Links 3/23/13

Dinosaur-killing rock ‘was a comet’ BBC

Researchers Grow Human Organs in Lab Wall Street Journal

Victoria’s Secret Angel Chanel Iman reveals racist attitudes from the fashion industry Daily Mail (May S). Saint Laurent, who grew up in Algeria, departed from industry norms in using a lot of black runway models.

Twenty money-saving tips from bankers and their wives eFinancial News

Mapping the Internet: A Hacker’s Secret Internet Census Der Spiegel. Lambert: “So, can Obama put this guy on the ‘disposition matrix’?”

More Cyprus:

Cyprus: A poor diagnosis, a bitter pill Financial Times. A detailed discussion of the negotiations, with emphasis on the bad assumptions within the Troika

Why Russian Oligarchs Are Laughing Off The Cyprus Haircut Clusterstock

If capital controls are introduced in Cyprus, it is the end of the single currency in all but name Telegraph

Angela Merkel reportedly outraged over Cyprus’s behaviour Guardian. I hope she comes back as a chicken in a factory farm.

Plunderball – The new Euro banking game Golem XIV

EU rescue may tilt Cyprus from Moscow in regional power shift Reuters. Will there be anything left to shift?

‘Banco de Mattress’ looms for Cypriots John Dizard, Financial Times

Luxembourg Has A Very Serious Case Of ‘Money Center Debt Syndrome’ Bruce Krasting

How the Cyprus bank closure is crippling business on the island The

Asselborn warns Germany of hurtful tone towards smaller EU nations, via @faisalislam: Germany’s tax haven freaks out about the Cyprus rhetoric.

Cyprus: The Operation Was a Success. Shame the Patient Died Snapshot of “progress”. Take particular note of the conclusions about the Cyprus economy post bailout.

Mossad Hacked by Sector404 & Anonymous LeakSource (Deontos)

Peter King Blabs Jordan Secret In Capture Of Bin Laden Son-In-Law Huffington Post (furzy mouse)

CIA Expands Its Role in Syria Fight Wall Street Journal

US plan calls for more scanning of private Web traffic, email Reuters. Quelle surprise!

Comcast VP Says U.S. Isn’t Falling Behind Rest Of World In Broadband, Probably Can’t Read Graphs Consumerist

Brother of billionaire Raj Rajaratnam indicted on insider trading charges Guardian

Former Harrisburg receiver calls for swap ban, more state oversight, at national municipal finance summit Penn Live (May S). The problem is some states like Alabama are so corrupt that I doubt state oversight would help. But the flip side is a lot of municipalities lack finance competence and are sheep to be sheared.

Chase Bank’s Online Customers Stunned to See $0 Balances DailyFinance (Carol B)

The Fed Is Printing Money, But Where Is It Going? They Know But Will Not Say Jesse

America: A Nation of Permanent Freelancers and Temps Atlantic (May S)

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Flying Kiwi

    Re the Golem XIV ‘Plunderball’ article.

    New Zealand’s KiwiBank was set up as a pseudo state bank by a vaguely socialist Government in 2002 under the auspices of the postal service, all the nation’s other main banks being Australian-owned.

    I bank and deposit with it on the following basis.

    Deposits are presently covered by the following guarantee:
    “New Zealand Post Limited, our parent company, has guaranteed our payment obligations, including any payment obligation in respect of any deposit made with us. The guarantee does not apply to payment obligations where the terms of the obligation expressly provide in writing that the obligation will not have the benefit of the guarantee. This means that the guarantee does not apply to unsecured, subordinated bonds issued by us. The guarantee is not secured and its amount is not limited. The guarantee is unconditional and is terminable by New Zealand Post Limited upon three months’ notice to us. Any such termination does not affect any existing payment obligations owed under the guarantee at the termination date.”

    However if adopted the Open Bank Resolution would be a requirement for all banks operating in NZ as a requirement of the Reserve Bank. It is not an opt in, opt out situation.

    Although NZ’s banks are reportedly very strong and Kiwibank is performing well and rated the 22nd strongest bank in the world (according to KiwiBank!) the withdrawal of the guarantee is clearly going to affect my thinking and I am going to have to reconsider how much I leave on deposit in the bank. If this is the case for me I cannot imagine how anyone in the Eurozone can now trust their bank any further than they could throw the COE’s desk.

    Ps. I have to wonder if the final sentence of the NZ Post guarantee means that it cannot be withdrawn with regard to existing deposits at the time of termination.

    1. bmeisen

      Thanks for the tip – Bolano in the New Yorker! They’re finally printing some literature!

    2. Pinguin Chronicles

      Well, the story is from 2005, so it might be the last good thing the New Yorker published.

      Here’s an interesting anecdote about Bolano’s life from Wikipedia:

      “A key episode Bolaño’s life, mentioned in different forms in several of his works, occurred in 1973, when he left Mexico for Chile to “help build the revolution” by supporting the socialist regime of Salvador Allende. After Augusto Pinochet’s coup against Allende, Bolaño was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist and spent eight days in custody. He was rescued by two former classmates who had become prison guards. Bolaño describes this experience in the story “Dance Card.”

      According to the version of events he provides in this story, he was not tortured as he had expected, but “in the small hours I could hear them torturing others; I couldn’t sleep and there was nothing to read except a magazine in English that someone had left behind. The only interesting article in it was about a house that had once belonged to Dylan Thomas. . . I got out of that hole thanks to a pair of detectives who had been at high school with me in Los Ángeles.

      The episode is also recounted, from the point of view of Bolaño’s former classmates, in the story “Detectives.” Nevertheless, since 2009 Bolaño’s Mexican friends from that era have cast doubts on whether he was even in Chile in 1973 at all.”

  2. skippy

    Dear xxxx,

    Saving for the future can be a bit like fulfilling New Year’s resolutions. You start out with good intentions, but keeping it up is hard. There’s always something else you find to spend your money on.

    We can help you win this battle with a Regular Savings Plan. It’s easy – it just takes a couple of minutes and once set up, you don’t even need to think about it.

    Better still, when you deposit $250 or more into your NetBank Saver Account (**** **** **** ) each month during April, May and June we’ll put $40 in your account (paid by the end of July 2013). So what are you waiting for?

    It’s easy to kick-start your savings with a Regular Savings Plan

    Remember to set up your Regular Savings Plan for $250 or more each month so that you can receive the $40 reward. All it takes is a couple of minutes.

    Happy saving.

    Skippy… Some e-mail spam from my friendly banking provider… cough can you say… fating reserve ratios… PLEASE! Oh BTW they also just bought controlling interest in the key sub prime mortgage provider down under… nice~

    PS. at least its a change of pace from swapping credit spit with one year zero interest CC french tongue extension prosthesis… of time line event reality. How many bags can they fit over it[?] (tongue extension prosthesis) till neuro narcolepsy sets in… if that has not already happened… ???

    1. Ms G

      The new retail financial product modes: put your money in our hands and we’ll give you a few bucks in exchange for holding on to it (for ever). The perfect fusion of private sector “products” and Cyprus-style governemnt “programs”!


      1. Stephen Nightingale

        It’s a complete redefinition of bank robbery. Used to be, you went into the bank with a stocking over your head and came out with money. Now, you go into the bank with money, and come out with a jolly rogering.

  3. Ms G

    Re “Chase Bank’s online customers find their accounts with zero balances.”

    The Chase PR Department: “It has nothing [to do with] cyberthreats; it’s an internal issue. We are very sorry to our customers for the inconvenience.”

    I would have been far more reassured if it had to do with a cyberthreat [hacking took down Chase’s site for over 24 hours earlier this week, by the way]. “Internal issue” — allows for the possibility that Chase (nudged by Obama-Treasury-Fed) is beta-testing the US public’s reaction to Cyprus-style confiscations.

    1. AbyNormal

      i had the same thought…remember its was 5 business days before RBS bank manager publicly acknowledged they had run out of toasters.

      too many of my family members still swear by Chase and they say these ‘blackouts’ happen often…i remind them the ‘blips’ are also known as ‘conditioning’

      It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Krishnamurti

    2. YankeeFrank

      This ties in nicely with our discussion from a few weeks ago regarding the lack of investment and care the banks take with their software systems. Zeroing accounts is likely a direct consequence of scotch-taping poorly written “real-time” banking on top of ancient legacy systems such that your bank balance is likely stored in many systems in a duplicative manner. If those systems are out of sync, zero balances are a likely result. Tightly coupled, massively distributed systems such as the banks use are disastrously unreliable. Frankly, its amazing they work as well as they do. Expect many more of these occurrences as banks continue to patch crap on top of crap, using cheaper and cheaper (read poorly trained and treated as fungible) engineers for their work.

  4. Dikaios Logos

    re: Yves Saint Laurent, he was from Algeria, not Morocco. A small quibble, he was definitely from the Magreb.

    The larger point about models still stands strongly. The lack of non-European looking models always screamed to me that something other than sex, at least other than sex qua sex, drove ‘beauty’ standards. The cliquishness of fashion makes me see the common male imperative to pursue many women and many types of women as a real boon to humanity and helpful counterweight to that nonsense.

  5. kjboro

    Jeremy Neuner points to the rapidly growing “nation of freelancers and temps’ – and then proceeds to focus on some key implications …. but, why does he not explore even in a paragraph the core, driving reality behind these numbers: corporations obsessive mania for reducing the costs of and investment in, labor….. we’re not just becoming a ‘nation of freelancer and temps’… we’re becoming a ‘nation of paupers’

  6. Jim Haygood

    Schwartzenegger, meet Sturzenegger:

    The president of Banco Ciudad [in Buenos Aires], Federico Sturzenegger, said today that “the dollar has no ceiling.”

    “If the government keeps printing, the dollar will keep rising,” said the economist on the ‘Early Saturday’ program on Radio Mitre.

    “This is a movie that we’ve already lived: the Argentina of high inflation in the Seventies and Eighties. The government has a fiscal deficit and it’s financed by printing,” said Sturzenegger.

    “Argentina needs to deregulate everything, for the dollar to find its price. The weak dollar [i.e., overvalued peso] creates many problems,” said the economist.

    Sturzenegger recalled that “Plan Primavera [at the end of the government of Raúl Alfonsín] ended in hyperinflation because the government did not address the underlying problem, the fiscal deficit. The situation [today] is strikingly better. What’s happening in Argentina is unnecessary.”

    “Clearly there is government malpractice. You could bring in the best economist in the world, but if the president wants to maintain the level of spending, the problems are going to remain the same.”

    “It makes no sense to have this level of inflation. Some supermarkets are limiting their price increases, but other than that, inflation is continuing at the same rate. The price restraint agreement is purely cosmetic,” concluded Sturzenegger.

    Estimated inflation from Price Stats [formerly the Billion Prices Project at MIT]: 24.8%

  7. peace

    Thanks for a good laugh!

    “‘Angela Merkel reportedly outraged over Cyprus’s behaviour Guardian.’ I hope she comes back as a chicken in a factory farm.”

  8. diptherio

    Extortion Ocwen Style, Breach of Settlement Agreement Wells Fargo Style

    After agreeing to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure (and to cancel all credit report trade lines associated with the mortgage), Wells Fargo’s servicer, Ocwen, continued to send the borrower notices of money owed (eventually reaching a sum of $299,000). Despite numerous calls and letters to both Ocwen and Wells from both the borrower and her attorney, neither of the companies seemed to be able to stop either the past due notices or the trade lines that reappeared on the borrower’s credit report.

    Neither Wells nor Ocwen has offered a reasonable explanation for how or why this happened, but their attempts to avoid accountability are somewhat humorous (if you’re into absurdist comedy). I would suggest that what we have here is another example of Wells Fargo’s shoddy and illegal accounting system. Last April Wells was fined 3.1 million in a bankruptcy case after admitting that their accounting software was designed so as to misapply mortgage payments in order to maximize Wells’ fees. Wells was given the opportunity to avoid the fine by fixing their accounting software but declined, choosing instead to pay the fine and keep their fraudulent software.

    My guess would be that it is this rogue software that is the explanation for Wells’ and Ocwen’s otherwise bizarre behavior. I would imagine that despite the best efforts of Wells’ attorneys and Ocwen’s staff, the accounting software proved incorrigible and kept doing what it was programmed to do (attempting to fleece every customer) automatically, without regard to human input. Wells’ zombie accounting software is creating quantum debt(tm)…the kind that just springs magically into existence.

    Damages in the case will be decided in April, stay tuned…

    1. Ms G

      Yea, no kidding. How is it *not* the software “glitch” — they kept it admitting that it was designed to make them fees, so it worked as planned.

      “Wells was given the opportunity to avoid the fine by fixing their accounting software but declined, choosing instead to pay the fine and keep their fraudulent software.”

      I love this. So let’s say I’m doing experiments in my kitchen with hydrofluoric acid and other such substances — the fumes obviously penetrate the walls of all the other apartments in my building. Does the prosecutor give me the option to just pay a fine and keep doing my experiements?

      1. diptherio

        I know, wtf right? I haven’t seen any new developments in that case, so as far as I know Wells will pay a fine, but not be forced to correct their accounting software. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know if a bankruptcy court judge can issue a cease-and-desist order in this kind of matter. But even if she can’t, you would think that some prosecutor would pick up on this and run with it. It’s public record for cripe’s sake!

        1. Ms G

          Cripe’s sake is right. But we know all about why no prosecutor is picking this up, right? Lanny Tool Breuer and Eric Bag Holder admitted publicly that a Wells Fargo can’t be prosecuted BECAUSE COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM! (Not that they every addressed prosecuting the individual a**holes who actually engineered this system and approved its continued use and told regulators that they would keep using it.)

  9. craazyman

    So it’s not just asteroids but comet strikes we have to worry about?

    Everybody needs their own backyard telescope ’cause you can’t believe a word the govermint says.

    When it gets this serious, they have to lie.

    1. Dogberry

      And if your backyard telescope spots a asteroid/comet the size of New Jersey hurtling straight towards earth, what’ya gonna do?

      1. craazyman

        I wouldn’t change my routine for something like that. I’d just lay around in a dreamy state and waste time, like usual.

      2. Zachary Smith

        If a monster comet was heading our way I’d hope there was a “Plan B” – like somebody having a 200 megaton warhead mounted on a big ‘ready-to-go’ rocket.

        Speaking of monster comets, I recently read speculation Pluto was exactly that.

        Fascinating stuff!

  10. Garrett Pace

    Modeling industry racism

    Poor models, after expensive surgeries and fanatic exercise to not run afoul of industry prejudices against the fat and ugly, realize there are prejudices they can’t do anything about.

    Though prejudice against Ms. Iman’s skin color is of course against the law in this country…

  11. Jim Haygood

    Article caption near the top of today’s Times-Titanic web page:

    “Brokers forecast another scorching summer in the Hamptons, where properties from cottages to mansions still seduce.”

    Yet another ‘sponsored advertorial,’ cobbled together (all four pages of it) from heavy-breathing Realtor(TM) property porn.

    Bring your checkbook … and don’t miss the “babbling brook”!

    1. briansays

      “I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it – overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.”

      “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

      “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”

      ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

      1. craazyman

        If only they had Gatsby’s dream alive in their minds . . . but all they have is his money.

      2. Ms G

        Christ, but could that man write.
        Such a beautiful passage. I identify with the first few lines so much, and he says it so much better than I could (quelle surprise!)

  12. jjmacjohnson

    In the Atlantic article:

    “Add to that the waste of time, energy and brainpower that commuting engenders, and it becomes apparent that our definition of “workplace” will never be the same.”

    I think that commuting is not necessarily a waste of time. It can be used to think, read or exercise. Limited one sided view to it in my book.

    1. diptherio

      True…but a long commute also means more (unpaid) time added to your work day. Sure, you can read a book while sitting on the bus to work, but you can’t be spending that time with your family, or working in your garden, or making love to your spouse, etc. Which is to say commute time is not “free time” (for you…it is free for your boss).

      A one hour commute (which I hear is not uncommon in many places) turns an eight-hour work day into a ten-hour work day, with the resulting predictable deterioration of psychological health and overall quality of life. Some people may be alright with it, depending on their personality (and whether or not they have to personally pilot a vehicle during their travels), but encouraging meditation or sit-n-be-fit exercises as a solution seems a little like putting lipstick on a pig, imho.

  13. Ep3

    Isn’t this fascism?
    My god yves, what is happening to this country?
    I want to know one thing. If I call the police, and at the same time GM calls them, who do the cops goto first? The company that paid for their vehicles or the poor person living in an apartment on Cass avenue?
    So we can’t raise taxes in businesses and rich ppl because it will stop them from creating jobs. But the same companies can shell out money to buy cop cars and emergency vehicles?
    Finally, GM has been given billions by the state of Michigan over the last 30 years (more likely 100 years, but I am just talking about all the tax incentives that we know about). So basically this was funded by the taxpayers through a mafia like skimming scam.

    1. craazyman

      ya no that dude who wrote 3 books about people disappearing in the woods was back on the radio scaring the sh*t out of me last week.

      I’ll be laying in bed on my side listening at 3 a.m. and the imagination starts working and I’ll think there’s an alien standing in the corner in the dark staring at my back, and so flip over really quick to catch it but it disappears just in time so there’s nothing there.

      This stuff is not easy to explain. It is weird wacky stuff.

      too bad all these Asperger Syndrome types who can rip apart the financial crisis and bank balance sheets don’t look at the folks who disappear in the woods. If they did, they’d freak themselves out so badly they’d be in a coma of the mind. Maybe they should stick to money, because the big stuff is so strange they may not ever recover from it.

        1. craazyman

          That looks hilarious!

          At first I thought it was a modern DELIVERANCE, but then it morphed into SCOOBY-DOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU? in a Winnebago.

          Bill should I roll my April call forward to May or September when the market soars after they “solve” this Cyprus head-fake? I need to keep the short position hedged but can’t bleed forever. They’re fixing the market, I know, but I still hope to get lucky with a big downside break. Who wants to work? Not me. I’m ready to be a paranormal investigator full time. That’s where the action is. :)

          1. Bill Smith

            Ya, there is a stoner dude in the movie. He has this great big bong he takes on road trips. But if the cops pull you over, it telescopes down into a travel coffee mug. Neat trick. Josh Wheedon probably invented it.

            Keep rolling the volatility short. They say the market will be back to a smooth ride up starting Monday. Cyprus, FedEx, Oracle, Fiscal Cliff, Sequester, Payroll tax, China, Japan, PIIGS, Banks all behind us so things just gotta keep getting mellower from here! Michelle is planning an Easter egg hunt at the White House, so that’s gotta help.

            I hear ya about work. Work sucks. Haven’t done it in years, and I can tell you not working is way better, even if you just sleep all the time. If you do something fun once and a while, that’s just icing on the cake. I think you would make a very good paranormal investigator.

      1. ohmyheck

        Thanks, diptherio! The first speaker up is Jim Holt, author of “Why Does the Universe Exist?”, a book I am about one-third of the way through. His question is— “Why is there something, instead of nothing?”

        I am looking forward to viewing this video, which is nearly 2 hours long. Oh, and I got frustrated with the book, so I read the end. He gets it right….

      2. ohmyheck

        OK, I’ve watched it. In the end, Jim Holt, who is on a panel with 5 physicists of differing backgrounds, never does publically verbalize the conclusion he comes to in his book.

        Who can blame him? He would have gotten heckled off the stage if he had. I give him kudos for having a go at it and sitting there for 2 hours.

          1. ohmyheck

            A Jesuit priest, A physicist and a Buddhist monk walk into a bar….
            From the book—The Buddhist monk says, “It is not from nothingness. Yet it is something very close—emptiness. Things don’t really have the solidity we attribute to them. The world is like a dream, an illusion. But in our thingking (consciousness), we transform its fluidity into something fixed and solid-seeming…When Leibniz asked, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” his question presupposed that something really and truly exists. And that’s an illusion.”

            The book ends with a quote from Ambrose Bierce/The Devil’s Dictionary—“Philosophy, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.”

            That Ambrose!

        1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          I like to say “The unknown remains unknown until it becomes known”.

          “Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?” – Harold Pinter.

    2. Hugh

      Nothing is what exists in the souls of bankers and politicians, in the rich and their servant elites. They are the true nihilists of our times.

    3. Hugh

      From the article, it appears that the speakers are confusing/mixing intellectual conceptualizations of nothing with a physical measure/state of nothing. As to the first, it looks mostly like a definitional exercise revolving around concepts of zero and a null set. As to the second, we live in a universe of space-time. Light and matter are simply particular foldings of space-time as are we. In our universe, there is no not space-time, therefore no nothing.

      Nothing only exists on the moral level as I pointed out above. It is far from an abstraction, we see it everywhere everyday in the rich, powerful, and well-connected, and it is killing us

  14. Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

    “As gastronomic etiquette played such an important role in 19th century France, Alfred Jarry would take every opportunity to upset what he referred to as the common herd. His activities would range from entering a restaurant, sitting down and ordering a meal entirely in reverse, beginning with the brandy and ending with the soup, to challenging his friends to eat nothing but gherkins soaked in absinthe until the first one changed colour and was sick.

    One day Jarry decided to paint himself entirely green – face, hands, neck, wrists, in order to witness the amazement of the customers when he entered the cafe.

    My father heard of the joke. In haste he informed all his friends, customers and waiters. When Jarry strolled in, green, green like a green exotic parrot – no one batted an eyelid. They went on talking, drinking and reading.

    After a while, Jarry quite taken aback, asked my father, “Don’t you notice anything?” “No, nothing at all. Should I?”

    It took Jarry hours to get rid of the green. It stuck behind his ears for days.”

    1. Ms G

      Looks like the Blue Man Group totally ripped of Jarry! Fair Use, Infringement or just bad manners failing to attribute inspiration?


    2. Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

      I don’t know about the Blue Man Group, but Jarry influenced a lot of 20th century artists, including Marcel Duchamp, who once said: “Rabelais and Jarry are my gods, evidently”.

      Jarry’s eccentricity was legendary, riding a bicycle and carrying loaded pistols everywhere, perpetually intoxicated and dressed in black biking gear. He lived in an apartment that had been divided in half horizontally, forcing everyone besides him to stoop. He ate his meals backwards, dessert first, and adopted the nasal, monotone speaking style he invented for Ubu, enunciating every syllable equally and referring to himself in the royal “we.” He also used laboriously roundabout phrases, such as “that which blows” for the wind, and “that which rolls” for his bicycle.

      Jarry developed and lived strictly according to the absurd pseudo-philosophy of “pataphysics”, which he invented.

      1. craazyman

        There’s always more of them than you think . . . LOL . . . -profeser D. Tremens, NFL, GED, yours sincerely,

        “Contrary was a member of a Native North American tribal group who adopted behavior that was deliberately the opposite of other tribal members. The Contraries were found among the historical Amerindian tribes of the Great Plains. They were a small number of individuals loosely organized into a cult that was devoted to the practice of contrary behavior.”

      2. Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

        Good one, craazy. And speaking of the Heyoka, John Fire Lame Deer (Seeker of Visions): wrote:

        “For people who are as poor as us, who have lost everything, who had to endure so much death and sadness, laughter is a precious gift. When we were dying like flies from white man’s disease, when we were driven into reservations, when the government rations did not arrive and we were starving, watching the pranks and capers of Heyókȟa were a blessing.”

      3. Ms G

        Ya. He was one of those surrealist dada characters. It wore thin pretty fast. But Ubu Roi was required reading in my high school.

      4. Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

        It’s ancient history now, but given a choice, I’d still take a dada -surrealist over a banker, economist or politician any day.

        Or a so-called writer like Jonathan Franzen, Great American Novelist on the cover of Time magazine!

        The same Jonathan Franzen who (as John Dolan accurately pointed out in his book review below) would rim bobos for book of the month fame.

        1. Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

          Best line in Dolan’s book review: “Yes, it’s time someone said it outright: Manhattanites are the new hicks.”

          1. Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

            And here’s John Dolan reviewing David Brooks’ Bobos in Paradise.

            “Reading Bobos in Paradise, I realized that it’s not so hard to make money by writing: all you have to do is s*ck and swallow several million people at once. It’s certainly worked for David Brooks, who s*cks like a Black Hole, and could give Linda Lovelace swallowing lessons. He’s making a fortune from this book, which is nothing more than fell*tio in print.

            David Brooks is a born lickspittle. He clearly enjoys flirting with his target audience, teasing them just enough to get their attention, then flattering them for pages. It’s not very well done -even his title, the abbreviation “Bobo,” makes you wince, because the “bo” in “bourgeois” isn’t pronounced like the “bo” in “bohemian.” The mismatch is symptomatic: Brooks’ readers are far more bourgeois than they are bohemian. They are the same world-weary Eastern crowd to which the New Yorker has pandered lo, these many decades, and Brooks feeds them the same adoring banter they’ve come to expect. But what vile taste they and their little evangelist reveal! How horrible these little lives of furniture-pedantry! Two careers and a high-strung child who’ll acquire new affectations every year, til she winds up spending her trust fund on therapy- that’s Paradise? What a wretched paradise! No wonder they need this groveller to tell them how happy they are, how wonderful, for two hundred craven pages!

          2. Bill the Psychologist

            Thank you Reichsieger, an accurate description of that slimeball Brooks.

            Especially noted is a word I’ve not seen for decades, “lickspittle.” Perfect……..

  15. jjmacjohnson

    “Stop carrying a wedge of cash around with you,” said the ex-Goldman banker. “It reduces the temptation to tip people so much.”

    Oh lord, what a tip to save on the tip!!!

  16. Ep3

    Re: temp working with the Atlantic

    Yves, this is unfortunately the future. The idea is to turn every worker into his own little mini businessperson. Recall the words responsiblility and accountability. We already recognize corporations are more important persons than real ppl. Look at Obamacare. It’s about an individual shopping a market. No more grouping with your coworkers to bargain for better wages and benefits and discounted healthcare. And of course, republicans all love those great stories of where some “average joe” was able to scan the online market and find his healthcare policy. Yet Joe then brags about how he is hard working and that paying $25,000 a year for “his” healthcare means that he’s a hard working American. Or the great story of how Joe is just an average guy with an average income that through his hard work and saving and smarts he is able to afford a boat and cottage on the lake. Yet, no one mentions he is sitting on some massive inheritance from union working parents.
    But look at the tax return. It is skewed to benefit businesses and business owners. Flush all the personal expenses through the business and reduce net income. Which then flows through to the personal return where use of the home for business use is deductible as well as the extensive deductions that occur before taxable income.

    1. Ms G

      “Recall the words responsiblility and accountability.”

      Don’t forget the key one — “flexibility,” as in (from Job Creator perspective) disposable human resources with ephemeral jobs and no benefits and as in (from the Work Units’ perspective) living with no predictability as to basic things like where do I live, work, or eat tomorrow?

      1. Ms G

        Note. They want us all to be journeymen and journeywomen — road gypsies with nothing but the clothes on our backs, available to work for water when needed (by the Job Creators).

        1. Eureka Springs

          A human dixie cups sole responsibility is to be disposable with a smiley face on at all times.

          1. psychohistorian

            The Dixie cup brand is owned by the Koch brothers, to add a little twist to your comment….grin, or is that ….smile.

      1. lambert strether

        valissa, if you reply to a test post we cannot then declutter the thread by deleting the test post without screwing up nesting indentation for the entire thread, including your reply

        1. Valissa

          Huh? Sorry, but the only way I was able to post any of the links at all was by posting “this is a test” first. The first time my links went into the NC wormhole, I tried removing the one I thought was the problem, and again it didn’t post. So if I can’t follow up on “this is a test” what do you propose I do to try and post again? I would happily follow the rules on this if I knew what they were.

  17. direction

    Comments section for “20 Money Saving Tips” is getting funnier by the minute:

    “One way that I save myself money on a regular basis is by parking my private jet and just taking the bus to Vegas. A jet is not really necessary unless travelling over oceans”

    Can’t wait to see if the Peter Pinguid Society weighs in on this sad state of affairs.

    1. Ms G

      I love this comment:

      “I just [] notified my husband that I’m quitting my job in exchange for ironing his shirts every day. Gosh, sure hope there’s a banker around who will refinance our mortgage to reflect our sudden 65% drop in household income.”

      The Ironing Women Brigade is Coming!

      1. Ms G

        Well, post-Cyprus better advice is to stuff that wad in a coffee can — for those who are wad-carrying members of [XXX], that is.

  18. David Petraitis

    On Cyprus: The Operation was a success…

    He pointed to this hairraising list of capital controls:

    Here is what a cash economy looks like:

    Restrictions in daily withdrawals
    Ban on premature termination of time savings deposits
    Compulsory renewal of all time savings deposits upon maturity
    Conversion of current accounts to time deposits
    Ban or restrictions on non cash transactions
    Restrictions on use of debit, credit or prepaid debit cards
    Ban or restriction on cashing in checks
    Restrictions on domestic interbank transfers or transfers within the same bank
    Restrictions on the interactions/transactions of the public with credit institutions
    Restrictions on movements of capital, payments, transfers
    Any other measure which the Finance Minister or the Governor of Cyprus Central Bank see necessary for reasons of public order and safety
    The bill here in Greek:

    Yikes! Imagine that as you go to your Chase account and find it zeroed!

    1. Bill Smith

      Cross dressing parliament members were sighted at the airport departing the country. Fashion queens decked out in jewelry – diamond rings and necklaces, gold bracelets and hairpins, and platinum navel piercings.

  19. Jim S

    The EFF reports on Associated Press v. Meltwater:

    “A federal district judge in New York City issued a troubling ruling today holding that an electronic news clipping service infringed copyright when it republished excerpts of news stories in search results for its clients seeking news coverage based on particular keywords.”

    Would this have any impact on NC if it stands?

  20. diane

    Ooopsie, I just accidently posted the following on an older link page while checking for responses there, when I meant to post it here:

    Priceless (I’ve been wanting to scream this for quite some time now, and now seems as good as ever), talk about a [Moneyed, Non Tax Paying, ‘Fair’ Skinned] ‘Mans’ World:

    New America Foundation’s Board Of Directors

    New America’s Board of Directors is chaired by Eric Schmidt, ….

    Oh, and tell those in the Central and South Americas, along with Canada that they are equally represented there, on that New America! Board of Directors ……


  21. rich

    Bernie Sanders Leads Senate in Vote to Block Cuts for Social Security and Disabled Vets

    We should thank our lucky stars that we have Bernie Sanders in the Senate. The Senate on Friday evening voted to block cuts in benefits for Social Security and disabled veterans.

    The amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) put the Senate on record against changing how cost-of-living increases are calculated in a way that would result in significant cuts.

    “The time has come for the Senate to send a very loud and clear message to the American people: We will not balance the budget on the backs of disabled veterans who have lost their arms, their legs and their eyesight defending our country. We will not balance the budget on the backs of the men and women who have already sacrificed for us in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor on the widows who have lost their husbands in Iraq and Afghanistan defending our country,” Sanders said.

    The amendment opposed switching from the current method of measuring inflation to a so-called chained consumer price index. President Barack Obama favors a chained CPI as part of what the White House calls a “grand bargain” that Obama hopes to reach with congressional Republicans.

    1. diane

      ohh yes, let me pray to bernie, versus those who never aspired to …and were never accepted into that Senate, as they were never willing to kiss that ass to get there.

      thank you very much, but my thanks will go to my loved ones, mom, dad, siblings, sweetie and loved others … for keeping me as safe as they are able to.

  22. Doug Terpstra

    Thanks for the excellent Jesse’s Café link: the “Fed” cartel is printing “boatloads” of money but won’t say where it’s going.

    Why not? And how much is a boatload, anyway? Well, as it turns out, boatloads are actually shiploads. The so-called Fed, a private reserve-currency money creator (read counterfeiter), has quadrupled the money supply. Can that be right? Yup, according to the charts, the “Fed’s” balance sheet has quadrupled, from an historic average of $800 billion to over $3 trillion, at a current rate of $85,000,000,000 (billion) a month, or 1,000,000,000,000 (trillion) a year.

    Although those who follow money already know it, the Fed is printing money but that money is going directly to the banks through their methods of purchasing assets from them, both Treasuries and Mortgage debt (which may be of dodgy pedigree).

    The Monetary Base is still high powered money. That has not changed. What has changed is that the Fed is paying interest on those idle reserves. And the TBTF Banks are still operating like bucket shops using excess reserves and guaranteed deposits. When they win they keep the winnings, and when they lose, the Fed absorbs their losses.

    It is being directed to a powerful and largely unreformed Banking sector. And that money is being used to fund Wall Street bonuses, speculation in paper assets to create new all time highs in the equity markets, a bond bubble, the purchase of distressed assets like homes and farmland in huge rent-seeking blocks, tax subsidies for private hedge funds…

    Who is willing to stand up and tell the Emperors of Wall Street and Washington that they are obscenely, bloatedly naked, and draining the life from the people? No one will say, J’accuse.

    Imagine that: one trillion dollars a year interest-free lent to its casino cartel members to gamble on equities, derivatives, currency arbitrage, and play slumlord with dubious houses. So that is ultimately what this record stock market and the vaunted “housing recovery” is really based on—four times more debt than before GF crisis—but without any increase in organic income-based demand to sustain it. Such dogged, indefatigable persistence in pursuit of failure must define criminal insanity (or criminal conspiracy).

    So as Main Street faces trickle-down austerity, Wall Street is blowing the mother of all bubbles, the bubble to end all bubbles. Well then, let’s get it on: max out the cards and “go all in”—on leverage— get your offer in on that house — above list, early — or be left behind. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. psychohistorian

      This is the behind the scenes inflation that will take out the dollar as the Reserve Currency when the dollar bubble caused by this printing pops….and that will happen when????

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        I dunno. Jesse thinks Bernanke will leave after his current term. Bernanke’s second term ends on January 31, 2014.

    1. AbyNormal

      mho, the piece is a mite vague compared to Lambert’s analysis of O’s SOTU …that workup was crystal ball weight

      The future is like a corridor into which we can see only by the light coming from behind.
      e. weyer jr.

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