Links 11/15/12

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 560 donors have already invested in our efforts to shed light on the dark and seamy corners of finance. Join us and participate via our Tip Jar or WePay in the right column or read about why we’re doing this fundraiser and other ways to donate, such as by check, on our kickoff post or one discussing our current target.

Study suggests humans are slowly but surely losing intellectual and emotional abilities Medical Xpress (furzy mouse). The creepy bit is that the “city life leads to weaker human stock” is the same line eugenicists used to demonize immigrants, who typically sought work in major cities. And I doubt the rise in ADD and narcissism can be attributed mainly to nature (the article basically admits that, pointing out the genetic decay is pretty gradual).

Vegetative Ontario man Scott Routley ‘talks’ to researchers through brain scans The Star

Judge certifies class-action lawsuit against Papa John’s for alleged text spam ITWorld

BP in ‘Deepwater Horizon plea deal’ Guardian. Mirabile dictu, a criminal settlement

Shale Gas Bubble Bursting: Report Debunks “100 Years” Claim for Domestic Unconventional Oil and Gas Steve Horn, Firedoglake

What is China’s new investment surge building? MacroBusiness

Xi Jinping appointed new Chinese leader Financial Times

S&P: Australia is Spain in waiting MacroBusiness. I hate to sound mean spirited, but even if home prices in Sydney fell 40%, how affordable would they be?

Debt crisis: Eurozone enters enters double-dip recession Telegraph

Rajoy’s Path to Bailout Clears as EU Endorses Austerity Bloomberg

Hamas: Israeli attack on Gaza opens ‘gates of hell‘ Guardian

Three Israelis killed by rockets fired from Gaza Telegraph

Another War On Gaza Moon of Alabama

Panetta unaware of any more names in Petraeus case USA Today. That’s a remarkable headline.

Obama ‘withholds judgment’ on Petraeus Financial Times. Ringing Pontius Pilate.

Uprooted Students Endure Trek to Class New York Times. Sandy aftermath.

Zillow: Fiscal cliff may derail negative equity decline Housing Wire. Yet more fiscal cliff threats (I’m not saying it’s good, I’m sayin’ December 31 is a phony deadline).

Obama Meets C.E.O.’s as Fiscal Reckoning Nears New York Times

Did climate change controversy cause UVA’s sacking of Teresa Sullivan? Guardian. Lambert was onto this when the story was hot! Go Lambert!

Black Friday slips to ‘Grey Thursday’ Guardian. Will the union supporters protest, or impede the shoppers (like filling carts full of stuff and abandoning them in the aisles, or buying batteries and paying for them with small change?). I’m not sure what approved shopper WalMart petty sabotage looks like, but if I find out, I may go out on Turkey Day and cause a bit of trouble.

Corzine blamed for MF Global collapse and MF Global accused of misleading regulators Financial Times. Looks like I have my reading cut out for later today

Want Less Inequality? Tax It American Prospect

Business Confidence Continues Its Stunning Collapse Clusterstock

Where has all the Risk gone? Golem XIV

BofA v. MBIA and the Future of Private Label Securitization Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. David Lentini

    Slowly losing our intellectual abilities? Hmm, let’s review the bidding:

    We can’t define intelligence, let alone measure it;

    We can’t really prove which genes are corrolated with intelligence, and we forget that genes alone do not produce phenotypic traits;

    We can’t run a controlled experiment over millenia to actually measure any of these traits to establish a reasonable cause-and-effect argument; and

    We can’t reliably distingish genetic from environmetal factors for intelligence.

    So, that really leaves us with the authors–and everyone else who believes this tripe–to serve as the proof of this theory.

    1. Klassy!

      further proof and further tripe from the article:

      not to worry. The loss is quite slow, and judging by society’s rapid pace of discovery and advancement, future technologies are bound to reveal solutions to the problem.

      all to be packaged as a TEDtalk. Don’t worry! The solution is around the corner.

      The article is creepy.

      1. different clue

        I remember reading somewhere that the average Cro-Magnon skull (of which there are admittedly very few) had a 10% bigger braincase capacity than the average modern human skull of today. So we may all be second-rate bootleg copies of our Cro-Magnon ancestors.

    2. diptherio

      Well, I’m willing to accept the headline at face value. But a study suggesting something is far different from a study proving something. There are a whole bunch of reasons why a study might “suggest” something to a researcher, and most of them aren’t because that’s what is actually happening. Often, the quirks of experimental design and the (mostly subconscious) prejudices of the researcher will combine to “suggest” something that is not really (or at least not completely) the case.

      Geneticists, much like Economists, like to imply that they know more and are more sure about what they do know than they actually are. Well, that’s my experience anyway.

      1. Pelle Schultz

        Yes, we geneticists have to write grants. Try doing that with a conclusion that doesn’t state “We expect that this work will provide a significant contribution to our understanding of the genetic contribution of [genes X] to [condition Y].”

        But we do produce testable hypotheses. Which we test. And generally disprove, and then learn and move on.

        1. Fist of Elmo

          When is anything substantive ever going to come from these “hypothesis testing” logical positivist adventures?
          Like most sciences I simply see neverending speculation and cascading waves of hype and hot air. Evolutionary Psych for example and an endless array of just-so stories as bad as New Agers put forth. One gene for every disease theories that don’t quite pan out. TED talks that claim whatever scientistic finding supports the speakers pet axe to grind. Superstring theory.

          I’m to the point where I only trust engineers, and only a little.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Taking it at face value, my first reaction is perhaps it’s all relative, in the sense that animals, like dogs, cats, apes, etc., and plants are smarter these days, and therefore, in comparison, or relatively speaking, we are less intelligent.

    3. Garrett Pace

      Eugenics is the first thing I thought when I looked at the article.

      It’s hard to attribute changes to genes when so many things about our culture are unique in history.

      We live in an atmosphere of pervasive unreality, in marketing and politics especially. Many or most of our “relationships” via our various media are with people that don’t even exist. This has to have an enormous effect on our ability to relate to others, and discern when people are sincere or not.

      1. alex

        I’m not so sure the eugenicists are wrong, since we’ve clearly devolved to the point where people believe in eugenics.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think the hope is that it’s possible for us to become less intelligent and yet wiser.

    4. Pelle Schultz

      Argument by platitude is not very convincing.

      Genes (or to put it more accurately, genetic variants) absolutely can and do produce phenotypic traits. For some obvious examples, read any of the recent work on de novo and rare inherited variants underlying neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. But penetrance is more often than not variable in more complex genomes–largely due to genetic modifiers, stochastic effects and minimally to some nebulous environmental inputs.

      As for differentiating genetic and environmental inputs to intelligence…whole genome sequencing is changing that story quite rapidly.

      Intelligence per se has proven difficult to quantify, as one might expect given the absence of a consensus definition as to what it exactly is. But congnitive ability in defined assays (e.g. skill at chess) is fairly easy to measure.

      As for the TIGs article: It’s a speculative review, not primary research. Gerald Crabtree is an old fart, highly successful molecular biologist who has spent his career looking at individual genes and who doesn’t quite get evolution and population genetics (a common species). He’s extrapolating from some of the conclusions of much recent work (including mine) on mutation rates in humans. But he seems to have missed a major point from the work: purifying selection is acting strongly on deleterious variants. In lay terms, that means those alleles are being rapidly eliminated from the gene pool when they arise, because those individuals carrying them have reduced fecundity.

      1. Aquifer

        “nebulous environmental inputs”? Oh you mean stuff like the ubiquitous mutagens and teratogens, toxins and hormone disruptors that our “intelligent” species has buried the planet in? Or the GMOs that are not only invading our own physiology with their manufactured poisons, but actually reducing the nutritional content of out food? THOSE “nebulous environmental inputs”?

        Or how about the substitution of “AI” for “HI”, and machines for hands – of video games for playing in the woods, etc. etc.?

        Frankly, it would surprise me not at all to “learn” we are getting dumber, as all the physical inputs that MN used to hone and form and evolve that intelligence in the first place – the senses, the kinesthetics feeding the cerebellum (that other big part of the brain we don’t see mentioned much) are being replaced with artificial, electronic substitutes ….

        Our technology is poisoning us and our “smart machines” are making us dumber …. It is not only not nice to try to fool MN, it isn’t very “smart”, either but, hey, that is just my take ….

      2. Aquifer

        Dr. Crabtree. “At that time, we may be able to magically correct any mutation that has occurred in all cells of any organism at any developmental stage. Thus, the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary.”

        Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha – oops ….

      3. Bruce Wilder

        Old fart was exactly my impression.

        This bit at the beginning of the report struck me as probably pointing at some suspect assumptions: “The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples “(emphasis added)

        Juxtaposing “non-verbal” and intelligence set off alarm bells for me. Granted that “intelligence”, being ill-defined at best, can refer to a wide range of learning and reasoning and social abilities, and the good doctor clearly conceives of “intelligence” covering many abilities and many genes, “non-verbal” still seems singularly odd. Much of what we have long thought of as distinctly “intelligent” about humans is tied to our ability to, and interest in telling stories. Our ability to engage in formal, logical reasoning is usually thought to be collateral to that story-telling — in fact, the ability to do mechanical analysis or math may reflect a kind of deterioration in a story-telling capacity. (Think of autism-spectrum disorders, where Asberger’s is often associated with high intelligence in some tasks.)

        Also, the “dispersed groups” thing is suspicious, as well, since so much of human intelligence is associated with tools and tool-making, and tool-making is very, very sensitive to scale. You have to make a lot of tools to get good at it, which implies both a division of labor, and a wide cachment for trade. Small isolated groups are not going to develop or retain much in the way of tool-making.

        Anyway, some weird is going on here. And, in fairness, it may be the prejudices of the editor or journalist filtering what may be perfectly sensible, albeit provocative speculation. The scientist may be focused on tracing the development of intelligence during the long, long time, when human populations were small overall, and scattered in very small groups, and, hence, toolmaking and story-telling could not have been, as they were later, huge advantages capable of generating selection pressure of their own.

    5. Aquifer

      So you are saying this is BS? Do YOU believe that it is NOT so? And if so, is the basis for your belief any sounder than a belief that it is?

      This “study” may indeed be bunkum, but that “fact” does not “prove” the assertion that we are getting “dumber” is false any more than it “proves” that it is true – just as there is no proof that we are getting smarter – in fact i would suggest there is more proof that we are, in fact, at the very least, NOT getting smarter ….

      On the other hand you have made a statement that folks who believe folks are getting dumber is proof that they are – care to back up that claim?

      In any case if the existence of such folks IS proof that the statement is true, then, ISTM, such constitutes grounds outside of this “study” to back up its conclusion ,,,

      Note – I use “dumber” for “loss of”, and “smarter” for “enhancement of”, intellectual ability …. and suggest that it’s measure rightly be the extent to which it enables and facilitates our ability to survive …

  2. tomk

    “Will the union supporters protest, or impede the shoppers (like filling carts full of stuff and abandoning them in the aisles, or buying batteries and paying for them with small change?).”

    I would like to think that tactics could be used that wouldn’t make things even more difficult for the folks actually doing the work at Walmart. This sort of activity doesn’t seem likely to raise awareness or build community with shoppers or workers.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      WalMart is on an hourly pay system, although it has abused workers by making them work off the clock (and later has been sued). So the question is whether this sort of sabotage leads to more hours in aggregate for WalMart staffers and whether these tasks are worse than other stuff they might have to do. Anyone who has worked in one of the big box retailers feel free to correct me.

      Shopper sabotage has the advantage of not leading the normal WalMart shoppers to be mad at the workers, it screws with the economics of the stores without leading shoppers to get enraged with the workers. I would think that would offset whatever negative considerations there might be with this strategy, but again, this is not an area of expertise of mine.

      Of course, credible rumors of actions by sympathizers might deter shoppers….like keying cars. But someone would probably have to do that to a bunch of cars and publicize that…as opposed to threaten it….and that has all sorts of attendant risks…and it actually is vandalism.

      1. diptherio

        “WalMart is on an hourly pay system, although it has abused workers by making them work off the clock (and later has been sued). So the question is whether this sort of sabotage leads to more hours in aggregate for WalMart staffers and whether these tasks are worse than other stuff they might have to do. Anyone who has worked in one of the big box retailers feel free to correct me.”

        Well, I haven’t worked at a big-box retailer, but I’ve done plenty o’ low-wage work, and I will tell you with 80% certainty that workers would probably NOT appreciate more chaos in their work environment and YET MORE shit to do to keep the manager happy.

        Just ’cause folks are paid by the hour, doesn’t mean they don’t care what they spend those hours doing, and constantly re-placing items purposely abandoned (by people with much better jobs than theirs, btw) will almost certainly wear on their nerves. How would you like to keep typing the same sentence over and over again, even if you were being paid by the word? :)

        I would go with something like making up some label-sized stickers with a few bullet-points detailing current working conditions at the store, their low wages, sexism, etc., and extolling the virtues of a Wallyworld Employees Union. Definitely gotta put a link on there to some easy “action” folks can do, like signing an on-line WH petition to require Mall-Wart to re-imburse the federal government for its stealth wage-supports (i.e. all the food-stamps and other welfare that allows Wal-Mart workers to accept crap wages and still, somehow, survive). Then just go in and quietly apply the stickers to clothing labels, boxes, packaging, etc. (being careful not to cover-up bar-codes, since that would be a quick tip-off to the management).

        1. Aquifer

          Well here’s WM response to WH petition – “Shucks, if we had to do that we would have to raise our prices and that would hurt the poor folk who shop here …” And that argument, unfortunately has long legs – that’s why folks shop there, for the low prices, to “stretch their dollars further” even those who don’t really need such a rubber dollar.

          Until we can inculcate in folks the idea that there is, indeed, something more important than “the lowest price” in our dealings with the world – it will be an uphill battle …

      2. Goin' South

        I agree with you, Yves. It’s a honored tradition well represented by the IWW’s mascot, Sabocat (for sabotage and wildcat strikes).

        This idea could be expanded to something full time and be called the “Hire More Workers” campaign. It’s amazing over the past generation+ how Capitalists have pushed more and more labor onto their customers in order to cut workers and costs. Examples:

        1) busing your own table at fast food joints;

        2) bagging your own groceries at cut-rate supermarkets;

        3) being forced to choose between self-checkout and outrageously long lines for a checker. Some retailers have all but eliminated checkout workers.

        tomk’s point about making life more difficult is valid. That will probably be the first effect, but bring in the workers. Get their input about how to maximize management’s misery while minimizing theirs. It’s an attempt to create solidarity among current workers, customers and the current unemployed.

        1. diptherio

          “…bring in the workers. Get their input about how to maximize management’s misery while minimizing theirs.”–GS

          Now that’s the ticket! Why didn’t I think of that? Stupid brain…

      3. ambrit

        I, at present work in one of those Big Boxx Stores.
        First, the workers are generally in a two tier pay system. Level One has “Full Time Workers,” who are mandated not to exceed forty hours on the clock each week. (Keeps the overtime down, big time. You get called in by one of the MODs and remonstrated with about your lack of time sense, etc.) Level two is filled with “Part Time Workers,” who are, for all practical purposes, ‘second class’ functionaries. (This group is the real money saver for the corporation. since they get second rate benefits, if any at all.) As with the first level group, any kind of overtime is severely frowned upon.
        Behind all this is the managerial salary and bonus system. The year end bonus for the managers in the store can be up to 150% of base salary. This is closely coupled to the stores performance regarding labour costs. Keep the payroll down and your manager reaps the reward. Since the years end is the “crunch time” for all these trends, things tend to pile up just when extra staff is most needed. Double binding at its’ best! The Managers route to success is to exhort the workers to ‘strive to meet our budget’ and ‘pick it up on those special sales and credit card apps folks!’
        I personally heard our manager respond to a question from one of the more astute floor folks as to why we couldn’t “shake loose a couple of extra people for this holiday season” with: “We’re already at our hourly pay ceiling. Thing should be working out.” No other discussion about the subject was allowed; as in, “That’s enough of that. Moving on…”
        The general method used to ‘pick up the slack’ when the store becomes more than usually chaotic is to pull in cashiers and other department workers to clean up the mess after the day is done. All this with all eyes tightly focused on the payroll clock. An actual conversation about that: “Why’d you stay late last night? You know you’re close to going over forty for the week.” “Well, the department was a real mess, and customers just kept on coming until closing.” “Look, you have to learn to meet the customer, find out what they want, point them to it, and break away. No more of this solving their every problem for them.” “But that’s why you hired me in the first place. Because I can solve their problems in this field, and sell them stuff to do those fixes.” “You’re still not with the game plan. We have to finish the daily chores, sell to the customers, and not go over budget. The sooner you get that, the sooner things start running smoothly. If you’re going to be behind in fronting your stock and cleaning the department up, give one of us a call early and we’ll find someone to come over and help you out.”
        Since blaming the victim appears to be the labour relations strategy at work today, nothing less than total and utter collapse of the sales floor will work. Start hitting the managers in their pocketbooks, then they’ll take notice. Customer sabotage, to be effective, must be on a massive scale. Something on the order of shutting down the check out lines is the optimal solution. Since any interference with the smooth running of the Emporia has been defined as illegal, (see the various laws concerning trespass, public nuisance, impedance of rights of way, etc) such actions will have to be considered as Acts of Civil Disobedience. Thus, the early American Civil Rights Movement would be a good template to model this endeavour on. Hence, be prepared to get arrested, beaten up, sprayed with pepper spray, detained for hours on end before any meaningful action is taken etc. In short, get ready to suffer the Wrath of the Police State. That is, if you want to accomplish anything meaningful.
        I guess I’m advocating for an “Occupy Wal Mart.” The danger here is that the Wal Mart leadership has no public electorate to fear. They can, and most likely will, go the route of the Robber Barons, and employ modern versions of the Pinkertons. That will be real class warfare.
        As an aside, my generation, late boomers, has grown up in what will long be remembered as a true “Golden Age.” Hence, we will grumble and kick, but not shed much blood “for the cause.” Our lives have been, on the average, pretty good. We have lots to lose, and are afraid of doing so. The later generations, especially the Millenials, can see what their predecessors have, but feel that they have been shortchanged somehow. They will be the real fighters. Having little left to lose, but much to gain, they will be the foot soldiers of the next social revolution.
        As earlier commentators on other threads have mentioned. finding the weak link in the supply chain, and severing it, is the optimal strategy. The Occupy actions down “On The Waterfront” at the California shipping ports got maximum push back from the “Forces of Evil.” There’s where the real action is. Strike there, and everything else falls after it.
        So much for ranting.
        Our Money Order will be winging its’ way to NC when my next bi-weekly paycheck clears the bank.

        1. Goin' South

          Here’s an idea that will give management fits as part of a “Hire More Workers” campaign:

          Use social media to alert people to long lines and poor service. With a little volunteered expertise (unions spent all their money on the Dems), apps could be created that would allow you to check and report how long the lines were at various retailers and food establishments. Make this explicitly part of a “Hire More Workers” campaign. Leaflet the target stores to make management aware of what’s going on.

          Hire more workers or your customers will go somewhere else with shorter lines.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Goin’ South;
            Very good. I’m not up on this app business, (I don’t even carry a cell phone.) Using knowledge as power for a strategy sounds right. Fewer busted heads that way.

          2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            Among competing “Mega-store” chains, one can add
            to your scoring for service via social media

            One obvious idea is to “drop” in solidarity
            the “Mega-store” chain with the worst
            customer-service score.

            A second, perhaps craftier idea, is to
            “drop” in solidarity the “Mega-store” chain
            with the 2nd Best customer-service score.
            Or, just say you’ll do it and then …
            [case of nerves …]

          3. Lambert Strether

            @ambrit Not carrying a cell phone is, in general, a very good idea. Where did people ever get the idea that being constantly available was a good idea? Or being constantly on some sort of grid, for that matter.

        2. Kokuanani

          As an alternative to boycotting Wal-Mart, why don’t folks GO there, select ONE [cheap] item to buy [perhaps a AA battery] and go stand in the check-out line.

          Pay for your purchase with cash [or credit card; whichever will take the longest].

          Wash, rinse, repeat.

          Yup, the customers behind you will be pissed, but what are you doing wrong? You’re making a purchase. Isn’t that what Wal-Mart wants? The fact that you are making it harder for OTHERS to patronize Wal-Mart and support its policies — collateral damage.

          1. ambrit

            My Dear Kokuanani;
            Yes, indeed. A version of the sit down strike from days of yore. There was also the (in)famous tactic used against I believe California Edison after a particularly galling rate increase. To wit, the customers would come in and pay their monthly electric bill in pennies, and demand that the clerk count them out, to, of course, make sure the customer wasn’t trying to cheat the company!
            The secret to all this is widespread publicity and, at the least, public acquiescence to the cause being promoted.
            Social Justice. What’s not to like?

      4. JTFaraday

        “Shopper sabotage has the advantage of not leading the normal WalMart shoppers to be mad at the workers, it screws with the economics of the stores without leading shoppers to get enraged with the workers.”

        I don’t know. It seems to me that when you do the sh*twork, all the sh*t in the environment is “your fault.”

        I’ve also wondered just how sympathetic the people who mace other shoppers and routinely stampede the doors, in one case killing an employee, are going to be to Walmart black Friday actions.

        Maybe I’m allowing my opinion to be overly influenced by a handful of “extreme shopping” incidents, but I also find these incidents really shocking and it suggests to me that the underlying consumer mentality of a lot of these people may not be capable of charity toward others in this scenario.

        I’d like to be wrong.

        1. ambrit

          Dear JT;
          Got the Memo chief, but uncovered facts otherwise. Wal Mart is going to stay open all night Thanksgiving, on into Schwarz Freitag. Where I work, a ‘fortunate few’ are going to have to come in just after midnight to pull Internet Orders. The rest of us come in about halfway ‘tween Midnight and Dawn to do battle with the ravening hordes. What’s really funny is that the real deals are few and far between. If the average shopper could see the actual net profits for the merchandise, he’d go home and get his pitchfork and torch.

    2. jackalope

      Everyone is up in arms about retailers opening on Thanksgiving but many restaurants have always opened on Thanksgiving with no uproar. Gas stations are open, 7-11’s are open, supermarkets are open a portion of the day, emergency workers work on Thanksgiving. Is the issue that people should have the day off or that people shouldn’t shop?

      1. diptherio

        It’s ironic how we are both addicted-to and appalled-by our 24-7-365 consumerist society. We think everyone deserves the holiday off, but we also think we should be able to get a latte or fill our tank whenever it happens to suit us. Another real irony is that the people who make it possible for you to buy a hoagie at three in the morning or procure the nutmeg you forgot to get on T-Day afternoon, are the people who everyone looks down on! It’s the low-level workers who make most of the practical parts of our society and economy function, but they are the worst paid and least respected, even by people who should know better.

        I think it should be required for everyone to work for a month as a janitor or bus-boy/girl/person or C-store clerk every couple of years, just so we all remember to appreciate and respect what our minimum-wagers.

        1. JTFaraday

          Post-crisis, it’s harder for young people to get retail, etc jobs than previously, but I found it very interesting that with the c. 2000 hyping of elite schools and the competitive job market, it was also reported that college bound kids were skipping this early work experience in order to study and load up on application building extra-curriculars.

          If so, then we have people who are in a position to wield future influence never having that kind of job. When I was in high school even those who drove red Porsches with vanity plates to the school parking lot had jobs in the local pizzeria and such.

          (Yes, there were two. They were dating).

          1. ambrit

            Mr. Faraday;
            (I’m assuming male gender here.)
            My High School also had a few rich kids with doting parents. (One fellow I knew slightly drove his Moms Bentley to school one week while his car was in the shop.)
            As for work experience, lots of us were socialized to work as extra hands in our parents small businesses. One of my room mates at university was a first generation Chinese Texican. Haw Yee! He would gleefully tell stories about running the cash register at his folks Restaurant while still prepubescent.
            Do kids not have to do chores around the house to earn their allowances anymore?

        2. psychohistorian

          Folks should not just have to work a month at minimum wage but survive on the money as well. Many Americans have never been hungry, even for a night.

          1. ambrit

            Dear psychohistorian;
            It’s not so much the actual experience of hunger, (which is no fun, I assure you,) as the “Official” social attitude towards those who do experience such privation. (That Protestant Work Ethic can be a very useful tool for the Rentier Class.)

      2. David Lentini

        True, but the businesses you list are either emergency services or provide services that enable the public to enjoy the holiday (i.e., not everyone wants to cook a big turkey dinners, people need gas to go “over the river and through the woods”, people need food or sundries at the last minute, etc.) and, at least when I was growing up back in the ’60s and ’70s, most of those busnesses ran a reduced shift or close early.

        In other words the public respected the holiday for the vast majority of workers, and the idea of just going out to shop on this holiday was considered rather crass.

        Today, the public considers shopping and consumption to define our culture and has forgotten about celebrating the underlying events.

        1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          The malls over here are plastered with ads and
          photos of seductive women, painted trees, logos
          everywhere, all devoted to serving the
          customer/consumer. The parking lots are often
          huge. Some would say it’s like a shopper’s
          paradise, I suppose.

    3. kevinearick

      just a note…

      I walk a lot of stores, just to collect data, and almost every time I go into a Home Depot or Lowes, an employee tries to give me something for free…

      One wanted me to take a table saw…

      something about me and something about the economy and something about corporations I suppose….

      1. ambrit

        Dear kevin;
        They probably thought you were a “Secret Shopper.” (Didn’t Conrad do a novella about that?)

  3. dearieme

    “S&P: Australia is Spain in waiting” – but without the buggeration of trading in the wrong currency.

  4. goo-goo eyes

    Adverse information regarding General John Allen:

    Unlawful confinement? Depriving protected persons the rights of fair and regular trial? Rape? Experimentation on persons in the adverse party’s power? Torture? Enforced disappearance? Wilful killing? Criminal aggression?


    Flirtatious and possibly problematic.

    Tell me again, Why is the United States permitted to exist?

    1. fresno dan

      The most important thing our vaunted press corps can do is get us some topless (or better yet nude) photos of Broadwell and this Kim chick. If they are having lesbian sex, that would be the real scandal….which should be covered wall to wall, until we see their bottowm…er, get the bottom of this…

    2. GI jane

      You live in a country where Moslems can’t see the evidence AGAINST them, and you want… official bona fides for THIS? Ask smoove ladykillers Petraeus and Allen, they know who those guys are. Taguba talked about this evidence, ask him. Wikileaks torified the content for a reason. This is forensic evidence of the atrocities the US government is most desperate to suppress. Where do you expect to find authentication, in the press? On

  5. dearieme

    “Obama Meets C.E.O.’s as Fiscal Reckoning Nears”: why on earth don’t they change their stylebook to permit “CEOs”? It’s clearer and saves ink.

  6. Jim Haygood

    From the American Prospect article on Pigou:

    Perhaps the marginal rate should be 40 percent at $1 million (only 1 point higher than it was under President Bill Clinton), 50 percent at $5 million, 75 percent at $10 million, and 90 percent at $20 million. Such rates would affect only 140,000 U.S. households, or 0.1 percent of the total.

    Or maybe we should conscript their adolescent toff kids to fight in Afghanistan, for a more egalitarian military.

    Wow, it’s fun ordering folks around at gunpoint — like Sim City, but with real people!

    I’m sold — time to quit my TSA day job and start projecting muscular progressivism on a larger stage. If the selfish rich disagree, forfeit their swag and remand ’em to the Gulag.

  7. fresno dan

    “Our government’s reasoning is that risk is an unavoidable by-product of the financial industry so the industry should get credit for dealing with the stuff. But imagine counting the creation and storage of radioactive waste as part of the value added of the nuclear industry? Would it not seem perverse to celebrate increases in the amount of waste being stored and see it as evidence of what a wonderful industry it was, rather than ask why they produced so much in the first place?”

    One of the best analogies I have ever seen.
    And where has the risk gone – well, when the rich won’t take losses, the risks are put on the poor.
    You say they don’t have any assets to pay for defaults? Tosh I say – you just lack imagination – the poor have lungs, livers (you can divide livers) a heart, eyes, the list is extensive. These assets can be monitized – MBA’s (mortgage backed hearts), and my favorite – FUCYOUs (fiscal utilitzation corpse you owe us)

    1. Mark P.

      ‘But imagine counting the creation and storage of radioactive waste as part of the value added of the nuclear industry?’

      You’ve picked a bad example. Most of the products lumped together as “radioactive waste” do in fact have great value.

      “Radioactive waste” is called that largely because back in the 1970s the U.S. wished to limit the spread of nuclear weapons among other nations — which meant limiting the spread of nuclear materials — and because the commercial nuclear industry didn’t want reprocessing hurting its profit margins and knew there was more uranium in the world than had been thought and thus reprocessing was avoidable.

      Hence, the U.S. pushed hard globally to impose the once-through fuel cycle as the norm.

      So, in fact, “radiactive waste” is (slightly) spent fuel mostly. Thus, at sites like Fukushima Daiichi — and also at sites here in the U.S. — the immense spent fuel pool build-ups, which are accidents waiting to happen. As occurred at Fukushima, where the failure point wasn’t the reactors but the cooling and storage for the spent fuel ponds. If the Japanese population ever grasped the extent of U.S. culpability for Fukushima, they could be quite angry at us.

      “Radioactive waste” is (slightly) spent fuel in general, with only 7 percent of the potential energy available having been extracted from the material. Other fuel cycles exist where you can get more fissile material out than you put in. The best known example currently is the thorium fuel cycle —

      And it should be stressed that these gigantic build-ups of nuclear waste/spent fuel we have today were not the plan when nuclear energy was instituted in the 1950s, when the expectation was that we’d move rationally to breeder reactors and reprocessing —

      1. Roland

        Closed fuel cycle FTW.

        Not only is the Non-Proliferation Treaty quite obsolete–even destabilizing–in the post-Cold War world, that treaty also did much to deprive the world of the benefits of nuclear fission as a practical energy source.

  8. aletheia33

    apropos of my personal night thoughts, apologies for OT.
    re: Great Betrayal/”tweaks” to Social Security/Medicare:

    is anyone out there suggesting: roll back the Bush-era “tweaks” to same.
    or shall we be “tweaked” unto death?

    even my most NPR-loyal friend says she is sick of hearing NPR voices parroting “fiscal cliff” over and over like, well, parrots.

    i wish lambert could continue his superb 2012-campaign-era reportage/curatorship of around-the-nation info on his other topics with the funny names like police state, catfood watch, tinpot tyrants, occupy, and fracking.

    i miss it badly. am going through a painful withdrawal. if he could drop now-irrelevant issues (until 2016) like approval polls of politicians’ pets, voting fraud, democracy at work, and the like, would he consider it? …& who cares about lambert having a life anyway if i can get my morning fix back?

    1. Max424

      Thanks for the link.

      Democratically centrally planned decentralization of energy inputs. Interesting concept, and one I am highly in favor of, as it is certainly the way forward that allows the best chances for species survival.

      Only possible in a country with a Parliamentary system, I believe, since it allows minority actors, like the German Green Party, the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, to make their revolutionary presence felt.

      I voted for the Green Party candidate, here, in this country. My vote might as well be bug splat on the windshield of a gas guzzler that crashed on the rocks below the precipice, many years ago.*

      *32 years ago, to be precise.

      1. psychohistorian

        Friends don’t like me telling them that 98.5% of the folks that voted did so against their best interest….

        Lets hope those 98.5% get hip fairly quickly or they will be aghast when the door knock comes to take them away

    2. Mark P.

      On the ground in Germany, from DER SPIEGEL, some different views —

      “German Energy Agency Chief ‘We’ll Need Conventional Power Plants until 2050′”

      “Kohler: It’s easy to shut down a nuclear power plant, but that doesn’t mean you have something to replace it with … we don’t have enough reliable power plant capacity in southern Germany to be able to offset the loss of nuclear energy….

      “…we’ll need conventional power plants until at least 2050, even if we do create massive renewable energy sources. Many people dispute this. They say that we could replace power plants operated with fossil fuels by adding more renewable energy sources. My response to them is: It won’t work….

      “When a new wind farm is opened and we’re told how many thousands of households it can supply with electricity, that number applies to only a quarter of our demand. In Germany, 75 percent of electricity goes to industry, for which a secure supply — that is, at every second, and with constant voltage — is indispensable. Neither solar nor wind power are suitable for that purpose today. Both … provide either no secure supply or only a small fraction … Solar energy has a load factor of about 1,000 hours a year. But there are 8,670 hours in a year….

      “SPIEGEL: But on some days solar power is already enough to supply all of Germany with electricity.

      “Kohler: Photovoltaic systems are distributed across hundreds of thousands of small power plants … But when the sky is blue over Germany … All of the sudden we have 30,000 megawatts coming into the grid, which, in many cases, we can’t use.

      “SPIEGEL: Is that so dramatic? It’s better to have a surplus than a shortage.

      “Kohler: … a surplus and fluctuations lead to very unpleasant systemic effects. We have voltage fluctuations within the grid that create problems for industry. Or we overload the grids in neighboring countries. Poland is in the process of installing technical equipment to protect its grids by keeping out surplus German electricity.”

      “Quagmire in the Sahara: Desertec’s Promise of Solar Power for Europe Fades”

      ‘Supporters hailed the Desertec Industrial Initiative as the most ambitious solar energy project ever when it was founded in 2009 … Today, a scant three years later, there is still little to show for the project but the ambition.

      The list of recent setbacks is daunting. The project has failed to break ground on a single power plant. Spain recently balked … two of the biggest industrial supporters at the founding of the initiative, Siemens and Bosch, backed out… most tellingly, though last week’s third annual Desertec conference was held in Berlin’s Foreign Ministry, not a single German cabinet minister bothered to attend.’

    3. heresy101

      That article has so many misconceptions that it is hard to characterize them all.

      The first issue is when checking, spyware raises its ugly head:
      “The URL you are accessing has been blocked by the Web Filter because it contains spyware. The name of the spyware is:”

      Secondly, there appears to be no understanding of demand and energy. On average, 100 Megawatts (MW) of solar produces 175 GWH of energy, 100 MW of wind produces 263 GWH, a 100 MW combined cycle plant produces about 587 GWH, and a 100 MW geothermal and nuclear generate about 832 GWH of energy. One cannot directly compare installed capacity as the article implies.

      As one who works for the most renewable utility in the country where our portfolio has three times that 25% renewable, getting to 80 to 100% renewable is possible. But, the description of the feed-in-tariff (FIT) is disingenuous because it doesn’t address all those customers who pay an “additional cost” for energy benefit. There have been recent trade articles describing that the additional cost has been stopped or decreased in Germany because the average cost of electricity is getting too high for pensioners and low income.

      The knowledge of the grid (which many in New York and New Jersey wish was fully functioning now) has to turn off the wind turbines because the baseload plants take up to 8 hours to ramp up and down. Combined cycle gas plants can ramp up and down to meet the wind but are more costly to operate than baseload plants. Anya Schoolman is probably referring to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) which has had to curtail wind projects at night (no load to serve) but is required to keep water flowing through the dams to avoid massive fish die-offs. Dead fish or wind turbine revenues?

      Integrating renewables becomes an issue around 33%. Solar will offset air conditioning load during the daytime by 2020 with 33% renewables but will lead to huge ramping up and down issues during the morning and evening. This results in the famous CAISO cat ears graph of net load of renewables that is familiar to all in the electric industry. To see how renewables integrate today, check out the CAISO Today’s Outlook in the evening to see the load curves.

  9. Truthseeker101

    The links you offer re the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Gaza and Southern Israel do not reflect the realities of the conflict:
    1. The Guardian recalls over 130 rockets were fired by the Palestinians on Israeli cities, ending a very long cease fire, only after over 20 paragraphs(!). The reputed media firm thus creates an impression that Israel just chose to attack an innocent person who was upholding peace for no apparent reason. There is causality, and good journalism should emphasize facts.
    2. The attack comes a few days after an Israeli military jeep on routine patrol was attacked across the internationally recognized border with an Iranian guided missile for the first time. Somebody must have had an interest in provoking military action and ending the cease fire. Could it be the Iranians and Syria who have been sending weapons to Hamas? The Qatari Emir who just visited Gaza for the first time trying to divert Salafi fundamentalists’ energies away from his corrupt government in fear of the Arab Spring? Or is it only the Israeli PM?
    3. Does the Egyptian government really care about Gaza, or have the Egyptians kept the border with Gaza closed even after the regime change in Cairo? Since they asked their forces to retreat this week from the border with Gaza, does this mean that they intend to create humanitarian corridors for the Palestinians, or is it more convenient to maintain the traditional Arab stance and remain observers, as they dislike the Palestinians even more than they do the beduin they repress in Sinai? And if they intervene will it be because of humanitarian considerations of a crumbling economy and dysfunctional institutions post-Mubarak?
    4. Where is Turkey? Perhaps after condemning Israel for not making peace with Assad a few years back and given their own trouble with the Kurds they realized that political rhetoric is overrated?
    5. Surely the Palestinians could and should make peace amongst themselves in order establish a State. But can Hamas and the PLO forget the past and focus on functional realistic governance and some minimal concessions as part of negotiations with the Israelis? Hamas chose rocket-building over nation-building after Israel withdrew from Gaza. Instead of raising funds all over the world to build economic projects they destroyed the greenhouses that the world bank put for them, killed their fellow PLO moderate families and allowed for some of the key families in Gaza to become independent militias, governing the ‘smuggling tunnels economy’. (The Egyptian and Israeli blockade was a result of these acts by Hamas).
    6. This is all but ‘Another War on Gaza’:
    Jordan Is now unfolding.
    Iran, advancing with its nuclear program to a point were multiple parties will have to make grand-strategic decisions, just sent a few military vessels across the border with Saudi Arabia.
    Syria is highly unstable and is losing control over it’s southern border with Israel.
    The Saudis are sending Salafis all over the region realizing that they can no longer rely on Obama to support his allies in the region nor do they believe that they can rely on Obama to stop Iran.
    Gaza is seen by many parties as a lever as this regional epochal shift takes place.
    7. Clearly, the Israeli PM is seeking a quick victory that will help his party win elections, but might this conflict actually undermine his prospects should it linger?

    In this vein, referring your readers to a website such as the M o A, which reports slaughter while guided missiles are used only against those who attacked Israel and the long-range missiles they have placed by civilians does not help readers of this great website appreciate the challenges and opportunities that may emerge from the current sad state of affairs.

      1. Noe G

        I predicted here and at other websites – automatic cuts to defense will spur our ‘friends’ the Israeli’s to provoke enough conflict to make DEFENSE/OFFENSE our highest priority.

        Get ready… because the roof is going to fall in.

        Compliments of Israel, and her American relatives positioned on the web, TV boardrooms, newsrooms, government and Wall St – to maximise the effect of whatever means are necessary to insure funding of “OUR” was on the Terror THEY create.

        Gosh – Homeland snagged us with a great, impartial 1st season – [could problems with Muslims be caused by the EVIL WE DO???]

        NOW they have an enormous audience for Israeli daughter Claire Danes to reel us in JUST in time for defense spending.

        And the Emmy goes to! — American Jews in media who know how to run that there plantation!!

          1. Noe

            I believe she is a dual passport American Jew. If I’m wrong, so be it.

            Few actresses thump for the motherland like Danes.

            what ACT?

            I probably have better insight into this bunch than the rest of you.

            My daughter is married to a former IDF soldier- yes, An Israeli Jew, who fled Israel after his service… a self hating Jew, [thank God] — who just returned from Haifa [with my daughter] and told of the upcoming ‘incidents’ aimed at keeping Americans hostage to Israel’s expansionist dreams.

            My SON IN LAW – is my source for insight into the mind of the Likkudnics who roam these webs…

            so – ask me again.. about my ACT?

            I understand this evil bunch. And so do their former soldiers.

          2. Noe

            by the by…

            What? No tsk tsks for the more incendiary remarks towards our resident apologists?

            There’s some world class hatred posted on this thread… yet, you come after me?

            My comments about the Jewish writing team for Homeland is spot on… they chummed the waters the first season with what looked like a measured, insightful look at the EVIL done by America, for our masters in Tel Aviv.

            No series has EVER won that many awards for a freshman series…. [more chum]

            NOW in the 2nd season a BIGGER AUDIENCE gets the pitch for increased military spending AND war on Iran… brought to us by the FIRST DAUGHTER of Zionism… Claire Danes.

            Reread the vitriole on this thread… and then come back and tell me about “my act”. I am hardly alone.

      2. Truthseeker101

        You are 100% correct. This is horrible.
        No peace, no security for civilians, no democracy, cynicism by leaders and bloggers.
        Of course, one could go back in time, ensure full rights of return for Palestinians and Jews to pre-47 homes; help Hamas and PLO reconcile (hell, make it all Shiites and Sunnis); support a stable nuclear Iran and its humanitarian work domestically as well as in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and hopefully Saudi Arabia soon; disarm Israel and witness miracles.
        Damn those Jews, with all their startups and nobel prizes, why couldn’t they vote for Romney instead of this guy who supports war?
        Facts? Realistic assessment of what can be done stop this tragedy? Na, lets just add more funny words in hope for a better world.

        1. Noe G

          — er

          Damn those Jews for all those “START UPS” ???

          you mean funny financial products? ponzi schemes?

          intellectual property laws? manipulation of currency?

          and of course… Hollywood propaganda films and Emmy winning TV writing.

          and of course – let’s not forget

          giving each other awards and accolades for their ‘ingenuity’

          you mean MONOPOLY – and solipsistic worldview

        2. Gerry


          Do you agree that the residents of Gaza are being mis-treated?

          What do you suggest they do, go to the UN?

          I am not condoning HAMAS’s behaviour but when you corner a rat, you might be bitten. As long as Israel treats Gaza as they do there will be a response. Israel knows this, you know this, I know this.

          Israel is the only one with the ability can change this. I beleive they prefer the status quo. To expect peace under these circumstances is wishful thinking.

          1. Truthseeker101

            I agree that the residents of Gaza are being mis-treated.
            I also agree that the residents of the West Bank are mis-treated.
            (And NOT to take away from that, so are the residents of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian majority in Hashemite controlled Jordan, etc.- this region needs remodeling).

            I order to find a practical solution for Gaza, I would suggest first mapping all relevant parties, which would have to come together in order to enable implementation. I do believe that responsibility for a solution should be assigned to multiple parties that have traditionally prevented it and CAN make it happen:
            1. Israel- keeping the blockade on, refraining from presenting a deal since the Olmert government last tried thus maintaining an inhumane status quo.
            2. Egypt- keeping the blockade on, even after the regime change, thus preventing the Palestinians there from focusing on state building. (The same applies for Jordan with the West Bank) and then taking the remaining territorial dispute in the West Bank to international courts and the UN.
            3. The PLO led PA, which prevents free elections in the West Bank in fear of loosing control to Hamas given the PA’s corrupt and dysfunctional practices.
            4. Current and past US administrations, for not exerting relentless pressure on the parties. (Clearly, with such a huge majority among the Jews in the US voting for Obama he can argue that he has a mandate that is different than the one proposed by Romney).
            5. Other Arab nations, who look down at the Palestinians (regarding them as the Gypsies of the region) and feared peace-related normalization, therefore observing the conflict rather than acting pragmatically to bring the parties to an agreed upon solution that would include mutual concessions.
            6. Hamas- refraining from broad economic development upon Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, focusing on armament, and not offering enough to reconcile with the PLO toward negotiations with Israel.

            Therefore, multiple parties are able to hold the process hostage.

            In order to address this predicament effectively, one would need some combination of the following:
            1. Clear US policy that would force a right-wing Israeli government to negotiate with the Palestinians about a West Bank+Gaza accord OR clear peace-focused Arab+Palestinian+international message to the Israeli constituency that would help revive and elect a left-wing government.
            2. Hamas interest in a deal with Israel, which would occur only if it will be allowed to compete with the PLO in elections and lead the Palestinian State OR an agreement between Hamas and PLO to share control in some way.
            3. Egyptian (and future Jordanian?) support of open borders with Palestinian territories, in order to make them viable independent entities.
            4. Broad Muslim support for a comprehensive Palestinain-Israeli deal, without which the Hamas and PA will never offer flexibility with regard to key contested points.
            5. International commitment in terms of policies, funds and peace-building forces.

            Would it be possible to maintain stability and manage change absent of any of the above? Can Israel establish sufficient domestic political support unilaterally and then create sustainable conditions on the ground by itself?
            I fear all of this will be left for ‘the day after’ as we are past multiple red lines crossed by multiple parties.

    1. Truthseeker 103

      We all know what to do to stop this so-called tragedy: let the state of Palestine accede to the Rome Statute and try Israeli criminals and enemies of all mankind, and their American co-conspirators for war, under universal-jurisdiction law.

    2. jsmith

      Wow, truthseeker, the Israeli war effort must be serious this time as I don’t ever recall a professional hasbarist troll coming to this site to lay down such unmitigated and unadulatered horsesh!t concerning the genocidal, apartheid state of Israel and it’s next culling of the ghettoed Palestinians, huh?

      Why is it that hasbarists always make themselves easy to spot with monikers often involving the word “truth” in it?

      For real truthseekers to RT for real time updates:

      Your version of events is laughable, commission seeker, as it was the Israelis who killed a mentally challenged boy who was strayed to close to the IDF and who broke the ceasefire, you propagandist scum!

      Also, Israel’s war wouldn’t have anything to do with derailing:

      1) the Palestinians UN bid of statehood at the end of this month

      2) a possible deal between Iran and the U.S. concerning nukes?

      I must say my favorite part of your act is how you try and serve us the hasbarist “Third Way” style of propaganda – it’s not too pro-apartheid, war criminal Israel but it sure leaves enough room for blame to be spread around on the Palestinians who are inhabiting the world’s largest open air prison.

      Nice work!!

      No really, you should be proud of your efforts.

      Tell us, what have you been doing with yourself since the 2008 invasion?

      Honing your skills?

      You are a vile sick human being and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

      1. jsmith

        In addition I would like to remind all of the “truthseekers” here that the Israeli blockade of Gaza that the Palestinians have suffered under since 2010 is itself AN ACT OF WAR so to come her and even attempt to peddle horsesh!t that the inhabitants of the world’s largest ghetto somehow bear the responsiblity for having more of their children killed – see link for pictures from yesterday (warning: graphic) – is beyond disgusting.

        1. jsmith


          A mentally challenged man was dusted by the IDF on November 5 while a 12 year old boy was shot while playing soccer.

          Sorry, so many Israeli murders to keep track of.

          Mentally challenged man story:

          Boy story:

          Again, note that the IDF patrol was attacked after “a group of four Israeli tanks and an armored bulldozer (nicknamed the “Rachel Corrie”)…made a short cross-border incursion into Gaza near Khan Younis.”

          Across the border, eh?

          Oh well, I’m sure it was just another IDF mistake, right, Rachel?

          1. jsmith

            Good timeline on Israeli provocation and truce-breaking.


            Gee, these Israeli “precision” strikes sure do seem to pick off some of the most provocative Palestinian targets – especially the disabled, children, etc – huh?

            Wait, jsmith, are you insinuating that the Israelis are TRYING to kill children and other Palestinians to provoke a violent response?

            You bet your ass I am.

      2. Truthseeker101

        Your text is both very sad and offending.
        I have been working alongside Palestinians for just peace and against occupation for many years.
        I dislike Netanyahu and fear some of his government members.
        I dislike the Hamas militants and clerics as much as I dislike fanatic settlers and militants.
        I too believe that both Arab and Israeli parties had interests that led them to the horrible events that are unfolding now.
        Nothing to do with hasbara. Just a belief that a balanced picture would serve conflict resolution better than blame games. In fact, I agree with the points you raise regarding Israel’s potential motives, to the same extent I can speculate about the motives of other parties concerned.
        I wish your heart and mind would find in them to acknowledge an honest person who cares for the well-being of others, disregarding their national or cultural affiliation and/or the perspectives they share with others.

        1. jsmith

          Seriously, save your well-groomed “reasonableness” act for someone who believes your effing horsesh!t, man.

          I just posted links that completely contradict everything you said yet you would have us believe that someone who has supposedly worked alongside the Palestinian people would 1) look to Western MSM sources such as the Guardian for an honest picture of their plight and 2) then come out and say that the Guardian is actually pro-Palestinian?!!!

          Are you effing serious?

          BTW, your “sincere” plea to my better nature really, really made my heart ache and feel funny.

          Is that my conscience panging? (sniffle)

          Go away and take your Third Way propaganda and spout it at Americans who are willing to be suckered out of their SS and Medicare money.


          1. EconCCX

            There must be some term-of-art for that rhetorical technique: the cost-free anonybiography, the claims to have stood shoulder to shoulder with opponents in search of common ground and to “dislike” the hardliners on one’s own side.

          2. LeeAnne

            Thanks for the links js. there’s a lot to learn. I’ll be working on it later in the day. I’ve learned the meaning of one new word ‘hasbarist,’ but failed at IDF.

          3. jsmith


            You would also probably be interested in this as well.


            “The Megaphone desktop tool is a Windows “action alert” tool developed by Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS) and distributed by World Union of Jewish Students, World Jewish Congress, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World Zionist Organization, StandWithUs, Hasbara fellowships, HonestReporting, and other pro-Israel public relations organizations. The tool was released in July during the 2006 Lebanon War. By June 2011, the tool became no longer available through the GIYUS website. An RSS newsfeed is available.


            “GIYUS is a global digital movement of activists who campaign on behalf of Israel.”

            Here’s an wonderful article about the Gaza flotillas in which they – a la anti-abortion sites – show pictures of the activists involved, links to their FB pages and directions for followers to “report” them.

            Nice, huh?


          4. jsmith


            Accidentally tripped the censor but won’t have time to post later so please delete dupe. Thanks.

            You would also probably be interested in this as well.


            “The Megaphone desktop tool is a Windows “action alert” tool developed by Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS) and distributed by World Union of Jewish Students, World Jewish Congress, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World Z*****t Organization, StandWithUs, Hasbara fellowships, HonestReporting, and other pro-Israel public relations organizations. The tool was released in July during the 2006 Lebanon War. By June 2011, the tool became no longer available through the GIYUS website. An RSS newsfeed is available.


            “GIYUS is a global digital movement of activists who campaign on behalf of Israel.”

            Here’s an wonderful article about the Gaza flotillas in which GIYUS – a la anti-abortion sites – shows pictures of the activists involved, links to their FB pages and directions for followers to “report” them.

            Nice, huh?


    3. Hugh

      Fingers pointed everywhere except at Israel’s brutal 45 year occupation resulting in apartheid and turning Gaza and the West Bank into prison bantustans? I have to agree with jsmith this is either hasbara or a remarkable case of denial. I wonder how Americans, or even Israelis for that matter, would react if they were subjected to the conditions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

      There is only one throw away line about a Palestinian state, but the two state solution died with Rabin’s assassination by a Jewish extremist in 1995 and Netanyahu’s dismantling of the Oslo Accords in the years following. If the commenter is Israeli, he/she might start thinking about the people of Gaza as their future co-citizens because that is the only way left for the Israel-Palestine problem to be resolved.

      1. Mark P.

        “Fingers pointed everywhere except at Israel’s brutal 45 year occupation resulting in apartheid and turning Gaza and the West Bank into prison bantustans.”


        Firstly, Israel certainly looks like an apartheid state, since Palestinians married to Israelis are not allowed to reside in Israel.

        Secondly, Israel has effectively a ‘lebensraum’ policy by allowing settlers to continue building out into Palestinian territories.

        That is, in 1993 there were about 110,000 settlers in the occupied territories. In 2001, there were 195,000. This was an increase of 73 percent under the guise of an agreement wherein Israeli committed itself not to change the territorial status quo. And this policy is continuing.

        This cannot end well.

      2. Noe

        Actually, there is much talk in Israel of out and out genocide… kill em all or deport the lot of em.

        Jews are losing the demographic war. Even with their phoney baloney ‘democracy’ – Israel has too many Arabs having too many babies – and too many sons of Israel [my son in law included] leaving because they despise the culture and sytem.

        That said – at current birth and emigration rates – jews will be a plurality and then minority within half a century… the plurality comes sooner.

        AND THEN… it’s pay back time…

  10. chris

    sorry it took so long to donate something, yves. truth is, I am adverse to spending by CC and almost exclusively use cash… but I’ve been starting my mornings w/ NC for a couple of years now and it was time to give something back. thanks for your crucial work and perspective.

      1. chris

        heh… at any rate, I broke my “cash only” policy and used plastic afterall.

        and I owe you/Corrente another tithe too, L.S!

        on its way.

  11. LeeAnne

    Study suggests humans are slowly but surely losing intellectual and emotional abilities Medical Xpress. ‘The creepy bit is that the “city life leads to weaker human stock” is the same line eugenicists used to demonize immigrants, who typically sought work in major cities.’

    Yes, eugenics is certainly in the air. Not only figuratively. The air we breathe is loaded with pollutants. In New York City where air pollution smelled and could be seen was cleared up in the 1970s. We had a decade or two of beautiful air and blue skies -until the current onslaught of chemicals in the air that has come with the ascendency of kleptocratic oligarchs; you don’t hear Bloomberg complaining about it.

    The new pollution cannot be seen and there is no odor. There are however chemtrails that spread chemicals that are said to be poisonous to humans; and dimmed sun light that should be alerting everyone. We have in New York City an almost permanent haze in the sky. But, THEY get away with grouping everything under the rubric, ‘global warming.’ If global warming is caused by human activity, the science industry doesn’t help the cause by behaving like thieves in the night; shutting down air quality information by Obama after Fukishima just one example.

    People deny seeing it. Our controllers operate on the dark side of the moon. Yes Virginia, we are no better than caged animals to the science elites of the world; some of us more favored than others.

    Well intentioned people run around Central Park making a racket in a space dedicated as an oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of a hectic city. Prior to this era of kleptocracy the Park functioned very well for that purpose. Participants in the run-around the park feel they are helping while being used to publicize corporations and non-profits profiting from these same diseases.

    When and where have we seen such enthusiastic organization for attacking the CAUSES of these diseases? Well, the leadership isn’t there, is it?

  12. diptherio

    Where Has All the Risk Gone?=required reading for the day, at least for those of us who unfamiliar with the world of derivatives (I mean, I knew some of it…) Wow. What a beautiful con…

  13. rjs

    on ‘Corzine blamed for MF Global collapse and MF Global accused of misleading regulators Financial Times’ yves says “Looks like I have my reading cut out for later today”

    just make a note that all the Dems on the house financial services committee voted against the report that corzine was to blame…

      1. Ms G

        I found this at the Star Ledger. It does not appear so much that the Democrats “voted against” the report as much as they are refusing to “endorse” the report because … not-enough-time-to-read-it! So sayeth, at least, Rep. Mike Capuano, Ranking Democrat on the Oversignt and Investigations Committee:


        It [the Report] was released without support from Representative Mike Capuano of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.

        “I am not co-sponsoring the majority’s staff report on MF Global primarily due to an insufficient amount of time to review the report and go over it with other Democratic Subcommittee Members,” Capuano said yesterday in an e-mail statement. Democrats are preparing an addendum, he said.””

        Sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for this promised Addendum. Battle of the Reports! This should be a good one.

  14. briansays

    something to consider?

    while the market fire sale and taking of profits have been offered up as another reason/red herring to roll over and give the rich their tax cut extension

    consider the impact of cali’s passing prop 30 which adopts similar income tax increases on the rich retroactively to apply to this tax year 2012

  15. Valissa

    More fun science…

    What Lives in Your Belly Button? Study Finds “Rain Forest” of Species
    Rob Dunn and his team of ecologists aren’t your average navel gazers. They’re professional navel gazers, thank you very much, and their new study details the microbial contents of 60 volunteers’ belly buttons.

    The upshot? Belly buttons, it turns out, are a lot like rain forests. … From 60 belly buttons, the team found 2,368 bacterial species, 1,458 of which may be new to science.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        Not me. I just filled mine up with Clorox, and I don’t care what that does to Global Warming.

    1. Aquifer

      Thank heavens – there’s a least one place left where biodiversity thrives, now that the Amazon is disappearing – are these salt water or freshwater life forms, by any chance, and are they suffering from human waist? Would be interesting to know if the species vary with the size of the waist, will they change if we tighten our belts – i.e. will austerity affect this newly discovered microcosm – can we use the Endangered Species Act to prevent this belt tightening …

      Stay tuned ….

  16. Peter Pinguid Society

    Peter Pinguid’s foreign policy in a nutshell. (And this is just an example)

    On the one hand….

    (1) Send money and arms to Al Qaeda militants who are invading Syria for “humanitarian concerns”.

    (2) For (1) above, use the same Al Qaeda forces that the US allegedly fought against in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    On the other hand….

    (3) Reward dictators such as the mass-murderer Thaksin Shinawatra (net worth $600 million) of Thailand for thousands of extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs and for agreeing to play ball with Wall Street and London.

    (4) Support governments, such as the mass-murdering dictator Hun Sen of Cambodia (former member of the Khmer Rouge) for agreeing to play ball.

    Note: Instead of supporting national sovereignty for Cambodia, Hun Sen wisely elected to brutalize his own population and carried out sweeping land grabs that left hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people without homes or a livelihood.

    Result: Hun Sen (net worth estimated at $1 billion in offshore accounts) is a member in excellent standing with the Peter Pinguid Society.

    If Hun Sen and Thaksin Shinawatra travel to the United States, have Obama greet them warmly and refer to them as “savvy businessmen”.

    What makes Assad a bad man, while Thaksin Shinawatra and Hun Sen are such good men?

    Well, it’s pretty simple really: Assad refuses to play ball with Wall Street and Washington, but Hun Sen and Thaksin Shinawatra eagerly agreed to play ball, by selling out their countries for personal gain.

    We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent.

    1. Valissa

      Foreign policy is fertile ground for cartoonists…

      Obama’s Foreign Policy 101

      Afghanistan explained

      The truth about Benghazi, Part 1

      The truth about Benghazi, Part 2

      Doctoring foreign policy

      1. Aquifer

        Valissa – i am wondering if you couldn’t have your own little corner in Links “Valissa’s ‘Cartoon World'” ….

        1. Valissa

          Egads, no! That would ruin it for me. It would go from being fun and whimsical, free spirited and in-the-moment to being a responsibiliy and duty that I would need to be disciplined about organizing.

          1. Aquifer

            I suppose you are right, as in correct, it was just a thought – I am a fan of good cartoons, they really provide a good illustration, literally, of the points made in so many, too often too many, words and you seem to have a real knack for picking good ones.

            It just seemed to me that so many of these posts would be enhanced with accompanying cartoons … I suppose there may be some posters who might object, as if the subject were being trivialized, but if one wants to reach a max number of folks with an idea, seems to me a good idea to appeal to the “visual”, as well as the “text” thinkers …

    2. Ms G

      Let us also not forget the Peter Pinguid Society’s game-changing US-UK Joint Operation in 1953, Iran. They assasinated President Mossadegh and so destroyed a vibrant democracy in the Middle East (in the early 1950s, for God’s sakes) that could have been an anchor of stability for decades to come. But Mossadegh did not play ball with the PPS, who really just wanted a piece of the oil action (at a minimum.)

      As a side note, it is interesting that in the public narratives (propaganda) about US, Israel, the Middle East, we don’t hear the “democracy” meme anymore as the justifier for the rubes. It could not have helped much when Hamas won parliamentary elections in Palestine but the US continued to back Israeli aggression against the newly-constituted popularly elected government. Now it seems enough to just scream “Arabs Bad” and that pretty much covers any peoples who happen to live on oil and gas rich soil without having to create tortured definitions of “freedom,” “democracy” or the “American way” as war banners.

  17. Frank

    I like the idea of hitting big box stores that are open on national holidays and loading up a shopping cart with perishables—–and then walking out.

  18. lambert strether

    Why don’t we just pay the military to do what they’re good at, which is have lots of kinky sex, and stop paying them for what they’re bad at, which is winning wars?

    Isn’t that really a win win?

    Especially for the faraway brown women and children that we’d otherwise blow to red mist?

    1. b.

      Huh. This is an unfortunate juxtaposition, given that a elect few of them have raped women and children before blowing them to red mist.

      In general, the focus on the “sexy” aspect is bound to disappoint. Personally, whatever humor there is to be had, it is in the runaway abuse of a corrupt and dysfunctional surveillance state that, in Atrios’ words, took down the CIA chief, a general, and maybe more to come (if we manage to set aside the sex).

      Here’s something I am curious about: Obama has always placed a priority on co-opting and eliminating re-election threats, and other challenges to his power. See Clinton @ State, and other cabinet appointments. Petraeus, given his focused campaign for his career, was an Issue.

      Hastings recaps: “[I]n 2004, during the middle of a presidential election, Petraeus wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post supporting President Bush and saying that the Iraq policy was working. … In Afghanistan, he first underhandedly pushed the White House into escalating the war in September 2009 (calling up columnists to “box” the president in) and waged a full-on leak campaign to undermine the White House policy process.”

      I am not fully on-board with respect to the claim Petraeus “manipulated Obama into the” Afghanistan surge – the Washington consensus aligned both of them neatly – but he certainly – again – interfered with a process reserved for elected officials. Whether or not Obama wound up doing what he wanted to do anyway, his highly developed sense for challenges – in a confrontation of narcissists that understood each other perfectly – must have brought Petraeus’ to his attention.

      Hence, Obama ultimately places Petraeus in charge of the Afghanistan campaign that the insurgent general has leaked and agitated for. The calculus is clear: Any success could be spun as Obama’s, any failures could likely be blamed on Petraeus. Various shadow punches regarding “enough” vs. “too few” soldiers follow. Petraeus manages to prevent his failures from becoming visible and recognized – Obama is in a minor bind inasmuch he fully buys into COIN and surge, and cannot fail the man without failing the strategy.

      So Petraeus is back, and Hastings – i.e. Broadwell – records the next Obama counter-move: “Gates tells [Petraeus] the post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military’s top job, is ‘out the question’.”

      The general receives an offer he cannot refuse – the top job of the CIA, requiring him to keep a low profile, cutting him off from his power base and network – the military – and transplanting him to – again – serve or fail Obama’s overbearing ambition to militarize the covert executive.

      I have no idea what Obama’s next move would have been – I’d guess that he was perfectly content with having dead-ended and cobwebbed Petraeus in a position where it takes the connections and wealth of a Bush Sr. to pursue presidential ambitions. But then, a soap opera of megalomaniacs and incompetents – in the FBI, among Tampa’s Military-Socialite Complex, and then whistle-blown top Republicans and hysterical media serfs – almost delivered a blow-up doll into the last weeks of the campaign. He might have looked forward to accepting Petraeus resignation for a fleeting moment or two, ready to close this pending account, but an accidental cabal of true morons has snowballed this beyond Obama’s control, and given Republican incompetence and incontinence, there is every risk that we double back from “Saving General Allen” to “she-said-he-said” Rice vs. CIA on Benghazi, to Boardwell on CIA prisoners in Libya, to Petraeus arming militias in Libya, to Afghanistan.

      Which, in a sense of blind justice, is exactly what Obama deserves. His little gambit of sending his personal MacArthur to the Khyber was paid for by thousands of dead US soldiers, tens of thousands crippled, uncounted numbers of civilians killed, maimed, abducted, tortured in Afghanistan, and worst, another Bush era failed policy – that of a COIN-facilitated Iraqi civil war to recover from a failed Petraeusian Surge – continued and justified for decades of future failure and mayhem.

      I’d say that this is where the bodies are, and maybe there will be too much freewheeling incompetence in this media circus, and instead of spinning this safely onto the pages of Mad Magazine and convenient Daily Show condomences, it spins a bit further out of control, carrying it straight to the man who embedded himself with Petraeus in the White House. If that’s what it takes for a remote chance to get some modicum of justice for the manifold crimes of those two wannabe-Caesars, I’d take it.

        1. Aquifer

          Rape is about consent – and that too often becomes a “he said, she said” argument. Not to mention which “consent” is a many “nuanced” concept ….

          Sex is also about power – in many different facets … the ultimate power to reproduce life; hence the struggle over who is allowed to keep that power ….

          Methinks that is a big part of the problem, we treat sex in much too flippant or cavalier a manner these days …

    2. b.

      Hooded Man at Abu Ghraib comes to mind, too.

      I know this isn’t what you had in mind, but maybe we forget to quickly that kinky sex and the US military were solidly and lastingly “institutionalized” under Bush, and strenuously looked forward by Obama.

  19. Valissa

    The Petraeus scandal has it’s humorous side…

    A positive side effect?

    Advice from Bill

    Great front page humor, Part 1×620.jpg

    Great front page humor, Part 2

    Mad Magazine nails it!

  20. b.

    I am not really happy with the Inequality tax article, because it does a disservice to a good cause. Tap-dancing around progressive marginal tax rates to fight self-reinforcing wealth concentration does not have to be rebranded.

    Worse, the key argument – that exponentially growing wealth, thus power, concentration is not compatible with an open society – is made last of three, not first and foremost. We are not talking about incentives, we are talking about evolutionary stable democracy and robust democratic institutions, which require protection from any unelected power.

    Finally, it focuses exclusively on the income tax. It is not by accident that the flat Earth taxation movement has made the inheritance tax its priority even over a flat income tax. It is inherited, inbred wealth that not only perpetuates the dysfunctional growth beyond one generation, it also reinforces the dysfunction by Koch-style inbreeding of ideas and nurture (or, in feudal times, worse). There is indeed a “death tax” – nature wipes out the czars and tycoons just like everybody else, and if their incorporations decayed with them, and their offspring would have to compete on the merit, society might survive even a flat income tax.

    We already have Wealth Too Big For Democracy. Taxing future incomes is not going to correct the exponential Gilding of Our Age in time for the republic to be restored.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I agree an inheritance tax is better than a progressive income tax.

      Compared with an inheritance tax, a wealth tax does the job sooner and is not impacted by any billionaire’s dream of immortality/apotheisis. That loophole is out.

      If they have to make a choice, the 0.01% prefer progressive income tax over wealth tax, as the former makes it difficult for those who are not already billionaiers now to join their ranks. That makes billionaires rarer and thus more ‘desirable.’ It’s a supply/demand idea all rare-coin collectors know.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        No reason to choose one or the other. Choose both! It’s what we used to do anyway. But for inheritance taxes to work, we still need to close the “trust fund” tax loophole.

          1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            True, but we need a rapid phase in before South Orange County is 100% populated by trust fund kids, and they raise beach parking to $100 a car.

      2. psychohistorian

        I LOVE this talk about inheritance. This is the nut we must crack to get us out of the class rut we are in and have been for centuries.

        The trick is how to end the bad parts and keep the good one of incentive to provide for your spawn or redirect it to support of the public commons.

      1. ChrisPacific

        It’s a very small one, probably a chick.

        A rare white one was born earlier this year – Google “Manukura” if you would like to see more.

  21. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding Reuters report on the Guardian article on BP’s financial settlement of future criminal charges on the Macondo blowout in exchange for a waiver of future prosecutions, it is always nice to see a corporate “person” held liable for its criminal acts. Difficult to incarcerate a corporation anyway, isn’t it? Wonder if we’ll ever be able to pierce that corporate veil?

    1. Lambert Strether

      Two BP “employees” face criminal charges. I wonder which executives? Is it even possible the administration got close enough to get them to start ratting each other out?

      UPDATE Adding… Pravda:

      The Justice Department announced Thursday that it had charged BP with felony manslaughter for the deaths of 11 people who were killed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out, sending nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

      Attorney General Eric Holder said that federal grand juries had also indicted the two highest- ranking BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon rig with 23 counts of criminal wrongdoing, including manslaughter. Holder also announced the indictment of BP’s incident commander with lying to and hiding information from Congress.

      No executives? Shocker.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Adding, one executive. AP:

        Another indictment charges David Rainey, who was BP’s vice president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, on charges of obstruction of Congress and false statements. The indictment claims the former executive lied to federal investigators when they asked him how he calculated a flow rate estimate for BP’s blown-out well in the days after the April 2010 disaster.

        1. Ms G

          Good one.

          Having a really hard time understanding the difference between the BP executive’s indicted lies to Congress and Corzine’s non-indicted lies to SEC/CFTC about the “health” of his shop (at the moment when 100% of the house bets were on “red” and “red” was already starting to tank in freefall.)

    2. Aquifer

      This is the one area where i would favor capital punishment – if corps are people and capital punishment has not been ruled unconstitutional, then this is the PERFECT place for it ….

  22. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    I think this article in the Atlantic on the already
    announced US oil-independence by 2020 is worth a

    Jordan Weissmann argues that the market for oil
    is globalized, that Saudi Arabia has spare
    capacity (maybe?), and that US frackers/Prudhoe Bay/off-shorers would
    charge the world market price, even to
    Americans. So, Weissmann seems to be saying:
    “Even if true, [I’d add modulo policy fights]
    don’t go gaga over it.”
    Example: demand from China could pick up in
    an economic upturn, etc.

  23. Brent Musburger, Jr (news anchor)

    Breaking news! This just In!

    Petraeus says none of this his fault. When assigned to be the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then director of the C.I.A, his orders were “to blow up weddings”, so he’s just been following orders….

    Story developing…

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    BP to pay $4.5 billion.

    Who gets that $4.5 billion?

    I think some should go to the victims, who should continue to pursue their cases for compensation separate from this government action, and the rest refunded back to everyone in the country, to stimulate the economy maybe.

    That will also, I believe, make people feel more connected to the government, more involved in our democracy.

  25. ScottS

    Unintended humor in Vegetative Ontario man Scott Routley ‘talks’ to researchers through brain scans The Star:

    “What we have done here for the very first time is ask a patient a question that is actually relevant to their clinical care.

    It’s called “bed-side manner.”

  26. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

    Keep your barf bag handy. Bob “Pisshand” Pisani of CNBC conducts a “rare” interview with a Big HFT Guy.;_ylt=AlKwaEnHvubNSWDmqboAo.miuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTIzNWE1cG45BG1pdANDTkJDIFRvcCBTdG9yaWVzBHBrZwMzMTEyOTI2OARwb3MDNQRzZWMDTWVkaWFCTGlzdE1peGVkTFBDQVRlbXA-;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

    1. Valissa

      Do guys like this take workshops in vague-speak and change-the-topic or do they have private PR trainers or what? It seems like all of the CEO’s or ‘leaders’ (gov’t, corporate, military, etc) speak in this artificial language which is very unnatural sounding and disseminates extremely low value information, or worse yet disinformation.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        They must use comedy writers. How else can you explain an interviewer asking a guy he just introduced as a “trader and founder of the firm” how many trades a day his computer does and how many are profitable and the interviewee answers he doesn’t have the numbers, and then the bubbly interviewer moves right on to the next question?

        1. Valissa

          The interview was bizarre on both sides. Of course the HFT guy knew his numbers, they all know there numbers… trading is all about the numbers. He played Mr. Ignorant in a very quietly arrogant and condescending manner, speaking a bit like a faux-humble sports star. Meanwhile the interviewer keeps bubbling along, kinda asking the harder questions while simultaneously being highly submissive and acting like he already knows he’s not going to get any useful answers.

          The comments are great, esp. this snarky one: “What a deep and probing interview. Surprised Pisani didn’t do the interview on his knees.”

          1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            As a side note, Pissani was the one that announced the “Fat Finger” trade when we had the 1000 point flash crash a couple years ago. Live on CNBC in real time while they switched back to Cramer almost in tears mumbling “this isn’t real, the computers broke…”

  27. JTFaraday

    re: Did climate change controversy cause UVA’s sacking of Teresa Sullivan? Guardian.

    “Virginia inaugurated Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, both rightwing Republicans. In April 2010, Cuccinelli, seeking evidence for the alleged international scientific fraud known as “Climategate”, demanded from UVA the records of former faculty member Michael Mann, co-author of the famous “hockey-stick graph”

    …By the time of her ouster, Sullivan had spent nearly $600,000 in UVA funds to defend the university against litigation that many described as a politically-motivated witch-hunt and an attack on academic freedom.”

    Your tuition dollars at work!

    1. JTFaraday

      “Now, I can’t do much to illuminate the motives behind the UVA Board’s desire to shut down German or the classics—as I have pointed out it seems downright irrational for a pharmaceutical billionaire to downsize the chemistry department, but it happened—”

      This cult-like obsession with gutting everything is just extraordinary.

      In academia, it’s even more ridiculous. There’s an impending demographic black hole coming anyway due to a distinctly aging faculty. No one ever talks about this, but I think we have a cultural tragedy in the making here already. The last thing we need is more ideological nuts.

  28. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    This is pretty cool (I always have the expectation/hope
    that Canadian regulators act as regulators):

    “[…], the Ottawa-based agency said RBS was not cooperating fully, as the bank claimed, with the probe into possible collusion in setting the yen Libor rate.”

    RBS = Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
    Ottawa-based agency = The Competition Bureau, Canada.

    Reuters story:

    Agency Statement:

  29. William

    At the Guardian’s UVA Climategate story a first time commenter (commenting as Tom Faulders) states:

    I have read a great deal of conspiracy theories about this event, but this is perhaps the most ridiculous account I have yet read.

    If that’s really C. Thomas Faulders (current UVA Alumni Association President and Chief Executive Officer), then he might know ridiculous. If not, it’s an moderately convincing fake; compare the “Tom Faulder” avatar with C. Thomas Faulder.

    Prior to the UVA Alumni Association the real Tom Faulders was at “LCC International, where he engineered a financial turnaround as chairman and chief executive officer.” As he left LLC International in 2006, Faulders missed the August 20, 2007 developments described as: Bad News Monday for LCC International
    Late with its filings and dumped by KPMG, LCC International gets a delisting warning from Nasdaq and must wait for another company’s restatement before it can get its own financials straight.

    “Still, both announcements come as further blows to a company that has weathered a perfect storm of financial reporting difficulties, including problems with its internal controls and the May resignation of its auditor, KPMG.”

    “LCCI’s independent auditor, KPMG, had cited the company in 2004 and 2005 for deficiencies related to controls over revenue recognition accounting. It is unclear if similar issues are being blamed for this year’s tardy filing, or if the late filings and deficiencies are behind KPMG’s recent resignation as LCCI’s independent auditor. LCCI did not immediately return phone calls asking for comment.

    The Guardian article needs more debunking than that “Tom Faulders” statement did.

  30. Howard Beale IV


    “The CIA has announced they’re going to investigate David Petraeus to find out whether his demands for perks were designed to facilitate his affair with Paula Broadwell.

    Given allegations that he flew to Paris for some sexy time with Broadwell, I guess the investigation is merited.

    But I’m very skeptical of the timing of the investigation.

    As far as I know, the investigation was first reported in mid-afternoon by the AP.

    That would place the testimony after today’s closed hearings with acting CIA Director Mike Morrel and tomorrow’s hearings with Petraeus.

    And at least from the leaks about today’s hearing, it is possible that Petraeus, in public statements, may deviate from the CIA story on the attack.

    Here’s what Dutch Ruppersberger said about the CIA’s story after today’s briefing.

    Mr. Ruppersberger said on Thursday that this criticism was unfair and that the intelligence community’s assessment of what had happened was now roughly what Ms. Rice recounted on several Sunday talk shows. “You had a group of extremists who took advantage of a situation, and unfortunately we lost four American lives,” he said.

    Mr. Ruppersberger also underscored what intelligence officials have said for weeks: that the attack on the diplomatic mission seemed disorganized, and without good command and control, but that the second attack, a mortar strike on the C.I.A. base nearly eight hours later, was much more sophisticated. It was clearly the work of terrorists, he said.

    And here’s what Petraeus plans to say tomorrow.

    [Petraeus] knew “almost immediately” that Ansar al-Sharia, a loosely connected radical Islamist group, was responsible for the attack, as suggested by multiple sources and video from the scene, said the source. At the same time, a stream of intelligence — including about 20 distinct reports — also emerged indicating that a brewing furor over the anti-Islamic video preceded the attack.

    The CIA eventually disproved the reports that film-related protests had anything to do with the attack. But this didn’t happen until after Petraeus’ initial briefings to lawmakers, in which he discussed all the possibilities, the source said.

    Whereas Morrel was at least reported to be expected to defend the CIA’s confusion about the video, this suggests Petraeus wants to distance himself from that early confusion.

    We’ll see whether the announced plan to investigate his junkets (ha!) to Paris changes that testimony.

  31. Francois T

    Anyone else noticed that Wal Mart is basically telling customers to forgo their Thanksgiving family dinner and come shopping at 8 PM Thursday? (workers will be already screwed by being forced to show up at 3 PM!!)

    I so wish people would DESERT this corporate monster. They don’t have any respect for anything save their bottom line. Two years ago, Black Friday started…well, Friday! Now, it’s a constant encroachment on a sacred tradition, just for the fuck of controlling and humiliating their workers.

    1. psychohistorian

      SNARK ON

      You mean you are not planning to integrate a trip to Wall Mart into your family’s Thanksgiving Day tradition? How un-American!


Comments are closed.