Links 10/10/12

Apologies for the absence of my own posts today. It’s after 4:30 AM and I need to make a more valiant effort to normalize my schedule. Links are a little juicier than usual as a partial offset.

Inflatable Unicorn Horn for Cats Amazon (Richard Smith). NC readers would have trouble outdoing some of the reviews.

The Dementia Plague MIT Technology Review. What would Susan Sontag say?

The vast gulf between current technology and theoretical singularity Extreme Tech (Carol B)

Confirmed: Apple-owned fingerprint software exposes Windows passwords ars technica (Carol B)

MIT creates carbon nanotube pencil, doodles some electronic circuits Extreme Tech (Carol B)

Is Facebook turning into … MySpace? Delaware Online

The Sufficiency Economy: a Thai Solution to Economic Sustainability Triple Pundit (furzy mouse)

‘Titanic’ Defaults Loom on Restructured India Bank Debt Bloomberg (Richard Smith)

China Bank Chief Pulls Out of IMF Meeting Wall Street Journal

Yesterday My Daughter Emigrated Huffington Post (Chuck L)

Merkel Hides Behind The Troika Report, The Greeks Seethe, And The Drachma Advances Wolf Richter

IMF warns eurozone on capital flight Financial Times. Marshall Auerback has been writing about this for over six months. The IMF is at least full quarterly report late in flagging this risk. And are they really prepared to change course? Draghi in the story says the answer is structural reforms, which will be far too slow in coming to address the quiet bank run.

Iraq: second largest oil exporter? Guardian

Will Iraq’s energy boom postpone peak oil yet again? Ambrose Evans-Prichard, Telegraph

Ambassador Died in Smoke While Agents Searched for Him Bloomberg. Separately, bunkers and safe rooms have apparently become a standard installation in homes of the super rich. It didn’t save Stevens.

Why I can’t support Obama Richard Stallman

Obama ‘believed he had BEATEN Romney’ in Denver debate – after ignoring advice of top aides on preparation Daily Mail (Lambert)

Obama debate stumble might stem from life in bubble McClatchy. Nah, rather than blaming it on acquired situational narcissism, the old fashioned kind will do.

Romney 49%, Obama 47% Among Likely Voters Gallup. A political maven wrote: “It’s the best thing there is out there for predicting who will actually vote.”

10 Questions Jim Lehrer Should Have Asked Counterpunch. Not what you expect.

The “Tytler” Insult — Is Democracy Hopeless? David Brin (Tom C)

Pew’s religion survey reveals a secular shift away from the religious right Guardian

AR Republican Charlie Fuqua Advocates Stoning Rebellious Children, Per Deuteronomy Talk to Action (Chuck L). The American Taliban.

A Bigger Paycheck on Wall Street New York Times

Ethical standards in different data communities Andrew Gelman (Patrick Durusau)

Jack Welch Breaks With Fortune Over Jobs Report Comments New York Times versus There He Goes Again… Mark Thoma

U.S. sues Wells over ‘reckless’ lending Charlotte Observer. Lambert: Closing the barn window after the horse was shot, then eaten. Me: This isn’t an October surprise, this is a fall hand-wave.

No Safe Haven: Shrinking Pool of Affordable Housing Creates Additional Hardship for Survivors of Domestic Abuse RH Realty Check

Why the Housing Crash is Far From Over Keith Jurow, Global Economic Intersection

Welcome to the ‘Desert of the Real’ — a postmodern economy FT Alphaville

* * *

lambert here:

Mission elapsed time: T + 32 and counting*

Come back, Shane! Run for president! — Henry Burton, Primary Colors

Montreal. Corruption: “Widespread kickbacks and political favours, envelopes stuffed with cash and money that simply vanishes into thin air. That was the portrait former construction entrepreneur Lino Zambito painted last week of a system of collusion he says links provincial political parties directly to Quebec’s construction industry — a system he claimed mirrors the one in place at the municipal level in Montreal.”

CA. Corruption: “The investigative news site Voice Of San Diego has raised ethical concerns about the CEO of the city’s major daily newspaper, who has reportedly been sending threatening emails to local officials in an attempt to push through the paper’s editorial vision of a huge stadium and extended conference center along the San Diego port, which is currently a cargo terminal.”

IN. Food: “Since rolling into action about a month ago, Ruben’s Taco Wagon is most likely the newest landmark along Indiana 62 just west of Boonville” (turns out the food truck is a retirement plan).

FL. Voting: “President Barack Obama’s campaign, eager to bank as many early votes as possible in Florida, is launching an unprecedented program to encourage supporters to vote by absentee ballot right away.” … Solid waste: “Palm Beach County’s new $600 million waste-to-energy plant could be used to incinerate trash created in neighboring counties, a revenue-making move that officials say would reduce the rates that residents here pay for countywide solid waste services.” … Voting: “[A]n error [oh?] occurred on the first batch of absentee ballots that were mailed out Oct. 2. Unlike the dozens of other [items] on the ballot, there is no heading on the section where voters can decide whether Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and R. Fred Lewis deserve another six years on the high court. [And] there are questions about whether the tabulation machines will be able to read the votes. He and others fear that even those who understand the confusing ballot won’t have their votes counted.” … Democracy: “In a e-mail to all his [7000] employees, [Orlando time-share mogul David] Siegel said that he did not want to tell them how to vote — but wanted them to know that another four years of Obama could make it tough for him to keep people employed.” He might not have wanted to, but he did, didn’t he?

LA. Food: “What is it about food trucks that distinguishes them as a ‘new and burgeoning industry’? When they start talking about changing laws because of ‘innovations’ that aren’t all that obvious, I start to wonder what else might be going on. What if such regulatory changes paved the way for Sizzler or Taco Bell to become the official city-sanctioned mobile vendor at every Second-Line parade?” … Landfills: “Prosecutors have built a case against [River Birch executive Dominick] Fazzio in hopes of turning him on his bosses, landfill owners Fred Heebe and Jim Ward, who are the probe’s central targets.” Twists and turns!

MA. Red Sox: “Poor communication, horrific starting pitching, an ignorant manager, no team personality and a blurred chain of command sums up what we saw from the 2012 Boston Red Sox.”

MD. Externalities: “A key issue in the trial is whether Perdue should be held liable if the judge finds chicken waste from the Hudsons’ farm did contaminate the ditches that drain the surrounding land. The environmental group contends Perdue effectively controls the way growers raise its birds, including monitoring their environmental safeguards, and [Judge] Nickerson refused Perdue’s pre-trial motion to be excused from the lawsuit.”

ME. Ladies of negotiable affection: “But the talk of [Kennebunk] these days is the arrest of a local fitness instructor who’s been charged with running a prostitution business out of her Zumba dance studio and secretly videotaping her encounters. Prosecutors haven’t detailed why Wright would have been videotaping her encounters. But they gathered more than 100 hours of video and nearly 14,000 screen shots from seized computers.” … (more) “[Judge Mills] did admonish prosecutors on their delivery of the evidence to [the defense], calling for a discovery conference to take place between all parties at which all documents must be clearly labeled and sorted in such a way that the defense attorneys can follow them. She also suggested that the necessary technology be made available for the defense attorneys to access the hard drive.” Hmm… 

NY. Fracking: “Apparently, [Carrizo’s] drilling for the Wetterling Well, just off McHenry Road (North of Bodle Hill Rd) is underway.This is supposed to be a ‘test’ well; given that the industry insists that Marcellus is all over the place, we’re not too sure what exactly they’re testing for – unless it’s for local resistance.” … Fracking: “Keeping Marcellus exploration secret in New York — even in a remote wooded area — is like trying to hide a rhinoceros in a petting zoo. Truck traffic, stadium lights, and permitting records aside, the operation defies stealth.” … Unions: “First, the [liberal New York Times] management team walked out of contract negotiations after only 10 minutes. Second, late in the day, management informed the Guild that it intends to make a ‘final offer’ on Thursday, as well as canceling Wednesday’s scheduled negotiating session.”=

OH. Fracking: “To lease or not to lease? That’s a question the [Mill Creek MetroParks ] board has been facing in regard to mineral rights in the MetroParks. For months, the board has been hearing from those opposed to any type of drilling in or around the park. Now, they want to hear from anyone.” … Legacy parties: “[Ds] can’t contain their delight that the courts have bottled up JobsOhio, R Gov. Kasich’s signature economic development program. What the Party of Amnesia fails to recall is that some of the very same ‘issues’ that supposedly mar JobsOhio were no problem in the 1980s, when liberal D Gov. Richard Celeste ducked them [protecting OH’s largest S&L from a run” (Thomas Suddes).

TX. Fracking: “Texans can breathe easier: the radioactive waste Halliburton fracking surveyors lost last month has finally been found.” … Pollice state: ” Fusion centers have indulged in massive mission creep, is the federal criticism, and serve little if any anti-terrorism function.” Considering how the administration defines “terrorism,” that might not be a bad thing.

VA. Climate: “Hampton Roads — after New Orleans, the metropolitan region in the United States with the lowest elevation — is at tremendous risk [from rising sea levels], even if the more ominous predictions are decades away.”

WA. Strike: In the days since Boeing and SPEEA last met, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB against Boeing. SPEEA alleges the company interfered with union rallies by video recording events and by confiscating photos taken by members of the gatherings. Boeing declined to comment on the charges.” … Enthusiasm: “Despite new technologies making the process easier than ever, about a third fewer WA state residents have registered to vote this year compared with the first nine months of 2008. The decline is more pronounced among younger people.” Gee, that’s odd.

Outside baseball. Christianism: “Eventually–in another two generations, perhaps–organized religion will wither down to a minority preference which is looked upon with mild embarrassment, like Civil War reenacting.” … Iraq: “‘America’s power was demonstrated to have very clear limits,’ [State’s Peter Van Buren] said. ‘We have the world’s most powerful military, but there seems to be a back door in terms of how to bleed it, how to defeat it.'” …. Queing: “Travelers at JFK Airport in New York have found a new way to legally cut in line when security is backed up[:] requesting wheelchairs. Airport policy allows anyone in a wheelchair to go to the front of the line” (queuing issues are in the zeitgeist right now; a proxy for the Gini co-efficient?

Media critique. Hacks: “The hack gap is a liberal problem of long standing. Put simply, we liberals don’t have enough hacks” (Kevin Drum). Oh, I’m not so sure about that…

The trail. Swing states: “TV ad money – the best measure of whether a campaign is competing in a state – shows that 93% of the $746 million spent so far, or $697 million – has poured into the nine battleground states. Less than a quarter of the nation’s voters live in those states.” Like “rotten boroughs.” … Swing states: “The Nielsen Co. said Friday that Obama’s campaign had run nearly 230,000 ads in NV, CO, IA, WI, OH, FL, VA, PA and NH from the beginning of the year through early September, compared with about 87,000 for Romney.” … Military vote: “[Military Times] poll results indicate that about 66% of those surveyed support Romney, compared with about 26% who say they will vote [for] Obama. When asked about the most important issue guiding their vote this year, about 66% of respondents cited either “the economy” or “the character of the candidate.” Less than 16 percent of troops surveyed cited ‘national security.'” … Military vote: “If we are going to improve the participation rates by military voters, they need a more systematic process to register and request an absentee ballot. Until that occurs, our military members will continue to be one of the most disenfranchised groups in the United States.” …. Polls: “The forecast model is not quite ready to jump on board with the notion that the race has become a literal toss-up;  Romney will need to maintain his bounce for a few more days, or extend it into high-quality polls of swing states, before we can be surer about that. But we are ready to conclude that one night in Denver undid most of the advantage Obama had appeared to gain in September” (Nate Silver). I think it’s best to view “the model” as a rhetorical device. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. … Polls: “Romney won 49% support from likely voters in the poll, compared to 47% for Obama. The PPP poll has a 3-percentage-point margin of error” (PPP has a house bias toward the Ds). … Polls: Memo to Andrew Sullivan.

The debate. Mood: “But his most important achievement cannot be measured by polls. What he did was change the political mood — of the media coverage, and of partisans on both sides.” We see this online. … Big Mo: “It’s just that these unrelated events of the past week call to mind the wisdom of basketball legend Bill Russell, who during his days as a TV analyst would often proclaim: ‘When things go bad … they go bad'” (Jeff Greenfield). … Students: “Strikingly, despite the fact that Ds outnumber Ra in the sample by more than 2 to 1, Romney was judged the winner of the debate overall by 52% of respondents. It seems that a good share of college students are assessing the debate winner based on reactions to the candidates’ performances as a whole, rather reporting a weighted average of their agreement and disagreement. Policy agreement is not a prerequisite for victory in a debate, at least for this sample.”

Green Party. Cheri Honkala: “Being poor and being in a third party shouldn’t exclude someone from the process. ‘We don’t just think we’re dreamers. We think we make changes,’ she says.”

The Romney. Abortion: “Romney continued his shift to the center Tuesday, saying he wouldn’t pursue any abortion legislation if he wins the presidency.” At least he cares enough to fake it! The debate: “[ROMNEY: ] These are tough times with real serious issues, so you have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird.” True! … Infantilization: “[ANN ROMNEY:] ‘I mean, lie — it’s sort of like someone that’s, you know, in the sandbox that like lost the game and they’re just going to kick sand in someone’s face and say, you liar. I mean, it’s like they lost, and so now they just are going to say, OK, the game, we didn’t like the game. So to me, it’s poor sportsmanship.'” … Infantilization: “[JOSH ROMNEY: ]So as a father, he learned how to debate an obstinate child.'” … Crowds: “Riffing on the ‘Four more years!’ chant that is a fixture at rallies,* rival Mitt Romney said Tuesday that they should be saying “Four more weeks! ‘There are 28 days before the election. I think the right chant ought to be for them, Four more weeks, four more weeks. All right?’ Romney told 12,000 supporters in a chilly outdoor rally here. They quickly picked up the cue and began chanting. [* Invented by the Nixon campaign.] Either totally spontaneous or good advance work. … Narrative: “The candidate’s family prevailed on Romney, and the campaign operation, to shake things up dramatically, according to campaign insiders. The family pushed for a new message, putting an emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee — a ‘let Mitt be Mitt’ approach they believed more accurately reflected the looser, generous and more approachable man they knew.”

The Obama. Big Bird teebee ad: “There’s only one thing that sticks out to me about this ad. Let’s look at that litany of Wall Street ‘criminals’ and ‘gluttons of greed,’ which later get juxtaposed with Big Bird. You have Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and Dennis Kozlowski. So two CEOs prosecuted and convicted by Bush’s DOJ, and Madoff, whose son turned him in before Obama took office. So the Obama campaign could not fill a list of three Wall Street criminals that the Obama DOJ actually sent to jail. Heck, they couldn’t fill a list of one! The subtext here is far more revealing than the text” (David Dayen). …. Big Bird teebee ad: “Sesame Street has asked Obama’s campaign to take down its latest attack ad on Mitt Romney, which features footage of Big Bird. ‘We’ve received and will review their concerns,’ said an Obama campaign official.” After they prosecuted Shepard Fairey, too. … The debate: “[OBAMA:] ‘What was being presented wasn’t leadership. That’s salesmanship.'” True! …. Fundraising: “Obama will attend his last fundraiser of the 2012 campaign Thursday and then shift into top gear following his disastrous recent debate performance that vaporized his polling lead over challenger Romney.” … Fundraiser: “[OBAMA:] Elmo has been seen in a white Suburban.” Ha ha? Fundraiser:

Menu: Fish tartare a la japonaise
Boudin blanc
Warm chanterelles on grilled toast
Fall tomato salad with homemade mozzarella
Fresh cheese with baked fig
Eggplant tagine with couscous
Duck confit with herb and frisee salad
Corncakes with mint and chive
Prosciutto and almonds

Sounds like a swell feed!

* A Presidential Election Is Not A Dinner Party!

* * *

Antidote du jour (Lance N). My Aby does a more graceful version of the “top of shower door” routine, and also sometimes shows off and gets on top of the bathroom door from the counter. But this cat looks like he enjoys clowning.

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    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you go to Google translate and click ‘English to Banksterlish,’ that whole sententce translates into ‘Banksterlebensraum.’

      That will explain the on-going two-fronted (the borrower side and the saver side) offensive, Operation Zinsen-Barbarossa.

      1. Ruben

        A pincer operation when the Banksterskrieg overstretch too thin and we gonna give them their Stalingrad!

  1. Richard Kline

    Re: the morphing of Facefrack, there is asbolutely no reason for this _kind_ of website to be run by, and the property of, a for-profit entity. Of any kind. The architecture is basic; the services are minimal; the access universal; the service is free. There is no value added besides the simple existence. Nor should there be.

    The real successes of the internet age have been the USENET, Craigslist, and Wikipedia. eBay is debatable, but hey, _I_ wouldn’t give those folks any money. My point is that people connecting with people without a profit intermediary or ‘manager’ have been the really transformative nodes on the net. Think about it. Yes, a not-for-profit ‘Homebase’ would cost a certain minimum for bandwidth, platform, kill-the-horror utter minimum monitoring, etc. Craigslist and and Wikipedia operate on effective shoestrings with considerable (it not unproblematic) volunteer support. A not-for-profit Homebase could replicate everything of any value at the unclean pit of Baby Mammon which is Facebook.

    The best services of the internet operate on the utility model. No one should be surprised in that. The _idea_ behind social media hubs was and remains valid: folks want a personal (but not too personal) window to interface with the world of the web. One of those digital billionaries always claiming how ‘great technology is’ and ‘how much they want to help’ could, tomorrow, endow a basic not-for-profit social media site of global scale and do everyone a favor. So: Who’s going to step up to the nanoplate and give some back?

    1. juneau

      RE: Dementia article
      The one thing I appreciate about this article is that it highlights the fact that many dementias are “mixed”,not only Alzheimer’s but vascular in nature. I believe most physicians know you can protect your brain the way you protect your heart, and it bears repeating that quitting smoking, controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, exercising and other health measures (ideally thorugh lifestyle changes where possible) are an important part of forestalling vascular injury in the brain, even though Alzheimer’s is unremitting.

      Control the factors you can. These Alzheimer’s meds don’t seem to do much sadly….

  2. YankeeFrank

    Re the dementia plague, the comments are more interesting than the article. The article focuses on the usual — pharma companies scrambling for treatments and understanding of the disease so they can cash in. The comments point to common items such as rosemary oil, coconut oil, and other powerful anti-oxidants that are having powerful effects mitigating the effects of dementia. I remember this same phenomenon with chondroitin and glucosamine, which patients basically found on their own, and which has helped countless with arthritis issues. I recall my cousin, a not-too-imaginative orthopedist, remarking bemusedly that his patients swear buy it but he knows nothing about it. I guess because the big pharma companies haven’t dumped ‘literature’ about it on his desk he doesn’t take it seriously. The medical profession is going to have to wise up over the next decade or these coming epidemics (like dementia) are going to be disasters.

    1. Lidia

      we actually give our large 9 y.o. Bernese Mtn. dog glucosamine on the vet’s recommendation. I found a bottle at Bldg.19 that was 3x the dose (1500mg vs. 500) and my husband swears that the dog has lost 5 years in age, running around like never before. (Warning: The plural of anecdote is not data.)

  3. YankeeFrank

    Can’t really argue with Richard Stallman’s rejection of Obama. It is dead on balls accurate. Obama is an authoritarian’s wet dream, a bankster supporting thief, and all-around 1-percenter. Its ironic that the media keeps calling out Romney for his lies when Obama is the true master deceiver.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Stallman’s views (maybe he would object to “endorsement”) are important for the “creative class” since he drove the creation of open-source software, on which the web runs — and the “creative class” builds the web sites.

      If your site runs on apache, thank Stallman (and never mind about parsing the licenses or details of the business models; the key point is “open source.”

      Stein’s supporters online need to use this…

      1. MacCruiskeen

        Actually, many in the “creative class,” assuming they even know who he is, view rms as a kind of cranky relative you avoid talking to at holiday gatherings. He’s so puritanical about his views after a while you kind of tune him out.

        (and I’m not saying this just because he hit on my wife once (this was many years ago, before we were married, but we were at the same party).)

      2. citalopram

        The problem with Stallman (in terms of computing) is that he lives in the past. His political views in this instance are dead on.

  4. Richard Kline

    That’s a great oration by Carlos Duarte over at HuffPo. Never truer words issued. Sounds like much that was said in the USA in the 1930s, and not a surprise as Spain is in its own ‘Great Depression’ at present, following the rottenest housing/construction bubble of them all. Contrast his perspective with what we’ve got here now: Dweezilbam vs. Romdeedee. Talentless clowns, yet the audience keeps on braying at the show . . . Blind faith was invented for times like these as one can’t belive ones eyes . . . .

    1. sleepy

      Telling, isn’t it, that of the non-EU countries mentioned for immigration–Canada, Australia, Uruguay–the US is not among them.

      Even with Ireland which has likewise seen its young people leave during the current crisis, Australia and Canada seem to be the main targets.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Could it be down to health care ? (No sure about Uruguay).

        Or, more generally, the quality/availability of “public goods”.

      2. Richard Kline

        Hey, friend, _I_ want to emigrate to Canada, and may yet do so. Any sane soul would go there over the US in a second’s fraction. Uruguay is a better choice than Argentina or Chile, and in many respects better than Brazil, which you can visit anyway. Just good taste on the part of Duarte’s daughter, in my view . . . .

        And on the issue of articulation relevant to the post now up on the Australian PM, Duarte again illustrates just how much clearer, better informed, more persuasive, and more heart-felt common discourse is _outside_ of the zone of American English and all of the latter’s anti-intellectualism.

      3. Procopius

        Well, I live in Thailand and the U.S. has very restrictive and difficult visa requirements for Thai citizens (a lot of them go as students or tourists and just never voluntariloy return to Thailand). I don’t know the verious requirements to get a visa to immigrate to the U.S., but I understand there is a long — I’ve read twenty years — waiting list for those with high priority. It should not be a surprise that not many of the emigrants list the U.S. as a destination. It’s not all that easy to get an immigrant visa from Canada, for that matter, depending on the country of origin.

    1. TK21

      Joe does tend to go off-script, so who knows? But Obama agrees with Ryan on most issues, as he does with Romney, so any disagreement will probably be accidental.

  5. financial matters

    Why the Housing Crash is Far From Over Keith Jurow, Global Economic Intersection

    Very good look at the housing market..

    “”During those three crazy bubble years — 2004-2006 — millions of homeowners took out these second mortgages to tap the equity in their home. Some refinanced them one or more times to pull still more cash out of their property. In California, it was not uncommon for banks to provide HELOCs of $200,000 and up. This graph from Equifax shows that while the number of outstanding HELOCs has declined, there are still more than 11 million of them. It is safe to estimate that at least 95% of properties with HELOCs are now underwater. Growing numbers of these underwater homeowners are walking away from their mortgages. The banks cannot indefinitely put off taking some kind of action against them. This will also put tremendous downward pressure on home prices.

    This shocking table shows the number of seriously delinquent owner-occupied properties in all of NY City and Long Island. These are confirmed numbers from the NYS Division of Banking. They reveal that roughly 24% of all first liens in New York City and nearly 30% of those in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island are seriously delinquent. Exceptionally few have been foreclosed. Keep in mind that these figures do not include investor-owned properties. When the banks finally begin to take action against the owners (in the not-too-distant future), prices will really plunge.””

    1. taunger

      Nah. Banks have been developing models for mass foreclosure without ruining market value. Look at the Fannie/Freddie PI –> rental scheme. Home value is set by market, and therefore perception. Our 1% overlords are masters of perception management.

  6. gordon

    The “ownership society” is a shibboleth of some parts of the Right. Here’s why:

    “George Osborne revived controversial plans to dilute employees’ rights by announcing that workers will be offered shares in their companies in return for giving up their legal rights at work.

    “From April next year, companies will be able to offer existing staff between £2,000 and £50,000 in tax-free shares if they surrender their rights to claim unfair dismissal, to redundancy pay, to request flexible working and time off for training. Women on maternity leave would have to give 16 weeks’ notice of returning to work, rather than eight weeks as at present. In return, these workers would not pay capital gains tax on any rise in the value of the shares when they sold them…”

  7. DP

    Jack Welch manipulated GE’s earnings numbers through accounting tricks so easily and consistently that he assumes everybody does it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Aikido approach would be to take the hacker and make him/her the security chief.

      Maybe Welch has something to offer here.

  8. figaro

    Some more amusing reviews of expensive watches. In Amazon, search for:
    “Gerald Genta Arena Tourbillon Men’s Automatic Watch ATR-Y-75-913-CN-BD”

  9. financial matters

    Great Kaiser report.. 25 minute video with first half on the recent JP Morgan lawsuit re the fraudulent Bear Stearns securitizations and the second half with Michael Hudson strongly emphasizing the criminal culture of the banks..

    tidbits: “Bear Stearns knew 60% of the loans they were securitizing were delinquent” “we are in a ‘cold war’ with the banks where we are forced into austerity as they threaten collapse of the system if they don’t get their way” “thousands of emails concerning libor manipulations”

    “the main reason for TARP was to save Citibank/Citicorp which had become thoroughly criminalized” “Govt spending has not gone to the real economy but Ben’s helicopter only flies over Wall Street”

  10. Bill

    “VA. Climate: “Hampton Roads is at tremendous risk [from rising sea levels]

    I live in Williamsburg, on The Peninsula in Virginia, and I know that many areas of Hampton city flood just about every time there’s a heavy rain.

    I’m looking forward to having beachfront property if I can last that long !

  11. YesMaybe

    Will Iraq postpone peak oil?

    The article predicts an increase of 4.5 mbpd over the next 7 years, and then another 2 mbpd over the 15 years after that. Of course, we’re close to a decade after the Iraq war already, and production hasn’t jumped much. But even if you take these numbers as good predictions… Current global production is around 80 mbpd per year.

    Compare the Iraq numbers to possible decline rates of 2% or 3% a year. Or compare it to the six new Saudi Arabias that need to be found.

    1. charles sereno

      Thanks, NC, for also giving a voice to Richard Stallman on the “lesser evil” political problem. I see a connection there with “open source” vs. “free software.”

        1. citalopram

          …no real difference between Obama and Romney.

          Anyone who has been paying attention on this blog knows this.

  12. Valissa

    The Amazon reviews of the ‘caticorn’ inspired me to look for some unicorn cartoons. I only found one I really liked.

    What really happened to the unicorn

    But I’ll add this one too, for the punsters out there

    Some might find this amusing

    Now about that FT article on the ‘postmodern economy’…

    “The efficient frontier is now contorted to such a degree that traditional empirical views are no longer relevant.”

    I predict an uptick in unicorn sightings.

  13. craazyman

    Did anybody try to read “Desert of the Real”?

    Is this a real article published in the financial media or a sequence of letters chosen by the planchette of a Ouija Board?

    Does the text have any objective meaning? Or does one have to be a French philosopher to co-create a personal meaning with it?

    Can the text, itself, be printed on a Ouija board and interpreted with a planchete designed to auto-nomously select trading strategies?

    Mr. Krass, you are so right about volatility. Where’s the Ouija Board when you need it? They scare the sh*t out of me and I won’t touch one. That leaves random guessing as the main methodology.

    1. Valissa

      I really enjoyed reading that article! I haven’t read any Eastern Philosophy recently so this was kinda like a flashback to a time when I was impressed with over-intellectualization that’s sounds really cool, but who the hell knows what it means?

      The article reminded me of one of my favorite books of essays on postmodernism (best to get stoned on something or another before reading).

      The Truth About the Truth: De-confusing and Re-constructing the Postmodern World, edited by Walter Truett Anderson (published 1995)

      Any book that promises a de-confusing approach is lying. But it is a set of enjoyable lies nonetheless.

      btw, I am a big fan of Walter Truett Anderson books. For a time he was my ‘guru.’

      1. ohmyheck

        “I haven’t read any Eastern Philosophy recently”—I think that those commenters here at NC who have been providing us with their insightful Zen Koans lately, might take exception to that remark. (Just kiddin’)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s interesting to note here, with words, that the highest praise one can give is without words.

            For example, the view is so stunningly beautiful, I am speechless. (here, to avoid contradiction/Epimenides paradox, you sent the above sentence by telepathy).

            Or, the food is so delicious, I am lost for words.

            But we don’t live in Plato’s Ideal world, so we have to compromise and use some words.

            That means haiku.

            And here is one for you minimalists:

            Do not say it then
            If you can’t say what you want
            in a ha-i-ku.

          2. Aquifer

            Hmmm, is haiku the original template for Twitter, the latter being the bastard of the former? Where brevity is the soul of – everything?

            Oh, I know – what an absurd idea, the horror of it all …

            Well, consider the source …

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Here is another haiku about haiku (meta-haiku):

            If you can’t say it
            in seventeen syllables
            just forget it then

      2. JustAnObserver

        The “Desert of the Real” probably needs to be read in conjunction with the Richard Bookstaber does Borges thing that appeared in the links the other day. The dangers inherent in any attempt to treat as actually-real something that’s really only a more or less crude representation.

        To paraphrase Mrs T. – There’s no such thing as a Market.

  14. Roger Bigod

    The Alzheimer’s article is weak. The take-home message is that it’s all terribly complicated and there are a lot of theories and causes and stuff.

    It would have been better to present the current standard model, which is that beta amyloid is the initial toxic agent. It’s a normal protein that is made in a constant daily amount. The problem in AD is that the clearance capacity declines slowly with age. This varies between individuals, and if one outlives the clearance mechanism, the beta amyloid builds up. When the concentration exceeds a critical threshold, the effect is death of neurons. Tau protein buildup is a late event, and it may carry out some of the toxicity.

    There may be some processes that are amenable to diet and other non-drug interventions. But it’s good to know about the beta amyloid theory.

    As it happens, shortly after the date of the article Lilly reported the result of their monoclonal antibody trial. The overall result was negative, but in the patients in the mild stage about 30% got definite slowing in the rate of decline. This is the first positive result on affecting the process of the disease, and it supports the beta amyloid theory since that is the specific target of the antibody. Other interpretations are possible, but that seems to be the straightforward reading of the situation. The weak result may be a dose effect, and higher doses may be more successful.

    1. Mark P.

      Almost every MIT Technology Review article is weak.

      There’s the politics of MIT — the usual stuff, plus the fact that MIT gets approx. 1.3 billion dollars of its funding publicly and another 1.7 billion under the table as military spending via the Lincoln Labs — and there’s the fact that the magazine/website is money-losing flackery for MIT run in Boston by mostly tenth-rate editors who couldn’t make it in New York or London. Pretty much nothing that says anything new ever gets through that filter.

    1. Eureka Springs

      “we liberals”

      Ah yes, when there is nothing left to do but play thoughtless corral / veal pen games. Most certainly determined to keep neoliberals legitimate.

      He needs to look at what defines liberal these days, imo. I’m a liberal in the unapologetic living wage, anti war, health care is a human right, rule of law at the top sense who never ever reads Kevin Drum.

  15. Jagger

    The dementia article, along with so many of those dementia commercials, depicts the dementia patient as a sweet old man or woman that is sadly confused but still so loving. Unfortunately about 30 percent of dementia patients become physically and/or mentally violent. It has nothing to do with their previous personality. The brain changes and so do they. And suddenly you can be physically attacked or suffer the most vile verbal assaults. My father is currently mid-stage alzheimers. The first couple years was just a monster until we finally found an anti-psychotic which eliminated his violent mood swings.

    Unfortunately, the drugs do not always work. I know some very desparate people with spouses or fathers or mothers with uncontrollable mood swings and nothing has worked. The great mass of nursing homes will not accept violent alzheimers patients. Those people are truly lost and no one, including the state, helps them. It is insane, inhumane, but the state has higher priorities to spend the money on.

    I wouldn’t wish alzheimers on my worse enemy.

  16. charles sereno

    I’ve just looked at the final item — Welcome to the ‘Desert of the Real’ — a postmodern economy FT Alphaville
    I notice that FT has removed their paywall (?). It would take a Churchill to describe how boring this dance of words on the head of a pin is.

  17. Susan the other

    My god! The Bloomberg article on Ambassador Stevens. How peculiar. Everything described is a little too twln-towers for me. Stevens was lost by his trusted body guards (2) in all the smoke? One of them escaped? He was searched for but not found by other security personnel who made it to the specific compound through fire and bullets? But they didn’t find him either? But they did find the other body guard and then left taking this corpse back through a hail of AK47 fire? But PREVIOUS to this rescue-attempt happening, Stevens’ body was delivered without identification by anonymous “unknown Libyan civilians” at the height of the battle, at 1:00 am too the Behghazi Medical Center?

    The State Department released a statement complaining that they were denied the needed extra security measures at the Benghazi consulate by “Washington officials.” Which Washington officials? Instead security had recently been “reduced.’

    Gee, no “tactical” warning signs. Didn’t Echelon pick up any strange behavior?

    The dog that didn’t bark.

      1. Susan the other

        I remember another bit that has not resurfaced in the investigation about us wanting to destroy some State Department documents before others (?) could get their hands on them. This is not going to be made public in any way.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Good memory. I remember that as well.

          My take on that is it’s yet another excuse by the Western intelligence services to do a document dump of their doctored documents.

  18. Susan the other

    Also today’s Bloomberg on “Titanic Defaults Loom on Restructured India Bank Debt” We really haven’t been treated to info on India very much. Now all of a sudden a long expose. Is it because India just sided with us against a pipeline proposed by Iran to supply India. Did we bribe India into this? Geithner and Bernanke (yes, Bernanke – a first for a Fed Chairman) both went to India 2 days ago to talk financing. We’ll never hear those details. But interesting to note that China was miffed enough at Japan to walk out of the IMF talks in Toyko. But even more interesting is that the big worry about China’s temper tantrum is not for Japan but the EZ because these talks were slated to discuss China buying up a bunch of EZ bonds. We do know China likes Iran. Not sure where Russia stands.

    What a mess. And none of this restructuring of old ideas will work anyway because growth has become meaningless. A decade ago we tried to jumpstart growth by loaning out money to anybody for anything. So, maybe a new idea, like the King of Thailand on a Sufficiency Economy based on Sustainability and Happiness. That actually sounds pretty good to me. But what’s in it for the banksters?

    Then there is always the Ray Kurzweil approach. Lets just let information technology handle all the financing. Let’s just program away the disease.

    1. Mark P.

      ‘So, maybe a new idea, like the King of Thailand on a Sufficiency Economy based on Sustainability and Happiness…But what’s in it for the banksters?’

      Nothing, which is why it won’t happen, of course.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    MIT and carbon nanotube pencil doodling electronic circuits.

    I want my carbon nantube electronic circuits to look like Hieronumus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Technological Delights.’

  20. Boy with machine

    Re: The Desert of the Real

    Just to be clear, when Baudrillard says that reality has disappeared, the point is not that it has disappeared physically. He’s not saying the table in front of you isn’t real, as that would just be silly, nevertheless many people seem to think this is what he means.

    No, he’s referring to the “Disneyfication” of the world, that a Disney-form capable of atoning for everything by transforming it into Disneyland has taken the place of the world, what he called the simulacrum.

    Paraphrasing Baudrillard’s words, reality continues to exist, the table in front of you is real, of course, but what he’s saying is that reality has disappeared metaphysically. That the reality principle is dead. In other words, reality without its principle is no longer the same. Again paraphrasing Baudrillard, if the principle of representation (which alone gives it a meaning) falters, then the whole of the real falters.

    But any questioning of reality, of its obviousness and principle, is considered unacceptable and condemned as negationist. The charge against you is what do you make of the reality of misery, suffering and death?

    And so, to paraphrase Baudrillard one more time, the affirmation of reality is almost similar to a religious affirmation, and any infringement of this principle is considered sacrilegious, the very hypothesis of simulation being perceived, deep down, as diabolical.

    The reality fundamentalists equip themselves with a form of magical thinking that confuses message and messenger: If you speak of simulation you are a simulator, if you speak of the virtuality of war, then you are in league with it and have no regard for the hundreds of thousands of dead.

    Any analysis other than the moral one is condemned as deluded and irresponsible.

    But if reality is a question of belief and all the signs that attested to it have lost their credibility, if the real has fallen into a fundamental discredit and its principle is everywhere reeling, it is not Baudrillard, the messenger of the simulacrum, who is responsible for plunging things into this discredit, it is the system itself that has fomented this uncertainty that affects everything today – even the sense of existence.

      1. Boy with machine

        Well, not exactly. We always imagine the Real as something face on. We think of ourselves as always facing the Real. But what if there is no face to face? No objectivity. Nor any subjectivity either. A two-fold illusion.

        Since consciousness is an integral part of the world and the world is an integral part of consciousness, I think it and it thinks me.

        “The question of whether things really exist outside of us and as we see them is absolutely meaningless. The question is almost as absurd as wondering whether blue is really blue, objectively blue.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

      2. Boy with machine

        Just adding:

        “It is impossible for a being to undergo the effect of some other without that effect being mutual….. Every effect modifies the object that is it’s cause. There is no dissociation of the subject and the object – nor any original identity – there is only an inextricable reciprocity.” (Lichtenberg)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sorry, I might have missed it.

          In the spirit of ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe,’ we should ask if writing is not reality, except in the ‘reality of words.’

  21. Max424

    “‘America’s power was demonstrated to have very clear limits,’ [State’s Peter Van Buren] said. ‘We have the world’s most powerful military, but there seems to be a back door in terms of how to bleed it, how to defeat it.’”

    That’s just the Army and the Marines. The United States Air Force, on the other hand, you don’t bleed it, and you certainly don’t defeat it.

    If the Air Force wants to win, it wins. And if it ever decides to fight the big one, it will win that too. It will drop 10 times more payload on the enemy countries of the Eurasian continent, than the enemy countries of the Eurasian continent will manage to drop on ours.

    Of course, if the big one happens, the only survivor, anywhere, will be the cockroach. But hear this, the North American continent will have more post-war cockroaches per square inch than any place on earth.

    Thanks to the USAF.

    Note: Don’t blame the Navy, either. The Navy is undefeated since late 41, and has gone 0-0-1 since 1946.

  22. Jack Parsons

    There is a side bar to the Alzheimer’s story: old spies get it also. And they stop keeping their secrets. The modern hypertrophied intelligence state now has its first wave of very old men. They have a real problem.

  23. Matt

    All I’m going to say about the Red Sox is that I’m soooo glad I moved from Boston to Los Angeles before the season started this year. The Dodgers didn’t make the playoffs either. But you know what? I’m not going to have to listen to everyone piss and moan about it for the next six months :)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The thing about sports in general is that it’s hard to find true, everlasting happiness in that simulacrum.

  24. Matt

    As for Stallman… let me ask this: in 2000, some people decided that Al Gore was not sufficiently FDR-esque for their liking, and as a result, the country was subjected to 8 years of George W Bush.

    So yes, I would like to thank those principled voters for all they did to advance progressive causes. It’s a good thing they didn’t vote for Gore, since clearly the US would have moved farther to the right than it did under Bush.

    1. El Guapo

      If all the morons who voted for Gore voted for Nader instead there would have been real progressive change. Blame them and yourself.

      1. Matt

        You’re making the assumption that everyone who voted for Gore wanted the policies offered by Nader, and that’s completely wrong.

        And that brings us to the crux of the matter: a lot of progressive policies do not enjoy widespread support. But rather than try to change that, some progressives have taken the easy way out: blaming Democratic politicians, and the sitting out the election or voting for a third party.

        Look, I hate the drone strikes in Pakistan. But if Obama announces he’s stopping them, he hurts his chances. The problem isn’t Obama, it’s that a majority of Americans like the drone strikes.

        Voting for Jill Stein isn’t going to do anything to help. It might make things worse by letting Mitt Romney get elected. And in the aftermath, is anyone in the D party going to say, “oh, if only we’d try to woo progressives by stopping the drones!” Of course not. Voting for Jill Stein does, on the other hand, allow some progressives to act self-righteous and indignant for the next four years.

        So unless you or Robert Stallman or Conor Freidersdorf have a plan to convince everyone who’s going to vote for Obama that they should vote for Stein instead, I suggest you suck it up at pull the lever for O.

        1. citalopram

          What makes you think Obomber is the lesser evil?

          This is a man who continues to assault civil liberties, murder civilians and Americans without due process, and to me that seem like the more evil.

          Mitt doesn’t even have that track record, yet.

        2. ohmyheck

          Huh. This sounds exactly like what “taylormattd” would write at DailyKos.

          Matt, your opinion is not going to fly here. You are, of course, welcome to continue, but don’t expect anyone to buy it.
          Jill Stein? I guess you missed the latest favorite:

          Barritt Obomney 2012-The Elite Choice in 2012!

    2. EconCCX

      in 2000, some people decided that Al Gore was not sufficiently FDR-esque for their liking, and as a result, the country was subjected to 8 years of George W Bush. @Matt

      Those in swing states were fools. Those in solidly red or blue states had a point. Gore tried to distance himself from his predecessor, the odious character who repealed Glass-Steagall. Obama is an incumbent, who stands or falls on his record.

      Stallman’s reasoning is unassailable in safe states. Use your franchise to advance your values, or continue to be played.

    3. Lambert Strether

      Matt, you’re pinning the bogometer. If 308,000 Florida Democrats — a number far greater than those who voted for Nader, I might add — had not voted for George Bush, then Al Gore wouldn’t have had to gavel the CBC into silence to prevent them from raising the issue of election fraud, as Senate President in January 2009.

      If the Democrats want to seek the source of their loss in 2000, they have exactly one place to look, and that’s in the mirror. That would take moral and intellectual courage, which is why they don’t do it.

      Hence, the constant cries of “Look! Over there! Ralph Nader!” 12 years later, but doubtless good for the next century or so, if they last that long as a party, which I devoutly hope they do not.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Shrinking pool of affordable housing.

    Housing crash is far from over.


    In theory, when housing hits true bottom some time in the future, the pool of affordable housing should be bigger.

    1. Matt

      Yeah, it would seem to be inconsistent to link to something about a lack of affordable housing and then immediately follow it with a housing perma-bear article.

      And on that topic, what is up w/ that article? Data that stops in 2006, illegible charts, cherry-picking data (California only 2004-2007 option ARMs, including those already in REO), more cherry-picking data (showing only Framingham and Worcester, two lower-income cities in MA), etc.

      There is really only one thing to be worried about for housing – rent/own ratio. It is back to normal in many areas. A lack of qualified borrowers might mean it could overshoot historical norms, but it has hit the point where if prices drop more it will induce some renters to buy. The fact that there is still a large shadow inventory means that prices are likely going to go sideways in nominal terms for a while.

  26. Howard Beale IV

    Fallout from the assassination of the US Ambassador in Libya:

    “We want to stop attacks on our embassies? Let’s stop trying to overthrow governments. This should not be a partisan issue. Let’s avoid the hype. Let’s look at the real situation here. Interventions do not make us safer. They do not protect our nation. They are themselves a threat to America.”

  27. Lidia

    Dementia x Euro employment:

    My SIL’s MIL in Italy is bonkers. The local praxis is to hire full-time live-in help rather than consign a demented individual to a nursing home. The amazing Ukranian woman who assists my SIL with a round-the-clock crazy person is highly educated, yet has left her own children entirely, outside of a few weeks in August, to care for someone else’s dependent.

    With an ever-aging population, it’s unclear to me how much longer Italians (and other Europeans) can use full-time imported labor to care for their demented, elderly, and otherwise infirm. A classic picture in Italy is the ancient man/woman “a spasso”–being walked by Filipino or Bangaladeshi caretakers.

    Strangely, one never sees young Italians fulfilling this rôle.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Lidia, this is how their privileged “externalize” their grief, fear, and responsibiltiy. But at least they don’t warehouse their parents in F.U. “nursing homes” after hiding their “inheritance” so the parent can be a Ward of the State on Medicaid. “America, Fuck Yeah!”

      1. Jagger

        Leonova, you clearly have not had the good fortune of caring for a parent with dementia. Until you do, I would in a no win situation. It is clear you have no idea what you are talking about.

        1. Jagger

          Leonova, you clearly have not had the good fortune of caring for a parent with dementia. Until you do, I would suggest you not attack those in a no win situation. It is clear you have no idea what you are talking about.

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