Links 9/8/12

Scientists Cast Doubt On Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle Science Daily

Science wins over creationism in South Korea Nature

Ohio teen travels quarter of a mile through sewer AP

Central bankers won’t fix Libor this weekend – Carney Reuters

What’s up with the new Draghi plan? Marginal Revolution

The Absurd Quest for Euro Crisis Images Der Speigel

U.S. Jobless Rate Drops for the Worst of All Reasons Businessweek

Jobs Data Show U.S. Factories Bearing Brunt of Slowdown Bloomberg

Will August job report propel the Fed into action? Mark Thoma

Another Jobs Disappointment Tim Duy

What Krugman & Stiglitz Can Tell Us NYRB. “We’re not using the knowledge we have.” You don’t bat zero for the season without a plan.

Gross Says Jobs Growth to Spur Fed on Quantitative Easing Bloomberg

Obama Gives Up on Demand Matt Yglesias, Slate

Not The Time To Be Demanding Krugman. Jam tomorrow.

A young Ben Bernanke? Financial Armageddon. So where’s mine?

Giving your right arm for 600,000 euros El Pais

Why Spending/GDP is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Metric For Judging Obama’s Performance Angry Bear

Universal Health Care Shouldn’t Be Reduced, Lancet Says Bloomberg (original) (U.S. rankings (LC)). Why not? Because moochers will die?

BMW Never-Too-Old Assembly Insures Against Lost Engineers Bloomberg

Canada proves the decline of unions is not inevitable Dean Baker, Al Jazeeera

A Detailed Explanation For Why People Become Investment Bankers Business Insider. With handy diagram.

Martha’s Vineyard Nabs the Thief Who’s Been Robbing Its Cute Sweater Boutiques: A Wealthy Socialite Gawker

Lucky Us: Toilet Paper Priced Like Airline Tickets? Big Picture

Slow coffee spreads fast San Jose Mercury News  

Lunch with the FT: Tim Berners-Lee FT

Data Analysts Seek to Make Social Media More Useful Businessweek. Graph databases going mainstream (technology tracker)

Exclusive: Insiders suspected in Saudi cyber attack Reuters

Plan in place for struggling Infosys, but no quick returns Reuters. Playing the world’s smallest violin.

Geography of tourism Le Monde Diplomatique

How could you go ahead of me? Letters of Note

‘Bye, Buffalo Bill Stop Me Before I Vote Again. “Government should be run like a business.”

* * *

Mission elapsed time: T + 1 and counting*

As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes And say do you want to make a deal? –Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone

DNCon. Militarism: “Yeah: ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off — if you can find his corpse where our commander-in-chief dumped it: at the bottom of the ocean. USA! USA!” Liberals, eh? … Militarism: “Can Americans really trust Mitt Romney to decide which citizens get extrajudicially assassinated in drone strikes?” … Lesser evil: “History will mark Obama as the more effective evil, mainly because of the lack of opposition.” … Bill Clinton: “I could see the giant teleprompter from which Clinton was reading, which meant that I knew exactly when he was improvising. He would stray from the Star Wars word crawl for five minutes at a time, launching into numbers-heavy digressions about health insurance premiums seemingly off the top of his head before fusing that digression seamlessly with the prepared speech” (Mr. Technique)

RNCon. Eastwood: “They vet most of the people, but I told them, ‘You can’t do that with me, because I don’t know what I’m going to say.'” A shocking lack of compliance!

Occupy. San Diego: “[I]t was not by choice that the Occupy encampments were broken up. Instead of occupying public spaces, the movement is now occupying people’s lives. As activists went home and took showers, got jobs, tried to get jobs, returned to their old jobs, or simply returned to their communities, they also got organized and focused.” Quellism…

AZ. Demographics: “The legislator from Sun City leaned over to Hubbard and said, ‘The future? In Sun City we don’t even buy green bananas.’

DC. Negotiable affection: ” Five DeMatha Catholic High School football players were removed from the program for an incident that occurred at the team hotel following the Stags’ season-opening win at Hillside, NC. According to the parent, players hired prostitutes from a call service.” Wheels up…

DE. Food: “Food fight! Where are the state’s best cheesesteaks?” Philly, I would think. Less than an hour away. Why?

FL. Corruption: “A key witness in a federal investigation involving U.S. Rep. David Rivera failed to show up for an interview with prosecutors and the FBI one day after agents raided her Miami apartment and removed her computer, cell phone and other items.”

IL. Jesse Jackson: “Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has left the Mayo Clinic and is at home in the nation’s capital with his family. Jackson, 47, was treated for bipolar depression at the clinic this summer.”

ME. Scientists: “Formerly homeless teen scientist [Samantha Garvey is pursuing her] studies in Maine, [and] is settling into her first semester of classes as a freshman at Bowdoin College.” I’m happy for Garvey. It would be even better if the depression hadn’t made her homeless in the first place. And even better than that would be work for thousands of disemployed chemists. Those would be “feel good” stories for real.

NY. Police state: “Still, even Riddick, a substance abuse counselor in-training, was stunned on the August evening that he received a ticket for standing in front of his own home.”

OH. Fracking: “The OH DNR has paid nearly $9,000 to an environmental group to settle a public-records lawsuit. The Sierra Club had sued the state in April, claiming that officials had ignored records requests for months. The group wanted to see all documents and emails related to the agency’s plan to open state parks and forests to shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing.” … Corruption: ” Scotts pleaded guilty to applying toxic insecticide to its wild bird food products and falsifying pesticide registrations. It also pleaded guilty to distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels and distributing unregistered pesticides.”

TN. Abortion: “According to the TN Department of Health, 14 percent of pregnancies in the state ended in abortion in the five-year period between 2006-2010.”

TX. Handmaid’s Tale: “A South TX judge suspended from the bench after a years-old video surfaced last year showing him beating his teenage daughter has been slapped with a “public warning” from a state ethics panel. The secretly recorded video showed [him] using a belt to repeatedly beat hit his then-16-year-old daughter because she illegally downloaded music.” … Externalities*: “[Houston] homeowners are increasingly coming together to fight what they see as inappropriate development in their backyards. The instances appear to stem from an improving economy, a stronger interest in urban living and increased development.” [* in preference to NIMBY.]

WA. Food: “From 2008 to the end of 2011, the number of hungry families in WA grew from about 88,000 to 163,000. Only six other states had hunger growth rates that were higher than WA between 2010 and 2011, the USDA reported.” … Corruption: “Among nearly a dozen ports surveyed, only one has a top executive sitting on the board of a for-profit company. And none of the ports has written an individual employment agreement that specifically allows its executive to serve on the board of an outside business, as Seattle has.” … Legalization, editorial: “More than 58 percent of voters favored medical cannabis 14 years ago, and more people support it now. We believe they are ready for the next step, marijuana decriminalization for general adult use. I-502 is a vehicle for the people to say that.”

WI. Capitol: “We highly value our right to free speech, and we’re willing to defend it when it’s threatened. The Capitol police have a duty to uphold the law, the law that guarantees that “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.” … Capitol: “[Rep. Chris Taylors] also took the police chief to task for being unable to identify the ‘specific conduct you believe to be unlawful.’” … Externalities: “The good people of Jackson and Cedarburg are up in arms over plans by the WI DOT to change life there forever with bypasses, big medians and blown-out four lane expansions along State Highway 60.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Cat Food. Sequestration: “The White House on Friday said it will miss the legal deadline for delivering a report [NC 07-25; NC 08-08] to Congress on the spending cuts from sequestration that are scheduled to take effect in 2013.” So, they can’t cut a deal in time to obey the law? … Convention: “[Biden and Obama] both embraced a right-wing set of proposals known as “Simpson Bowles. That means they were embracing a plan which would cut Social Security benefits and raise its retirement age.”

The economy. Swing states: “While most of the debate nationally still revolves around why the economy remains so pathetic, there are several pivotal states — OH, FL, NV, VA — where things are slowly turning around. In these states, the real issue may not be who deserves blame for economic ruin but rather who deserves credit for a rebound.” Swing State Keynesianism? Visionary minimalism! … Retail: “The number of [thrift and consignment stores] has grown by 7 percent annually to more than 25,000 nationwide. Thrift stores now attract 22 percent of consumers, up from 14 percent before the stock-market crash in 2008.” Plus, the clothes are often better made.

The Trail. Wordles: Here. “Trying” is lying (AA). … The Victory Lab: “Issenberg contends that campaigns have been so adept at harnessing the latest research in social science–particularly behavioral psychology and statistical modeling–that most reporters trying to cover the horse race are akin to college history majors who suddenly find themselves in an advanced physics class.”

Robama vs. Obama watch. Police: “The 330,000-member Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police union, announced that it would back no candidate for president this year, the first time the group had passed on an endorsement in its 98-year history.” The police state is bipartisan, of course.

The Romney. Swing states: “Romney is still not running ads in PA, MI or WI. The battleground did not expand.” What’s Romney doing with all that money? Tithing it? … Swing states: “Unless I’m missing something badly here, Romney needs either a significant national shift his way — possibly from the debates or some other news event [hmm] — or else to hope that his advertising advantage is potent enough to move the dial in almost every swing state in which he’s competing.” … Tax returns: ” Assuming it’s not a hoax, the purported theft of Romney’s tax returns has all the trappings of a high-tech whodunit: a politically themed burglary, a $1 million demand in hard-to-trace Internet currency, password-protected data and a threat to reveal everything in three more weeks. But can it be believed?”

The Obama. Hagiography: “The White House today released video of President Obama tweeting during a May 24, 2012 town hall where he wrote something that was exactly 140 characters long, the exact limit for a tweet on twitter.” Twitter gives a readout of the character count as you type. Dear Lord. … Bounce: “The three national tracking polls that were published on Friday all moved toward Obama, probably reflecting momentum from the Democratic convention.” … Unitary executive: “[Local TV reporter Swann’s] first question for [Obama] was this [video]: “On that list have been U.S. citizens who have not been afforded a trial, including Anwar al-Awlaki. How do you or any president for that matter, regardless of party or person, utilize that power to assassinate a U.S. citizen?” Obama responded evasively, telling Swann that the question was based on news reports ‘that have never been confirmed by me and I don’t talk about our national security decisions in that way.’” Tetchy! And “Not confirmed by me“?! It’s not about you!

* Slogan of the day: “Forward with The Obama! I will fearlessly take career progressive struggle as the key link!”

* * *

Antidote du jour: Bangkok dog guarding urban garden. Note flowers in tires (instead of pots).

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. indigo

    Greece is getting the hammer. No doubt the rest of the west is next in line.

    “The troika is demanding that workers in Greece work 6 or 7 days a week for subsistence wages, or less. To this end the troika wants further cuts to Greece’s already miserly minimum wage (€586, or US$736, per month), plus new powers for employers to sack workers.”

    1. sbarrkum

      Sinhala Hound

      The skeletal remains of dogs from Nilgala cave and from Bellanbandi Palassa, dating from the Mesolithic era, about 4500 BC, suggest that Balangoda Man may have kept domestic dogs for driving game. The Sinhala Hound is similar in appearance to the Kadar Dog, the New Guinea Dog and the Dingo. It has been suggested that these could all derive from a common domestic stock.[1]

      The Vedda used the breed for hunting, and it was prized after the bow and arrow, so much so that the dogs were given away with daughters on their marriage.[2]

      1. CB

        There are some very old canine lineages. The dog I was thinking of is the Thai ridgeback, altho the picture isn’t really that similar. The thing about the pictured dog is the distintive head, very broad, and the color. I’m guessing the animal has an impressive bite strength.

        Try the Molosser lineage for a stroll thru history. Or the dogs trained to disembowl, which often went into battle with the halberdiers. By contemporary accounts, the animals accompanied the Spanish to North America and terrorized the native peoples who encountered them. I can imagine!

  2. Kos reader Jethro

    I am Kos reader Jethro. At Kos I am known as The Skeptic or The Thinker.

    For instance, I wasn’t thrilled to see Obama escalate the war in Afghanistan, or launch drone strikes against civilians in Yemen or Pakistan. I considered the healthcare bill to be a big fat corporate giveaway, and I was not happy about the indefinite detention provision in the NDAA. And so forth…

    I even had doubts about voting for Obama a second time.

    Rather than ban me for these thoughts, Comrade Marcos took me aside one day and told me a story that was told to him on a Special Broadcast by the Wolf on CNN TV.

    When Obama was a boy of twelve, he was called upon to entertain the crowd at a gala performance attended by thousands.

    Little Obama entered the stadium holding a red furry rodent in his left arm and a thin door painted white in his right arm.

    Setting the thin partition on the ground, he pulled a small knife out of his pocket and without missing a beat, killed the rodent with a swift jab of the narrow blade. Next the child grabbed the hind paws of the still warm cadaver and placed it above the door.

    Soon a sticky drool began oozing from its mouth. This was anticipated by the youthful Obama, who turned the door over and held it at a slant, slightly above the ground.

    The viscous flow soon formed a circular layer on the door. Once the animal source had run dry, little Obie laid the rodent at the very center of the fresh pool. Then he lifted the door upright, without worrying about the cadaver, which remained stuck in place.

    Next he loosened his red shorts and attached one end of his shorts to the door. The red cloth adhered easily to the slobbery varnish.

    For some time, a peculiar odor, emanating from the drool, had spread over the Stadium.

    Little Obie raised his eyes skyward as if awaiting the appearance of an invited guest. Several minutes passed in silence. Suddenly he let out of cry of triumph, pointing above to a huge bird of prey drifting high above and approaching rapidly.

    To Obie One’s intense joy, the shiny black-plumed fowl swooped down upon the door, planting two tall thin claws next to the rodent.

    The bird unfolded its giant wings and again took flight, lifting the door along with it, as well as the youthful Obama, attached to the door by his red shorts. The raptor soared quickly, egged on by the boy’s shouts.

    A profound stupor gripped the audience who anxiously awaited the outcome of this terrible incident.

    But little Obie One’s preparations, the way he’d ensured that the area around the inert rodent was heavily coated with glue, proved to be the premeditation behind this aerial excursion, of which no one in the crowd had an inkling.

    Meanwhile the huge raptor kept rising higher.

    Growing smaller by the second, the youthful Obama swung furiously at the end of his shorts, and this increased by tenfold his chances of a lethal fall, already made so great by the tenuousness of the bond joining the door to the red cloth and the two hidden claws.

    Finally the bird began gliding closer to earth. The descent accelerated and the exhausted raptor plunged earthward at a terrifying speed.

    Just a few yards from the ground, little Obie One ripped his shorts, freeing himself from the door, and fell gracefully to his feet, then bowed to the audience. The raptor fled toward the south, still hauling the door garnished with a scrap of red cloth.

    From the audience there was great emotion, wild cheering and applause over this spectacular performance by the youthful Obama.

    At that moment I became a true believer. Comrade Marcos’ story (as told to him by the Wolf on CNN), removed any doubts I might have had concerning the God Emperor Obie One.

    I’d like to see the Republican perform a stunt like that.

    I am Kos reader Jethro. I will vote the Democrat.

    1. Kos reader Jethro

      Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents (including the incident involving a red furry rodent, a thin white door, a giant-winged raptor and the President of the United States) either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

      1. Susan the other

        Now Jethro, you know perfectly well that a democrat is no more a fabulist than a republican. You are just biased.

      2. BertS

        I wasn’t at White Sox Stadium when that happened either, and that wasn’t where I got that old pentagram T’shirt.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Stoller raises the point that The Obama, unlike Bush, Clinton, Reagan, etc., has no great comedic impersonator.

      * * *

      However, it’s clearly possible to impersonate the rhetoric and mentality of a certain class of Obama Fan (Fan of The Obama), since you keep brilliantly doing it.

      I’m not sure why the distinction, and I wish I knew.

      Forward with The Obama! We will strive to uphold the principles of the 111th Congress and the Rules and Bylaws Committee!

      1. Kos reader Jethro

        Thanks Lambert!

        The Obama Fan (or Obamabot), like The Bush Fan, is impossible to argue with, and it’s a waste of time trying (as they generally can’t even define his policies), but ridiculing them is lots of fun and very easy to do.

        “Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

  3. LucyLulu

    Related to universal health care being maintained during times of crisis:

    Evidence that the reason that the US hasn’t seen the same drop in preventable mortalities as France, Germany, and UK over the last decade is due to lack of access to care. The difference is more striking in those under 65. The wonky brief to the study is found here:

    Also released this week, a report from the Institute of Medicine finding $750 billion wasted on unnecessary and overpriced tests and treatments, administrative fees, medical fraud and missed prevention in 2009.

    “The wasted money could provide health insurance coverage for more than 150 million workers, according to the report. And 75,000 deaths might have been prevented if states delivered higher-quality care.”

    For additional perspective, $750 billion was the total federal health care spending in 2009, and 30% of all health spending in the U.S.

    Its not only criminal that we have so many uninsured, but that we are forcing the uninsured to buy a crappy overvalued product.

    1. Susan the other

      I’m wondering why the vocabulary has changed. I want to talk about single payer and all I hear is stuff about “universal coverage.” Maybe universal coverage would be an acceptable concept if those insurance companies were made into utilities.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The vocabulary has been changed by career “progressives” and Obama supporters in order to normalize and justify the health insurance companies sucking your life’s blood in the form of 30 cents of every health care dollar when nobody can show that they add any value to the transaction.

        That’s the role of “progressives” in the system, and of course they take their cut of the 30 cents of rent. So it’s really a win-win, looked at in the right light.

  4. larry

    Universal Health Care Shouldn’t Be Reduced, Lancet Says Bloomberg (original) (U.S. rankings (LC)). Why not? Because moochers will die?

    I’m afraid I don’t understand what you are trying to say in your ultimate comment on this issue. Am I missing an ironic subtext?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, the question is whether increased mortality from cutting back health care is a bug, or a feature, right?

      If only moochers (in Randroid parlance) will die, it could be (from the Randroid perspective) that it’s a feature. Eh?

    1. petridish

      What “health?” Americans are the sickliest (real or imagined,) most overweight, most drug addicted developed country population on the planet. We have the 47th longest life expectancy among developed countries–47TH!!!

      If Americans were actually healthy, one-fifth of our economy would disappear. Never mind what would happen to our “job” creation, corporate “earnings” and the stock market.

      Time to stop the moaning. The sick, the soon-to-be sick, the afraid-to-get-sick and the predisposed-to-be sick are the lifeblood of a significant segment of the American economy–read PROFITS. (Similar categories exist for the afraid-of-terrorists group.) If the economy could prosper with primarily healthy Americans, we would all be healthy.

      As currently structured, it can’t so we won’t.

  5. hermanas

    After seeing “Evita” last night,I looked up;

    this caught my eye;
    “Among upper-class Argentines, improvement of the workers’ situation was a source of resentment; industrial workers from rural areas had formerly been treated as servants. It was common for better-off Argentines to refer to these workers using racist slurs like “little black heads” (cabecitas negras, the name of a bird), “greased” (grasas which came from people with grease on their hands or fingernails, i.e. blue-collar workers), “un-shirted” (descamisados, since they doffed their shirts to perform manual labor).”
    If we’re going third world, better learn history.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Evita’s back. Her name is Kristina, and her current legislative priority is to extend the franchise to 16-year-olds and resident immigrants. She has lots of support among the poor Paraguayans who come to Argentina to work, and who are eligible for Argentine social benefits.

      Out in B.A. province her party workers are handing out certificates entitling the bearer to 3,200 pesos of government cash. Earlier this week a livery cab driver I know was taking a guy from the province to Ezeiza airport so that he could catch a flight to Rome.

      The fellow asked the driver whether he lived in the province. ‘No, I live in the city,’ answered the driver.

      ‘Oh, that’s a shame,’ his passenger replied. ‘If you were from the province I could get you one of those 3,200-peso rebates.’

      The hard-working livery driver was so outraged at this Kristina-supporting ‘populist’ jetting off to Rome, while happily handing out the taxpayers’ money, that he was tempted to stop beside the autopista and make the creep get out.

  6. rjs

    re: Jobs Data Show U.S. Factories Bearing Brunt of Slowdown

    that was entirely due to a seasonal adjustment which reversed the manufacturing “jobs gained” when July retooling shutdowns were less than normal

  7. Claire

    Barack and Bubba go to Bank of America Stadium:

    “…it was by placing imagination wholly in the world of the imagined that Democrats sold their pageant in Charlotte — as if the fact of the last four years were but one of an infinite number of equally plausible universes.

    To trot out former President Bill Clinton as the incarnation of “elder statesman” required an even grander imagination — one where the last twenty years either didn’t happen or didn’t matter. In fact, and despite the teary-eyed windbaggery of liberal nostalgia, Dot-com Bill and his financial deregulatin’ is nearly single handedly responsible for the economic plight that still grips the West. His promotion of right-wing talking points (“The end of the era of big government,” “the end of welfare as we know it”) attached to his right-wing policies begs the question of where Democrats think right-wing “crazies” got their ideas about small government and economic self-reliance from? And with his welfare “reform” Mr. Clinton began the job of gutting the social safety net that Barack Obama now welcomes as his own. Welcome back Mr. President.

    The premise of the Democrats, that “facts” don’t matter when it comes to what their actual policies are while in office, is made visible by the visions of the (Democratic) future being offered. The economy is “healing” and therefore jobs will reappear, foreclosures will cease, incomes will rise and retirements will be secured….etc….”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The economy “healing” is another trope I’d like to take a flamethrower to. Since an economy is not an organic being, it cannot heal. Worse, the trope not just ignores but conceals the actual (human) organic beings whose who have been so injured by the same people using this trope (and who are themselves not injured, all being flaks well paid to propagate these noxious tropes. [pounds head on desk]

      1. MrTortoise

        Very well said. With the founding of the Republic of the US, no self-respecting USAian could be a moanarh or an aristocrat in the strict sense (that should be obvious) …

        Reading about Baltimore, Maryland around 1850, i learnt about Cotillons (or Cotillions) and the “debutantes” being introduced to Society at the “Bachelors Cotillon”. These were invitation only. There was a Social Register and Exclusive Clubs. This “Society” thing mimics the European “Blue Blooded”, i.e. the royals and aristocracy. So, this shows the conception of USAian “High Society” in the 1800’s, it was mentioned in print as “Society”, “Social Register” and the rest.

        I would think that a people liberated by a War of Indepence from their Colonial-time Governors (controlled by Britain) would not seek to colonize the free people of Mexico. Yet, there was the US-Mexican War …

        The “Monroe Doctrine” says that European Powers are denied conquest of any part of the American Continent; does that make sense? Anyway, the thinking with “Manifest Destiny” was the USAian Republic was the epitome of Freedom, justice for all, etc.

        So, when Cuba was “lost” in 1959 or so, American diplomats saw it as “bad for the country/state” of Cuba, a black and white conception; I think they really saw it that way, and the Cold War was on …

        I think the French intellectuals have a much more nuanced view of “what’s right”. They had their revolution in 1789, were involved in European warfare, occupied by the Nazis around 1942-1944 …

        So, that’s my view on USAian “High Society”, or Elites from around 1950. Succinctly, the best nation on earth was unquestionably the USA.

        1. MrTortoise

          As a post scriptum, this:
          If gunboat-diplomacy is actual diplomacy, the the moon is made of gray cheese.

  8. Susan the other

    Good Links Lambert. Science Daily. Doubting Heisenberg. Here’s my nonsequitir dumb-person question: It makes sense to measure quantum quanta with a quantum computer. So then would it possible to measure the frequency of a single photon? Or is frequency a stream of photons thing? I think I’m assuming that the elusive quality of the location of a particle/photon is due to its astronomical speed without mass. So slowing it down by distorting it by measuring it produces an observable event. Nevermind. What are the implications of this research?

  9. Susan the other

    Also NYRB on both Stiglitz and Krugman. Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality is clearer in its critiicism: “The market is broken.” If this factoid is acknowledged then there is no choice but to start over. But neither S or K say this. Too bad. Krugman still demurs about the significance of debt, “…we still do not know exactly how or by how much rising inequality contributed to the financial crisis.” They should both just cut bait and say it: There is no market and our government is totally derelict.

  10. Hugh

    Krugman: “It’s reasonably certain that there will be attempts to provide more demand [stimulus] if Obama wins, and that’s all you can ask for at the moment.

    It’s too bad we’re at this place, but we are, and it would be unrealistic and counterproductive to demand that Obama try to shift the national discussion that far right now.”

    Typical Democratic shillery. All Obama has said to date is that he still wants an austerian grand bargain that would gut Social Security and Medicare and decrease, not increase, demand. Krugman is telling us to STFU, ignore our lying eyes, the last 4 years, and vote for the Democrat.

    And is that a Freudian slip in the last 4 words? Seems like Obama is already pretty far right as it is.

      1. MrTortoise

        I was puzzled also. There’s the word “moment” [as in right about now] in the quoted part of Krugman.

        So, alternatively, “that far right now” could, re-written, signify “that far (at the monent; these days;in near future)”, and so I’m done.

  11. knowbuddhau

    Thanks for the link to “What Krugman & Stiglitz Can Tell Us.”

    The rhetoric is being fixed around the hidden commitment.

    Nowhere are the effects of unequal power clearer than in the shifting commitment of elites to limited government and deficit reduction. When many of today’s loudest deficit hawks had the opportunity a decade ago, they repeatedly chose policies that worsened the deficit in order to lavish benefits on the wealthy and powerful business interests. These benefits ranged from two huge tax cut bills to new subsidies for the oil and gas industry to an unfunded Medicare drug benefit full of handouts for the pharmaceutical industry. They were backed by the economic seers of their era, such as former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, who insisted, astonishingly, that large-scale tax cuts were justified in 2001 because then-projected surpluses might eventually eliminate the federal debt, forcing the federal government to begin buying up corporate stock. Occasionally the mask slips off entirely. During the last round of intense fighting over the deficit, in the mid-1990s, then House Majority Leader Dick Armey confessed:

    Balancing the budget…is the attention-getting device that enables me to reduce the size of government. Because the national concern over the deficit is larger than life…. So I take what I can get and focus it on the job I want. If you’re anxious about the deficit, then let me use your anxiety to cut the size of government.

    A “national concern” that’s “larger than life” used as an “attention-getting device” to pursue the misappropriation of popular anxiety for ideological purposes? That’s what I’m always on about: the political power of myth powering propaganda.

    I really can’t stand it when the healing virtues of psychology are perverted into partisan WM3D: weapons of mass distraction, deception, and destruction.

    Propaganda like that steals from us something more precious than any property: our perception of reality itself. Much of what we think we know, esp concerning what America is and how we got here, is the product of WM3D.

  12. Valissa

    Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle… some theories make good fodder for cartoonists…

    … but are not so popular with shrinks

    Taking stock of HUP

    Theories of physics and human relations, Part One

    Theories of physics and human relations, Part Two

    on a slightly different tangent…

    Theories of everything

  13. Valissa

    Scientists come up with the darnedest theories that can be fun to contemplate… (like imagining sea otters in military gear, wearing kelp-toned camouflage)

    Sea Otters To Combat Climate Change?

    The latest in engineering technology…

    Spacewalking Astronauts Fix Space Station With Toothbrush

    1. F. Beard

      The more CO2 the more kelp; the more kelp the more sea urchins, the more sea urchins the more sea otters.

      So what do some of you folks have against sea otters?

        1. F. Beard

          Someone asked me where the new vegetation was going to come from to eat the new CO2. And part of the answer? Kelp.

          Also sea otters live in the kelp so not enough kelp = homeless sea otters.

          We should not fret over CO2; the banks will us much sooner than it will.

          1. F. Beard

            Try All human activity … Skippy

            If humans are the problem and we are the high point of nature then I’d say we need supernatural help.

            Where ya looking for it?

          2. skippy

            High point? Self awarded status is applied by those that worship themselves, nothing supernatural about it.

            Facts work better than fog BTW.

            Skippy… to the cliffs… GANGNAM STYLE… I guess…


            PS… ahhh playing on the DMZ in the middle of the night, only to party in Seoul the next. Its hard to run a proper combat patrol, set up an ambush with Devo Whip It cranked all over the landscape. Massive PA speakers pointed north. Just makes you want to dance!

          3. skippy

            Facts like the inability of any one book, to lay claim, to having all the answers, when its application have been the primary driver of western ideology. We wrest with those results.

            Skippy… sorry old boy, the evidence is global, you should get out more often.

          4. F. Beard

            We wrest with those results. skippy

            Indeed we do but they’re our only hope. One day a killer asteroid or comet will head our way and Western technology will be our only human hope.

    2. craazyman

      Just goes to show you they’d never make it to Mars without duct-tape.

      Can you believe the ridiculous pink space suit posted in links a few dayz ago that some NASA woman designed?

      No pockets and not even one hook for tools! I mean really. But it looked made with some space age fabric (no pun intended) that you could probably fix with duct tape when it rips. Probly best to make the suit a dark silver, just to match.

      1. Valissa

        Dark silver… hmmmmm… I think I would go with gold or antique bronze. On the other hand I think it would be simply stunning to have a black metallic spacesuit with a large image of the milky way galaxy (or space photo of your choice) emblazoned on it.

        btw, I’ve always assumed duct tape was part any NASA mission cargo.

      2. Up the Ante

        “Just goes to show you they’d never make it to Mars without duct-tape. ”

        After a 6-month voyage the astronauts will be unable to do any meaningful exploration of Mars’ surface, even at 1/3 gravity.

        NASA needs to get truly ambitious and do something like VASIMIR, only on steroids. 3 months acceleration, 3 months deceleration. Both the acceleration and deceleration provide simulated gravity.

        Look at all the astronauts after 6 months in orbit. They are effective cripples for weeks after.

        1. F. Beard

          Christians will get new bodies at the Rapture. Chances are they’ll be comfortable in ALL environments.

          1. Up the Ante

            This is the path to Rapture,
            learn to seek,

            “The purpose of a fishtrap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
            The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
            The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
            Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to. ” Chuang-Tsu


  14. barrisj

    Scott Horton has another post up on his Harper’s blog on the actions of the CIA in waterboard-torture of several Libyan anti-Qaddafi dissidents, as detailed in a (linked) HRW report. This paper came out a few days after Holder/DOJ announced no more investigations of Bush-era CIA crimes against humanity, and highlights the acute cynicism and end-justifies-the-means mentality that drives the Agency, even today. The Qaddafi that the US-led “liberal intervention” helped to depose (and murder) was the same guy that the CIA/Cheney-Bush administration partnered up with to “host” a variety of “terrorist suspects” captured in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere in order to torture “confessions” out of them. Many of the people sent to Libya were in fact Qaddafi opponents, and who today occupy positions in the post-Qaddafi government!
    A notable quote from Horton:
    “The Justice Department’s systematic whitewashing of these crimes can best be explained by the fact that it was a key actor in the crimes. It cannot be expected to prosecute its own senior staffers, nor can it be expected to take actions that would further stain its already badly soiled reputation. But this very whitewashing raises fundamental doubt about the Obama Administration’s commitment to ending torture by American intelligence operatives. To the contrary, the Obama Administration’s handling of the matter appears to retain torture as a viable option for American foreign policy—one that Mitt Romney, with Michael Hayden at his side, would happily resume.”

    Obama hasn’t abandoned the horrid practices of Cheney-Bush, he only has hidden them better.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Michael Hayden has more dark secrets than Dr. Strangelove. Study him. He is the quintessence of perversion, any way you slice it.

  15. Hugh

    Parts of Hacker and Pierson’s review of Krugman and Stiglitz’s books make you think they must have been reading this blog because a lot of the description has been a staple here for some time. That’s, of course, the thing about Establishment liberals some of the initial framing looks very familiar but as they proceed their Establishmentarianism becomes more and more visible and pronounced.

    Wholly absent is the criminality of kleptocracy. Stiglitz comes closest with a more plutocratic take, but this the viewers reject in favor of Krugman’s more “measured”, i.e. Establishment view. Indeed except for the occasional Stiglitz reference, this is really a review of Krugman with whom the reviewers feel much more comfortable.

    While it is good to see an acknowledgement of the importance of political economy, it says a lot about the totally corrupt state of economics that political economy ever went away. But lipservice to the effects of government on the economy don’t mean much if the political analysis is basically a rehash of finger pointing at obstructionist Republicans.

    As Susan the other notes above, wealth inequality rates no more than a question mark “the jury’s still out on it. How can you take such non-analysis seriously?

    Establishment types, like Hacker, Pierson, Krugman, and even Stiglitz are never going to address kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war in anything like a holistic and integrated fashion because they would be cutting themselves off from the very elites who nutured and rewarded them with stellar careers, and with whom they still identify, despite minor disagreements over the pillaging of the 99%.

  16. bob



    “According to one officer, after questioning, O’Reilly-Hyland stated that she initially asked the Green Room manager to sell her husband the paddleboard for 50 percent off, which makes sense because.

    When the manager refused, she took the shirt “as payback for them not giving her the discount for the paddleboard.””

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