law is so critical to people with MS: The law ends lifetime limits on insurance coverage, which someone with MS can quickly burn through.

    The new law also has a host of measures that will help people with chronic illness live better lives. It includes requirements that insurers sufficiently cover habilitation services, which include physical and occupational therapy and other measures that can help slow the progression of chronic diseases and keep people in the workforce and out of government programs. Thompson says that requiring coverage of those services is “not only the right thing to do, but it saves money because we’re not letting the disease deteriorate so quickly.”

    The MS Society also strongly opposes block-granting Medicaid, which would turn the federal program over to the states to run on a fixed allocation from Washington. Romney sells his plan as a way of allowing states to innovate. But block grants are a form of stealth budget cut. A similar move in the welfare program in the mid-1990s has resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the amount of money the country now spends on cash assistance to poor single mothers. Cuts to Medicaid could seriously imperil people with MS, Thompson notes. MS is such an expensive disease that the high medical costs, combined with the associated disability that often forces people out of the workforce, can leave middle-class sufferers deeply impoverished and forced to rely on Medicaid. “The reason they’re on Medicaid is that they may have slipped into poverty because of the illness.” Thompson says. “It’s through no fault of their own,”

    Mitt Romney’s opposition to policies embraced by the MS community comes after years of Ann Romney publicly advocating on behalf of people with MS.

    1. Aquifer

      What so many articles fail to point out is that, in the absence of premium limits on policies that cover all this stuff – the premiums will make the coverage unavailable to most …. So no, you won’t, in theory, be forbidden from a policy because of the presence of an illness – you just won’t be able to afford the premium for the policy …

  14. LeonovaBalletRusse — N.B. hyperlinks

    Click on links and behold what Voegelin described. He was hi-jacked by “Them.” The Empire now is Voegelin’s “Gnostic” Government of Finance Capitalism Gone Mad: a Religious Fascist Totalitarian State in the making since before WWI, now “perfected” in absolutism. 100% pathological: the “American” gnostic pathology driving The Shock Doctrine absolutely.

    Michael Hudson is our only hope for exit without global holocaust. He is sane.

  15. Aquifer

    Re fracking in NY – the fact that there will be no increase in funding for the DEC for these early wells is a tell –

    The DEC has been perpetually defunded in the state – the “conditions” for permits are a joke – great for wallpaper but that’s all – they do not have the personnel to monitor whether the conditions are met and even if/when they determine violations – it takes mo/yrs to bring an action, and even if the regional office recommends a fine/permit pull, it can be appealed and is often overturned …. And the personnel are under pressure to approve permits regardless of the merit of the underlying application …

    Don’t be fooled – the fact that the issue of funding will be brought up before the legislature is, IMO, a sop designed to allay and distract opponents – once those permits start rolling out, they won’t stop ….

  16. JGordon

    “Bernanke Says Student Loans Won’t Cause Crisis”

    I was just reading some of Bernanke’s quotes about the housing bubble from a few years ago. Uh. Near as I can tell, there’s a high probably that this quote will be responsible for the apocalypse soon.

    1. Robin Hood

      Janet Yellen – 2016

      The Congress has made a bold and commendable step to save the economy by forgiving $2 Trillion in USG backed student loans and has expanded the program to include tuition for private k-12 schools to help cash strapped middle-upper class families.

      Although education costs are rising around 8% – about the same as medical costs – the general inflation rate remains muted.

      We don’t see this having a significant long term effect on the deficit as it is a one time addition to the national debt, and so far the bond market and the FOMC have not reacted adversely.

      My alma-mater, the University of California, has contracted with the Federal Reserve to monitor the situation.

  17. Hugh

    Re Post Apocalyptic Fantasy, it is important to realize we have two sets of crises. We tend to focus on those associated with kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war because they are the most immediate. But there is a second larger set which has to do with overpopulation, resource depletion, especially oil and water, global climate change, and environmental destruction. It is these crises which will define most of this century. World population hit 7 billion recently and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2042. We are already seeing the destruction of rainforests and other habitats. Droughts and extreme weather events are becoming more common. And political instability and failed states are becoming more common.

    I have not seen reliable estimates of what the planet’s human carrying capacity is, that is which would be sustainable at current technological levels, but I would guess it was in the 1-3 billion range, and that assumes responsible long term thinking and action.

    The world’s dominant economic model of kleptocracy delays recognition of and dealing with these much greater problems. And it is one of the reasons why people like me think that if we remain on our current trajectory world population could collapse in the second half of the century and be under 1 billion in 2100.

    1. F. Beard

      The world’s dominant economic model of kleptocracy delays recognition of and dealing with these much greater problems. Hugh

      Sorry, but I have to disagree. It is the rich who will benefit from a depopulated world.

      Also, I’ve read that Earth’s carrying capacity is around 50 billion.

      We should stay focused on the money system. Fix that and very many problems will “wither away” relatively pain-free.

      1. Robin Hood

        “Also, I’ve read that Earth’s carrying capacity is around 50 billion.”

        I assume you are including dead and buried people in that figure?

          1. F. Beard

            Mind you, I think The End is near too, but for different reasons; it won’t be lack of resources but lack of morality that brings it on.

          2. skippy


            Methinks, I know, what the Easter islanders were thinking when they consumed the last of the plentiful resources ie. how to build bigger, more elaborate, within the same time constants as previous versions in the past… Moi.

            Too – WIN – (there can be only one) the brass ring of tribe du jour, all other considerations were moot under the prevailing religious construct. And to beat last years winner you had to be more ruthless, efficient, innovative, entrepreneurial, increasing social control via productivity metrics, Sound familiar?

            Whom was the arbitrator of Moi goodness[?], the central leader, an arbitrary figure head, not unlike… Mister Market and his marry band of economic – bankster priests. GDP Oooouuuummmmm, gong, oooummm.

            Skippy… anyhow I heard a good biblical funny… If neither of your parents had a beard… you had two moms… hahahah!

            PS. Please forward on to Mr. Khan, he thinks I have no right sphere in my b[d]rain… for those that go altered states, partake first… see: Dancer: Marquese Scott:


          3. F. Beard

            Prosperity is the best form of birth control so if we solve the money problem we’ll get a stable population too.

            But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

          4. skippy

            @beardo…. Prosperity?

            One of those magic undefined Pavlovian dog whistle words, that’s going to fix it all up? And on top of that, you infer it in a biblical manner, kinda like these folks.


            Seriously beardo you need to get out more…

            Environmental issues

            The last decades have seen the close relationship between communities and their natural resources progressively eroded under the combined pressures of rapid social and economic changes and the perceived benefits of involvement in the cash economy. As such, environmental issues are now a major source of concern for development in Solomon Islands.

            It is estimated that logging levels in 2003 were three times above sustainable levels. At the local level, such exploitation can leave communities with severe environmental problems (such as erosion and silt build up in the lagoons affecting fish stocks and coral preservation) and deprive them of their traditional livelihood sources while generating little in sustainable benefits for the broader community.

            Commercial and subsistence activities are putting increasing pressure on coastal resources. Most stocks of commercial invertebrates (trochus, many species of beche de mer, green snail and pearl shells) are routinely over harvested, leading to ‘boom-bust’ cycles in fishery productivity (with the ‘booms’ becoming less frequent and pronounced). Turtles are still widely and unsustainably hunted for subsistence despite a ban on all harvesting of turtles in the fisheries legislation. Mangroves are over harvested in many areas, and few efforts are made to replant. Increased pressure is also being brought to bear on finfish stocks through local and export markets.


            skip… you may have your – laws – based upon belief (obey gawd or what some say – he – said)… where the Universes is built upon physics* (our observations to date and are there, whether we are, or are not)…

            skippy… for some real fun, try creating a color graphic around the most prosperous country’s – regions on this planet using wealth as a metric and expand it out wards.

            Like black holes beardo, that’s what methinks, yet at the same time black holes are emitters… what do you think they emit?

  18. Aquifer

    “So if you’re in one of the “lower 41″ states, and not seeing any ads, feel free to vote for an emergent party like the Greens. Your vote has already been “thrown away.””

    I must demur as i do believe that voting 3rd party should never be considered as a “thrown away” vote and that one should not only “feel free” to vote it, but be encouraged to do so in ALL the states – this “safe state” stuff is pusillanimity incarnate, IME, and what keeps us in the grip of the legacy parties …

  19. συμπτώματα εγκυμοσύνησ

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.
    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information.
    Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google

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