Links 12/21/12

Sorry Links went up late. Got unduly involved in the gun control post and forgot to launch this one on schedule.

Home at the End of Time: Robert Vicino Built an Underground City Where You Can Ride out the Apocalypse Motherboard. This seems to be taking a pretty cheery view of what “end of the world” means.

Commercial Lawyering for the End of the World Bob Lawless, Credit Slips

Decreased prevalence of diabetes in marijuana users: cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III BMJ (furzy mouse)

Bodies of ‘In Cold Blood’ Killers Exhumed LiveScience

The GRAVITY-powered lamp that could bring 1.5 billion people out of the darkness Daily Mail (May S)

Slab of Barrier Reef sea floor collapsing, could cause tsunami, say scientists AFP :-(

Risky banks should be split-up, says parliamentary Commission Telegraph. By contrast, all we get in the US is apologies for big banking.

Hidden Risks Plague Euro-Zone Bank Oversight Plan Der Spiegel

Why the US media ignored Murdoch’s brazen bid to hijack the presidency Guardian

Did general David Petraeus grant friends access to top secret files? Independent (May S)

Catfood watch. The plot thickens:

Dean Baker. This can’t be said often enough.

What the Fiscal Cliff Looks Like Foreign Affairs (Ricardo)

Boehner Bails on Plan B David Dayen Firedoglake. Wow, my surmise in comments yesterday was wrong because it never occurred to me that Boehner would call a vote when he didn’t have the votes. And it’s also remarkable that the Republicans are willing to stand on principle to give up their big advantage, which is Obama’s eagerness to do a deal. Delay works against them since all the Bush tax cuts expire. But Obama really really wants a deal, since a deal is the vehicle for cutting Social Security and Medicare. He has been willing to give what it takes, since the new Congress will be less amenable to entitlement “reform.” But the problem now appears to be that Obama has no one to negotiate with. If this really is as bas as the media surmises it is, one sign would be that the Obama Messaging Apparatus goes into reverse and starts saying no deal by Dec. 31 is no biggie, that a deal not too much later is fine.

‘Fix the Debt’ is really ‘Protect Defense Contractors’ Daily Kos

Bill Moyers: America ‘turned violence into a profit center’ and has ‘fetish with guns’ Raw Story

Glenn Hubbard, Leading Academic and Mitt Romney Advisor, Took $1200 an Hour to Be Countrywide’s Expert Witness Matt Taibbi (Ms. G)

The real problem with that Dealbook conference Dean Starkman, Columbia Journalism Review

Barney Frank: “As Well as To Financial Regulators” Marcy Wheeler

US banks face rise in bad loans cover Financial Times. This move is LONG overdue, but will have the effect of making securitization look even more attractive.

SEC Enforcement Chief Khuzami Said to Leave Agency Next Month Bloomberg. Hooray!

Enacting Democracy Archdruid Report (Lambert)

Antidote du jour:

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    1. different clue

      Cedar Waxwings? No. Bohemian waxwings. Note the chestnut undertail coverts and the stronger red face color right around the bill, as well as slightly bigger better dabs of color in the wings.

      Here are some cedar waxwing photos by way of contrast.;_ylt=A0oG7hUJxNRQgVMAIcGl87UF;_ylc=X1MDOTU4MTA0NjkEX3IDMgRhbwNhbwRjc3JjcHZpZAMzVmxLUjBnZXVyQ0RicFlTVHpqWXVRZ1JqZFlSQmxEVXhBY0FBTkxvBGZyA3NmcARmcjIDc2J0bgRuX2dwcwMxMARvcmlnaW4Dc3ljBHBxc3RyA2NlZGFyIHdheHdpbmcEcXVlcnkDY2VkYXIgd2F4d2luZwRzYW8DMQR2dGVzdGlkA1ZJUDE5Mw–?p=cedar%20waxwing&fr=sfp&pqstr=cedar%20waxwing

  1. alchemist

    Regarding fiscal cliff.

    Is it possible to fix the budget by stopping interest payments to the federal reserve?

    1. rjs

      the interest payments to the Fed, at least to the extent that they increase the Fed’s profits, are remitted back to the Treasury annually..

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        Another useful fact for budget cutters to be aware of is the interest rate on a 5 year treasury is currently 7 tenths of one percent, and 1.7% on a 10 year treasury.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Moyers: ‘Why do we … submit to the sometimes humiliating body scans at airports? Because it’s the law, and deep down we know we’re safer for the inconvenience of the law.’

    Perfect shill for the police state … ‘AS SEEN ON TV.’

    He’s with the MSM, and that’s his job.

  3. Kelp

    Forget lamps, what is needed to eliminate poverty is a human powered birth control device to keep Africans and Indians from breeding any more. Is there one nation in Equitorial or Southern Africa that is not a disaster of overpopulation and corruption?

    e.g. The population of Nigeria is soon to surpass that of the United States.

    Oh, we already have those, they are called “condoms.”
    Obviously way too complicated for the average African to
    use. Isn’t there some way to simplify them?

    I used to send feel good money to various charities until I realized that is was like shoveling sand down a well.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Vasectomy at birth. Not much more complicated of a procedure than circumcision. Reversible much later.

      1. direction

        That should be policy everywhere. In the USA, you get a free reversal after you sucessfully hold down a job for 4 consecutive years.

        or something. I feel like I once heard that the vas wasn’t fully formed at birth so “vasectomy at birth” is not really an option. Makes it much more complicated and spooky to bring your child in for the state enforced surgical procedure, n’est ce pas? Does anyone here have the medical knowledge to confirm or deny, because it’s a popular sentiment; I’m curious.

        Fortunately, there are other innovations coming out of India:

      2. Neo-Realist

        A Urologist told me that a vasectomy is very difficult to reverse, unless they’ve gotten easier to reverse in the past 10,20 years?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s probably easier to power the lamp with a cardboard bicyle using existing parts, rather than using more materials to make that shiny looking contraption.

      But you have a point – all these ‘partial’ solutions just make the problem worse.

      They keep seducing us with fancy ‘technological’ innovations that will demand no change in consumers (they are the masters we aim to please, you know) ‘Yes, this magic bullet will let you go on with your party,’ whispers the charmer. ‘No need to bother with less consumption.’

      This is the second time the link appears here.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think Kelp is saying there is a bigger problem poverty tied to overpopulation. Thus, he wrote, forget lamps. To me, it’s just another fancy innovation, when viewed in that light.

          Then I added we should try to consume less.

          1. PaperMoon

            You guys are being serious? I’m a huge fan of Econned. But man i have to rethink this website if people like you guys even represent a fringe audience. I’ve never seen such miserable racist fatalism.

          2. JeremyGrimm

            REPLY to PAPERMOON: Read the comments here as you would read through a google search that pulled in a lot of hits unrelated to what you’re searching for. There are worthwhile and often very insightful comments on this site. Scan past the comments like these that have offended you. I have a difficult time sifting the trolling, the sometimes less than entirely tasteful sarcasm, and rantings of devil’s advocates from the rantings of true believers. It’s well to be aware of the spectrum of belief and doctrine represented here, though keeping a balance between freedom of expression and playfulness with serious discourse and opinion is, and probably always will be a difficult problem. Another problem is the tendency for comments to verge away from the point of discussion into unrelated areas. [Sorry MyLessThanPrimeBeef — still haven’t figured out how to make my reply to the comment I’m replying to.]

    3. TK421

      Another sure-fire way to lower birth rates: raise people’s standard of living. Middle-class people in first world countries barely reproduce at replacement level.

      1. tiebie66

        That’s the Victorian trap. Because the middle class doesn’t replace, but the lower class does, it simply primes the Malthusian trap again. At least we’ve made progress – moved from one to two traps. Makes me suspect there are more traps, but we’re not sufficiently advanced to have encountered them yet.

    4. tiebie66

      It has an important advantage: it promotes speed reading. You see, the light flashes twice every hour, on the hour – like the weight-driven cuckoo clock….

  4. briansays

    Taibbi’s article is required reading ideally pasted to every public space on the Columbia campus perhaps a copy left in faculty mailboxes for when they return from the holidays


      The B-School stinks from the head, but it has reached way down its body. As a distinguished alum, I attended the Inaugural and then The Second Annual Program for Financial Studies. Here’s the takeaway:

      Erskine Bowles was the Inaugural Speaker, enough said.

      So, on to The Second Annual Program for Financial Studies:
      This year the speaker was Henry S Miller (not the good Miller). A bankruptcy man, who explained that the austerity called for in the US is exactly like that required in bankrupt companies. You know…”shared sacrifice”.

      This year I was smarter than last. Last year I argued rationally. This year I abruptly left.

    2. Maximilien

      “Glenn Hubbard Gets $1200/hr. As Countrywide’s Expert Witness”


      Expert testimony, there’s ANOTHER establishment racket for you. Just one more way for fat cats to get fatter. See, THEIR time is REALLY valuable, so they get paid obscene amounts to testify. YOU get to testify for NOTHING! In fact, you better show up or you’ll go to jail—even if you’ve got a job or a business.

      THEIR knowlege is so exquisitely rare they get PAID for it! YOUR knowlege is worthless, but if THEY want it you’ll be COMPELLED to give it to them. That’s how the system works. THEY’RE worth $1200/hr. YOU’RE worth nothing.

      Down with expert testimony! Better yet, make every witness a paid expert! (I saw a car accident. I’m taking time off work to tell you about it. I WANT my $1200/hr. DAMMIT!)

      (End of rant)

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    “Bob had a great scoop, a buzzy media story that made it perfect for Style. It didn’t have the broader import that would justify A1,” Liz Spayd, the Post’s managing editor, told Politico when asked why the story appeared in the style section.

    The managing editor’s surname says it all. That’s what’s been done to the news staffs at the MSM.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      I should have mentioned the fact that this was from the Guardian piece on Murdoch’s attempt to recruit Petraeus for the GOP ticket.

    2. JTFaraday

      Seriously? It’s the style section?

      Never fear though. Petraeus had no intention of running:

      “We’re all set,” said the emissary, referring to Ailes, Murdoch and Fox. “It’s never going to happen,” Petraeus said. “You know it’s never going to happen. It really isn’t. …My wife would divorce me.”

      1. Aquifer

        Wait, wait – Petraeus wife would divorce him if he ran for Pres., but not if he screwed around with a rapid deployment well muscled bimbo – my, my …

    3. diptherio

      I’m so glad that WaPo is remembering to have all their…journalists…spayed and neutered. It keeps them docile and puppy-like, much easier to handle than un-fixed journos.

  6. AbyNormal

    Did general David Petraeus grant friends access to top secret files? Only to ‘friends with benefits’.

    but seriously, “Petraeus’s headquarters was not known to senior White House and Pentagon officials involved in war policy, two of those officials said.” sic n sad.

    1. Valissa

      Ahhhh democracy….

      What is democracy?

      What is a constitutional democracy?

      The power of choice, part 1

      The power of choice, part 2

      Is “world order” an oxymoron?

  7. kevinearick

    (Ooops, there goes the market again; they never learn.)

    Equal Rights & Inclusion, Under the Law

    That my friend is the face of a tyrant, above the law. What’s truly funny is that the majority has normalized itself to think its behavior is, at some point in time, going to be acceptable, by hook or by crook, to the minority creating all the economic profit to offset the majority’s losses.

    The majority has its servants kidnap the minority’s kids for the purpose of extorting a 90% tax, spends a few million per on the mistake, and then records it as G, leveraging the result with monetary expansion to destroy its tax base, and, finally, is appalled to find its economy collapsing and all the recorded wealth in its pension plans evaporated. Stupid f-ing lizards.

    So, I had this habit in elementary school of solving all the problems in the math book within a few weeks, and turned them into the teacher, just to see the expression on her face, to know what I was dealing with. Anyway, my fourth grade teacher is ready and waiting for me. She rips up my handwritten homework and tells me that I will follow along with the class and only do the problems prescribed, as prescribed, by her decree.

    For each chapter, I turned in a copy of the original, with all problems solved, the rest of the year, which revealed the all the ‘errors’ in the publisher’s text, which she followed, running the entire class errant. I was in the principal’s office pretty much every day, until he excused me from class all together. In other words, F-U, which, ironically, was the academic and conduct grade I received for the subjective parts of the class, but, under the then version of no child left behind policy, she had no choice but to advance me. The next year, I got an advanced copy and had it ready on the first day of class.

    With the institution of early childhood education, you only have about two years to get your children geared up, when the majority will realize that your kid is going to be a whole lot more intelligent than their kids, but that is still plenty of time if you are prepared. They are not just coming after your guns…which, with a decent education, are unnecessary.

    In case anyone is interested, in due process, what you want to do is publish your free speech moderation algorithm and compare it to your evolving objectives, modifying the former accordingly, and do the same with your objectives and your goal, jumping out randomly as necessary, which will give you the event horizon. You will ultimately have a distribution, an event horizon of event horizons. But what does a racist, sexist, whatever-ist laborer know about enterprise architecture? There was a time when I helped all comers in my physical life, but I am here, am I not? There is no law that can force me to tell you what is coming, or its underlying algorithm. Once we go full AC, there will be no escape for DC, until the next modernization.

  8. Ron

    Tea Party VS corporate political money is reaching new heights with the downfall of Plan B. Major corporate political money/muscle was always going to write the fiscal cliff script FINE print while Republicans/Demo where staging the media fight over tax rates but the Tea Party gave the finger to corporate money since most if not all the Tea Party members are in safe House districts a twist that Corporate money and Obama didn’t fully take into account.

    The fiscal cliff was always a made for TV event but what is emerging now is how the Tea Party has taken over the Republican Party decision making leaving its Corp sponsors wondering how its going to influence and guide this run away
    political tribe.
    Most likely Corporate money will use the MSM media to bring the Tea Party in line using both the Fiscal Cliff and gun Control as major story lines that depict the Tea Party as out of the main stream and not worthy, it should be interesting.

  9. j.s.nightingale

    On the Steve Kornacki piece in Salon:

    So for the Republicans it’s not about the deal – which is a bust for them come what may – but about the Speakership, post January 3. It’s shaping up to look like the _other_ Republican face-off, between Eamon De Valera and Michael Collins, in 1922. Eric Cantor plays the role of De Valera in this one, while Boehner gets the Michael Collins role thrust upon him.

    You will recall that De Valera sent Michael Collins to lead the negotiations for an independent Ireland (or parts thereof). And the best deal that could come out was one where Ulster was hived off, and the other 3 provinces could go. De Valera knew this in advance, and he knew that whoever made the deal would pay a high price. So after the deal was signed he moved to condemn it in the Dail. In the event, De Valera became President of the assembly, Taoiseach, and President of the Republic successively over the next 50 years. Michael Collins was murdered in 1922.

    Boehner’s fate is more likely to be a handsome payoff. But the architecture of the arrangement looks to be straight out of the Irish 1922 playbook.

    1. Ron

      Speakership plus control of the party electoral launching apparatus including, senator,house and president all which has been outside the Tea Party domain but with coming elections in 2014 we will see a stronger shift toward the social conservative Tea Party agenda further pushing middle of the road Republicans into independents/Democrats.
      Democrats along with there corporate sponsors will push back using the new gun control meme painting the Tea Party as the out of control wing of the Republican Party. The old Corporate Republican ideology will try in vain to save the Republican Party brand by aiding the Democrats primarily through the MSM but the Reality is the Republican Brand is now a Southern Bible Belt social conservative political party that is not Corporate friendly but rather stuck in the 60’s cultural war and may be not much use to the Corporate money crowd.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is second hand cannabis smoking as risky as second hand tobacco smoking? I haven’t read any report on the comparison.

      Will they (those in San Francisco) make an exception for cannabis in their smoke-free apartments?

        1. Aquifer

          You’re still inhaling particulates and other products of incomplete combustion, including, i suspect, CO, so this is not an entirely harmless hobby, ISTM ….

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fixing the debt is really ‘protecting defense contractors.’

    That sounds about right.

    It hits for some people the same as the government can print as much money as it wants.

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      Since the Peterson – Walker crowd is making a big deal about the 75 year “unfunded liability” of SS, I think it’s only fair we calc the 75 year defense budget unfunded liability.

      In today’s dollars that would be $700B a year times 75 years – which comes to a cool $52.5 trillion.

      That is almost the entire net worth of the US. (poorly distributed tho it may be)

      So hand over everything you got – and, oh yes…SS needs fixing too…medicare? fuggetaboutit

  11. Jim S

    Re: Petraeus.

    Without an insider’s knowledge, the fact that the two individuals in question had clearances is probably not scandalous. Every applicant for a TS/SCI clearance is subjected to a more extensive background check than required for lower levels of clearance. I don’t recall which agency conducts the check, but I believe it’s outside of the DoD. Any falsification, then, would require misconduct on 1. the part of the individual(s) in Petraeus’ headquarters that filed the packet and 2. the individual(s) tasked to conduct the background investigations. It is more reasonable to believe that the Kagans were cleared for clearances. That’s not to say that misconduct didn’t occur, but procedurally there’s no reason they couldn’t be awarded clearances. Anyone with good justification can receive a TS/SCI, uniformed or civilian, and civilian advisers to the ISAF commander have that qualification, slimy or not.

  12. diptherio

    Re: Boehner Bails on Plan B

    I’m still expecting an 11th hour deal. Even if there isn’t, you can bet the Dems will sell out the electorate in any subsequent deal. I see that Pelosi, et al are already trying to spin Medicare reductions…

    1. LucyLulu

      I’m not so sure I agree. The Plan B big fail makes it less likely a “grand bargain” can be orchestrated. Instead of gearing the deal towards capturing the vote the majority of the House Republicans, including Tea Party members, they are going to have to shift their sites to crafting a package the is designed to appeal to a bipartisan mix in the House, i.e move it sharply to the left.

      It’s stunning that TP members would not sign on to the vote. Those making over $1 million would not have even seen a rise in taxes after increased deductions in bill were allowed. TP members, called “chuckleheads” by outgoing Republican House member, said it didn’t matter, they still would object to any deal if no spending cuts were included. Obama is really trying to gut entitlements and the conservatives won’t let him! Next on the schedule is Fiscal Cliff Plan C. The Mayan End of the Calendar Armageddon.

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