Links Thanksgiving

90 schoolchildren among tourists who flee for their lives as Lord of the Rings ‘Mount Doom’ volcano erupts Daily Mail (Valissa)

Contrary to Popular Belief Scientists are United on Climate Change OilPrice

Hamaoka reactor likely wrecked in seawater accident Asahi Shimbun

Thousands of Natural Gas Leaks Found in Boston LiveScience (bob)

The Quiet Ones New York Times. Um, Lambert was on this YEARS ago: Should we kill cellphone users, or only jam their signals? Alas, listening to idiots yammer in public spaces is mandated by law. I think we need new altruistic punishment strategies, like taking their pictures and recording their side of the call and posting it somewhere.

German doubts force rethink on Greece Financial Times

George Osborne says survival of big banks is good for British society Telegraph. By “society” he clearly means the type that was covered in what was once called the “society” pages.

S&P declares Australia a “one trick pony” MacroBusiness

Israel’s Gaza Rampage: It’s Not Just War Counterpunch (jsmith)

Gaza ceasefire announced in Cairo Guardian

Calm Sense Of Impending Violence Returns To Middle East As Ceasefire Brokered Onion (dcblogger)

Catfood watch:

Rise Above, CNBC’s move into advocacy Columbia Journalism Review

My call on “shared sacrifice” Lambert Strether

Dear Lloyd Blankfein: The Actual Market Is Not Concerned About US Debt Jon Walker, Firedoglake (Carol B)

MSNBC Battles ‘Pro-Obama’ Label Heading Into President’s Second Term Huffington Post (martha r)

Maine TV news anchors resign on air Los Angeles Times (martha r). I admire what they did, but they could have given a hint of what the issues were. Presumably this will come out in the wash soon.

Locking in Dirty Energy Demand: GE Signs Deal With Clean Energy Fuels for Gas-Powered Vehicles Firedoglake (Carol B)

New Yorkers Challenge LIPA, FEMA over Power Outages OilPrice

The truth about Walmart wages Daily Kos

Hostess gets green light to close down after bankruptcy judge’s ruling Guardian

You’re Probably One of Two Kinds of Shoppers New York Times. I am sort of amazed at this article. There are people out there who don’t know they hate shopping???? I so hate shopping that I can’t fathom how it is possible to like shopping. I’d much prefer the clothes I have last forever rather than be required to go find new ones, for instance.

Black Friday ‘Doorbusters’ Don’t Hold Up Wall Street Journal

Insurers’ duties under health care law taking shape McClatchy. There’s a raft of ACA stories out based on the release of new rules (overviews of and link to other articles here, thanks to Valissa). This one in particular interested me, in that it discusses a requirement to offer young people catastrophic coverage policies only. Frankly, if you wanted a simpler solution to the mess (one that would not put the health insurers out of business but would severely restrict their role and the overheads they insert into medical services), it would be to subsidize health care for the poor and lower income and require everyone else to pay for catastrophic coverage, and have them pay for routine care themselves. The policy argument is that since hospitals treat everyone who walks into an emergency room, that cost is socialized, and we might as well make that explicit rater than hidden. And you come out ahead self insuring on routine care rather than having it insured. And having doctors not having to fight with insurers for most of what they do would also make doctors more productive.

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus antidote (Marc C):

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      1. Valissa

        Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The only time I ever feel like a fat cat is Thanksgiving night…ugh, I ate way too much… and I haven’t even had dessert yet :)

        Poetically fat cat

        Defiantly fat cat

        Fat cat inventor

        Fat Cat-erpillar


    1. Jeff N

      Dead Kennedys! just bought the vinyl for “Fresh Fruit…” earlier this year.
      “I’m looking forward to death!”

  1. karpodiem

    Hear ye, hear ye –

    The 2nd (!) annual (unofficial) NC holiday meetup is quickly approaching. Last year we gathered for drinks at Trinity Place, which is adjacent to Zucotti Park. It was loud, crowded, but hey – it moved the discussion along a bit, and helped with the awkward moments that invariably come with meeting people who comments on a blog (but NC is not you average finance blog, amirite?)

    Hope to fellow NC readers at Trinity place on Friday, December 14th at 7pm.

    Here’s a link to the event page –

      1. SD

        Regarding the D.C. meet up, what about somewhere inside where it is warm and we can get a drink of any variety? Tabard?

        1. dcblogger

          Both the Luce Center and Kogod Courtyard are inside the National Portrait Gallery. Click on the links and check them out. On Weekend afternoons the Luce Center serves free coffee and tea. The Kogod Gallery has a little cafeteria attached where you can get over prices sandwiches and salads. It is actually pretty good. The fruit tarts are to die for. The Tabard Inn is WAY above my price range.

  2. Klassy!

    Frankly, if you wanted a simpler solution to the mess (one that would not put the health insurers out of business but would severely restrict their role and the overheads they insert into medical services), it would be to subsidize health care for the poor and lower income and require everyone else to pay for catastrophic coverage, and have them pay for routine care themselves.
    I’m not quite sure what you’re saying here. Could you explain further? Thanks. (please excuse my stupidity)

    1. Richard Kline

      On John Pilger’s interview at Counterpunch re: Gaza, I agree; moreover, the facts are plain: Israel’s assault on a captive population _solely at the initiative of Israel_ is a crime against humanity. One verging on genocide, and certainly a manifest, indeed textbook example, of ethnic cleansing. The assault was unnecessary, murderous, deliberate, a crime—and a failure. Strategically, there was no gain for Israel, and in that fact the assassination aerial campaign was a strategic defeat. Israel’s leadership never had any intention of a ground campaign. Gazans have every incentive to arm even more heavily, since there is not deterrent effect in their operational position. Diplomatically, the result was a smashing win for Hamas in particular and Gaza in general.

      Why did Israel undertake this blunder? I would advance three, observed reasons. 1) Arrogance, the ‘we can kill 50 of them to one of us any time we feel like it, and we want everyone to know.’ 2) Elections. Yes, this was a straight-forward vote-getting procedure for the faction in power in Israel. It looks to be a failure in that regard, but even the attempt _is a crime against humanity_. 3) Petulance. Israel did everything conceivable (including much that we don’t have a clear view on yet in my opinion) to force the US to launch an assault upon Iran during the American election cycle. Obama and his wouldn’t budge. So the Israelis needed some blood to run their own election cycle, and extorted and largely willing US to go along with _and provide the munitions for_ this present assault on Israel. Neither the US nor Israel give a rat’s behind for the hundreds of thousands suffering in Gaza: expending their lives as a political convenience for the attackers is seen as an acceptable behavior.

      A score of individuals from Israel should be hauled to the dock in the Hague for this ENTIRELY DISCRETIONARY murder campaign upon Gaza, What we see here was called a ‘ratonnard’ when used in Algeria by the French; a rat hunt. Round up certain number of individuals of the appropriate age, some intended, many at random, and simply, well MURDER them obscenely. To intimidate the rest. One found the same behavior under the KKK at its worst against blacks and Jews in the US. Many pogroms in Poland, the Ukraine, and Russia proceeded in exactly the same way, recall the name of the act however you will. What is being done against Gaza is the exact equivalent of those prior crimes against humanity, but we don’t call the foulness by its name.

      Apartheid, pogrom, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity (assassination, random murder, collective punishment, mass fire against civilians, institutional torture, intentional mass starvation, and more, all endlessly, reliably documented as perpetrated by Israel over the last generation alone), and in sum genocide constitute the daily program inflicted upon Palestinians by the Israeli government. These crimes must, and will, end. But they will end due to the resistance of the oppressed, not the intervention of the morally culpable nations who observe, far less those governments which, as the US government, actively enable and wave on such crimes for political gain.

      Gaza Ghetto = Warshaver Ghetto: the only difference is who’s inside. When this crime is ended, that will be the day to give thanks. Not before.

      1. Aquifer

        somehow i find it difficult to call an encounter in which a bunch of people are killed/injured a victory for anyone …

  3. ambrit

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    I checked out the Daily Kos piece and fell into a quandry. (This site should aim a little higher in its style and content. Longer pieces please!)
    The article suggested that one support the Wal Mart Indignados, and offered a link widget to guide you to the nearest ‘action.’ Hmmm… The link gives you the locations of nearby Wal Marts and Sams Clubs, and, in my case at least, has nifty graphics on the side that exhort one to ADOPT THIS ACTION, and that THIS ACTION NEEDS A LEADER. What kind of organizing is this? The ball has definitely been dropped. Crowdsourcing an allegedly ‘grassroots’ internally built insurgency? Realistically, who wants to be the only one to show up at a protest rally?
    If I were to wear my cynics personna, I’d think that someone was subtly trying to make the entire Wal Mart Insurgency look ridiculous, and to exactly the population which promises the greatest support base. Planning, planning, planning.

    1. diptherio

      Well, they are claiming that they will have 1,000 strikes nation-wide tomorrow, so we’ll see how well the crowd-sourcing works. I saw the same thing you did for my city (er…large town) and assumed most of the action would be taking place in more populace areas. That may well have been a bad assumption, though.

      I can understand what they are tying to do with the website, which is provide the bare-bones structure for people to self-organize around. It’s essentially how the Occupy thingy spread so quickly, and Obama used a similar strategy in his first campaign to good effect.

      However, in order to start it off someone has to be willing to put their name up on a website, where their managers can see it. Fear of retribution may keep some employees from signing up, while others may just not want the responsibility. We’ll see how it works out. I wish them the best. I’ll be checking out our WallyWorlds (yup, plural) tomorrow to see if any actions are going on.

      If crowd-sourcing the protest actions turns out to not work well, it just means they need to try something else the next time. The protests seem to have already gotten quite a bit of media play, which is a positive in its own right.

      1. aletheia33

        i checked on the same web page at the end of last week–nothing going on. then about 3 days ago someone posted that she is leading an action at my nearest walmart–right down the road. so you never know when someone will decide to take up a flag and invite you along.

        i don’t assume signing up to do this is for employees–i think it’s for non-employees who want to show support. this show is both invaluable and necessary to strengthen the employees for the long haul they’ve committed themselves to, with incredible courage.

        i’ve tried to reach this person–she provides her phone no.–to find out what she has planned, and she hasn’t called me back, so i figure she’s too busy, which will have been a good sign if she’s busy working on pulling in more people and succeeds at it.

        health issues permitting, i’ll just show up there at 10 am and find out what she wants me/us to do, and do it for as long as i comfortably can. the outdoor air will be invigorating. it will be interesting to watch the show, as i’ve never shopped on black friday.

        we tend to underestimate the power we have as individuals–how even just showing up for a short time for an action on behalf of others can affect them down the line in ways we may never learn of, and affect our own and each other’s evolution as actors. as human beings we have an immense power to influence one another that we too rarely exercise with clarity or conscious choice.

        sometimes when there are hardly any people present, a great deal of power is generated, as individuals connect in more meaningful ways than is possible in a larger crowd.

        just 2 or 3 people, literally standing up as reminders of what is good, can serve as quite a surprise and curiosity that wakes up others who didn’t know there was a reason to stand there, or that now is the time.

        only 1 or 2 people may be holding up signs at an entrance or whatever, but a whole lot of people will be noticing them on their way to shop. (if there’s only a couple of protesters, that might suggest that word of the boycott hasn’t spread much in that locale yet.) who doesn’t want a “captive” audience that size?

        and it just does take time to build a movement, even a small one in a small place. walmart is already gearing up to protect itself in ways that belie its pose of not taking the upstarts seriously. if walmart is that proactive, why not the rest of us.

        if you show up at a walmart action tomorrow, i hope you’ll report back here on nc. i will. we can share our observations and generate more power.

    2. cwaltz

      I found the article to be very sterile. It’s hard to believe they couldn’t find someone to give a first person account on what it is like to work for walmart.

      The experience I had was not like what was portrayed. For example, I was not a part timer nor was I encouraged to work part time. I had benefits. The problem wasn’t that they weren’t offered but that I could not afford them. The cheap insurance had a deductible that matched my monthly pay. The more expensive insurance would have set me back 200 or 1/3 of my pay per pay period(this was back in 2000-2003). I found the pay scale back then was capricious. The worst thing about Walmart though was the feeling that you were a non person. Both the customers and the management often treated you like you were property rather than a person. They have quotas for pieces to be put up. They only allow you a specified amount of days to be called in sick. They monitor and value how quickly you can scan items through the register. A lot of their “corrective actions” are meant to make you feel small and subservient rather than as a valued professional(I’ll never forget how the day after I called in sick a couple hours before a shift how the next day they attempted to counsel me for it; my response was to let them know I wasn’t asking for permission but was extending a professional courtesy but I can’t help but wonder how many don’t push back because they literally need the job.)

  4. YouDon'tSay?

    Re: shopping vs getting stuff. Amen! I myself, am the very definition of a bull in a china closet when getting stuff. It’s a given that I have a mental list of the stuff I need before I ever step foot on the premises, where it’s located, if I need and what size if so, a shopping card for the job at hand, and where the nearest cart is located, including the parking lot on the way in to the “stuff place,” where I more often than not retrieve one left by another fat, lazy, self-absorbed American shopper. Housewives with kids and other lost souls know to get out of my way, as my very obvious demeanor and pace is best described as that of a caged tiger.

    Re: public cell phone users. I currently maintain a rolling blackout zone of about 20-30 ft in my car with the addition of a vehicle mounted jammer (best money I ever spent!). Never been happier than to see the befuddled look of fellow commuters who evidently can’t be troubled to focus on the actual task at hand of, ahem…, driving their car. And here’s some real fun. Next time you’re in one of those self checkout lines and a cell phone user is unsuccessfully multi-tasking at everyone else’s expense, simply walk up to their station, push them out of the way, and start swiping their stuff for them in an openly brusque and irritated fashion. When they ask, simply reply, “Well, since your time was evidently more valuable than mine anyway…” For all but the most obtuse, the point is usually rudely made.

    My motto is, when the going gets rude, the tough get ruder.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I think the next target should be TVs in public spaces. It is, apparently, possible to purchase a clicker that shuts them off remotely.

      I got clean and don’t have a TV, and so on the rare occasions when I am in an airport lounge I’m always horrified.

      1. Klassy!

        One reason I avoid the doctor –besides that I don’t have any real need to visit her– I cannot stand the tvs in the waiting room. And you do wait. I cannot read abook with the background noise.

        1. Roland

          At the Canadian university for which I work, there are now telescreens almost everywhere–even in the libraries! What’s most discouraging is that I haven’t heard any students or even faculty complain about them.

          1. Maximilien

            Most people nowadays seem like they can’t survive without constant visual and/or aural stimulation. Have we really become a species of nitwits, incapable of amusing ourselves with a book or magazine, conversation, or—God forbid—our own thoughts? Restaurants and pubs are now plastered with noisy TVs. Want a quiet meal or drink? Forget it. Nitwit staff and customers have taken over most public venues—and they like NOISE!

            True story: One time I was having a drink in a nearly-empty pub (it was in
            the morning) watching a man sitting at the bar. There was a TV blaring
            on the wall about ten feet from his face. He called the waitress over and the following conversation ensued:

            Customer: Could you turn off the TV?
            Waitress: No, I want it on.
            Customer: Look, I’ve already bought two
            drinks and I’d like to have another. But if you don’t turn off that TV I’m leaving.
            Waitress: Well then, leave.

            And he left. He’d lost his battle with nitwit-ism.

      2. aletheia33

        googling turns up cornfield electronics:

        “This universal remote control fits in your pocket and allows you to discreetly turn TVs off or on wherever you go.” sells for $19.99

        who knew so many people hated tvs in public places?

        they also have a book for sale:
        “Disconnect to Reconnect
        by Pierre Thérond
        This book is accessible, even to those who watch so much TV that they forgot how to read! It will show you what the TV industry doesn’t want you to see: a full view of TV, inside out, and outside in, from the point of view of an ex-TV-insider. You’ll also discover many fun experiences of people who disconnected from the dictatorship of images and reconnected with their true self. And since Time is money and TV takes a lot of your time, this book is going to make you rich!”

        the company is based in san francisco. natch.

    2. LizinOregon

      I first read the noise piece in my dead tree version. When I clicked through here to forward it to a friend I was horrified by the graphic of the scenery streaming past outside of the train’s window. Reading text when there is something moving elsewhere on the page (usually an ad) is as a big a problem for me as noise. Ironic to find this major distraction in an article about distraction.

        1. skippy

          Mature has gone virtual, but, not of its own accord.

          Skippy… test tube baby’s? HAHAHHAHA… if only that…

  5. ambrit

    re; gas leaks in Boston:
    This problem is endemic to the urbanized parts of the world. Where more enlightened regimes solve the problem through massive urban renewal programs, usually referred to as wars, the U.S. has lagged behind. Here is the Administrations Works Progress Administration opportunity! Hello, you’re supposed to be a Democratic Party Progressive, do something right for a change.

    1. ohmyheck

      RE: Ceasefire in Gaza—- “an instant poll by Israel’s Channel 2 television revealed that 70% of Israelis opposed the ceasefire deal.”

      Oh that’s just great…70%.

        1. ambrit

          Dear ohmyheck;
          Happy Thanksgiving oh. It’s OK, but I did burst out laughing when the connection manifested itself. Good snark is hard to find. And ‘only’ 70%? I’d like to see the form of the question and the demographic they targeted. Then the ‘desired result’ will become clear. Are the Israeli “Hawks” setting the stage for an escalation?

          1. DougDoug

            As we celebrate being (relatively) free, (relatively) well-off and (relatively) secure, we can all be thankful that:
            1. Israel did not go into Gaza
            2. that less civilians were killed in Gaza during this conflict than one avg day of killing in Syria over the past two years
            3. that Egypt may now lift the blockade and help bring peace to this region
            4. that less human beings were killed thanks to Israel’s focus on defense of its civilian population
            5. that nobody cut off the food, medicine and electricity supply into Gaza during the fighting thus preventing a real humanitarian crisis (as they still unfold in way more tragic and brutal conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, Burma, Colombia, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Chechnya, Kurdistan, and other countries)
            6. that Hamas leadership may now focus its energies on selecting a liberal women-led pro-coexistence leadership
            7. that Hamas may now utilize the anti-Netanayhu voices in Israel and call for peace negotiations thus helping boost the election prospects of a center-left coalitions AND that Hamas is now in a better position to work with the international community and the PLO toward achieving broad UN support for a declaration of a Palestinian state that will live in peaceful coexistence with the Jewish State as the Partition Plan determined before the Arabs kindly said no to it and launched the 48 war on Israel.

            May we all celebrate liberalism, peace, progress, democracy, scientific intellectual integrity and constructiveness.

            PS While I am saddened by the Israeli survey results (and parallel calls for more armament and violence from the Palestinian side, for that matter) one should note out of fairness that:
            a) the survey was conducted before the cease fire took hold
            b) close to 70% of the Israelis who answered the survey also expressed their belief that it would not hold (could there be a link between the parties’ mistrust under fire and the interest of people to continue fighting after years of clashes and no conflict resolution by the leaders while living in a tough neighborhood in which weakness is an invitation for the next round of fighting?),
            c) Palpress referendum online shows similar numbers among Palestinians,
            d) Could these opinions be linked to the results of other surveys (, according to which 65% of Israelis are for peace negotiations, while 89% feel their families are unprotected should neighboring forces decide to attack Israel?

            Happy Thanksgiving!

          2. Hugh

            More hasbara from DougDoug. Note how he makes no mention of Israel’s brutal 45 year occupation/blockade/apartheiding of Gaza and the West Bank, how he minimizes Israel’s violence in the current round of attacks and once again points his finger everywhere except at Israel.

  6. TK421

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! At times like this, I’m thankful for sites like this and the people who visit, for letting me know it’s the rest of the world that is going crazy not me.

  7. barrisj

    Just retrieved our two morning papers: 6lbs total, with 5.9lbs accounted for by “Black Friday” ad inserts, and the remaining 0.1lb reserved for actual “news”…which is roughly the appropriate distribution for most people’s priorities these days.

    1. ambrit

      Dear barrisj;
      I would argue that you have the cart before the horse. When choices are limited, people adjust their expectations to the limited choices offered. When most people don’t learn to “think outside the box,” the design of said box becomes crucial. (Sounds trite, I know, but most ‘truisms’ are exactly that, true.)

      1. barrisj

        Well, actually, it’s really the priority of one’s “choices”, as for most people, the vast range of consumer goods trumps any minimisation of “hard information” choices, which is how “freedom” is currently defined in primarily consumerist societies.

  8. Max424

    Excellent use of the word bricolage, Lambert!

    My Mother used to tell me, Son, your going to grow up to be a jack of all trades and master of none. And I would ask, What does that mean, is that a good thing?

    She would answer, Not necessarily. It means you’re likely to end up a dirt poor peripatetic bricoleur, like your grandfather’s father –a no good louse and stain on the family name if ever there was one.

    And I would say, A bricoleur! I like the sound of that. Thanks Mom.

    1. ambrit

      We see them regularly along the margins of I59. (From personal experience I can attest that the hen turkey does a pretty good ‘broken wing’ dance when trying to lead you away from her chicks.)

        1. barrisj

          Stan Freberg, along with Daws Butler, was an early pioneer of LA television, as he and his colleague supplied the voices for the legendary “Time for Beanie” telly show (well, you had to be there), and went on to record several satirical records.
          His takeoff on Lawrence Welk is masterful, and he remains forever an icon of the 50s.

  9. Ray Phenicie

    “And having doctors not having to fight with insurers for most of what they do would also make doctors more productive”
    True that.
    Too many medical providers are eager to bill for services that patients don’t need; oftentimes the patient will demand costly diagnostics as terms like “MIR” become commonplace in the popular vocabulary.
    Some links:

    The book on a related subject is “To Err is Human” -quality of care is a huge cost issue that goes unrecognized by the public. The book is available on line in an electronic edition

    The point here is that the health care industry, like any other major industry we might care to think of (financial servicing-LOL) needs and must have regulation that is directed from outside the industry if it is to be an effective tool for furthering the well being of the society in which it is embedded. Else it will fail to deliver and the end result is in effect another tax on the consumer.

    Finally, before we get too involved in seeking causes located inside the facilities and offices of the health care providor sector, we need to focus on other health issues that cause costs to rise. I am currently working on the subject of “the developmental origins of adult disease.” Google brings up About 6,430,000 results on that topic. Happy reading in that area.

    Finally, another related topic “Environmental epigenomics and disease susceptibility” is a much narrower topic only because it is so new to the scientific research arena but the idea that envrionmental toxicants can cause genetic alterations should scare the bejeebis out of us.

    In short, health care costs are being flown to astronomical levels by a poisoned environment. As more and more folks are pushed off the bus costs may flatten out but we will be a much impovershied society with many more folks who suffer more from lack of medical care. Soon, perhaps, more than half of the population will have no or severly limited access to health care; the major limitiation being the luck in finding a job with good coverage built in to the benefits or the size of the patients checking account.

    My overall concern is very selfish here; as I approach the proverbial sunset years of my life I am fearful that the state of the medical arts is degrading. Before I am lowered to my grave, I see myself facing a huge struggle to keep myself healthy. I would like to know I’m getting good care. My fear is that I will not be able to receive that care.

    1. Antifa

      “must have regulation that is directed from outside the industry if it is to be an effective tool for furthering the well being of the society in which it is embedded.”

      Ah, but there’s the rub. An American corporation where the “well being of the society in which it is embedded” is anything more than a slogan for their marketing department to spin sunshine and lollipops about is acting against their bottom line.

      Corporations are predators, and fat ones at that. Corporations increasingly write the laws to favor their interests first, not the good of society.

      Corporations, like banks, are increasingly claiming they are entitled to the profits, extracted from the labor and purchases of all citizens and to hell with society, infrastructure, or how anybody’s health during their retirement goes.

      1. Ray Phenicie

        How will the spade work of setting up investments, factories, offices, be done then if not by organized business entitites?

  10. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciate the link to “Rise Above, CNBC’s move into advocacy” from the Columbia Journalism Review. I also noticed the emphasis on the so called “Fiscal Cliff” yesterday on Yahoo’s Finance site, which is widely read by retail investors and frequently links to CNBC, and included the following headlines:

    Beware the Fiscal Speed Bump; How The Cliff Could Be Defused Breakout

    How Will ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Impact Your Paycheck? CNBC

    Here’s How Consumers Feel About the Fiscal Cliff Wall St. Cheat Sheet (Wed 12:04PM EST)

    Will ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks Target Muni Bonds? By Patti Domm | CNBC (Wed 10:17AM EST)

    What’s the ‘Fiscal Cliff’? Why It’s…You Know… By Jane Wells | CNBC (Wed 2:37PM EST)

    At 4:30 PM EST there was no headline related to the so called “fiscal cliff” on the home pages of other usual suspects: ABC News, FOX News, or Bloomberg. I found this both interesting and telling.

  11. different clue

    About global warming, since Industrial Man is not going to stop burning coal, gas, and oil any time soon; a major part of lessening the problem in the meantime will be increasing effective photosynthesis all over the earth and storing as much of the suck-downed carbon into plant bodies and plant root systems and soil-borne humus reserves as possible.

    But I recently read of an obstacle to that approach which I had read about every few years in the past but managed to avoid thinking about. However, one of the commenters at Steve From Virginia’s Economic Undertow blog offered links to blogs about this problem which make it unavoidable and undeniable. And that problem is . . . plant-killing surface-level ozone in the air. If every plant is a “drain” into which excess CO2 may flow, and ozone blocks all those “drains” by weakening or killing all those plants,
    then the CO2 can’t “drain” out of the air into the plants.
    If this is as bad as the blogsites say it is, then ozone pollution is a keystone problem. Solving it makes addressing atmospheric CO2-loading reversible or at least slowable. Not solving it assures the rising CO2 will stay right up there in the air all around us with fewer and fewer viable plants to “drain” back into.

    I have to log into work right now, but when I get another time-bubble at the computer, I will bring that link.

    1. Antifa

      We face another plant-related obstacle in our warm future.

      The “sinking of CO2” into plants is the process of plant growth. Photosynthesis. Making food.

      Photosynthesis stops when the ambient temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Which it currently does in more and more places on our planet as our atmosphere thickens.

      I’m writing a teenage vampire novel about the angst, heartbreak and crop futures implications of this hard limit on growth imposed by Mother Nature. It’s called “Crop Interrupted.”

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        Been watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer re-runs on Hulu, and I think Buffy will have her hands full if everyone willingly turns vampire ’cause we sawed the food chain off at the roots, as it were. Where will Angel get his cow’s blood if we can’t corn feed cows?

        What if Buffy can’t get wooden stakes anywhere?!

        But maybe Monsanto can save the day and bio-engineer some high-temp plant seeds. Could happen.

      2. different clue

        Well . . . we really don’t want the ambient temperature to meet or exceed 104 degrees, then. Especially not for enough days/weeks/months at a time that plants can’t do the overall net photosynthesis they need to get done.

        If we can use the time remaining to get carbon emissions down and photosynthetic carbon fixation/ suckdown up, then we can avoid too many long-duration 104+ degree intervals in too many places, I should think.

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          Ditto,I think at 104F we turn into desert, not rain forest…so water will be the first problem.

          Plus I’ve been rooting for these guys to be successful:

          They bio-engineered some algae that directly excrete fuel. This gives an order of magnitude increase in yield per acre over conventional bio-diesel because there they grow high oil content algae and basically harvest it all, then refine it, then grow new algea over again.

          They have two varieties, one that excretes ethanol and another that excretes bio-diesel and no refining is necessary. You just feed it with sunlight, CO2, water and nutrients. They basically build shallow swimming pools with tubes and drain off the fuel.

          I did some calcs using the annual production of gasoline in the US, the yield per acre figure they hit in the lab already, and lots of conversion factors, and determined you need a area 140 miles by 140 miles to make all the gasoline the US uses now. That sounds kinda big, but it doesn’t have to be all in one place. Better if not because of transportation logistics. But it does seem feasible and certainly no worse that our present military-industrial-oil complex.

          So if they prove this out we have our carbon sink, then burn it, then sink…rinse and repeat closed loop carbon cycle.

          1. different clue

            It sounds good, if true; and deserves further serious study. In an ideal future, it could supply all liqudi fuel engine needs, thereby cutting to zero the new net carbon reaching the air from new net gas and oil pumped and burned.
            Of course that’s only true if the amount of solar energy it could harvest is seriously more than the amount of fossil energy involved in every step of the algaefarm construction and maintainance process. If so, then good.

            We would still have to work on net photosynthesis and bio-sequestration of carbon back down out of the air to improve the airborne carbon situation at present.

      3. different clue


        The relation between temperature and photosyntheis is even worse than your comment laid out, because plants don’t just p-synth, they also respire . . . oxidising their inbody reserves of stored photosynthate to run their growth and metabolic maintainance. As the temperature rises even below the 104 degree p-synth shutdown threshhold, plant respiration rises with the rising temperature; while p-synth does not rise. And plants respire at night too, faster on warmer nights, slower on cooler nights. There is a little chart showing that point with cornplants in the book Modern Corn Production by Aldrich and others. It shows how corn plants lose less of their daytime-produced photosynthate on cool nights, and more of it on warm nights.

  12. Danny

    That’s white of you.

    The “Black Friday ‘Doorbusters’ Don’t Hold Up” Wall Street Journal leads to a paywall.

    1. barrisj

      I’m waiting for the usual videos on TV news within the next 24hrs of “rioting” at divers Wal-Mart outlets, where customers literally “busted the doors” in their frenzied rush to grab “specials”…you will notice, of course, that “minorities” are prominently featured in these stories. Presumably, white people are quietly queueing at Best Buy, Target, or other more upscale big-box shopping venues.

    2. Yves Smith Post author


      If you don’t subscribe to the WSJ, put the headline in Google, you’ll get the whole story.

      1. skippy

        And…. here I thought you were a Sadist to the willfully ignorant… har… har.

        Skippy… Mentally positioned to accept blows from that sitting thingy you weld.

  13. Fíréan

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of You who partake of this event, wherever in the world, and have a nice day too the rest of humanity.

  14. Goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

    The article about scientists agreeing on climate change actually ends by saying that they agree on the causes of global warming. Which will it be in the end? But maybe that isn’t such a big deal: maybe global warming does cause extreme changes in the climate. But is this the proper attitude of a scientist?

    “Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree.”

    The key word here is “now”, its importance underscored by its absence at the end of the very last sentence of the article. Even a cursory study of the history of science shows that many reigning paradigms have been overturned and discarded when new data proved them false. It is one thing to say that the theories we have now support AGW. It is another to imply that they are eternal. And one may find this pedantic, hairsplitting, but take a look at this pearl from the guy’s methodology:

    “…Articles that merely claimed to have found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt, I did not classify as rejecting global warming.”

    I would love to know what’s the criteria that makes a flaw, discrepancy or reason for doubt a “minor” one. It seems a tad ironic that a guy who wrote a book about the “Inquisition of Climate Science” himself behaves like an inquisitor, not allowing any room for doubt. The tone of his entire article drips with the arrogance and complacency of a Richard Posner essay, and the comments below it show that I am not the only one who has noticed it.

    1. skippy

      Ecological destruction and weather / climate change has been observed by “Naturalists” for thousands of years. The only mob that decry their observations – is those – that make a *buck* on its destruction, see Upton.

      Skippy…. Go live next to a chemical plant, well do a forensic chemical analysis once your gone. BTW you’ll have to reduce your living standard, only the poor live next to such private enterprises.

    2. TimR

      Thank you, this view is too little heard. Can’t we have a *little* skepticism, from both scientists and the public. Do we have to be so uncritically accepting of every #&*^$#@ thing scientists say, or else be classed as either hicks or special interest groups. Aargh. I get so sick of it.

      1. skippy

        There is nothing a “*little* skeptical” about the above post, its just rhetorical pandering. It offers zero counter evidence to the data observed and only attacks the vagaries of the English language.

        Development and Disintegration of Maya Political Systems in Response to Climate Change


        The role of climate change in the development and demise of Classic Maya civilization (300 to 1000 C.E.) remains controversial because of the absence of well-dated climate and archaeological sequences. We present a precisely dated subannual climate record for the past 2000 years from Yok Balum Cave, Belize. From comparison of this record with historical events compiled from well-dated stone monuments, we propose that anomalously high rainfall favored unprecedented population expansion and the proliferation of political centers between 440 and 660 C.E. This was followed by a drying trend between 660 and 1000 C.E. that triggered the balkanization of polities, increased warfare, and the asynchronous disintegration of polities, followed by population collapse in the context of an extended drought between 1020 and 1100 C.E.

        Skippy… Morons… self inflected to boot…

  15. different clue

    Well, I found those links about ozone tree death. And it turn out Steve From Virginia the keeper of that blog is the one who brought them to his comments section. So here they are, and anyone with reasonable imagination can see the problem they describe as getting in the way of efforts to manage plant-land to suck down and bio-sequester the excess CO2 that is already up there in the air right now today.

    This may be a keystone problem if it is this bad over several millions square miles of plantland. If we can’t bring ground level ozone to functional-zero levels, we can’t and won’t increase the carbon-sucking growth of plants.

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