Links 3/17/13

The St. Patrick’s Day parade in NYC took place on Saturday. Seems peculiar

Saber-Toothed Cat Fossil Reveals New Genus & Species Of Extinct Predator, Researchers Say Huffington Post (Carol B)

Early HIV drugs ‘cure one in 10’ BBC

Can passenger railways curb road-traffic externalities? – Empirical evidence VoxEU

Building Feedly. Have any readers tried this RSS reader? If so, what do you think of it?

Google keyword ads ‘waste money’ Guardian

The Internet is a surveillance state CNN

Where Have All the Gadgets Gone? xconomy

China’s Hidden Democratization Project Syndicate

Cyprus deposit grab:

A stupid idea whose time had come FT Alphaville

A look at Cyprus’ decision to tax depositors Associated Press

Facing Bailout Tax, Cypriots Try to Get Cash Out of Banks New York Times. Quelle surprise!

This Crazy Cyprus Deal Could Screw Up A Lot More Than Cyprus.. Henry Blodget, Clusterstock

Cyprus Bailout: What Happened to Absolute Priority? Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Cyprus bails-in depositors to reduce cost of Eurozone bailout – a turning point in the Eurozone crisis? Open Europe

Cyprus’ Stability Levy: Another sad euphemism Yanis Varoufakis

Cyprus bail-out risks UK troops’ savings Telegraph

Obama’s Electoral Engine Harnessed by Group Collecting Corporate Donations Washington Post (Carol B)

The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats Counterpunch (Carol B)

Catfood watch:

Two Myths Tom Thumb, Firedoglake

The Cyclically Adjusted Budget Balance: Shrinking Rapidly Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Moving the Goalposts James Kwak

Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor, Study Shows New York Times

Investors Should Ignore Economics & Politics Barry Ritholtz

JPMorgan’s Follies, for All to See Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

The Inherent Fragility of the “Wealth Effect” Cullen Roche

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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  1. The queen

    Aren’t we trite, HMS Alphaville-

    “Incidentally note the line that “the Eurogroup welcomes that an agreement could be reached on the Greek branches of the Cypriot banks”– if there was any shock that would ensure Greece took responsibility for the Greek units, this could be it. In Britain, the requisite moves had been ordered some time ago.”

    Some time ago. SOME time ago. 5 months.

    To be clear, this means Euros were leaving Cyprus and moving to London. Lots of them.

    It’s good to be queeen.

  2. tom

    Just for interest: Germany´s leading paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung states in a commentary that taking money from Cyprian accounts to finance the bailout was
    A. very stupid
    B. because Schäuble feared to lose the elecation otherwise.
    Background is the fact that there is a lot of Russian offshore money deposited in Caprus banks. A fdact well known in Germany

    1. Jim Haygood

      Apparently, the EU is seeking to establish the legal principle that as long as it’s called a ‘tax,’ a deposit grab doesn’t trigger deposit insurance which purports to ensure 100% of deposit value up to a ceiling.

      This question likely will be litigated. But as the Chief Rubber Stamp of the U.S. Senile Court, John Roberts, affirmed in the Obamacare case, government’s power to tax has become de facto unlimited.

      As senior partners of the state, banksters are systematically undermining public confidence in the security of funds entrusted to them. Cyprus, you’ve been Corzined.

      1. Ms G

        ” … But as the Chief Rubber Stamp of the U.S. Senile Court, John Roberts, affirmed in the Obamacare case, government’s power to tax has become de facto unlimited.”

        Et voila. First forced purchases of private insurance, next tithing portions of liquid accounts (wherever they may sit, other than if in the name of a banker or banker’s lackey), then … forced organ donations?

        1. Ms G

          “Tax” is the new euphemism for Supreme Court-sanctioned (legalized) looting the assets of the 99.9%!

          It sounds so … technical and bland. Perfect.

        2. Who is John Leech?

          >> forced organ donations?

          Lots of “liber”-tarians think that’s a good idea. Fortunately, “organ printing” will probably arrive before they have their way at creating a “blood diamond” problem in the organ trade, where the wealthy feed on the organs of the poor — the poor who in desperation sell at $1/kidney while the middlemen brokering the pound of flesh earn fat margins commensurate with the great “risk” they took by investing in their business.

    2. IF

      He said, she said:

      “It was the position of the German government and the International Monetary Fund that we must get a considerable part of the funds that are necessary for restructuring the banks from the banks owners and creditors – that means the investors,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told public broadcaster ARD in an interview. “But we would obviously have respected the deposit guarantee for accounts up to 100,000,” he said. “But those who did not want a bail-in were the Cypriot government, also the European Commission and the ECB, they decided on this solution and they now must explain this to the Cypriot people.”

  3. tongorad

    Obama Told House Democrats to Look at Entitlement Changes

    “President Barack Obama told House Democrats this week that it’s better to make changes to entitlement programs when a Democrat is in office rather than risk doing so under a Republican chief executive, according to two lawmakers who attended.

    Obama urged House Democrats at the Capitol March 14 to consider changes to Medicare and Social Security to make those programs more “sustainable” in the long run as part of a broader accord on deficit reduction, Democratic Representatives Robert Andrews of New Jersey and Peter Welch of Vermont said in separate interviews.”

    1. the idiot

      His true colors are showing more with each passing day in his second term. !Viva Neo-liberalism!

      1. sleepy

        But, but, I was under the impression that in his second term Obama’s progressivism would blossom, unhindered by the need for running for re-election, and that the small “d” democratic base would make sure to hold his feet to the fire.

          1. craazyman

            Have you and your husband recovered from the news this week? Wes Welker to Denver? AYFKM! That’s bigger than Cyprus AND JPM combined! TB must be crying.

            I won’t hear your knock upon my door
            I won’t throw you touchdowns any more
            Since you been gone I’m a hurt inside
            Welk I want you baby on my side yeah!

            I’m cryin, I”m cryin, hear me cryin
            hear my cryin
            waaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaa waa


          2. Valissa

            ‘Follow the money’ works at so many levels

            Our biggest trauma this weekend is tax prep… ARGHHH!

            But I got a new Irish Whiskey (‘John L. Sullivan’) for us to try out later tonight to celebrate…. Sláinte!

            God invented whiskey so the Irish wouldn’t rule the world! (trad.)

            Man, being reasonable, must get drunk;
            The best of life is but intoxication. (trad.)

            We are all of us in the gutter.
            But some of us are looking at the stars.
            –Oscar Wilde

      1. Valissa

        Just like children one day learn there is no Santa Claus, adults need to let go of their political fantasies. This one thing alone would bring some political change as it means people would start reevaluating candidates for office as well as political groups, and perhaps start making different choices.

      2. different clue

        Wouldn’t the various Democratic officeholders and operatives and the DLC and the DNC and etc. be better places to address such petitions? And does the DParty have a mechanism for expelling or “de-membershiping” one of its personell anyway? The effort is certainly worth trying for symbolic effect.

        Also, disgruntled Democrats could certainly write/call/etc. their Dparty officeholders to say that they can either support Obama or they can support the Dparty and D-agenda but not both at the same time. Could enough people actually torture and terrorise the Dparty officeholders into having to make a public choice in public before God AND C-SPAN? They can support SS/Mcare/Mcaide aGAINST Obama or they can support Obama aGAINST SS/Mcare/Mcaide but we won’t accept their pretense that they can support both at once? How many people are required to torture and terrorise the Dparty officeholders into accepting that Obama OR survival benefits is indeed a Binary True Choice?

        1. Ms G

          Have you ever tried calling a representative in the House or the Senate? I have — it’s either (1) ring-ring-ring-no answer, (2) voice mail, (3) snooty college intern takes message with contempt. In short: we have the right to petition our government but our government doesn’t answer the phone unless it is the special line with the number that is only given out to the big donors.

          The effort has to be way outside that box at this point. Think strategies like those used by Act Up. At a minimum. Or … Occupy!

    2. Ms G

      ” … more “sustainable”

      Hey Barack, living under your regime is no longer sustainable for us, the American people. So you need to pack your trunk and your little bag of fraud tricks (“balance,” “sustainable,” “hope and change”) and take a hike — far away from our country. For good.

  4. the idiot

    Regarding Feedly, I have been playing around with for the past few days, and here are my opinions so far.

    *The magazine style interface is a little bulky, and a little bit unwieldy compared to Google Reader. I seem to get the fastest, most similar use out of it using the Titles view.

    *I just have a lot of Categories and and lot of feeds. And this can make it take a long time to load everything sometimes.

    *The thing I hate about it the most is that I have not been able to get it to connect to Twitter yet for me. I link a lot of articles on Twitter, and this feature on Google Reader was very valuable for me. I have tried to change my Twitter settings to no avail. No sure what I am doing wrong or if others are having this problem.

    *I do like the Feedly Mini box that appears on all my pages when I am outside of Feedly.

    *The sync between Google Reader and Feedly has worked flawlessly back and forth, so that is a huge plus moving forward.

    It’s not perfect, and I hope I can figure out my Twitter issues, but after researching and trying other readers, it’s the best I have found so far. I still have tried yet, and that will be the next alternative I test.

    1. Scott Free

      Re: Feedly, What I really liked about Google Reader was synchronizing across platforms – I read on Windows and Android. With GR I had the same UI and my content was synched. If I understand correctly, Feedly and most of its competitors handle synching through GR and thus are likely to loose that function once GR ends. The first reader that crosses platforms and handles synching natively gets my vote.

      I agree that the magazine style interface is unwieldy but I believe there are options that get it much closer the the simple GR list style. There are lots of options!

    2. Ned Ludd

      According to a comment on Hacker News, there is no easy way to leave Feedly and take your subscription list with you.

      As far as I can tell Feedly has no OPML export feature, so if it eventually goes away it’s a dead end for users.

      (Please prove me wrong, but I searched the site and also installed the extension to try and find one.)

      Regarding Twitter, Twitter ended support for RSS a few weeks ago.

      Twitter officially unveiled version 1.1 of its API Wednesday, deprecating support for longstanding features such as RSS in the process. […]

      Apps that use RSS, XML or Atom will need to shift to JSON or other API methods by March 5, 2013.

      Applications can be rewritten to use Twitter’s proprietary API, through which “Twitter can control and monitor who is using its data and how that data is being used.”

      1. sd

        Why are Facebook, Apple, Google and Twitter working so hard to kill RSS? Is there a conspiracy at work here?

        1. Ms G

          More proof that Aron Swartz was a threat to very powerful interests. Didn’t he, as barely a teenager, basically create the “bones” of RSS?

    3. Dan

      Consider looking at Newsblur as well. The open-source nature plus actual paid structure (for full account) make it seem a little more future proof. Feedly has a weird dependence on “extensions” rather than an actual website for browser access, and details are scarce about what their non-GR backend, other than promised to be seamless.

      See for a description of their strategy (emphasizing mobile and advertising).

      TheOldReader is looking at freemium model see:

      The other option is self-hosting Tiny-Tiny RSS.

      1. giulio

        I have tried a bunch of RSS readers this weekend.

        Feedly is
        – Too slow both to load and to read
        – No *real* list view
        – You cannot skim more than one feed at a time
        – Feeds are updated too infrequently (your St. Patrick’s day links are not yet there).

        I am reading this on Netvibes which I find even better than Google reader for skimming. The widget view allows you to have all headlines from various feeds on one page.

        If only I could, figure out how to increase the font size…

        1. aidee

          As per the many comments above, syncing between devices is something i’d like to retain i.e. Google Reader on the desktop and Reeder on iOS.

          Shall wait it out to see what develops but leaning towards hosting my own using Fever; can be a source for other clients (like Reeder, yay) and the desktop:

          Another solution (again host your own) is Tiny Tiny RSS but not sure of how it works with other clients:

          No affiliations to any of the above suggestions :)

  5. skippy

    Decision Delayed on Dangerous Chemical Found in Drinking Water

    Science correspondent Miles O’Brien talks to scientists, members of the chemical industry and representatives from Pacific Gas and Electric about chromium-6 contamination in American drinking water. What is a safe level for humans to consume and why has the EPA stalled on setting a federal standard?

    mysko69 • a day ago −
    You think this is bad, go ask those gas-fracking-idiots what they’re doing with the millions – or maybe billions by now – of gallons of radioactive toxic chemical waste that’s left over from fracking those wells. They’ve been dumping this stuff right into the very rivers and streams that supply drinking water to millions of people. In some places right up-stream from the water intake plants that process our water. And they refused to do testing on the water. But those intake plants reported their equipment was being eaten away very high salt levels. The real problem is the radiation. State and gas company reports found radiation levels hundreds to thousands of times higher than anything that would be considered legal. These psychos are going to leave behind a disaster that’s never been seen before. Those corporate politicians in Washington have gotten to the point where profits are more important than people’s lives.

    Skippy… as in corporate – financial compliance… its just finding someone whom will – sign off – for the – right amount – of – MONEY…

    1. AbyNormal

      example playing out now:

      Fracking waste could go to N.C. coastal towns if ban is lifted


      Forty years ago, when North Carolina banned using deep wells to permanently dump industrial waste, some thought the issue had been decided for good. Now state lawmakers who want to turn North Carolina into the nation’s next fracking hotspot are reopening the case for injecting brines and toxins deep underground. (worth the read)

  6. RetiredinSoBe

    On the Senate Investigation of the JPM Whale issue. Gretchen Morgenson of NYT’s piece is particularly frustrating.

    For me, the big story is that the CEO, Jamie Dimon, and then CFO, Douglas Braunstein (and current vice chairman) lied and are in violation of numerous securities laws.

    There are many great sentences in the report, but a very good one is the last sentence in it:

    “The bank’s initial claims that its risk managers and regulators were fully informed and engaged, and that the SCP was invested in long-term, risk-reducing hedges allowed by the Volcker Rule, were fictions irreconcilable with the bank’s obligation to provide material information to its investors in an accurate manner.”

    300+-page Senate committee report:
    660+pages of exhibits:

    1. craazyman

      That’s my guru. I’ll tell him you thought he was my pet. He’ll crack up laughing.

  7. squasha

    thanks for the Counterpunch link, the article navigates some dicey nuances fairly well, although a mention of the tendency to reduce prescribed action to voting & occasional phone-bombing of seated politicians, along with potential long-term effects this sort of training is likely to produce in the electorate would have fleshed it out that much more. It would also be worth mentioning the long traditions of the publications and organizations listed, to lay a wee bit more stress on their cooption rather than leaving the reader with the impression of a sinister monolithic megaphone coextensive with that of the Right.

      1. squasha

        seems more like a reiteration with call and response than a dissection (with a splash of ‘wake up sheeple’ thrown in to spice things up), but ok.

      2. SR6719

        Yes, a spiced up reiteration with call and response is a more accurate description.

        But dissecting would require lots of time and effort, would it not?

  8. McKillop

    The peculiarity of St. Patrick’s (non)Day is somewhat matched, to my mind, by the practice of putting up a plastic replica, pre-lit, of a Christmas tree. Or even, “pre-ordering” stuff.

  9. jsmith2

    Greetings NC readers!

    I am send here by Comrade Mar-Kos for to replace commenter jsmith.

    jsmith bad machine, he thinka too much. I good machine, I not thinka so much.

    I am jsmith2, the Kos-approved O-bot version of jsmith one.

    Check out my you tube below. It only take 31 seconds!

    1. AbyNormal

      ; )
      To enslave an individual troubles your consciences, Archivist, but to enslave a clone is no more troubling than owning the latest six-wheeler ford, ethically. Because you cannot discern our differences, you assume we have none. But make no mistake: even same-stem fabricants cultured in the same wombtank are as singular as snowflakes.
      d.mitchell, cloud atlas

    2. jsmith2

      Obama have perform MAGNIFICENT! He balance very very good the affair of state and that which is close to his heart. His dream see justice and fairness for every American. His critics finda many many thing to slam him. They need look at de big picture.

      He wanta close de Guantanamo but dat not easy, he play it safe, he have family.

      Have he make all of changes what I want? No, but he only president, he not de King. I have hope for de single payer healthcare and his efforts very very good start.

      I still have a hopes dat dis be comin’ soon.

        1. Valissa

          “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” – Mark Twain

    1. Paul Tioxon

      “Here’s to you as good as you are

      And here’s to me as bad as I am


      As GOOD as you are and

      As BAD as I am

      I’m as good as you are as bad as I am.”

      Deaths of Irish workers in Chesco in 1832 may be murder, researchers say

      In June, 1832, a group of 57 Irish immigrants from Donegal, Tyrone, and Derry arrived in Philadelphia. They were brought to Chester County by a fellow Irishman named Philip Duffy as laborers for the construction of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, Pennsylvania’s pioneering railroad. Within six weeks, all were dead of cholera and possibly violence, and were buried anonymously in a ditch outside of Malvern.

      Happy St Patrick’s Day, it was good while it lasted.

    1. Ms G

      Yep. Plus Corzining appears to be more widespread than MF Global, see, e.g., Josh Rosner report on JPM use of customer account cash to speculate, bet and pay Slimin’ Dimon and his cronies lotsa cash.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        NYT travel writers exist in a four star tourist bubble for the most part. When I read them writing about places I know they seem to always completely miss anything remotely authentic or frequented by real local people–which of course is where the real joy of immersion in a place is found.

  10. Paul Walker

    Why should those deemed “the talented” of American youth wish to associate themselves with the “better” American universities after how MIT and the US government treated Aaron?

    1. different clue

      Being assassinated by a government engineered suicide is being treatly pretty badly. Wannabe-students considering government-collaborator institutions like MIT should indeed perhaps consider the possibility that they may indeed be assassinated by government engineered suicide if they misbehave “badly enough”. MIT in particular seems like a “hazardous to your health” university to attend, does it not?

  11. Ignim Brites

    Corzining the Cypriot depositors may have been a signal to the Italians and Spanish to get out of the Euro. It will also provide a source of fresh deposits to German, and possibly French banks. Maybe they need it. That would really be a worry.

    1. Ignim Brites

      Sorry. Meant as a reply to Jim Haygood’s comment. “To corzine” is his invention — as far as I know. And very apt too.

      1. Jim Haygood

        I wish. But ‘corzining’ was invented by better linguists than I. Now the term belongs to all humanity.

      2. Ms G

        “Corzining” entered mainstream idiom (for those paying attention, at least) about the same time as “vaporizing,” which is what happens to one’s money when it is corzined.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      If colleges brought in the talented poor in anything like a meritocratic process, where would the indolent hedonistic mediocre offspring of the 1% fit into that picture?

      1. different clue

        They would be served by the talented poor, who would be meritocratically trained to serve them.

  12. Fadda I have sinned

    In his third-rate parochial school Brennan had already swallowed the CIA dogma of a tradeoff between human rights and stability. Back then the little rimjob-ready altarboy thought that maybe the only absolute human right might be freedom from torture, but of course, in the clutch a grown-up Brennan blew off the one apodictic principle he ever had in his miserable life. He really is the perfect man for the job.

    It will be entertaining to watch victims’ advocates make mincemeat of this theological dilettante. Treaty bodies, rapporteurs and litigators will chase him back under Father Finger’s skirts. There’s nothing sadder than a dumb jesuit. Universal jurisdiction, the big time. A lap on the beads won’t get you off the hook.

    Until the next Carter-style purge of the Covert Service psychos, Brennan makes a good pinata for the civilized world.

    1. Expat

      From your link, John Brennan in Grad School: Destroying Democracy Helps Save It,

      “Today, Egypt is in an official state of emergency….” So is the US:

      Just search for “national emergency” on Some have statutory authority, some are by proclamation and some are by Executive Order.

      In a security state, you govern via emergency declarations. Just the opposite of democracy.

    2. Fadda I had impure thoughts

      And all are governed by CCPR Article 4, which provides for emergency rule and restricts government abuses:

      1. In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.

      2. No derogation from articles 6, 7, 8 (paragraphs I and 2), 11, 15, 16 and 18 may be made under this provision.

      3. Any State Party to the present Covenant availing itself of the right of derogation shall immediately inform the other States Parties to the present Covenant, through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. A further communication shall be made, through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.

      c.f. US practice since 9/11. The US government will never mention that law to the population but they are going to spend a lot of time stammering out explanations to the Human Rights Committee. Article 4 obligations are binding as supreme law of the land. US government compliance is evaluated by independent experts chosen by all the treaty parties. It’s easy to gull two bleached skeletons, a convulsing Fauntleroy and two hairy-backed Papists who couldn’t get into Harvard. It’s hard to con the wider world.

      1. Ms G

        “It’s easy to gull two bleached skeletons, a convulsing Fauntleroy and two hairy-backed Papists who couldn’t get into Harvard. It’s hard to con the wider world.”

        Nicely put!

    1. bob

      I bet his “award” doesn’t count as a deposit. If it did, he’d need more to cover what he already borrowed from them.

      “It’s understood that Eliades had taken out a €1.9m loan from the bank; so his compensation covers the amount he owed plus a little extra.”

    2. Bill Smith

      I was expecting an Onion piece. This is quite disappointing. D’ya think he’ll know of some safe tax shelter place to put the $2M?

      1. Ms G

        Maybe this whole Affaire Cyprus is just a quiet coup by the Bank of England to force all accounts containing the ill-gotten gains of looters to move to Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

        That would shore up Britain’s liquidity issues somewhat!

  13. john bougearel


    Lucky for JPM on the congressional hot seat this weekend that the Cyprian Extortion solution came up. What a huge distraction Cyprus shall prove to be. Leastways, this will take a lot of eyes off of JPM’s malfeasance.

  14. john bougearel

    Oh and Happy St Paddies day to ya! May the road always rise up to meet ya and the luck of the Irish be with you now and forever.

  15. Hugh

    The Cyprus bank deal is a more overt example of looting. That German looters are looting some Russian and Central Asian looters is a side issue. As Henry Blodget points out in the Business Insider article, this sets up a new model for looting throughout the periphery and could completely undermine the last vestiges of the European banking system. It literally makes keeping cash under the mattress look like the wiser and smarter choice.

    All the major economic centers are set up to fall. I don’t know that Cyprus will be another Creditanstalt event, but is is the kind of miscalculation that I would expect to cause one. It is like watching a juggler with eight objects in the air. We know they can’t keep it up. Sooner or later, there will be a slip, a lapse in concentration, a bobble, and then it will all come falling down, but we can’t say with any certainty when this will happen, only that it will happen.

    1. Bill Smith

      The Henry Blodget article was a good simple summary of how things could go assuming the Cyprus “Butterfly Effect” is capable of collapsing the western world.

      Probably worse than making people realize that depositors may get dinged anywhere in the EU, is making them realize(again) there are way too many zombie banks around, and if push comes to shove, maybe banks can fail – especially under the weird structure they have in Europe – and maybe deposit insurance is no good, and no one has a workable plan for dealing with zombies that doesn’t leave zombies all around.

      There are still many headwinds which can dissipate the butterfly effect. There will be much jawboning from the ECB, Troika, and IMF about how they really love their 1% source of funds and maintain the cash drip to keep the banks animated.

      One thing I’ve been wondering for more than 4 years is if you want to run from all banks, where do you run? I don’t want to move my mattress to a bank vault. Even a bigger problem for biz. It’s like having a boogar on your finger and no matter how hard you shake it, you can’t get rid of it.

  16. Valissa

    In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, some cartoons

    Starting off with a set of “traditional” images

    Next, a political statement

    Tough times for the little people

    But not for these guys

    … and now for something completely different

    1. AbyNormal

      bahahahahaa the ‘something different’ is hilarious

      If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is. bukowski, factotum

      1. Valissa

        great quote!

        a moneyed set…

        $$$ Swimsuit Edition

        Doing what comes natural

        It’s an international trend

        What’s in a stereotype?

        Pondering one of life’s mysteries

      2. craazyman

        I had a very good friend, a poet and playwright who ran a literary magazine and Bukowski would send in poems and he’d publish them, long before anyone knew who Bukowski was. My friend lived downtown in an old walkup with a fake skull and walls of leather bound books and he was interested in anything human in a no-bullshit way. We’d talk in one hour about Michaelangelo, Freud, Alien abductions, Jesus, Jung, insanity, the Yankees, prostitutes, writing, Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, Van Gogh’s letters and Antonin Artaud. It wasn’t anything strange or self-conscious or affected. It was just a normal conversation while we smoked a few cigarettes and kicked back, beside the skull and walls of old classic hardbound books he’d covered with leather cut from jackets that had worn out, glued on with care and craft, as a form of benediction. Bukowski would always get the first few pages of each magazine. 4 or 5 pages. And I still remember the first time I read anything he’d written, I thought “Shit this guy has the line. He has it down totally.” One day a few years later I came over and my friend said “Listen to this” and he turned on his answering machine to play a message. It was a voice that sounded like some aristocrat in a movie in the 1930s, a graceful articulateness polite and civilized, that said he had lukemia and was going into the hosptial and it wouldn’t be too long from here. It was Bukowski. I thought “Shit, he doesn’t sound at all like he writes.” Now they’re both dead. Going down there was always like going to an oasis, even though you’d see movement in your peripheral vision and it would be a cockroach crawling on your armchair in the dark, or across the wooden floor. It was like that, dark stained wood with cigarette smoke everywhere and lamplight with blankets to keep out the light of the day. Usually the cockroach would make it to a crack in the floor and disappear before either of us would decide to crush it. It was a lot of work to get up crush it and throw it away, and we were usually lost in some thought anyway. He’s dead now too, my friend that is. You’d think from the outside it might be glamorous in some way, to be a literati, but it was just hard, hard days and struggles mostly for him. Yet somehow it always seemed so much more real than life, just to go down there and open the mind with someone for whom nothing human was strange or awkward. He’d always show me Bukowski’s letters, which were like his poems and books, illustrated with little cartoons that were quite good. Anyway, it’s all gone. You know it is, you wish you could just go down one more time, just one, and say “Man, thank you for your soul and your friendship. I didn’t realize at the time just what a gift it was. But I do now.” So hard to be human and it just gets harder, it seems, the way things are these days, when so few you meet really are.

        1. AbyNormal

          Damn. i’d have been honored to be the cockroach or even the matchbook.

          Golden Craazy, Thanks.

        2. Chauncey Gardiner

          hell is a closed door
          when you’re starving for your god-
          damned art
          but sometimes you feel at least like having a
          peek through the
          —Charles Bukowski

          Thanks craazy!

  17. Brent Musburger, Jr (news anchor)

    Breaking News! This Just in!

    The NYPD have arrested and charged Gladys Rivera (an unemployed secretary from the Bronx) in the murder of Manhattan billionaire Peter Pinguid.

    Peter Pinguid was found dead this morning in his $90 million condo at 157 West 57 Street, the victim of multiple stab wounds. An NYPD spokesman said that Pinguid’s body (apparently in some kind of macabre joke) looked like a ”rather mediocre imitation” of a Jackson Pollock painting. Police are investigating whether or not this has anything to do with Pinguid’s purchase of the Jackson Pollock painting “Number 5, 1948” from David Geffen in 2006 for $140 million.

    Mayor Bloomberg called this the most tragic incident in the history of New York City, and declared Monday, March 18 to be an official day of mourning.

    Story developing….

      1. skippy

        They have to tread lightly… bastard child may ensue proxy fight over estate… and on top of that… there were quite few – others – at that orgy… can of worms… eh… Bloomie???

        Skippy… Personally… methinks it was the young thing that came by to water the plants… Gladys confided with them (accidental meeting in the commons)… unwitting in the knowledge that PP had made a similar arrangement’s… conflicts and garden tools… did someone say Jackson Pollock painting?

      2. lambert strether

        We’re assuming Gladys is guilty. We’re also assuming that only Gladys is guilty (cf. Murder on the Orient Express).

        For myself, I trust this Brent Musberger fellow as far as I can throw a piano — a concert grand — and will anxiously await more credible sourcing.

        1. Valissa

          I don’t think Gladys is guilty… I think Gladys was framed! I’ll bet Peter Pinguid has kicked more than one fellow .01-percenter down to the .1-percent ranks and as a result has plenty of enemies. It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya!

          1. Bill Smith

            I think Pete Jr. killed him for the inheritance – knowing Pete Sr. would get a body transplant and live forever. Motive , ya’know.

            But then Pete Jr. made the mistake of trying to bury a billionaire in Manhattan, and well, Zombie!

            But poor Pete Sr. has to start over and work his way back up the ladder, consuming small banks, and searching for the FRBNY without benefit of Bentley and driver.

            Glady’s goes to jail no matter what of course.

    1. Valissa

      I am utterly gobsmacked to hear of the death of honorable Peter Pinguid!! What a devastating plot development ;) Am hoping against hope that our dearly departed Peter will continue to communicate his .01-percenter insights from the grave… perhaps as the Shade of Peter Pinguid?

      1. Bill Smith

        He could come back as a penniless zombie, robbing small banks, and endlessly searching for the Federal Bank of New York?

  18. Ms G

    Somebody PLEASE explain!

    Any theories as to why the USPS union(s) are not pouncing on this Cyprus thing and grabbing all microphones and advocating for an EXPANSION of the USPS into a Boring Bank for the 99.9%?

    Wouldn’t this be the perfect Shock Doctrine opportunity for USPS? Isn’t their union hundreds of thousands strong (at least)?!

    C’mon man!

    1. Eureka Springs

      Precisely. ‘Tis a rare occasion when a pause like this occurs between the shock and the drop of the next doctrine axe. The so called left isn’t just dropping the ball again… they have no ball. The silence from all USPS affiliated unions is perhaps most deafening just from a self preservation standpoint.

      1. Ms G

        But why?

        Have they all made some secret deal with Obama and Slimin’ Dimon that all current employees and their spouses and offspring will receive life long stipends and health benefits in exchange for standing down to allow USPS to be taken down?

        Any theories out there?

  19. AbyNormal

    my brother called to tell me he’s got Goodwill Hunting going in the background (for kicks)…he tuned in on Will’s NSA interview and asked me ‘Aby, how the hell did we think it wasn’t going to get Worse?’

    Will: Why shouldn’t I work for the N.S.A.? That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at the N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people that I never met and that I never had no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, “Send in the marines to secure the area” ’cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number was called, ’cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin’ play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy’s out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s walking to the fuckin’ job interviews, which sucks ’cause the schrapnel in his ass is givin’ him chronic hemorroids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’ ’cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure, fuck it, while I’m at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for your link to Cullen Roche’s article on the so called stock market “Wealth Effect”. IMO the past four plus years have abundantly demonstrated there is inadequate evidence to support the view held by Messrs Greenspan and Bernanke in favor of continuation of this policy.

    IMO the relentless effort to push the stock and bond markets ever upward is merely another “Wag the Dog” program expending enormous financial resources that disproportionately benefit banks through mark-to-market accounting of their securities portfolios and sales of their MBS to the Fed, senior corporate managers who receive stock option compensation, and the relatively small percentage of Americans who own stocks. It would be interesting to determine to what extent the latter group are either sitting on their accumulated wealth from market gains, or are parking financial assets in perceived “safe havens” outside the country.

    Rather than putting additional QE money into the Primary Dealers to relentlessly push the stock and bond markets higher with QE Cash and undertake other hidden policy objectives, fiscal spending initiatives on education, infrastructure maintenance and improvements, development of alternative energy, healthcare, and other socially desirable objectives that benefit the American people need to be undertaken.

    Were QE to be stopped tomorrow I believe stock and bond market prices would likely fall, as I think there is inadequate support for current prices from the real economy. But so what? Although we would likely be subjected to an expression of angst by captured corporate financial media personalities who might see the market values of their own currently fat portfolios decline, the impact of declining stock and bond prices on the majority of Americans and the real economy would be rather limited IMO.

    In summary, despite the magnitude of the monetary resources and the financial engineering that have been allocated to propel and perpetuate the stock and bond markets moves upward over the past four years, the so called “Wealth Effect” has been shown to largely be another illusion. At this point the proponents of this policy should be required to shoulder a very high burden of proof as to why this policy should be continued.

    1. Bill Smith


      Stock volume only about half of what it was pre-crash – plus lots of bots doing the half. Were is everyone?

      1. lambert strether

        I think we should forces people to enter the stock market, exactly in the same way that ObamaCare forces people to enter the health insurance market. Otherwise, Mr. Market might have a sad. Therefore, the National Security is at stake! How about a 10% “confidence” levy on all individual checking accounts?

        1. Ms G

          That’s exactly what the Fed-Treasury-Bankistan have done — using every method (ZIRP, etc.) short of mandatory legislation. But you are right, I don’t see that as a totally off the wall prediction.

          Remember Bush told us to guy buy stuff after 9/11 (I think he was filmed at Walmart buying some junk when he made his public service announcement on the TV.) And at the same time, word was out that we should all go out and spend-spend because we can’t let terrorists intimidate us and because FREEDOM!

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