Truth decay: The half-life of facts New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)
Deep-fried Mars bars disowned by chocolate firm BBC (Richard Smith). From earlier in the month, but noteworthy if you are into extreme food.
Sweet times for cows as gummy worms replace costly corn feed Reuters (furzy mouse)
Vampire squid from hell eats faeces to survive depths New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)
Rise in Knee Replacements Boosts Federal Health Costs Wall Street Journal
Go-Eco Phuket dives for biggest reef cleanup in world ThaiVisa (furzy mouse)
Total warns against oil drilling in Arctic Financial Times. Mirable dictu.
Mas throws down the gauntlet in pursuit of “national transition” El Pais (Lambert)
Rajoy Defied as Catalan Head Seeking Autonomy Calls Vote Bloomberg. Hhm, here everyone thought Draghi had things under control as of two weeks ago. But we have the Portuguese defying further austerity and now this wee complication. So how is this going to play into Rajoy’s efforts to negotiate conditionality?
British banks body bows out of Libor Financial Times. Also known as resigning before being fired.
Romnesia George Monbiot (Reader of tea leaves)
Rising home prices offer hope for Obama on the economy The Hill. Lambert wonders whether this is Obama’s October surprise.
Home Prices Rise Again, This Time on the Low End New York Times
U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High Gallup (furzy mouse)
European Stocks Drop as Plosser Says Bond Buying to Fail Bloomberg. Wow, what a gambit! Stop further expansion of QE (which Mr. Market already says it wants) by undermining the “expectations channel” aka The Confidence Fairy. And from a Fed governor! I mean, we peon living in the real economy know this well, but the Fed wants to keep the bubblistas happy at least through the election, since the Rs want to take a hot poker to the Fed and That Must Be Avoided.
Insight: U.S. probe of HSBC tangled up in bureaucracy, infighting Reuters (Richard Smith). As the piece notes, this disproves the “authorities play nicely together” BS touted when the Feds tried reining in New York’s Benjamin Lawsky on Standard Chartered.
The How and the Why of Cheating New York Times
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Mission elapsed time: T + 19 and counting*
“I believe in Satan.” —Gov. Rick Perry
AK. Militia: “When the idea of the militia came forth, and there was a bunch of wonderful Christian men, and in the event of economic collapse, what could we do as Christian men to protect our families.” Fascinating sentencing hearing.
AL. Lost cause: “The Selma City Council voted Tuesday night to stop all work on the monument to [KKK leader] Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest until the courts decide whether the city or a Confederate heritage group owns the cemetery property where the monument would be rebuilt. The vote came after a group of protesters marched to City Hall.”
AZ. Police state: “[Police] found a 16-year-old boy wearing a sheet around his body and what appeared to be a rag around his head while carrying a rocket launcher. [The man videotaping him] was arrested for knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment, contributing delinquency of a minor and misconduct involving a simulated explosive.” Good thing the definition of “terrorist” is so narrow. Oh, wait…. Zeitgeist watch: “Bronies of Phoenix [is] a group with 420 members and growing. What’s a brony? Combine the words brother, and pony [as in “My Little”], and you have your answer. They meet about once a month and the group is mostly made up of college-aged guys.”
CA. Emergent parties: “As part of her trip through California this week, Green Party nominee Jill Stein is campaigning at Sonoma State University, Napa Valley College and a church in Palo Alto Tuesday. Gary Johnson, the former R governor of NM turned Libertarian, is hosting an event Tuesday at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza. Voters here, knowing Obama has a virtual lock on the state, may be more willing to throw them support than voters in swing states.” Why through away your vote on a legacy party when you can improve your choices for 2016?
CT. Wage theft: “A letter ‘on behalf of several employees’ alleges that [Postmaster Bryan] Lalonde was caught deleting and altering hours within the employees’ time card system.”
FL. Corruption: “Lobbyists handed envelopes to nine state House campaigns, the amounts and interests behind them a mystery until campaign finance reports are filed.” Leaving the envelope on the dresser is way more classy. … Charters: “After publication of the story [on K12’s use and coverup of improperly certified teachers] — which ran in the Miami Herald, The Ledger in Lakeland, and the Star-Banner in Ocala, among other state newspapers — K12′s stock price dropped 13 percent in trading and public school districts in Brevard and Volusia launched internal reviews of the for-profit online educator’s records.” Hit ’em where it hurts. …. The economy: “While we still have more work to do, we see that our economy continues to improve.” Not Obama. Scott!
LA. Landfills: “[T]he [River Birch Landfill’s] owners — developers Fred Heebe and his stepfather, Jim Ward — are the targets of a sprawling federal grand jury probe into their effort to monopolize the local dumping business. The process of getting a landfill approved is so laden with obstacles that few make it to the finish line. The resulting scarcity of dumps means customers have few choices, making a landfill permit akin to a license to print money.”
MA. Elizabeth Warren: “[Lawrence] Tribe adds [on the ‘practicing law without a license’ flap] that Warren fully met all of the Supreme Court’s requirements for filing briefs and petitions with that court. ‘This was not and could not be a violation of any MA rule,” Tribe says. “In fact, any state rule that interfered with a federal filing would be null and void under the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the United States Constitution. Elizabeth complied with all applicable federal rules.'” My advice to Brown: Stick with your core competence in thinly veiled racist smears (“ancestry”).
ME. Ballot access: “A ME judge has ruled that a 2009 lawsuit filed by former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his 2004 Maine electors against the Democratic Party and several of its allies will proceed toward trial. [Nader] claims that D leaders used illegal tactics to try to keep him off the 2004 presidential ballot in ME and more than a dozen other states.” Trial, therefore discovery.
MO. Accountability: “[A] city initiative in Springfield, MO, to reform the penalty for marijuana possession gathered enough valid signatures to be on the ballot. Then the city council itself passed the same measure, which removed it from the ballot. Then, after it was too late for the popular vote this year, the same city council repealed the measure.” City council: (417) 864-1651. … Akin: “Akin is moving forward with his campaign Tuesday, the deadline to drop out of Missouri’s Senate race. Akin is beginning a four-day bus tour and enlisting prominent conservatives [Gingrich; Huckabee] to boost his challenge to Sen. Claire McCaskill.”
MT. Legalization: “[T]he communication from MT’s U.S. AG provides some clarity on how many marijuana plants the feds will tolerate. The memo says cases involving less than 500 plants or 100 kilograms will be ‘disfavored for prosecution in federal court.’ Cotter wrote that he alone will ‘approve prosecutions of so-called medical marijuana’ providers.”
NC. Wage theft: “”For all participants, wage theft created economic uncertainty, and even small wage violations had significant financial consequences. Moreover, serious barriers to redress, including the threat of retaliation, existed” (study).
TN. Jesusland: “Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes placed the Ten Commandments on display in the county’s courthouse Monday after becoming the 25th she riff in Tennessee to request copies of the commandments.”
VA. College rankings: “Playboy magazine has named the UVa the nation’s top party school. Playboy’s editors rated UVa second for sex, third for nightlife and 16th for sports.” Unbundle that, B-school weasels!
VT. Privatization: “Fletcher Allen Health Care and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have teamed up to propose a for-profit entity for administering Vermont Medicare benefits called OneCare Vermont, LLC.”
WI. Tommy Thompson: “Declaring that he wants to ‘change Medicare and Medicaid like I did welfare,’ Thompson asked a May gathering of the Lake Country Area Defenders of Liberty in Oconomowoc: ‘Who better to and who better than me, who’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?'” (oppo)
Outside baseball. Fracking: “It doesn’t seem to matter that in the past decade fracking has left behind a widening trail of health and environmental disasters. Or that research indicates the influx of money and jobs promised by these companies falls far short of their claims. New York landowners still whisper stories of overnight millionaires just over the border. That’s because people are desperate to flee the pressure of another disaster, the one created by the housing crash” (explainer; AH). Shock doctrine. … Gini co-efficient: “[Y]ou are climbing a ladder where the rungs above are continuously widening faster than those below. You will always feel a long way down; no matter how high you climb. Down below, no matter where you are placed, the situation looks worse than a year ago.” … Extended families: “The number of 26-year-olds living with parents has jumped almost 46 percent since 2007.” … Marcellus shale: “Covering approximately 48,000 square miles, the geological formation called the Marcellus Shale occurs beneath the states of NY, PA, OH, MD, VA, WV and TN. Nearly 36 percent of the Delaware River Watershed is underlain by Marcellus Shale. [M]ore than 30,000 and as many as 60,000 natural gas wells are anticipated in the Delaware River Basin alone.” … USPS: “[The Postal Service] is providing postage rebates to Valassis of more than 30 percent if Valassis can divert more ad inserts into direct mail from newspapers.” A better answer for a new revenue stream would be post office banks.
The trail. Polls: “Leading D and R pollsters and strategists privately say that the Obama lead is around 4 or 5 points and is neither widening nor narrowing. The convention bounces have dissipated, but Romney’s negatives remain quite high and are not diminishing” (Charlie Cook). Silver: 5%. … White working class: “[T]he problem isn’t that the white working class is trending R or that it votes against its economic interests or that it’s being hoodwinked by social issues. The problem is that no matter what the white working class thinks, no one is listening.” … Rick Perry: ”Dude, no matter how bad you’ve heard it was, it was ten times worse,’ [the senior aide] said. He told me that at the end there had been two distinct campaigns: the ‘zombie campaign,’ composed of TX loyalists walking around in a funk, waiting for it all to end; and the ‘shadow campaign,’ the one with all the power, composed of D.C. consultants running the show from the Stephen F. Austin Hotel across the street from Perry campaign HQ in Austin.” I wonder if this is the real structure of all campaigns?
Robama vs. Obomney. Choices: If the election were held today, would you vote for Obama or Romney?” Yes 44%; No, 56%. …. Choices: “We will all swallow our cup of corporate poison. We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us, but one way or another the corporate hemlock will be shoved down our throats. The choice before us is how it will be administered.” … Choices: The Obama’s puffery; The Romney’s. … Choices: “[RYAN: Do you want Barack Obama to be re-elected? Then don’t vote for Ron Paul.” (“They have no place to go.”) If you don’t live in a swing county in a swing state, why throw your vote away on a legacy party, when you can vote for an emergent party and have better choices in 2016?
Democrats. Unions: “[The 2012 D platform] omits another labor law reform that appeared in the 2008 equivalent: banning companies from ‘permanently replacing’ (de facto firing) workers who strike” (Stoller). So, I guess Obama’s OK with the Lingerie League referees, then? … Education: ” Even though the Chicago teachers’ strike is now settled, the issues it raised will not go away anytime soon. Many of the reforms the teachers oppose–expanding charter schools, using test scores to evaluate teachers, closing “failing” schools–were introduced by then–Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan, now President Obama’s education secretary. In fact, these measures have largely been incorporated into federal policy under Obama’s Race to the Top (RTT) initiative.”
The Romney. Mad politicking skills: “The one interesting thing about Mitt Romney is his nearly pathological absence of political savvy.” But read to the end for how “the conversation” is changing. … Stench: “Reportedly [link?], [Ryan] has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’ and ‘Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.’” Ouch! … But tour: “Kicking off an OH bus tour, R Romney said Obama is offering a ‘foreign’ vision of government.” Well, he is Kenyan. … Airplane windows: “You guys, the Mitt Romney airplane windows thing from yesterday was a joke. It was obviously a joke. It had all the earmarks of a Mitt Romney joke: It was about inappropriate subject matter (his wife’s recent brush with death), it wasn’t funny, and the language was tortured. That’s Romney’s humor for you.” … Snark watch: “Advisor 2 opens a Diet Cherry Pepsi, and hands it to Romney, who pours it directly into his ear canal” (oppo).
The Obama. Son of Hope and Change: “Claims by Obama and his allies that his re-election would ‘break the fever’ or pop ‘the blister’ of steadfast R opposition in Congress have received relatively little attention. What’s so striking about the lack of critical coverage of Obama’s new theory of political change is that he’s raised unrealistic hopes before. His campaign for the 2008 D nomination was premised on the unrealistic notion that he could ‘change politics.’ We shouldn’t be surprised that he failed to do so–it was entirely predictable [and predicted]. But why are the media falling for the same trick again?” … Material girl: “We have a black Muslim in the White House! Now that is some s–t. That is amazing s–h. It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, go–ammit” (video). … Charters: “[OBAMA: ] I’m a big proponent of charter schools, for example. I think that pay-for-performance makes sense in some situations.” … Teachers strike: “Obama refused to take sides in the Chicago Teachers’ Union strike–balancing his friendship with Emanuel, his former chief of staff, and a political need not to alienate organized labor” (Well, er). … Referees strike: “[OBAMA: We’ve got to get our refs back.” So, he weighs in for NFL refs, but not for Chicago teachers. Priorities!
* slogan of the day: The Romney’s writings sparkle like gold!
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Antidote du jour: