Links 3/28/13

Yours truly is desperately trying to get on a more normal schedule, plus fighting some fires. Will hopefully be back to a our regular programming mix soon.

New discovery may allow scientists to make fuel from CO2 in the atmosphere PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Millions hit by biggest ever internet slowdown as cyber-hackers drop ‘nuclear bomb’ Daily Mail (furzy mouse)

Food is now the ultimate class signifier Guardian

Entire library journal editorial board resigns, citing ‘crisis of conscience’ after death of Aaron Swartz The Verge

Shadow Loans Hard to Squelch in China City Hit by Suicide Bloomberg

China Is Getting Slammed — Banks And Property Developers Are Tanking Clusterstock

CIA agent who ran Thai ‘black sites’ gets promotion Bangkok Post: (Lambert)

Still more Cyprus:

Cyprus to reopen banks, impose capital controls Reuters. Remember, this is one day this week, since pretty much the entire Christian world except weirdly the US treats Good Friday as a much bigger deal than Easter and is shut tight as a drum. The only days pubs are closed in Oz are Christmas and Good Friday, for instance.

Cyprus has finally killed myth that EMU is benign Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Cyprus plans emergency restrictions on cash withdrawals before banks reopen Guardian

Next stop New York: wealthy Russians hurry money from Cyprus to US Guardian

A Royal Charter for the British internet John Gapper, Financial Times

US Training Rebels in Jordan: Get the Story Straight OilPrice

US Army hollowed out after war BBC (Lambert)

Walmart to challenge Amazon online Financial Times. Alien v. Predator! Actually, Walmart achieves the difficult task of making Amazon look good.

US budget cuts ‘hit consumer sentiment’ BBC (Lambert). Duh!

Which States Have the Highest Food Stamp Rates? WSJ Economics Blog

Warning: Wealth Comparisons by Age Group Through Time Are Bogus! Dean Baker

Federal Study: Shale Development Fragmenting Allegheny County Forests WESA

Deutsche Bank Slides as S&P Considers Rating Cut Bloomberg

Lehman plans to distribute $14.2 bln to creditors Reuters. Nominally up to 15%, may get to 20%, but what about the time value of money? If you use a risk-adjusted discount rate of 5% (which is probably low, I’m just being lazy and guesstimating), the recovery is more like 12%

Once More Through the Revolving Door for Justice’s Breuer New York Times

Fannie/Freddie to Homeowners: Do Nothing and Help Will Arrive Katie Porter, Credit Slips

Banks Seek to Overturn Judge’s Ruling in Critical Mortgage Case New York Times. See filing here.

GLAD TO BE UNHAPPY: THE FRENCH CASE New Yorker (Lambert). Witness Henri la chat!

Antidote du jour (martha r):

And an early Easter item from furzy mouse….the Instant Easter Chick!

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  1. Jim Nichols

    Check out: Teamsters float contract outline to UPS as talks race to meet unofficial March-end deadline – DC Velocity
    Keep in mind the Teamster contract with UPS is the largest collectively bargained contract in the US so it has the capacity to raise or lower the floor depending on the quality of the contract.

  2. rjs

    possible someone has posted this previously, but i just found it last night:

    List of the Harmed – Updated as of February 23, 2013 | NEOGAP The following is an ever-growing list of the individuals and families that have been harmed by fracking (or shale gas production) in the US. Should you encounter any issues (misinformation, broken links, etc.) or if you are/know someone who should be added to this list, please contact us at

    over 800, with details…

  3. Demented Chimp

    New discovery may allow scientists to make fuel from CO2 in the atmosphere

    This is much less exciting that it is made out. Plants are a bioreactor framework for fixing carbon. Think of all the tubes and pipes to scale single cells into something useful. These things dont scale efficiently plants do. Still better to plant more trees and crack the enzymatic breakdown of cellulose.

    1. rjs

      there’s all kinds of little beasties that eat CO2 or other waste & turn out useful hydrocarbons; the problem is always scaling; once you have more than a large vat of the critters, you have to keep supplying the all elements they need to survive & multiply, among which are nitrogen & phosphorus…

    2. tom allen

      “He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.”

      Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels (Voyage to Laputa, Ch. 5).

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We NEED climate change – as in mood change or attitude change.

      The climate for ‘more consumption = more happiness’ has changed. It’s over, fin, ende.

      This ‘fuel from CO2’ from the atmosphere – should we fear where it’s going: LET’S RELEASE MORE CO2 INTO THE ATMOSPHERE SO WE CAN MAKE MORE FUEL.

      Here is an approximate quote – you can not solve problems (caused by science) by the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

      And here is a different kind of thinking – Consume less! Procreate less.

    4. b2020

      It’s worse. Even if they had a completely scalable, non-biological, zero maintenance version of this at 100% conversion efficiency, the issue is where is the energy coming from that is fed into this. You can turn a bathtub into a speedboat with a large enough outboard engine, and you can find dozens of ways of turning atmospheric CO2 into fuel *if* you have the energy to drive the conversion.

      This is the kind of chaff that distracts from the issue. Carbon fuels are stored energy. Once that storage is depleted, there is less energy to drive what passes as civilization. Plus, if too much of the remaining storage is used, climate change might cost us more than we gained. Tinkering with DNA is not going to solve this problem.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Distract and divert – that’s how they undermine.

        Wealth inequality? Let’s print more money and get infrastructure projects going.

      2. taunger

        can you imagine the technology we might have to harvest energy from the wind, the sun and the tides if we had focused on those resources over the past century instead of the fossil fuels?

        i care not for the “oh, woe are we, for carbon based energy is destructive!”line of thinking. perhaps we can find ways to destroy ourselves with tidal energy, or geothermal, or even solar. But geez, can’t we at least give creating bountiful and harmless stores of vast energy a try?

    5. evodevo

      Yes. And there are other quibbles I have with the article.

      “a kind of P. furiosus that is capable of feeding at much lower temperatures on carbon dioxide. The research team then used hydrogen gas to create a chemical reaction ….”

      Wait, what? Adding hydrogen gas? Where, may I ask, are they getting that? Hydrogen is energetically expensive to produce – the input for that would make the resulting produce very costly. And scaling up the process to industial levels is usually fraught with difficulty – no mention of that. Scientifically-illiterate article writers are a pain. Lots of questions need to be answered here….

  4. burnside

    It has been at least a decade – so long ago the method was cited as ‘gene splicing’ – that Technology Review reported the development of a microorganism producing jet fuel and anticipating commercial scale-up.

    They’ll have our attention at commercial viability and not one moment sooner.

  5. toxymoron

    From the article ‘…The research team then used hydrogen gas to create a chemical reaction in the microorganism that incorporates carbon dioxide into 3-hydroxypropionic acid, a common industrial chemical used to make acrylics and many other products…’
    Ah, and where does this hydrogen gas comes from? More fossil fuel burning?
    Furthermore, using CO2 to build organic compounds consumes (lots of) energy. Plants use sunlight. And these bacteria use what? pre-built organic compounds?

    It’s only PR.

    Contrary to what is written in the article, it is quite easy and cheap to grow sugarcane, sugar beets, or whatever that has a high sugar content, extract the sugar and convert it to ethanol by fermentation.

    The problem is to purify fermented ethanol (say 10 to 15% pure). The first step (distillation) is still easy and could be done by ‘sunshine’ (pun intended), or any other source of heat, but physics limit you to a 96% pure product. The remaining 4% of water make the product totally unsuitable to be mixed with gasoline for use in a standard combustion motor. The easy way out would be to have an adapted combustion motor design that could run on 96% grade pure ethanol.

    1. briansays

      my bet if he simply doesn’t want more money–obama will attempt to nominate holder to scotus before term up should a vacancy arise–he satisfies the racial criteria so democrats will support/can’t oppose (“the best we could do”) and wall street will green light him for the gop

  6. Ned Ludd

    Wal-Mart cuts staff, leaving customers unhappy:

    In the past five years, the world’s largest retailer added 455 U.S. Wal-Mart stores, a 13 percent increase, according to filings and the company’s website. In the same period, its total U.S. workforce, which includes Sam’s Club employees, dropped by about 20,000, or 1.4 percent. Wal-Mart employs about 1.4 million U.S. workers.

    A thinly spread workforce has other consequences: Longer check-out lines, less help with electronics and jewelry and more disorganized stores, according to Hancock, other shoppers and store workers. Last month, Wal-Mart placed last among department and discount stores in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the sixth year in a row the company had either tied or taken the last spot. The dwindling level of customer service comes as Wal- Mart (WMT) has touted its in-store experience to lure shoppers and counter rival Inc.


    Retailers consider labor — usually their largest controllable expense — an easy cost-cutting target, Ton said. That’s what happened at Home Depot Inc. (HD) in the early 2000s, when Robert Nardelli, then chief executive officer, cut staffing levels and increased the percentage of part-time workers to trim expenses and boost profit. Eventually, customer service and customer satisfaction deteriorated and same-store sales growth dropped, Ton said.

    CNBC named Nardelli one of the worst American CEO’s of all time. They then noted that “Nardelli’s Home Depot exit package of $210 million was regarded as one of the largest ever.” In the U.S., it pays really, really well to be a terrible CEO.

    1. Jefemt

      Lest we forget how the new “health ‘care’ law” now force feeds money from our pockets to fund nice salaries: “…Just nine years later (in 2005), the same Dr. McGuire (still stuck at stingy United Healthcare) “earned” $124,800,000 in salary alone. Unfortunately for McGuire, 1996 was to be his last year milking the system due to his standout felonious role in a major stock options scandal (see “Legal Issues”). The SEC fined McGuire $468 million, which I assume came off the top of his parting gift from UH, a $1.1 Billion (with a capital “B”) golden parachute. It was (at the time) the largest parting gift ever awarded any corporate chief executive in the history of mankind; in fact, probably the largest since the Cretaceous Period, but accurate corporate record-keeping suffered even back then.
      White crime pays, kids, and pays quite well….” (from Daily Kos, 2011) I moved my money away from wall street after seeing kids at Disneyland working hard to keep it fairly impeccable , despite the billions of visitors, who were making less than a living wage, meanwhile Eisner was flying EACH day to Aspen for lunch. Barfolomew (kitty furball upchuck). Invest in local economies and people. Starve the beast. From the oil patch…

  7. Ned Ludd


    In the WSJ Economics Blog post, “Which States Have the Highest Food Stamp Rates?”, the link (within the post) to their interactive graphic is broken. You might use this direct link to the graphic, instead:

    Food Stamp Enrollment by State

    1. Brindle

      This shows the reported unemployment rate means little without the context of how people are actually surviving–things are getting worse, not better for millions of people.

      —“All-time records continue to be broken, and news agencies have largely stopped reporting on the rise in food stamps each month.
      As unemployment once again dropped last week, reaching 7.7 percent, the rise in SNAP enrollment is another disheartening economic indicator about the state of the US economy.”—

  8. financial matters

    Something that we’re all aware of but well laid out with historical context by George Washington..

    George Washington’s blog

    Stunning Facts About How the Banking System Really Works … And How It Is Destroying America
    Submitted by George Washington on 03/27/2013

    “”Most people now realize that the big banks have become little more than criminal enterprises.

    The corrupt, giant banks would never have gotten so big and powerful on their own. In a free market, the leaner banks with sounder business models would be growing, while the giants who made reckless speculative gambles would have gone bust. See this, this and this.

    It is the Federal Reserve, Treasury and Congress who have repeatedly bailed out the big banks, ensured they make money at taxpayer expense, exempted them from standard accounting practices and the criminal and fraud laws which govern the little guy, encouraged insane amounts of leverage, and enabled the too big to fail banks – through “moral hazard” – to become even more reckless.

    Fed boss Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving bailout money were healthy, when they were not. They were insolvent. By choosing the big banks over the little guy, the Fed is dooming both.

    State-owned public banks – like North Dakota has – would take the power away from the big banks, and give it back to the people … as the Founding Fathers intended.””

  9. wunsacon

    >> US Army hollowed out after war BBC (Lambert)

    I believe this explains the push for equal “rights” for gays (in civilian and military circles) and women in (military front lines). One way minority groups gain political power is when the domestic government concludes it lacks enough grist for its mill.

  10. Brindle

    Monarch Butterflys vs Monsanto…

    Whether Roundup is the main culprit or not, the drastic decline in Monarch populations is troubling.

    —“In Canada and the U.S., the monarchs face a huge challenge finding milkweed, which is the plant on which they lay their eggs and then the caterpillars feed. Brower says the widespread use of the herbicide glyphosate is now the critical threat to the monarchs’ food supply.

    Glyphosate was developed by the U.S. agricultural biotech company Monsanto, which they sold as Roundup, and its use took off once Monsanto’s seeds, genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosate, hit the market. Other herbicide manufacturers have helped make glyphosate the top-selling herbicide in the U.S.”—

    1. different clue

      If 50 million suburbanites planted a species of milkweed somewhere in their yards, would enough monarch butterflies find them to reproduce on them enough to at least avoid extinction till the Monsanto problem is solved?

      When I was a child we had some butterfly weed ( Asclepias tuberosa) growing in a small garden patch and some monarch caterpillars lived on it every year.

  11. Ms G

    Lanny The-Banksters’-Fixer Breuer back at Covington — “strong emotional draw to the firm … my professional home.”

    His unctuous parting words on his “professional” business model as he bids “public service” adieu: “What people dismissively talk about as the revolving door allows people to be better public servants and private litigants,” he said. “I believe I was a better assistant attorney general because of my deep experience in the private sector.”

    I’m sure Covington’s clients would agree wholeheartedly.

  12. Brindle

    Shorter Breuer: Because I saw how shit happens (“deep experience”) I knew when to turn my head and say “nothing to see here”.

    His statement ooozes with self-important slime. What a con !!

    1. Ms G

      +100. Plus, in truth, who else was going to have him after all that went down except his Famiglia — it’s the only financial-mafia cell that owed him any duty of, er, loyalty!

  13. Ms G

    Dirty Oligarch Money flooding NY Real Estate (Guardian UK). Yep, but it’s been going on for quite awhile. One of NYC’s biggest and most connected real estate oligarchs (Forest City Ratner) got bailed out by one on his horror-show mega development around the Barclays arena.

    The NYC RE “bubble” is actually the size of 10 planetary systems, no doubt in part thanks to the infusion of this dirty money that got a “heads up” to get outta Cyprus weeks/months before the unconnecteds.

    Free markets at work!

    1. different clue

      Hopefully all these oligarch properties will go “underwater” as global warming raises the sea level all around them. . . ah ha ha ha . .

  14. john bougearel


    I’ll be darned if the story of Russian monies fleeing from Cyprus and winding up in NY doesn’t remind me of the story of European gold fleeing Europe and winding up in US banks during the lead up to WWII in the mid 1930s. (which is why the Fed doubled the reserve requirements in 1936 out of fear all that gold on the bank balance sheets would encourage another round of reckless lending and lead to another 1929 crash)

    While the 1930s were a lead up to a military conflict, what we have now is a lead up to a financial war imposed upon EU depositors by the Troika first, and now other predisposed governments to help themselves to depositor savings (see Canada)

    I recall FDR was pissed about American citizens hoarding gold. Well, he helped Americans dis-hoard their gold by confiscating it. Governments now are helping citizens dishoard their savings by confiscating their deposits in various banks.

    The message is clear, there is an all out World War on financial war on the savers of the world. If you won’t move your savings into various asset classes, govts will move it for you by confiscating it via negative deposit rates or outright expropriation. It is de facto illegal to be a saver, just as it was illegal to own gold after FDR confiscated it in 1933.

    The mechanisms to the 1930s are not so unlike.

    1. Expat

      One huge difference: FDR’s rationale was to protect the public — otherwise he wouldn’t be so hated by today’s rich. Today’s confiscations are for the sole purpose of maintaining the international kleptocracy so patiently built by the .1% over the past 40 or so years.

      1. Ex-PFC Chuck

        He was hated in his own time by the rich. “He was a traitor to his class,” as was then commonly said.

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘FDR’s rationale was to protect the public.’

        ‘We had to loot the village in order to save it.’

        1. Lambert Strether

          No. We had to do a little gentle sacking of the castle over the Village, after which the peasants put their torches and pitchforks down. Perhaps that was a mistake.

      3. neo-realist

        In retrospect, it seemed like FDR was protecting the aristocrats from the CP and the SWP. The FBI had not advanced enough in its capacities to put a COINTELPRO operation in place to destroy the counter revolutionaries to the American Delusion; So it became necessary to pay the system preserving ransom of the New Deal.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those usury-lusting savers, they deserve the 0.2%-before-inflation (negative after food/energy/medical insurance inflation) money market rate, they are getting now.

      They are lucky today, because one day soon, if those ‘let-a-book-decide-instead-letting-the-people-decide’ fanatics have their way, these usury-lusting savers will get nothing and will, instead, have to pay a safe-keeping fee. Think of the whole thing as one giant safe-deposit box, except they will know what is in your box.

  15. Kurt Sperry

    Re Cyberbunker vs. Spamhaus: try calling up the respective domains and then you tell me who is attacking whom. Cyberbunker is also a major Wikileaks hoster. Russian criminal gangs are becoming the go to ad hoc bad guys, I’d look askance at any conjuring of that meme going forward.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The episode is widely reported. Most accounts are neutral, merely saying that Cyberbunker launched a DDOS attack, which seems to be true. I’m not a fan of Spamhaus, and did see their putting all the sites from a particular webhost as serious overkill.

  16. David Petraitis


    In psychology the denial of a thing is still naming it. And as Freud said, the unconscious knows no negation. So Wolfgang has created exactly what he wants by denying a comparison…

    Wolfgang Schauble:
    Luxembourg had a totally different business model to the east Mediterranean island which is due to reopen its banks later on Thursday almost two weeks after they were shut. Any comparison of the two would be “absurd”

    This means of course if you read it in clear-text that there IS a comparison to be made, and depositors in Luxembourg have every reason to fear. A slow-mo run will probably start (if not already in progress) there.

    What makes this Reuters piece so poignant is the tragi-comic opera chorus from Dijsselboem, Junckers and the Portuguese. What are they trying to hide?

    Bail-in, Bail-out
    The ECB’s got its pail out
    Money Laund’ring, capital flight
    Let’s see who else we fleece tonight!

    1. Brick

      The whole handling of the crisis by germany might also have significant implications for the election in September in Germany as there is a new anti Euro party on the rise. So not only as you mentioned does it endanger Luxembourgh et al it also might lead to a very different parliament in Germany, With one coalition partner (FDP) seeing dwindling chances of becoming part and the fast growing newly founded anti Euro party having good chances:

  17. Alfreda Frances B., Super-secret Agent

    CIA put Michael Anne Casey on undercover status to cover her ass only after she cause two massive diplomatic incidents. CIA’s her family business, and like most crooked unprofitable family vanity projects, it’s riddled with nepotism. She just sits there doing her nails and sending texts while I had to bury the wogs alive and drown them and cut slits in their dicks. Of course I went along. You don’t get ahead by hassling the boss’s little darlings!


    1. Michael Ann C., International Grrrl of Mystery

      Alfreda Frances just had to be there when we drowned KSM, and then she was all, Use more water! Sit on his chest! like she invented it. Daddy says she has no class and that Uncle Bill would never have let her bury Abu Zubaydah alive with bugs crawling on him, because she’s a blabbermouth.

      Fat pushy moo-cow.

  18. Samuel Conner

    I question the optimism of the PhysOrg item about “fuel from CO2”. The process requires an energy input in the form of Hydrogen gas, which substitutes for the Hydrogen in the carbohydrates that the unmodified organism ordinarily consumes. Where will the Hydrogen come from? Perhaps from methane, an energy input which has a carbon output. Perhaps from electrolysis of water, which requires an energy input. Perhaps this could be a way of converting nuclear power into hydrocarbon fuels. But it’s not as tidy as the title suggests.

  19. Brindle

    Matt Stoller on fire …twitter:

    Matt Stoller ‏@matthewstoller 24m

    These exceptionally well-paid private actors are actually running the government without any accountability or disclosure.

    Matt Stoller Matt Stoller ‏@matthewstoller 25m

    The whole shadow government in DC of law, PR, and lobbying firms needs to be mapped and understood.

    Matt Stoller Matt Stoller ‏@matthewstoller 26m

    FOIA should apply to quasi-government agencies like Covington and Burling.

    Matt Stoller Matt Stoller ‏@matthewstoller 40m

    NatGas lobby hires Senator Dick Durbin’s nephew. #AmericanAritocracy

    Matt Stoller Matt Stoller ‏@matthewstoller 3h

    Breuer, who is responsible for the DOJ not going after bankers, will make $4M his first year at Covington and Burling.

      1. Zachary Smith

        I looked up the town of Milford Haven and saw the Brits had the sense to put their LNG port on the far south-west tip of the country.

        Still, if something bad happened to that ship, there are going to be 10-20 thousand dead people in a very short order.

        1. Chris Rogers


          Trust the English to put all their shit in Wales or Scotland, can’t have explosions disputing busy schedules in the Home Counties can we.

          On a brighter note, my home country Wales could be energy independent if it were an actual sovereign independent state, we also have an abundance of clean water and enough coal reserves for more than two hundred years at least – in theory, we are also food sufficient given our population is approx. 3 million – our rather mountainous terrain also means many areas will survive rising sea levels – regrettably our Capital city will not, but that’s no great loss in the wider scheme of things.

  20. rich

    Physician-owned distributors come under scrutiny
    March 28, 2013
    by Nancy Ryerson , Staff Writer
    The Office of the Inspector General released a Special Fraud Alert on physician-owned entities on March 26. The alert calls the entities “inherently suspect” under an anti-kickback Social Security statute because they create the opportunity for financial incentives to impact physicians’ health care decisions.

    Physician-owned distributorships are groups of physicians who take the place of distributors in the supply chain. After purchasing devices from a manufacturer, the POD then sells them, typically to the hospital where the physicians themselves practice.

    “The risk is that the physicians that own the distributorship will choose products and implantable devices based on the fact that they have an ownership interest in the distributorship that is selling the devices,” Andrew Van Haute, associate general counsel at AdvaMed, told DOTmed News.

    The OIG is concerned that biased purchases would lead to unnecessary medical procedures and put patients at risk.

    The anti-kickback statute was instituted in the Social Security Act to protect patients from that kind of scenario, making it a criminal offense to “knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit, or receive any remuneration to induce, or in return for, referrals of items or services reimbursable by a Federal health care program.” The OIG is responsible for upholding the anti-kickback statute.

  21. Lambert Strether

    Restaurant Chains Cut Estimates for Health-Law Costs:

    Wendy’s Co. (WEN) initially estimated the health-care law would increase the cost of operating each of its 5,800 U.S. restaurants by $25,000 a year. But Chief Financial Officer Steve Hare told an investment conference on March 14 that executives have cut the estimate by 80%, to $5,000 a year, primarily because they expect many employees to decline the insurance offering.

    “It is still going to be an additional cost that both the company and our franchisees will have to absorb, but we think it is going to be manageable,” Mr. Hare said. A Wendy’s spokesman said the company continues to refine its cost estimates and it would be “premature” to discuss them further.

    Executives of other restaurant chains, including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG), Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK) and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, have offered similar cost estimates in recent months.

    They say many employees will decline company-offered insurance, either because they can get insurance through Medicaid or a family member, or because they prefer to pay the penalty for not having health insurance. The penalty next year will be as low as $95 next year, much less than most employees will be asked to pay through company-sponsored insurance plans.

    The comments suggest that some people may fall through the cracks in the law and remain uninsured, at least for a time.

    Oh ha ha ha. Remember when the ACA was socialism?

    1. different clue

      Perhaps enough such BaucusObama Rommeycare refuseniks could still put the “health insurance market” into the sort of death spiral which Krugman warned so shrilly against as he begged and pleaded for all good liberals to support BaucusObama Romneycare.

  22. bulfinch

    RE: Glad to be Unhappy — this was great. Thank you, Lambert.

    The joy of thinking…what a terrifically underrated thing. Most people I know intentionally keep the noise floor high in order to avoid any kind of introspection. I don’t get it…

  23. Yontan

    Calling the DDOS attack a nuclear bomb is an insult to all those civilians murdered and maimed by the real atomic bombs dropped by the US on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  24. Jim Haygood

    Guerrilla photographers:

    A group of three Russian photographers could spend three years in prison after climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt to take pictures, after security had cleared out all tourists.

    They are identified as “Mister Marat” and two unnamed friends. Marat and his friends took about twenty minutes to climb to the summit of Cheops, describing the feat as “exhausting”.

    “All this time I was enjoying the moment. My heart pounded as I was about to fulfill my biggest dream. I was speechless. My eyes saw what they wanted. I felt a bloodcurdling joy, absolute bliss, but at the same time, feared that we might get caught. Fleeting moments of happiness,” he said.

    The final photo — three guys perched on the pyramid in the warm light of sunset, as Cairo blazes on the horizon — is magnificent.

  25. Jesse

    Yves et al,

    What do you make of Hollande’s proposal to place a 75% payroll tax on salaries over 1 million Euros? (My understanding of it: You can pay your CEO 10 million euros if you want, but the company will have to pay E7.5 million in taxes.)

    I’ve personally been advocating something like this for a while now to push CEO pay down to a more reasonable level (there’s no way these CEOs are worth the type of money that is getting thrown at them.) What would the down side be, what types of loopholes would they jump through, etc?–finance.html

    1. Ms G

      During Eisenhower we had a 92% marginal tax rate on high incomes. We had prosperity as a country; not prosperity for .01% of the population who don’t earn wages. So why should 75% not work?

      Meanwhile, it’s time to send Obama and the Democratic Congress to compulsory re-education camp in Hollande’s Office. Compulsory.

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